Fall Brawl '97: War Games - Sunday, 09/14/97

Fall Brawl '97: War Games - Sunday, 09/14/97

By Bill

Ken M. sent in the following arena report with the subject "Winston-Salem Rocked!":
The Meanie Weenie sends this arena report:

This past weekend my friend (we'll call him Bob forsake of argument) and I were fortunate enough to attend WCW's Fall Brawl at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston Salem, North Carolina. After nine years of being a fan this would be the first time I had attended a live wrestling event. So to say the least I was a little anxious and kind of excited.

From my home it is about a thirty minute drive to the Coliseum. So as to assure that we arrived early enough to take a look around before bell time we left at about 5:20 pm but due to the traffic situation, that being the fact that a police officer was holding the light to allow cars to turn one of which was a white limo with what I think was Harlem Heat in it , we finally got on coliseum property around 6pm. When we pulled up to a sidewalk to get out (we were let out we weren't driving) we were met by a security person. Apparently we had pulled up to VIP entrance which had been marked off to keep other cars out so the guy thought we might be heading backstage to the wrestler's and crew entrance this didn't dawn on me until after I had opened my big mouth and told Bob that we probably wouldn't be able to even see the wrestlers from our seats I actually said out loud and the guy heard me and paid no more attention to us. Next time I won't be so stupid.

That brings up another topic, not the fact that I'm stupid, but the fact that we had what sounded like lousy seats "Section 233 Row N Seats 5,6" and here is my excuse: When I heard the event was to take place, I went to the Coliseum's and ticketmaster's websites but both had no mention of when tickets went on sale and said that ticket prices had not been announced . Well the next week I was on vacation and while watching Nitro from an hotel room I found out the tickets went on sale the next day. Since I was far from home I had to wait until one week after tickets went on sale to get them. Keep in mind 4,000 tickets were sold the first day alone so ofcourse I only had two choices $50 tickets or $15 tickets, being the financially challenged person I am I opted for the cheap seats.

Before I jump ahead of myself let me tell what happened trying to get to those seats. First we got into the coliseum lobby then we had our tickets taken and were given the stubs then we were off and for a good couple of feet we were really truckin', then things came to a sudden halt. There were people everywhere. I made it to the merchandise vendors and when there wasn't room to move any further I stopped and bought my Ric Flair shirt. So Bob and me finally made it to our seats at about 15 minutes after 6pm and who do we sit amongst but the largest group of marks this side of the Mid South coliseum. I don't mean to insult my home state or wrestling fans from that state but it is likely that the average IQ of the entire building might not have made it out of the teens.

Alright, we have 15 minutes until the free for all so what do we do? We sit there and listen to the theme music of every one of the WCW wrestlers and the fans were even into this...they cheered with the Horseman theme and booed the nWo's music.

During this time the only person I could spot was the hard to miss Doug Dillinger who was talking with the police who would be near the ring (more on them in a minute).

Finally after a seemingly endless wait and numerous light and graphics test (they fiddle with the graphics on the monitor near the wrestlers entrance) we started the free for all (we didn't get the free for all but they did start trying to pump the crowd up around this time). First thing we hear is what sounds like Sable (from the WWF) entrance music but instead we get Wildcat Willey who does cartwheels and uses a trampoline to do flips in the ring for a good 5 minutes. Then the ring announcer (I'm going to go out on a limb and say his name is Gapeta anyway he's been with the WCW since Pangea split) comes out he welcomes everybody talks a little about the pay per view then the the first thing he tells us is to at no time throw things into the ring he says that a few children have been injured because of this. For some reason the crowd boos him. He then ask for all children under twelve to stand up and says that something you might throw at him could hit these children.

He goes on to tell the people about the Luger DDP vs Savage Hall match I guess this was done after Luger and DDP complained that it seem that they wouldn't be at the event after they were taken out of the main event. Then he ask if anyone wants to be on television and says the best way to do it is to have a sign he says that they have cameras that can pick you up even in the last row of the arena. He also says that the sign must be something they can show and if it's offensive it will be yanked. One liner note to that, before we went on the air WCW crew handed out signs to people in the front row I didn't see what they said but I did see people fighting for them while they were being passed out.

While were on the subject of the front row I'll tell you that if the arena looked packed to the rim on pay per view it was an optical illusion because behind the front row there was room for about three more rows of seats I guess the angle at which they shot hides this. Well, after that the countdown starts and the crew and cameramen run around giving a signal for people to make noise they come on the air.

Well, I guess you all know what happens after that, so I'll stick to things you may have not noticed during the PPV. After every match they switched rings for reasons beyond me. After a match the winner walks out the loser sits in the ring tries to get some sort of ovation from the crowd then leaves after which a new referee (different one for each match I think) and the ring announcer step in.

The area behind the wrestler's entrance is blacked out with tarps that cover the seats. No one is allowed to sit near this area although some sat above it on the second deck.

There's not really a bad seat in the house. You can see fine from almost anywhere. the WCW sits the arena up perfectly. The rings look smaller in person but the wrestlers on the other hand look larger.

During the entire event the heels (bad guys) entered from the right and the faces (good guys) entered from the left

Even after a warning people still throw things. I saw a number of paper airplanes and drink bottles fly onto the first level from the top level. I also saw some things thrown on top of the cage one of which became stuck (whatever it was it looked orange).

Harlem Heat were the best there at working the crowd. The other heels seemed not to care about the crowd.

When Luger went under the ring, he was there the whole time. No officials consulted him or anything I'm still wondering how he was signaled about Larry making his way to the ring either he had a monitor below or a walky talky.

The announcers don't always face away from the ring the entire show. At one time they did look towards it they might of been on a break while a promo was running.

The "Lets get ready to rumble" guy went over well with the crowd even though he only announced one match.

The cage was hanging in view to the crowd the whole time.

After WCW went off the air. The little referee (maybe you know who I'm talking about) came to the ring with a towel, reached under the cage and covered Flair's head as if to apply pressure to his cut, I'm thinking he might have bladed too deep and he wasn't clotting fast enough. After that Flair was carried back stage. Soon after a fight broke out in the ringside crowd near the walkway the wrestlers use. After a little confrontation the fighters turned their attention to the cops who were trying to butt in. They also became part of the action. One man was escorted away by the cops. The lights on the ring kinda went down and then the ring announcer thanked us for attending Fall Brawl and told us to drive safetly. Which was smart, since beer was sold during the show. Then the cage was slowly lifted.

All in all the show was great except for the ending which made a lot of people angry, this was noticed all through the arena as we exited (lots of angry Horesman fans who were about to get into it with some rather over cellist nWoites) . On the way to the parking lot we saw a couple of limos, some wrestling newsletter flyers which featured a nude picture of Sunny on it (it was a doctored picture which can be found on the Net), and a couple of nWo signs that had been ripped up. So as we left, I was satisfied and glad I had been there and hope to someday return.

Michael G. sends in the following arena report:

I just read your Fall Brawl report and thought I would fill in some of the gaps since I was sitting about three rows back. The chant you heard at the beginning of the Jericho match was "boring." There were no warm-up matches so the crowd was really ready for some action. Even though the crowd was ready to hang Eddie when he came out, he got one of the biggest pops of the night when he won the belt. He really can work a good match. I really hate how Harlem Heat always play the heels in NC, because they really get a good pop whether it be in Winston-Salem or Charlotte. The crowd was indeed chanting "faggot" for Wright, and most of the Dragon's kicks never did land. (Oh, and not everyone was dancing with Wright, just the people who had to put down their beer first.) I think Mortis is up to a name change, maybe "Human Punching Bag" would be better. Glad to see them get the win though. On a sidenote, when you see the event staff yelling at people at the events, its not because they are really doing anything wrong. They yell for people to sit down. I thought War Games was really good with a boatload of violence. The ending did suck, but at least Hennig is out of the Horsemen. Flair did indeed blade, and after the match all they did was uncuff the Horsemen funny how Doug Dillinger had the key all along) and help Flair to the back with Mongo yelling about how this wasn't over. I was happy to see Benoit get some great one-liners tonight, but he seemed really concerned AND pissed off at the injury to Flair. All in all, a great show in my opinion, but I guess it's always better when you're there. Oh, and by the way, I was the guy they showed with the "Too Sweet" sign as Hall was making his entrance. You'd be amazed at how long you have to yell at a cameraman to get him to give you your 5 seconds of air time. Later.

Jerry Lee P. sends in the following arena report:

I wanted to write with a few comments about Fall Brawl, from the stand point of having actually attended it in person. I'm from New Bern, NC which is about 3-4 hours from Winston-Salem, and it's about the only WCW event I can attend (I went to the one last year as well). My overall impression of the event was pretty good, I had great seats, 5th row, and right on the railing along the wrestlers entrance walkway. My one complaint was that at Fall Brawl they have the two rings set up and if you are seated on the left or right sides of the arena you have a hard time seeing the matches in the far ring.

On to the main reason I'm writing this is in regard to the seemingly great numbers of fans who continue to want to make asses of themselves by throwing stuff in the ring, using laser pointers and making obscene signs. You see it on TV all the time, and in person it's even worse, there were quite a few 'troublemakers' arrested near the section I was in, most of which were drunk. I still do not understand why they sell beer at these events, you're just asking for trouble IMHO. At the beginning of the event, Dave Penzer(sp) asked that everyone please refrain from throwing things into the ring or at the wrestlers, to which a lot of the crowd started booing, as if to pelt the ring was a God given right.

Well, to their credit, WCW did an admirable job at keeping very tight security, ecspecially during the nWo matches, and the only time anyone tried to throw things was after the tape stopped rolling and when the nWo team was leaving the ring. Well, to my absolute delight I got to see some idiot, debris throwing fan get his, and in grand fashion. Nash was starting towards the back when a fan one row in front of me pelted him with something, I never did find out what he throw, but I did see this huge man making a beeline straight towards the rail, upon which he grabbed the fan and literally shoved him into the floor very hard, and screamed, "Don't you ever throw anything at me again motherf****r!!!!" His face was blood red, I thought he was going to kill that fan. Security quickly swarmed over and calmed Nash down and he left, while I laughed at the poor jerk who probably wet his pants.

The look on Nash's face was truly frightening to behold. I don't know if anyone else has written you about this, but it is totally true, and was one of the highlights of the night at least for me. As a couple little side notes, at the beginning of the event a fan produced a sign that read 'Steven Regal Was Framed!' which immediately drew the attention of Doug Dillinger and other security, and they took the sign and trashed it. They also gave out Debra posters, I didn't receive one though. Also Buddy Lee Parker hung out behind the last row much of the night, I approached him and got a quick pic, he was very nice, as was Nick Patrick, he was very cool. Well, that's it just thought I'd share some of the behind the scenes info, take care and keep up the good work.

Jeremy from Yadkinville, NC sends in this arena report:

Let me start by saying this was my first live wrestling event in around ten years.. When I was a kid I went to Starrcade in Greensboro, the one with the Midnight Express/Road Warriors scaffold match, don't remember the year.

The big thing that struck me was how powerful the moves look when executed properly. The belly to back suplexes, powerslams, etc. looked a lot better live than they do on TV...on the other hand, Dragon's missed kicks looked horrible...I'm sure they looked a little better on TV.

I'm not going to go down the card and tell what happened, you already know that...so i'll just tell about some of the things the TV audience didn't see.

During the first several matches Jimmy Hart was standing beside the entrance curtain watching, wearing a suit and tie of all things, I thought that was kinda' interesting.

A lot fewer signs than I expected...in the high point of the night for me, my girlfriend and I were holding up a sign that said "Hall and Syxx, the ambiguously gay duo" and as Hall and Savage were leaving the ring, they saw it. (We were sitting just overlooking the curtain area where the wrestlers exited). So Hall looks up, laughs...and says "Oh, come on." It's not a brush with greatness, I guess.. but I thought it was really cool. On a down note, right after this one of the crack WCW security guys snagged our sign.

Only saw one guy get kicked out, that was for hitting Nick Patrick with some popcorn.

Eddy looks huge by the way...He's beefed up obviously and you can see it on TV.. but live he is just massive.

From where we were, we didn't see Flair's head get slammed in the cage...after it was over the nWo just left, and flipped off a bunch of kids in our section as they made their way backstage...Flair was carried out...didn't see any blood but my view of his head was blocked by the guys carrying him.

A big fight broke out along the entranceway right after flair was taken past...security pulled some guy out of the crowd...and finally...in the parking lot as we were waiting to leave...we saw a couple of guys burn a horsemen shirt...these were horsemen fans who were pissed, not nWo fans.

Summing up: we had a great time...the last match was an amazing let down, though..I don't know how the crowd usually reacts to things like this...but as we walked out it seemed like nearly everyone was pissed off...seemingly not at the nWo.. but at WCW for keeping this thing going for so long...I think many people, including me, were expecting to see the Horsemen win tonight...I figured on Hennig turning...but I thought the Horsemen would find a way to win anyway...Last night was the first time in close to a year I didn't watch Nitro...well, I take that back...I got home from work a little before 10...watched Hennig take Mongo's belt...and decided I didn't wanna' watch it anymore...I hate to say it, but I almost hope Flair does go to the WWF.. and takes a big portion of the WCW with him, there they will at least be used as their talent dictates they should. WWF has some ridiculous story lines, but they do at least seem to take care of their veterans...

Sorry, didn't mean to go off on a rant...

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