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[1996-09-15-WCW-Fall Brawl] Hulk Hogan & Scott Hall & Kevin Nash & NWO Sting vs Ric Flair & Arn Anderson & Lex Luger & Sting (War Games)

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For all the sharp booking that went into the early months of the NWO launch, they rarely paid it off in the ring, did they? I mean, with all the craziness of the previous few months, this should have been great. But instead, they raced through the match to get to the Sting stuff, which was more set-up for a payoff that, notoriously, never came. Was it just that the NWO guys lacked commitment to the in-ring moments? Was that a mistake Bischoff made in composing the group? Or was it irrelevant given how entertaining the weekly TV stuff was?

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You know, I'm really looking forward to re-watching this based on your comments, as when I watched it when we were preparing the yearbooks, I loved it, and thought it felt like a slightly overlooked, low-end U.S. MOTYC. The booking is really good, but more than that, I like the underlying NWO vs NWA premise here. There are moments like Flair's offensive flurry against Hogan, Hall and Nash, Luger and Arn ganging up on Hogan, etc., that are tremendous. If anything hurts this match, it's that Flair, Luger and Arn totally carry it, Flair and Luger especially.

 

Flair does all of the Ric Flair tricks while in babyface mode, which works great in front of a North Carolina crowd. Luger's selling is pretty awesome throughout this, and his instincts are good, as far as knowing when to let the heels take over and when to come back. Luger worked really hard in the ring in '96.

 

Matches where the heels are being led usually aren't quite as good. But Hogan outworks Hall and Nash because he at least doesn't lean on the angle for all of his heat, while Hall and Nash just kinda show up.

 

I know this seems like a strange complaint in retrospect, considering how hard the NWO was pushed, but when I've rewatched old NWO stuff recently, it feels like Nash isn't able to convey being a threat in his matches the same way he is on promos and in post-match beatdowns. You see this huge guy with hair flying around every time he throws a punch looking menacing, and you think he could at least translate that presence to his matches, even if he's not that mobile. But it's just not there. Nash's charisma seems to vanish bell-to-bell in WCW, I guess because how do you present sarcasm as an in-ring quality for a top-level heel at that size? Right when he left the WWF, Diesel seemed like a killer if you look at the Michaels and Taker matches, but he lost that from his in-ring when he moved to WCW.

 

Hall was always overrated. Unless he was working his friends, there's not really anything that stands out. That said, he was the best go-the-distance choice here because it wasn't going to be Nash, and Hogan was the big star and didn't need to be the first entrant.

 

Anyway, I'll step out until I get to this match on my set, then I'll comment again.

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Yeah, I saw after posting that you really liked the match, which made me want to rewatch it. So perhaps I will also have some second-take notes. But I agree very much with your general breakdown of the NWO. Hogan was fine in the ring, but Nash and Hall brought little presence to this or most of their matches from the period. There was just such a disconnect between the aura they created as characters and the actual physical performance.

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I HATED this match at the time, but when I rewatched it a couple of years back I thought it was safely "good" and borderline very good. MOTYC seems a bit much to me, but I think it holds up well.

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I remember the finish bugged me because Luger never quit and you had Nick Patrick ring the bell and nobody questioned it. Arn and Flair beat up the Outsiders and never return to save Savage.

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Ok, so I watched this again. Is this an MOTYC in any form? No. Is this a really well-executed angle disguised as a match? Yes. For heat, drama and emotion, this is a classic, but for the actual match, it's not. Blood or not, the big issue is what was said before -- that Hogan, Flair and Luger came to work and no one else really did. I guess Arn and Hall were fine, but Arn did such awesome promos heading into this that you kind of expected a bigger performance. Nash is embarrassing, barely able to hit anything, getting stuck in the cameraman's cables and having to get his help getting free, etc. Luger crawling and screaming for Sting's help was awesome. The Liz turn post-match really came out of nowhere, but Hogan was pretty awesome spitting on her and spraypainting NWO on her dress. The beatdown on Savage after the match just went on and on and on and on and on and on.

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Yes. For heat, drama and emotion, this is a classic, but for the actual match,

I hear this about stuff and use to think it. But is there really a difference?

 

The difference is that this is a well-booked match with over personalities, but it could have been executed much better.

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I thought the work in the match was good not excellent. Flair, Luger, and Hogan were the standouts. Arn was pretty good, but like Loss said his promos were off the chart leading into this. Hall was decent, threw some good punches. Nash was bad, but he did try to bump a little for the faces. The destruction of Savage was super heated but did drag. I'm still wondering what happened to the faces at the end. Did they get demolished, or did they save Luger and Savage can get what they want. Still the drama was great here. It's a shame they dropped the ball on the Savage match when they worked it comedy style.

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I remember the finish bugged me because Luger never quit and you had Nick Patrick ring the bell and nobody questioned it. Arn and Flair beat up the Outsiders and never return to save Savage.

Wasn't it Randy Anderson that called for the bell? And I thought the excuse was he didn't tap but he passed out?

 

As for the match, on one hand I really like it. The Horsemen and Hogan are really great in this. So far, this is the best Hogan has looked on the set. On the other hand, I really hate how the announcer push that it's really Sting after he gets in the cage. You can tell by the close up that it's a fake sting. Was the 4th man supposed to be Waltman?

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Tremendous heat and good work. I totally disagree about Hall & Nash, they were solid, especially Hall working with Arn during the first segment and bumping for everyone. Nash didn't shine because the cage doesn't suit his strong points, but the way he delivered his big boot to Arn the first time he came on was Barbie-like smooth. And both of them actually bump and show a lot of ass, which should be the case as they are bullies, not invicible monsters.

The crowd didn't bought the fake Sting at all, chanting "This is not Sting !", which made the announcers look like idiots for not even questionning the identity of the guy in the ring. Not as bad as when Barry Windham dressed up as Sting in 90, but still. I agree that once the Sting stuff was out of the way, they totally rushed through it and the finish was anticlimatic (which kinda was always the case in Wargames anyway because of the "surrender" gimmick to me).

The post-match was pretty awesome (although Benoit & McMicheal should have showed up) with the amazing "wolves around their pray" beatdown of Savage, Liz showing up from nowhere to protect Savage (which does come from nowhere but they do have 10 years of history together, and the love/hate/love dynamic is a classic so I can buy it) and the amazing scumbag attitude of Hogan. I loved the fact they just didn't beat on Savage for ten minutes but just satyed around him, simply threatening him and humiliating Liz, showing they could do whatever they wanted with both of them. Über sexy Liz lying over Savage and getting spraypainted was a great B-movie like gang-rape metaphor, there's something really creepy about the whole scene (and just like with the Jake Roberts feud in 92, Liz is portrayed as a pretty damn brave woman, jumping in the shark cage when not one WCW wrestler seem to have the balls to do it). Loved it and it was a tremendous built for Savage vs Hogan which all of a sudden looks like the hottest feud in the world again.

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The more I think about this match, the more it bothers me that Arn did these promos promising hospitalization and injuries galore, then just worked a normal match. Such a disconnect.

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The Wargames had such a great format you wonder how WCW manages to fuck it up so often post 1992. Then again it should never be a surprise to see 'WCW' and 'fuck up' in close proximity. Through the 90's the annual Wargames match had classics and atrocities. The '94 edition was somewhere in the middle.

 

The action here was reasonably good, though it was PG rated. There's the frequently changing dynamic of the heels having the numerical advantage before the face comes roaring in to even things up. It creates a strong structure and momentum by itself. Sting coming in to destroy his double was cool, but then he left in an angle and the finish fell a bit flat.

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I was underwhelmed by this. This WarGames felt more like a contractual obligation than a logical booking move. It's not the worst of the '90s WarGames or even close, but the highlights are pretty scattered. Ric Flair going nuts and low-blowing everyone is the high watermark, as well as seeing Farmer doing a pretty authentic Sting impersonation even if it draws "WE WANT STING" chants. Good heat for the post-match but it, like a ton of upcoming Savage beatdowns, goes on for too long. It's no wonder Savage wanted out of this program.

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I liked this as a booking piece of work and something that could have been done really hokey and lame but kept it all together. Certainly blood and perhaps overall hate could have helped things. We didn't see any viciousness from nash that he displayed in the match vs. Shawn for example and that would have been welcome in this type of environment. Sting seems justified for what he did and WCW has to be left searching for answers and the power of the NWO. A very unorthodox War Games that is a good match, but one nonetheless. ***1/4

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I thought this was definitely a good match, and more than that a very successful match in context. No, it wasn't a violent war and the action wasn't as good as the better Wargames matches, but as far as being a big, eventful match that furthered the NWO storyline, it was very successful and still an entertaining match. Wargames feels like it should be a blow-off and this definitely isn't a blowoff, but does hook me more into wanting to see how everything plays out from here. But still, that fact, plus how fairly anti-climactic the finish is, and how long the post-match beat down is to the extent it kind of takes your mind away from the match by the time the broadcast ends, I can see thinking it's disappointing, but in as a part of the ongoing story it totally works and was fun to watch.

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This was great.  It was one of the moments that really sucked me, and all of my friends, into the nWo/Sting/WCW angle back in the day.  Sting laying out the nWo and telling Luger/WCW to stick it (after they didn’t trust him) is one of my favorite moments in wrestling.  Everyone wanted to see what Sting would do next.  This VHS was rented many times.

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