Hosted by Tony Schiavone, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
The World Cup of Wrestling is up for grabs tonight as WCW and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) go head-to-head in a best-of-seven match series. Quite recently I watched this show and admired it greatly. Allow me to scrutinize it and I’ll let you know if my reaction is any different.
Match 1: Jushin “Thunder” Liger (w/ Sonny Onoo) versus “The Crippler” Chris Benoit
Dropkick by Liger.
Excellent bridge by Liger off a test of strength.
Headscissors by Liger.
Tomahawk kick to the head.
Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Benoit.
Liger countered a powerbomb with an arm drag.
Snap suplex by Benoit.
Liontamer. Benoit would donate this move to Chris Jericho in 1996.
German suplex with a bridge by Benoit got 2.
Bow and arrow by Liger.
Electric chair by Benoit to escape.
Belly-to-back suplex by Benoit countered with momentum by Liger.
Liger countered a tombstone with a pancake.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle, got caught, and received a top rope superplex.
Benoit mounted the top turnbuckle but missed the diving head butt.
Somersault kick in the corner by Liger.
Vicious clothesline by Benoit.
Pair of German suplexes.
Benoit mounted the top turnbuckle and nailed the diving head butt.
The Taskmaster came to the ring but was restrained by Jimmy Hart.
Why? Because of conflict between the Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom.
The distraction by the Taskmaster allowed Liger to recover, hit a nasty huracanrana, and get the pin.
Summary: Throw that finish away and you’ve got something special and unforgettable. Poor finish aside this was everything and a jar of mustard. Check this one out PRONTO!
Back in the locker room “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Eddie Guerrero. Latino Heat hadn’t quite reached its boiling point by this point in time.
Match 2: “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright versus IWGP Junior heavyweight champion Koji Kanemoto (w/ Sonny Onoo)
What a difference a year makes! Last year at Starrcade Wright was wrestling some nobody named Levesque and this year he represents WCW in the World Cup. Whatever happened to that Levesque guy anyways?
According to Tony Hulk Hogan will be reinstated on Monday for Nitro.
Spinning toe hold by Kanemoto.
Enziguri by Wright.
Funny exchange on commentary: Heenan mentioned the Japanese wrestlers’ training in the Smoky Mountains when Tony retorted with “Smoky Mountains? No one wrestles in the Smoky Mountains!” RIP SMW.
Pair of head scissors by Wright followed by a dropkick.
Cross body block by Wright sent both wrestlers over the top rope to the floor.
Baseball slide by Wright sent Kanemoto into the steel railing.
Plancha by Wright.
While Kanemoto was seated on the mat Wright gave him a dropkick to the back of the head.
Spinning thrust kick by Kanemoto. Impressive!
After laying Wright atop the top turnbuckle Kanemoto delivered a dropkick sending Wright down to the mat.
After suplexing Wright onto the apron Kanemoto dropkicked him to the floor.
Plancha by Kanemoto.
Wright reversed an Irish whip and sent Kanemoto into the steel railing.
Tiger suplex by Kanemoto only got 1 due to Wright’s foot being in the ropes.
Moonsault by Kanemoto.
German suplex with a bridge by Wright got 2.
Standing leg lariat.
Back elbow in the corner.
Slingshot splash for 2.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and attempted a missile dropkick; however, Kanemoto countered with a dropkick of his own.
After receiving a cross-corner whip Wright delivered a high cross body for 2.
Spin kick by Kanemoto.
He then mounted the second turnbuckle and hit a corkscrew senton. Wow!
Next he mounted the top turnbuckle and attempted a missile dropkick, but Wright countered with a dropkick of HIS own.
Wright then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the missile dropkick.
Wright attempted a leapfrog after a cross-corner whip but got caught. Kanemoto delivered Snake Eyes to him. OUCH!
Somersault rollup got the pin.
Summary: Outstanding match by these two combatants. Considering Kanemoto is a champion wrestling in a foreign country I don’t believe WCW would have him lose. Nevertheless he and Wright had an excellent match here. New Japan is ahead in the series 2-0.
Back in the locker room Gene shills the hotline, hints about the potential WWF money heading in the direction of either Vader or the Ultimate Warrior (not in so many words), and plugs Mark Madden. Afterwards he interviews Sonny Onoo. With tremendous confidence Onoo feels that NJPW will win, buy WCW, and perhaps Iowa. Onoo must have seen Field of Dreams recently.
Match 3: Masahiro Chono (w/ Sonny Onoo) versus “The Total Package” Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Chono was a former NWA World champion having beaten “Ravishing” Rick Rude back on 8/12/1992.
Shoulder block by Luger.
Military press slam.
Pair of flying forearms by Chono.
Yakuza aka mafia kick.
He then blocked a vertical suplex attempt by Luger with one of his own.
Inverted DDT. Sting would borrow this and change the name to Scorpion Death drop.
Inverted atomic drop.
Yakuza kick #2 as Dusty took Tony to task about calling it a mafia kick.
Chono mounted the top turnbuckle but ate a Luger elbow on the way down.
Dusty called it a Sicilian elbow. HA!
Torture Rack got the submission.
Summary: Holy cow did that crowd pop for the finish. Excellent showcase of Chono in spite of the loss. Perhaps Luger was saving his energy for the triangle match. New Japan leads 2-1.
Back in the locker room Gene interviews Sting. He brings up Sting’s loss to Sasaki in Japan much to Sting’s chagrin. Sting then mentions his “best friend” Luger with whom he will compete against Flair in the triangle match later.
Match 4: World TV champion Johnny B. Badd (w/ Kimberly) versus Masa Saito (w/ Sonny Onoo)
News flash (at least to me): The Diamond Doll has now been named Kimberly.
Saito was a former AWA World champion having beaten the “Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko on 2/10/1990.
Onoo got on the mic and ran down Kimberly in a misogynistic manner. In rebuttal Kimberly questioned his manhood.
Hip toss by Saito.
Chopfest 1995 ensued.
Behind referee Nick Patrick’s back Onoo choked Badd with the Japanese flag.
Belly-to-back suplex by Saito.
Onoo choked Badd on the second rope.
Side Russian leg sweep by Saito.
Knee lift by Badd.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle.
He mounted the top turnbuckle again and hit a sunset flip for 2.
Onoo got up on the apron, and Badd grabbed him.
Saito then tossed Badd over the top rope.
Patrick called for the bell disqualifying Saito.
Summary: I realize that Saito was part of the New Japan management team that helped to organize this event; however, his participation here was purely for political purposes. As it is that finish stunk. The series is tied 2-2.
After the match Kimberly gets into the ring. Saito looks at her menacingly. Badd turns him around and nails him with two dropkicks sending Saito to the floor. Badd attempts a somersault plancha but only grazes Saito.
SuperBrawl VI will take place on February 11 only on PPV.
Back in the locker room Gene interviews Luger with Hart. Luger tells Hart not to be in his corner for the triangle match.
Match 5: Shinjiro Otani (w/ Sonny Onoo) versus Eddie Guerrero
At this point in time Otani was a blue-chipper for NJPW. He would win both the IWGP and WCW Cruiserweight titles in 1996 among many other accomplishments later on in his career.
Enziguri by Guerrero.
While Dusty and Tony promoted professional car racing and incorporated WCW’s involvement Heenan made me proud by besmirching it. Sorry, race car fans, but it’s not my thing.
Monkey flip by Otani.
Head scissors by Guerrero.
Springboard somersault senton.
Running clothesline in the corner.
After receiving a cross-corner whip Otani flipped over the turnbuckle to avoid a charging Guerrero.
He then hit a springboard dropkick. Impressive!
Springboard tope into the aisle.
Meanwhile on commentary Dusty badmouthed Heenan then informed us that he’ll be replacing Heenan on WCW Saturday Night. While I do not need more material to review that would be an excellent addition to programming on the WWE Network.
Backdrop suplex by Guerrero.
Otani countered a vertical suplex with a German suplex and a bridge for 2.
Springboard spinning heel kick. Wow!
He then mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught.
Guerrero delivered a super huracanrana. Holy cow!
Splash Mountain almost got the pin.
Ankle lock by Otani.
Oh my God! With Otani outside the ring Guerrero hit a springboard cross body block in the aisle.
Instead of Guerrero suplexing Otani to the floor he was suplexed back into the ring.
Springboard dropkick #2 for Otani.
Huracanrana by Guerrero countered into a sunset flip countered into a rollup by Guerrero countered into a rollup by Otani for the pin. Amazing!
Summary: Waiter, don’t hold back on the au jus because this match had just about everything with extra sauce. Check this match out STAT! New Japan leads again 3-2.
Back in the locker room Gene interviews Savage. Without question Savage must have watched Toy Story over the Christmas holiday because he says “to infinity and beyond” a few times.
Match 6: World champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage versus Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Tenzan was a former IWGP tag team champion with Chono earlier in 1995. He would succeed in winning the IWGP World title four times and be an 11-time tag champion. Quite fascinating!
Clothesline by Tenzan.
Spinning heel kick.
Outside the ring Tenzan rammed Savage into the ring post.
He then made Savage taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Wagyu filet mignon at Kanye Prime.
Modified Samoan drop by Tenzan.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the diving head butt.
Again he mounted the top turnbuckle but missed the moonsault.
Clothesline by Savage.
Due to his torn triceps muscle Savage was unable to cleanly suplex Tenzan from the apron back into the ring.
Upon setting him in the middle of the ring Savage mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the big elbow, and got the pin.
Summary: In spite of my being one of his biggest supporters Savage’s match pattern makes it difficult to suspend disbelief. He takes a shitkicking then somehow musters a top rope elbow drop and wins. I realize that he’s injured, but hopefully he breaks this pattern soon. WCW has tied the series again 3-3.
Heenan comes unglued at the broadcast table losing his chair in the process. Bartender, I’ll have what he’s having.
Back in the locker room Gene shills the hotline again then interviews Flair. Interestingly Flair’s wearing a t-shirt advertising his gym in Charlotte, NC. He then claims that he will win the World title in the main event. Can’t fault his confidence, can you?
Match 7: US champion Kensuke Sasaki (w/ the extremely busy Sonny Onoo) versus Sting
Sting brought a large American flag to the ring. U-S-A! U-S-A! By the way, where’s Duggan?
Modified bulldog by Sasaki.
Pair of clotheslines.
Dropkick by Sting.
He then clotheslined Sasaki over the top rope to the floor.
Powerslam by Sasaki.
Northern Lights bomb.
Sharpshooter by Sasaki but Sting powered out of it.
Dragon-screw leg whip by Sasaki.
Enziguri by Sting.
Modified bulldog by Sting.
Scorpion death lock got the submission.
Summary: Good back-and-forth match won by WCW’s American hero. WCW wins the World Cup of Wrestling 4-3.
In the ring Gene presents the World Cup trophy to the WCW team. That trophy is HUGE! I’m sure Alex Wright and Chris Benoit were thrilled about the “American” victory.
Video package previewing the triangle match.
Match 8 (Triangle): “Nature Boy” Ric Flair versus Sting versus Lex Luger (w/o Hart)
The coin toss must have taken place backstage because it didn’t occur here.
Sting and Flair started the match.
Gorilla press slam for Sting.
Scorpion death lock attempt but Flair made the ropes.
Gorilla press slam #2.
Outside the ring Flair gave Sting an Irish whip into the steel railing, but Sting bounced off and ran Flair over.
Another whip into the steel railing no-sold by Sting.
After giving Flair a hip toss Sting missed a dropkick.
Upon notifying referee Nick Patrick that Luger was entering the ring illegally Flair tossed Sting over the top rope to the floor. SNEAKY!
He then made Sting taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the grilled whole dorade from the Margot Café.
Back in the ring Flair delivered a knee drop to Sting.
Vertical suplex no-sold by Sting.
Gorilla press slam #3.
Top rope superplex by Sting.
Upon making the cover Luger went to make a save, but Sting glared at him stopping him in his tracks.
With Sting distracted by Luger Flair put a knee in his back.
Luger tagged in.
Flair tried to head for higher ground down the aisle but got caught.
Gorilla press slam #4…this time by Luger.
Forearm shot got 2.
Chop block by Flair. Personal foul. #0 defense. 15 yards. First down.
Chair shot by Flair to Luger’s knee.
As Flair egged Sting on and Patrick distracted again Flair WALLOPED Luger “down there.” Say it with me, folks: OUCH!
Figure-four leg lock.
Luger countered it.
Flair made his way to the apron. Luger suplexed him back in.
Flair mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught.
Flair tagged Sting in.
They shook hands much to the crowd’s disdain.
Tony noted that the last time these two tangled was at SuperBrawl II in 1992. That’s a great show!
With these two in the ring it was obvious who the crowd favorite was.
Ten-punch count-along by Sting thwarted by Luger.
Sting blocked an inverted atomic drop and delivered a clothesline.
Make that 2.
Shoulder blocks in the corner by Luger.
He then dropped Sting on the top rope.
As Sting went outside the ring Luger leaped at him from the apron but got caught with a shot to the midsection.
Sting then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a flying cross-body for 2.
Vader bomb by Sting hit knees.
A trio of forearm shots by Luger.
A trio of elbow drops.
Meanwhile the crowd was SILENT.
Scorpion death lock but Luger grabbed the ropes before it was cinched.
BLATANT low blow by Luger. Say it again with me, folks: OUCH!
Inverted atomic drop.
Inside cradle by Sting got 2.
Sunset flip got 2.
Sting blocked a suplex and delivered one of his own.
Face plant by Sting.
He missed attempt #2.
Torture rack but Patrick got knocked down.
Flair came in and gave Luger a chop block. Personal foul. #0 defense. 15 yards. First down.
He then threw Sting over the top rope to the floor to join Luger.
Flair told Patrick that both men were outside the ring.
Patrick counted them both out. Luger held Sting back from returning.
Summary: It was so obvious that the crowd wanted Flair to win. With that being said this was vintage WCW that is marred by a finish that only helped Flair.
After the match Sting doesn’t assist Luger, and Jimmy Hart joins Flair in the ring.
Match 9 for the WCW World title: Randy Savage versus Ric Flair (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Backslide by Savage.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, wearing a neck brace, stood in the aisle watching the match.
As Tony coined the nickname “Loose Cannon” in reference to Brian Pillman Flair gave Savage an inverted atomic drop.
Savage kicked out of a figure-four leg lock attempt.
Flair flip to the floor.
Savage mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught in the midsection on the way down.
Doug Dillenger escorted Orndorff from the aisle.
Meanwhile Flair made Savage taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the bourbon and Coke® braised short rib at M Restaurant.
He then rammed Savage’s left shoulder into the ring post.
Next he rammed Savage’s bad arm into the steel railing.
As referee Randy Anderson escorted Flair back into the ring Hart kicked Savage.
Knee drop on the arm by Flair.
Sleeper by Flair.
Clothesline by Savage.
Make that 2.
Hart got up on the apron and occupied Anderson’s attention.
Savage mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught in the midsection again.
Hart then tossed the megaphone to Flair.
Flair tried to nail Savage with it but got nailed instead.
Flair is busted WIDE OPEN!
Savage mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the big elbow.
Meanwhile Hart still occupied Anderson’s attention. He must have had one heck of a Christmas family gathering to tell a story this long.
Pillman ran in, mounted the top turnbuckle, but got caught.
Savage tossed him into Benoit sending both men down.
Arn Anderson ran in and hammered Savage with brass knuckles.
He then put Flair atop Savage.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Flair became a 12-time World champion. Woo!
Summary: A genuinely good suspension of disbelief is needed to enjoy that finish. There’s no way Anderson could a) be occupied for that long by Hart and b) not notice all the shenanigans in the ring around him. With that being said Flair-Savage is never a bad match, but this was just good not great. Flair’s blade job was in direct response to what transpired at WWF IYH V although it could have been less gory.
After the match Flair is bleeding like a stuck pig to the point that he can’t even stand up. Pillman takes the belt and whips Savage with it. He then puts four fingers in Savage’s face. Due to all the blood Flair will not be interviewed.
Conclusion: Gauging by the star ratings which ranged between ** and ****1/2 this show is quite the blockbuster. After careful scrutiny I wholeheartedly recommend this PPV to each and every wrestling fan. A WCW PPV without Hulk Hogan is usually a good one, and you can add this to the list.