Mike Reviews Shows Considered To Be Stinkers – WCW Fall Brawl 1998
By Michael Fitzgerald on 30th September 2023
Happy Stinky Saturday Everyone!
We’ve got an infamously awful show for you this time, in the form of WCW Fall Brawl 1998, a show Main Evented by a monstrous War Games match that almost saw Eric Bischoff called to The Hague to face formal charges. The rest of the show isn’t up to much either, with quite a few bad matches and WCW’s favourite trope; the bait and switch.
Howver, I’ll be doing my level best to give Fall Brawl 1998 a fair chance though. Who knows, maybe it isn’t quite as uniformly terrible as people say? There are a couple of matches on here that look like that might be close to being watchable, and there is at least one fantastic bout on the undercard that I’m looking forward to seeing.
If you’d like to view the full card for Fall Brawl 1998 then you can click the link below;
The event is emanating from Winston-Salem, North Carolina on the 13th of September 1998
Calling the action are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan
As is usually the case with WCW pay per views, the opening video package is kind of lame in comparison to the stuff the WWF was doing at the time.
The commentary teams yacks a bunch, telling us that War Games can end at any time before all competitors have entered. The live crowd is more interested in chanting for Ric Flair, who was due to return to the company at the time. As usual, sitting around and chatting means the show has lost all momentum by the time the opening match is in the ring.
Backstage we see that Ernest Miller is trying to fight with someone but security pulls him away.
Mean Gene Okerlund shills the hotline and gets interrupted by Chris Jericho who challenges Goldberg for later on.
Hey, WCW, if it’s not too much trouble, GET A MATCH IN THE RING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Dancing Fools (The Disco Inferno and Das Wunderkind Alex Wright) Vs Jim The Anvil Neidhart and The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith
Hey, this will probably be awful, but at least it’s actual wrestling and not more gabbing. I’m fine with promos and all that jazz on TV, but this is pay per view and the longer you wait to get a match in the ring the quicker the momentum of the show dies. It’s like when you take your dinner out of the oven, the longer you wait to tuck in the colder and less pleasant the meal will get. Disco and Wright were getting kind of over as wacky undercard tag team, whilst Anvil and Bulldog were so ice cold as an act by this stage that DDP could have applied them to one of his many nagging injuries.
This match is notable for Davey Boy landing on a trapdoor under the ring at one stage and suffering a gnarly injury that left him laid up in hospital in a full body cast, which got even worse when he then contracted a staff infection and got fired by FedEx, because WCW. I saw an interview with Wright recently and he said that he happened to land on the trapdoor as well at one stage and it felt like he’d fallen on concrete. You’ll no doubt be shocked to learn that no one bothered to actually tell any of the wrestlers that the trapdoor was there so that they could avoid it, because WCW. Something tells me I’ll be writing that a lot for this one.
The Dancing Fools seem to be getting the better crowd reactions to start, as they kind of work it like one of those mid-card All Japan tags in the 80’s where no one really plays Face or Heel and the two teams kind of take it in turns to control the match at different points. Davey Boy looks awful in this one even before he gets hurt, as he’s bloated and can barely do anything. It’s really sad to see, as just a year previously he could still be counted on to carry his end in a good match with the right opponent, but by this stage he was utterly finished and limped on for a couple more years until he got fired by the WWF in 2000 and that was it for his mainstream wrestling career.
Disco and Wright look okay for the most part, although they don’t really have much to work with as Anvil and Davey seem to be struggling to even execute the most rudimentary of moves in this one. I’m not someone who thinks a match has to have MOVEZ in it to be good, but it’d be nice if the wrestlers involved could at least deliver the most basic of offence competently, which we’re not really getting here from Anvil and Davey. There’s a kind-of-but-not-quite heat segment on Disco for a bit, which leads to Wright getting the lukewarm tag and running mild, as neither of his opponents can really bump properly. The crowd responds to a few attacks from The Dancing Fools, but eventually they run into one another and that leads to Davey getting a lousy Powerslam on Disco for three.
WINNERS: ANVIL & BULLDOG
Thoughts: This was pretty awful, as Anvil and Davey could barely do anything and they didn’t really commit to working the tag formula either. Disco and Wright were fine but they were in there with two utter stiffs and they couldn’t rescue it. What on Earth happened to Davey Boy Smith?!
Mean Gene Okerlund grabs a backstage interview with Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell. Steiner says that he’s too injured to wrestle tonight, meaning no match with his brother Rick Steiner. Gene isn’t buying it, and neither is James J. Dillon, who walks over and says that Steiner either wrestles tonight or he’s barred from wrestling going forward. All four of the folks involved in this did a good job and it was an entertaining segment.
WCW World Television Title
Champ: Lionheart Chris Jericho Vs “Goldberg”
This was the beginning of Jericho trying to start a feud with Goldberg, with the idea being that Goldberg would eventually annihilate him on a pay per view and WCW might actually sell a few pay per view buys in the process. That didn’t end up happening though, as Goldberg didn’t understand what Jericho was trying to do and the usual sharks in the WCW locker room did their best to out politic Jericho and kill the thing dead before it ever really got going.
This is one of the many bait and switches WCW employed in this time period, with Jericho teasing that he’ll wrestle Goldberg, only to then take on a clear imposter. I can kind of forgive it though as the whole idea was to make you hate Jericho and get excited at the prospect of the real Goldberg killing him. If WCW had actually followed through on that then this would have been less annoying. And in WCW’s defence, it wasn’t like they were hyping up for weeks that we’d see Jericho wrestle Goldberg only to then do this, so doing the tease here was more acceptable and Jericho was entertaining doing his shtick. Jericho ends up winning easily.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: CHRIS JERICHO
Thoughts: Interestingly the WWF would do a similar gag a few months later by turning Duane Gill into a Goldberg impersonator called “Gillberg” and having him get beaten by everyone on the roster, including the likes of Shane McMahon and Tiger Ali Singh. This was a segment that was far more suited to being on an episode of Nitro or Thunder, as it wasn’t pay per view quality, but it was fun for what it was
Rick Steiner is being interviewed by Lee Marshall at the internet area.
Mike Tenay is trying to do an interview with Steve and Scott Armstrong outside of the venue, but Ernest Miller interrupts and beats them up because he’s angry at not getting interview time of his own, which leads to his opponent for the next match breaking it up.
Ernest The Cat Miller Vs Nor-Man Smi-Lay
Goodness me, this is NOT a pay per view calibre match, especially when you look at the roster WCW had at its disposal around this timeframe. Cat was a legitimate friend of Eric Bischoff from the karate world, so he regularly got shoehorned into pay per view matches long before he was either over or any good. Smiley hadn’t yet started doing his cowardly Hardcore Champion gimmick, so he wasn’t really over as any kind of a personality by this stage in his WCW career. They’d start letting him do some more character work leading into 1999 and he got kind of over with his Wiggle Dance for a bit.
Miller didn’t even have his James Brown rip-off music yet, although he was doing a decent job developing his cocky persona. If he could have just backed that persona with something bordering on competent wrestling skills then he might have justified the push he was getting somewhat. Miller did end up being an entertaining mid-card act by the time 2001 rolled around, but by that stage WCW was on it’s last legs and the WWF never really did much with him when he went there. Miller offers Smiley 5 seconds to leave and forfeit the match, but Smiley of course refuses and the match is on.
Smiley sends Miller to the floor during the early exchanges, but he stupidly allows the ref to distract him when he goes to put Miller back in the ring, and that allows Miller to cut him off with a kick and work some heat. Miller’s offence looks pretty rubbish for the most part, outside of when he throws kicks, but Smiley does as good a job as he can to sell it all. The crowd really couldn’t care less about any of this, and it feels like we’re watching a first hour Thunder match and not something that is even close to pay per view quality.
Smiley makes a bit of a comeback and that leads to Miller begging off and poking Smiley in the eyes, which is the second time they’ve made Smiley look dumb in this match. Note to aspiring Heel wrestlers, if you make your opponent look like an idiot then you gain nothing from outsmarting them and if they manage to overcome you then you end up looking like an ineffective ham sandwich. Smiley ends up making another comeback and gets a nice suplex for two, as the announcers are outright ignoring the action in the ring and treating it like background noise. Miller gets some kicks in on Smiley and that’s enough for three.
WINNER: THE CAT
Thought: We’re off to a rip-roaring start tonight folks! Smiley didn’t look too bad here, and Miller threw about 3 nice looking kicks, but the match itself was awful as they had zero chemistry and Miller had nothing going for him except for the aforementioned kicks and Heel mannerisms. I can understand Miller being a project for the company due to his legitimate background and promo ability, but he should not have been anywhere near pay per views at this stage in his career. He needed to be grinding on the House Show circuit and weekend shows with good workers like Bobby Eaton who could actually teach him how to wrestle properly, with him eventually making it to Nitro/Thunder/Pay Per Views when he was actually good enough to carry his end of things. But that didn’t happen, because WCW
Video Package for the next match.
nWo Vs WCW
Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner w/ Buff The Stuff Bagwell Vs The Dogface Gremlin Rick Steiner
This was supposed to be the blow off to months of feuding, as Scott had joined the nWo in February and then ducked out of wrestling his brother for months, with him finally getting locked into a match with Rick at Fall Brawl 1998. Well surely we’ll get the match we’ve all been looking forward to now right? Err…about that…
This one starts hot, with Rick pummelling Scott with some punches and clotheslines as the crowd goes nuts. Well, they’d been teasing this match for more than half a year by this stage, so the crowd was desperate to finally see Rick get some revenge on his jackass brother. The fight heads to the floor and Rick flings Scott into the front row, as Scott is pretty much using his entire year’s worth of bumps in one match here.
Scott eventually manages to catch Rick right in the kennel with a mule kick and starts working some heat following that, with Rick doing a decent job selling it. Wow, Rick Steiner COULD actually sell? What the heck was going on for most of 1999 then? Anyway, Scott punches and kicks away at Rick for a bit but Rick manages to block a suplex and makes a comeback. Buff tries to help out his man but Rick attacks him on the apron and Buff sells like he’s seriously hurt.
Buff had accidentally broken his neck against Rick on an episode of Thunder earlier in the year, and Buff says his neck is hurt once again. To be fair to Buff, he does an excellent job selling it here, looking like he’s genuinely afraid that his neck has gone again. The crowd doesn’t buy it, but the commentary team has to pretend that they do. The match just kind of ends, with Buff being taken out of the arena on a stretcher to an ambulance whilst Rick looks morose. However, it’s of course a SWERVE, as Buff is revealed to be fine when both he and Scott jump out of the ambo to beat Rick up to a chorus of groans.
Thoughts: Where to even start with this. Had this been a month or two into the feud and they did it on Nitro then I could almost excuse it because you wouldn’t be expecting the blow off yet and it would have worked well as a way to use a TV match as a way to set up a rematch on a show that you had to pay for. However, we were SEVEN months into the feud by this stage, waaaaaay past the point they should have been blowing the thing off, and doing such a terrible finish on a show that people had to pay money to see was straight up offensive.
Yes, it drew heat, but there’s a difference between good heat and bad heat. The former makes you angry at the bad guys and makes you want to see what happens next. The latter makes you angry at the promotion itself for insulting your intelligence and makes you less likely to want to watch or support that promotion going further. This match fell into the second category.
WCW constantly made the mistake of presenting bad heat over good heat without being able to tell the difference. What makes it extra annoying is that the actual in-ring action here was quite exciting too; with the two burly Steiner’s clobbering one another in front of an invested crowd. If they’d just done that for 5-10 minutes with a pin fall finish then this would have probably been a good match. As usual though, WCW couldn’t get out of its own way and ruined something that was looking like it might actually provide some entertainment to its increasingly beleaguered fans
WCW World Cruiserweight Title
Champ: The Juice Juventud Guerrera Vs Silver King
This one should be a decent match at least. I don’t think there was really much storyline going on here. Juventud is The Champ and Silver King is his challenger for the night. I’m starting to think that WCW didn’t put a lot of thought into these pay per view undercards a lot of the time. From looking at old RSPW threads from around this time, I think they’d already announced that Kaz Hayashi was going to be challenging and they’d done some stuff on Thunder to set it up, but then they decided to pivot to Silver King for some reason. Regardless the in-ring aspect should be solid, although Kaz might have been a tad more exciting in the challenger role due to being smaller and more high-flying than Silver.
Juventud is pretty over with the crowd, so the crowd cares a bit more than they normally would in a throwaway under card bout like this, with the two trading offence and counters in the early going. There’s lots of chops, flying head scissors and rana’s in this one, as the two Lucha it up a bit and the crowd responds, with Juventud getting the best of it until Silver boosts Juventud up into a dropkick for the cut off. Juventud sells well whilst on the defensive, with Silver playing to the crowd well and drawing a few boos and catcalls. Some idiots actually chant “boring” at one stage during the heat segment, although thankfully they’re in the minority and the chant doesn’t catch on.
Juventud eventually catches Silver with a nice looking desperation rana and makes the comeback following that, going to the ten punches in the corner. We get some near falls next, with Juventud getting a Missile Dropkick for two whilst Silver replies with a superkick for a two of his own. Juventud continues to get nice reactions for his big moves, including a crazy reverse rana off the top rope at one stage, which for some reason isn’t the finish and Silver actually cradles Juventud after Juventud has already made a pin attempt of his own, with it getting two for Silver. Silver ends up missing a Quebrada and Juventud pounces with a 450 Splash for three.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: JUVENTUD GUERRERA
Thoughts: The crowd didn’t really care when Silver King was on offence because they didn’t really see him as a star, but they liked Juventud and when The Champ hit his big moves they were into it. There was the odd sloppy moment, and they really should have taken it home following the reverse rana, but it was a decent outing and practically Flair/Steamboat when compared to the rest of the dreck we’ve had to watch on this event thus far
Lee Marshall is interviewing Konnan at the internet desk about Scott Hall, which leads to drunk Scott Hall interrupting and making a fool of himself.
We get a video recap of the events leading to the next match. Nick “Eugene” Dinsmore gets a cameo actually when we see some clips from Thunder when Perry Saturn beats up Kanyon.
Lucha de Apuestas
If Raven wins then Saturn must be subservient to him for the rest of his career
If Saturn wins then Raven must set The Flock free
Raven w/ Lodi and Kanyon Vs Perry Saturn
The story here is that Raven and Saturn used to be aligned, but then Saturn branched out on his own to forge his own path. However, Kanyon didn’t like either of them, leading to a three way feud between the three wrestlers. Kanyon was mad at Raven because Raven wouldn’t let him (Kanyon) join The Raven’s Flock faction, but now Raven and Kanyon are aligned against Saturn. Tonight is the blow off though, as Kanyon is handcuffed at ringside and Saturn can free The Flock from Raven’s influence if he wins, but he’s got to put his own freedom on the line. There was also a subplot going on where Saturn had to be Lodi’s servant during the build-up after losing a match of some kind, and that led to Raven breaking Saturn’s fingers when he refused to follow Lodi’s orders.
They waste no time going at it here, with Saturn coming off the top with a big splash at one stage before knocking Raven off the apron onto the metal railings and following with a TOPE SUICIDA onto both Raven and Lodi. The commentary team are actually doing a really good job with this match as well, focusing on the characters of both wrestlers and really trying to get both the wrestlers and the match story over. Lodi eventually manages to send Saturn into the railings following the tope, and that leads to Raven getting the cut off and working some heat. Raven looks good on offence and Saturn does a good job of selling everything, although they’re finding it difficult to get the crowd into it due to the fans being flattened out by most of the terrible stuff they’ve already seen tonight.
Saturn gets the odd hope spot in order to show that he’s still in the bout, with the crowd gradually getting more invested in the contest as it wears on, with Saturn getting some decent reactions when he tries to fight back. Flock members Kidman, Riggs, Sickboy and Horace join us as the fight rages on, with the latter three setting up a table at ringside whilst Kidman heads up top. However, Kidman no longer wants to be a Flock member and he makes that point very clear by taking out Raven with a Missile Dropkick for a big surprised pop from the crowd. This leads to the other Flock members chasing Kidman away whilst Saturn catches Raven with the Spicolli Driver for two in a great near fall.
In a nice touch, Lodi had the referee distracted for a while there before the ref could count, which protects the move somewhat as the delay could have saved Raven. The crowd is getting really into this now, with an audible chant for Saturn as he makes a full on comeback with some suplexes. Saturn showed some excellent fire there and Raven did his usual good job of bumping around for his babyface opponent. Lodi tries to help out next, but ends up getting crotched on the top rope, leading to Saturn accidentally bumping the referee. The ref gets bumped near to Kanyon though, which leads to Kanyon reaching into the ref’s pocket to steal the handcuff keys so that he can lay out Saturn and drape Raven back on top before cuffing himself back up like nothing happened.
However, Saturn manages to kick out of that and goes low on Raven before putting Lodi through Chekov’s Table™ at ringside with a Spicolli Driver. Raven is waiting for Saturn when he gets back into the ring though and pounces with an Evenflow DDT for two in one of the best near falls you’ll see in any promotion during the year of 1998. What made that all the better is that it was a sequence that Raven so often secured a victory from and the crowd knew it, so they likely thought Saturn was toast and the kick out just made him all the bigger a star to them for surviving something that would usually get Raven the win 99% of the time. Raven tries another DDT, but Saturn bulls Raven into the corner to break it and follows up with one more Spicolli Driver to pick up the three count and the monster pop from the crowd.
WINNER: PERRY SATURN
Thoughts: This was the classic Raven “Dog and Pony Show”, which is something Scott Levy has always excelled at. Saturn was plugged in to the formula well and everyone else involved in the match did what they were required to do, and the end the result was an a fantastic dramatic spectacle that the live crowd really enjoyed. Considering how awful this show has been thus far, it’s a testament to everyone involved here that they managed to get the crowd into this as much as they did. Well worth a watch if you’ve never seen it, and if you like it then I strongly suggest checking out some Raven matches from ECW in 1995-97, as he did this sort of thing all the time there as well and it was usually very entertaining
We get some good news that Hacksaw Jim Duggan had successful surgery on his kidney to remove a tumour and it looks like they got rid of all of the cancer.
We get clips from Nitro where Arn Anderson saved Dean Malenko from an nWo beat down whilst the crowd lost their minds. That is an under rated Nitro moment actually.
nWo Vs WCW
Mr. Spiffy Curt Hennig w/ Ravishing Rick Rude Vs The Iceman Dean Malenko
For those confused about the nickname for Hennig, Scott Keith had a running gag that when Hennig jumped to WCW they wouldn’t be able to call him “Mr. Perfect” due to the WWF owning the trademark, so instead he’d have to be called “Mr. Spiffy” instead. I’ve always enjoyed that, so now you’re being subjected to it because it’s my review and I’m going to have some fun, so there!
The backstory to this one is that Hennig had briefly been a member of The Horsemen in 1997 but he’d turned on the group in order to go nWo. Ric Flair disbanded The Horsemen following that but Malenko has been making noise about bringing the group back, leading to a natural feud with Hennig. On a previous edition of Thunder, Arn Anderson had said that he’d be proud to call Malenko a Horsemen, which laid the table for the group eventually reforming on the episode of Nitro following this pay per view.
Malenko starts this one with a high tempo by attacking Hennig’s leg and also battering Rude for good measure as well. Hennig sells all of that well and Malenko does a good job of being aggressive in a Horsemen-like fashion, but things soon slow down following the hot start and the match kind of meanders. The problem is that these two had just wrestled a cage match on Nitro the week before, and now they’re just working a normal match here with no stipulation (doing the gimmick match on free TV to pop a rating build to the regular match on the pay per view is so Monday Night Wars™ it hurts) and there’s no real way they can follow the first one here.
The crowd quickly loses interest, whilst Hennig is either doing a great sell job or is genuinely injured and can’t really do anything without limping and they’re just making it part of the match. Malenko’s submission wrestling is on point as you’d expect, but I think they thought the crowd would be loving seeing Malenko torture the hated Heel Hennig, but instead they don’t really care that much and what should be a cathartic extended babyface shine for Malenko where he dishes out punishment to Hennig ends up being a dull heatless control segment that the crowd doesn’t really get that invested in. Malenko looks to have it won when he catches Hennig with his own Spiffy-Plex, but Rude runs in for the DQ.
WINNER BY DQ: DEAN MALENKO
Thoughts: Dull stuff here that the crowd didn’t really care about. I can see what they were going for, with the Heel Hennig having his leg punished Horsemen Style by the prospective new Horsemen in Malenko, but the crowd didn’t hate Hennig enough in order to give the bout the required heat and things started to drag pretty quickly as a result. There was nothing actively wrong with either wrestler’s performance, the crowd just didn’t care about the story they were telling and they stayed the course rather than trying to deviate from the plan. I think the crowd really wanted to see Ric Flair as well, and the longer it went without him being here the less they cared about the match as a result
Hennig and Rude do a beat down on Malenko following the match. Arn Anderson tries to save, but he gets beaten down as well, with Hennig stomping Anderson’s arm in order to weaken it for an arm wrestling match that Anderson was due to have with Bischoff on the next episode of Thunder.
nWo Hollywood Vs nWo Wolfpac
WCW World Tag Champ Drunk Scott Hall w/ Wrestling Superstar Vincent Vs The K-Dawg Konnan
Hall is a member of the Hogan nWo Faction whilst K-Dawg is a member of the Nash nWo Faction. Even though we’ve got a match here, they never really made the most of the feuding New World Order factions storyline. The big match everyone really wanted to see was Hogan take on Nash, but neither guy was willing to job so we didn’t get it until long after it might have actually drawn any interest. The bigger story in this one though is that Hall is drunk, which was playing off real life personal demons that Hall was suffering from, which is of course in supremely poor taste. Still, WCW had a Monday Night War™ to try and win, so taste went out the window.
Hall heads to the ring with a drink in his hand and is clearly sloshed, which raises the question why he’d even be allowed to wrestle to begin with? I mean, I know Sandman was always drunk when he wrestled and RVD was usually baked, but that was in ECW, which was largely presented as a lawless place where the rules didn’t really matter (unless Bill Alfonso was around), so I can kind of suspend my disbelief and accept that Sandman and RVD would be allowed to compete in that environment. However, WCW is supposed to be a properly regulated wrestling company where folks aren’t allowed to wrestle when injured and the rules need to be followed, so why would WCW management ever sign off on this? Even if he’s under an nWo contract and not a WCW one, this is still a WCW branded event and they would have every right to not allow a match to go ahead if one of the wrestlers in it was intoxicated. And this is before we even start talking about the athletic commission.
Anyway, I’ve already spent too long thinking about a dumb WCW storyline (and I’ve probably put more thought into it in the previous paragraph than anyone in WCW actually did at the time), so let’s focus on the actual wrestling match, such as it is. Before the bout starts; Hall and Konnan do their respective pre-match spiels, with Konnan being way over with the crowd. The work isn’t especially good here, with Hall staggering around and barely able to do anything, but Konnan is so over that the match itself is over with the crowd regardless, so it has good crowd reactions if nothing else. Most of the match is Hall stooging for Konnan and bumping around in “comic” fashion, which would be funnier if the match wasn’t making light of a real condition that Hall suffered from that destroyed the majority of his adult life.
Hall slows things down for a bit with a surfboard hold, that Konnan sells well but the crowd doesn’t really care about at first but they keep working it until the crowd claps for Konnan to break out. Konnan does eventually make it out, but then Hall gets an unforeseen kick south of the border in order to take over again. We get the spot the match is probably most remembered for, as Hall puts Konnan in an abdominal stretch and then takes a swig from his alchoholic beverage. I believe Frank A. Gotch did similar during his classic bout with Larry Larryson in the forests of Germany back in the 1900’s just before their bout was interrupted by a wild bear and the two teamed up to take it out before finishing their 987 minute broadway, lest the amassed crowds demand their 1/17th of a schilling back.
Anyway, Hall seemingly has the bout won but decides not to deliver the Outsider Edge and instead have another swig of his adult beverage. However, this leaves him distracted and that allows Konnan to get a face buster before following up with his trademark Tequila Sunrise (kind of an ironic name for it really) submission move and that’s enough for the semi-clean win for Konnan. The win might have meant more if it hadn’t been against an incompetent drunk that shouldn’t have been allowed to wrestle in the first place, but it was still probably Konnan’s biggest career win for a North American company up to that point (I know Mexico is actually part of CONCACAF and thus technically North American as well as far as FIFA is concerned, but indulge me here).
Thoughts: I felt bad for Konnan as he was really over here and they actually gave him what should have been a big pay per view victory against an established top star. However, Hall’s antics reduced the contest to a poor comedy bout, which meant that Konnan’s big win lost some considerable lustre as a result
Winner gets a Title shot at Goldberg
nWo Hollywood Vs nWo Wolfpac Vs WCW
War Games Match for a World Title Shot
Team Hollywood – Hollywood Hogan, WCW United States Champ Bret The Hitman Hart and Stevie Ray
Team Wolfpac – Big Sexy Kevin Nash, The Total Package Lex Luger and Wolfpac Sting
Team WCW – Diamond Dallas Page, Rowdy Roddy Piper and The Warrior
Though this match technically has “teams” involved, only one individual can get the win and earn themselves a Title match. Also, unlike other War Games matches, you can win at any time before everyone else has entered, which means that any early entering wrestler who isn’t going for pin or submission attempts is going to look dumber than someone urinating on an electric fence. Bret was teasing a babyface turn at the time, which had actually led to Hogan trying to get him kicked off his team, but that ended up not happening. Warrior had made his WCW debut over the summer and Hogan was doing the whole “scared Heel” shtick as a result due to Warrior beating Hogan all those years ago. Warrior had initially gotten a big pop for his return but the bloom was quickly off the rose and the fans turned on him.
Entrant #1 Diamond Dallas Page
Entrant #2 Bret Hart
For some reason they don’t let these two wrestlers use their entrance themes and instead send them out to the same song like it’s a UFC event from 1994 or something. Interestingly the commentary team states that Goldberg has already agreed to face Sting tomorrow on Nitro, which raises the question as to why he’s even bothering to enter this match if he’s already got a match with the Champ in the bag? Bret and DDP had one very good match together on an episode of Nitro in the autumn of 1998 where DDP won the US Title, but aside from that one occasion they never really worked that well together for whatever reason, and that’s the case here as they kind of just go through the motions in front of a mostly uninterested crowd. Bret does finally start going for some pins with under a minute to go until the next entrant, although he doesn’t show much in the way of urgency.
Entrant #3 Stevie Ray
Yes, Stevie Ray gets a Main Event payday! For some reason they decided to push Stevie really strongly during the tail end of 1998, even though he wasn’t really that over and his work was hardly that good either. Despite Bret teasing a Face turn recently, he is happy to team up with Stevie to work over DDP for a bit, with the crowd at least waking up a bit when DDP hits them with a double clothesline.
Entrant #4 Sting
Sting does at least wake the crowd up a bit, as he goes after Stevie and nearly botches a diving shoulder block from one ring into the other. Even in 1998 Sting was still risking life and limb doing silly spots it seems. After his initial flurry though, Sting just starts slowly slugging away on Stevie whilst Bret continues to stomp away on DDP.
Entrant #5 Roddy Piper
Piper had been the only one to say on TV that he wasn’t buying into the teams thing and he instead just limps in and attacks everyone with his usual array of terrible strikes and dirty tactics. Piper was just totally washed at this stage in his career and it was getting sad to see him go in there and barely be able to do anything. He doesn’t even get much of a reaction for his stuff either here, and crowd reactions were the only thing that made his matches tolerable during this timeframe. Not much happens after Piper’s initial flurry, as this match continues to meander.
Entrant #6 Lex Luger
Luger doesn’t really do much, throwing some punches and stomps whilst the crowd goes mild. It’s kind of alarming just how quiet the crowd is for this actually when you consider the star power (plus Stevie Ray) that we’ve got in there at the moment. It’s not like the wrestlers are really giving them much to cheer about though, as everyone is kind of just walking around and not really doing much with any real urgency. The weird format means you can’t do the usual crowd pleasing War Games match structure either, with the bad guys having the advantage until another babyface can come in and even the odds before running wild for two minutes until it’s time for the next Heel to enter. In a stupid moment, Piper locks Stevie in a Sleeper Hold (his finisher at the time) but no one breaks it up because they’re saving it for Nash, so Stevie has to stand there in the hold for ages without submitting, which makes Piper’s big submission hold look weak and ineffective.
Entrant #7 Kevin Nash
Nash gets pyro for his entrance of course, and he actually runs down to the ring also. Perhaps someone told him there was an unclaimed wad of cash in there and he wanted to make sure he got to it before anyone else could? Nash does finally break up the Sleeper, because none of the other four guys in the match seemed to think it was particularly important to do so when they all had clear opportunities where they could have done it, and then settles into beating up Piper. However, Hollywood Hogan comes down to the ring with a slapjack (the weapon not the move) and teams up with Stevie to beat everyone up. I guess Hogan is #8 then?
Entrant #8 Hollywood Hogan
So at this stage Hogan has knocked out everyone in the cage not called Stevie Ray, and yet despite that he doesn’t decide to actually try and pin anyone, because that would make too much sense or something I guess. Hogan and Stevie taunt the crowd around the corpses of all of their opponents, which leads to the ring filling with smoke and The Warrior appearing (it was actually The Renegade). Hogan and Stevie attack Warrior, but more smoke fills the ring and “Warrior” disappears into a trapdoor, leading to the real Warrior entering from the entrance way.
Entrant #9 The Warrior
Warrior runs wild on Hogan and Stevie, with the crowd actually responding to it and Warrior’s punches actually looking okay in their own wacky cartoon way. Hogan bails from the cage and locks the door, which gives Warrior a great opportunity to pin one of the seven knocked out guys in the ring in order to win the bout, thus showing himself to be smarter than his Heel nemesis. However, Warrior is an absolute idiot and decides that he’d rather go after Hogan than winning the match and getting a shot at the World Title, so he kicks his way out of the cage and climbs down (twisting his knee in the process) and “chases” Hogan to the back. With Hogan and Warrior gone, they quickly take it home with Bret saving Sting from a slapjack (the weapon not the move) shot and DDP pouncing with a Diamond Cutter OUTTA NOWHERE in order to pin Stevie and end the crowds collective misery.
WINNER: DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
LOSERS: THE REST OF HUMANITY
Thoughts: I’m sure we’ll get at least one person in the comments section saying that this match is better than people say it is and that folks are overly harsh on it, but COME ON. Outside of a few occasions, the crowd was not remotely invested in this and there was barely anything of interest taking place inside the cage. Also, Hogan having everyone knocked out and not trying to pin a single one of them made him look like an absolute idiot, along with making all of the WCW and Wolfpac guys look like ineffective goobers (but what else is new?). You can’t even say that it was because he hadn’t officially entered yet either, because he was in there long enough for the end of Nash’s section to end, so Hogan was technically a legal entrant when he’d taken everyone out. DDP was a good choice for the winner as he was legitimately one of the top stars in the company at the time, but like with Konnan in the prior bout, one of the biggest wins of his WCW career ended up meaning very little due to how bad the match itself was. This is one of those matches where you’d be embarrassed if a non-fan caught you watching it
DDP celebrates in the crowd and we’re out.
Is It Really A Stinker?
This is a definite Stinker and one of the worst pay per views from any of the “Big Three” North American companies in 1998, and that covers some significant ground in a year that had Rock Bottom and WrestlePalooza in it. Scarily, it might not even be the worst pay per view that WCW put on in 1998, as Road Wild and World War 3 were absolutely awful as well.
Juventud Vs Silver King was watchable and Raven Vs Saturn was genuinely a great match, but outside of those two bouts, everything on this show blew. Terrible wrestling, folks on pay per view that shouldn’t have been (Anvil, Bulldog, Cat), insulting storylines/angles (Drunk Hall, Buff’s fake neck injury), filler that was better suited to being on television rather than pay per view (Jericho Vs Fake Goldberg, Hennig Vs Malenko), and an all-time atrocious Main Event that took one of the best gimmick matches ever created (although some will disagree) and turned it from a brutal feud ending battle into a clumsy boring slog that made no sense and did very little to elevate the eventual winner.
This show is so bad that even trenchant WCW fans online back in the day were holding their hands up and admitting that it was bad. Honestly I can’t believe that they typed up the run sheet for this one and no one stopped to say “Are we SURE we actually want to put this on pay per view? Is this REALLY the best we can do?”. I know it’s 1998 WCW, but come on, I’d expect better from even THEM than to shovel out this dreck and actually dare to demand that people pay for the privilege of watching it.
I’m personally amazed that Bischoff put on three shows as bad as Road Wild, Fall Brawl and World War 3 in a four month period and still managed to keep his job for nearly another year afterwards, those three shows are THAT bad.
Final Rating –Stinker
Ratings are done on a score of Stinker/Stinky/Odourless/Pleasant/Fragrant