By the end of February 1998 WCW was still living with, and trying to get out from under, the clusterflub that was to have been their shining moment: Starrcade ’97. The lackluster Starrcade card coupled with the horrendous booking of Sting/Hogan—the biggest match in WCW history—actually set WCW back at a time when they could least afford it, what with the debuts of Bret Hart and Thunder. After a bizarre rematch on the next night’s NITRO (Dec. 29, 1997), the pay-off of which took place after the show went off the air, the title was held up on the debut edition of Thunder on January 8, 1998. Rather than finish the angle at Souled Out ’98 on January 24, 1998, the decision was made to wait until SuperBrawl VIII at the end of February, leaving WCW without a World Champion for over six weeks.
In reality, SuperBrawl VIII was little more than a Starrcade ’97 reset, a chance to get right what had previously gone so wrong. Featuring a better card full of great wrestling, swerves, and memorable moments, SuperBrawl VIII looked to deliver in every way Starrcade ’97 didn’t. But by this time the bloom was off the rose, and whatever momentum Sting may have had coming out of Starrcade was beginning to wane by the time of SuperBrawl. Fans, though, were still invested in the WCW product and the Hogan/Sting story and turned out in droves to watch SuperBrawl VIII, outdrawing the WWF’s No Way Out of Texas from the previous week by slightly more than 2 to 1, drawing the second-largest PPV buyrate, a 1.1 for over 399,000 homes, in company history to that point.
But just how well has SuperBrawl VIII aged? Let’s hit ‘play’ and find out!
As for edits, it’s mainly music (Goldberg, Jericho, etc.). The audio is a bit wacky at times with the announcers sounding as if they’re broadcasting from the bottom of a cereal box, an issue not present during the original broadcast, and consistent across multiple platforms.
Context for this event is largely complete. Though Thunder is still absent from the Network archives as of this writing all prior editions of NITRO as well as all prior Clash of the Champions and PPVs are available for you to enjoy today!
WCW/nWo SuperBrawl VIII (WATCH)
Date: February 22, 1998 – Location: Cow Palace, San Francisco, California
Attendance: 12,620 – PPV Buyrate: 1.1 (>399,000 buys)
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, & Bobby Heenan – Interviews: Lee Marshal & “Mean” Gene Okerlund
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
WCW World Heavyweight Champion: VACANT
WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Diamond Dallas Page
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott)
WCW World Television Champion: Rick Martel
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho
The show opens with a vignette highlighting the Sting/Hogan feud and the story coming out of Starrcade ’97. “A man with hatred in his heart seeks to destroy this vindicator from the sky. But can he do so without ruining all that surrounds him?”
In the arena the pyro goes off as Tony Schiavone welcomes us to the show. Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan discuss the Luger/Savage “no DQ” match and the main event Sting/Hogan showdown for the vacant World title before sending it to the ring.
— WCW World Television Championship (WATCH – 2:59)
Booker T vs. Rick Martel(c)
This TV title “gauntlet” match came about on the go-home edition of NITRO when Perry Saturn first defeated Rick Martel before Martel then defeated Booker T for the TV title a short time later that night, thanks to Saturn’s interference. Rick Martel, who debuted in WCW on the January 5, 1998 edition of NITRO, was, according to the “rumor and innuendo”, supposed to win this first match when a near-career ending injury caused the finish to be changed on the fly. According to Martel, however, this is not the case. The match and the finish, aside from the injury, went as originally planned.
The crowd is H-O-T for WCW and this opener. Moments into the match The Flock shows up. Tony assumes that The Flock had to buy their seats but we just saw them walk around the ring and climb over the rail. Martel’s injury occurs at the 4:47 mark when Booker T over throws Martel with a biel and Martel’s right leg bends awkwardly on the second rope. In the end Booker T connects with the Harlem Sidekick as Martel comes off the second rope for the pin at 10:34 to win the WCW World Television title for a second time (of an eventual record-setting six) and ending Rick Martel’s lone WCW World TV title reign at 6-days. Despite the injury this is a very good opening match. Martel, after surgery, would wrestle only one more match, on the July 13, 1998 edition of NITRO against Stevie Ray, where a neck injury would end Martel’s career for good.
WINNER and NEW WCW World Television Champion, Booker T (Pin, 10:34)
As soon as the bell rings Perry Saturn is over the rail and in the ring, tossing Martel to the floor and putting Booker T in the Rings of Saturn.
— WCW World Television Championship (WATCH – 16:22)
Perry Saturn vs. Booker T(c)
Saturn dominates this match in and out of the ring with plenty of well-timed, and innovative, hope spots sprinkled in. Near the end of the match we learn from Mike Tenay that Rick Martel tore his MCL in the prior bout. Late in the match Booker T makes a comeback, but misses the Harlem Hangover which leads to a series of near-falls before Booker T slips behind Saturn and nails the Harlem Sidekick for the pin at 14:20 to retain the WCW World TV title.
WINNER and STILL WCW World Television Champion, Booker T (Pin, 14:20)
After replays we head backstage to WCW’s internet location where Mark Madden and the late Lee Marshal interview WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho. Jericho tells Lee that he’s going to take Juventud Guerrera’s mask, whether we want to see his face or not.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 32:44)
La Parka vs. Disco Inferno
If you thought an angle about stealing a jacket was ridiculous, this was about dance moves! Either way, this is a fun, fast-paced fight from the opening bell. Eventually the referee takes a shot to the eyes and La Parka, who controls much of this one, brings his chair into the ring. Disco rocket launches La Parka into the chair from the top, though, before hitting the Chart Buster for the win at 11:41. “Press number eleven on the ol’ jukebox,” Heenan says.
WINNER is Disco Inferno (Pin, 11:41)
After replays we got to “Mean” Gene in the aisle with J.J. Dillon (who gets booed out of the building). Okerlund asks about the possible reinstatement of referee Nick Patrick, suspended after the fiasco at Starrcade ’97. Dillon calls Patrick out and, after explaining the overly convoluted backstory, reinstates Patrick on the spot. Patrick, his mullet looking poodle fresh, is over the moon and kisses Okerlund on the cheek. Patrick says he’s excited to prove himself in the main event when Dillon informs Patrick that he is not the referee for the main event, a ruling Patrick can’t believe. Patrick shouts about “back pay” before walking off. “This id’n’t over,” Patrick says.
— “Impromptu Singles Match” (WATCH – 50:59)
Brad Armstrong vs. Bill Goldberg
Why Goldberg’s original WCW music has been replaced is beyond me. Goldberg quickly takes control of the match and makes quick work of Armstrong. Goldberg hits a beautiful overhead pump handle slam before crushing Armstrong with the spear and ending things with A one-handed Jackhammer at 2:25.
WINNER is Bill Goldberg (Pin, 2:25)
— WCW Cruiserweight Championship – “Mask vs. Title Match” (WATCH – 56:56)
Juventud Guerrera vs. “Lionheart” Chris Jericho(c)
This is such a great match. Juvi hits the 450-splash and appears to have won the Cruiserweight title at the 10:33 mark when the bell rings, but Jericho had grabbed rope before the three count. The referee continues the match and Jericho goes to work on Juvi’s leg. Though Juvi rebounds Jericho blocks a Juvi hurricanrana attempt and cinches in the Liontamer for the submission win at 13:29 to retain the Cruiserweight Championship.
WINNER and STILL WCW Cruiserweight Champion, “Lionheart” Chris Jericho (Submission, 13:29)
After the match Jericho gets on the mic and thanks the “Jericho-holics” before demanding Juvi take of his mask. Jericho calls Juvi “Quasi-juice” before warning those in the crowd with weak stomachs to turn away “because this guy is uhhh-gly!” Eventually Jericho walks over and yanks the mask off of Juvi’s face. Juvi looks ashamed as he mouths “I love you” to the camera before saluting the fans.
Tony tosses it the “internet location” but the next match comes out instead.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:16:52)
Steve “Mongo” McMichael vs. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
This was Davey Boy’s first program coming back into WCW in the end of January 1998. This one, which isn’t as bad as some might expect, doesn’t last very long. The match goes to the floor where “Mongo” smashes his right forearm on the ringpost. Back in the ring “Mongo” goes for the tombstone but his arm gives out and Davey Boy cinches in an armbar. Though “Mongo” is screaming “no” and refusing to quit the referee nonetheless stops the contest at 6:10. After the match an irate “Mongo” yells at the referee and shoves him to the mat.
WINNER is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (Referee stoppage, 6:10)
— WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (WATCH – 1:26:17)
Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page(c)
This was the rare PPV babyface title match in WCW that’s not about a grudge but respect. Mike Tenay saying that DDP order a “Best of Chris Benoit tape” to prepare for this match still makes me laugh. This match starts out as a straight-up contest that devolves into a fight. This is a fantastic, old school wrestling match that features great psychology, great pacing, and great action. Benoit hits the rolling Germans and scores a very close two-count that upsets the fans. DDP turns things around with a floating DDT before reversing a Benoit backslide into the Diamond Cutter for the win at 15:47 to retain the U.S. title.
WINNER and STILL WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, Diamond Dallas Page (Pin, 15:47)
After replays we go to the announce position where Schiavone says that The Giant, because of flight connection issues, will not be appearing on the PPV as was previously thought and that we will hear from The Giant tomorrow night on NITRO about the condition of his neck after the injury sustained at Souled Out. Heenan, meanwhile, just wants to see some wrestling, not talk to Tenay or Schiavone.
Next we see a vignette highlighting The Giant’s path of destruction and the injury brutal sustained at Souled Out at the hands of Kevin Nash.
— “No Disqualification Match” (WATCH – 1:48:00)
“Macho Man” Randy Savage w/Miss Elizabeth vs. “Total Package” Lex Luger
The fans are all over Luger in this one. Luger’s ribs are taped and Savage is fired up, so the story is pretty simple. Savage dominates this match in the ring and out from the very beginning which means it’s not all that exciting to watch. Eventually Luger no sells a suplex and lifts Savage in the Torture Rack before Elizabeth runs in a rakes Luger’s eyes. Suddenly “Buff” Bagwell, Scott Norton, Vincent, and Brian Adams run down but are fought off by both Savage and Luger. With the ring cleared Luger lifts Savage in the Torture Rack again as Hollywood Hogan tells the rest of the nWo not to save Savage, who submits at 7:35. Afterwards Hogan tells the nWo “I’m glad he got beat” before calling Savage a “piece of trash”.
WINNER is “Total Package” Lex Luger (Submission, 7:35)
— WCW Unified World Tag Team Championship – “Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 2:01:33)
The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) w/Dusty Rhodes vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott)(c) w/Ted DiBiase
Anybody with a set of eyes could see this swerve coming. There isn’t much of a match here. Mere moments in Scott Steiner turns on brother Rick (and DiBiase, who gets posted by Rhodes) and helps Scott Hall deliver the Outsider’s Edge for the 1-2-3 at 4:18. This ended the seventh and final WCW World Tag Team title reign of The Steiner Brothers at 13-days and marked The Outsiders fifth (of an eventual six) WCW World Tag title victory. After the match Scott Steiner hands the WCW Tag Team titles to The Outsiders and officially joins the New World Order.
WINNERS and NEW WCW Unified World Tag Team Champions, The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) w/Dusty Rhodes (Pin, 4:18)
Up next we get an Uncensored ’98 promo, which has to be the second worst WCW PPV promo behind WrestleWar ’90: Wild Thing.
— Vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship – “There Must Be A Winner” (WATCH – 2:14:35)
Special Guest Ring Announcer: Michael Buffer
Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting
Hogan’s trash talk coming to the ring is muted completely now since before we could still hear the “Voodoo Child” song. This rematch plays out nearly identically to Starrcade and that’s not exactly what fans were looking for! Partway through Hogan pulls referee Charles Robinson in front a Stinger Splash which takes out Robinson and brings in Nick Patrick, whose adherence to the rules angers Hogan. Sting makes the big comeback and goes for the Scorpion Death Drop when Hogan kicks Patrick on the way down. The kick was supposed to be in the conkers but Hogan missed. Out comes the nWo, Norton, “Buff”, Vincent, Brian Adams, and Konnan, each of which Sting fights off. In the scrum Randy Savage runs in and gloms Hogan with a can of spray paint, tucking the can by Hogan’s side. Sting turns, drops, and covers Hollywood for the pin at 16:34 to win his fourth (of an eventual six) WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Though the match and finish were terrible the fans are nonetheless excited for the finish.
WINNER and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Sting (Pin,16:34)
After the match Sting discovers the can of spray paint and tags Hogan’s chest with “WCW”. J.J. Dillon, in an iconic WCW moment, presents Sting with the title as the fans roar. Sting celebrates in the ring briefly before walking to the back. We see a glimpse of Hogan as he comes to before a slow-mo shot of Sting celebrating as the credits roll.
With only two “bad” matches, Davey Boy/”Mongo” and Sting/Hogan, SuperBrawl VIII continues to stand the test of time as one of WCW’s great events of the era! Boasting classic Cruiserweight and U.S. title matches, as well as a massive heel turn by Scott Steiner, SuperBrawl VIII proves that though the WWF was gaining steam and the ratings tightening, WCW was far from finished!
Already a subscriber to the WWE Network? Then you can relive SuperBrawl VIII or see it for the very first time! As always, don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments below!
Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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