|Tagline(s)||Return from the Rising Sun|
|Promotion||World Championship Wrestling|
|Date||May 19, 1991|
|City||St. Petersburg, Florida, United States of America|
SuperBrawl was the first ever first annual professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) produced by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) under the SuperBrawl banner, which ended up encompassing 11 PPVs in total between 1991 and 2001. The show took place on May 19, 1991 and was held at the Bayfront Arena in St. Petersburg, Florida. The main event of the show was a match between then reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair and the NWA World Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami with both championships on the line. In the United States the match was promoted as simply being for the WCW Championship, not promoting the fact that Fujinami had defeated Flair for the NWA title in March 1991. The under-card saw Bobby Eaton win the WCW World Television Championship from Arn Anderson while The Steiner Brothers defended the WCW World Tag Team Championship. In the opening match The Fabulous Freebirds won the vacant WCW United States Tag Team Championship. The show featured twelve matches in total, with some of the matches being edited out of the official VHS tape release of the show. The show was made available to WWE Network subscribers when the network was launched in 2014, featuring all twelve matches in their original form.
The event featured twelve professional wrestling matches with different wrestlers involved in pre-existing scripted feuds or storylines. Wrestlers portrayed either heels (wrestlers portraying the "bad guy" characters) or faces ("good guy" characters) as they competed in wrestling matches with pre-determined outcomes.
SuperBrawl I was the direct follow up to events that happened on the first ever WCW/New Japan Supershow that had happened on March 21, 1991. The show took place in Japan and was co-promoted by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and their Japanese partner promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). In the main event of the SuperShow IWGP Heavyweight Champion put his title against Ric Flair who defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Fujinami won the match and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, becoming the first wrestler to hold both championships. The match and the match outcome was presented very differently in the United States where they billed Flair as the WCW World Heavyweight Champion, not mentioning the fact that the NWA title was considered a separate championship in Japan. WCW and the American media claimed that Ric Flai retained the WCW Championship due to Flair being thrown over the top rope near the end of the match. SuperBrawl's main event focused on Ric Flair "getting revenge" on Fujinami as he defended his WCW Championship, which in Japan was billed as being for both championships, not just the WCW Championship. The storyline of Ric Flair "defending WCW and America" painted Flair as more of a "Face" than the heel he had been working as for over a year prior to the match, with the Florida crowd cheering for Flair during the match.
Ron Simmons and Butch Reed began working together as a tag team known simply as Doom, initially as a masked team and later unmasked under the real names. Together they held the WCW World Tag Team Championship and had several high quality, well received matches against tag teams such as The Steiner Brothers, Arn Anderson and Barry Windham and others. In early 1991 tension built between the two partners as Ron Simmons grew frustrated with the team after they lost the championship to The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes) on February 24, 1991. After the title loss the two fought against each other with manager Theodore Long siding with Butch Reed while Ron Simmons turned "Face" in the process. Due to Long helping Butch Reed cheat during matches between the two the SuperBrawl match had the added stipulation that Theodore Long would be locked in a small cage suspended in the air during the match.
On February 18, 1991 The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner) defeated the Fabulous Freebirds to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship while already holding the WCW United States Tag Team Championship. On April 6 the WCW Board of directors announced that the United States Tag Team Championship had been vacated to allow the Steiners' to focus on the World Tag Team Championship. Following the announcement WCW booked the two top condender teams, the Fabulous Freebirds and The Young Pistols (Steve Armstrong and Tracy Smothers) in a "Top Contenders" match for the vacant championship. At the time the Freebirds and the Young Pistols were already engaged in a long running storyline rivalry, with the championship match being one of the highlights of the storyline.
Note - Matches 2-6 were not included on the original VHS release. A complete version of the event has since been available on the WWE Network.
SuperBrawl was the last time WCW alluded to the fact that technically the WCW and the NWA championships were separate championships until 1992 when split the two championships into two separate belts held by different wrestlers. SuperBrawl would be Flair's last WCW main event for several years as he left the company less than 2 months later due to a pay dispute. At the time of his departure he was still the champion and he took the belt that represented the championship with him as collateral due to unpaid waged Flair felt he was owed. The match between the Steiner Brothers and Sting and Lex Luger was voted the 1991 PWI Match of the Year by the readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Butch Reed left WCW shortly after SuperBrawl with the cage match between the two effectively ending the feud between the former members of Doom. Sid Vicious' loss to El Gigante turned out to be his last match with WCW at the time as his contract had expired and he signed a contract to work for WCW's rival the World Wrestling Federation. The Windham/Pillman feud continued for a couple of months, leading to Windham pinning Brian Pillman in a match on the Clash of the Champions XV: Knocksville USA show that forced Pillman to leave WCW. The storyline was that Pillman would return and wrestle as the masked Yellow Dog, frustrating Windham and other heels as they kept claiming it was Pillman under the mask. The feud between the Fabulous Freebirds and the Young Pistols continued for several months, including several title defenses. On July 14, 1991 The Young Pistols teamed up with Dustin Rhodes to defeat the Freebirds and Badstreet on the undercard of the 1991 Great American Bash show.
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- "Historical Cards: Great American Bash (July 14, 1991. Baltimore, Maryland)". PWI Presents: 2007 Wrestling Almanak and book of facts (Kappa Publications). p. 156. 2007 Edition.
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