It’s time WCW fans, the next WCW RetroView is here. On tap for this edition is WCW SuperBrawl VII from February 23, 1997. The build to this show is all about Rowdy Roddy Piper getting his championship shot at Hollywood Hulk Hogan. This is the second match in their WCW trilogy and is probably their best.
Meanwhile, the Tag Team title scene is being held hostage by the Outsiders and the Four Horsemen are in a state of flux. Oh, and Diamond Dallas Page is still the biggest thorn in the nWo’s side.
The show opens with a shot of Alcatraz. The historical prison, known for housing some of the most infamous criminals in American history, had been the home of Roddy Piper for the past seven days. Piper’s self-isolation came after Hogan disrespected him in front of his children. It was his way of getting in the right state of mind in order to defeat the leader of the n.W.o.
Piper is let out of his cell by a security guard before running around the premises.
Eventually, he tells the camera that he’s is coming for Hogan before riding on a boat in “shark-infested waters” headed for San Francisco.
We then cut to the Cow Palace where everyone’s favorite WCW trio Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan greet us on commentary. It takes Schiavone mere seconds before proclaiming that tonight’s main event is the “biggest world championship match in pro wrestling history.”
WCW SuperBrawl VII
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Dean Malenko (c) vs Syxx
Having stolen the championship on an episode of Monday Nitro. Syxx enters first. Malenko comes out next and wastes no time attacking Syxx right out of the gate. He nails the nWo’s resident trickster with a beautiful dropkick and brainbuster before uncharacteristically pulling him up at two. This angered version of Malenko wants to punish Syxx for his thievery.
As the match goes on Syxx works over Malenko’s neck while Malenko focuses on his opponent’s legs. Eddie Guererro eventually emerges from the back to prevent Syxx from using the title as a weapon. Their tug of war over the championship leads to Syxx hitting Malenko with the title to pick up the tainted victory.
Winner – Syxx
Up next we cut to the back where Mean Gene Okerlund plugs the WCW hotline. For just $1.59 a minute you can get all the WCW/nWo news and rumors.
Diamond Dallas Page enters the frame and he’s asked about who he thinks the nWo will be sending to fight him tonight. Page, ever the confident face, says it doesn’t matter before being told Buff Bagwell will be his opponent tonight.
WCW SuperBrawl VII
Konnan, La Parka, Villano IV vs Juventud Guerrera, Ciclope, Super Calo
Joining the announce team for this luchador showdown is Mike Tenay, always bringing the knowledge. This is a wild match that lets every wrestler have their moment.
La Parka utilizes his chair expertise while Ciclope, Villano IV, and Super Crazy get to show off their aerial skills. But, the two shining stars of this match are Konnan and Juventud Guerrera. Konnan looks fierce throughout, utilizing his power and overall athleticism to set the tone of the match. Juventud shows why he was one of the top Cruiserweights during the company’s cruiserweight renaissance period.
Ciclope has the funniest moment of the match, completely missing a moonsault to the outside on Villano IV.
Konnan and Villano IV hit a Doomsday Device on Juventud before Konnan seals the victory with a massive crucifix powerbomb. There seems to be some confusion about the outcome because it looks like Juventud kicks out before the three count. Even with the confusion at the end, this is a fun match that gives all six competitors the opportunity to shine.
Winners – Konnan, La Parka, Villano IV
WCW Television Championship Match
Prince Iaukea (c) vs Rey Mysterio Jr.
During the Monday Nitro before this show, Iaukea pulled off a major upset defeating Lord Steven Regal for the TV Title. This is his opportunity to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Even though Iaukea is the champion, he is obviously the underdog, something the announcers stress on commentary.
Early on Iaukea hits Mysterio with a superkick before following up with a cross-body block from the top turnbuckle to the floor. Mysterio takes the advantage after nailing Iaukea with a dropkick during the Prince’s second attempt at a cross-body block.
A couple of highlights in the match are Mysterio hitting a suicide dive front flip to the outside and Iaukea’s firemen’s carry from the top turnbuckle. Regal eventually makes his way ringside and attacks Mysterio, allowing Iaukea to get yet another upset victory. Once he realizes what happened, Iaukea attempts to give Mysterio the championship, but being the honorable fighter he is, Mysterio raises Iaukea’s hand in victory.
Winner – Prince Iaukea
We cut to the locker room again, where Mean Gene brings in the Giant for an interview. The Giant talks about the Outsiders and the mind games they play and that even though he has to face them alone he is going to be the conductor during their Tag Team Championship match.
WCW Super Brawl VII
Diamond Dallas Page vs Buff Bagwell
Having been public enemy number one on the nWo’s hit list for months, the group’s next choice to try and take out DDP is Buff Bagwell. Buff enters first and Heenan on commentary credits Buff for his new attitude, causing Schiavone to question his loyalty. The criticism is met with this golden line from Heenan..
“I’d have no issues with the nWo if Hogan wasn’t involved.”
That’s one thing I always loved about Bobby Heenan, no matter if he was heel or face he always hated Hulk Hogan.
DDP enters second and is greeted with a huge ovation, proving his defiance of the nWo and exciting finisher were getting him way over with the fans. Slapping Bagwell right after the bell rings, proves Page is all business on this night.
This is a solid match, but during this time Page was starting to have solid matches with everyone he worked with. Buff pulls off a great backslide counter to DDP’s first Diamond Cutter attempt before pulling off a great fisherman suplex. But, the cocky nWo member decides he wants Page to lose by ten count, of course, Page is able to beat the count before finishing off yet another nWo member with the Diamond Cutter.
Before the three count, nWo members come out sending Page escaping through the crowd that adores him.
Winner – DDP by disqualification
United States Championship Match
Eddie Guerrero (c) vs Chris Jericho
Jericho enters first and Dusty Rhodes eloquently states that…
“He is knocking on the door of stardom.”
Eddie comes out and the announcers question whether he’s distracted by what happened with Dean Malenko earlier in the show. The early portion of this contest is a feeling out process as the two trade holds and maneuvers. Midway through the match is an exciting sequence that sees Eddie pull off a powerbomb and spine buster with Jericho responding with a great release German suplex.
Throughout this match, Jericho’s frustration starts to win over as he begins showing some heel tactics, a bit of foreshadowing of what would come during his best WCW run. After Jericho counters a tornado DDT with a northern lights suplex pin attempt, Eddie picks up the victory with a head scissors into a sunset flip.
The show of mutual respect after the match is a nice touch for these two up and comers.
Winner – Eddie Guerrero
WCW SuperBrawl VII
Harlem Heat vs The Public Enemy vs The Faces of Fear
Originally this was to be a fatal four-way with the Steiner Brothers. But a car accident caused by the nWo kept Rick and Scott out of the match. With the Steiner’s unable to compete, the stipulation determining the number one contenders for the tag team titles was removed.
When Public Enemy enters, Dusty proclaims “they’re here with the plunder”, man he was gold on commentary.
Harlem Heat enters last with Sister Sherri by their side. The majority of this match is the Faces of Fear and Harlem Heat beating the hell out of each other. Highlights of the match include a spin-a-roonie by Booker T, Meng hitting an impressive drop kick and the Barbarian belly to belly suplexing Booker T off the top turnbuckle.
But, the most impressive feat comes at the end when the Barbarian catches the 260-pound Rocko Rock in mid-air. This leads to Johnny Grunge hitting both with a cross-body block allowing Public Enemy to get the upset victory.
Winners – The Public Enemy
WCW SuperBrawl VII
Steve “Mongo” McMichael vs Jeff Jarrett
With Arn Anderson and Ric Flair both on the shelf with injuries, the Four Horsemen were in a state of uncertainty. Jarrett, trying to make a name for himself, would be allowed in the group if he can defeat Mongo. With as clunky and awkward as Mongo is in the ring, you would almost expect this match to really struggle.
But, Jarrett being the professional he is able to spin a solid match with the former Chicago Bear. Utilizing a slow pace and focus on the story, Jarrett gets the win after Debra McMichael accidentally provides him with the metal briefcase.
Quick to capitalize, Jarrett nails Mongo with the weapon for the 1-2-3.
Winner – Jeff Jarrett
Next is the San Francisco Death Match between Kevin Sullivan with Jacqueline versus Chris Benoit and Woman. It’s another highly intense, chaotic fight between these two that Benoit wins.
WCW Tag Team Championship Match
The Outsiders (c) vs The Giant & Lex Luger
Hall and Nash enter first accompanied by the new Cruiserweight Champion, Syxx. Lex Luger was supposed to be the Giant’s partner but Eric Bischoff, in his best villainous boss persona, doesn’t allow it. With the odds stacked against him, the Giant enters as always, to no music.
Calm, cool, and collected, the Giant looks determined to win this handicap match. Hall and the Giant begin the match after Hall’s traditional toothpick throw to the face. After being pushed around by the big man, Hall tags in Nash. Nash fares no better, getting sent flying out of the ring by an impressive Giant dropkick.
It doesn’t take long for Syxx to get involved, hitting the Giant with a double ax handle from the top turnbuckle while the referee is distracted. With the numbers advantage in full effect, the crowd begins chanting for Lex Luger. Syxx’s second attempt at attacking the Giant is met with him being tossed into Nash. But once again the distraction allows Hall to hit the Giant with the tag title belt.
From here is the most impressive moment of the match when Kevin Nash powerbombs the Giant. Seeing enough of the nWo shenanigans, Lex Luger makes his way out. Bischoff attempts to stop him but gets tossed aside. Luger eventually tags in and cleans house before torture racking Kevin Nash for the apparent WCW victory.
I say apparent because once again, a Bischoff loophole brings the Tag Titles back to the nWo on the next episode of Monday Nitro. For good measure the Giant chokeslams and pins Hall to a raucous ovation.
Winners – The Giant and Lex Luger
WCW SuperBrawl VII
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Hollywood Hulk Hogan (c) vs Rowdy Roddy Piper
Hogan comes out first, something the commentary mentions is unusual but understandable because of his fear of Piper. Piper shuffles out next, looking completely disheveled and insane after a week in solitary. Hogan does his usual stalling outside the ring, but a crazed Piper chases him down and forcibly brings him into the ring. Once there, Piper gouges Hogan’s eyes before hitting a low blow, choking him with his shirt and biting the champion.
Piper plays the crazed savage perfectly, continuously biting Hogan and pulling out all the old school heel tactics that made him an icon.
WCW SuperBrawl VII
Sting and Macho Man Randy Savage make their way to the entrance. Savage heads towards the ring but is briefly stopped by Sting. After a glance at one another Savage heads ringside while Sting stays back. Back in the ring, Hogan has the upper hand answering Piper’s antics with his own heelish actions. Sting makes his exit while Savage lingers ringside.
Hogan wears Piper down with a bear hug and blatant choke before missing his patented leg drop. After a flurry of offense, Piper eventually locks Hogan in the sleeper hold. With Savage looking on, the ref raises Hogan’s hand three times, and each time it falls, seemingly making Roddy Piper the new Heavyweight Champion.
As Piper celebrates, Savage provides Hogan a pair of brass knuckles that he uses to knock out Piper for the 1-2-3. On commentary Schiavone proclaims that Hogan’s legs were under the ropes, but it’s not even close to being the case. Savage pulled Hogan to the ropes after he passed out, this is just another case of WCW screwing up the finish of a monumental match (Starrcade 1997 I’m looking at you).
Savage and Hogan beat down Piper to once again end the show with the nWo standing tall.
Winner – Hollywood Hulk Hogan
After the abysmal NWO Souled Out, this was a nice bounce-back for WCW. Solid undercard and the main event that was the best of the Hogan and Piper’s three WCW meetings. Just wish they would’ve stuck the landing with that finish.
Join me next time when I take a look at WCW Uncensored 1997. The night Sting chooses a side in the most dramatic fashion.