News & Notes before WCW SuperBrawl VII

Shawn Michaels is Out of WrestleMania

Shawn Michaels vacated the WWF Title due to a knee injury on Thursday that is said to be so bad, it could be career-ending. Michaels appeared on a special Thursday night episode of Raw and cut a teary-eyed promo before vacating the belt just 3 days before the In Your House pay-per-view. Shawn has since said he was pretty much nearing a mental breakdown at this point and just needed time off. Dr. James Andrews said Michaels wouldn’t require surgery at all and 4-6 weeks of rehab should be fine.

However, Shawn is now out of WrestleMania and the plan is for him to maybe appear as an announcer before returning to the ring full-time in the fall. Needless to say, this has thrown WrestleMania plans into chaos just 1 month before the show. With the title being vacated, the belt was held up at In Your House, and Bret Hart won the title, only to lose it a day later to Sid on Raw. And now, the plan is for Sid vs. Undertaker to headline WrestleMania XIII.

Shawn Loses His Smile

In his promo vacating the title, Shawn talked about the knee injury as potentially career-ending and said he needed to go home and find his smile because he lost it. Shawn reportedly told WWF only the day before that he was taking time off and said his doctor in San Antonio told him his knee injury could be a career-ender.

WWF considered doing an angle with someone attacking his knee to write him off TV but instead chose to just do a promo and have him vacate the belt because they were concerned that if his knee really was hurt that badly, they could damage it further by filming the angle. After Brian Pillman spent a few weeks hobbling around the ring and getting involved in matches, only to re-aggravate his ankle injury, WWF was wary of the same thing happening to Shawn. That being said, nobody is really buying the knee injury as the real story. It’s believed Shawn really does have a knee injury but as stated, it’s not that bad and the real story seems to be an emotional breakdown.

“Rocky Sucks!” & Ahmed Johnson Injured

Rocky Maivia, after being a pro wrestler for less than a year, was given the Intercontinental Title and it backfired big time. There has been a concern since he debuted that the WWF was pushing him too fast and that the crowd would reject him, and sure enough, even before he won the title, during the match, the crowd was chanting “Rocky sucks!” at him.

Ahmed Johnson is out with an infection in his arm. A while back, Faarooq hit Ahmed with a board in the match and the board splintered and the splinters got into Ahmed’s arm, causing some kind of infection. It eventually got so painful that he went to the hospital and ended up being hooked up to an IV and was there for 5 days.

A Different Time

On Raw, they had Goldust and Marlena cut a promo to emphasize that Goldust IS NOT gay and that his act is all just mind games. The reason is that ever since he turned babyface, he hasn’t been getting cheered because crowds still think he’s gay and it’s the ’90s, so BOO! Afterward, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and his new female valet/bodyguard (Chyna) came in and attacked Marlena.

On the same Raw, the Headbangers beat a team called the Hardy Boys in a squash match, but it was still the best match of the show and Jeff Hardy, in particular, took some great bumps.

Some Come, Some Go

The Fake Razor and Fake Diesel gimmicks have been dropped by the WWF, but they’re still using the gimmicks for AAA in Mexico.

Brian Pillman is hoping to be back in the ring by April. His ankle recovery is finally making good progress.

Vader was sent to the Duke Weight Loss Clinic (the same place Yokozuna was sent) and has reportedly lost close to 40 pounds.

Former NFL player Darren Drozdov is being trained by WWF’s Tom Prichard and will probably be brought in sometime in the future.

ECW and WWF Partnership

The ECW/WWF working relationship is back on. Well, it never really stopped, as the two sides have been working together behind the scenes for a while now. This time, the plan is for ECW wrestlers to invade Raw next week, although they may not be coming in as heels this time, and instead, it may be more of a relationship like the AAA deal, where they simply work alongside WWF and have their talent work WWF shows.

ECW on PPV

All of this is to help promote ECW’s first PPV in April, which will surely help them do a good enough buy rate for the show to be a success. This week, Jerry Lawler cut an anti-ECW promo on the show during a phone call with Paul Heyman, which basically was done to set up ECW’s invasion as an ECW vs. Lawler deal. It’s actually fortunate that all the ECW talent will be on Raw next week because most of the WWF crew will be on a tour of Europe so they’re running with a skeleton crew and need as many warm bodies as they can to fill a 2-hour show.

Pay-per-view channel, Viewers Choice, was quoted in a news story saying they would be willing to carry future ECW PPVs as long as ECW fixes the issues they had problems with before. Viewers Choice declined to carry the upcoming Barely Legal show because they had concerns over the angle with Raven and Sandman’s son. But, that angle has pretty much been dropped, so if Barely Legal does a good buy rate on Request TV, then Viewers Choice will likely be carrying future shows.

The Franchise is Down

Speaking of ECW, Shane Douglas blew out his knee and had surgery this week. He came out on crutches at the ECW show and said he had torn his groin “working out” (wink, wink) with Francine. There’s no word on when he’ll be back in the ring.

A New Addition to the WCW Lineup and Making Headlines

WCW and TBS have decided to begin airing another live, 2-hour prime-time wrestling show sometime in the near future. All the decisions haven’t been finalized yet, but it will likely be a Thursday night show. This would eventually become Thunder. TBS would largely fund the show so it would guarantee a massive influx of new money into WCW without them having to fund it out of their own budget. On the 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff says there was no new influx of money from Turner for Thunder. He says they had to film Nitro and Thunder with the same product budget that they had for only Nitro. Also, on the What Happened When podcast, Tony Schiavone said the only thing Turner really gave WCW production was some crew that barely knew anything about shooting wrestling.

Turner vs. McMahon

Ted Turner is expected to appear on the March 3rd episode of Nitro in an angle where he fires Eric Bischoff. The plan was supposed to be kept secret, but pretty much everyone already knows. In fact, Mark Madden revealed it on the WCW Hotline, which upset several people in WCW. When the WWF found out, they managed to get a story planted in the New York Daily News saying that Turner is frustrated because he’s been unable to overtake Vince McMahon’s in-house show attendance and PPV buys and is getting desperate enough to start appearing on pro rasslin’ shows.

Mainstream Exposure

At a recent Clemson vs. Wake Forest NCAA basketball game, Ric Flair was the honorary coach for Wake Forest. The game got a ton of mainstream attention and Wake Forest star, Tim Duncan, attended Nitro and hung out with Flair and other stars. Flair also filmed a skit for the game with Dick Vitale.

Coming and Going in WCW

Shawn Michaels reportedly asked Scott Hall about coming to WCW. Michaels is under a long-term contract with the WWF, so it’s highly unlikely he’s getting out of that deal easily, so don’t look for Shawn in WCW anytime soon.

A new guy named Ernest Miller debuted for WCW at the latest Saturday night tapings. Uncle Dave Meltzer says he’s a former New England Patriots football player (he went to the training camp but never made the team) and will be doing something with Glacier.

Speaking of Glacier, everyone in the company pretty much agrees that the gimmick is a flop, but they spent a lot of money on it and it’s Eric Bischoff’s brainchild, so the character isn’t going away any time soon.

Wrestling in Japan

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) has been in serious negotiations with Ken Shamrock for the last week to set up a match with Shamrock challenging Shinya Hashimoto for the IWGP Title at the Tokyo Dome. Shamrock is still under contract to Pancrase for 4 more fights but it’s thought NJPW may have offered to buy out his contract.

Speaking of Japan, the NWO angle in NJPW seems to be getting over pretty well, with every show for the last week sold out with Scott Norton, Marcus Bagwell, and Masahiro Chono headlining. NWO merchandise is also selling like crazy in NJPW, even more than they do in WCW.

The WWF in Mexico

AAA is running their first major show of 1997 and the plan is for Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard to attend in order to set up the future plans for WWF/AAA shows. In particular, AAA wants top WWF stars to work the TripleMania shows this year and actually plan to try to run a WWF vs. AAA angle at the event. The working agreement actually falls apart before then and no WWF guys ended up working TripleMania.

WCW SuperBrawl VII

Date: February 23, 1997
Tagline(s): “The BIG ONE will hit SAN FRAN when the BIG BOYS play. Get Ready For The Rumble…”
Venue: Cow Palace in San Francisco, California
Attendance: 13,324
PPV Buy Rates: 0.75 (275,000 Buys)

Uncle Dave Meltzer was here live for the action. He says the show was probably the most anticipated wrestling show in the area in the past 25 years. WCW SuperBrawl VII was sold out 2 weeks in advance. If WCW had booked a larger building, it would have likely set an all-time gate record for the company. As it is, it ended up being the 3rd highest ever. They also did their 2nd biggest night of merch sales ever.

Roddy Piper is being let out of Alcatraz Prison
Roddy Piper is being let out of Alcatraz Prison

We start WCW SuperBrawl VII with Roddy Piper being let out of Alcatraz in his kilt and T-shirt. He’s acting like a freaking madman as he runs to a boat waiting for him and then shouts, “I’M COMING!” as his kilt blows in the wind.

We then get a clip of Syxx stealing the Cruiserweight Title from Dean Malenko. He then tries to steal the US Title from Eddie Guerrero.

Eddie Guerrero tries to prevent Syxx from cheating to beat Dean Malenko
Eddie Guerrero tries to prevent Syxx from cheating to beat Dean Malenko

Dean Malenko (c) vs. Syxx – WCW Cruiserweight Title [11:57]

Malenko comes in like a house on fire. He even breaks his own pins multiple times to beat up on Syxx even more. Eddie Guerrero runs out to stop Syxx from using the Cruiserweight Title as a weapon. They play tug-of-war, and the referee is distracted when Syxx rips the belt away and blasts Malenko in the face. He then pins Dean for the win. Decent way to kickoff WCW SuperBrawl VII.
DAVE MELTZER: *** 1/4
ME: ** 1/2

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by with DDP. Gene says Eric Bischoff won’t tell DDP who he’s going to face tonight. They run through a list of possible opponents from the New World Order. Gene gets something in his ear telling him DDP will face Buff Bagwell tonight. DDP says Buff is going to feel the bang at WCW SuperBrawl VII.

Luchador Trios match from WCW SuperBrawl VII
Luchador Trios match from WCW SuperBrawl VII

Konnan, Villano IV, & La Parka vs. Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, & Ciclope – Six Man Tag-Team match [09:51]

This was just a “car crash match” to put the luchadores on WCW SuperBrawl VII. There was no story to it; just moves. In the end, Konnan hit a Splash Mountain on Juventud Guerrera for the pinfall win.
DAVE MELTZER: *** 3/4
ME: **

Prince Iakeau defends the WCW World Television Title against Rey Mysterio, Jr.
Prince Iakeau defends the WCW World Television Title against Rey Mysterio, Jr.

Prince Iakeau (c) vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr. – WCW World Television Title [08:56]

Lord Steven Regal comes out at one point. Behind the referee’s back, Regal yanks Mysterio’s leg out from under him on the apron. This causes Mysterio to hit his face on the apron. He then rolls him in and Iakeau pins him for the win.
DAVE MELTZER: *** 1/4
ME: **

When Rey Mysterio explains to the referee what happened, Iakeau seems upset about Regal’s interference. He hands the belt to Mysterio and holds his hand up in victory. Regal had been cost the TV Title against Iakeau by Rey Mysterio on Nitro.

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by with The Giant. He tells The Giant that The Outsiders are all about psychological warfare. The Giant says he knows this, but tonight, he’s going to be in total control of himself. He finishes by saying he’s going to walk out with both Tag-Team Titles.

Buff Bagwell is buff and he's got the stuff
Buff Bagwell is buff and he’s got the stuff

Buff Bagwell vs. Diamond Dallas Page [09:46]

When Bagwell gets rough with the ref, the ref backs him down in the corner and chews him out. In the end, Bagwell tries for a Hangman’s Neckbreaker, but DDP reverses it into a Diamond Cutter. VK Wall Street, Syxx, and Nick Patrick rush the ring. DDP takes off through the crowd and the referee declares this a DQ win for Page.
DAVE MELTZER: ** 3/4
ME: **

Eddie Guerrero defends the WCW United States Title against Chris Jericho
Eddie Guerrero defends the WCW United States Title against Chris Jericho

Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. “Lionheart” Chris Jericho – WCW United States Heavyweight Title [12:02]

The pre-match graphic says this is for the Television Title. Good lord… In the end, Eddie Guerrero hits a tilt-a-whirl sunset flip for the win. Uncle Dave says, “The crowd chanted ‘boring’ during this match, and fans went to the concession stands in droves during it.”
DAVE MELTZER: *** 1/4
ME: ***

After the match, Jericho hands Guerrero the US Title and shakes his hand.

The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian) vs. Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) (w/ Sister Sherri) – Triple Threat Tag-Team match [07:43]

Rocco Rock is bald and I’m shocked. There was some fun stuff in this match, but it was just ok. Rocco front flips off the top and gets caught in mid-air by Barbarian (because he’s such a damn man). Grunge then hits a cross body off the top onto Barbarian and drapes Rocco on top for the pinfall win.
DAVE MELTZER: * 1/2
ME: **

Steve “Mongo” McMichael (w/ Queen Debra) vs. Jeff Jarrett [08:12]

The ref gets bumped. Debra gets on the apron, Mongo tells her to get down and pulls her hair. She screams and throws the Haliburton over Mongo’s head to Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett then blasts Mongo in the head and pins him for the win.
DAVE MELTZER: * 3/4
ME: **

After the match, Debra smiles and shrugs. She then checks on Mongo.

Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit brawl to the back
Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit brawl to the back

Kevin Sullivan (w/ Jacquelyn & Jimmy Hart) vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) – San Francisco Deathmatch [08:35]

For some reason, Woman and Jacquelyn are strapped together and are brawling outside the ring during this one. They come into the ring eventually and the strap is used by the men, too. It basically turns into a 4-way until the men brawl up the aisle, into the crowd, and backstage. We get another WCW table that refuses to do the J-O-B. Jacquelyn lays over Sullivan to protect him, Benoit dives on them both, and the table doesn’t break. Benoit then pins Sullivan for the win.
DAVE MELTZER: *** 1/2
ME: ** 1/2

After the match, Arn Anderson shakes his head while looking at the ring, amazed. Jimmy Hart checks on Sullivan and Jacquelyn, who aren’t moving. Agents then hit the ring to check on everyone, including Benoit, who is holding his back and neck. Benoit, Sullivan, and Jacquelyn all get stretchered out of the arena and into an ambulance. Woman climbs into the ambulance with Benoit.

We get a commercial now for Uncensored, where everyone is in jail, telling us to watch the show. I assume they’re in jail because that show is so bad, it should be a crime to keep it going on an annual basis?

The Giant takes on The Outsiders for the WCW Tag-Team Titles
The Giant takes on The Outsiders for the WCW Tag-Team Titles

The Outsiders (c) (w/ Syxx) vs. The Giant – Handicap match for the WCW World Tag-Team Titles [08:53]

The Giant honestly looked like a star and a legit giant at WCW SuperBrawl VII. He beat the crap out of both Outsiders through most of this one. At one point, Syxx dives at Giant, gets caught, and thrown at Nash. Hall then hits Giant in the back with a Tag Title behind the ref’s back. Nash then hits the Jackknife on Giant and collapses. Lex Luger starts to come to the ring, Eric Bischoff tries to stop him but gets tossed aside. Luger gets on the apron and tags in before cleaning house. He then locks Nash in the Torture Rack and makes him tap out. The Giant then hits a chokeslam on Scott Hall and pins him for the win. I was really confused as to how Lex Luger could interfere with no repercussions. Syxx legit separated his shoulder during this run-in and will be out for a few weeks.
DAVE MELTZER: *** 1/2
ME: ** 1/2

Hollywood Hogan (c) (w/ Vincent & Ted DiBiase) vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper – WCW World Heavyweight Title [10:52]

Hogan’s apprehensive but Roddy Piper’s like a rabid dog. World Title matches in WCW never had rules enforced and it’s no different at WCW SuperBrawl VII. Roddy Piper low-blowed Hogan, choked him multiple times with his T-shirt and hit him with a chair. This was all in front of the referee. They also brawled around the ring for way longer than a 10-count and nothing happened. Sting and Macho Man walk halfway down the aisle together. He tries to stop Savage, but Macho Man keeps walking to the ring. Sting then leaves.

In the end, Roddy Piper locks Hogan in the sleeper hold, and Hogan slumps down to his butt. It looks like the referee drops his arm 3 times because the bell rings Roddy Piper celebrates. However, I guess Hogan’s feet were under the bottom rope, so the match is restarted. Then, Macho Man pulls brass knuckles out of his leather jacket and hands them to Hogan. Hogan then punches Roddy Piper and pins him for the win. This was a confusing mess.
DAVE MELTZER: * 1/4
ME: **

Hollywood Hogan's feet were under the bottom rope as Macho Man looks on
Hollywood Hogan’s feet were under the bottom rope as Macho Man looks on at WCW SuperBrawl VII

After the match, Macho Man joins Hollywood Hogan in beating the crap out of Roddy Piper. Savage then spray paints NWO on Piper’s chest before hitting him with 2 elbow drops. He then holds Piper down for 2 Hogan leg drops. Hogan celebrates with Savage, saying this was for The Outsiders. Hogan then dumps the ref out of the ring before Savage drops another elbow on Piper. Uncle Dave said, “Savage turned heel and joined the NWO, which doesn’t make storyline sense for at least a dozen different reasons, but whatever.”

Final Ratings

Internet Movie Data Base: 6.3 / 10
Cagematch.net: 6.78 / 10
Me: 6.5 / 10

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Troy Adams (from Main Event Marks)

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