WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: What Happened When w/ Tony Schiavone on Fall Brawl ’97, Curt Hennig’s turn, Arn Anderson stories, a crazy Steiner Brothers rib (Ep. 16)


Episode 16: WCW Fall Brawl 1997

Release Date: May 15th, 2017

Recap by: Dominic DeAngelo

Top Newsworthy Items:
-All things Arn Anderson
-Flair’s potential of heat with nWo
-The Steiner Brothers
-No Sting at this show

Subjects covered (with timestamps)

(10:50) Tony’s reaction to Arn Anderson’s retirement promo
(19:10) Hennig / nWo mimic Arn’s promo / Hall being a sh*t stirrer
(32:25) Sean Waltman & Terry Taylor
(37:15) Wrestling Observer’s take on Fall Brawl 1997, Tony’s announcing on the show
(44:20) Does Tony think that War Games was the worst one ever up until this point?
(50:10) Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
(52:45) Steiner Brothers vs. Harlem Heat
(59:40) Alex Wright vs. Ultimo Dragon
(1:04:22) Hennig backstage segment / Mongo & Debra’s relationship
(1:11:25) Arn Anderson water buffalo story
(1:14:40) Wrath & Mortis vs. Meng & Barbarian
(1:17:00) Giant vs. Scott Norton
(1:21:21) Main Event: War Games – nWo vs.The Four Horsemen
(1:37:30) June 19, 2017 – Tony & Conrad are covering the Four Horsemen. Poll for next week

Show Highlights
(10:50) Tony thought Arn Anderson’s retirement promo was spectacular – he’ll go down as one of the greatest promos in wrestling, one of the great wrestling minds in the business. Tony knew of Arn’s neck injuries for awhile before that. He is also one of the funniest guys ever. He’d take everyday things that happen in life and turn them funny. One story: Tony was in Chicago after an event in the Crockett era. They were out drinking and Arn passed out in a bar. David Crockett and Tony dragged him to a cab. They went to a hotel and Tony hid him behind a plant until they got checked in. They dragged him into the room and threw him onto the bed and closed the door. He woke up in the room and didn’t know where he was. Tony knew the retirement angle was coming.

(19:10) When was Tony aware of the long-term booking of Hennig replacing Arn in the Horsemen? Probably about a week out. When Tony saw the segment, did Tony know what the angle was going to turn out as? He didn’t. Tony also thought the Horsemen was getting watered down with new members. Flair endorsed Steve “Mongo” McMichael hard despite his wrestling ability. The next week after this Arn Anderson interview, they dedicate the next Nitro to Arn with clips. This also has the angle where the nWo mocked Arn. There was talks about Arn being okay with it, but his family was hurt by it. Tony was there for it and thought it was a very entertaining wrestling angle. This is what the nWo would do. Tony heard Flair and Arn may have been upset about it which surprised him. Allegedly, Bischoff nixes a Horsemen interference with the angle. Flair is pissed about this. Tony could see the run-in being nixed and would see that they were strapped for time too. Allegedly, this brings up a confrontation with Kevin Sullivan and Arn Anderson due to his family being hurt by the drinking part of it. Does Tony remember any sort of heat with Nash’s crew and the Flair contingent? Yeah he does – with Hall, Nash, Hogan all being apart of WCW and Flair being apart of it, it was bound to happen. He also said Hall was a sh*t stirrer. Hall & Nash thought they were the reason WCW was on top and they were right.

(32:25) Syxx’s impersonation of Flair: real heat or Ric being an entertainer? Tony thought Flair was just being an entertainer – no real heat. Tony wasn’t upset about all of this. Any heat on Terry Taylor for this? Politically, this angle seems a little divisive. Terry Taylor throughout history has heat. Why do you think, asks Conrad? Terry didn’t have a filter. It wasn’t that he was a mouthy prick, but he’d never held back. Terry didn’t know how to shut up, hold a secret, or things that just went better unsaid.

(37:15) Fall Brawl 1997 – 64.2% thumbs up, 20.9% thumbs down, 41 votes total. The thumbs down people, Tony remarks, were probably people of the old Horsemen guard. Tony says he gives it a thumbs in the middle, thumbs down because of his announcing as a turning to a corporate shill. He wish he would have let Heenan and Zybysko talk more. Tony thinks this was the start of his announcing downturn. He concedes that he didn’t like his commentary at all on this. Around that time in his life, Tony was on speed. Tony was diagnosed with adult ADD. He was on Cylert, which was a drug-like Ritalin. He would be so focused on the shows, but then he stopped taking it because it was bad for his liver. He could tell he was on speed for Fall Brawl 1997. Anyway the announcing sucked.

(44:20) Does Tony think that War Games was the worst one ever up until this point? He did – how can you not have blood in a match like that? Hogan was promoted for FB 1997 despite it being known that he had that show off. They also had fans make believe that Sting was going to be in the War Games match. Tony did know that things changed a lot – print items had to be done a long time in advance, could have been deceiving by the company, but it was more than likely just disorganization.

(50:10) Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero. 17 minutes. Great opener. Lots of hot moves back and forth. Guerrero wins and Meltzer gives it 3 3/4 stars. Tony absolutely loved it. They were both guys who really cared about the old school aspect of the business. One of the best openers in WCW history. Who was in control of the technical aspects of the show? There seemed to be a lot of snafus. Craig Leathers. Craig was in charge, and there was no way that he could compete with WWE production.

(52:45) Steiner Brothers vs. Harlem Heat. 11-12 minutes. Steiners win. 2 1/4 stars. Scott Steiner is big as a house. Tony says when you go back and think of the Steiners of the early ’90s, that was Tony’s favorite version of the Steiner Brothers. Conrad was curious about Tony’s perception on working with Scott. Rick’s rap that he was cool and level headed while Scott’s was the polar opposite. Tony’s interaction with Scott was pretty good and honest, Scott was a scary guy. He remembers interviewing Scott in a taped segment in Salsbury, MD, and he kept getting angry at messing up, and Tony made a comment for him to settle down which caused Scott to laugh. He got along with Scott and Rick was very laid back. The Steiners would continously rib Butch Reed and Conrad mentions the time where Butch asks Ron Simmons why they would screw with him and Ron says that he was “unf*ckwithable.” Did Tony see Steiners’ ribbing? An announcer in Germany named Oliver got drunk and passed out, so Rick & Scott drew swastikas on his face and shaved his head (in Germany!). They also ducktaped Chip Burnham’s hands together and literally stick the markers up his rear. They also would rough up Bischoff’s kid. Don’t bring markers to them to autograph signings apparently.

(59:40) Next up Alex Wright vs. Ultimo Dragon. Alex Wright wins at 18:43. Meltzer criticizes Tony’s announcing when he forgets Wright’s move set. What did Tony think of the match? Tony did think his announcing was crappy, but he said he’d probably have gotten a better response by Meltzer if he called him after every show which a lot of guys did. Mark Madden told Tony that if he called Meltzer he would probably get a better write up. He called Meltzer twice, once when he was drunk and another time to set the record when he left WWF for WCW, which he gives credit that Dave covered that accurately. Tony was of the old school class that wrestling journalism would expose the business which he was against. Tony thought Alex Wright was an underrated worker.

(1:04:22) nWo segment where they allegedly attacked Curt Hennig backstage, removing him from the match. Same angle they did a year ago in WWF with Mero and HHH. Jeff Jarrett vs. Dean Malenko. Match goes 15 minutes. Malenko submits to Jarrett after the figure four. Tony was confused as to why Debra left ringside and then came back. Does this Jarrett/Horsemen connection reflect a Buddy Landell – Ric Flair connection? Absolutely, Tony said. When did Mongo and Debra start to split? Mongo was a hard partier and it’s always a mess to bring your wife into the wrestling business. Any sort of weirdness from this with the boys in the back? They were in different locker rooms, but there was always weirdness with Sullivan / Benoit, Bagwell / DDP. Never a good idea. Arn Anderson is a wrestling anomaly: he’s been in the same house for 30 years, married to the same woman.

(1:11:25) Arn Anderson water buffalo story: Jim Cornette. Back in the Crockett days, you could take off right out of the field. Allegedly, the Schiavone children are dropping Tony off at the airport. Arn sees Tony’s kids and makes a comment not suited for this recap (give it a listen – very funny line!) When Tony’s son Chris was born, Lois came to Jim Crockett’s promotions one day and Tony saw her whisper something to Arn. Arn makes the announcement to Tony and the locker room that he was having another kid.

(1:14:40) Wrath & Mortis vs. Meng & Barbarian. Wrath & Mortis win after 12:30. 1 1/4 star match. Tony thought for these guys, they worked a pretty good match. Mortis is Kris Kanyon, who he thinks is one of the great in-ring performers in a short span of all time. Great in-ring worker. James Vanderberg is an interesting character. Tony thought he sold the Tongan Death Grip very well.

(1:17:00) Giant vs. Scott Norton. 5:30 minutes. Giant wins after a choke slam. The significance of him having no music, the kip-up into a dropkick, 1 1/4 star. Fun match for what it was. Giant was kind of the ace in the hole for WCW. Tony also said credit needs to be given to Scott Norton. Conrad agrees.

(1:19:25) Luger & DDP vs. Scott Hall & Randy Savage. Luger & DDP win after Larry Zybysko makes the three count. Did Hall give Larry the rub for this? Tony remembers this.

(1:21:21) Main Event: War Games – nWo vs.The Four Horsemen. 19:30 minutes. Tony never liked the concept of the War Games match, especially when there was no blood. The biggest pop you can get in wrestling is the 1-2-3 victory, but in a War Games match doesn’t provide that. Storyline for this match is Curt Hennig is the babyface, nWo gets the two-on-one coin toss favor. Benoit and Syxx took some great bumps. A ton of heat on Flair after this match. Flair says this match killed the territory. Conrad doesn’t understand the concept – Flair is getting cosmetic surgery so how can they be critical of this angle when he’s getting his head squashed in the cage? Tony doesn’t have an answer for that, but he saw it as an extension of the nWo being a bunch of degenerates. He thought the visual of the nWo hammering on Ric Flair while the Horsemen watched handcuffed was a great visual. The only thing, Conrad says, is that there’s no payoff for the Horsemen. Did Sting’s no appearance hurt the show? Tony thinks so. What was crowd mood that night? Tony says it is hard to tell that the crowd heat is angry at the promotion or the angle – he saw people legit pissed off and he thinks that was because of the angle. The next big Horsemen moment wouldn’t happen until next year. The slamming of the cage on Flair’s head came off really well. Conrad thinks Klondike Bill has had a hand in building the cage. Tony says Bill would always hit him with a reoccurring theme recalling his days in Canada about a story about women and a coffee table (my goodness)

(1:37:30) June 19, 2017 – Tony & Conrad are covering the Four Horsemen. Poll for next week is 1998 themed: nWo Souled Out 1998, WCW Bash At The Beach 1998, WCW Road Wild 1998, WCW Halloween Havoc 1998

Score and review (8.4)

What sold this episode for me? All the good Arn Anderson stories, an interesting look at the Steiner Brothers, and Tony’s take on Arn Anderson’s retirement promo. Plus there are a lot of funny, NSFW yarns spun. Nothing as far as wrestling tidbits go really shake the earth, but it’s a really good episode for any WCW fan.

About the Author

Dominic DeAngelo has a weekly column on PWTorch.com, “Rising Star, Fading Star” and runs a sports, entertainment, and lifestyle blog in the Pittsburgh area called The Keystone Statement. In addition, he writes book reviews for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His wrestling top three are Scott Hall, Bret Hart & Bruno Sammartino. Follow him on Twitter @DominicDeAngelo and visit his site www.keystonestatement.com for good articles and the two podcasts he hosts, “The Keystone Cast” & “Here Comes Everybody.”

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