REWIND: War Games, Fall Brawl 1994
Ah, the smell of apple pies baking in ovens, the sound of dry leaves crunching under your feet, and the flesh of your enemies being grated across a steel cage. It's Fall, baby!
Well, technically we're still about a week out from Fall officially starting, but it's close enough to sit back with some Fall Brawl.
This show may be most remembered for Jim Duggan beating Steve Austin in 35-seconds to win the United States Title. Even as a kid I knew that sucked. I had already grown tired of Hulk Hogan as a wise, wise 9-year-old when Hogan pulled Sid out of the ring at the 1992 Royal Rumble. I was there in person and my friends and I were shouting Hogan down from the cheap seats the whole time.
When Hogan showed up in WCW, it became painfully obvious that all of these old WWF guys just followed with him. I think I was still not in a place where I could see WCW on TV regularly at that time, but I bought just about every wrestling magazine for sale at the grocery store so I was at least familiar with what was going on.
A year to the day from this idiotic loss to Duggan, Steve Austin would show up in ECW and begin his incredible rise to the top of professional wrestling. That run in ECW barely lasted 3 months, but it felt hugely important to Austin and ECW (and Mikey Whipwreck, and me) at the time.
But that's all superfluous to the main event – War Games pitting Dusty & Dustin Rhodes and The Nasty Boys against The Stud Stable of Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Bunk, and Colonel Robert Parker.
I watched the Peacock version which seemed to be pretty much intact, including some pre-match video packages detailing Double A turning on Dustin Rhodes leading to the impassioned promo from Dusty begging Dustin to allow him to be his partner in War Games. Wearing some kind of purple and gold Texas but in outer space button up, Dustin obliged his father's plea to give him not a handshake but a hug and a kiss to seal the deal. The two embraced and the deal was on!
In another video recap, Dusty smashed a wooden chair over the head of Meng. Meng didn't flinch, the chair splintering on and around his head, and then applied a nerve hold to Dusty bringing The Dream to his knees.
Finally, in some sort of bar and/or underground sex club, Dusty asked The Nasty Boys to align with himself and Dustin. They responded by beating on some shirtless dads. The three then fisted to make things official.
Arn and Dustin started things off, a little surprising since this was the catalyst for the whole thing in the first place. You'd usually expect the two central points of the story to hold out to build some suspense, but Fall Brawl 1994 subverted expectations all around.
Dustin did this incredible move early on where he stuffed Arn's head between the aprons of the two rings, hugged his legs to his chest, and repeatedly drove Anderson's shoulders into each apron. It was the most outlandish and ridiculous looking pro wrestling bullshit and it ruled.
With Dustin holding a single-leg crab on Arn, the Stud Stable won the coin toss allowing Bunkhouse Bunk to enter the fray. The Stud Stable called "heads" on the coin toss, but I'm pretty sure that coin landed tails-up after referee Randy Anderson fumbled the toss and dropped the quarter on the ground.
The Stable maintained control over Dustin for the entire two-minute period, as you do, until Jerry Sags became the fourth man to enter the match. He powerslammed Bunkhouse Buck into the wall of the cage and it legitimately looked like the entire cage was about the buckle.
Sags piledrove Buck in the center of one of the rings, Buck's feet touching the top of the cage. I know WWE and AEW do their own versions of War Games and everything is much fancier and larger now, but for my money I really love the claustrophobic look and feel of the cage just barely being taller than the wrestlers, Sid almost murdering Brian Pillman excepted.
Terry Funk, completely out of his mind, entered next and could barely contain his excitement. He first launched a chair at the side of the cage before removing his cowboy boot while trying to rip the door open. He flew into the action, swinging his cowboy boot wildly and connected with Dustin while also sending himself flying over the top rope and onto the two ring aprons.
As the 30-second countdown hit, Sags piledrove Funk between the rings with Funk looking like he got spiked a little awkwardly on one apron. He fell between the two rings, disappearing into the abyss briefly before coming back up with, I think, the belt from around his jeans.
Brian Knobbs was in next and did the needful – he ran wild on everybody to the glee of the crowd while Colonel Robert Parker looked ready to shit his pants on the outside. My man had the full-body flop sweats counting down the seconds until he became a legal participant in the match.
Parker balked at getting into the match at all until Buck caught Dustin from behind. Parker laid in a few kicks and punches on a restrained Dustin, looking like the intense physical activity may have injured his hand. With some gusto behind him, Parker delighted in whipping Sags across the chest with a leather belt.
Dustin finally recovered enough to grab a belt of his own and stalk Parker as the crowd began to rumble. Dustin flung his arm back and whipped Parker with the belt a few times as the crowd reached their absolute loudest until, possibly, Dusty entered and all four men began to punish Parker.
On the outside, Meng tried scaling the cage as Dusty locked a figure four leglock on Parker. As Parker writhed in pain, the Nasty Boys took turns dropping elbows on Parker. Although there was no referee actually in the ring, they called for the bell. In grand War Games fashion, we got the (assumed) surrender from the manager wrestler, Colonel Robert Parker.
Post match, the winners vacated and made their way to the back as Meng cradled Parker who yelled about all of his various maladies – they crushed something in his chest and his legs! As The Stud Stable left the ring, Heenan on commentary remarked that it looked like Parker had an accident. This is apparently a true thing, as Parker supposedly had a bout of diarrhea at some point during the final moments of the match. With the way the Nasty Boys were laying in those splashes and elbows at the end, this would not surprise me.
I honestly wasn't expecting much from this match – it apparently received 3 1/2 stars in the Observer, which is the metric Pro Fight DB displays on its match listings, but it also had The Nasty Boys and Colonel Parker as active participants. On the other hand, it had two Rhodeses, Arn Anderson, and Terry Funk. Anything could have happened!
I was wrong to be skeptical! This was just pure, dumb fun. There have been some real War Games stinkers over the years, like that year they did three teams with some weird number one contender stipulation. This one was just under 20 minutes, didn't belabor anything, and was non-stop from beginning to end.
Ranking of REWINDs
The latest rankings! These are always subject to later change and rearrangement, but I think this one slots in right below Flair & Sting vs Slater & Muta, which was another wild fight that didn't have any sort of slowdown or pause button in it. I may be somewhat biased, though, as I love War Games a great deal.
- Jaguar Yokota vs Lioness Asuka
- Keiji Mutoh vs Shinya Hashimoto
- Nikita Koloff vs Magnum TA
- Kenta Kobashi vs Stan Hansen
- Ric Flair & Sting vs Dick Slater & Great Muta
- War Games, Fall Brawl 1994
- Jumbo Tsuruta, Masanobu Fuchi, and Mighty Inoue vs Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa, and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
- Brock Lesnar vs The Rock
- Sting vs Barry Windham
- Terry Funk vs Bret Hart
- Cactus Jack vs Terry Funk
- 2 Cold Scorpio vs Sabu
- Big Van Vader vs Davey Boy Smith
- Masahiro Chono vs Kazuyuki Fujita