Check out this review of WCW Fall Brawl 1997 which took place 18 years ago on Monday!
September 14, 1997
Commentary: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Hennan, Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Eddie Guerrero – WCW Cruiserweight Championship
Eddie Guerrero is in my Top 5 All Time Great Wrestlers list and even here he shows why. Eddie Guerrero was entertainment before sports entertainment. He grabs the referee and demonstrates Jericho’s illegal use of hair pulling and sketchy use of a hold using his legs. Fantastic.
Watching this match made me realize Eddie Guerrero might be number one on the list mentioned above. The narrative from commentary was that of the two, Eddie is more the high flyer and Jericho has developed into a more mat based wrestler. But it’s more Eddie who’s targeting Jericho’s back with genius mat technique. I suppose if you really want to nit-pick (something I hate) you can say the one negative about this match is Eddie did such a great job targeting Jericho’s back but it was for nothing as Jericho begins flying around the ring like his back was brand new. Similar to Michaels/Triple H SummerSlam 02 which caused my Piledriver Podcast co-host Emil Jay to go on one his infamous rants on how Shawn Michaels ruined that match. (shameless plug here) For me, it’s not that big of a deal.
The finish came when Jericho attempted a superplex from the top. Guerrero shifts his weight just enough to have Jericho take most of the impact knocking the wind of out of him. Guerrero quickly ascends the top of the opposite corner and gracefully comes crashing down with a beautiful frog splash to win and become the new WCW Cruiserweight Champion.
Some people hate when others put matches on a grading scale and that’s okay. I’m doing it simply to specifically rate how much I enjoyed (or did not enjoy) a match. It’s easy to say something was just good or bad. Too easy.
For me this match is an A-. Probably will be added to my favorite Eddie Guerrero matches of all time. Decent length. Great mix of mat wrestling and high flying. I said a bad word when Jericho hit that sick release German suplex on Eddie. I thought he was going to fly across to the other ring.
Harlem Heat (w/ Jacquelyn) vs. The Steiner Brothers (w/ Ted DiBiase)
This incarnation of Scott Steiner has always been weird to me. The black hair, black goatee, really unnecessarily big Scott Steiner. Like, why are you so big Scott? You won! Whatever it is, you won and you are the man. Jesus.
Rick Steiner is barking and chewing the bottom rope which I can’t imagine is sanitary. Frequent tags from the Steiners. This match was basically four really big guys beating the heck out of each other. But it’s a good version of what you would expect. Good pacing and even some cool moves like the Heat Seeker from Harlem Heat. (Doomsday Device/Missile Dropkick combo)
The victory comes with the Steiners hitting a Lariat/German Suplex combo. Pretty decent big man tag match. I give it a B-
Ultimo Dragon vs. Alex Wright (c) – WCW World Television Championship
This match was a lot of fun to watch. It wasn’t flawless but it told a great story. Alex Wright really had a great performance. He knew when to attack, take to the air, or keep Dragon grounded on the mat. Many times when Ultimo Dragon would attempt a high risk maneuver Wright had it pretty well scouted. This match had a little bit of everything. Technical, back and forth, heavy kicks and strikes from Ultimo Dragon, and great maturity from Alex Wright who would go on to defeat Ultimo Dragon with a German Suplex. B+
Mean Gene Okerlund said that the NWO had to be the rudest group of people he has ever been around. Seems like the NWO has taken out the Fourhorsemen’s Curt Hennig. Holy balls.
Jeff Jarrett (w/ Queen Debra) vs. Dean Malenko
The winner of this bout will be the #1 contender for the U.S. Title. Jarrett sends Queen Debra to the backstage area. Odd.
This was a very solid mat based technical match. I mean what would expect when someone in the match is known as “The Man of 1000 Holds”. Very methodical slow paced. I’m captivated by these sort of matches sometimes but for those who may be bored easily you may have a tough time with this one. To me Jeff Jarrett is somewhat underrated despite always being front and center during a demise like WCW or deplorable management like TNA. His WCW work is very good. This match is pretty good! Jarrett gets Malenko to tap with the Figure Four! B+
The NWO (Nash, Bagwell, Konnan, Syxx) cut a promo saying they’re going to retire the Four Horsemen. They make Larry Zbyszko sick!
Wrath and Mortis (w/ James Vandenberg) vs. Faces of Fear
Mortis had a really cool look. WCW really dropped the ball with that gimmick which could’ve been super marketable. Wrath was just that guy from Kronik. No not that guy, the other one.
Meng scares the ever loving Jesus out of me. Have you read stories about Meng?! Meng is like that scary prisoner in some foreign prison on an episode of Locked Up Abroad. Need proof? Click here.
Faces of Fear absolutely obliterate Mortis with a backdrop into a dead lift powerbomb. Much like the Steiners/Harlem Heat match, this is four big guys just beating the hell out of each other. And they’re scarier. Meng scared Andre the Giant to death.
Meng just doesn’t give a crap. He does what he wants. What is he saying?! He’s always talking. Mortis squashes Barbarian’s head between the post and the outside steel stairs. The Wrath assisted Superplex from Mortis was neat. Meng gets the hot tag and just goes off. He’s dissecting Wrath leaving him stunned. Meng is just absolutely destroying these fools. James Vandenberg tries to interfere but gets caught in a Tongan Death Grip. Mortis lands a side kick that has no affect on Meng who puts Mortis in the Togan Death Grip. From behind Wrath hits Meng with a Uranage he calls the Death Penalty and picks up the surprising win. If you like hoss fights with Meng being Meng this is your match. B+!
Mean Gene Okerlund is backstage with three of the Four Horsemen getting their thoughts on NWO taking out Curt Hennig. Steve McMichael says the Four Horsemen is bringing the apocalypse to the NWO. Ric Flair is hyped.
Scott Norton vs. The Giant
Here we have a young 25 year old Big Show taking on Scott Norton. This was during a time where Big Show, then known as The Giant, was pretty agile for a guy standing over seven feet.
Norton blatantly low blows The Giant right in front of the referee and he does nothing! Norton gets the upper hand and begins going to work on Giant. Norton has some serious power but it pales next to The Giant nipping up, throwing a dropkick, and lifting Norton up for a thunderous chokeslam. Solid work done on the outside and Big Show throwing a dropkick looks as crazy as it sounds. B-
Diamond Dallas Page and Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall and Macho Man Randy Savage
Larry Zbyszko really hates the NWO. Like a lot. He says Scott Hall is the most overrated wrestler in the industry. Wow. Good guys dominant early getting the crowd on their feet. Savage and Hall working well together despite there being animosity between them. Bad guys working Page over well. Luger is caught between the two rings getting pummeled by Hall. Brilliant. Finally they are using both rings instead of one. Hall decks the referee which means time for total anarchy. New referee gets knocked out too. Zbyszko leaves commentary and heads to the ring! Crowd is going nuts! Luger’s half dead corpse rolls back in the ring while Hall taunts Zbyszko. Hall gets shoved right into Luger who rolls him up for a fast three count from Zbyszko! Can he do that?! I guess he can! WCW wins another one.
Decent match. Nothing too spectacular but the crowd loved Zbyszko. Wish there was a bit more meat in the match before going home with Zbyszko. Luger would have gotten a monster pop if they let that hot tag happen. C+
Michael Buffer to do the introductions for the main event. Honor, glory, and bragging rights are on the table. It’s time for War Games.
Two rings side by side encapsulated by a monstrous steel cage.
- There are seven periods in War Games.
- First period last five minutes, all others last two minutes.
- One man from each team enters in the first period.
- At the end of the first period the official flips a coin and the winner of the coin toss sends in their second competitor.
- At the end of the second period a second competitor from the other team enters making the match two on two.
- Third period means winner of coin toss sends in competitor three.
- Teams alternate for the remaining periods until all competitors are in the ring at once.
- Winner can only be decided when one team has surrendered, submitted, or was rendered unconscious.
Team NWO (Buff Bagwell, Konnan, Syxx, and Kevin Nash) vs. The Four Horsemen (Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael, Curt Hennig, and Ric Flair)
Remember Hennig got dropped by NWO earlier in the show so as of now it’s 3 on 4. Bagwell and Benoit start things off. Benoit reaches his missed flying headbutt quota early in the match. Five minutes go by and NWO wins the coin toss and chooses Konnan to be their second entrant. Benoit holds his own against two members of the opposite team but the numbers game catches up and Team NWO takes over the match. Mongo enters for the Horsemen and the equal playing field proves helpful. Next competitor in the ring is Syxx who gets lit up by Benoit. Before the next man enters the ring, Ric Flair, Curt Hennig comes to the ring with his arm in a sling. Nash is the last man to enter the match. As Heenan points out, the freshest man in the match is also the biggest. Syxx is scraping Flair’s head against the cage like a cheese grater. The clock counts down and Curt Hennig enters the ring! He was playing possum! He has cuffs in his tights! He attacks Ric Flair!!! The fix was in!! McMichael and Benoit have their hands cuffed to the top of the cage leaving all members of Team NWO to pick apart Flair like vultures. Flair gets dragged to an open door of the cage and is held down while his head dangles at the door entrance. Either the Horsemen give up or Flair gets the guillotine. Finally McMichael cries mercy and the match is over. This doesn’t stop Hennig who smashes the cage door against Flair’s skull. As Nash goes on to say. “Death of the Four Horsemen, right in their own back yard.”
Nothing spectacular about this match either, they kind of breezed right through it. Everyone fell for the Hennig swerve hook, line, and sinker which elevated the match. The handcuffing and bluffing the door smash to get the win was pretty smart. Hennig doing it anyway was just pure evil. This was the final War Games match in it’s original format. Due to the swerve being pulled off and the significance of Team NWO beating the Four Horsemen in their own territory, I give this match a B-.
So there you have it folks. This was one of the more better solid pay per views from WCW. Every match has something. The top half of the card was stellar. The two championship matches both were excellent and my favorite matches of the night. All in all this pay per view gets a B+ from me. What did you guys think? Leave a comment below or reach out to us on social media: