December 19, 2010
The Powerdriver Review
WCW Superbrawl VII
February 23, 1997
San Francisco, CA
The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/10/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Eddie Guerrero (12/29/1996)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (10/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Prince Iaukea (2/17/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko (1/21/1997)
WCW Women’s Champion: Akira Hokuto (12/29/1996)
Roddy Piper has been released from Alcatraz! Time to pay the piper, Hollywood.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes.
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Syxx
So Syxx – the title thief – gets rewarded with a Cruiserweight title shot. Malenko not only looks to retrieve his belt, but show Syxx some respect. Surprisingly, Syxx comes out alone. Malenko tears Syxx a new one to start just like I thought he would. Syxx takes a crazy corner bump and gets caught in the tree of woe to lead into the Texas Cloverleaf, but he claws Malenko to prevent that from happening. A crossbody by Malenko takes both men to the floor where he gets his belt back and holds it up high for the crowd. Back inside, Syxx is selling the knee, but gets off a spin kick anyway without hurting the psychology. Corner kick combo sets up the Bronco Buster. Heenan says if he was Syxx, he would go after Malenko’s surgically repaired neck. I mean, that HUGE scar is right there. Tony begins to wonder again about Heenan’s loyalty to WCW. Come on, Tony. Can you REALLY see Bobby Heenan hanging out with the nWo? Sliding leg drop gets two. He grabs a sleeper, but Malenko runs him face-first into the corner. Back to the sleeper. Malenko manages to counter with a nasty back suplex for two. Still in control though, Syxx drapes Malenko’s neck across the apron and delivers a double sledge off the second rope to snap the neck. Back in the ring, Syxx nails the Flying Legdrop for 1-2-NO! Syxx reapplies what worked earlier with the sleeper, but Malenko reverses into a sleeper of his own. Syxx shoves him off for a double-KO. Malenko crotches Syxx up top for a back superplex, but it looked like Syxx was supposed to fall on top of Malenko and missed. Once he’s on his feet, Syxx grabs the Cruiserweight belt, which cues Eddie Guerrero to sprint down to the ring to try and stop Syxx. He grabs hold of the belt through the ropes and during the tug-of-war, Malenko gets DECKED with the belt. Of course the ref gets knocked away accidentally and doesn’t see a thing. Cover by Syxx, 1-2-3. (11:59) Now Syxx is the champ FOR REAL. Not necessarily the best finish, but at least now we have a REASON for Malenko and Guerrero to hook it up. It was a certainly a different sort of cruiserweight title change that had ever been done considering all the ones before had all been based on skill. ***
In the back, Gene Okerlund finds out that DDP’s opponent from the nWo tonight will be…BUFF BAGWELL! With all the big names busy with their own issues tonight, DDP pretty much finds out who his opponent is without Gene’s official super secret earpiece of concrete information through just simple process of elimination.
Juventud Guerrera, Ciclope & Super Calo vs. Konnan, La Parka & Villano IV
Mike Tenay joins us for the next couple matches. While the WWF did it first at the Royal Rumble, this marks the first AAA trios match EVER on WCW PPV. I wonder which one will be more entertaining. Hmm. Ciclope and Villano…IV starts the match. They do some fancy wristlock and armdrag stuff to start. Remember, tags aren’t necessary. If you go out of the ring, a teammate comes in and replaces you and the match continues. Now Konnan and Juventud continue their rivalry. Lots of missed kicks. Konnan levels Juvi with the Rolling Lariat. Juvi snaps off a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Konnan baits Juvi to the floor and heads back in, but gets nailed with a springboard dropkick. Konnan blocks a wheelbarrow move with a German throw. In comes Calo and Ciclope to save only to get OWNED with clotheslines and powerbombs. In comes La Parka to work over Calo. He abuses Calo in the corner while he’s stuck in the tree of woe, but Calo comes back with his floatover headscissors from the top rope. He takes La Parka to the floor and delivers the slingshot somersault senton, which can’t feel good. He whiffs on the springboard dropkick from the apron though, so the future Chairman of WCW finds a chair! He sits Calo in the chair and gives him a neat suicide dive to wipe him out. Next up, Ciclope and Villano. Here’s the match goes awry. They go to the floor where Ciclope tries an Asai Moonsault from the top and COMPLETELY misses Villano IV to go crashing on the concrete. But hey, that’s the risk you take, brother. Looks like we have a little bit of an edit here. Ciclope is down on the floor trying to figure out where he is right now. La Parka blind tags Villano and drills Juvi with a corkscrew senton for two. Juvi stops La Parka up top and delivers a springboard headscissors to take La Parka off the top rope! Cover, 1-2-NO! Konnan and Villano make Juvi pay with a Doomsday Device. Now we get one of those crazy double-team lucha submissions that ends up bringing every able body into the ring. Mike Tenay calls it the “The Star”. My three semesters of college Spanish says our AAA friends would call that La Estrella. In the middle of La Estrella, La Parka puts Juvi in the surfboard! Pretty neat. Once that’s over, the tecnicos take out the rudos with not mono, not even stereo, but SURROUND SOUND DIVES! Back in though, Konnan delivers SPLASH MOUNTAIN to Juvi for the 1-2-3. (8:54 shown) Total car crash, but a great example of the AAA-style as the guys got to just go out and show us Americans what they can do. Due to Konnan’s clout with AAA, WCW was just worlds ahead of the WWF when it came to bringing in the best of the luchadores. **˝
WCW World Television Champion Prince Iaukea vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
So the initial shock of Prince Iaukea winning the TV title is over. Now that it’s not Monday night, will people still care? The answer is sadly no. They won’t. Basic stuff to start, but then Iaukea springboards over Rey and then catches him with a superkick for two. To the floor, Iaukea comes off the top and takes out Rey with a nice dive. Back in, Iaukea busts out a suplex or two before going for the chinlock. Enough of that, Iaukea delivers a press slam into a backbreaker and heads up top only to fly down into a dropkick. Rey headscissors Iaukea to the floor and delivers a somersault senton through the ropes! OUCH. Back inside, Rey gives Iaukea a double-jump springboard moonsault press for 1-2-NO! Split-legged moonsault by Rey scores another nearfall. Iaukea tries a hiptoss, but Rey is near the ropes and BOUNCES back off the ropes onto his feet! Incredible. However, Iaukea catches him up top and delivers him down with a SUPER Samoan Drop. Here comes Lord Steven Regal down to ringside to get his revenge on Rey for costing him the TV title last week on Nitro. Rey hits Iaukea with an ugly flying headscissors. He wants to put the champ away with the SPRINGBOARD HURRACANRANA, but Regal comes over and yanks him down to cause Rey to slam his face down on the apron. LOL OOPS! Regal throws Rey back in as Iaukea climbs on top for the 1-2-3. (8:55) Nothing amazing, but a much better match than I expected considering Iaukea was jobbing two weeks ago. Ever being the noble sportsman, Iaukea offers Rey the belt because he doesn’t want to win if Regal had something to do with it. Just shut up and take the win, you idiot. Of course Rey declines the belt and raises Iaukea’s hand. **˝
Gene Okerlund is standing by with the Giant in the locker room. He’s facing the Outsiders by himself. Does he care that he’s going in alone? No he does not.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell
They certainly gave Buff his chance to be the young cocky bad guy of the nWo crew, but I just don’t think he was smart enough to know to make it work to get his heat off the ground. He had the perfect look, but he didn’t have the brains. DDP right now is stuck between the ’93-96 DDP that smoked cigars and the ’97-99 DDP that got HUGE pops everywhere he went and sold a lot of t-shirts. He SLAPS Bagwell right across the face to get this going. The crowd is CRAZY for DDP and Buff does a great job of getting real mad about that fact. Page stops a hiptoss with a swinging neckbreaker, but Buff stops DDP with a neck snap on the top rope. Bagwell does a weird variation of a tornado DDT. He gives the ref a hard time for not counting fast enough, which causes the ref to shove him back and give Buff a good tongue lashing. Meanwhile, DDP regroups. Discus clothesline starts the DDP comeback. Sitout powerbomb gets 1-2-NO! Buff tries a ten-count corner punch, but DDP pushes forward and drops Bagwell face-first on the top turnbuckle. DIAMOND CUTTER is blocked into a backslide, which gets two. Bagwell delivers the FISHERMAN’S SUPLEX for 1-2-NO! He lets DDP go and demands a ten-count from the ref. Page is up at eight. Buff goes for a reverse neckbreaker, but DDP spins him around into the DIAMOND CUTTER. Here come the troops for the DQ as DDP escapes through the crowd. (9:44) Some hate the finish because of the run-in instead of DDP just scoring the pinfall, but I like it. It shows DDP getting the better of Bagwell’s cockiness and emphasizes that it’s DDP vs. the now, not necessarily DDP vs. Bagwell. **
WCW U.S. Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho
Long feeling out process to start. Jericho catches Eddie with a spinebuster into a LIONTAMER, but Tony, Bobby and Dusty call it a bad looking Boston crab. He follows that up with a modified Argentine backbreaker drop for two. Jericho misses a dive and takes a Powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Brainbuster sets up the FROG SPLASH, but Jericho moves and Eddie rolls through into a release German suplex. Guerrero flips out of a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a monkey flip, but runs into a belly-to-belly throw for two. Jericho drops Eddie crotch-first on the top rope and springboard dropkicks him out for a Springboard Splash on the floor! Well that can’t feel good for anyone. Back in, Jericho flies into an inverted atomic drop and a backslide gets two. Eddie tries a dropkick while Jericho attempts a spin wheel kick. Jericho gets a nearfall off a powerslam. Guerrero slips away from a suplex into a rollup for two, but then stands up into a superkick. La Magistral cradle gets two. Jericho blocks a Tornado DDT with a Northern Lights suplex for 1-2-NO! Nice counter. Eddie comes back with a crucifix into a sunset flip to get the win out of nowhere. (12:03) They celebrate like buddies today, but it wouldn’t be long before they would be at each other’s throats with the crowd in the palms of their hands. Decent match that would be improved upon later. ***˝
Harlem Heat (w/Sister Sherri) vs. The Faces of Fear vs. Public Enemy
This is an endless series of “winner gets a tag titles shot” matches that lasts all the way into the fall since Hall and Nash rarely ever defended the belts (after this show) even on PPV. Originally scheduled to include the Steiners, the Outsiders ran them off the road for a CRRRAAAZY ‘Smokey and Bandit” car wreck/stunt. I’m assuming Scott just needed more time off in the hopes that his back injury in late ’96 would heal. Harlem Heat debut their white trunks while Rocco Rock has shaved his head? Strange. Barbarian makes Rocco pay for shaving his head with a big running powerslam to start. Stevie Ray blind tags Barbarian as Harlem Heat begins to dish out their signature moves on Public Enemy. Yes, even the SPINAROONIE! Finally, Grunge has enough and tags in Meng. Since the Nasty Boys are done in WCW as a team, the Faces of Fear be CLUBBERIN on Booker T. Barbarian busts out the Belly to Belly Superplex for 1-2-NO! Meng delivers a MEAN piledriver for 1-2-NO! STEREO FLYING HEADBUTTS! Next, Meng backdrops Booker into the arms of the Barbarian for a powerbomb. Done. Love me some Faces of Fear. Stevie Ray makes another save. KICK OF FEAR wipes out Booker T and Meng takes Stevie Ray to the floor. Meanwhile, Public Enemy capitalizes while they have Barbarian by himself. Rocco flips off the top onto Barbarian, who gets caught. Grunge flies down on both of them as Rocco Rock covers him for the 1-2-3. (7:55) And the least interesting team that did none of the work scores the upset win. Harlem Heat and the Faces of Fear are fun to watch (at least in my eyes), but the finish sucked. *˝
Steve McMichael (w/Debra) vs. Jeff Jarrett
If Jarrett wins, somehow he’s a Horseman. Jarrett acts all cocky with Mongo until he gets caught for a slam. Of course, Debra’s apparent feelings for Jarrett allows him to nail McMichael from behind to take back over. But she wants these two to fight fair. When Jarrett grabs an ab stretch and reaches for the ropes, she swings the Haliburton at his hand to get him to stop. Ah, the briefcase opens up and there’s NOTHING inside! What a shock. Mongo delivers a press slam and we go to the floor where Debra offers Jarrett a towel, so Mongo wraps the towel around Jarrett’s neck and slings him into the guardrail. HA! Back in, Jarrett hits the Bossman straddle. They trade sleepers, but Jarrett counters with a back suplex. Side slam and a Bossman Slam (!) by Mongo gets 1-2-NO! Jarrett delivers a flying bodypress and off the kick-out, he gets launched into the ref’s eye? Now Mongo wants the briefcase. When she tells him no and starts to climb down off the apron, he grabs her from behind. When that happens, she tries to whack him with the briefcase (like she’s done this before) and tosses the Haliburton right over Mongo’s head into the hands of Jeff Jarrett. Of course, McMichael gets knocked out with the briefcase for the 1-2-3. (8:11) So Jarrett’s a Horseman? Wait a sec, Debra just winked at the camera. WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT? We’ll have to find out tomorrow night on Nitro! Not as bad a match as you would think. Then again, maybe its just my tolerance for bad matches is getting better since I’m not reviewing shows like I used to. *˝
Chris Benoit (w/Woman) vs. Kevin Sullivan (w/Jacqueline & Jimmy Hart) – San Francisco Death Match
The women are strapped together, which is kind of eerie considering Woman’s demise in 2007. Anywho, the women spank and catfight with each other to start. The strap gets in between the two men if you know what I mean. Sullivan hangs Benoit over the top rope while Jacqueline kicks Chris in the balls. Wow. Now Sullivan and Benoit brawl to the back while the women continue to their thing in the ring. After a trashcan fight backstage, back to the ring they go. Sullivan delivers the running knee during the Tree of Woe followed by the DOUBLE STOMP, but Woman breaks up the pin with a whip of the leather strap. Benoit stops Sullivan from doing anything to Woman and spins him around for a piledriver. Out comes a table just like at the Great American Bash. Benoit puts Sullivan on the table, but Jacqueline jumps on top to suffer Benoit’s flying splash along with him. As the table doesn’t give way, Benoit covers Sullivan underneath the table for the 1-2-3. (8:33) They do a triple stretcher job for these three to sell the HORROR of this match, but it really wasn’t that insane looking back. It just didn’t seem necessary to me. While we’re at least on the second half of this 14-month long Benoit-Sullivan feud, we still have over four months left to go. *˝
WCW World Tag Team Champions Scott Hall & Kevin Nash (w/Syxx) vs. Lex Luger & The Giant
Since Luger “isn’t cleared to wrestle due to an injury after an attack from the Outsiders”, the Giant has to go into this match ALONE. Hall and Nash play a game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ to see who starts the match. For those of you who keep track of these sort of things, Hall wins with paper over rock. Hall makes his first mistake of the night by mocking the Giant IN FRONT OF THE GIANT. From there, the Giant throws him all around the ring until Hall tags in Nash. Before he goes though, Hall spits one good time in the Giant’s face to piss him off real good. Nash hits one good clothesline, but Giant answers back with one of his own. Clothesline to Hall! Giant throws a dropkick at Nash to take him out to the floor as he picks up Nash and runs him into the ringpost. Back inside, Hall makes a save to draw the ref’s attention away while Syxx flies in and smashes the cruiserweight belt over the back of the Giant’s head. That staggers him into a Big Boot from Nash and a flying bulldog by Hall. What a “blind” referee. Crowd starts chanting for Luger while Nash hits his knees, elbows, and boot chokes in the corner. Nash delivers the Bossman straddle while Hall keeps the Giant in the ropes. Hall tags in and starts up the ten-count corner punch, but Giant shoves him away and becomes his own HOUSE OF FIRE! Syxx comes in for another belt shot. He gets caught in mid-air and tossed onto Nash. Hall gets the cruiserweight belt anyways and decks the Giant. He’s still standing, but out on his feet as Nash comes over and sacrifices his back as he delivers the JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB to the Giant for the first time ever in the HISTORY OF OUR SPORT! It looks pretty darn good too. Here comes Lex Luger (wearing what appears to be a rapist costume). Eric Bischoff stands in his way only to be tossed aside. Now Lex stands in the Giant’s corner and waits for the tag. Since this is WCW and you always assume a heel turn in these circumstances, you would assume he’s going to tag in and start beating on the Giant to finally show his allegiance to the nWo, but he doesn’t. Luger saves the day and puts Nash in the TORTURE RACK for the submission win. (8:52) And just so there is no screw job tomorrow night on Nitro, Giant CHOKESLAMS Hall and pins him for the 1-2-3 just in case there is any doubt that they won this match fair and square. Nothing spectacular, but I could see everybody was putting in the effort. Plus, that powerbomb is worth a look. **
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Roddy Piper
Piper looks just like he did when he crossed the San Francisco Bay to reach land. Even if you think the Alcatraz was dumb, at least they consistent with the “realism”. Hardly a wrestling match and more of a clawing-biting-poking-punching-kicking brawl. Once Hogan’s balls get hung out to dry on the top rope, Sting (complete with ball bat!) and Randy Savage (complete with Hollywood Hogan B&W lightning tights!) stand in the aisle way. While Sting watches on, Randy Savage heads to ringside to ensure this fight is no longer one sided with DiBiase remaining at ringside. Once Hogan is in control, Sting heads for the dressing room to leave the match in Savage’s hands. Hogan works a bearhug down to the mat, but Piper punches back and hooks on the SLEEPER! Savage watches while Hogan’s arm drops once, twice, and THREE TIMES! While Piper celebrates his first ever world title win, Savage reaches in and pulls Hogan’s feet under the bottom rope and hands him some sort of international object. When Piper goes back over to pick up Hogan, he gets DECKED and Hogan jumps on top for the rare pinfall victory over Piper. (10:58) This leads to Savage spray painting ‘nWo’ on Piper and a big long beatdown complete with MEGAPOWERS finishers while Ted DiBiase enjoys himself with several good belly laughs. In WCW’s mind, the heel turn doesn’t have to make sense, you just have to look *cool* doing it. ˝*
Final Thoughts: You don’t really hear people talking much about these early 1997 WCW PPVs and the reason for that is because there’s just not a whole lot to like outside its context. I mean, Malenko-Syxx? DDP-Bagwell? Mongo-Jarrett? Prince Iaukea? No one is dying to rewatch this show. Sure, this PPV had Guerrero-Jericho and a lucha libre spot fest which most fans of the era seem to enjoy, but they all had better matches later on in 1997 that wrestling fans DO remember more fondly instead. For Superbrawl VII, I’m going to go with a slight thumbs down. It’s not completely ‘gouge your eyes out’ bad, but it’s just not worth your time when there are more interesting shows ahead.