One of World Championship Wrestling’s biggest events of the year makes its first appearance since the near-demise and subsequent rebirth of the company. After they made way for the trendy ‘2000’ suffix of the first year of the new millennium, and stepped aside for ‘revenge’ 12 months ago, the classic Roman numerals are back for the 12th edition of WCW SuperBrawl.
FEBRUARY 24, 2002: WCW SUPERBRAWL XII – Nashville, Tennessee
During the usual pre-show analysing the encounters for this PPV, America’s Most Wanted also saw action and defeated Mark Jindrak and Shawn Stasiak in the only freeview match this month with the Death Sentence on Jindrak in 7:12.
Another major event during the pre-show saw an interview with York and Matthews cut short by an attack from Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels which left the team in a very bad way just minutes before their six-man tag match.
The last minutes of the pre-show saw Stacy Keibler make her first appearance since splitting from Stasiak, as she visited The Cat’s office and told him rather abruptly that she would be serving as his new assistant, per “the boss’s orders”. A bemused Cat peruses the memo Stacy presents him as we fade into the start of the PPV…
WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team titles, four-way ladder match: Knoble & Kash (c) vs Super Crazy & Tajiri vs Jung Dragons vs Full Blooded Italians
We open with ladders around the ring which can only mean one thing – Jamie Knoble and David Kash defending the cruiserweight tag titles, which were suspended above the ring, against their three biggest rivals.
The expected crazy spotfest ensued and Crazy wiped himself out when a ladder moonsault to the outside was evaded by Knoble, Kash, Guido and Marinera and he smashed through the announce table. The FBI got the edge and climbed either side of a ladder to grab the belts, but were caught up on a separate ladder by Tajiri who misted both men.
Kaz Hayashi attempted to beat Tajiri to it, and as the two did battle, Knoble and Kash tipped the ladder and sent them out of the ring. Kash then climbed as Knoble kept Yang at bay and the champions retained against the odds after 17:17 of action.
Dustin Rhodes vs Booker T
Match number two was scheduled to be Booker T vs Dustin Rhodes, only for Booker to viciously attack Dustin during his entrance. Rhodes was helped to the back as the announcers wondered if the bout would happen tonight after all.
Johnny B Badd vs ‘The Franchise’ Shane Douglas
Shane Douglas cut his usual pre-match promo in the ring alongside Torrie Wilson before defeating Johnny B Badd in a brief 5:25 thanks to a little Torrie Wilson distraction and the Pittsburgh Plunge.
After Triple X made their way out for their scheduled six-man, The Cat appeared next and said that due to the pre-show attack, York and Matthews are unable to compete tonight. Cat added that he’s sick of the sneak attacks tonight and that both this bout AND Rhodes/Booker will go ahead, the latter at Dustin’s insistence. First, he will introduce Psicosis’ new tag partners… Jason Jett and Shannon Moore!
Six-man tag team match: Psicosis, Jason Jett & Shannon Moore vs Elix Skipper, Low Ki and Christopher Daniels
Psicosis, Jett and Moore defeated Triple X when Psicosis pinned Low Ki with a German suplex in 8:40. After the faces celebrated and left, a furious Skipper assessed his fallen troops… and then laid out Ki with a lariat! Skipper and Daniels destroyed Ki in the ring, presumably kicking him out of the group in the process.
Dustin Rhodes vs Booker T
Rhodes stormed back out, beaten and bloodied, and demanded Booker arrive for their match. Booker and Sharmell came out and Rhodes attempted to meet them on the entrance walkway. Booker held Sharmell in front of him, before getting in a cheap shot and then hurling Rhodes down into the steel steps from the walkway.
The referee again tried to halt things but Rhodes wanted to carry on, and even mounted a fightback in the ring before being overwhelmed by his fresh attacker and finished off with two Axe Kicks. Official time of match: 6:46.
WCW United States title: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Chuck Palumbo
O’Haire and Palumbo, 2001’s tag team of the year, had quite the buzz from the fans as they stood across each other in the ring for their United States title match, given their history.
The two worked a very deliberate contest which saw Palumbo put O’Haire in trouble more than once. The champion rallied until a Seanton hit knees, but O’Haire slipped out of Palumbo’s Crucifix Bomb and hit a superkick to the back of the head, then one to the jaw, before the Seanton finally got the three at 8:52.
O’Haire attempted to help up his old buddy after their bout, only for Palumbo to cheapshot Sean with a superkick of his own. Chuck threw the belt onto O’Haire and stormed off.
WCW Cruiserweight title, Triangle match: AJ Styles (c) vs Billy Kidman vs Shane Helms
The three wowed the crowd with state-of-the-art exchanges, both in one-on-one sequences with the third man out of action at ringside and in some innovative three-way spots.
At one stage, Helms looked as though he had Kidman beat with the Vertebreaker but the referee helped Styles get his foot untangled from the ropes before starting the count, enough of a delay for Kidman to get his own foot on the nearby bottom rope.
AJ and Helms mixed it up for a while before Kidman stopped a Styles Clash with a top rope dropkick, a move which accidentally caught AJ when the two teamed up weeks prior. He tweaked his knee a little, however, and Shane went straight to work on it while keeping AJ out of the ring.
When he put on an inverted STF with a bridge, however, AJ climbed to the top rope and hit a Spiral Tap on the arched Helms before following up with the Styles Clash on ‘Sugar’ Shane to retain in 18:31.
Sting and Rey Mysterio Jr vs Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson
The Icon and the masked man, now being referred to in the graphics as Mysterio with a y, gained revenge on Jarrett and Anderson after heat on Rey led to a hot tag to Sting, who cleaned house on both men.
When Jarrett attempted to bring the guitar in, a 619 from Misterio smashed it beyond use and distracted Jarrett long enough in the corner for a Stinger Splash. Sting then hit the Death Drop on Anderson for the pin in 9:10.
Post-match, Jarrett beat up on Rey at ringside and fled when Sting came over.
Submission match: Ric Flair vs Lance Storm
The two brawled from the start and worked each other’s legs in preparation for their own trademark holds, but the blooded Flair was eventually put down by three superkicks and the third attempt at the Maple Leaf for the tap-out at the 15:55 mark to cap what was a brutal no-disqualification war.
After Storm celebrated his win, Flair came around enough to keep his promise and offer a handshake to Lance. Storm teased he would accept, but then left the ring with a smirk and went backstage with his hands raised. Flair soaked in the appreciation of the fans nonetheless, and it felt like we had seen one of Flair’s final hurrahs.
WCW World Tag Team titles, steel cage match: Los Guerreros (c) vs Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon
Down came the steel cage for one of the most anticipated showdowns on the card. The grudge match, which would end when both members of a team were out of the locked-door cage at the same time, saw several occasions where someone escaped and would have to re-enter to help their team-mate, a la Steiners vs Money Inc in 1993.
Los Guerreros used everything from exposed turnbuckles to powder to even bringing a chair into the cage on one re-entry, but had most of their tactics also used against them by opponents who are no strangers to fighting dirty.
With Page and Eddie out the cage, Kanyon and Chavo fought inside only for Eddie to low blow Page and climb up the outside to strike Kanyon down. He cheered Chavo up and over the cage, but Page managed to recover enough to catch him on his shoulders.
Eddie tried to club at DDP and get him to drop Chavo to no avail as Kanyon slowly climbed over, only for Mike Awesome to show up with a chair, move Eddie aside and take aim at Page.
Bam Bam Bigelow ran down and snatched the chair from Awesome as Kanyon got over the top of the cage… only for Bigelow to nail Page in the back, causing Chavo to hit the floor just before Kanyon as the Guerreros retained in 21:26!
Bigelow and Awesome left together as the champions celebrated and DDP, Kanyon and the fans tried to process Bigelow’s betrayal.
Main event, WCW World title: Rob Van Dam (c) vs Goldberg
Finally, suspense filled the air as a bona fide dream match main evented for the WCW World title, with many fans (and the announcers) wondering if either champion RVD or challenger Goldberg had indeed sold out.
Tense opening exchanges were even, before Goldberg used his power and intensity to take control. Glenn Gilbertti and his men, Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger, then made an appearance and slowly began to approach the ring.
When Van Dam was able to launch a comeback, Gilbertti sent his men in while he distracted the referee to go after the champ, only for RVD to fight both men off with quick kicks and sweeps. The ref caught the tail end of it, and let things go given the stakes and lack of damage inflicted upon the participants.
Van Dam missed the frog splash and gets hit by a Goldberg spear, only for Gilbertti to send the duo after the challenger this time. Was the first ‘attack’ a ruse?
With the ref distracted again, Simon and Swinger hit the Problem Solver on Goldberg but RVD paused as he reached for the cover, realised what happened and instead wiped out the duo with a plancha.
Gilbertti low blowed RVD as he re-entered the ring, but the ref again resisted the urge to allow the main event to be ruined and ejected all three heels, with other officials swarming to ensure this happens.
The two recovered and entered an exciting final stretch,with RVD leapfrogging another spear and catching Goldberg with a prawn hold cradle for the three count after 12:48.
After a tense standoff, the two showed mutual respect after the bout. This may not be the last time these two battle for the belt, but it looks like they were on the same page after all.
Joey Matthews suffered a minor injury a day before Superbrawl which led to the late change in the six man tag. He’ll be out for around a month.
Three more wrestlers have signed Fusient deals to run immediately upon expiry of their Time Warner deals:
- Glenn Gilbertti: 350k pa until March 7 2002, then 200k pa until March 31 2004
- Shane Douglas: 375k pa until April 9 2002, then 250k pa until April 30 2004
- Mike Awesome: 350k pa until April 9 2002, then 300k pa until April 30 2004
Next time: The build-up to a brand new PPV begins, as Spring Breakout is officially promoted from special Nitro to a three-hour annual spectacular!