Looking at the card here, I am starting to wish I didn’t start this little undertaking… It’s a Fall Brawl without a War Games! How is that even a thing? The main story of the show, played out in the opening video, is a question of trust between WCW Champion Hulk Hogan and Sting, with some seeds of doubt and mind games being played by Sting’s long-time friend and confidant, Lex Luger.
I was so far removed from anything having to do with WCW by the time this pay-per-view happened. Did I make the right call? Let’s find out as the 1999 edition of Fall Brawl comes to us from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Vampiro and the Insane Clown Posse vs. Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Billy Kidman – This probably isn’t helping my feeling of impending doom. Kicking things off with a rematch from last month’s ROAD WILD pay-per-view, featuring a couple of rappers who think they can wrestle. Also taking me out of the match a bit is an unmasked Rey Mysterio. If the guy whose name translates into King Mystery isn’t wearing a mask, does the name still make sense? Much like last month, the Filthy Animals make this match watchable, along with Vampiro. But I just can’t muster any semblance of interest in a match involving the ICP. Kidman gets the win for his team with a beautiful Shooting Star Press for the win. And Rey has to be carried out of the ring because he injured himself during the match. I guess some things never change, with or without the mask.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Lenny Lane (c) vs. Kaz Hayashi – I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen Lenny Lane or his partner Lodi in action. Those two boys have a lot of glitter on their persons. With guys like Kidman and Mysterio and Guerrero on the roster, they gave the Cruiserweight title to Lenny Lane? Is his gimmick supposed to be an effeminate Chris Jericho? This is definitely not the fast-paced Cruiserweight action WCW usually presented, though it did have its moments when Hayashi was in control. Whenever Lane took the lead, though, the match slowed down and focused more on his gimmick. Lane retains the title with a face-first full nelson slam.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND does an in-ring interview with Sting to give further exposition on his main event story with Hogan and Luger. Sting’s Crow-style entrance music is nowhere near as good as his Surfer Sting music.
No Disqualification Match: Hugh Morris and Brian Knobs vs. Dean Malenko and Shane Douglas – I keep forgetting that Shane Douglas was part of the group in WCW that would eventually become the Radicalz in the WWF, just a few months later. I have no idea what issue Douglas and Malenko have with the members of Jimmy Hart’s First Family that would lead to a No Disqualification match. I wouldn’t think that most of these guys would need to have a match covered in gaga to keep it interesting. The commentary team made a big point about the Revolutions goals of collecting a lot of gold in WCW and how the First Family team is tough but not as unified as Malenko and Douglas. And then Morris hits Malenko with a moonsault for the win, and the commentary turns to how tough and amazing the First Family is. Because WCW, I guess.
Television Championship Match: Rick Steiner (c) vs. Perry Saturn – Another member of the Revolution in Perry Saturn looking for some gold. Saturn and Steiner are two pretty tough guys who can not only outfight you, but they can outwrestle you, too. Sometimes you get a really good match out of a pairing like that, but this wasn’t really one of those times. The match spent too long being too slow and plodding and probably shouldn’t have been given close to 10 minutes. Steiner dominates Saturn, keeping the pace of the match from going into another gear. Steiner hits a top rope bulldog to put Saturn away and retain the TV Championship, making the Revolution 0-2 on the night.
Berlyn vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan – The former Alex Wright makes his wrestling debut here in a new gimmick. Berlyn was supposed to be fighting Buff Bagwell, but Bagwell “never showed up” to the arena, so Duggan stepped in. Wright’s original European dancing gimmick may not have been a winner, but switching his offense to a more grounded heel style really does him no favors. What a dull match. Berlyn wins and as soon as the match ends, the feed cuts to the back with producer Mike Graham telling Buff Bagwell that his match is over and he should try getting to work on time. Bagwell runs to the ring and tries to hug Duggan, who pushes him off. And nothing else comes of that because the show switches to a hype package for the tag team title match.
WCW Tag Team Championship Match: Barry Windham and Kendall Windham (c) vs. Harlem Heat – It’s a battle of brothers! No “I Hate Rap” during the ring entrance this time, as it sounded like the WWE Network dubbed something over the West Texas Rednecks entrance theme. The former Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig accompanied the Rednecks here, and he gets involved in the match whenever possible to give the champions the edge over Harlem Heat. Booker T takes the brunt of the Rednecks’ offense, keeping the future superstar in the ring as much as possible. Nothing special about the match, and Stevie Ray didn’t even get a legal hot tag back in. Amidst some chaos, Booker T hits a missile dropkick on Kendall Windham to get the win and the titles.
United States Championship Match: Chris Benoit (c) vs. Sid Vicious – The challenger is building an undefeated streak that’s labeled at 79-0. Benoit, on the other hand, is trying to stop a Revolution shut out. After a slow start, Sid and Benoit really go at it, with Benoit offering an impressive showing against the big man. But much like the other matches featuring members of the Revolution, the other guys is portrayed as just that much tougher. A missed diving headbutt followed by a power bomb puts Sid at 80-0 and the United States Championship belt around his waist. Just a bad night to be a member of the Revolution.
Goldberg vs. “Diamond” Dallas Page – Just 11 months before this match took place, these two guys did battle over the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of Halloween Havoc. It was probably Goldberg’s best match in WCW and helped to establish Page as a top guy in the company. But Goldberg lost a bit of his allure in 1999, and without a title at stake, this match-up feels a bit less than what it could have been. Page spends a good chunk of the match making the ref look away from the action so he could use weapons against Goldberg. But the distractions, the weapons and even the interference from stablemates Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow aren’t enough to keep Page from getting hit with a jackhammer on his way back to getting a shot at the title.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Sting – Low-energy entrance Sting just makes me sad. And I miss his pre-Crow entrance theme. Even “Man Called Sting” is a better theme than the Crow knock-off stuff. Bret Hart comes out for a random hello to the champ before the match starts. Everybody’s music in WCW at this point sucked. The biggest match WCW ever had was Sting vs. Hogan for Hogan’s WCW Championship. This, of course, isn’t that match. The final few minutes of this match is just nuts, with interference from Dallas Page, Bret Hart, Sid Vicious and Lex Luger, with Sting taking the bat Luger brought into the ring and assaulting Hogan with him to knock him out. There wasn’t a no DQ stip, and yet, referee Nick Patrick gets assaulted by Page. A bunch of guys interfere, Charles Robinson comes in and clearly sees Hogan having been attacked with an illegal object and STILL only calls for the bell when Hogan is knocked out in the Scorpion Deathlock and Sting is awarded the title. That was a mess.
Final Thoughts: WCW continues to WCW in 1999.