In the history of wrestling PPVs, there has been exactly one PPV held on February 29: WCW’s SuperBrawl II from 1992 during the Kip Allen Frey era of workrate bonuses. This show is from the MECCA in Milwaukee, though originally the plan was to have the show at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. You mean WCW learned the lesson WWF did from WM4 with casinos having dead crowds? Perish the thought!
Show starts with Tony Schiavone and Eric Bischoff running down the card, Eric predicts Luger to retain. Guess he doesn’t read the dirt sheets. Jim Ross is in the ring and introduces Jesse Ventura for his WCW PPV debut and he gets a loud ovation. The Body gets a cheap pop by pimping Milwaukee’s own Harley Davidson motorcycles and declaring it to be Crusher Country. Ventura tells Ross that if he had a cowboy hat that he’d look like JR Ewing. Clearly that stayed with Ross for years.
The opener is Jushin “Thunder” Liger defending the WCW Light Heavyweight title against Brian Pillman. Liger beat Pillman on Christmas night in the Atlanta Omni for the title. At this point, Pillman was a favorite of mine and Liger struck me as a revolutionary figure with his move set and cool mask. Ventura is pretty excited about the match and he openly marks out several times during the bout, and says Liger looks like the Predator. A reminder that this is a Pillman-Liger match with the promotion offering WORKRATE BONUSES for the best match. It’s not just high flying stuff, they do some mat work early which I enjoyed. The pacing of the match is pretty outstanding. Liger does a great German suplex with a bridge. Lots of near falls where the crowd was totally buying it as a finish. Liger misses a head butt off the top and Pillman does a rollup pinning combo to win. I am not a star rating kind of guy, but this top notch stuff. What an opener.
Oh look, Terry Taylor is being repackaged as a different kind of jobber! He’s now completely ripping off DiBiase but without the money. He’s got the black and gold suit though and Missy Hyatt looks happy to see him. But before his match with Marcus Alexander Bagwell, we get Barry Abrams from Syracuse University who won some sort of contest to be a ring announcer. The crowd boos him pretty mercilessly, it’s kind of funny. I feel bad for him….yeah he looks goofy, but he’s got good pipes and we all looked goofy at stages of our lives. Bagwell might be the Dave Stapleton of wrestling. Stapleton was a 1st baseman for the Boston Red Sox in the 1980s who was good as a rookie and got worse every single year until he was out of baseball. Bagwell showed a lot of promise at this point but never lived up to it. Of course being a prick backstage doesn’t help. The finish of this looks very awkward and it’s a simple rollup to give Bagwell an upset win. How is it an upset when all Taylor does is lose?
Missy Hyatt now wants to talk to Lex Luger, but gets Harley Race who says Luger is in great shape. Well, maybe for bodybuilding but not for wrestling.
Cactus Jack is set to take on Ron Simmons. Foley has to be depressed because he wants the workrate bonus but has no chance after that opener. There is a “Cactus Jack for President” sign, and Jesse compares Jack to Pat Buchanan, who was running an insurgent campaign against sitting President George H.W. Bush, coming within 10 points of him in the New Hampshire primary. Ross wastes no time reciting Simmons’ football career. Jack does the hangman spot right away which looks sickening because in WCW they used cables instead of ropes. Junkyard Dog is shown in the crowd in a white tux and Ventura thinks he must be an usher. Cactus does the elbow from the 2nd rope to the floor on Simmons, which always gets a crowd response. Simmons misses the shoulder block tackle and hits the ramp thru the ropes. Jack goes to get him, but gets a spinebuster on the ramp. Yikes. Jack gets caught off the 2nd rope into a powerslam to give Simmons the pin. Good match. Abdullah the Butcher comes down and he had an issue with Cactus at the time, but they reunited to beat down Simmons. JYD runs in from the crowd to make the save and gets a good response. Hot crowd. Ventura says JYD should be fined and suspended, even if he had just returned.
The next match looks like something out of Battlebowl. Vinnie Vegas and Richard Morton against Z-Man and Van Hammer. Poor Ricky Morton, made a heel against type and stuck with this crew. Was never a Rock and Roll Express fan but come on. Van Hammer is mostly notable for how ruthless Dave Meltzer was when he would write about him. Crowd is into it by clapping, and it’s a tribute to how good they were that they responded to this drivel. Morton is wearing his R and R tights showing how much of a crap he gave about the character but Morton did most of the work here, thank God. Of all people, Zenk gets the pin on Morton with a sunset flip rollup out of the corner. I have nothing else to say.
Eric and Tony talk about how Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko broke Barry Windham’s hand before Halloween Havoc. I don’t know why Larry got the Cruncher name, Arn did the swinging of the door which is the hard part. Larry just held him there.
The match is Larry and Stunning Steve Austin, who was TV champion at this point taking on Windham and Dustin Rhodes. Both were members of the Dangerous Alliance, probably the coolest stable ever. Rude, Austin, Larry, Arn, and Bobby Eaton. That’s some serious depth there. Ross refers to Jesse’s other gig as a judge on the syndicated show Grudge Match which I loved at the time. It was on after American Gladiators. Austin is noticeably awkward coming off the top rope which Jesse points out and eats a lariat. Larry is very upset for the showdown with Windham. Outside, Zbyszko tries a piledriver on the ramp but is backdropped. The moves on the ramp look particularly good on this show. Windham gets the crap beat out of him for a very long time, and Jesse at one point makes fun of Oklahoma football and their pay for play scandals from years prior. Rhodes gets a hot tag but then does a flip off a clothesline by Austin. Madusa slaps Dustin who goes after her as if he could do something. Long chinlock by Austin on Dustin followed by some more beatdown, then another chinlock which is fine because the match needs to breathe. Windham gets the hot tag and is throwing fists and Jesse thinks the taped fist is unfair. Windham ends up getting the pin with a top rope clothesline on Zbyszko to end another good match.
And now back to Missy Hyatt, who asks “Mr. Ninja” if she can talk to Ricky Steamboat. They open the door and Ricky has some sort of fire thing going on. Alright then. Madusa tries to seduce Mr. Ninja but fails and has to run away. I guess there is no bonus for best comedy segment.
Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton are led by Paul E. Dangerously to the ring for the tag title defense against the Steiners and they just look so badass. Possibly the two best tag workers of all time united, though they themselves were not the greatest team ever. A note is passed from the great Kip Frey that Paul E. is banned from ringside for this one, but they said nothing about Madusa being banned so she comes down and sticks around. Arn and Rick are in and Anderson drops down, but Rick does too and looks at him. Kinda funny spot that I haven’t seen before. Scott fights out an Arn wristlock and Rick comes in to knock Eaton and Anderson to the outside. Tilt-a-whirl suplex by Scott on Eaton on the ramp, continuing the show’s trend. Some dudes in the crowd chant “break his back!” Eaton regains control when he catches Rick off the top with a knee to the balls. Very effective stuff. They work Rick’s left arm for a bit before Scott just comes in with no tag and throws a vertical suplex. Arn is caught with a Steinerline off the top, so Rick can tag his brother. Scott gets worked over too but Eaton can’t get the win with a knee from the top. Arn’s sweet DDT only gets 2 and he bitches about it. Scott fights a Camel Clutch from Eaton, but Bobby just decks Rick in the corner so no tag. Scott’s on the ramp so you know what that means: a ROCKET LAUNCHER by Eaton onto the ramp. Scott eventually tags Rick, who gets set up for what looks like a Doomsday Device, Eaton tries a crossbody but the reversal is botched but it’s only a two count. Bulldog off the top on Arn, who isn’t the legal man, gets two. Arn gets some powder from Madusa and tosses it in Rick’s eyes with the ref distracted by Scott and Eaton. A second ref is in and he lets the match go to a finish with Scott hitting the Frankensteiner for the win. But you-know-who is booking, so it is reversed by the original ref and the champs retain with a win by DQ. Not a fan of the finish, and took a bit to get going but still this was another good match.
Missy is back at Steamboat’s door and literally lets him walk right by to head to the ring. Now that’s just poor journalism.
Know what I’m a fan of? Rick Rude matches called by his advocate Jesse Ventura. Crowd is going insane booing during Rude’s “what I’d like to have right now…” bit. Awesome. This crowd is friggin amazing. Give them a workrate bonus. Rude goes with “Milwaukee meatheads” as the insult. Jesse is really going after Kip Frey for banning Paul E. from this one, which is hilarious. After all, Frey paid huge coin to bring Ventura in and now he’s being compared to Ferdinand Marcos, who not only was out of power for 5 years but had been dead for two and a half years. The Dragon works Rude’s arm early on because his matches have actual psychology. These guys had incredible chemistry which is funny because their 1988 WWF feud never gained traction, probably since Steamboat was on the way out. Despite working the arm, the Dragon gets a figure four before Rude grabs the ropes. When Rude takes control, he lands a forearm off the top and tries to pose for the crowd but is in so much pain he can’t do it. Steamboat powers out of chinlock, dropping Rude to the mat. Odd spot when the two go for what looks like a Thesz press at the same time so both are down. Sleeper by Rude wearing the Dragon down, but he fights back with a sleeper of his own. Rude counters with a jawbreaker. Rude is crotched on the top, so Steamboat tries a Superplex that only gets a two count. More offense from the Dragon leads to a mocking hip swivel. A forearm from the top connects but Steamboat doesn’t cover. As the ref checks on Rude, Ricky goes up top but “Mr. Ninja” is up on the apron and drills him in the head with a 1992 cell phone, so you know it hurts. Yes, as it turned out, Paul E. had Mr. Ninja kidnapped so he could dress up in the costume. “He’s waddling like an old woman! It had to be Paul E!” says Ross. Great stuff. This show is on fire.
Missy Hyatt is in the back and she crashes Rude’s locker room and sees Paul E with his guys, and he’s got the Ninja costume on. Missy can’t seem to connect that Paul E was the one at ringside at the time, but she’s not exactly Marie Curie when it comes to brains.
And now, a note about Lex Luger. He did not wrestle for pretty much all of 1992 leading to this match because WCW had used up all the dates on his contract like idiots. Before that in late ’91, Harley Race was fired by WCW and in response Luger quit the promotion for 24 hours before everything was smoothed over and Race was re-hired. Luger had given his notice before this match and it was the end for him, as he would depart for Vince McMahon’s World Bodybuilding Federation since he would not be allowed to wrestle until his WCW contract actually expired in 1993.
The common consensus on this match is that Luger was blown up early because he bulked up so much. And yes that is true. Ross actually asks how he bulked up and we all know the answer but Jesse says “rest” because he didn’t work. Alright then. The guy was juiced to the gills. Mucho stalling to start, and Ventura says Luger won’t have endurance for a long match here. The Body tells it like it is. Weirdly, there are people cheering for Luger who dominates early until Sting gets Luger in his own Torture Rack. Luger gets sent outside to rest for a bit and Jesse points out that Luger is sweating profusely, while Sting is not. Luger regains control but can only stall between kicks and punches. I guess an inverted atomic drop is a move, so there’s that. But then more stalling. Press slam of Sting, who lands on his side. Piledriver time, but that looks sloppy. That was his finisher at the time, but Sting kicks out.
Sting makes his comeback and it’s a good one. He even goes to the back rake, so I guess Stinger has been watching those General Adnan tapes. Sting charges Luger but misses and goes over the top, but lands on his feet. Race tries a piledriver but is backdropped. Sting goes up top and lands a flying bodypress to get the pin and the world title. Whoa, that was a sudden finish. Crowd is happy, but they must have worn themselves out from earlier because it’s not with the same enthusiasm with which they booed Rick Rude.
Summary: Much like Leap Day, shows of this caliber don’t come around very often. The two tag matches are both at least very good, Cactus Jack and Ron Simmons worked hard in their bout, Rude-Steamboat is excellent, and Pillman-Liger is pretty legendary. Sting vs Luger isn’t a good match, but it’s a spectacle to see Luger in the shape he was in. Cannot recommend this highly enough for your Leap Day viewing pleasure.