Each and every Thursday, I will look back at different event pay-per-view event wrestling history via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered here? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.
Last week, I looked back at WCW Starrcade 1997.
WCW Fall Brawl 1994
Date: September 18, 1994
Venue: Roanoke Civic Center, Roanoke, Va.
WCW World Television Championship – Jonny B. Badd def. Lord Steven Regal
Loser Leaves WCW match - Kevin Sullivan def. Cactus Jack
WCW United States Championship – "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan def. "Stunning" Steve Austin
WCW World Tag Team Championship - Pretty Wonderful (Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma) def. Stars & Stripes (The Patriot & Marcus Alexander Bagwell)
Vader def. Sting & The Guardian Angel
War Games match – Team Rhodes (Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags) def. Team Stud Stable (Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck & Col. Robert Parker)
- Fall Brawl '94 was a very good show from beginning to end. There weren't a whole of dull moments and there was good wrestling throughout the card. WCW from a business end may not have been great at this point. To be fair, the wrestling business as a whole wasn't in great shape in 1994, but the in-ring work of WCW at this point was very good if not great and this show was an example of that.
- A War Games match between Dusty Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes and The Nasty Boys versus Terry Funk, Bunkhouse Buck, Arn Anderson and Col. Robert Fuller headlined this event. This was a good old-fashioned fight and I loved it. There wasn't any chain wrestling. There wasn't any rest holds. It was just punches, kicks and brawling. As soon as the bell rang and Dustin Rhodes and Anderson were locked inside the cage they began throwing punches, unlike matches today where all of them begin with a collar-and-elbow tie up for no reason. I also loved that the wrestlers actually used the cage and they did so a lot. Man, you would think something so simple wouldn't be so lost in today's wrestling, but unfortunately it is. Another thing I love is the heels winning the coin toss to gain the man advantage. I think the heels won every coin toss in every War Games ever. It's just makes for a more dramatic match when the babyfaces are the ones in peril.
- While the match itself was entertaining, I also loved the promo packages WCW showed before the match. The promo Dusty Rhodes had where he essentially begged his son Dustin to be his partner was great stuff. I also thought Fuller was hilarious at being a scared old man. To see him go from confident promoter to petrified man in the middle of one promo was comedic gold, in my opinion. Should he had been in the match? Maybe not. I see why it was done though. Fuller presented an easy person for the babyfaces to beat up on and force to quit without making any of the heels look bad. He also kept his bodyguard Meng (Haku) out of the match, as he was being built as a monster that couldn't be stopped.
- Speaking of the way Meng was being built, among the promos WCW showed before the War Games was Dusty Rhodes' first encounter with Meng. Dusty Rhodes jumped out of the ring, grabbed a wooden chair a banged it right over the head of Meng, but Meng didn't budge. I don't even think his glasses came off. The chair just stayed around his neck. While it was a cool way to build him up as an unstoppable force, it had been done before. Dusty Rhodes himself did the same exact thing to Big Bubba Rogers (better known as Big Boss Man) during the 1980s. Rogers was hired by Jim Cornette to be his bodyguard to protect him from unruly fans and angry wrestlers. Dusty Rhodes wrapped a wooden chair around his head as well, but Rogers didn't budge. Rogers and Meng were essentially the same character. They both wore suits. They both were hired to protect managers and the both had a wooden chair wrapped their heads by Dusty Rhodes. To be fair, this was 1994 and the chances of everyone knowing this angle had been done before probably wasn't high. It's easy for us today with YouTube and the WWE Network to go back and watch the history of professional wrestling. It wasn't so easy back then.
- Rogers was on this show as well, but not as that particular character. He wasn't even Big Boss Man. He was The Guardian Angel, the leader of an organization that served to protect communities. The Guardian Angel took part in a triangle match with Vader and Sting on this night to determine the No. 1 contender for Hulk Hogan's WCW World title. The style of the match was different from what you see today from three-man matches, as all three men weren't in the ring at once. Before the match, all three men flipped a coin where the odd man out would sit out until the first two men wrestled and determined a winner. Once that match was over, the third man would enter the match and face the winner of the first match. In this case the odd man out was Sting, whom sat out while Vader made relatively quick work of The Guardian Angel. Sting and Vader, on the other hand, was a knock down, drag out fight where both men were visibly spent by the end of the match. The stipulations of the match were kind of weird and wonky, but I see why they were in place. WCW wanted Vader to defeat Sting without actually pinning him. That match was very good nonetheless. I think people tend to forget just how over Sting was before he took on "The Crow" persona a couple of years later. He was WCW's top star at the time and was the legitimate face of that promotion for a long time.
- There was no world title match on this card, as the champion Hulk Hogan was nursing knee injury in storyline. His knee was injured after a masked man attacked him with a lead pipe. That's right. WCW copied the Tanya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan incident nine months after it happened. The entire situation surrounding Hogan was odd as he, despite being the champion, had to trick Ric Flair to get back into the ring with him one more time. Hogan even put his own career on the line. Didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. What was abundantly clear was the fans had already turned on Hogan. He was noticeably booed on the show and the fans in Roanoke clearly cheered for Flair. He was their guy after all, and Hogan wasn't. People had already grown tired of Hogan's shtick and he had only been in WCW for a matter of months to that point. Also, that phone conversation between Hogan and Flair was an odd buffer between the ending of the Vader-Sting match and the War Games match.
- Cactus Jack, better known as Mick Foley (Mankind and Dude Love) lost a loser leaves WCW match against Kevin Sullivan. In reality, it really was Foley's last night with WCW. Foley left WCW under his volition and headed to Extreme Championship Wrestling, and eventually landed in the WWE. However, before he left Foley made sure to do a couple more crazy, painful spots. Those spots included being pulled off the middle rope all the way to the exposed concrete on the floor. No matter how many times you see Cactus Jack fall to the bare cement, it looks very painful every single time.
- Foley wasn't the only WWE Hall of Famer to lose on this night. "Stunning" Steve Austin lost in a matter of seconds after being forced to defend the United States Heavyweight Championship just moments after having it rewarded to him. The entire issue started when Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, the reigning U.S. champion, suffered a back injury that eventually ended his career. Since he was unable to compete, WCW commissioner Nick Bockwinkel awarded the title Austin, whom was his scheduled opponent. But Bockwinkel forced Austin to immediately defend the title against "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Austin protested the ruling, but turned right into a backdrop and was quickly pinned. This was one of the many things that Austin more than likely vented about when he was in ECW a year later.
- The opening match between Johnny B. Badd and Lord Steven Regal was a very good opening match. There was a lot of good technical wrestling and I loved watching Regal work in the ring. He's simple a mad scientist in there. He has an uncanny ability to be a thinking man's wrestler, but still maintain a ruthless nature about him. It's incredible to watch. Badd, who eventually became Marc Mero in WWE, was pretty over as well.
- Watching WCW shows makes you appreciate composer Jim Johnston even more than you already do because damn near everyone's theme music in WCW sucked. The same could be said for TNA today. Johnston made such iconic themes that completed the package of a given wrestler. WCW's theme music never did any wrestler any favors. They all sounded thrown together and generic. Meanwhile, Johnston would make the music fit the character almost to a tee. He's incredible.