The WWE Network is a bit here and there with their uploads of this show, missing three out of five January episodes, but this one comes a week and a half after Clash 26, which isn’t one of the most notable episodes, except for the debut of this guy.
“This is the worst news I’ve heard since my mother-in-law announced she was gonna move in a year and half ago!”
Hosts are Tony, Bobby and Gene, with Jesse already relegated.
Clips from the Flair/Sting vs. Vader/Rude elimination tag match at the Clash, with Vader superplexing Flair off the top back when he would take that move. After the match, new commissioner Nick Bockwinkel postpones the Flair/Vader rematch due to Flair’s physical condition, with Vader invading and kicking up a stink. Not sure if I get the idea of seemingly taking away value from Superbrawl in order to build tension for it.
Promo with Lord Steven Regal in his turtleneck, looking forward to eliminating Sting and becoming the new franchise. Regal, as you’d imagine, was fantastic from the word go.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Tom Burton
Burton and his skullet knocked around for years without making much of an impact seemingly. Steamer’s got the most 1994 of haircuts you could have, with short back and sides and curtains. He gives Burton some fair amount of stuff, even though he’s really clunky and stiff. Quick turnaround with the flying chop off the top and he sets up for a cross bodyblock for the win, but Harley Race of all people runs in and takes it instead. This allows Vader to attack from behind for the DQ, beating up Ricky and any jobbers that try to break it up. The officials, including Grizzly Smith surprisingly at this point, focus on getting rid of Race first to stop Vader. Pretty peppy for a squash.
Superbrawl Control Center with Gene, again recapping the apparent cancellation of the Superbrawl main event, but Sting, Dustin and Pillman will face Rude, Austin and Orndorff in the Thundercage set up for it. Nasty Boys against Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne for the tag belts, Arn Anderson challenging Lord Steven Regal for the TV title in a match I recall being extremely boring.
Tony stops the show for Ric Flair to call in to speak to him and Nick Bockwinkel. Naitch is so enraged by the attack on Steamboat that he wants the match back on with Vader. “If I don’t put an end to it I want him to put an end to me!” Nick says he’ll plead his case to the an emergency commission, with Flair willing to wrestle it unsanctioned. Flair’s awesome, but the approach of putting the heat on the authority is really flawed.
Uncle Fred and Mark Starr vs. Pretty Wonderful
Fred is coming out to the music he was using in his dual identity as the Super Shockmaster, which lasted about one taping in typical Because WCW style. It’s obviously bring a jobber to work day with Starr being included. With Roma coming out in his red and silver WWF jacket, I’ve just realised he went from a Young Stallion to a Horseman. The Assassin was already a target for Jesse Ventura’s fat jokes, but he’s so heavy that his mask is rolling off his double chins. Orndorff starts with Starr. They tease a test of strength, but Fred tags in and goes for it instead to further aggravate Mr. Wonderful. I do wonder whether the heels would today be babyfaces on account of triggering misgendering with the Paula and Paulina chants. Boot to the sizable gut, but Fred overpowers both guys in some goofy but easy bits. I had no hopes for this, but it’s got more heat than you’d think with them doing basic stuff to engage the audience. Fred catches Roma in the bearhug to try and finish him off, but Orndorff gets an elbow off the top to stop that. Roma with his own elbowdrop for two while Tony, of all people, knocks Fred’s weight. Roma misses a shot off the top, with a nice somersault sell, to allow Fred out and Starr in. Chops on Roma for two then a reversed suplex on Orndorff, but Wonderful gets the piledriver for the win. Better than I would’ve expected. Bobby does a wonderful job of covering how Starr’s head slipped out of the drop position on the replay, but how it still jammed the neck enough to finish him.
Gene talks to Paul, Paul and Assassin after the match, with Gene wanting to talk more about the Steamboat attack and Flair first. Orndorff does a good job of covering unfinished business with Dustin and Dusty Rhodes to explain why Roma’s not booked for a match at Superbrawl.
Arn Anderson vs. Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker
Arn must’ve been dying to turn heel at this point, four or five months away from it actually happening. Kneedrop to start. Parker back suplexes out of a side headlock and stomps away. He runs into an elbow, though, allowing Arn to set up for the spinebuster, still the best version ever of it, for the win.
Nick Bockwinkel is back for an update on the meetings going on – they’ll have a decision before the end of the show. That’s very to the point for the big Bock.
Thunder and Lightning vs. Bill Payne and Ricky Tango
Thunder and Lightning are a pair of bodybuilders from Florida in bad singlets, boots and capes and one of them became Cobra/nWo Sting. I saw it put on Twitter that he had pec implants, but he obviously didn’t. Bobby tells a less offensive version of Jim Cornette’s Ethiopia/fried chicken gag: “Harlem Heat are so tough that they walked into Central Park with twenties hanging out of their pockets and came out with fifties!” Some generic power stuff before not-nWo Sting Irish whips Payne into nWo Sting’s flying clothesline off the top for the win. Both guys looked great but were incredibly green.
Gene brings out Recognised-by-WCW-International-as-the-Heavyweight-Champion-of-the-World (and he breathes out) Ravishing Rick Rude, with the big gold belt. He’s doing the “I beat the guy who’s now the champion” deal that he did with the Ultimate Warrior. His mention of having a fast Jaguar and a big house on the hill reminds me of a Kevin Nash story about how Rick Jr., who looked like he could take his dad’s place when he inducted him into the Hall of Fame, climbed into their other car around this time and accidentally released the handbrake, leading it to roll backwards off his drive, across the street and straight into the front of his neighbour’s house, with Rude having to run across, make his excuses and drive off in the Jag to go wrestle.
Terry Taylor vs. Stunning Steve Austin
“One of our three main events this evening”, claims Tony. We sticking with that? Austin with a quality line when he walks out: “People say I’m the best wrestler in the world today… and I agree with them!” Taylor with an early advantage, but Austin gets a powerslam for two. Taylor gets his jawbreaker and a dropkick, then an atomic drop/back suplex combo that doesn’t go as well as it could. Sunset flip for two, but Austin gets a tilt-a-whirl slam. Five-arm in response, but Colonel Parker puts Austin’s foot on the rope, then nails Taylor in the back of the head with his shoes behind the ref’s back for another two. Austin then reverses a roll up with the tights and dances for joy for the victory. They did the last five minutes of a twenty minute match, so it was all good but not as strong as it could be given time.
The Equalizer vs. The Boss
Equalizer was ready for a quite surprising face turn. I’m kinda surprised that the WWF didn’t pick him up after his Evad run even as a gimmick jobber. He’s actually bigger than Boss as far as height and frame. Boss spin kicks out of a test of strength and avoids a charge to the corner. Boss tries a headbutt but hurts himself worse. Boss Man Slam out of nowhere for the win. They must’ve been running late given how sudden that was.
Update with Bock, statement in hand – the Flair/Vader is back on if Flair can get a medical release. Ric says he’ll do everything he can to get it, but he’ll be at Superbrawl regardless.
Gene speaks to Vader and Harley Race in response. Vader’s left eye, with a shiner on it, looks really nasty. Vader says he nearly beat his buddy to death to bait Flair and looks forward to getting his revenge. He never got to cut promos like this in the WWF, for shame.
Lord Steven Regal vs. Sting
Title is not on the line. The cape was a much better look for Steve. Their interplay in 1996 for the Great American Bash match was superb (“Don’t forget to dot the i, sunshine!”). Sting works the arm as Regal works to take it back. There’s less than five minutes in the show, so don’t know how much we’re going to get. Regal tries to flip Sting over and out and get sunset flipped for two. Monkey flip and Steve is still in it, while Bobby bullshits about having a story on his hotline involving Nancy Kerrigan, Maxx Payne and Cactus Jack, plus someone from London (“You’re just making this up as you go along, aren’t you?”, says Tony). Regal bounces Sting into the corner and takes a cravat before unleashing some European uppercuts. Sting apparently complained later to Regal’s fellow Brit Dave Taylor about “putting him in holds he doesn’t know how to get out of”, but he’s looking capable here. Sting elbows out of a cobra sleeper and gets a clothesline, but gets trapped again on the mat. Sting back up, flying clothesline, and an attempt to set up the Stinger splash. Regal rolls out but gets dropkicked. Both men try a dropkick each and miss either side. Regal walks into a backslide as Sting wins quickly to finish the show. Good match, but could’ve gone a lot longer.
The meltdown: A good but rushed show, with nothing ever getting as great as it could be due to time. Next week is a longer show, so see how that is.