Live from Louisville, Kentucky
Airs Live on Pay Per View Sunday, Week 4, April 1991)
Commentary Team: Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone
The show started with Dusty Rhodes in the ring. He welcomed the 34,000 in attendance and the people watching at home to WCW Superbrawl and promised that tonight would be a night they would never forget. He mentioned the double main event tonight of Vader defending the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Lex Luger and Ric Flair taking on Sting in what had been advertised as the final chapter of their storied rivalry.
Dusty then put some attention toward the WCW Television Championship program by stating to the audience that he felt great tonight, because that sneaky, conniving rat Paul E. Dangerously wasn’t in the building. Then it was onto the big news for tonight.
”That’s not the only reason I’m feeling great! Ya see, as manager of WCW, I’m working 24 hours a day to give you people the best professional wrestling on god’s green earth, baby! That’s why all of you are invited to join us on TBS when we go to Hawaii for Clash of the Champions: Beach Blast in June. That’s right, daddy, we’re starting the summer off right with an event you don’t want to miss!
Oh...and I almost forgot one thing... Ya see, I’m not gonna be on commentary tonight. I have a lot of work to do in the office to make sure Beach Blast is the highlight of your summer. Now I know Ross and Schiavone are gonna be lonely without me if you will. I don’t want them sufferin’ during this great Pay Per View tonight because they're missin’ ‘The American Dream’. So I found someone who I think might be up to to the task of calling all the action tonight, baby.
WCW, GIVE IT UP FOR
'ROWDY’ RODDY PIPER!”
From our production area, we could hear just how loud the arena got the moment the sound of bagpipes played on the soundsystem and Piper stepped out on stage. This was Eric Bischoff’s big play. He had discovered that Piper’s contract was coming to an end with the World Wrestling Federation and sent a feeler to Piper, not fully expecting a response.
The truth was Roddy Piper had just landed the lead role in an upcoming project titled Immortal Combat and he was needing to take a few months off for filming. Because of all the time off needed and the possibility of not working in an in-ring capacity, the rumor was that Vince’s contract renewal offer had a lower downside guarantee with a bit smaller of a base salary.
Eric, on the other hand, saw this as a major opportunity. Take a popular name like Roddy Piper and it would help legitimize WCW as a tip tier promotion. Not only that, but WCW now had crossover appeal with Roddy Piper being a leading man in Hollywood. To our surprise, though, Piper was very much interested in working in an in-ring capacity, but Eric has decided to keep him as a color commentator for WCW Pay Per Views for the weeks leading up to his shoots for Immortal Combat. Upon his return, we’d figure out something from there.
Piper shook the hands of Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone before putting a headset on himself. The bagpipes eventually ceased and the audience, though still loud, were calming down.
”I tells ya, I’m excited for tonight. This show is stacked with the best professional wrestlers in the world! Sting and Ric Flair they’ve been to the dance a few times but it all comes down to tonight. The little Stingers are everywhere in Louisville tonight. Ric Flair and Sting the final chapter. Man, I tells ya I can’t wait!” (A)
Brian Pillman vs. Larry Zbyszko
Our options for show opener came down between this match and the match between Dustin Rhodes and Steve Austin. The decision was made to place Rhodes and Austin as a buffer between the two main events, though. The reason for the decision came down to which match would be perceived as being worked better.
We weren’t worried about starting off the show with something hot because our introduction of Roddy Piper was the perfect way to start the show. We felt that with Larry Zbyszko’s experience and Brian Pillman connecting with the crowd in recent weeks, that they could properly follow up such an unexpected introduction of Piper.
This match was used to bring The Calgary Kid back onto WCW television after his rematch with Larry Zbyszko on WCW Saturday Night a few weeks back. The Calgary Kid was still on crutches due to Zbyszko’s submission hold, but he was out there to offer support to his friend Brian Pillman.
The Calgary Kid and the crutch would play a pivotal role in the end of the match. Larry Zbyszko had Brian Pillman on the ropes and it looked like he was getting closer to victory. The Calgary Kid kept trying to lend some support to Pillman, but Zbyszko saw this as an opportunity to inflict some extra punishment onto an already injured Calgary.
Not wanting any further injuries to occur to his ankle, The Calgary Kid made his way down the entrance way and back toward the stage. Larry Zbyszko slowly walked toward him, with a huge grin on his face. With nowhere to go, it seemed that The Calgary Kid was in trouble, but then he donned a huge smirk. Larry Zbyszko had been duped. The Calgary Kid began walking fine on both feet, not an injury to speak off. He then began to swing the crutch in the air as if he was going to hit Zbyszko with it.
At this sight, Zbyszko held his hands in the air, as if to ask for forgiveness and slowly backed his way down the aisle and back toward ringside. Brian Pillman took this opportunity to attack Zbyszko from behind, rolling him back into the ring. An Air Pillman later, and Pillman’s hand would be raised.
As far as an opening match goes, this is exactly what we asked for. We needed to cool the crowd after such a big opening segment, but didn’t want whatever followed to be a letdown. Pillman, Zbyszko, and Kid were able to keep the crowd invested while telling a pretty decent story.
Brian Pillman defeated Larry Zbyszko by pinfall (C+)
Two out of Three Falls
WCW Television Championship
Bobby Eaton vs. Tom Zenk
A lot of our core audience were most likely expecting Paul E. Dangerously to show up in this match, but he was legitimately banned from the building. Okay, we actually gave him the night off, but my version sounds a lot better. While we’ve loved the work that we’ve gotten out of the Paul E. Dangerously and Bobby Eaton pairing, it was still important that we showed, that when push came to shove, Bobby Eaton could get things done in the ring.
We had a few reasons for our decision, but most importantly, we decided to shape the WCW Television Championship with an identity separate from the WCW World Championship. Don’t get me wrong, the WCW World Championship is THE Championship of WCW, but the Television Championship needed to have an identity of its own, too, and not just a secondary title.
So, the WCW Television Championship, at least in this match, would have a greater attention to the work of both of these guys. There wouldn’t be any antics such as Paul E. Dangerously sneaking back into the building or Bobby Eaton developing some other kind of parlor trick to win. It would be two guys showcasing their in-ring talent to best each other.
Tom Zenk would pick up the first pinfall after a flying crossbody from the second rope that got a great reaction from the crowd. Bobby Eaton got the second pinfall about seven minutes later after rolling through a second crossbody attempt from Zenk and scoring a pinfall from the reversal. The final pinfall came at about eighteen minutes in when Tom Zenk, who had Bobby Eaton positioned against the turnbuckles, climbed the ropes for a ten punch combination sequence. Midway through the series of punches, Bobby Eaton countered by slamming Tom Zenk to the canvas and then took the top rope with an Alabama Jam to win the match.
This was the fourth match between Tom Zenk and Bobby Eaton and it was without a doubt their best together yet. Both men brought their A-game and because of that, what could have easily been written off as a match series that had been overdone concluded with a really good ending.
The chemistry between Tom Zenk and Bobby Eaton is undeniable, but you can only go to that well so many times. Our hope is that down the road when these two are, hopefully, higher on the card we can revisit this match up again.
Bobby Eaton defeated Tom Zenk to become the undisputed WCW Television Champion (B)
The Steiner Brothers vs. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham
To put it bluntly, this match was just thrown together. We had no idea what to do here and then on the final set of tapings before Superbrawl, we decided to add this as part of the show. There’s no better way to say it, poor planning, dumb thinking, whatever. We completely messed this up.
In an ideal world, this is what would have occurred: Jim Cornette comes out and says he’s bringing a new tag team to WCW. Each week, something happens where the team can’t make it. The final show before Superbrawl, Jim Cornette comes out, says they’re not here. Steiners work against some local guys instead and then Dan Spivey and Stan Hansen come out and pick Scott and Rick apart. Then Cornette gets on the mic and says something along the lines of “When I said they weren’t here, I meant they weren’t here in the ring yet…” setting up for a Superbrawl match.
In reality, here is what actually occurred: We signed Jim Cornette to a one month handshake agreement. Someone didn’t look at their calendar correctly. That one month agreement ended two weeks before Superbrawl. Meanwhile All Japan Wrestling doubled down on Stan Hansen and crowned him the Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion. What this meant for us was Hansen would be in Japan for the entire month of April. You would have thought that someone would have looked into that…
Even if we wanted to introduce a new tag team instead, we still didn’t have Jim Cornette and having him hype up a new tag team for weeks and then not have him there when they actually did show up seemed kind of...well...dumb. So the decision was made to have The Steiners take on Arn Anderson and Barry Windham instead and honestly, it was a good call.
The match was pretty good, the crowd were into it and it also gave us the means to get The Steiners and Anderson and Barry Windham on the show. The wrestling was pretty good here given the twelve minute time frame they had, but the victory ended up going Rick and Scott’s way after Scott Steiner connected with a Frankensteiner on Barry Windham.
We continued the face/heel ambiguity of The Four Horsemen by having all four men shake hands after the match. It was just a small touch that would continue to sell people on the idea of The Four Horsemen not getting involved in tonight’s main event.
The Steiner Brothers defeated Arn Anderson & Barry Windham by pinfall (B-)
WCW Tag Team Championships
Doom© defend against The Dynamite Dream Team
We did not realize how well these teams worked against each other until we gave them about fifteen minutes to work their match tonight. This was a case of power against power. Not only did all four men look like people you wouldn’t want to start trouble with at your local bar, but they hit hard. They looked like they were hurting each other because they probably were. Not because there was any ill intent. They were just four of our toughest, stiffest brutes and so they naturally clobbered each other in there.
Make no mistakes about it, our goal here was to give the WCW Tag Team Championships to The Dynamite Dream Team. The angle from their first match on WCW Saturday Night was that there was a little bit of dissension between Ron Simmons and Teddy Long of Doom and we furthered that tonight.
Teddy Long looked poised to get himself involved in the match, but Ron Simmons hopped down from his tag corner and pulled Teddy Long off the apron. The two began arguing outside of the ring and Butch Reed, the legal man, tried to get them to stop their argument from in the ring.
With Butch Reed being distracted from the in fighting between Ron Simmons and Teddy Long, Terry Gordy was able to pin Butch Reed after slamming him to the canvas with a belly to back suplex.
The Dynamite Dream Team defeated Doom to become the new WCW World Tag Team Champions (B)
WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Big Van Vader© defends against Lex Luger
This was the first of our double headliner for tonight and man did these two deliver. I don’t think we realized just how much Lex Luger could deliver for us until after WrestleWar. I’m not suggesting that none of us were high on him. Back in January, a majority of us just saw him as a popular name that fans liked a lot. We were just plugging him into higher matches on the card because of the response he received.
Since that WrestleWar match with Sid Vicious, Lex Luger has continued to show us why he belongs in the dance with our marquee names. Without a doubt, up until this point in the night, Lex Luger and Vader was the best match on the show. In terms of crowd reaction and overall in ring performance. The match had all the components to make for a classic, two popular names, a good storyline going into it, and once again, good performances from both men.
This also confirmed that the Vader pet project was paying off for us. He offered something different from the typical WCW norm and because of that, he was an unproven commodity. If WrestleWar was the welcoming stage for Vader, then Superbrawl was his official coronation in the upper echelon of WCW talent. He had size, intimidation, looked like a monster, and could also go in the ring.
With as good as the match was, the story here was Lex Luger’s bruised ribs. The Total Package used great body language to show that the injury was affecting him. Often grabbing at his taped ribs after a big move. The big moment came when Lex Luger looked like he was primed for victory, tried lifting Vader for a major bodyslam but collapsed underneath the big man due to the pain from his ribs. Vader took the opportunity to not only drop one big body splash, but two more before picking up the win.
Once again, this was without a doubt the best match of the show and was one of WCW’s best matches so far this year. A lot of gossip going around the office was that since the ownership shake up, a lot of talent are becoming motivated to put their best foot forward. We’ve had hiccups along the way, but the work from Lex Luger in this match exemplified that the guys in the locker room want to show that they can be reliable when given the chance.
Vader defeated Lex Luger by pinfall to successfully defend the WCW World Heavyweight Championship (B+)
From a creative and booking standpoint, we wanted to put as much time between the two main events so that one wouldn’t affect the other from a crowd reaction standpoint. So the Rick Rude and Paul Orndorff Posedown Challenge was slotted to take place after the World Championship match. Missy Hyatt hosted the event, giving our audience some eye candy. She played up to the crowd a little, by talking about how exciting Superbrawl had been so far. She then advertised the segment as “The Battle of the Bodies”. First a robed Rick Rude came out taunting the audience before entering the ring. Then the crowd favorite Paul Orndorff made his way to ringside, slapping hands with the audience, before getting in the ring, as well.
”Alright, gentlemen! Rick Rude, this was your challenge, you explained the rules in the back, but I’m going to let our audience know how this wor-” (Missy Hyatt)
”How about you let a man do the talking. Orndorff, you slob, it’s quite simple. I know I’m better looking than you and I’m going to prove it. When I take this robe off and show off this ravishing physique, all the women in this building are going to bite, claw, and scratch their way to get into this ring and get a piece of me. Meanwhile, these poor out of shape Kentucky redneck men are going to wish they were me, but even they’ll have no choice but to cheer because just like you, Orndorff, they wish they could be me. Now hit my music!” (Rick Rude)
Rick Rude’s music played on the soundsystem and he began gyrating before disrobing. Don’t be alarmed, he was still in his wrestling tights, but he began to flex and pose for the audience, who were very clearly booing him.
”Alright...give it up for Rick Rude...Okay now ‘Mr. Wonderful’, you heard the rules. We’re ready when you are.” (Missy Hyatt)
“Mr. Wonderful’s” music hit the soundsystem and he disrobed. He flexed for the crowd, but the second the audience started to cheer for him, he was immediately attacked by Rick Rude. Missy Hyatt immediately fled from the ring and Rick Rude continued his assault. Paul Orndorff never could fight back because he was completely blindsided. WCW staff officially pulled Rude off of Orndorff and then tended to the incapacitated ”Mr. Wonderful”.
Rick Rude’s music played on the soundsystem again and he gyrated once more, flexing his muscles much to the chagrin of the audience. A huge smile donned on Rick Rude’s face as he stopped taunting the audience before leaving the ring and heading back to the locker room.
For what it was, it was a pretty decent segment. We didn’t want to overload the Pay Per View with matches and wanted to space some things out for future shows. This was a way to give some heat to Paul Orndorff and Rick Rude’s program without having them wrestle each other yet. The crowd was even into it, despite not being the kind of segment that WCW had been typically known for. (B-)
|Steve Austin w/Alexandra York vs. Dustin Rhodes
As stated before, the reason why this match was so high up the card was to give some more spacing between the two main events. Our only options on this show were between this match and the match with Larry Zbyszko
and Brian Pillman
. The idea was that Zbyszko
could probably warm the crowd up more properly than rookies Austin
so here we were.
really deserved a Pay Per View paycheck, so this storyline was created as a way to make that happen. With Dusty Rhodes
being on the writing team, one would be quick to think the recent Pay Per View push for Dustin Rhodes
was due to nepotism, but the truth is Dustin Rhodes
did a radio show in North Carolina to promote February’s WrestleWar. On a Pay Per View show Dustin Rhodes
wasn’t even working on and considering how lightly he was used on television Dustin Rhodes
could have used the interview to voice his displeasure with the way things were going with him in WCW, but instead had glowing things to say about WCW and its new management. This was his reward so to speak.
The match was more focused on calming the crowd down before the main event, but they still did a fairly decent job of telling a story in this match. Steve Austin
would jack his jaw with the crowd to get some heat. Dustn Rhodes
would hit a string of hard hitting offensive moves to get the crowd to rally on his side.
The match only went about nine minutes, if even that, and the ending introduced a young talent who we had just recently signed. Dustin Rhodes
was setting Steve Austin
up for a running bulldog. Alexandra York
, who saw the end in sight, hopped on the apron to get referee Randy Anderson’s
attention. With Anderson’s
back to the athletes, an unknown man came into the ring and immediately dropped Dustin Rhodes
with a DDT. That man then lifted Austin
up and draped him over Rhodes
, sliding out of the ring afterward. Once the unnamed man disappeared from ringside, Alexandra York
removed herself from the apron and the referee counted the pinfall, giving Steve Austin
The man who interfered in the match joined Alexandra York
and Steve Austin
on stage, shaking both of their hands. Roddy Piper
, Tony Schiavone
, and Jim Ross
couldn’t even take a guess at who the man was, but the camera did catch a good look at him.
Steve Austin w/ Alexandra York defeated Dustin Rhodes by pinfall
The Final Chapter
Sting vs. Ric Flair
It all came down to this. If this match felt like the most important on the show, it’s because we designed it that way. Yes, Vader being the WCW World Champion was a big deal to us. Yes, it seemed contradictory to not put Vader’s first title defense last on the show. Yes, we wanted to take WCW direction to a new direction. However, things weren’t completely lost on us, Ric Flair and Sting are the heart and soul of WCW. To make what we’ve been advertising as the ending point in their historical rivalry anything less than the main event of the show would be poor decision making.
With as well as Lex Luger and Vader went, it was imperative that Ric Flair and Sting went without a hitch and was every bit as good as the WCW World Heavyweight title match. For a full twenty-five minutes, Flair and Sting delivered in every conceivable way.
One of the biggest takeaways from this match was that there was absolutely no interference on Ric Flair’s behalf nor did he use any cheap tactics to gain a shortcut. We were advertising this match as one where respect was on the line. So Ric Flair put his pride and his word as a man before cheating to come out ahead. Because of that, the beginning of the match had a lot of pure, scientific wrestling that the WCW fans could get behind.
As the match went on, things began to evolve. Ric Flair began utilizing his signature knife edge chops to bruise Sting’s chest. Sting would retaliate by hitting some chops of his own. Eventually, the chops would turn into punches and the scientific wrestling turned into a brawl for a brief amount of time that got the crowd roaring.
Ric Flair locked Sting in the Figure Four and things were looking to come to an end, but Sting managed to roll over onto his stomach, with the leverage of the Figure Four now working in Sting’s favor, Ric Flair quickly fought for a rope break. Several minutes after that, Sting signaled for the Scorpion Death Lock, but as he was positioning Ric Flair’s legs for the submission, Ric Flair caught him with a small package pin. Ric Flair finally put things between him and Sting behind him.
NO! Sting managed to power out of the pin. The commentary team of Piper, Ross, Schiavone were stunned. The crowd was stunned. Most importantly, Ric Flair was stunned but he knew that every second that he spent not attacking Sting would give Sting a chance to recover. Ric Flair moved toward Sting and Sting shocked everyone with a surprise package pin of his own.
THR...NO! Ric Flair kicked out as well. The commentary team went nuts at the sight of Ric Flair kicking out and Jim Ross indicated that it was anyone’s ballgame at this point. Both Sting and Ric Flair slowly fought back to their feet and went back at it again.
Eventually, Sting introduced his newest move combination. He first started by lifting Ric Flair in the air and dropping him with an overhead press slam. Sting then immediately followed up by whipping Ric Flair into a corner of the ring, followed by jumping on Flair with a Stinger Splash. Sting then whipped Flair to the opposite corner of the ring and hit him with another Stinger Splash. Sting then hit the ropes and hit Ric Flair, who came bouncing off the turnbuckle after the second Stinger Splash, with a crossbody. With that Sting hooked Ric Flair’s leg and earned the pinfall victory. The final chapter was over and Sting had defeated Flair.
The match clocked in at twenty five minutes and there wasn’t a dull moment. The goal here was to legitimately put Ric Flair and Sting’s rivalry in the past. Not because we didn’t like it or because it represented “the old” WCW but because a feud that important to WCW didn’t need to be driven to the ground. If we advertise it as a last chapter now and then say two or three years from now go back to it (provided they still work for us), we could draw a lot more money from it than doing it every two to three months.
Sting defeated Ric Flair by pinfall (B+)
Both Sting and Ric Flair stood across from each other in the ring, both men looking one another in the eye. Even though there seemed to be tension, Ric Flair extended his arm out and shook Sting’s hand like he promised he would. The two eventually hugged, the crowd loudly approving. Ric Flair then lifted Sting’s arm in the air and Flair called him “the man”. Ric Flair left the ring and Sting dropped to a knee on the canvas, clearly exhausted from the match.
The referee went to check on Sting while Ric Flair slapped hands with the crowd as he headed up the stage. Once on the stage, Flair turned looking back to the ring and shouting that tonight, Sting was the better man. The joyous moment came to an end however as Ric Flair collapsed on the stage after being knocked down by Vader. Vader wasted no time and picked Ric Flair back up, slamming him on the hard stage with a massive powerbomb and as a result, Flair laid motionless.
Vader disappeared to the locker room and once Sting realized what happened, he sprinted the full length of the entrance way and knelt down beside Flair who was still motionless. The commentary team called Vader’s actions despicable and WCW officials came pouring out from the backstage area to tend to Flair who still hadn’t moved an inch. The rest of The Four Horsemen joined Sting on stage trying to get the seemingly unconscious Ric Flair to come to, but Superbrawl went off the air before anything could be resolved. (A*)