Wednesday, August 5, 2015

WCW Superbrawl VIII

WCW Superbrawl VIII
San Francisco, CA
Feb. 22, 1998

I've got this on VHS, so I'm fairly certain this is the most complete version I'll be watching unless there's one floating around online that I'm unaware of. In any case, this is two months after Starrcade where Sting and Hogan locked horns in a clusterfuck of a match and Sting won the big one in dubious fashion... except he didn't because shortly after, the World title was held up and so this show is where the rematch is taking place... everyone got that?

Yeah, me neither.

Booker T defeated Rick Martel to win the WCW World Television Title. A bit of context here; Martel actually won the title from Booker the Nitro before this show. Martel was actually in the midsts of a comeback, but tore his knee badly that it forced him into retirement. And it's funny because the first time I had seen this match fifteen years ago, I wasn't even aware that Martel HAD a stint in WCW... but there you go. Learn something new every day... In any case, this was a nice little match. Booker looked like someone who was ready to take his game to a higher level and Martel looked like one of the few "old guys" that could've still gone the distance if injuries didn't force his exit.

Booker T defeated Perry Saturn to retain the Television Title. This was nice, simple entertaining fare. Perhaps, not one of the greatest matches ever, but still pretty good stuff that, at worst, kept me awake, and at best, had a few good moments.

Disco Inferno defeated La Parka in an okay match. Nothing amazing, but it was a nice, simple match that kept me awake. I don't believe there was any context behind this match other than two guys having nothing better to do.

Goldberg kills Brad Armstrong... next.

Chris Jericho defeats Juventud Guerrera to retain the WCW Cruiserweight title via Liontamer submission. Usual solid cruiserweight match you'd get from the undercard. This was also the match where Juventud lost his mask and the world saw his... man, that's an ugly-ass dude... fuck you, Jericho, for introducing the world to Juvy's face and planting the seeds for his future career as a knock-off Flex Kavana.

British Bulldog defeated Steve "Mongo" McMichael with a wristlock submission that Mongo later claims he never tapped out to... oh dear, this was dreadful. I'd hate to speak ill will of the dead, but this was a horrible match between two dead guys. Absolutely embarrassing to watch.

Diamond Dallas Page defeated Chris Benoit to retain the United States title. Best match of the show thus far, as you got two guys busting ass and beating the shit out of each other. Told a great story. Didn't fall asleep. Awesome stuff here.

Lex Luger defeated Randy Savage via Torture Rack submission... meh.

Outsides defeated Steiner Brothers to win the Tag Titles when Scott turned on Rick, thus planting the seeds for his eventual transformation to Big Poppa Juice and long-term mastery of the English Language. So the Outsiders get the titles back for the 3,982,891,983,829th time. Sounds about right, no? I might have missed a couple times on that count.

In a rematch from the woefully disappointing Starrcade 97 main event, Sting defeated Hollywood Hulk Hogan to win the vacant WCW World Title after a timely Savage elbow finishes Hogan off. If I could digress for a moment, it was not so long ago that I actually caught the Sting/Hogan match from one of the old TNA Pay-Per-Views (Bound For Glory, I think) and remember that match being sad to watch. Numerous thoughts wandered in my head, one of which being that these two (allegedly) had better matches in WCW. Well, if that's the case, I need to keep looking because this was HIDEOUS. I suppose I didn't mind this too much ten or fifteen years ago when I first bought the tape from a used video store (I don't recall, to be honest), but watching this today... I am amazed that WCW made money from this tripe.

But indeed, they did. WCW had a successful formula going for them these days. Load the top of the card with big established names and the rest of it with younger talents that could put on engaging and entertaining matches, while the while putting out compelling storylines and angles that keeps the viewer tuned in for more. And it's a formula that made them lots of money for a couple years. Unfortunately, it's also a formula that they would ride into the ground to the point where it no longer became viable and part of that has to do with the fact that people clamor for the younger talents putting on the great matches to eventually rise to the top of the card that was inhabited by big name talents who were getting old and weren't as nimble as they once were (if at all)... but I don't want to get into that.

Superbrawl VIII is a formuliac WCW showing, in that you had an undercard of great, quality matches from younger wrestlers and international imports with incredible talent and then you had an upper card of older, established talent that, quite frankly, are all too eager to coast on name value and not put on as good a showing... or perhaps are unable to put on as good a showing. That's nothing of note here that's really worth mentioning. Not that it's a bad thing or anything; if you stumble across this on the Network or as a cheap VHS pick-up, it's a nice little way of killing three hours. For the most part, I enjoyed watching this show in more recent years; it's an okay showing. There's some good stuff early on and some not so good stuff later on. And that typically describes an average WCW PPV during the nWo years.

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