RETRO EXPRESS: WCW SLIM JIM’S HALLOWEEN HAVOC 1996 (OCTOBER 27TH 1996)

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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The threat of the New World Order has grown larger and larger as the members of the group have grown larger and larger. In the last two months, The Giant, Ted DiBiase, Syxx, Vincent and a fake Sting have joined Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall’s conquest to take over the world. This included NASCAR racing and movie sets as shown in the last few months on Nitro.

A surprising new addition to the group was Miss Elizabeth, who it was revealed signed with the nWo which also messed with the psyche of “Macho Man” Randy Savage. In the week before Halloween Havoc and his title match against Hogan, Savage talked about life being fragile with an ominous threat heading into the big title match.

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Yes, we have made it to Halloween Havoc 1996. We’ve entered the unstoppable reign of New World Order at the top and that was not made any more clearer than this pay-per-view. We’ve had Nitros where the nWo took over the show and we’ve had the nWo win impossibly handicapped situations but this was the big one where the nWo DOMINATED.

It wasn’t even just the New World Order that dominated to show either. If you look at WWE booking in 2020, all WWE cares about is getting heat for the heels. There are so many few babyfaces that get organically over as main-eventers in that company because the mindset is constantly to beat the good guys I guess because they did that to Daniel Bryan and he got unintentionally over.

However, I think I have found a source of inspiration for modern day writers of WWE television. This was a WCW PPV where there were no happy endings whatsoever. None. Every heel on the show was victorious in this PPV except Lex Luger. Even when Lex Luger beat Arn Anderson later on in the show, he refused to let go of the hold (which is a heel move) and the heel got a sympathetic stretcher angle. So there was no happy endings during this show at all.

However, if you’re not really obsessed about the booking of the show, this was a good pay-per-view. The opening match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship was awesome. The match was worth the price of admission and it wasn’t even the only good match on the show. We had some good matches across the board as well as the historic debut of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at the end of the show. A notable and enjoyable pay-per-view.

 

Date: October 27th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Las Vegas, Nevada

Attendance: 10,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

One of the first things I heard was a massive beep which scared the death out of me as the show started. I had to pause the WWE Network because I thought it was something else but no, it was some horrible in-show sound as the show started. It was some kind of horrible beeping.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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For those who need a recap, Rey won this title from Malenko on the Nitro after Bash at the Beach. Malenko then beat up Rey and took his mask from him, carrying it down to the ring with him as a trophy. Here, we had the big rematch with the championship on the line. Rey had been the champion for 111 days heading into this match. Mike Tenay was on commentary for this one as is the case for seemingly every cruiserweight title match on WCW PPVs.

Dean attacked Rey before the bell and slammed him right on his shoulders with a back suplex. Dean hit a hard spinebuster and tried a Texas Cloverleaf but Rey spun out of it. There was about 90 seconds of awesome spots with some moves I wasn’t able to take down in my notes as it all happened at such a high pace. Dean did a snapmare but Rey landed on his feet. Rey did a springboard moonsault and Dean CAUGHT HIM in mid-air in a powerslam position. The fans were in bewilderment over these spots and words do not give it justice. If you go back and watch the first two minutes of this match, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking.

Malenko grabbed the mask he stole from Rey but Rey dropkicked him off the apron. Rey did a dive and then took off his own mask and replaced it with the mask Malenko stole from them and worked the match with a new mask on. I actually think that’s a cool concept that plays into the stolen mask storyline. Rey at least got some level of revenge.

Rey tried a headscissors but Malenko did a side-walk slam in a clever spot. Dean stopped him in mid-momentum and just dropped him with a slam. It looked sublime. There was one dangerous spot where Malenko got Mysterio in a suplex position but he threw him at the ropes. However Rey landed legs first on the ropes and he looked close to crashing head-first into the mat. It’s the curse of being so small that guys are able to throw you all over the place as Dean launched this man through the air and it nearly backfired in an ugly way.

Dean locked on a half-crab like submission. Malenko pulled on the leg and arm of Rey while putting his foot into the back of Rey for a further submission as Rey yelled about his back. Dean hit a back suplex from the top rope for a two count.

Dean locked on a neck scissors submission and it was clever because it didn’t look like he was squeezing Rey’s throat. Dean had his knees on either side of Rey’s head and looked he was squeezing his head with his knees like a vice grip. There was a different way to apply the hold other than just choking him with his legs. I liked that.

Dean missed a punch and Rey almost got the pin with a small package but Dean kicked ou.. Dean went back to work and did a backbreaker submission. Dean transitioned this into a camel clutch. Vintage fabulous submission wrestling from Dean Malenko being displayed. Dean did a slick looking tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Dean drove Rey’s back into the ring apron and threw him back into the ring after the match spilled out of the ring. Dean locked on a rear naked choke. Dean followed this up with a standing sleeper hold.

Rey fought back to his feet but Dean knocked him right back down with a kitchen sink. Dean did the quickest looking Northern Light suplex I’ve ever seen. It was a quick flip for Rey as he slammed down to the mat hard. Rey fired back to his feet. They battled on the top rope and knocked each other down to the floor.

I love how Rey got on Dean’s back and then he clobbered Dean’s face with big forearms to the face of the challenger. It looked great. Rey fired back with a springboard summersault senton.

Rey did a springboard corkscrew to Dean which Dean appeared to almost not be ready for as he briefly walked away from the ring. However, he was able to recover the spot. Rey did a West Coast Pop but Dean kicked out as the announcers noted no-one had ever kicked out of that move. Rey tried it a second time but Dean but him off with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall which the fans bought as the finish. I bought this as the finish to be honest. A great near fall. Dean eventually got the victory with a gutwrench powerbomb from the top rope. That was an awesome match.

It was a great because…. THE BETTER MAN WON. It was not like they went back and forth or Rey was dominating him but Dean got a cheap win. Dean beat him outright clean and it was tremendous work. Go out of your way everybody to watch that match.

Match Rating: ****1/4 (Same rating as Wrestling Observer Newsletter and I totally agree)

 

Lee Marshall interviewed Jeff Jarrett. Jeff said the nWo didn’t impress him with monster trucks and jumping Flair. He said they haven’t done anything in the ring and he vowed Giant wouldn’t chokeslam him. Ric Flair walked in. Flair was on vibrate as he cut this promo about Savage and Jarrett taking out the nWo “all night long”.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs DDP in a battle for the ring

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Nick Patrick was the referee for this match. This match revolved around the lord of the ring title, which Eddie defeated DDP for at Clash of the Champions. Eddie never actually had the ring as DDP stole it and walked away despite not actually being the lord of the ring anymore. Now, DDP was claiming he didn’t know where the ring was. However, the ring was still on the line for this match. I hope that catches everybody up if you’ve not been reading the WCW Nitro series for this blog and you happened to find this review on its own.

Things were heated as DDP spat at Eddie and Eddie punched away at DDP on the floor. They wrestled for a bit. Eddie took over DDP with a headlock takeover. DDP did a front face lock. DDP got stuck in the middle of the ropes and despite Patrick’s warning, Eddie pushed Patrick away and kicked DDP down to a big pop.

Eddie did a springboard senton. Eddie chopped DDP with sweat hitting the camera which is a trope with television and wrestling I’ve always enjoyed! The action was so intense that sweat was thrusted into the camera lens!

DDP tried a pin with his feet on the ropes but Patrick stopped him. DDP threw Eddie into the air and Eddie came right back down on his stomach with a “nose dive”. DDP did a waist-lock gutbuster. DDP did an abdominal stretch but Eddie got out it. DDP did a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.

DDP actually pushed Patrick and Patrick pushed back to a ridiculously huge pop and Eddie tried a pin but got a two count. That was crazy to me that Patrick was monstrously hated during these WCW shows as of late but following one tease of a babyface turn, the fans lost their minds! These fans had hope for Nick Patrick!

Patrick chewed out DDP as DDP begged him off. Page shuck Patrick’s hand as he and Guerrero traded punches. DDP and Eddie traded roll ups. DDP missed a lariat as Eddie dodged but then DDP came back across with another lariat which the fans popped for. DDP did the slip-on-a-banana peel spot and almost landed right on his neck with even DDP feeling his head afterwards.

Eddie did the 10 punches in the corner and an uppercut to floor Page. Eddie did a top rope crossbody to the outside. DDP did the “flapjack” Styles Clash facebuster for a 2 count. DDP hit a spinning sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count.

Some fan I think yelled that DDP was nothing and DDP responded: “your mother’s nothing”. DDP hit the Diamond Cutter and Tony said that Eddie may have blocked it with his hands coming down, because I guess Tony believed Eddie was going to kick out and so he was covering DDP’s tracks. But then, DDP got the pin anyway! That was an awkward call from Tony! Eddie somehow blocked a DDP and got pinned in Tony’s eyes!

Patrick then went into his pocket to get the ring, gave the ring to DDP as he regained the ring. It turned out Nick Patrick had the ring all along.

This was a fine match. I’ve kinda changed my mind on the rating of this match a few times. A part of me thought it was great and another part of me thought it was a nothing match. It felt that the match didn’t really have a structure a lot of the time but there was some good drama near the end of the match. I liked the Nick Patrick hope spot and a lot of the moves were done really well. Therefore, I will give this three stars out of five. Not an exceptional match, but a decent enough match to watch in my eyes. Feel free to disagree but I didn’t see a lot of problems with this match.

Match Rating: ***

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THIS WAS SOMETHING ELSE. Mike Tenay interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage to reveal the winner of the Slim Jim Sweepstakes for Halloween Havoc. The last time we saw “Macho Man” Randy Savage on WCW Nitro, he alluded to wanting to end the life of Hollywood Hogan at Halloween Havoc. He said life was precious,  he was all disturbed, very not Macho Man like and he was dressed in black. He was a changed man heading into this match.

Now we’re here at the PPV, with the main-event of the show centred around a blood feud and, because they have a Slim Jim advertisement deal, Savage started acting like typical Randy Savage. He’s all amped up and goofing around, 6 days after being morose and threatening to kill Hulk Hogan! This was quite a change of tone for the Macho Man. It’s funny what money will do to a man!

He was goofing around as he pulled out a name from this paper mache.  Joan McChellick was apparently the winner. Savage wanted to go on a date with the winner of the monster truck! It’s crazy that he’s making his moves on random women he’s never met before after like 2 months of this angle where Savage was obsessed with Elizabeth! I get you’ve got to do promotions with the sponsors like Slim Jim but give me a break. They sacrificed two months worth of storylines just so Savage can promote Slim Jim and give away a monster truck! This… was bullshit. 

 

We got a whole bunch of time-wasting angles between the DDP vs Eddie match and the next match. They plugged the WCW website and Chris Jericho doing CompuServe. I will be honest, I totally forgot that Jericho was wrestling on this show at this point. I say this because Jericho was in his ring gear doing the CompuServe thing and my notes read: “I’m assuming Jericho worked a pre-show because he was in his ring gear!” This was already promoted to me last week but he was wrestling Syxx on this show! I apologise to Chris Jericho from 23 years ago but surely Jericho would have a shirt on at least before his big match or when coming down to do CompuServe. He didn’t need to do this CompuServe thing topless!

Mike Tenay interviewed Dean Malenko after his big victory. Malenko mentioned that he said he was gonna be more focused than ever and he was not gonna leave this building without the title. He was a man of his word and Malenko said this is what he wanted, this is what he got and this is what he’s gonna keep. He said he was gonna take on all comers. This was a solid promo. I know Malenko has this reputation of not having a personality but he did a fine interview here. He got straight to the point as he told everyone to bring it on! A great way to hype up the new Cruiserweight title reign for the Man of 1000 Holds!

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Ted DiBiase cut a promo with The Giant from the crowd. He cut a promo about Jeff Jarrett as The Giant was posing with the WCW United States Championship despite not officially being the champion. The Giant said he was gonna stick Jarrett to the wall, the ceiling, the floor and he was gonna chokeslam him right in the middle. He said when it’s all over, they’ll be no Jeff Jarrett or Horsemen. I wrote down “Everyone was gonna go to the glue factory” but I have no idea who said that line!

Remember a few months ago when The Giant was the WCW World Heayvweight Champion and he was cutting all of these great promos? He had such personality, he roared and he came off as a big deal. He’s now with the nWo and he’s cutting bland promo after bland promo and it’s not really The Giant’s fault. He’s the big man backing up Hogan but he has no direction or not character other than being Hogan’s bodyguard. He couldn’t do his Dungeon of Doom material and he couldn’t do “shoot” promos or clever promos like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Now he’s in a position where he can’t showcase his charisma which we knew for a fact he had based on those promos from before. This was a let down of a promo.

 

The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett w/Ric Flair

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Going into this match, I didn’t expect much and the match very much met my expectations. You have Jarrett who is new to the company versus a green Giant. It’s the same Giant match we always see whenever he has to work a long match with a decent-enough worker. This did not need to go 10 minutes and Jarrett was not going to get a good 10 minute match out of the guy. It was also not gonna even lead up to a clean victory either way so what’s the point?

Tony explained his disgust in Nick Patrick for holding up the United States title that Giant was carrying to which Bobby responded that if The Giant told Tony to raise the belt, Tony would raise it. This was a solid point.

Ric Flair came out and they cut to the entrance ramp, and the first gravestone shown on camera as Flair comes out is a gravestone is called “Rick”. You cannot tell me that wasn’t just an elaborate rib on Ric! The FIRST GRAVESTONE they show and it’s Rick! I couldn’t tell you what the significance of these graves were as part of the Halloween Havoc set and I didn’t spot a pattern.

One of the commentary highlights of this show was Bobby explaining something and Dusty Rhodes yelled “I just said that” and Bobby responded, “yes but I’m doing it in English”. I love the chemistry between Dusty and Bobby during their exchanges. The fact these two only did PPVs together for WCW is a crime! Tony actually chime in saying: “That’s a good thing about your guys working together – it’s in stereo.” Bobby responded: “One in English and one in Cowpasture.” Tremendous banter.

Ric Flair was going crazy on the entrance ramp as Jarrett was out-manoeuvring Giant. Jarrett tried a head lock and then Giant lifted him high in the air threw him across the ring! Giant got some distance with this throw too and it looked very effective. Tony questioned why Jarrett would try a headlock on The Giant.

Giant threw Jarrett across the ring. Jarrett tried a sleeper hold on Giant’s back and Giant was struggling to get Jarrett off his back but he eventually crashed into the turnbuckle to get Jarrett off of him. There were big nWo chants. Giant was wobbly because of Jarrett but he eventually cut Jarrett off with a big boot to a big pop. It was a pretty decent looking big boot from The Giant too.

Ric Flair got in the ring and attempted to get a chair in the ring but was thwarted. Giant did a headbutt to the groin of Jarrett but referee Nick Patrick did not call it. Giant did a backbreaker submission.

Ric Flair grabbed a mic and commanded Jarrett to kick his nWo ass. Giant caught Jarrett in mid-air and did two backbreakers while staring right at Flair. This was a pretty boring match to be honest. Giant tried a bearhug, which was the moment where this was confirmed to be a boring match!

Jarrett tried a scoop slam but Giant was too big. Jarrett was able to floor Giant with a top rope crossbody but Giant threw Jarrett off of him when he went for the cover. Jarrett tried a Figure Four Leg Lock but Giant kicked Jeff out of the ring.

Giant tried to charge at Jarrett but Jarrett moved and as Jarrett moved out of the way, Giant crashed into the ring post. Jarrett did a Figure Four Leg Lock on the outside but Giant reached across to Jeff with a hand for the chokeslam but before he could deliver, Flair took off his jacket and did a low blow for the disqualification.

I hate this type of booking. WCW threw in two guys they were trying to protect but because of this, they didn’t want anyone to lose. Therefore, they did a disqualification despite it being clear that The Giant was the better man. If you have such a problem with picking a winner and a loser, why bother doing the match? This did nobody any favours. What the heck did Jarrett get from this match? Giant kicked his ass for ten minutes and he was saved by Ric Flair, who is INJURED! Why couldn’t you have just let The Giant get the win?

And if that wasn’t bad enough, The Four Horsemen ran down afterwards to help Flair and Jarrett from The Giant. Jarrett and Ric had a two-on-one advantage against The Giant and then more men came out to help those two guys. Keep in mind, Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett were supposed to be the babyfaces. Jarrett came off like such a dork and The Giant came off as a monster babyface beating everybody up! Then Tony had the temerity to berate Giant for running away… from an unfair fight! The nWo, despite being heels, were booked as so superior to these WCW geeks.

HUGE THUMBS DOWN for everything about this match. On the bright side, at least both men tried and worked hard to try and get something out of nothing. Therefore, I will give them that credit.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Ted DiBiase was with Syxx and Vincent. DiBiase said the Horsemen knew the post-match save was the only way Jarrett was gonna get out of that ring. He admitted Jericho was a great athlete but he was a great athlete at the wrong time. He was in there with the best cruiserweight in Syxx tonight. Syxx said Jericho would be crucified for the sins of WCW which is straight out of Stephanie McMahon’s vocabulary. He yelled the nWo is 4 life. I was not a fan of Syxx’s verbiage but Ted DiBiase cut a hell of a promo here.

 

Syxx vs Chris Jericho

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Bobby Heenan talked about Syxx making his wrestling debut and I swear Syxx wrestled on that nWo take over show a month ago.

Syxx and Jericho wrestled for a bit fighting speed with speed. If you have two quick guys in there and if they can keep up with each other, you’re very likely going to have a good match and this was a good match when the smoke cleared. Konnan, Taskmaster and Big Bubba were at ringside. Jericho ran wild with a monkey flip and arm drags for a while. Syxx dropkicked Jericho off the top rope and onto the floor.

Jericho tried again to get in the ring but Syxx dropkicked him off the apron and then did a dive to the outside. Syxx stomped at Jericho in the ring and did some kicks in the corner. Syxx did a rest-hold. Syxx tried a spin kick but Jericho caught it, so Syxx kicked him with the other leg which I actually think was really well executed.

Syxx did an elbow drop from the top rope onto Jericho, who was draped on the apron. Syxx missed a dropkick in the corner. Jericho ran wild for a bit to some boos from the crowd as they loved the nWo.

Jericho did a top rope crossbody to the outside. Jericho did a top rope back elbow for a two count. Jericho caught Syxx off the top rope with a dropkick. Jericho went for a cover and Patrick ran around for like 5 seconds before eventually went down to count the pinfall.

Jericho did a lionsault and a bridge pinfall and got a one count which the fans and the announcers disputed as a slow count. When they showed the replays of the slow counts, the slow counts didn’t even look that slow which is a problem with this storyline. If you are told to do a slow count, make sure the count is slow. Don’t do a regular count as it flies in the face of the storyline you’re trying to tell. Just wait for Starrcade 1997 as Nick Patrick’s will get a big moment when it comes to the speed of his counts!

Jericho did a springboard moonsault and again Patrick did what was supposedly a slow count. Syxx did a side kick and Patrick counted down the pinfall as normal for the win. Jericho chased Patrick out of the ring as Patrick carried Syxx to the back. A good cruiserweight match with not a lot to complain about. Jericho and Syxx worked pretty well together in this match.

Match Rating: ***

 

Lex Luger was interviewed by Mike Tenay. Luger said it didn’t need to come down to this but Arn pointed the finger at Luger for WCW’s loss at Fall Brawl. Luger said he accepted the blame but Arn wouldn’t accept that. He said Arn questioned his fortitude but now he’s gonna see a torture rack you’ve never seen before. He’s sick and tired of everyone running each other down in WCW. Luger said he’s gonna beat Arn, rack him and take him out and hurt him.

 

Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson

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This was a match that was saved mostly by the finish because this was a boring match. Arn tried all he could and it didn’t work but they did deliver a poetic finish in the confides of the story and it turned the heel shenanigans against the Four Horsemen.

Tony talked about Luger losing but not quitting at Fall Brawl when I seem to recall Luger tapping out after Hogan and Sting locked on a double submission in the War Games match. How that is not considered quitting, I don’t know.

They fight for a bit. Luger powered up Anderson and dropped him with a Gorilla Press. They followed up with a double axe handle from the apron. The Dungeon of Doom was cheering Luger to rack him which was an interesting dynamic. Luger used to be a Dungeon of Doom member but the Dungeon hated Arn and they were feuding with the Four Horsemen in Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael.

That’s actually a great aspect of WCW’s use of stables at this time. The Dungeon and Horsemen had been feuding since Brian Pillman feuded with Taskmaster back in February and after all of this time, they still hate each other and there’s still feuds going on between the groups. That’s great for the members of those groups and there’s a lot of layers to the program.

Arn got hung upside down and the fans are going crazy as Luger had him in peril. Just imagine what Luger was gonna do now that Arn was defenseless. Instead, Luger just throws a few slow punches and then after, the buzz just went away from this match. A better worker would have gotten so much more from this spot and that is frustrating.

Arn hit a spinebuster. Arn beats on Luger for a while. This was a boring match and some fans start to boo because nothing was happening for a long time. Arn tried a DDT but Luger grabbed the ropes to keep himself standing.

Luger started fighting back. Arn shoved Luger into the referee to knock him down. Arn grabbed a chair and tried to use it but Luger dodged. Arn tried a piledriver but Luger catapulted Arn into the ringpost. Luger suplexed Arn on the floor.

The referee Mark Curtis was still dazed. Luger then hit Arn in the back with a chair multiple times as the referee was still unable to see it. Arn was limp as Luger called for his finisher and Luger secured the submission victory with the Torture Rack. Luger refused to let go of the hold as the referee tried to break the hold.

So yes, after Arn yelled at Luger for giving up at Fall Brawl, Arn was the one that gave up from the Torture Rack himself. This was retribution for the babyface and when you’re able to make a heel eat his words, that’s a thumbs up in my eyes. One of the stronger finishes of the show to an otherwise boring match. However, this match did not need to be 12 minutes long.

Match Rating: **

 

Arn was being attended to as Jarrett and Flair both came out. They actually brought out the stretcher. Arn grabbed the arm and “rib cage” as he was being taken out.

 

Lee Marshall played Mean Gene and hyped up the WCW Hotline to apparently have the scoop about Sting. He interviewed Harlem Heat, Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker. Parker talked about how the Outsiders needed reprimanded. He said they were riding on the coattails of the greatest tag team in WCW. Sherri said this is what the Harlem Heat lives and breathes for. Booker said the nWo were a couple of wannabe thugs and they were gonna jump them Harlem Style.

 

“The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart vs Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Debra McMichael and Woman

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I will start of this review by talking about our main man Steve “Mongo” McMichael, I’ve really liked his character as part of the Four Horsemen. I don’t rate him as a wrestler but there were times where he at least knew how to carry himself as a star. The example I will provide was from the Four Horsemen’s ring entrance. Benoit came out with Woman by his side and Mongo came out with his wife Debra by his side. They both get on the apron, Debra and Mongo both took off their jackets off and a random woman was outside catching these massive jackets and coats almost effortless. I loved that!

Meng tried a kick but Mongo evaded it by cowering the corner. They locked up but smashed into a each with shoulder tackles. There was a great spot where they Meng and Mongo both roared crashed into each and Mongo did a tremendous shoulder tackle to floor him and send him flying. He jumped high in the air and Meng went flying in the air backwards to sell the pure force of Mongo. It was so cartoonish but I loved it. It was as ridiculously and over-the-top as it needed to be!

Benoit and Barbarian got tagged in and fought. Benoit hit a northern lights suplex for a 2 count. Benoit tried a headbutt but this was a mistake as Barbarian no-sold it and took him down!

In another great spot involving Mongo was when Meng challenged Mongo to a sumo match. Mongo obliged and then they had a full-on sumo wrestling battle slapping each other! They slapped at each other and they wrestled with Meng winning! Think of it as E. Honda from Street Fighter, who did these slaps to palm away his opponent! This was a better sumo match than the WrestleMania 21 match between Akebono and Big Show which included a LEGITIMATE champion sumo wrestler!

Mongo then took out the Faces of Fear with chop blocks for a while but then Meng cut him off. This was Mongo playing to his strengths, acting like an American football player to take down the monsters. I like that.

They did a double headbutt and Mongo just fell to the ground. It was a pretty funny bad sell where he just fell to the ground like this was a trust exercise! Barbarian did a scoop slam to Mongo. Mongo did a dropkick and did it a second time but Meng just moved out of the way and continued with the beat down on Meng.

Meng tried a senton but Mongo moved out of the way. Benoit got the tag. Meng and Barbarian did the back drop/powerbomb combination to a big pop. This was even better than when they did it against the Fantastics. How does no one in wrestling nowadays try that spot? Surely the War Raiders or Authors of Pain should be able to do it?

There was one awkward spot where Meng chopped Benoit and Benoit stood his ground as if to no-sell it and then crashed to the floor after like a delayed reaction. Communication seemed to be off for that spot.

Barbarian did a top rope belly to belly suplex and Benoit got throw HIGH and LONG to the other side of the ring. How a suplex can be so high and so far away is mind-boggling to me. They did really well with that spot.

Faces of Fear did the double headbutt but Mongo broke up the pin. Barbarian did a suplex into a Meng top rope splash but Mongo got involved to break it up. He pulled out Benoit and hit Meng in the face with the briefcase. Benoit hit the top rope headbutt and got the pinfall.

I actually did not see much in this match from watching it but upon writing this review, I realised this match was actually quite great! I think I would have shaved off a few minutes to make it a bit crisper but man, there were some fabulous spots ranging from comedy to full on serious. This match, in a weird way, had a bit of everything. For god’s sake, Mongo had a sumo wrestling match with Meng and it fit right in!

But of course, there were no happy endings on this show. The defacto babyfaces of this feud, the Four Horsemen, were beat up after the match. The Faces of Fear beat up Mongo and Benoit as Benoit made a comeback. Dungeon grabbed Women but Benoit made the save. Benoit however was being fed to the wolves as Mongo was laid out with a piledriver earlier on in the brawl. Benoit fought off everyone by himself briefly but Meng cut hims off with a superkick. Taskmaster beats up Mongo with a briefcase. Barbarian hit Benoit with a big boot. Bubba hit a spinebuster.

Arn was injured and Flair was with Arn and he was injured too so there was nobody to help these guys. Taskmaster went up to Woman. He took off his shirt. Taskmaster said Benoit wasn’t the man, he’s the man. The beatdown itself was actually a solid beatdown. However, in the middle of a show where all the heels were winning and there so much misery, all I wanted was to see was a babyface win a battle. Was that too much to ask, even in the nWo era?

Match Rating: ***

 

Ted DiBiase came out. He says its 2-0 to the nWo. The next match was for the WCW tag team titles but they were soon to be the nWo tag team titles. He said ever since they’ve come in, they had not failed to deliver anything they had set out to do. Ted said they don’t need a second time as they can get it done the first time. Ted DiBiase was a very solid hype man for the New World Order in this role. There was a part of me that felt Ted DiBiase would soon feel out of place for but now, he’s very solid in his role as a hype man. How long that lasts remains to be seen.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray © w/Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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MASSIVE NWO CHANTS broke out during this match. To fan the flames a little bit, Tony said: “there’s a lot of punks in the world and there’s also a lot of WCW fans” when the announcers were talking about the fans in nWo fans. What a way to convince the nWo fans that the nWo is evil by calling those fans punks. Quite encouraging Tony.

Before a title match, it is common tradition where the referee will show the titles to the competitors and hold the titles in the air for the fans to see. When showing the titles to the Outsiders, the Outsiders grabbed the belts to pose with to massive cheers. It’s funny because (SPOILERS) the Outsiders won the titles anyway, so this really accomplished nothing other than get a cheap pop. Once upon a time it was a big deal to hold the titles for the first time. Here, the Outsiders already grabbed the titles literally minutes before winning them!

The fans looked to one side where I guess there was a fight in the crowd. You have to wonder how many fights broke out in the crowd during this period because this isn’t the first time where I see the fans in WCW look to the crowd for seemingly no reason. Some times I see this happen on Nitro because I expect nWo but no, it turned out it was a fan fight. I wonder if the WCW vs nWo storyline legitimately caused fights among fans.

Hall worked on Booker in the ring but Booker reversed the pressure and did a side kick as the fans paid little attention to the first few minutes of the match. Booker tried a leapfrog but Hall evaded it and did a straight up punch to a big pop.

Booker did a hip toss over the top rope which was not a disqualification as “the momentum took him” over the top rope according to Dusty. That it such bad logic. So if I did a powerbomb to someone over the top rope in WCW, that wouldn’t be a disqualification because his momentum took him over the top rope? I just dropped him but gravity brought him to the floor. If you’re going to do the rule at all, at least abide to it or tell your wrestlers to not do over the top rope spots.

A hoss fight began as Kevin Nash and Stevie Ray were tagged in to BIG DIESEL CHANTS. Nash overpowered Ray initially with punches and knees to the gut and in the corner. Ray shoulder-tackled Nash down and then spat at Hall. Ray kicked away at Nash with garbage being thrown in. Sherri raked the eyes of Nash. Booker did a scissors kick. Nash took over and did a side-walk slam to massive cheers, even from some women in the crowd. Hall did a sloppy looking bulldog where Hall didn’t even grab his head coming down.

Booker did a rest hold. Nash took a cheap shot at Booker from the apron to massive cheers as Outsiders gain the advantage. The fans were quite approving of this blatant cheating! Nash did a snake eyes and Hall followed up with a clothesline while the referee was distracted. Razor did a chokeslam with Ray breaking up the pin. Booker tried a crossbody and Hall caught him with ease and did a fallaway slam. It was a very well done spot from both men. Scott Hall had arguably his best performance in a WCW ring so far during this match.

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As I review this show a few weeks after the #SpeakingOut Twitter campaign centred around abuse towards women in the wrestling business, they do a spot in 1996 where Sherri slapped Scott and Scott grabbed her to thunderous cheers and then kissed her for the biggest pop off the night. This would not play well in the year 2020. This big, jacked-up man physically grabbed this woman, imposed his welll and forced himself upon this woman to get a kiss. These fans were very much approving of this at Halloween Havoc. In storyline, Scott Hall sexually assaulted Sister Sherri. If you do not wish to see anymore of this in wrestling, I would recommend probably not watching WCW, ECW or WWF programming from 1996 to about 2009 on the WWE Network! This is just one spot among decades of on-screen abuse towards women.

This does not get any better on-screen in wrestling and when Vince Russo comes along in WCW, you’re really not gonna like this. It’s disgusting enough on the screen and it’s even worse that these wrestlers bring it home with them. No, I am not suggesting Scott Hall also did this but heck this was established as the norm in wresting for years from this point. I’m sure a lot of young wrestlers watched all of this and the Attitude Era and just assumed it was OK, which IT’S NOT.

Right after this, there’s an understated spot where Sherri came off the apron with a double axe handle to Parker as she kicked off about what happened and him not doing anything about it! That was awesome!

Hall dropped Booker crotch-first on the top rope and Dusty goes: “you’re nuts if you think that doesn’t hurt.” Good form Dusty.  Stevie got the tag and ran wild with punches and clotheslines. Ray grabbed Hall of a Gorilla Press and threw him into Nash which I’m actually surprised they were able and willing to do. They put over Ray pretty well here. Nash got clotheslined to the outside. Booker hit the Harlem Hangover.

This was poetically the best possible finish for this match. I’ve ranted and raved for about a year now about these over-booked finishes for Harlem Heat involving managers and all kinds of shenanigans. It happened all the time. This time, the nWo turned the tables on them as they secured the win by cheating for a change. As the referee is distracted I believe, Parker tried to hit Nash with a cane. Nash intercepted him so basically Parker let him have the cane without a fight and then Ray got laid out with the cane and Hall got the pin to win the tag titles to a thunderous reaction.

With Harlem Heat as the babyfaces and the Outsiders as the heels and the Outsiders being cheered throughout, there was some screwed up psychology. However, this finish was perfect in the sense that Harlem Heat got a dose of karma. They got a dose of karma, they were “out-cheated” and now WCW have lost the tag titles too! This was unintentionally great!

Booker’s facial expressions were awesome as he was in shock, mouth agape in awe as he checked for his brother’s breathing as the Outsiders celebrate as they say: “the takeover is just about complete”.

I very much enjoyed this match with the exception of one uncomfortable spot.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Hollywood Hogan did his pre-match promo with Giant behind him. Hogan had the worst haircut of his life and think of the ground that covered although the truth would be revealed later on in the match. However this Bart Simpson look did not look any good. He mentioned he’s just done with 3 Ninjas and a new film is coming up with Santa with Muscles. Hogan called Savage a long lost love-sick puppy. He said this was nWo rules and it’s time for Hollywood.

 

Hollywood Hogan © wTed DiBiase  vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Now I will first address before this reviewing this match that there was a lot usual WCW backstage politics that led to this finish. If you’ve watched everything Hogan did to Savage in the last 6 weeks or so, he almost had to win this match. Hogan had tortured Elizabeth, put her through hell and now this was his time to kill him. There were contracts and a lot of stuff that happened which led to this finish but let’s review this match in a vaccum.

I say that because every other WCW at this time was watching this match in a vaccum. They had to watch it based what had been presented to them in the last three months or so and they had to watch this conclusion to such a deep storyline with Hogan, Savage and Elizabeth.

Michael Buffer did the ring introductions Savage’s theme song cut off Buffer’s ring introductions but then the production team wised up and shut it off as Buffer finished Hogan’s ring introduction.

Savage brought out a “Macho Man” monster truck which actually did look pretty sweet. One of the better looking monster trucks WCW has trudged out in front of the fans. Savage grabbed the mic to tell Hogan to get his “goons” out of here so he can kick his ass. The referee obliged and I guess threw Giant out. Hogan whispered into Giant’s ears as Giant walked out as I guess he told Giant not to fight it.

Hogan still had his sunglasses on in early parts of the match. Savage is just standing there in the ring as Hogan just walked around… RIGHT AFTER an episode of Nitro where he implied killing Hogan. Hogan is doing his thing and Savage is just… STANDING THERE.

Just like The Giant match where Hogan tried to hide and run from Giant, this match startED the same way. They mentioned that the monster truck was the one given away then correct themselves saying they were given a road legal one… in other words a less cool one was given to the winner.

A whole bunch of nothing happened for like 5 minutes. So I’ve seen a whole bunch of matches with Ric Flair and Savage where he and Flair fought and tried to kill each other. They scratched, clawed and chopped the hell out of each other because they hated each other’s guts. Here Hogan hid and run away and Savage did nothing. He just stopped and stalled in a match against a supposedly. crazy Randy Savage.

Hogan beat up Savage for a while talking trash and saying Savage was nothing. Savage fought back and did punches and a double axe handle. He then grabbed Hogan’s sunglasses. Hogan begged Savage off. Savage grabbed Hogan’s hair and pulled the wig off of Hogan and puts it on. Hogan looks around all panicked at the loss of his wig with some incredibly facial expressions! This was quite great.

Hogan headed to the back. Savage cut him off and fed his wig back to Hogan! Savage beat him u[. Savage grabbed and hit Hogan with a chair on the outside. It was established that you can use weapons on the outside because it’s there’s no disqualification on the outside but yet when Savage used it a second time, the referee cuts him off and Hogan blindsided him. Anything can happen on the outside but yet the referee wouldn’t allow Savage to use the chair a second time? Seems like flawed logic to me.

Hogan then used a chair. As Ted DiBiase distracted the ref, Hogan used the chair again. Maybe there’s some one chair shot rule I’m not aware of. Hogan beat him up on the outside. Then Elizabeth, not in black, came out in a fancy colourful dress. Hogan choked away at Savage. Hogan yelled at Elizabeth but Savage gets a roll up for a near fall. Hogan’s turnks are pulled down by Savage therefore showing his bare ass! He has finished his transformation to a slightly more diabolic Ric Flair now!

I love Hogan’s mood changing. He was all about making jokes and cocky at the start of the match but when he got embarrassed, he gets pissed off and frustrated. Great heel characterisation! It’s all jokes and games until the heel doesn’t get what he wants and therefore, the heels pouts like a child! Savage clotheslined Hogan to the outside.

Hogan grabbed Elizabeth on the outside as a human shield. Savage did a scoop slam and knocked Hogan to the floor Hogan again grabbed Liz as boos from the fans rain down. Hogan threw her and takes advantage with a clothesline. Hogan did a big boot but then Elizabeth entered the ring to boos. Hogan went for the Leg Drop but Elizbaeht threw herself on top of Savage.

Hogan grabbed her. Hogan goes for a Leg Drop again but he missesd. Hogan got a weapon from DiBiase, Elizabeth intercepted it from Hogan, the refereee gets taken down with a clothesline. Nick Patrick and Mark Curtis come down. Savage did a clothesline and Savage did the elbow drop. Nick Patrick did the 2 count but then his neck gave out. Savage pushed Patrick and took off the neck brace. Hogan tried to use “the object” but Savage blocked it. He used it. DiBiase stops Savage from doing the elbow drop. The Giant saved DiBiase from Savage. Giant did the chokeslam on the floor. With The Giant clearly in the ring, Nick Patrick strolled over and did the 3 count as Hogan retained the title.

Tony flat out said: “we’ve been ripped off”. 

Match Rating: *

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There was a lot of shenanigans in this match and it was an incredibly over-booked, storyline finish. However, this was one of the better ones where it came off like Savage was fighting to the bitter end. It wasn’t just like a bunch of things happening leading to the finish. The nWo were doing everything in their power to win and Savage and Liz were doing everything could to stop Hogan. In the end, the heel advantage was just too great and Savage was defeated.

I will now talk about the backstage stuff. I read the Wrestling Observer Newsletter from November 1996 I believe. There were a lot of contract negotiations being thrown around at this time. Long story short, Bret Hart had just re-signed with the WWF for a 20 year deal or whatever the situation was in one of the biggest contracts of all time. The WWF wanted to capitalise on this. They supposedly made big offers to Hogan and Savage, so they could continue their feud in the WWF. Savage’s contract was coming up and I think Hogan’s contract may have been expiring as well. WWF probably would not have had the money to attempt to buy Hogan out of a big deal he had with WCW so that’s more likely. The WWF were close to going out of business at this time.

Hogan re-signed with WCW but Savage had yet to re-sign at this time. Therefore, his contract was in limbo and so therefore they took the precautions of having Hogan beat him. Savage was not under contract, although he did work a few commitments after this show including house shows. Acting fast, with no new babyfaces to feud with Hogan, WCW went ahead and signed up a new superstar to feud with Hogan heading into Starrcade. Speaking of which…

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Giant brought down a big jug of ice that he was careful carrying when walking towards the ring. He got to the ring and KNOCKED IT OVER! Poor Giant! He was doing so well not to spill it! He came in the ring and threw ice on Hogan to wake him up as the nWo celebrate. I guess Hogan was knocked out which was why he did that.

Hogan said he’s the king of Hollywood. Hogan is tired of Ted Turner, he’s taking over WCW and anyone who got in the ring with the nWo or Hulk Hogan was going down. Then bagpipes play as Giant prepared to fight. Hogan doesn’t know what’s going on and out comes ROWDY RODDY PIPER!

Hogan rubbed his face with a shocked looked as he’s freaking out as Tony called him a chicken! Piper grabbed a mic. I’m a huge fan of Piper promos, especially watching them back now years after his death. However, what on earth was going here?

My only explanation was that Piper, because he’s Piper, just said whatever he wanted and HOGAN OF ALL PEOPLE had to get him back on track because they were running short on PPV time. Piper rambled on and on about how he’s a millionaire, he made Hulk Hogan and told Hogan to admit he was here because of all these people. Hogan shook his hand and said he and Piper were “neck and neck” and then he made a crack about Piper wearing a kilt. They yell and yell about god know’s what and the PPV cuts them half way through!

This was to build up a world title match between Hollywood Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper! It wasn’t even that Piper was a bad talker during this promo. He wasn’t. He had a lot of fire and passion and that was about it. He just went on about all sorts of things that had nothing to do with the New World Order. Then he and Hogan just argued like they were on The Real Housewives or god know’s what. Just a mess of an exchange to end this pay-per-view.

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To sum up this pay-per-view as whole, they had a lot of good matches and an incredible opening match. No happy endings to be found, with good guys going over, and a bad ending to the show with Piper and Hogan rambling about…. I don’t even know what they were talking about! I would say that the only two matches you should really go out of your way to watch is Malenko vs Rey and Faces of Fear vs Benoit and Mongo because of how wacky it was. Everything else was really passable and even the nWo shenanigans were not that exciting to me. I will give this PPV a thumbs up on the grounds that although there was nothing exceptional, there were some good matches up and down the show which is really I could ask for… and possibly a Slim Jim.

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #58 (OCTOBER 21ST 1996) – STING RETURNS AND MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN BLACK AND WHITE

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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We’re very close to Halloween Havoc, with the New World Order leader Hollywood Hogan defending the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth is once again in the middle of another Hogan vs Savage storyline in wrestling, with Elizabeth putting together a video apology last week for the Macho Man for singing with the nWo. This heartfelt apology rocked Savage who left the building distraught and possibly throwing him off his game ahead of his big title match against Hogan.

 

This episode I’m about to review I felt was a decent go-home show for WCW Halloween Havoc 1996. Good matches up and down the card. There weren’t many things done to build towards that pay-per-view and even the closing segment with Savage and Hogan was off to me. Keep in mind, that closing segment ended with Savage suggesting that he was going to kill Hollywood Hogan at the PPV! I’ll talk more about the Elizabeth stuff later but this seems like a complicated way to get Savage in a position of wanting to kill Hogan at the PPV, with Elizabeth being in business with Hogan. It felt anti-climatic despite the stakes being raised.

 

Date: October 21st 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Mankato, Minnesota

Rating: 3.2

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

Bobby Eaton vs Chris Jericho

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I thought this was a solid opening match. WCW have really stepped it up in the last few weeks with the opening matches for WCW Monday Nitro. It was Malenko vs Brad Armstrong last week and it was Jericho vs Bobby Eaton this week. I think in Bischoff’s mind at this time, it’s very clear that the second hour was the more important hour for him. The big angles were done on the second half of the show involving Hogan and Savage for example. However, putting a solid opening match to kick off Nitro was a great way to get the fans hyped up for the rest of the show and appealed to traditional wrestling fans. They tuned into Nitro wanting good wrestling and they got some!

They announced Savage vs Chris Benoit for later on in the show and Sting was set to appear on this episode of Nitro. It was somewhat ambiguous at this point as to which Sting was actually going to turn up for Nitro – the real Sting or the nWo Sting.

I guess Eaton was no longer with the Blue Bloods with Larry claiming he was “thrown out” of the Blue Bloods. They didn’t even show us what happened but I’m guessing based off Regal winning the TV title and Taylor and Eaton brawling a few weeks ago, they cut the man loose from the group.

Syxx and nWo Sting were amongst the crowd with a nWo banner in the background, Syxx was filming the show… for god knows what reason. The commentators explained Syxx was “scouting” Jericho ahead of their match at Halloween Havoc but I’m fairly certain that the New World Order will have owned televisions and would have the money to watch them for the sake of scouting.

Jericho used the speed to gain the advantage over the bigger Bobby Eaton. Jericho locked on a surfboard stretch submission. Eaton did a powerslam where I think Jericho tried bouncing INTO the rope and then bounced off the and stumbled as they did the spot.

Jericho wrestled down Eaton with a hammerlock. Jericho did the springboard dropkick. Eaton turned things around and worked on Jericho with an arm lock of his own. Eaton and Jericho knocked each other down to the floor with a punch at the same time which looked quite comical. They brawled on the floor with Jericho trying a back elbow but smashing his elbow into the ring post. Jericho backdropped Eaton on the floor.

Eaton hit a swinging neckbreaker and tried a move from the top to which Jericho cut him off but then the Canadian got knocked right back down again to the mat. Eaton did a top rope knee drop “on the shoulder” of Jericho but Jericho kicked out. Jericho did a side kick “enziguiri “ of some kind. Jericho did a top rope dropkick and frantically rushed over to score the pinfall for the win.

I love how Jericho had to go up to referee Nick Patrick just to check with him if it was a three count, given Patrick’s recent history with his refereeing. I thought this was a fine opener.

Eaton actually raised Jericho’s hand after the match showing signs of a babyface turn.

 

Tony Schiavonie interviewed Jericho after the match. Jericho said it was only six days before Halloween Havoc and said Syxx would be coming out of the PPV with a loss. He said he will come out with a victory and we’ll see who the better man is. A lot of yelling from Jericho. Far be it from me to critique the promo capabilities of Chris Jericho but I was not enthralled by the generic good-guy promos from Jericho at this point.

 

We got a Rey Mysterio Jr. video package. Some of the video effects used were seizure-inducing. Black and white effects really hurt my brain as they were showing all of these cool moves from the WCW Cruiserweight Champion Mysterio but the visual effects brought down the video package quality.

 

Dean Malenko vs Jimmy Graffiti

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Another great Nitro match featuring “The Man Of 1000 Holds” Dean Malenko as he wrestled Jimmy Grafiti. Jimmy Graffiti was dressed as Johnny Grunge, with a head like The Sandman but kinda worked like Super Calo. He and Malenko put on some great stuff together on this Nitro. It’s said that any TV opportunity is an opportunity and Graffiti worked his ass off for this one and that has to be respected.

Very good chain-wrestling to start off the match and after a while, Jimmy hit a decent looking float-over DDT. Graffiti hit a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Grafitti hit a side-kick. Some very crisp looking moves hit by Graffiti during this match.

Malenko hit an uppercut but Graffiti fell through the ropes and almost landed right on his head on the floor. I watched that spot a few times and Graffiti was very luck to walk away from that spot seemingly un-phased.

Dean did a chin-lock. The nWo Sting was shown with the video-tape and Larry called him “Stink”. Dean slammed Graffiti with a back suplex. Grafitti tried a bridge pinfall attempt but Dean kicked out. Dean hit a side kick for another 2 count. Dean hit a delayed suplex. Grafitti tried a Magistral roll up but got a 2 count.

Malenko crashed over the top rope with Graffiti following a crossbody and Graffiti landed head first into the apron. It looked nasty. I mentioned he got lucky following out of the ring earlier but here, his head smashed into the apron with a big thud when coming down. It also wasn’t like it was the top of his head, the side of his head smashed the apron. That was ugly.

Graiffit tried a dropkick off the top rope but Malenko reversed into a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory. Sloppy in parts but a another fine match to follow up the Jericho/Eaton match.

The irony of the “Power Pin of the Week” was the fact that it featured Dean locking on a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory! What a POWER PIN!

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs Sgt. Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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Nick Patrick, of course, was the referee and still wearing his neck brace. He refereed the opening match too. This was the continuation of the Nick Patrick vs Teddy Long storyline with one of Teddy’s clients in the ring with DDP who had previously put his hands on Teddy on Nitro.

DDP spat at Teddy before the match started. Teddy summoned Pittman towards him on the apron and then DDP jumped Pittman to start the match. Bad strategy from Team Pittman where Teddy allowed Pittman to have this back turned to a cheating scoundrel like DDP!

DDP caught a kick and hit a Discuss Clothesline. DDP did the elbow drop to the gut but Pittman sold it as if DDP hit him in the balls, therefore calling Patrick’s refereeing into question yet again.

DDP hit a Styles Clash-like facebuster. Pittman kicked out but DDP got thrown into the referee who sold his back. Pittman locked on the code red armbar but referee Patrick was distracted with Teddy Long. Pittman yelled that DDP had given up but Patrick didn’t see it. DDP then hit a Diamond Cutter for the win. Teddy and Patrick yelled at each other even more, Pittman got mad at Teddy Long and this storyline needs to go away.

I mean seriously, where is this storyline going? Other than Nick Patrick working for the New World Order, this Nick Patrick storyline just keeps going and going and it is really starting to jump the shark. WCW are just throwing Patrick in there for every match where the wrestler is managed by Teddy Long. You have DDP and Craig Pittman trying to work a match but they are the backdrop and extras to the Nick Patrick/Teddy Long feud. Once again, the referees and managers are more important than the wrestlers in the ring. That I hate about wrestle. It’s not even like Teddy or Patrick are adding any further to the storyline. They’re just bickering back and forth with no end in sight.

 

Tony interviewed Nick Patrick. Patrick claimed he did not hear DDP give up in the previous match. He blamed Teddy for being the reason that he did not hear him as all he saw was DDP getting to the ropes. To be fair to Patrick, how many times does Teddy Long get up on the apron to chew out the referee when really he should be there to help his clients? Teddy Long distracting the referee which cost Pittman the match so of course, Pittman chewed out Teddy after the match as well and got frustrated with him.

Patrick insisted that he was not the nWo referee claiming he was in twice the better shape than that referee. Patrick warned Tony about what happened the last time an announcer came at him with accusations in reference to “Mean Gene” Okerlund. I was wondering where Mean Gene went because he seemed to disappear from the face of the earth but it turns out his WCW contract expired at this time. In case anyone was wondering what happened to hi.

 

They recapped the nWo attacking Ric Flair two weeks ago and the recap of Jarrett’s promo last week which it also said took place “two weeks ago” so that was an error. Those two events did not happen on the same episode.

 

Jeff Jarrett vs Ron Studd

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They explain that Ric Flair had a MRI on his shoulder so he’s out of action for now. Ron Studd was on jobbing-giant duty tonight as he faced Jeff Jarrett, who would be fighting The Giant at Halloween Havoc in Ric Flair’s place. This was the continuation of Ron Studd’s role of being the giant to lose to a babyface ahead of a match against The Giant.

It’s sad because any wrestling promoter would kill to have a guy as tall as Studd in their ranks. You know how Vince treats giants and a giant ninja has just debuted recently with Akira Tozawa on RAW in 2020. They did try with Studd as the Yeti but now he’s back to being a random lower-midcard guy as a set-up guy for future matches with The Giant. First Chris Benoit, then Randy Savage and now Jeff Jarrett. It would be difficult to push him as a giant with The Giant and Kevin Nash already in the company for the nWo so Studd is just in this position. To be fair, at least Studd has a purpose in WCW unlike the 100s of other wrestlers signed to the company that are just signed for the hell of it. At least he has that going for him.

Ric Flair made his way down to the ring in a suit which he explained were his street clothes…which I totally believe! He’s Ric Flair! He’s always stylin’ and profilin’! Ric commanded Jeff Jarrett to do his strut to mostly boos but some cheers. Then Ric Flair showed him how to do it. He took off his jacket, slicked his hair and did his own strut as the fans went nuts. Fans booed Jarrett and chanted “Nature Boy” with Ric then going into full Ric Flair mode with his stylin’ and profilin’. It’s an awkward position for Jarrett to be in because they were trying to get him over but when Ric Flair came out and ain’t nobody gonna get cheered more than Ric Flair. Therefore, when Jarrett is doing the struts and he was trying to be Flair, the fans turned on him. Why have a cheap imitation when they had the real Ric Flair?

Flair and Jarrett. shook hands as he left Jarrett to it. Jarrett beat up Studd in the corner. Studd tried a suplex but Jarrett grabbed the rope to block it and then Jarrett did a suplex of his own to Studd as the fans actually popped for. Jarrett did a Figure Four Leg Lock on the big man and got the submission victory. It sucked to be Studd but at least this was effective in showing to the viewers that Jarrett could chop down and beat a large man in preparation for a match with another large man.

 

Tony interviewed Jarrett. Jeff said it’s time for him to put up or shut up. He said it’s time for everyone whose ever watched Ric Flair and who respects Flair to be the hunters instead of the hunted. Jarrett said there’s a big bullseye on Giant’s leg and he’s putting on the Figure Four. He said: “You’ve chokeslammed them all but you haven’t chokeslammed Jeff Jarrett.”

Flair interrupted and said he sat home last week and saw a man talk good about Flair. Flair said the nWo outsmarted outflanked and played the game dirtier than the Four Horsemen at War Games. Flair said he would be in Jeff Jarrett’s corner. He said the day he get back in with Jarrett and The Four Horsemen, he will kick the nWo’s ass.

 

Lex Luger vs Roadblock

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THE DEBUT OF ROADBLOCK. It’s almost like a balancing act with how wrestlers are signed with WCW at this point. For every new cruiserweight like Jimmy Graffiti or some great worker like that, they have to sign a big stiff for the big boys of World Championship Wrestling. Roadblock looked massive! He was as wide as a roadblock, he had a road block sign on his shoulders and had an ugly expression on his face. That’s not to say that he’s ugly but the way he gritted his teeth and snarled I enjoyed!

I love how Roadblock ran the ropes first and foremost! He was in the ring with Lex Luger. He ran up and charged at Luger to start the match with his hands in the air to start off the match! It was such a funny run as he charged at the Total Package.

Luger clotheslined him out of the ring. Luger did a scoop slam. Arn was cutting an inset promo about how “those impressive things “he was doing in the ring wouldn’t help him against Arn at Halloween Havoc and at the time of the promo being played, Luger was doing barely anything “impressive” in the ring!

Roadblock did a clothesline. There was an awkward spot where Luger took an Irish whip into the corner and then just turned around! He didn’t even try to do it naturally. He went back first into the turnbuckle and then span around like a Bayblade and then sold the move!

I loved this finish. I don’t think this finish was planned out this way but ended up being perfect with getting Luger over. Luger tried a Torture Rack but Roadblock, because of his size, slipped off of Luger’s shoulders. Luger tried again but Roadblock slipped off again. It was looking like a disaster but Luger started amping up the crowd! He rallied himself up and the fans as he was determined to get this big man up for the Rack. He throws his hands up. He tried the Torture Rack more time and he pullED it off to a big pop and Roadblock submitTED! Then just drops Roadblock down to the mat when he was done!

Whether this was a botched finish or not, this worked out perfectly for Luger. The storyline going on last week was Luger was selling his back because of a chair attack from Arn the week before. Therefore, they put him in the ring with this big guy and Roadblock kept slipping off his back because he was so big and Luger couldn’t keep him up. It played into that. After two attempts, the fans got fired up as they wanted Luger to get this man up for good and he delivered with a great pay-off. This was unintentionally one of my favourite matches of the night!

 

“The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri in a non-title match

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There’s not really much I can say about this match other than the finish. This was your typical American Males match with them working very fast and this was your typical Harlem Heat match with shenanigans. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bagwell hip tossed Booker clean over the top rope as Bobby Heenan correctly pointed out should have been a disqualification. Tenay tried to explain this away as he talked about the momentum and Bobby cut him off and said: “Mike, Don’t think.”

Bagwell turned Booker inside out with a clothesline. As Booker hit a powerbomb, the Outsiders come out also to videotape Booker and Ray. Booker got cut off the top rope with a dropkick. Riggs got the hot tag and ran wild on the Harlem Heat.

Now to the finish, American Males were running wild in the ring but referee NICK PATRICK stopped Bagwell and took him to one side. Riggs punches Col. Robert Parker off the apron. Booker laid out Riggs as his back was turned. Booker went for the cover and Bagwell froze for 2 seconds as the referee counts to two, then he jumps in at the last minute to break it up but supposedly that was a three count and Harlem Heat won the match.

Over-booked tripe for a Harlem Heat match once again. It was honestly like Bagwell was frozen in a block of ice and then thawed out as Patrick got to “two” on his count. Bagwell had all the time in the world to break it up but because Patrick had to be distracted for Harlem Heat to do their spot, Patrick had to turn around and then do the count before Bagwell broke it up. This was a disaster and a miserable finish. I cannot wait for Harlem Heat to lose those titles. I’ve had garbage finishes in title matches for more than a year now with this team and now I want something different with this tag team division. THUMBS DOWN FOR THIS FINISH.

 

“The Fantastics” Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rodgers vs “The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart

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This was a great way to get Faces of Fear over for their match with Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael at Halloween Havoc. Take a random tag team in the Fantastics and have these two monsters destroy them for five minutes. AEW does this well in 2020 but I love the idea of establishing a dominant force by having them destroy enhancement talent. They don’t need to beat one of your other star tag teams. This was the problem with Nitro doing Harlem Heat vs Faces of Fear last week. Nobody could be booked to lose without losing momentum so they had the Outsiders interrupt the match and caused the match to be thrown. This would have been a better option.

Hire a few guys on the cheap and have them sell for the big stars and get them over. It’s good for the stars you wanna get over, it’s good for the enhancement talent because they have the “rub” of being in the ring with a star and it’s a better financial move to make in the long run. Maybe enhancement talent isn’t the word to describe the Fantastics but they were compared to the Faces of Fear in WCW’s eyes at the time.

My favourite spot of this match was when The Faces of Fear did a back drop from Meng into a powerbomb from The Barbarian in an awesome spot in one motion. The Faces of Fear don’t strike me as “spot” guys if that makes sense. All I’ve seen is big power moves from these two monsters as they destroy people left and right. Then suddenly they do this complex spot and they pull it off! I was blown away by them.

I love whenever Barbarian does a backbreaker to someone. It’s not just a motion where they go up and go down. Barbarian lifts him high in the air and slams him right down on his knee. The Barbarian was quite great in the ring.

The monsters destroy the Fantastics with Meng delivering a piledriver. There was double diving headbutt from Faces of Fear on the floor and then they got one of the babyfaces standing up and did a double headbutt while they were on their feet! Bischoff is constantly talking about how these Fantastics have no chance.

Fantastics get the hot tag. Rodgers ran wild. They slam Barbarian with a double back suplex and then do a double top rope dropkick for a 2 count. Barbarian caught Rodgers I believe from the top rope, Meng then booted him and they score the pin.

The Faces of Fear with a fun dominating display and this was a fun five minutes!

 

They recap the Elizabeth video package from last week. I loved the irony of this. Eric Bischoff made sincere apologises to Savage and his family for showing the video package. He’s extremely apologetic and all morose with his delivery as he is sorry for showing the video package and making Savage “an emotional vegetable”. He’s so sorry… but he showed the video again anyway! “Hey Savage, I apologise for this video but I will repeatedly show it as a way to pop a rating!” was basically what Bischoff did here! Bischof claimed he had footage about how low-class Hogan could be that he would show later on. 

 

nWo Sting vs Mr JL

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So Eric Bischoff had been teasing all night that Sting would be here and I don’t remember when it was but then Bischoff got word that it might not be the real Sting. Then, wrestling Mr JL, was the nWo Sting who actually still came out to “The Man called Sting” theme that Sting came out to.

They explained that Elizabeth’s contract would be up in November with WCW which is why I guess she joined the nWo so at least, she would still be signed with the nWo.  The nWo arrived with Vincent, Ted DiBiase, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx and The Giant.

Sting did the World’s Strongest Slam front slam. Sting did the Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Deathlock but the match is interrupted by, believe it or not, THE REAL STING. For the first time in WCW, Sting was here in WCW while wearing the black and white. It was not quite the vintage black and white face-paint he would sport later on in the feud with the nWo. However, he was wearing black scorpion trunks and white face pain and a black trench coat He dropped nWo Sting with the Scorpion Deathlock and he beat him up for a while.

The nWo just stood around the ring as Sting did a Stinger Splash and did the Scorpion Deathlock. The nWo then get into the ring surrounding the real Sting and Ted DiBiase told everyone to say hello to the real Sting. DiBiase offered Sting a place in the nWo. He said if they join them, he would be joining a family. Nash said it’s time for him to break on through to the other side. Hall said Sting had been carrying the WCW banner for 9 years but what does he have to show for it? Hall said he knew the fake Sting would get to him and said there would be no stopping them if the real Sting joined too.

Sting said he may or may not be in their price range or maybe he could be. Sting said the only thing for sure about Sting is that nothing is for certain and then he left. Ironically, after the nWo talk about nWo Sting just being bait and doing nothing to help the fake Sting, Fake Sting still posed with the nWo after the nWo did nothing to save him! It’s weird because the nWo talked about being a part of family if Sting joined and nWo Sting was already in the group and they left him to get his ass kicked! I get the nWo are heels but if this was supposed to sell Sting on the idea of joining “a family” than this was a horrible sales pitch! Such disregard for people who are ALREADY with the New World Order!

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The main-event was supposed to be Randy Savage vs Chris Benoit. Benoit made his was down to the ring just like Mike Enos last week. “Macho Man” Randy Savage came out in what was described as his “street clothes” which was in full back. I can suspend my disbelief that Ric Flair would walk down the streets all suited and booted… because he’s Ric Flair! It was impossible to believe that any normal human in the world would wear this outfit Savage had on in the streets! He looked more like the Undertaker than a regular guy street clothes!

Eric Bischoff said he apologised for last week but now he’s got more footage to show! Yeah Bischoff is aware of the effect his music had on Savage but yet he’s got another video to show anyway RIGHT BEFORE his match with Chris Benoit!

The video showed Hogan on the set of the 3 Ninjas film referred to last week. My description of Hogan’s look in my notes noted that he “looked like a shitty version of Shao Kahn” from the Mortal Kombat series! Ironically, there is a blog post on the Armbar Express from my early days blogging about a ScrewAttackDeath Battle video featuring Shao Kahn which you can read more about that on this link!

Hogan complained to his director and claimed the nWo would betaking over produciton of the film. When in the world when making the movie could someone just take control of producing the film like this? Even when Joss Whedon replaced Zack Snyder from Justice League, it’s not like Joss just walked up at the set and said he was taking over the project! There was a process to this change in the movie! The Giant was apparently going to direct the film and Hogan was gonna produce as he said: “welcome to the world of Hollywood Hogan.”

Elizabeth was on the set with the nWo as she supposedly had a cameo I guess agreed to her in her nWo contract. Hogan pressured Elizabeth to tell Savage she loved him. Giant yelled at the camera man “what you’re doing boy?” as Hogan got upset with Elizabeth. Giant sent Elizabeth back to the trailer as Hogan berated her. He said: “What Hollywood wants, Hollywood gets.” Hogan said she wanted some acting lessons Hulk Hogan style.

Eric asked for Savage’s thoughts as they cut back to them at the arena and Savage eventually broke his silence. He said: “it just occurred to me how fragile friendships and relationships can be. Eric, you and I both know how fragile business can be.” He ends with promo with saying: Hulk Hogan, life is fragile” and he waleds away. So yes, it was played up to suggest Savage was going to KILL HULK HOGAN at Halloween Havoc! To be fair, Savage did release a rap video many years later about wanting to fight Hulk Hogan in real life! Maybe this was just life imitating art!

That was a horrible segment. When building up a babyface Randy Savage against a heel Hollywood Hogan for Halloween Havoc, it shouldn’t be this difficult. Hogan turned on Savage at Bash at the Beach, Savage went nuts and wanted revenge. Of course the Elizabeth stuff from WWF is an aspect of this feud but you don’t have to directly address it. Here, they address Elizabeth and it watered down what should have been a great personal rivalry when Savage should do everything he can to try and kill Hogan. They inserted Elizabeth into the middle and it took away from the personal rivalry aspect of Hogan vs Savage.

They had to write the storyline around her which I think took away the heat from Savage and Hogan. I have not been a fan of this storyline but heck, maybe Halloween Havoc delivered in a big way. We will wait and see.

 

The WCW Halloween Havoc review is coming up next on this blog. In the mean time, enjoy time indoors during this crazy time to read up on my thoughts about every WCW up until this point! Be sure to follow the blog as we’ve got more Nitro reviews and PPVs to come for the foreseeable future!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #57 (OCTOBER 14TH 1996) – MISS ELIZABETH APOLOGISES TO “MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE AND NWO TURN ON THE NASTY BOYS

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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Last week saw time given to building up programs outside of the main New World Order storyline, including Arn Anderson attacking Lex Luger with a chair and the debut of Jeff Jarrett. We also saw developments of the nWo, Elizabeth and Randy Savage storyline. Savage refused to hear anything Elizabeth had to say after it appeared Elizabeth had joined the nWo. It all came to ahead at the end of the show, where the nWo laid out Ric Flair backstage and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan blindsided Savage which led to a further beat down ahead of Hogan and Savage’s match at Halloween Havoc.

This week was very boring at times but did have some bright spots in midst of what was a flat edition of WCW Monday Nitro to me. If it weren’t for the opening match, the Jeff Jarrett match and the Elizabeth video package, this would have been right up there with one of the worst episodes in a long time. However, those segments were so effective that they really saved the show in many ways. That’s my initial review but let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this edition of WCW Monday Nitro…

Date: October 14th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Memphis, Tennessee

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

Dean Malenko vs Brad Armstrong

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This was a hell of an opener. Excellent technical wrestling from both men and it was such a joy to watch this match to build up excitement for the fans and kick off Nitro. Dean Malenko was great getting the heat, Brad was an excellent babyface in peril and criminally underrated over the years. This match sure delivered.

Malenko still had WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr.’s mask as he had unmasked Rey week’s ago ahead of their match at Halloween Havoc. The referee for this Nitro match was Nick Patrick who, after all of this time, was still committing to wear this neck brace. Nick Patrick has been in a neck brace for about a month now following Savage beating him up on Saturday Night, and they haven’t strayed from this storyline where Patrick claims he’s injured. I give them a lot of credit for committing to this angle with Patrick in a neck brace.

They showed a clever finish from Dean and Brad’s last match where Malenko rolled up Armstrong but Brad grabbed the arm’s of Malenko and was able to pin him to the mat.

For this match, Armstrong and Malenko battled for control early on. HUGE NWO CHANTS BROKE OUT during the match. I’ll get into this a little later about Memphis’ appreciation of the nWo…

The cruiserweights wrestled for a hip toss which ended up with a rope break, after which Malenko cheap-shotted Armstrong. Malenko locked on an abdominal stretch for a while. Dean hit a sweet looking tear drop suplex. Watching Malenko getting the heat on someone at this time was such a treat because it was such a varied moveset that he displayed. He’d go from a long hold to just beating his opponent’s arse with punches and elbows and it was so effective just how he transitioned from one type of a wrestler to another. In case you hadn’t figured it out, Dean Malenko was a good wrestler back in the day! It’s shocking to hear, I know…

They traded roll-ups for a while, with Armstrong getting back into the match with a top rope dropkick. Armstrong did a Russian Legsweep and followed this up with a side suplex. Dean tripped the leg of Brad and got a small package pin and scored the victory where he trapped Armstrong’s legs to score the pinfall. Solid professional wrestling. Gets a huge thumbs up.

A black limo arrived at the arena where the nWo arrived on the scene. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, nWo Sting, Syxx were there in this limo with Hollywood Hogan, The Giant, Vincent and Ted DiBiase arriving in another limo. They all high-fived and celebrated as they made their way to the arena. They cut back to the fans and the fans are chanting for Hogan.

They recapped WCW Saturday Night where Hacksaw Jim Duggan wrestled M. Wallstreet. For the finish to this match, Hacksaw knocked Wallstreet into referee Nick Patrick. Duggan hit Wallstreet with the tape and Patrick without even looking, counted the pin. When Duggan celebrated with the tape, Patrick reversed the decision and awarded the match to M. Wallstreet. Larry correctly pointed out that “it was by the book” which was a weird stance during a storyline where Nick Patrick is supposed to be corrupt. Nick Patrick DID THE RIGHT THING and supposedly he was a heel!

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs M. Wallstreet

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To recap, this match aired on WCW Saturday Night. For some reason, they had to do it again for WCW Monday Nitro. Keep in mind that I’ve seen this match so many times on WCW Nitro already and now, we’re watching it again. It’s hard to imagine that Wallstreet wrestled anyone else in this company other than Hacksaw.

There were big USA chants. Duggan ran wild early on with a hip toss and a clothesline. Wallstreet did a headlock. Duggan fired back but Wallstreet cut him off with a kitchen sink. These two men, for all their matches, still seemed like they were on different pages at times with some of the spots they did. That kitchen sink I mentioned looked like Wallstreet was too fast to do it and so Duggan keeled over in the slowest manner possible. It looked like Duggan was set in slow-mo.

They went back to the chin-lock and… this was a lame match. This was technically not bad by Wallstreet but long arse chin locks was becoming vintage Wallstreet at this time. Think of Wallstreet like Randy Orton but not as athletic. It’s just boring stuff from Wallstreet during a time where WCW were allegedly in a wrestling ratings war. With something like this, you can tell WCW were not bothered by the first hour.

Duggan punched his way back to his feet but Wallstreet cut him off again. Wallstreet tried a double axe handle I think from the top rope but Duggan put his boot up. Duggan tried to use the tape but Wallstreet cut him off. Wallstreet tried to use the tape himself but Duggan hit the lariat and won.

So at least in this instance, cheaters never prospered and Wallstreet got punished for attempting to cheat. That’s fine, even if Duggan attempted to cheat first, and this is all OK. There is at least some morality to the story of this match. With that being said, the match sucked and I never want to see it again. You have top quality cruiserweights in your roster filled with literally hundreds of wrestlers. Use them.

Hugh Morrus vs Jim Powers w/Teddy Long

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I love how for every Jim Powers match now on Nitro, Nick Patrick happens to be the referee since Patrick is feuding with Powers’ manager Teddy Long! Obviously this is being done with Jim Powers, Ice Train and every other client Teddy Long was managing at the time because of the program with Patrick. However, if this were real, would it really be this coincidental that Patrick is referring all of Powers’ matches?

If Teddy really had a problem with Nick Patrick, how come he never asked for another referee before the match? Then again, this is also a company that is having an injured referee in Nick Patrick referee two matches in a row as he’s did last week. So clearly the WCW Board of Directors do not view referees favourably in WCW. MORE ON THAT later…

Patrick patted down Powers as Patrick and Teddy continued to bicker. One last thing before I get into the match. Not to mention, couldn’t Nick Patrick just ask Teddy to be banned from ringside if Teddy is becoming such a distraction? Or, if he feels Teddy is interfering with the match, throw him out and send him to the back. At the very least, Patrick would be justified in doing that because it’s not like Hugh Morrus came down with Jimmy Hart or anybody! HECK, they flat out talked about Hugh Morrus coming out on his own as a singles competitors as of late without the Dungeon of Doom! If that’s the case, then shouldn’t Patrick have the authority to throw out Teddy Long who he is feuding with to not affect his judgement?

The match started of fine as Powers was able to power Hugh down with a crossbody. Powers did a hip toss and a clothesline as Hugh got sent to the floor. The match gets boring after a while as Morrus just did moves forever to get the heat. Compared to Malenko where he displayed a varied heat segment of his match, Hugh did a bunch of clotheslines applied a bunch of holds, a few scoop slams and it’s just typical nothingness from Morrus. It was the most basic wrestling possible that I could possibly accomplish after 6 months of training. I was not impressed.

Powers got back in the match and did a sunset flip but only got a 2 count after Patrick took a long time to do a 2 count. Powers did a powerslam as Patrick was again slow to do the count to which Hugh even kicked out at one for this move. The announcers are getting pissed, Teddy was getting more pissed and the fans got mad as this was getting in the way of the match. Patrick got knocked into the ropes and when Powers went for a small package, Patrick was even slower to do the count. There was NUCLEAR HEAT for Patrick at this point!

The fans wanted Patrick’s head as did Powers, who got a hold of Patrick but Hugh cut him off. Hugh hit a moonsault and then Patrick, after barely being able to do a proper count, did the count completely fine for the heel as Hugh Morrus got the pinfall victory. The storyline of the match was really well done. Patrick was tremendous in his role as a blatant heel refereee as he slowly made it worse and worse for the babyface but then his true colours showed when he pinned down Hugh as normal. I enjoyed this.

Teddy and Patrick tore into each other after the match as they yelled back and forth.

Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs Lex Luger

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This was another boring match. There were aspects of the last two matches I enjoyed but as a whole, those matches were very flat. The Duggan/Wallstreet match was saved by a decent finish, the Powers/Morrus match was saved by Nick Patrick but everything else was boring about those two matches. This was just another boring match because they had to tell the story of Luger being hurt after what Arn Anderson did to him last week. Lex Luger selling for Valentine was horrible to see.

Luger was all bandaged up after what happened last week, with Arn beating up Luger with a chair. Valentine got the advantage early on as Valentine worked on the arm. Luger tried a suplex but was not able to do it as his back gave out. Valentine worked on Luger.

Arn watched the match on the monitor as he urged Valentine to stay on the back of Luger. Arn was SAT DOWN watching the match on the monitor, rather than standing to the side and watching the monitor. He was shown to actually be watching the match unlike in some other promotions in 2020.

The nWo arrived with Vincent and Ted DiBiase as Valentine continued to get a heat. Hollywood Hogan had supposedly demanding to make a live announcement later on in the show.

The match was still pretty boring as Valentine just beat on Luger. Luger eventually fought his way back to his feet and Luger did an atomic drop and did two flying forearms but was still not able to get the win.

Valentine tried to get the pin with his feet on the ropes but the referee either caught him or Luger kicked out. I didn’t write down what happened I’m afraid. Whatever happened, as Valentine argued with the referee afterwards, Luger snuck up from behind with the Torture Rack as Valentine quickly submitted. That spot went pretty smoothly all things considered and the fact they that they had to tell the storyline of Luger trying to sell his back. This match was pretty poor but at least the finish was done well and there was a semblance of ring psychology.

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Tony interviewed Nick Patrick. Tony brought up a great point where he mentioned if Patrick was not 100%, maybe he shouldn’t be in the ring refereeing. At the very least, he should not be refereeing two matches in a row like last week! If you remember last week, Patrick had lobbied for a $1 million fine and a suspension for Randy Savage after Savage put his hands on him a few weeks ago. Tony broke the news to Patrick that Savage would get a $500 fine and would miss the first five matches on 1997.

Patrick was very upset by this as he called WCW spineless jellyfishes. Patrick yelled that WCW were in a war with nWo but they’re also gonna have a legal war with his legal staff. They then show footage from WCW Saturday Night, where I guess the nWo got their own segment of that show. A nWo referee was shown in a mask. The masked referee, acting a lot like Nick Patrick, delivered a great right hand and took a swing at the nWo’s opponents which led to them getting the win. Patrick insisted that this man wasn’t him as he’s in much better shape than that guy! I loved his defence and then he immediately pointed the finger at Randy Anderson!

He warned everyone to back off him and the legal team would be back in touch. This was such a great promo by Patrick and I’ve really turned the corner on this storyline. It’s awesome because let’s just pretend that Patrick wasn’t actually corrupt and he was just incompetent. If Patrick was just an idiot that was making mistakes and then when he got attacked by a wrestler to which WCW did nothing about it, then this would be perfect validation for him to join the nWo officially.

It’s clear to everybody at this point that this was Patrick as the nWo referee and Patrick WAS a corrupt referee but in the off chance that he wasn’t, this was great story-telling. If he was corrupt then him trying to paint WCW as the bad guys is a great way to perhaps convince other referees or other wrestlers to join the nWo because this clearly shows WCW doesn’t care about Patrick. There’s so many layers to this storyline and Patrick is tremendous in this role.

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Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan were at commentary for the second hour but there was no Eric Bischoff. It was supposed to be Randy Savage vs Mike Enos and Savage came down but Eric Bischoff stopped Savage from coming down to talk to him. Savage grabbed the mic and yelled “oh yeah”. Eric wanted to talk to Savage but Savage said he knows nWo is in the building. Savage yelled at Hogan I believe to get his ass outta here so he can kick it.

Bischoff wanted Savage to have a look at a video package, where Elizabeth talked about how she felt. This was one of the better performances of Elizabeth’s WCW run so far. This was great by her own standards but OK to everyone else’s standards which is the best way I can put it. Elizabeth said the things she did in anger were actually done by a coward. Elizabeth said she’s alone again as she welled up. She said sorry and wished he could find some way to forgive her. Elizabeth talked about the bad choices she’s made including signing with Hogan and allowed him to use her to get to Savage. Fans booed in the background as Elizabeth said all of this. 

She said: “I feel the same way about you today than the day I said I do” and the video stopped Then they show Randy Savage watching this. Savage’s facial expressions as he is completely distraught by this video was unbelievably great. His lips quivered and it’s such a variety of emotions with sadness, anger and confusion.  Through no words, he sold this storyline better than Elizabeth. He’s just dead quiet as he looks so lost and he grabbed his face, and pushed Eric aside. Savage started crying but he does start to make his way down to the ring bu then he changes his mind and walked to the back. Savage then squatted as he looks like he’s about to collapse. He goes into the limo and left. I believe Eric said “shit” quietly as Savage left although I didn’t quite get that.

Savage was on another planet awesome… without saying a word and it was captivating. If you watched the Dark Side of the Ring episode with Liz and Savage and if you listen to the stories about how they broke up in 1992 I believe, there’s a sense of realism to what Savage was feeling at the time of Elizabeth saying she’s sorry. Even without that documentary or anything we know now with hindsight, it connected with the audience. We all know the story of Savage and Liz from the WWF and Elizabeth has been with Ric Flair for the last 6 months or so, so this is not like this is “insider” or shoot comments Elizabeth was making. It was real to real-life and it was real to the kayfabe storyline and it worked. This gets two thumbs up. The best segment as part of this Elizabeth/Savage storyline by a huge margin.

Mike Enos got paid for this by the way, to come out and then watch Savage leave. Quite a pay day for Mike Enos.

Eric joined the announce booth after the break. Bobby correctly scolded Eric for bringing the video up right before Halloween Havoc to mess with him ahead of his big match.

Eddie Guerrero vs Cheetah Kid

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I have no idea who the Cheetah Kid was by the way. I went to the internet to try and find out more but I was still not able to find a name. Prince Iaukea WAS the name that I found more than anyone’s but it’s hard really to say. All I know was that this was another generic luchador that WCW invented. From Mr J.L, El Technico two weeks ago and now this guy.

Eddie called DDP a one-move wrestler during an inset a promo. He said: “You can break a leg, you can break an arm but you can’t break my spirit.” This was a great promo by Eddie to build up his match with DDP at Halloween Havoc. 

Cheetah Kid worked on Eddie and hit a powerbomb. Cheetah tried a second one but Eddie reversed it. Eddie did a frankensteiner and hit a frog splash for the win. There’s not a lot I can say. This was a pretty short match to review but everything looked fine.

Lee Marshall called from Minneapolis as WCW was gonna be in Minneapolis with the 1-800-collect road report. That’s what I want to see more of in wrestling. This is probably not possible right now because of the Covid-19 outbreak but if you’re AEW, have Taz go down to Nashville or wherever Dynamite is at next and hang out at a local restaurant to promote the town. The Taz Report each and every week on AEW Dynamite.

Jeff Jarrett vs Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart

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This was the best match on the show. This may not have necessarily been the best technical match on the show but in many ways, this is the match that personified old-school wrestling or what people remember of old school wrestling. You’re in a big wrestling town and you have a hometown boy in Jeff Jarrett. You have a big heel in Bubba trying to dash the town’s dreams. The hometown boy overcoming all of the odds and winning to thunderous applause. This did everything it set out to do to get Jeff Jarrett over.

I mentioned that Jarrett’s debut last week was one of the worst babyface performances of all time. This was like a polar opposite where they found the right time and the right town and Jarrett was so over, with a match booked with the purposes of getting him over as a babyface and it worked.

Eric said Bubba was from The Faces of Fear. I have no idea what that was about so either they renamed the Dungeon of the Doom to “The Faces of Fear” or Bubba is just with the Faces of Fear tag team as a stable member. I think Eric made a mistake and he meant the Dungeon of Doom. I guess Eric was too excited about that Faces of Fear vs Harlem Heat main-event later on in the show.

As mentioned, there was a strong reaction for hometown boy Jeff Jarrett. There was Big Double J chants. At the very least for Jarrett, he did the strut and the fans went crazy for him this week.

Jeff delivered some beautiful right hands. Jarrett had one of the great underrated right hands in the wrestling business. It is right up Jerry Lawler’s avenue with the way these right hands were delivered. Jarrett chased Jimmy around but Bubba hid behind the steps and cut Jarrett off.

Bubba tried a slam on the steel steps but the referee got in the way, so he settled for a backbreaker. Jimmy got kicks in on the outside at Jarrett as he yelled about this being his town to which Tenay concluded that this was about jealousy. Jimmy Hart had been big in Memphis before so this was why he took exception to Jarrett.

Bubba locked on a chin lock. Jarrett tried to fight back but Bubba cut him off with a great big boot. Bubba tried a stinger splash but he got caught on the top rope as Jarrett kicked away at him. Jarrett went for a Figure Four but Jimmy got on the apron and Jarrett punched at him as Jimmy bounced his way to the outside. It was such a funny sell.

Bubba accidentally hit the ref as he tried to ground and pound Jeff, with this being Jeff’s first experience in Double J, Double M-A! Quite the foreshadowing to an MMA storyline for another company 15 years later that Jarrett happened to be the founder of! Jimmy threw the megaphone in the ring but Jarrett dropkicked it in Bubba’s face and got the pin and the fans cheered.

This was brilliant professional wrestling. This was not a technical masterpiece but this is everything the fans remember about the good times of old school wrasslin’. This was traditional wrestling as the fans went nuts for the hometown boy, they put him over like crazy and this was awesome. I might be in the minority but this was the best thing on the show for me.

Tony Schiavonie revealed Jarrett will wrestle The Giant at Halloween Havoc as a replacement for Ric Flair. Jarrett said he was gonna make an impact. Say what you will about Jeff Jarrett, but he was not wrong. Jeff Jarrett did make an Impact… give it 10 years later! He called himself an Impact Player. He wasn’t the biggest but he was the smartest and he would chop Giant down to size and lock on the figure four. He said the nWo was gonna respect Ric Flair, WCW and the wrestling heritage. All the nWo were gonna respect Jeff Jarrett. He was so over tonight and this was a fine promo from Jarrett.

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Col Robert Parker and Col Robert Parker vs “Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian in a non-title match

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I don’t care what anyone thinks. This match was boring. They threw two heel tag teams in there and there was no face/heel chemistry to streamline the match. You don’t necessarily need that in a match but it would help to some extent in order to help the fans get into the match a little.

It was incredibly weird seeing comedy acts like Col Robert Parker embroiled in a feud with the nWo at this time! Harlem Heat were defending the WCW tag team titles against the Outsiders at Halloween Havoc so by association, Col. Robert Parker was feuding with the nWo! They point out that Harlem Heat could get hurt against Faces of Fear and to prove their point, Meng beat Booker’s arse in the corner! He just threw wild punches at him in the corner!

Not to mention, Harlem Heat only won the titles becauseFaces of Fear attacked the leg of Johnny Grunge of the former tag champs and they capitalised on that injury. So yes, it is established in this universe that it is dangerous to wrestle even in a non-title match. This was great work to put the match over by Bobby Heenan who mentioned this. This was not just a regular, random match. They wanted to sell the idea that this match was important. I at least give them credit for that because not many wrestling promotions do that nowadays.

Benoit and Mongo come out with Debra as Mongo talked trash at Faces of Fear. It’s a pretty bland match for a while. There’s no clear heat segment with two heel groups although I guess Harlem Heat where the defacto babyfaces feuding with the nWo. Barbarian and Stevie Ray somehow pulled off a top rope belly to belly suplex which I did find to be impressive.

Sherri screamed at Meng and Meng responded by shaking his hips and dancing in front of Sherri to huge laughs from the crowd. Meng playing the role of Big E by swivelling his hips I enjoyed.

Meng hit Stevie Ray with a naughty sit-out powerbomb. Faces of Fear hit the double headbutt. The fans go crazy as the match ended in a big brawl in the ring as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash arrived on the scene with cans of spray-paint. The match is thrown out as the wrestlers stopped fighting as they challenge the Outsiders to come over the barricade… for a unfair fight! The Outsiders were in a 2 on 4 disadvantage so why would they take them up on this offer? Barbarian even grabbed a chair. Outsiders wisely don’t fight them because they are outnumbered and live to fight another day. Eric then randomly goes on a tangent begging for Sting to come back as a leader.

This was… all kinds of odd

Halloween Havoc hyped up Giant vs Ric Flair for Halloween Havoc, right after Jarrett was booked with Giant for the PPV. I have no idea what was going on with that.

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The Fans go crazy again as Hogan finally arrived with the entire nWo making their way down to the ring including Elizabeth. Even Elizabeth is dressed in black. Before I get into Hogan’s promo, I will go back to the point I made during the opener about fans loving the nWo. Jeff Jarrett cut this big promo last week about how Hogan wrestled in Tennessee and disrespected tradition. It was every attempt to stand up for old school wrasslin’ and paint Hogan as the “anti-christ of professional wrestling” as Vince Russo used to call himself. However, these fans did not care which should tell you how over the nWo were at this time. 

Think of this like the CM Punk chants that as of last year still happened during WWE shows when Punk had not been with the company for five years. It’s weird to make that comparison but in the opener, the fans chanted nWo during a random cruiserweight match like CM PUNK would just be randomly chanted during a terrible RAW segment for example. They wanted more of the nWo… AT THIS POINT.

Hogan said it was nWo time brothers as the fans cheered! Hogan said all for one and one for all. Hogan said he hoped Savage would have some dignity and then Hogan talked about filming a movie “the three ninjas”. I checked and it appears the movie he was referring to was: “3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain”. I have a weird desire to watch this movie because having looked at the Wikipedia entry, this was what I got:

“The film had universally negative reviews and is generally considered to be the worst of the four in the series. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 0%, based on 6 reviews.”

What’s weird about this film was that it got released in April 1998 and Hogan was filming for this movie back in October 1996. After all of that work, it grossed domestically $375,805. So clearly, this film needed some work.

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Hogan said he can push Savage’s buttons to run and hide from the greatest actress in the world Elizabeth. Following this comment, Elizabeth tried to slap him Hogan but Hogan grabbed her. Hogan said he doesn’t think Savage is worthy for a title shot. The Nasty Boys come out in nWo gear with a piece of paper as they high five. Hogan said they had never done him wrong and he loved them like his own family. As soon as he said “his own family” it became clear what was going to happen to the Nasty Boys.

Hogan said: “If there’s anything I can do, just call on me.” Knobbs yelled about the contract, saying he should get more money. Hogan told him the turn the page. Hogan said he himself didn’t sign the contract. He says they shouldn’t have the nWo shirts on if he didn’t sign the contract. He said: “You don’t wear these colours unless we tell you too” after which the nWo kick their arses as Hogan said get him boys. They rip off the shirts and spray paint their backs. They rip up the contract. Hogan yelled that the reason Savage’s life fell apart is because of Hollywood Hogan. He said: “The bottom line is before the marriage was destroyed, night and day Elizabeth dreamed about me. After Halloween Havoc is over, I’ll still be her man.” Hogan said he was gonna fly back to Hollywood, finish his film and take Elizabeth with him. He said he was gonna make sure Elizabeth was gonna love it. Hogan said Elizabeth was gonna be with him night and day.

It’s weird seeing Hogan as the slightly more evil version of Ric Flair. My weird analogy of this is Ric Flair is your typical “fun” womaniser (EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer of this blog is no way promoting womanising as “fun”, this is merely for the purposes of this analogy) and Hollywood Hogan was like The Joker with Elizabeth being Harley Quinn. Ric Flair just wanted to party, take women to space mountain and have a good time while Hogan wants to possess Elizabeth like property but he’s still trying to talk like Ric Flair. It’s weird seeing Ric Flair being “the lesser of two evils” between himself and Hulk Hogan!

Nash and Hall take over the announce booth. Hall said Harlem heat were gonna find out what the nWo was all about at Halloween Havoc. They showed the clip again of Savage distraught after the Elizabeth segment as the show goes off the air.

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I stand by my comments earlier that this show was boring. There was nothing really about this show that was bad, other than two or three of the boring matches in a row in the first hour. I felt Luger vs Valentine and Duggan vs Wallstreet were bad but they were more boring than bad. There was still a lot to like about the show and I actually didn’t mind the nWo shenanigans this week. There was a pay off to the Nasty Boys joining the nWo storyline, there were some solid matches and I like a lot of the main storylines they’re putting together at the moment. Therefore, I would consider this show more of a success this week on the grounds that the fans were super into the show as a whole.

At the end of the day, that is what was important so I would give this show a thumbs up on those grounds although I personally considered it boring. I’m sure the stuff I found boring, someone will probably watched recently as well and found it great so I’d recommended watching this yourself and formulating your opinion. Feel free to leave comments on this blog post and tell the Armbar Express what you thought about this episode of Nitro!

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #56 (OCTOBER 7TH 1996) – JEFF JARRETT MAKES HIS WCW NITRO DEBUT

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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The storyline for the New World Order has suddenly become centred around Miss Elizabeth and her feelings for the “Macho Man” Randy Savage. She was not able to accompany Arn Anderson and Woman down to the ringside for his match with Chris Jericho last week and left the building early. The end of last week’s episode saw Elizabeth arriving at the nWo’s party to discuss deals and movie roles as Savage arrived to express his disgust at his ex-wife, who appears to now be with the nWo.

The drama continues with Macho Man and Liz this week as part of a slicker WCW Monday Nitro than last week. A lot of people might see this differently but I thought this was one of the best Nitro shows in a while. We got a lot of matches to digest, we got a rematch of the Rick Steiner vs Chris Benoit from last week which was actually better the second time around and there just felt like there was more life to Nitro this week. There was typical moments of nWo getting heat especially with the ending of this episode but there were other things going that got a lot more development. They developed the Lex Luger/Arn Anderson storyline a bit more for example. There was a lot to like about this episode.

 

Date: October 7th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Savannah, Georgia

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

There were really cool effects with the Nitro logo spinning as part of the lights on the ramp and these lights were shooting up to the Nitro set at the top of the ramp. It was very flashy and very elaborate as usual for WCW Monday Nitro. Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zybszko talked about what happened last week and Larry immediately came to the conclusion that Elizabeth was with the nWo – did Larry not learn anything from what happened with Sting when they accused him of being with the nWo? They made a big deal last week as to offer Sting a car to say they were sorry for doubting him and here is Larry already concluding that Elizabeth was with the nWo when it’s not even clear what’s going on.

There were new WCW tag team champions as Harlem Heat defeated Public Enemy on WCW Saturday Night to regain the tag team championship, capitalising on Johnny Grunge’s knee injury caused by the Faces of Fear last week. Therefore, we’re back to Harlem Heat vs Outsiders at Halloween Havoc for the WCW tag teams titles as previously advertised.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Sister Sherri and Col. Robert Parker vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock in a non-title grudge match

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Harlem Heat got the “jobber entrance” despite being the WCW tag team champions, with the former champions getting the big entrance to kick off the show as Harlem Heat were already in the ring! Referee Nick Patrick, with a disgusted look on this face and still wearing a neck brace, was refereeing this match. This was ironic as Patrick was the referee when Public Enemy won the tag team titles 2 weeks ago.

Public Enemy did the drop toe-hold/elbow drop combination early on in the match. Stevie Ray stomped on Rocco on the floor as Sherri screamed at him. Rocco grabbed Sherri to a huge pop but Booker saved her. Elizabeth was shown at the locker room of Randy Savage as she wanted to explain herself but I guess he wasn’t there as she looked disappointed coming out of his locker room.

They cut back to the match where Harlem Heat have got the heat on Public Enemy. Ray hit a sidewalk slam and Booker hit a side kick to a big pop. Ray held Rocco and Sherri clocked him with a punch to the face. This was a straight up punch to the face as opposed to a slap which was different for a female manager and I actually thought was pretty cool.

They get a good close-up of Nick Patrick at exact moment he is adjusting his trousers! Bad timing from the WCW production crew! Heat beat up Rocco in the corner as I guess Patrick missed Grunge getting the tag as he stopped him from getting in the ring.

The nWo arrived in the arena with Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Ted DiBiase, Syxx and Vincent all there within the crowd. Hall cut a promo, calling Harlem Heat “hillbillies” and saying if they want some of the Outsiders they’re gonna get it. Nash said they were gonna get the belts. Hall said it was gonna be awfully scary. Nash said he smelt the fear. DiBiase said he smelt the money and it was gonna get real real hot. Then they left.

Booker then missed a dive as the Harlem Heat had completely ignored the Outsiders during their promo and continued to wrestle. The nWo’s words had fell upon deaf ears. It is a change to have guys come out to distract their rivals but the rivals not listening to them or not allowing themselves to get distracted. At the very least, that’s something different where the story is Harlem Heat are not letting the nWo get to them. That I like.

Grunge got the tag and Rocco pulled off a double bulldog as the Public Enemy ran wild. Rocco got knocked off the top rope by Parker as Rocco went crashing through the table. Stevie hit Grunge with a chair to the knee. Sherri was talking to Patrick for about 30 minutes as Harlem Heat place a chair on the knee and Booker did a top rope knee drop to the knee of Grunge and Harlem Heat got the pin.

It’s the same finish EVERY SINGLE WEEK from Harlem Heat. I am begging for something different but no, there has to be some over-complicated spot involving the managers or some shenanigans that is completely bookeed. That’s why I groaned at the start of the show when I realised Harlem Heat were the champions again. Was it so hard to have Grunge awkwardly land on his leg and then Harlem Heat capitalising to get the win? Did we need Parker to get involved and two different leg-based attacks with a chair before Harlem Heat got the pin?

This was an OK match with a hugely over-complicated finish as usual with Harlem Heat.

 

Jeff Jarrett debuted on WCW Monday Nitro dressed all in white with sunglasses on and a black jacket as he mentioned he’s got something to say. It would be later revealed he would be wrestling Hugh Morrus later on in the show.

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Tony did an interview with Nick Patrick on WCW Saturday Night which they showed along with the clip of Savage putting his hands on Patrick. Patrick said Randy Savage was being fined $1 million for putting his hands on Patrick and wanted him suspended. He mentioned he’s assured by his lawyers that he’s got a strong case and he hoped WCW got on his side.

There’s actually a bit of lore to this whole Elizabeth storyline particularly with the big fine Patrick has planned. If Patrick is in the pocket of the nWo, as alluded to in recent months, they could have had him goad Savage into striking him and then issued out this fine. How Patrick was able to lobby such a large fine and what authority he has to do that has yet to be explained! However, this fine makes it easier to lure Elizabeth to their side with things like movie deals because she wanted the money to help out Savage. It was explained Flair spent all of his money apparently so she’s joining the nWo to help him out financially. I find that interesting but more on Savage and Liz later.

 

DDP vs Jim Powers w/Teddy Long

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Nick Patrick was referring two matches in a row which, if you think about, is completely ludicrous. He’s “injured” with a neck brace on, and he’s refereeing two matches in a row which I feel is somewhat unfair! Tony also talked about Patrick wanting Savage suspended right before his big match with Hogan at Halloween Havoc so this would put WCW in a big disadvantage ahead of such an important match.

I love how Patrick patted down the babyface Jim Powers right before the match but not the heel Diamond Dallas Page! That subtle detail from this heel referee I appreciated.

Powers broke out of a Full Nelson attempted by Page and kicked Page into the ropes. They showed an inset promo from DDP where he called Eddie “Borito Boy” ahead of their match at Halloween Havoc. That’s certainly not nice.

Powers tried a few roll-ups on DDP but to no avail. Powers did a crossbody for a 2 count. DDP hit an absolute solid Diamond Cutter where he countered a full nelson into a Diamond Cutter which looked excellent. A great finish in my eyes to an average television match. CLEAN victory for DDP.

DDP kicked down Teddy Long after the match and pushed him into the corner. Then Teddy yelled at Patrick in the ring for something DDP did…. why? There’s no controversy here regarding the finish as DDP beat Powers clean. I know it was a dick-move for DDP to push around Teddy but how was that Nick Patrick’s fault? Hasn’t Teddy Long learned with the likes of his run-ins with Scott Norton to try and stay out of the ring like a good manager should do?

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Mike Tenay tried another interview and this time Randy Savage WAS THERE to be interviewed as he was followed down by a driver sporting Slim Jim gear called Jason Killer. Killer was the driver of the Slim Jim race car. It was mentioned nWo talked about nWo running through the competition at the Nascar event hyped up in recent weeks. It was revealed that the nWo car did not finish the race as it hit the wall as the Slim Jim guy Jason finished in 10th. Savage said Hogan was gonna crash and burn like the nWo car. Elizabeth interrupted him but he yelled what’s done is done and told her to save it. He left and Elizabeth followed him. A wacky promo from Savage regarding this NASCAR business.

 

“High Voltage” Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage vs “Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart

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The Faces of Fear attacked High Voltage from behind to kick off the match as Tony revealed Jeff Jarrett was making his in-ring WCW debut tonight. Chris Benoit, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra all came out as the Four Horsemen were facing the Faces of Fear at Halloween Havoc.

High Voltage did a spot where I think they tried a double springboard shoulder tackle. This sounded clunky on paper and looked horrible in execution. What ended up happening was Kaos crashed into Meng as planned (although looked completely un-coordinated doing so) and Rage landed right on his feet making contact with nobody. It made these guys look so horrible.

Barbarian and Meng beat up Rage in the ring. Meng hit a sit out powerbomb with Rage not even landing on his shoulders properly so it look nasty. In response, Barbarian hit a big powerbomb of his own and Rage landed right on his shoulders for the second powerbomb!

Faces of Fear did a catapult into a big boot for the clean pin as they posed in the ring with Jimmy Hart. Jimmy declared that the Faces of Fear were ready for Benoit, Mongo and “that bimbo of yours!” An easy way to put over Faces of Fear ahead of their PPV match with Benoit and Mongo. This gets a thumbs up.

 

Glacier vs Mike Wenner

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This was the first I’d ever heard of Mike Wenner but apparently, he was in World War III battle royal in 1995 which I did review, but I have no memory of him actually being in the match last year! He was back for this squash match against Glaicer.

There was a mix of cheers and loud boos from the crowd. Glacier was still undefeated in WCW. Glacier did some kicks and a leg sweep. Glacier rolled out of an Irish Whip and Glacier somehow pulled off a gutwrench flapjack which I’d never seen before.

Some fans chanted boring. Glacier dropkicked Winner out of the ring. To liven up the match a little, Glacier did a springboard dive to the outside. Glacier did a roundhouse kick or “spin side kick” for the win. This was the best Glacier’s looked so far in WCW.

Then we get the longest two minutes of my entire life. Glacier posed in the ring for about a minute or so as they’re waiting for the second hour dynamite timer to go off. What would happen, if you paid close attention to what he was doing in the ring, was that he’d strike a few fighting poses and then bow. He’d do more fighting poses and then he bows to the crowd. He kept doing this to waste time before the second hour countdown hits zeroes and the fireworks would then go off.

Even after the timer went down to zero, Glacier was continuing to do poses in the ring in the same manner. He’d do a few moves and then he bows and just did that on repeat.  He just kept bowing and doing all kinds of kicks in the ring as I guess he couldn’t LEAVE THE RING despite his match being over! He spent more time for his post-match celebration then actually wrestling on this episode of Nitro! This was… mind-boggling!

 

Jeff Jarrett vs Hugh Morrus

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This was one of the worst babyface performances I’ve ever seen from Jeff Jarrett. Eric Bischoff tried to play up that Jarrett was maybe with the nWo as he was an “outsider” from the WWF, so of course they had reasons to doubt him. So Jarrett was supposed to be a babyface despite this.

In this match, he did almost everything in his power to get himself booed! Jarrett continued to strut around the ring and laid on the top rope as he bragged about this being too easy. He strutted after every other move he did and the fans turned on him quickly. Hugh eventually cut him off with a big clothesline to a big pop. Hugh mocked him as the fans popped even more!

Jarrett got back in the match. Jeff missed an enziguiri. Jarrett did an atomic drop and a clothesline. Jarret hit a swinging neckbreaker for a 2 count. Hugh missed a top rope leg drop and Jarrett did a figure four leg lock as Hugh gave up. As a match, it wasn’t bad. As a means to get Jeff Jarrett over as a babyface, this failed big time.

 

Tony interviewed Jeff Jarrett. It was revealed that Jarrett was in the “nWo” black limo which explained the connection to nWo Bischoff made. Jarrett said Hogan said he was bigger than the wrestling industry itself and if it wasn’t for Hogan, his father Jerry Jarrett wouldn’t be here. Jarrett retorted to this claim saying Hogan started in Tennessee. Jarrett said history doesn’t mean anything to Hogan but it means a lot to Jeff so Hogan and the nWo could STICK IT as another callback to the infamous Hogan line from Bash at the Beach.

Speaking of that “stick it” line, it’s weird how overlooked that line appears to be in the history books. Everyone remembers the big heel turn from Hogan and people remember the promo but line WCW has attempted to put over in the past few months since he turned heel is the “stick it” line. Hogan told the fans to stick it, Sting told Hogan to stick it, Bischoff told Sting to stick it one time, Sting told Luger to stick it and now Jarrett was telling Hogan to stick it. That line is forever repeated on this show and Bash at the Beach was about four months ago!

 

Arn Anderson w/Woman vs Renegade

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Arn tried a piledriver but Renegade reversed it and chased Arn out of the ring. Arn caught Renegade coming back into the ring with a boot to the head. Arn did a knee drop and worked on Renegade with punches to the head.

Renegade tried a sunset flip on Arn but Arn cut him off with a punch to the head. Arn choked away at Renegade. Fans chanted for the DDT. Arn worked on the arm of Renegade as he slowed down the pace of the match as Tenay alluded that Arn would earlier on in the show.

Renegade fired back. Renegade did a handspring elbow smash and he tried this move a second time but Arn smashed him in the back of the head as the fans popped. Arn then signalled for the DDT, he hit it and the fans went bonkers as he got the clean win.

This was such an effective finish. This was a high-risk move that Renegade tried one too many times, Anderson made him pay, he got the fans riled up for the DDT and then he delivered and got the pin. It’s so easy and basic wrestling psychology. This finish gets a thumbs up and I actually thought this was a good match.

Arn beat on Renegade after the match but Lex Luger chased him off.

 

Lex Luger vs Squire David Taylor w/Jeeves

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Squire David Taylor literally kicked Jeeves in the arse and slapped him down as he called him a “stupid little person” when coming down to the ring. Bischoff laughed off Patrick’s claim at a fine towards Savage.

All you need to know about this match was Taylor missed an elbow drop from the top rope and Luger locked on the torture rack for the clean submission victory. There’s nothing more I can really add to that although I will talk a bit about the torture rack.

The Torture Rack was so over and it was so over because at this time, there were so few clean victories that when he locked on the Torture Rack and it got the job done, the fans went nuts. There was so many shenanigans in WCW, particularly with the nWo, so when Luger was setting up for the Torture Rack the fans would buzz because they knew the match would be over!

This is a bad show to actually make that analogy about too any screwjob finishes because there were a lot more clean victories than usual this week! However, you will see how much that points stands in a few years’ time!

Arn attacked Luger with a chair from behind as Luger made his way to the back as the referee begged Arn off. I think they did a great job with this Luger vs Arn build towards Halloween Havoc. The seeds of the feud were already in place at Fall Brawl and the Nitro after with the Horsemen beat down. This week, both Arn and Luger won their respective matches clean and then Arn laid out Luger from behind like a coward. Now Luger will want revenge a lot more, leading to their match at the PPV. This was solid booking.

 

 

Rick Steiner w/Scott Steiner vs Chris Benoit w/Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra

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This was a way better match than last week and last week’s match was good. They got a lot more time which was key and there was a good pay-off to this two-week storyline between Benoit and Rick Steiner.

They mentioned Rick’s brother Scott had two ruptured discs on his back which was why he’s not been in action recently and he wasn’t there last week. However, he was back to have his brother’s Rick’s back against the Four Horsemen. As much as I feel bad for Scott and his injury, an injury does not excuse this outfit that Scott was wearing on this episoe! He was wearing the same outfit that all the announcers were wearing at Hog Wild. It looked terrible!

Rick got distracted with Mongo and Debra which led to Benoit getting the jump on him to kick off the match. Rick hit an absolutely perfect slam where Benoit jumped at him and Rick slammed him down with such finesse and precision. Great stuff.

They punched away at each other as part of this fight between the two suplex machines. Rick did a belly to belly suplex as Eric mentioned Rick was teaming with The Great Muta in the NJPW tag team tournament in October, with Muta filling in for Scott Steiner.

Rick hit a solid looking german suplex with Benoit landing perfectly on his shoulders. Benoit got the heat on Rick for a while. Bischoff called out Patrick on the neck brace saying he’s not buying. Bobby asked “are you calling him a liar?” to which Bischoff said no and Bobby said: “well you just did”.

The nWo limo arrived with WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan and The Giant coming out of the limo. Hogan said he’s got business to take care of and told Giant to watch his back.

Benoit continued to work on Rick and hit a back suplex. This was a huge suplex match where they threw each other all of the place and it was great. Rick eventually hit a big flying forearm to get himself back into the match temporarily but Benoit went back to work by throwing Rick into the corner.

Benoit hit a diving headbutt for a 2 count which Benoit was outraged by as he yelled at Patrick. Benoit was caught jumping off the top rope by Rick who did a big belly to belly suplex. Rick did a bulldog from the middle rope for a 2 count as Scott questioned Patrick for doing a slow count. Rick and Benoit took each other out with a double clothesline.

The finish was great as Debra distracted the referee. Mongo tried to use the briefcase but Scott cut him off and confronted him. Mongo tried to use the briefcase but Rick grabbed it like “yoink”, hit Mongo directly in the head in a funny cartoon manner and then hit Benoit with it in the head for the victory. I loved this match and I loved the finish where the heel shenanigans backfire and the good guys win! It felt like a big win for Rick Steiner and a good-feel moment overall. I give this three thumbs up! This was brilliant!. The fans went nuts with the brothers hugging! I’D RECOMMEND WATCHING THIS MATCH.

 

Ric Flair © vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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Flair vs Savage was the scheduled main-event for Monday Nitro, clearly inspired by the Halloween Havoc Sweepstake commercial from last week!

Hogan was shown hanging out with the Nasty Boys and Ted DiBiase backstage. DiBiase had the “nWo paperwork” as Hogan wanted them to watch his back. He left the contracts with them as Hogan had a big evil grin on his face. I also love the idea of despite being an evil organisation, you still had to sign paperwork and agree to contracts in order to officially join the nWo! I guess there had to be some honour among theives, even with the big bad nWo!

In case you haven’t figured it out by this point, the main-event never took place. The nWo attacked Ric Flair backstage, as Hall, Nash, Giant, Syxx and everybody was back there beating up Flair as Vincent held the US title for like two minutes! It’s weird that Vincent held that title in his hands when the US title match at Halloween Havoc at this point was Ric Flair vs The Giant. I guess Vincent just really wanted to hold a title in his hands!

Miss Elizabeth was backstage just watching on all nervous as to what was going on. Giant stalked Elizabeth up towards the entrance ramp as she begged him off. Savage came out and had a standoff with Giant with a chair but Hogan blindsided Savage. Hogan threw down a referee and then dropped Savage on the guard rail.

Hogan choked Savage with a chair but Elizabeth begged him off. Hogan grabbed her by the hair and then the arm as he bragged about owning her. Giant carried Savage down to the ring but, in a dangerous and awkward, moment, he lost his footing as he makes way onto the steps. Giant then slips on the steps as he’s holding Savage like a baby and Savage landed on the steps in an awkward manner. This was a bad botch although my big question was why Giant felt the need to go up the steps to throw Savage into the ring.

Giant was about to chokeslam Savage but Hogan stopped him to get a good punch in. Hogan punched away at Savage. Hogan clotheslined the back of Savage in the corner as Giant grabbed the face of Elizabeth.

Hogan did a leg drop on Savage and spat at him as he made Elizabeth watch this beating. He did another leg drop as fans throw more trash into the ring. Someone got a good throw of a box of Slim Jims right into the face of Hogan as he’s yelled at Savage! He spray-painted around Savage’s body like this was a crime scene.. Someone else got a good throw with a cup of beer or something at Giant’s arm as he was holding Elizabeth.

Hall and Nash came down. Hogan grabbed the mic and said: “by the power vested in me, I deem this consummation of Savage and Elizabeth null and void because I own you, I own your body, your soul, your heart as it was etched in stone. Ooooh yeah.” Hogan continued to yell as he said they should destroy the broadcast booth.

Eric Bischoff was adamant about not moving but then he and the announcers bailed as the nWo unveil the nWo monster truck with Syxx in the passenger seat! This was a big monster truck with Hogan’s arms on the side all kitted out in black and white. Despite claiming that he was not gonna leave, this big monster truck was there and Bischoff, Heenan and Tenay were nowhere to be found. They ran for their lives! The monster truck was being revved up near the announce table as they go off the air.

….so yes. They got this big monster truck to destroy the announce table… and they didn’t even do it! They just revved the engine and that was that!

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This was best episode of Nitro in a while. I very much enjoyed this episode although the Elizabeth stuff was super uncomfortable but this was a better show than usual. The Elizabeth stuff is hard to watch through but this does strengthen the resolve of the babyface in question Randy Savage. If the plan was for Savage to beat Hogan for the title, then this was effective way to build up a massive threat in Hogan, have him do every despicable thing in the book and have Savage, the knight in shining armour, save Elizabeth from this evil organisation.

The only problem with that is I’m fairly certain Hogan retained the title at Halloween Havoc! Therefore, all the evil shenanigans we’re watching is even worse in hindsight knowing that Savage won’t even get his revenge! It’s like the Triple H/Booker T storyline from 2003 heading into WrestleMania 19. Everything was in place for Booker to beat Triple H. They even went as far as to have Triple H dismiss Booker as a threat because of his race as “people like him” couldn’t be world champion. The stars were aligned for Booker to become the first ever African-American world champion and beat this bigot Triple H… and then he just lost. So in hindsight, all of this awkward and negative led to nothing.

The exact same thing is happening here, knowing Savage isn’t going to get his revenge. With that being said, there were still a fair amount of clean victories and happy endings to at least provide a bit light during this dark time with the New World Order take over.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #55 (SEPTEMBER 30TH 1996) – WHERE DOES MISS ELIZABETH’S LOYALTIES LIE?

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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The New World Order have been conducting a hostile takeover of WCW and took over for real last week with half of the roster wrestling in Japan during this episode. They took over the program for the second hour where they introduced their newest member Vincent, strong-armed Eric Bischoff and beat up a number of WCW guys to assert their dominance in the world of professional wrestling….

…oh yeah, and Public Enemy won the WCW Tag Team Championship.

 

This week’s episode was a better episode than last week. I ended my review of last week‘s episode with a big speech about the nWo taking over the show and how it took away from the wrestling. This week, we did get some more nWo shenanigans and a big chunk of the show dedicated to the Miss Elizabeth drama but we got a lot of decent wrestling matches too. This wasn’t a strong show or anything but I got a lot more wrestling this time and I was all for it. This was back to being a wrestling show again….

 

Date: September 30th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Cleveland, Ohio

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

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The announcers were recapping what happened last week and described it as: “the lowest point in the history of this program” when the nWo took over last week according to Tony. OH JUST YOU WAIT. We’ve got years of content to come, Schiavonie.

They cut to Eric Bischoff at the announce booth. Eric said this is not about him and this is about what WCW represented. He brought up all the former champions and said they may not mean anything to the nWo including “180 lb wimp they call Syxx”. He said the nWo nonsense is going to stop as this company is not gonna tolerate it. Bischoff said this is not fun anymore. He called the nWo all dirt bags and that included Hulk Hogan. Bischoff admitted the one singular mistake he ever made was bringing Hulk Hogan into the company. He said this was all gonna stop. Supposedly the fans were chanting “nWo” during this promo although I don’t remember this!

A defiant Eric Bischoff promo standing up for WCW which is hilarious in hindsight but to his credit, this was a good promo. It felt for a moment that he was fighting for WCW and was standing his ground against WCW. With what has happened with Bischoff in recent weeks with him ducking questions and making the nWo aware of WCW’s tour in Japan, it still felt obvious that Bischoff was up to something related to the nWo. However, Bischoff was still playing the role of WCW spokesman and he was passionate about destroying the nWo at all costs. I liked this promo. THIS GETS A THUMBS UP.

 

“Public Enemy” Rocco Rock © and Johnny Grunge © vs El Technico and Juventud Guerrera for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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Teaming with Juventud to go up against the new tag team champions was “El Technico”, who I believe was Billy Kidman in a red body suit while wearing a half red and green mask… quite a silly costume. “El Technico” means technical wrestler according to Tony.

Rocco Rock was bouncing all over the place to sell for Juvi until he eventually smashed Juvi into the steel guard rail to take control of the match. Technico got the tag and ran into a boot in the corner. Public Enemy did a double team elbow drop which was broken up by Juvi.

Juvi tried a powerbomb but Grunge sent him over the top rope. Public Enemy did an elevated springboard senton for the win to retain the tag team titles. No stupid finishes to retain the titles. No need to protect Juventud and El Technico. They beat them clean and strengthen their own title reign, they were dominant in their performance and this is a fine way to put the new champions over. Fine.

Like complete dicks, Public Enemy put El Technico through a table. Public Enemy do this to their opponents all the time and they’re supposed to be good guys. It’s quite astonishing actually. Not great conduct from your babyface world tag team champions.

 

Mike Tenay interviewed Chris Benoit, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra McMichael. Mongo did not have a match but he was there to watch Benoit’s back. He complained about the nWo beating up Savage in a handicapped situation. Clearly Mongo forgot what happened 2 weeks ago when the Four Horsemen beat up Luger four on one! Here, Mongo has the cojones to call out the nWo for taking cheap shots! Incredible, the irony of that statement. Benoit vs Rick Steiner was booked for tonight. Benoit put Rick over and said he was a great wrestler but tonight he was in the ring against the best.

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The nWo were backstage with Hollywood Hogan’s child Nick Hogan with them. Nash made some crack about Bill Murray and talked about Mongo. Ted DiBiase talked about WCW paying all of the bills. Giant was hungry. I have no idea what these guys were saying at times. This was not very good.

This seemed like a lame party the nWo were hosting. By the way, the nWo did the “following announcement has been paid for by the New World Order” line to which Hogan or someone yelled “not anymore.” This hasn’t been made totally clear but I guess because they lost at Fall Brawl in the War Games match, WCW were paying the nWo’s bills or something which is why Hogan said this before EVERY segment they were in during this show.

 

Dean Malenko vs Alex Wright

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Dean Malenko had the mask of WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. as supposedly he jumped Rey during an interview with Tony at Saturday Night, took the mask and Tony covered the luchador up. As Tony explains this and what happened with Rey losing his mask, Larry goes: “why, is he that ugly?” I did laugh at that.

Alex Wright got booed coming out. Wright and Malenko wrestled on the mat for a bit. I like how Wright tried to trip the leg and go for the abdominal stretch but Malenko side-stepped him and Wright went crashing to the floor. One simple side-step and Malenko had gained the heat in this match! Simple but effective.

Malenko locked on a kneebar of some kind. Wright ran wild in the corner to big boos. Malenko missed a top rope crossbody and Wright cradled him for an upset victory. Larry even said it shocked him which was saying something according to him as he was “smarter than the world”. This was a fine television match.

 

They showed a clip from Saturday Night as Savage wrestled Big Bubba but he threw the referee out of the ring. Tony said he didn’t condone the attack on the referee but he did enjoy the follow up attack on Nick Patrick as Savage punched him out! They then show Mike Tenay was on the entrance ramp to do an interview with “Macho Man” Randy Savage on Nitro. Savage’s theme played but there was no Macho Man. Mike Tenay just says: “we’ll be back after the break”. A complete waste of time.

 

There was a Slim Jim advert with Randy Savage hyping up the Slim Jim Halloween Havoc sweepstake for a Slim Jim Monster Truck and a trip to Las Vegas. This was so bizarre as Savage was in a Frankenstein mask and then took it off. He cutsthis promo about the sweepstake and he’s got a gorgeous woman in a Slim Jim Nascar car I believe, when Ric Flair interrupted him with his two women. It’s so bizarre because Savage and Flair have been in a blood feud about Elizabeth for the last year and yet here they are, with Flair all happy as they are doing this advert together! This was surreal to watch!

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Jim Powers w/Teddy Long

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Eddie Guerrero cut a inset promo about wanting to lock horns with Jim Powers. DDP vs Eddie Guerrero was booked for Halloween Havoc.

The referee Nick Patrick was shown with a neck brace on after it was shown that Savage had put his hands on him during the episode of Saturday Night. Matt Ghaffari was at ringside again. Eddie and Jim wrestled for a bit with Powers playing the big man role including hitting a sweet belly-to-belly suplex on Eddie.

Even with the size difference, Eddie was able to shoot take him down and starting punching away at Powers! Powers did two hard Irish whips and then a clothesline. Tony then claimed he didn’t want to see anyone get hurt RIGHT AFTER HE ENDORSED SAVAGE BEATING UP REFEREE NICK PATRICK.

HUGE NWO CHANTS BROKE OUT as the geeks with nWo signs walked around within the crowd. They do explain that Powers’ manager Teddy Long had a problem with Nick Patrick because he himself was once a referee, and thought Nick was not good enough. Eddie did a back suplex and went up to the top rope but Powers cut him off. Powers hit a superplex for the two count.

Eddie did a German suplex with a bridge for a 3 count. Powers claimed to have kicked out but Patrick called for the bell anyway and awarded the match to Guerrero. It felt like a screwed up finish because Powers did not look like he kicked out at all. It looked like Powers kicked out about second after Eddie got the three count so the controversy for this finish was not even there.

Teddy began to psychically show how Powers got his shoulders up before the 3 count! Teddy told Patrick to go back to referee school. Nick dared Teddy to put on a blue shirt and basically be a referee if he thought this was so easy.

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The nWo were backstage where the Nasty Boys joined the party and yelled that they were here to party. Some hotel staff got food for the group as the lady providing room service was smiling throughout all of this. This was dead funny to see this woman just stand here totally happy and not even look intimidated in the slightest by the likes of The Giant and Kevin Nash. It was as if she was their mother bringing in cookies while they played video games or whatever. She provided room service and left them to it with a smile on her face! She might as well have said: “OK, you boys have fun!”

Sags did a Eric Bischoff impression by opening his ass and saying “oh no, the nWo are gonna get me” and Scott Hall shot a blank stare at the camera basically acknowledging how stupid this was. It was one of the greatest Scott Hall facial expressions I’ve ever seen! There was a certain charm to these segments but overall, it looked really stupid. The Nasty Boys came off as really uncool which I guess was the story because I expected the nWo to kick them out for being uncool. However, the Nasty Boys was there the entire time. I guess they proved they could party with the nWo…

 

Mike Tenay interviewed Arn Anderson, Elizabeth and Woman. Arn said they forgave Elizabeth for making a mistake at War Games and decided that they needed to pull together. Woman said business is business and asked what she was doing out there during War Games. Elizabeth flat out said she doesn’t know what to say and she clearly had NOTHING to contribute to this segment! Arn said either Elizabeth is in or out but if she’s in, she’s all the way in. All of this Elizabeth drama was all fine and the story of where her loyalties laid was fine, expect Elizabeth herself was not up for the role at all. She legitimately didn’t know what to say when Arn and Woman were giving her this brow-beating for helping Savage. This was very awkward for Elizabeth.

 

Hugh Morrus vs Brad Armstrong

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This was a rematch from two weeks ago. Brad and Hugh were playing keepaway for a while until Hugh eventually grabbed him and punched away at Brad.

Brad turned it around with a hip toss and a dropkick, missing a second one before the production crew cut to the fireworks for the second hour. Mike Tenay was at the commentary booth again for the second hour. Morrus caught Brad with the powerslam.

Eric Bischoff was not out there for long on commentary but he couldn’t help but say: “Nasty Boys, you’re dumber than you look” to which Bobby responds: “they’re not that dumb”.

This was a far more competitive match than their last match. Brad tried a Russian leg sweep but Hugh grabbed the rope to avoid the impact. Hugh did a moonsault and went for another one and got the pin. This was an emphatic victory for Hugh as he bragged about tickling Brad’s funny bone. This was OK I guess and that is being generous.

 

They showed Arn, Woman and Elizabeth arguing, Arn was all about business as Elizabeth was upset about something. Eric Bischoff left the booth as he left it to Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan to continue the show.

 

Arn Anderson w/Woman vs Chris Jericho

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Elizabeth was not there joining Woman at ringside as Tony replaced Eric at the announce booth. We finally got the very first time on WCW programming where it was speculated by Bobby that Eric could be with the nWo. Elizabeth was shown watching this match from backstage, watching on one of the monitors.

The match was going along fine. Woman eventually slapped Jericho to a large pop as Arn took control of the match. By the way, two weeks ago I talked about Savage hitting his opponent, I think it was Scott Norton, with a chair on the outside and it was not a disqualification. I was baffled why this was the case when he got DQ’d for a chair shot in the ring anyway. It was sort of explained to me that I guess everything outside of the ring was legal in WCW but if you bring anything in the ring, then it’s a disqualification. I guess those were the rules in WCW as there was no DQ following Woman slapping Jericho here.

Elizabeth eventually left wherever she was watching the monitor as Arn continued to get the heat on Jericho. Jericho caught Arn coming off the top rope with a dropkick.

Jericho did a springboard shoulder tackle and followed it with a diving back elbow from the top rope. Jericho missed a Lionsault but Arn planted him with a DDT for a clean pin. After all of that drama with Elizabeth possibly coming out or not, it didn’t play into the finish at all. The one time you almost expected shenanigans from Elizabeth or EVEN WOMAN WHO WAS OUT THERE, Arn beat the guy clean.

This was a fine match regardless. This was not like Jericho was hurt losing to Arn Anderson. This was good television and a good television match. Elizabeth got her bags and she left the building.

 

M. Wallstreet vs Lex Luger

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Wallstreet was no longer “V K” Wallstreet anymore. It was M. Wallstreet now, I guess as a nod to his real first name Mike.

The announcers weren’t paying any attention to the match as they talk almost exclusively about the nWo. I cannot confirm this but I’m sure Tony called Randy Anderson “a good looking Randy Anderson” or something. A bizarrely worded compliment from Schiavonie.

This was an absolute nothing match so I don’t blame the announcers for not paying attention to the match to be fair. Luger locked on an abdominal stretch, a sleeper hold, a chin lock… this was just completely slow and nothing action. By the way, this was the first time they’ve mentioned on Nitro that Luger lost the WCW TV title to Lord Steven Regal last month. That’s kind of an important detail considering Luger was involved in the nWo angle.

Eventually Luger got back into the match with some rolls up and a big forearm for a 2 count. Wallstreet fired back with his own clothesline. Luger reversed a suplex into a torture rack and got the clean win over Wallstreet. This was a boring, bad match. BIG THUMBS DOWN.

 

Tony talked about how WCW were wrong about Sting and revealed a special “Sting” WCW car to be driven in the upcoming Nascar event as a peace offering! WCW playing the role of the dumped partner in this relationship with Sting and doing everything to get Sting back is kinda funny! I’m pretty sure one of the announcers even said: “please come back” as they are offering this car to him!

 

“The Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian w/Jimmy Hart vs “The Rock and Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson

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Ricky Morton kept trying to bring down Meng with sleeper holds at the start of this tag match, jumping onto the back of the Tongan to force him down but Meng was too big. Bobby claimed Meng has not been to sleep since ’62.

Gibson got in the ring to do a double team move and both members of the Rock and Roll Express go for the cover and referee continued to count Barbarian down for both members of the Express, They both covered Barbarian for individual pins even though only ONE OF THEM was the legal man. They both dog-piled pinned Barbarian and he still kicked out! The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express came off as completely geeks doing nothing to the Barbarian here, even with illegal pin attempts!

Gibson did a sunset flip as they cut to a break. Meng spat at Gibson then delivered a piledriver to Morton. I love how this referee had a problem of Gibson running in at this tage after Meng spat and punched at him, despite earlier being OK with an illegal competitor going for the pin on a legal opponent.

Barbarian did an awesome backbreaker where Ricky went high up and Barbarian literally slammed him down on his knee. It looked cool. Meng locked on a camel clutch. Meng and Barbarian did a double headbutt  onto a floored Morton. Morton evaded a top rope headbutt from Barbarian.

Gibson got the hot tag. The Express ran wild, Gibson grabbed Jimmy Hart at ringside but Barbarian delivered a kick to the back of Gibson’s head as the Faces of Fear got the pin. Gibson and Morton were never given a chance to rock and roll in this company and this was another example where they’re just another tag team. They were complete jobbers in this tag team division. Their matches were fine, and this was a fine match, but that’s just a shame.

I loved Morton tried to save his partner from a post-match beat down from the Faces of Fear but Meng booted him right out of the ring! Public Enemy made the save but Faces of Fear kicked their asses and then the Faces of Fear exposed the knee of Grunge and did splashes to the knee which was not good for Halloween Havoc. Public Enemy were set to the defend the titles against the Outsiders at Halloween Havoc (even though Harlem Heat were still advetised to face the Outsiders during this show!) No to mention, what unbeatable monsters the Faces of Fear turned out to be. They were at a four on two disadvantage against the babyfaces and destroyed them!

 

Chris Benoit w/Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra McMichael vs Rick Steiner

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A hard-hitting main-event with Rick Steiner and Chris Benoit of all people. It’s great to see them in this position but considering the main-eventers they had, it’s surreal to see Rick Steiner vs Chris Benoit as the main-event! Then again, High Voltage were in the main-event last week so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Patrick cut a promo on Savage to the camera before the match started.

They were still hyping up Outsiders vs Harlem Heat for Halloween Havoc as I mentioned before. Rick delivered an absolutely beautiful German suplex to Benoit. This was a huge release suplex with Benoit landing right on his shoulders. Rick worked on Benoit for a while. Rick floored Benoit with a clothesline

Rick caught Benoit and slammed him down for a 2 count. Debra distracted Nick Patrick and Mongo hit Rick with a briefcase as Rick attempted a belly to belly SUPLEX from the top rope so Benoit just fell down onto Rick to pin him for the win. Speaking of this spot, Mongo took a solid minute to get into the ring to get himself ready to hit Rick with the briefcase. It took forever for Mongo to do this for some reason. Trash got thrown into the ring by the fans following a hard-hitting match with a bad finish.

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There was one last announcement from the nWo before the end of the show as it was revealed that Elizabeth had left the building early to go to the nWo party. Giant talked about having two movies and doing a movie last week. Giant said if she listened to them they would get success or something. Elizabeth looked so depressed as Giant and Hogan dwarfed her.

Vincent walked in the hotel room too. Hogan walked Elizabeth through a bunch of movie deals. Elizabeth talked about things changing since the deal they made. Vincent got a gift that was sent to the nWo. Elizabeth left. Savage ran down and screamed at Elizabeth as he grabbed a piece a paper she received. Savage yelled “son of a bitch” as the show went off the air.

This was so uncomfortable. I have no idea if this was Elizabeth officially joining the nWo or what the deal was but she looked completely out of place. She felt completely out of place as a heel with the Four Horsemen but along with Woman, they were able to make it work as she and Woman played off of each other. Elizabeth sat down on the sofa with Giant on one side and Hogan by the other with the nWo as she looked like she didn’t want to be there, which she probably didn’t in real life.

While we’re at it, why was she there in the group? The women’s division is non-existent in WCW, there’s no championship for the women, Madusa shows up once in a blue moon but there’s nothing else. No women for her to feud with and it’s not like she’ll be able to cut promos. She couldn’t cut promos as a babyface let alone as a heel. It honestly felt like she was put in this group because of this storyline at that’s it. Otherwise, what would Elizabeth being with the nWo accomplish?

It also did not look like it was fun for Elizabeth. I was not a fan. Not to mention, she left Randy Savage in real life a few years before this. Ever since she was brought into WCW, everything she’s been involved in somehow has featured the Macho Man. They’re not even dating at this time again and Savage is screaming at her like he was during the height of the famous Hogan/Savage feud in the WWF.

NWO-professional-wrestling-4387268-1280-800This was a better show than last week. There was a lot more good wrestling involved, there were more characters and storylines to play around with this week and the nWo shenanigans had been reduced drastically more than the week before. An improvement but I would not go ahead and say this episode was good. Fine and acceptable are the words I would use. There was not a lot wrong about it but nothing particularly special about it either. This was a perfectly fine wrestling show in my books.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #54 (SEPTEMBER 23RD 1996) – THE NWO TAKE OVER THE SHOW AND RUINS MONDAY NITRO

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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WCW are now on the back-foot in the war with the New World Order. Hollywood Hogan has the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, they now have seven members of their organisation, Syxx joined the pack last week and WCW suffered a loss within their own ranks.

Sting arrived for Nitro last week, declaring himself a free agent and telling everyone who doubted him to “stick it”. He was out of WCW but he would come back when everyone would least expect it. Now, WCW were on their own. Nothing symbolised this more than the ending of the show, where Lex Luger was left beaten down four on one by the Four Horsemen with no one to help him.

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This Nitro I’m about to review was so bad. This was soooo bad. I really did not like last week‘s show but this week’s episode took bad to another level. This was an episode designed to give the nWo the floor. There were legitimate plans for WCW Monday Nitro to become the nWo’s show as Eric Bischoff alluded to on commentary last week. That was not a storyline bit that Bischoff threw out as a throwaway line, that was the plan because the nWo got over so much that he wanted to cash in.

Well he gave it a try in the second hour of this show and we got unbridled garbage. This second hour was designed to make a mockery out of WCW but it made a mockery out of professional wrestling. The fans just wanted to see a wrestling show and we got a bunch of adults acting like high school bullies during what is presented as a sporting event. If this was WWF RAW IS WAR, maybe this would have worked better to that audience. However, these fans wanted to see wrestling and the best match these fans got involved MIKE ENOS of all people. More on that later as I review a wretched show.

 

Date: September 23rd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Birmingham, Alabama

Rating: 3.4 (It went down from last week, I wonder why)

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and the nWo (and Bobby Heenan for a few minutes)

 

 

They showed an ad on USA Today newspaper for the nWo. Larry Zybszko made a weird analogy about the nWo being parasites but he and Tony make it clear that a lot of WCW talent were in Japan making it a good time for the nWo to pounce and act. I wished the nWo would have pounced at this point to stop this Larry promo. He just mumbled on and on just to get to point of calling the nWo parasites. They also showed fans I guess revolting against the nWo although it was somewhat 50/50 between fan liking nWo and some fans being disgusted by nWo.

 

Taskmaster and Konnan w/Jimmy Hart and Big Bubba vs Brad Armstrong and Juventud Guerrera

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What a weird tag team match. On one side it’s a luchador and a generic old-school babyface and on the other it’s Konnan and Taskmaster representing the Dungeon of Doom. Konnan being a part of the group I still can’t believe is something they did but more on that later.

Konnan has been going all out in recent weeks in the ring, perhaps to get himself attention with a new gimmick in the midst of the nWo bandwagon. Therefore, the first thing Konnan did in the match is LAUNCH Juvi with a German suplex over his shoulders onto his head. He was not playing around.

Juvi took control with a headscissors take over and then took out Konnan with a dive. As Juvi rolled Konnan into the ring, Taskmster got in a cheeky kick at the luchador. Konnan dropped Juvi with a cradle DDT that he used last week. Konnan slammed Juvi with a muscle buster.

Taskmaster kept refusing the tag as Konnan basically did the work for the team. Brad got the tag and ran wild on Konnan. Konnan slammed Brad with a powerbomb and then at this point, Sullivan made a tag to deliver a double foot stomp and get the pin. They told the story of a heel stable leader making one of his cronies do all the work so he gets all the glory. That’s fine and they told that story well.

Then Konnan shoved away Taskmaster but then Big Bubba blindsided Konnan which the fans started to buzz about because possibly they think Konnan was gonna turn. Bubba and Sullivan beat up Konnan as Jimmy claimed this was an initiation. Konnan declared he was Dungeon of Doom and they all leave together as part of a weird fake babyface turn where the heels actually jumped the guy! Mike Tenay, who was there for commentary, compared this to a gang initiation…. MIKE TENAY giving the fans insight into gang warfare ladies and gentlemen!

 

 

Our street insider Mike Tenay interviewed Randy Savage. Savage said if the nWo were gonna cheap shot him every night, tonight was not gonna change anything. Savage said he’s the last hope for WCW. Savage claimed he was booked in Japan but he took himself out of there as he felt the need to be on Nitro. Savage made some weird comment about him and Elizabeth swimming together and finished his thoughts by saying “things don’t make any sense”. He vowed to take the nWo out.

 

Mike Enos vs Chris Jericho

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The blow-away match of the episode was MIKE ENOS VS CHRIS JERICHO in such a weird match-up. They had such wrestlers like Juventud Guerrera available to wrestle and they put Jericho in there with Mike Enos of all people? Even with the randomness, these guys worked their asses of. They knew this match didn’t matter as the nWo would take over the show so screw it. They went out there and tried their best. This was Chris Jericho wrestling a tree and it wasn’t bad. I cannot say this was good.

Jericho got a huge pop coming out for a guy who just debuted a month ago. Girls were going CRAZY for long-haired Lionheart Chris Jericho. Enos offered a handshake and suckered Jericho in for a slap.

Jericho took control with a wheel kick. Jericho gave Enos a receipt with a slap to his face. Enos did the weirdest looking catapult shoulder tackle from the apron. Enos did a belly to belly suplex. Enos roared and did a clothesline from the apron to Jericho on the floor. Enos slammed Jericho on the apron. Enos suplexed Jericho on the side of the steel steps.

Enos did a bear hug that looked so ineffective as Jericho wrapped his legs around him. This took away from the match for me. Enos hit a powerslam. Enos grabbed Jericho’s legs and did the Boston crab… TO CHRIS JERICHO. A lot of guys, LIKE CHRIS JERICHO, will sit down to make it look like this hold could hurt somehow and try to “put weight” on his opponent but Enos just stood there like a big tree with some grip on Jericho. It didn’t look any good.

Enos did a Canadian Backbreaker but Jericho reversed this into a sunset slip. Jericho tried a frankensteiner but Enos countered it into a powerbomb which sounded cool on paper but pretty bland in execution. This came off as the laziest powerbomb off the top rope I’ve ever seen. Enos caught Jericho off the Frankensteiner attempt and he and Jericho just fell down. Enos didn’t try to slam him. He fell forward and Jericho fell backwards and they crashed to the mat. A cool finish saw Jericho counter a powerslam into a roll up for the win.

This was ultimately Jericho wrestling himself and it was the best match on the show. This is not worth going out of your way to watch. It was the best out of a bad situation.

 

Pat Tanaka vs Glacier

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This was so stupid. Glacier and Tanaka are out there for this next match and to make sure Glacier “GOT OVER” with this martial arts gimmick, he and Tanaka work a “martial arts” match with one powerbomb being thrown in by Tanaka. Even with Glacier being a legitimate martial artist and I think Tanaka doing some judo in this time, this was the lamest martial arts which did not belong in a wrestling show. Think of this as Brock Lesnar vs Cain Velasquez from the Saudi Arabia show in 2019 but shorter.

Glacier reversed a Tanaka punch into a palm strike. Tanaka tried a high pick but Glacier swept his legs to bring him down. Tanakta cut off Glacier with a powerbomb. Glacier no-sold this and hit a roundhouse kick for the win… “ALMOST IN RECORD TIME” according to Tony. Glacier hit this kick which was basically Aleister Black’s Black Mass but at 50% of the speed. THUMBS DOWN for everything about this.

Larry hyping up Glacier as the man to stop the New World Order I got a good kick out of. Could you imagine Glacier vs Hollywood Hogan for Starrcade?

 

Matt Ghaffari was shown at ringside who was an Olympic silver medallist and so Larry buried him for being a loser. Could Larry not do anything right as an announcer? He couldn’t even hype up a celebrity in the crowd properly as he had to take a shot at him despite Matt being a silver medallist in wrestling. Tony asked how many medals Larry had. Larry said none because he was too mean. This… was terrible.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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Arn Anderson vs Lex Luger and Outsiders vs Harlem Heat for the WCW tag team titles were revealed for Halloween Havoc. To build to this tag team title match at Halloween Havoc, they had the Heat scheduled to defend the titles against Public Enemy. All I know was that I was looking forward at the possibility of seeing Public Enemy vs the Outsiders which seemed silly to suggest that they would actually got with this. What a clash of styles that would have been. I will get more to that later.

Harlem Heat blindsided Public Enemy to kick off the match. Grunge took out both members of the Heat with a top rope double clothesline. Public Enemy did a drop toe hold/elbow drop combination that was the default tag team move from WWE 2K games.

Larry buried Public Enemy and Nasty Boys for not having stamina. Booker got hung out on the top rope as he missed a side kick. Grunge got the tag and beat on Booker in the corner. Stevie Ray did a big leg drop. Stevie locked on a long-ass chin lock on Grunge. Booker floored Grunge with a Harlem Side Kick. The nWo limo had arrived, with Hall, Nash and Syxx in ring gear and Giant suited and booted. Bogus Sting, Ted DiBiase and Hogan were also there.

Grunge hit the neckbreaker as he crawled his way to Rocco and got the tag. Rocco ran wild. Rocco clunked Booker and Stevie’s heads together but they no sold this and took him out with a double clothesline.

In a weird spot, Rocco was on the apron. Stevie pushed him into the ring and Rocco fell into the ring and covered Booker accidentally but Patrick stops the count as Rocco’s foot was on the ropes. It didn’t look like that was planned at all so Patrick improvised. Then there’s a cradle and a 3 count and both Rocco and Booker celebrated. Booker goes to the get the belts but Nick Patrick said “no” as PUBLIC ENEMY ARE DECLARED THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS. WHAT?

This was such a shocker and the manner in which this was pulled off just really devalued the titles that were being set-up for the Outsiders to win. Harlem Heat’s title reign started off when Patrick pinned Luger or Sting when 20 police men were in the ring. Fast forward a few months and the title reign ended with another controversial finish, where Patrick did a pin and awarded the match to Public Enemy because…. whatever. I don’t even know if Public Enemy knew they were winning the titles!

With this title change, the WCW tag team title match for Halloween Havoc had been changed to The Outsiders vs Public Enemy which is quite a match on PPV. It’d be interesting to see what this match would be like in execution. I won’t look it up but I’d be astonished if Public Enemy make it to Halloween Havoc as the champions.

 

First hour over. Other than the title change, it’s a pretty standard Nitro right? A bunch of standard matches. Nothing particularly special but only the Glacier vs Pat Tanaka match sucked. Everything else was below par and Enos/Jericho was fine. Then the show turned into a heaping pile of horrible ideas that were actually done on national television.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Greg “The Hammer” Valentine

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The announcers kept calling Halloween Havoc – Slim Jim’s Halloween Havoc. Savage fired away with punches in the corner to Valentine. Valentine took control and threw Savage to the outside. Valentine dropped Savage on the guard rail. Super Calo supposedly dislocated his shoulder earlier on in the show.

Savage then went crazy and hit Valentine with a chair while they were on the floor as the referee let this go but then Savage gets on the top rope and hits a top rope chair shot to then warrant a DQ. How was a chair shot to a head on the floor not a disqualification in the referee’s eyes? You can’t throw a man over the top rope in World Championship Wrestling but you can hit a man with a chair when outside of the ring? However, a top rope chair shot is where the referee drew the line? Anyway, the referee got thrown out for his trouble by Savage.

So this dick “Macho Man” Randy Savage beat up a wrestler with a chair, got himself RIGHTFULLY disqualified and beat up the referee. Then the nWo’s Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Syxx arrived to MAKE THE SAVE and attack Savage with Ted DiBiase there as well. There’s no other way to put this. Savage was beating up a helpless referee and the nWo saved him. Valentine rightfully left the ring to let the nWo beat up this guy. After all, Savage attacked him with a chair. Savage deserved this and to be honest, Savage was a horrible babyface at this time.

Hall hits the Outsiders Edge. Elizabeth came out but then ran off scared for her life. Giant came up on the apron. Nash dropped Savage with a Jackknife powerbomb. Giant got a mic and introduced WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan with this elaborate introduction.

Hogan came out with the WCW title. Hogan hit a leg drop on Savage as he posed with the crowd. He hit another leg drop. Kevin Nash whipped Savage with something. I was like “what the heck was that?” Hogan explained that “he’s whipping him with a Slim Jim” which I actually enjoyed. Hogan suggested they help him with his hygiene. Hogan talked to the “nWoites” and mentioned that he’s used to being in Hollywood but the bright lights bouncing off of Savage’s bald head needed sorting out. He spray-painted Savage’s head black. Hogan making fun of someone for being bald made me laugh. Just wait until we get to Bash at the Beach 2000!

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Nash and Hall strong-armed Eric Bischoff at commentary and forced him down on the chair. Bobby Heenan fled from the booth. Hall told Bischoff to do the job well chico. Hall and Nash joined Bischoff on commentary. They ask for them to bring out VINCENT… who is revealed to be the former Virgil from WWF. Hogan and Vincent hug. Vincent grabbed Bischoff by the head.

If it was starting to feel like seven was too many people in the nWo with Syxx’s arrival last week, then it’s really gonna feel like there’s too many people with Vincent. I understand that they don’t slow down the recruitment process with the nWo but this where it really felt someone was brought into the group just to be there.

Firstly, this was a guy brought in for the sole purpose of being a shot at Vincent Kennedy McMahon from the WCW. They went through the effort of getting the cash to get Virgil? He was billed as “head of security” but the nWo already had guys like Hall and Nash and The Giant could have easily been a “head of security” guy. However, Virgil was just another guy in this group.

You could have argued that every other guy in the nWo at this point had a reason for being there. Hogan was the world champion, Nash and Hall were the tag team, The Giant was the big man (even with Kevin Nash already there), Ted DiBiase funded the group and he was the manager, Bogus Sting served the purpose of parodying Sting who was a big player in this storyline and even Syxx could have been the “cruiserweight” guy of the stable. Vincent? What a waste of a member.

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Bischoff was looking defeated as Hall welcomed us back to Nitro after the break. Hall said they could take over the NBA. Hall talked about Kevin Greene. Hall vowed to take over NASCAR. Of course, they bring out the nWo car as they have a racing team! This was a sweet looking car as Kyle Petty WAs set to be racing the Nascar racing event under the nWo banner. Say what you will about this storyline but the nWo was getting some serious mainstream publicity. I brought up USA Today mention but they had a car competing in NASCAR which is a hugely popular attraction in America. That’s quite an accomplishment.

 

Jim Powers w/Teddy Long vs VK Wallstreet

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Scott Hall called Jim Powers a “comer” as he “comes” down the ramp. The Giant did the ring introductions for the rest of the night, basically playing Dave Penzer for the show. Two months ago, The Giant was such a threat to the nWo and now he’s the ring announcer in a suit. The nWo has already completely undermined his importance to WCW. He wasn’t even allowed to actually wrestle as the stars of the shows were the Outsiders on commentary and Hollywood Hogan.

Hall called Teddy “peanut head” which did not sound alright in the slightest. Hall and Nash go down to ring as Ted DiBiase joined commentary. Nash and Hall beat up Powers. Ted goes: “boy what a fight” in a totally deadpan manner as Outsiders beat the crap out of Powers.

The referee left as of course, Nick Patrick came down to replace him. He argued with Teddy. Giant is hulking himself up and dropped Powers with a chokeslam and gets the “pin” I guess. Jim Powers vs VK Wallstreet ended up with The Giant pinning Jim Powers for the win…. OK.

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Hogan is shown spray-painting the building and bumps into the Nasty Boys. He congratulated them and he mentioned they’ve always been friends. He wanted to talk business with them. Hogan asked them to go to his suite to try and talk business. He gave them his hotel key as if he was planning a hook up of some kind with the Nasty Boys! It was such a bizarre recruitment process of the nWo! The Nasty Boy take them up on his offer as he sings “Hurrah for Hollywood”.

ARE THE NASTY BOYS FACES OR HEELS?:  HEELS

Bringing back this new game about whether the Nasty Boys were faces or heels in WCW, the Nasty Boys were clearly heels here joining Hogan in his hotel. After such a great babyface performance at Fall Brawl, they were back to possibly being heels again with Hogan.

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Syxx

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Hall kept calling guys “comers” as they came down to the ring. Duggan was set to face Ron Studd which by the way, you could tell they had no one there for this show. Of all the matches to put together on Nitro, you were gonna do Duggan vs the former Yeti Ron Studd?

Thankfully, Studd came out but Hogan stopped him in his tracks. Hogan then started punching away at Studd as he and Nash kick his ass to the nWo music! They play this song as they do this beat-down as an official beat-down theme which I laughed at! Hall said “the soundtrack to your favourite adult movie, brought to you by the nWo”. Scott Hall was on fire at commentary!

Syxx replaced Studd. Duggan went after Syxx and Nick Patrick with the 2×4. Hogan said nobody gets in the nWo’s way. Duggan punched away at Syxx as Hogan talked about WCW being about to die. Give it five years or so Hulkster. Duggan did a hip toss. Duggan did clobbering blows to the back. Duggan dropped Syxx with a clothesline

Hogan discussed possibly bring Duggan into the nWo which I would have loved to see in reality! Duggan did another clothesline but Giant grabbed him and chokeslammed Duggan on the floor while Patrick conveniently chose that time to check on Syxx. Syxx got the pin after Duggan was rolled back into the ring.

Hogan puts over that Syxx won the match fair and square and talked about how he loved his life.

 

In the first mention of Sting in the entire show is the WCW magazine advert. Speaking of which,…

 

nWo Sting vs Bo LeDuc

Bischoff talked about the fake Sting from two weeks and mentioned that “only a sucker would buy that” and correctly points out WCW bought that. DiBiase talked about the physique of this man. Sting did a Stinger Splash and Sting made Bo tap out with, according to Hogan, “the best Scorpion Deathlock he’s ever seen.”

 

“High Voltage” Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage vs The Outsiders

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The match was supposed to be High Voltage vs the Amazing French Canadians… FOR THE MAIN EVENT OF WCW MONDAY NITRO. I love Giant was willing to give the Amazing French Canadians the floor to sing the Canandian national anthem. He respected their rights to celebrate their country… of course until the Outsiders came down!

The Outsiders did rock, paper, scissors and Hall won as they took the match with High Voltage and proceeded to have longest squash match in wrestling history. This was such death television to me. They beat on them, beat on them, beat on them, beat on them. Hall did a clothesline in the corner as they just beat up High Voltage forever. Hogan called out Mike Tyson as I watched this  DURING THE WEEK WHERE MIKE TYSON WAS SET TO BE ON AEW.

Nash hit the jackknife powerbomb and Hall stood on Kaos or Rage for the pin. I don’t remember who it was that got pinned

I love how I think Hogan said “I’m gonna get my kids a Macho Man punching bag” and they got a good laugh in “HA HA HA” like true heels. Hall had to ask Giant: “is Andre really your dad man?” before the show goes off the air. Hall was the best part about this show by a huge margin.

 

Upon reading this review back myself, what I really didn’t really suggest that this show was really bad or anything. To a point, I just started writing things down. Nothing noteworthy happened in that last hour other than the nWo taking over and being there. Every match they had in that second hour was made out to be a complete joke. Even the Savage match before the nWo shenanigans ended with Savage getting himself disqualified. Even the fans were restless as they just wanted some wrestling. I wanted some wrestling. The nWo did not present wrestling.

What they presented was raw, unrestrained nWo creative control. I know that’s a weird way to put it but this entire second hour was the nWo doing whatever they wanted and they were the only people there, so yeah they just did whatever they wanted, goofing off and not caring all about the wrestling aspect of the show. All the Outsiders did was bury Jim Powers coming down on commentary before they kicked his ass. Wallstreet vs Powers ended up with Giant getting the pin. nWo Sting got a squash victory. Virgil was just there. Hogan was bragging about how great his life was. Hall was making a joke out of this.

Now did this accomplish the goal in getting heat for the nWo? Yes. Was this a successful trial run in seeing how well an “nWo” Monday Nitro would do? No and I’ll explain why. This kinda plays into the eventual demise of WCW but the reason why WCW was popular at this time was not JUST BECAUSE OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER.

We’ve talked about this but before the famous 83 weeks that Nitro beat RAW in the ratings, WCW were already winning the majority of weeks when going up against RAW. They had a few weeks where they beat RAW, they lost one week and then the next week Nitro begun the 83 weeks where Hall and Nash were both on the show. However, Hollywood Hogan wasn’t even there. Ted DiBiase wasn’t there. The “New World Order” hadn’t even been mentioned yet.

You want to know why WCW was more popular than the WWF? It was the better show. Look at my review of the episode of RAW I watched where all Goldust did was try to get together with the Undertaker. Shawn Michaels was having a silly affair storyline. Hardly any ratings draws at hand at this time for the WWF.

Compare that to WCW. Yes, we had the New World Order angle which was the biggest thing going in WCW. However, look at everything else. Look at the Cruiserweight division and guys like Jericho getting so over so quickly in that division. Ric Flair was unbelievably great, Sting had his own great storyline of WCW not trusting him. They had all sorts before the nWo even arrived.

Eric Bischoff saw the nWo popularity rise coincide with the ratings going up and was convinced that the nWo was the main reason why he was winning the war. I’m not trying to downplay this angle but I personally think if the nWo was not there, Nitro would still be beating RAW at this time. I don’t know if they would have beat them for 83 weeks but anyway, Bischoff dedicated the next three years of the show in order to promote nWo more than even WCW itself. It was nWo shenanigans over what was more important and what the fans wanted more than anything, which was wrestling.

I wanted to see… a match in that second hour. A legitimate match between two competitors trying their hardest to win which at the very least would have seen both competitors try to be competitive. I got 10 minutes of the Outsiders beating up two twerps, I got nWo guys destroying WCW geeks and I didn’t want that. This was Crash TV and ultimately when Vince Russo tried TOO MUCH of Crash TV, it resulted in WCW ratings plummeting even more.

Is there a place for shenanigans like this? Yes. Does it need to be all over the show (or at least the second hour)? No. That is the root of the problem. Too much of a good thing can really ruin it for us all.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #53 (SEPTEMBER 16TH 1996) – STING TURNS HIS BACK ON WCW

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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WCW Fall Brawl 1996 finally saw WCW and nWo go to war in the War Games match. After Sting “betrayed” WCW on last week’s episode of Nitro, the doubts about where the Stinger’s loyalties lied. Sting insisted that it was not him that attacked Lex Lugerlast week but the “Total Package” said he looked into Sting’s eyes and knew it was him.

In the War Games match, a man called Sting arrived on the scene aligned with the nWo. However, the real Sting appeared as WCW’s final entrant in the match as he took care of the nWo by himself. After berating Lex for not trusting him, Sting walked out of the match and left Team WCW at a 3 on 4 disadvantage against the New World Order. The nWo won the match and laid waste to everyone after the match, including “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth as they embarrassed the previously married couple.

 

Date: September 16th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Asheville, North Carolina

Rating: 3.7

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

 

This post-Fall Brawl episode of Nitro started with Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko with their typical post-PPV recap. They continued to mention during the show that if WCW had trusted Sting, they would have won War Games. Tony explained that Sting was in Japan during Nitro last week which Sting actually contradicted with his own promo later. He said something about being on a flight from Atlanta but oh well. Larry Zbyszko, of course, had to berate Sting for crying that nobody trusted him.

They showed clips of people in nWo shirts politely giving out flyers to people in the arena before the show! I just love that the nWo are this evil organisation that did such things like destroying cars and spray-painting women but when it comes to the fans in the arena, they have geeks ready to act all friendly and nice to the lovely WCW wrestling fans!

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs Juventud Guerrera for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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Tony acknowledged that WCW was in paranoid times because yes, WCW has accused everyone of being with the nWo in the last few months including Sting and Ric Flair. Even guys like the Nasty Boys and GREG VALENTINE were being questioned by the announcers!

This was a very fun cruiserweight match to open Nitro. Juvi hit a fallaway slam and Rey started working on the leg of Juvi. Rey pulled out a spin wheel kick. Juvi tried a springboard but Rey kicked Juvi out of the sky with a front dropkick.

Before going to commercials, Rey did a tremendous springboard hurricanarana to Juvi on the floor as the place went nuts heading into the break. Juvi did a springboard wheel kick, following that up with a baseball slide dropkick and then a springboard moonsault in an impressive display of consecutive moves for Guerrera.

Juvi barely caught Rey with a springboard 450. The nWo fans in the arena had a “party” with signs as they chanted nWo, which seemed more like a protest rally than anything. The finish was fabulous where Juvi tried a powerbomb but in mid-flight, Rey did a hurricanarana and got the pin. The execution of this move was so sublime and, as I have mentioned in this series, great lucha libre is some of the best wrestling out there. Great stuff to kick off Nitro and this gets a HUGE thumbs up!

 

Mike Tenay interviewed Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael accompanied by Mongo’s wife Debra. Mongo yelled that he made a promise that if Sting let them down of what they were gonna do. Debra told Luger and Sting to watch out. Benoit said they crossed the horsemen’s path and advised them to prepare themselves to pay the price as Mongo let out a war cry. I’ve never really been enamoured with Mongo promos but he was a very good talker when he needed to be. A lot more energy in these promos then a lot WWE promos nowadays.

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There was video package for Glacier. Last week, I mentioned that Glacier had finally debuted on WCW Pro. His in-ring debut was set for this episode of WCW Nitro so of course, we got a more elaborate promo to tell you more about what Glacier was all about. What an introduction to Glacier this was…

Glacier did a voice-over during a video package where he claimed his master gave him his name. He said he had a “burning desire” inside of him which had to have been a rib by someone! He said he travelled 1000 miles and went to Japan, and he found an old master who took him in and would become his sensei. He explained that sensei means master in Japan and he’s explaining all of this martial arts stuff in the most southern American accent imaginable!

He said he and his sensei took a bunch of styles and made a new awesome style. Glacier said he has taken experience in wrestling and martial arts to put together to make a new style. He talked about the symbols on his costume. He talked about one symbol being, and this is a quote, the “symbol of the universe.” I may have to listen this promo back because the next note I wrote was that “the symbol above his eye is a symbol of ice!” He said on his back was a symbol of honour.

This was such a bad promo, but I could listen to it over and over again! This is right in the “so bad, it’s good” category. He gave himself more character in 3-4 minutes than WWE has given its main roster in 3-4 years. He even gave himself an origin story, he talked about symbols on his gear and someone somewhere really wanted to get this guy over! Based on his match later, I’ve got a good idea who this guy was that wanted Glacier to get over but man, they went all out to tell the story of GLACIER. The best part about the promo is that he recorded all of this quietly like he recorded it with his parents asleep in the next room!

 

 

Ice Train w/Teddy Long vs DDP

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Weirdly enough, I liked this match! The match was stylistically very different. You have the tall cocky heel against the shortish and thick Ice Train. They both got wins the night before so they’re both looking to continue their winning streaks. It seemed to be a bigger match than usually for both men… until we got to the finish.

Ice Train was all pumped up following his victory over Scott Norton the night before. Ice Train ran wild on DDP for the early stages of the match. Ice Train sent DDP to the floor with a shoulder tackle. DDP did a swinging neckbreaker. 

Ice Train had burning desire inside of him as well as he fired back up to his feet but DDP floored him with a lariat. DDP tried a Diamond Cutter but Ice Train pushed him off and delivered a belly to belly suplex. Ice Train hulked up and delivered a front slam, took down the straps and hit a massive powerslam for near fall.

Ice Trian hit a big body splash and soon as that happens, they cut to the back where nWo geeks are taping themselves around the WCW merch table. These nWo guys were preventing the fans from buying WCW merchandise. They cut away from the action to show all of this… and then the bell just rings.

Tony flat out says: “I have no idea what’s going on here.” Suddenly, they cut back to the ring as Ice Train and Teddy Long are backing up referee Nick Patrick in the corner as DDP celebrates. There’s a towel in the ring as Ice Trian tried to get at Nick Patrick with Patrick all bug-eyed in fear. Patrick had great facial expressions. But again, I had no idea what was going on because Ice Train was destroying DDP during this match and then DDP was the winner all of a sudden.

So they showed the replay. Ice Train had the full nelson locked on as Teddy Long was on the apron. DDP grabbed the towel out of Teddy’s and threw it in the ring so Nick Patrick awarded the match to DDP. Nick Patrick assumed Ice Train had surrendered to his own hold that he was applying to somebody else!

This was such a stupid finish. It was such a stupid finish firstly because they didn’t even show it live. They had to show this angle with the nWo geeks at the WCW merchandise booth DURING THE FINISH OF THE MATCH. That’s stupid enough where the bell rang without the commentators paying attention and Tony even admitting he didn’t know what was going on. Then they show the replay of the finish, which actually made it worse. It made it worse because this was such a stupid finish.

I get the Nick Patrick storyline. It felt like it’s been the hottest angle in WCW for 2 months now because they bring attention to it all the time. However, Nick Patrick reached new levels of storyline incompetence with this finish. Keep in mind, this was the SENIOR OFFICIAL that referred the War Games match the night before! He saw a towel in the ring despite Ice Train APPLYING A FULL NELSON and awarded the match to DDP. In which of the infinite earths out there would any referee logically make that call?

If you wanted to screw Ice Train out of a victory, there are a million ways Ice Train could have lost this match. Patrick could have somehow missed DDP taping to the Full Nelson which leads to DDP somehow hitting the Diamond Cutter. Patrick could have prematurely counted out Ice Train for not breaking the hold. DDP could have jumped out of the ring and so Patrick thinks Ice Train threw him over the top rope and so DDP wins. THIS TOWEL THING SUCKED on so many levels.

This had to have been the worst kayfabe referring performance ever and it took away from the match. They didn’t even show the finish and then they showed the finish on a replay and it was such a dumb finish. TWO THUMBS DOWN.

 

nWo dudes are outside of the merchandise with signs of “who wants this crap”. That’s what I was thinking after the DDP/Ice Train finish. They cut to the crowd where they show, making his WCW debut… Sean Waltman, formerly 1-2-3 Kid in with the WWF, in the crowd. More on him later…

 

Konnan © w/Jimmy Hart vs Super Calo  for the AAA Americas Heavyweight Championship

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What a bizarre title ranking system. Super Calo and Juventud both lost their matches at the PPV so they just get rematches the next night for the other titles. They just switched feuds like these titles were interchangeable.

Speaking of those two matches at Fall Brawl, I mentioned Konnan looked the best he’s ever looked in that match with Juventud Guerrera. It appears Konnan was wanting to top himself tonight and Super Calo was willing to put him over. I say that because Calo destroyed his own body to get this match over. One of the first spots was Calo doing a “suicide dive into a senton” as Tenay puts it as Calo crashed into the steel guard rail, and that really set the tone for the match.

Calo tried a crucifix early on for a 2 count. Konnan does a double underhook suplex from the top rope. Konnan stretched out Calo. Konnan did a powerbomb for a 1 count. Konnan tries the power drop but Calo reverses it into a headscissors. Konnan does the reverse DDT for a 2 count.

Here’s the next big spot. I’ve never been in a wrestling ring as I’m sure many of the people reading this review haven’t either but we all know the concept of how to do a clothesline. If you had a trampoline and two friends, you could do this exact same spot if you wanted to (NOTE: The Armbar Express encourages the readers to follow WWE’s advice and please don’t try this at home unless you are a trained professional). One man will charge at another man with his arm to the side and the other man will fall on his back and take a bump to sell for it.

Calo’s idea to sell this clothesline for Konnan was to turn himself inside out and land on the side of his neck. I’ve seen many wrestlers turn themselves inside out for a clothesline. Rikishi used to do it well. Seth Rollins did it all the time for Dean Ambrose. Paul London even got heat for it when he did it with Gene Snitsky in 2005. However, this was such a naughty landing. It’s a clothesline, you don’t need to nearly paralyse yourself and do a flip. Just take a back bump to the floor, for god’s sake.

THEN, Calo tried a reverse hurricanarana and he falls down and Konnan fell right on top of him. I screamed out-loud as I saw Konnan, a much bigger man than Calo, squish Calo which can’t have been good.

Even with all of this, Calo was still doing all of these insane moves. He did a slingshot senton to the floor onto Konnan and then he followed this up with a missile dropkick to Konnan. He again CRASHED TO THE FLOOR. He was flying all over the place after nearly legitimately killing himself by overselling a clothesline.

Calo tried a dropkick in the corner but he landed right on his head. I was begging for this match to be over. Konnan did a cradle DDT FOR A TWO COUNT and I was still begging for this match to be over. The cradle DDT was such a big move but Calo still, for some reason, needed to drag this out as he just determined to destroy himself during this match.

Konnan does the alabama slam and the bridge for a 2 count. Konnan struggled but was finally able to  get Calo up and did a sit-out powerbomb for the win. How Calo survived this match is astonishing to me.

 

Mike Tenay talked to Sean Waltman. Sean said he’s been in Japan doing a bit of a deal there. He wanted to check out Nitro as the hottest thing today. Sean asked who won War Games to which Tenay said it was the nWo and Sean goes: “oh that’s too bad.” This was a complete waste of time.

 

Hugh Morrus vs Brad Armstrong

I made way too many notes for this match. All you need to know is that Brad Armstrong was criminally underrated. The finish saw Hugh do a moonsault and after a lazy pin, Brad cradled him and got the pin. I was blown away by a babyface getting a clean win over a heel on this show. What a concept.

 

Mike Tenay interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage. There was no Mean Gene Okerlund on this show for some reason. They showed still photos of what happened to Savage during his match with Giant at Fall Brawl. Savage said it’s gonna get really scary because he’s down to one marble and once he’s lost it, can Hogan take what he was going to do to him? Savage didn’t think so. Reviewing Randy Savage promos are difficult as I have no idea what he was saying half of the time and this was not a particularly strong Randy Savage promo from me. This was also the night after he and his ex-wife got embarrassed and spray-painted on by Hogan and his cronies. Not the fire I really wanted from the Macho Man.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Scott Norton

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Of course, the nWo arrived right for the start of hour two in full force with their black limo. I wrote down that Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Fake Sting and Ted DiBiase were there. I don’t remember if The Giant was here for this spot but he was there later.

Eric Bischoff mentioned Savage was the only one here for WCW for next week and Bobby Heenan was upset at Bischoff for revealing this and basically showing the nWo WCW’s hand for next week. It was explained that I guess half of the roster would be in Japan next week.

Norton and Savage brawled on the ramp as the action spilled into the ring. Savage took over until Norton cut him off with a Samoan Drop. Norton smashed Savage with a powerbomb and slammed him with a powerslam.

Savage did punches in the corner but Norton dropped him with an atomic drop. Savage worked on Norton for a while. He scoop slammed Norton on the floor. Norton dropped Savage with a DDT in the ring. Norton dropped him with a shoulder breaker

Savage sent Norton in the ring post and Savage clunked in the head multiple times with a chair and went for the referee as the referee called for the bell. This was just absolutely moronic to me.

In case you all are not aware, RANDY SAVAGE WAS CHALLENGING HOLLYWOOD HOGAN FOR THE WCW TITLE AT HALLOWEEN HAVOC. Savage is Hogan’s next challenger during WCW’s biggest ever angle and hottest period ever. To build him up for Hogan, they had him lose via count out to John Tenta last week, they had him lose to The Giant atFall Brawl and they had him lose to Scott Norton via disqualification.

What was so vital about protecting Scott Norton on this episode of Nitro? Norton lost to Ice Train clean at the PPV. Was there like a concern that if they beat Norton again, he’s gonna lose momentum? DUDE… HE’S WRESTLING THE MACHO MAN. Him losing clean to Randy Savage was never in a million years gonna hurt him. Why couldn’t Savage just beat him? He’s losing more times than Disco Inferno has in the last few months. MORONIC BOOKING AND A HUGE THUMBS DOWN.

The best part about this DQ was Savage smashed Patrick’s face into the apron for the biggest pop of the night and Patrick sold this very well. Patrick was crying his eyes out as Savage wailed on him. To Patrick’s credit, the character of Nick Patrick had a lot of potential but just not as a referee.

 

Big Bubba vs Glacier

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The amount of money they put into Glacier for this character was actually amazing when you think about what happened to him in his career. They have this big elaborate entrance for Glaicer with this armour on and snow falling into the ring as a cool visual affect as he roared. I’ve read on the reliable Wikipedia page of Glacier that the gear, made by Andre Freitas of Atlanta-based AFX Studios, cost $35,000.

I haven’t bothered to check how that compares to today’s wrestling standards. I’m sure WWE once or twice forked out big time for costumes for people like Triple H for example. I saw Will Ospreay many years ago claimed to spend $10,000 a year on wrestling gear. However, that was some serious investment from WCW when you think about how much $35,000 was worth to a lot of people at the time. Bischoff and Ted Turner ponied up the cash for ring-gear for a Mortal Kombat Sub-Zero rip-off character.

Speaking of Eric Bischoff, Bischoff when calling this match was treating Glacier the way you would imagine Vince McMahon would treat muscular men. Nobody cared about Glacier except Bischoff as he was going out of his way to put him over and all of these martial arts moves he was busting out during this match. At least in Vince McMahon’s defense, he likes big, muscular men because they have historically drawn very well for him in the past. Bischoff just liked martial arts and dudes like Glacier because he liked martial arts. There has been a lot shoot fighters that have done well in wrestling but when was the last time legitimate martial arts like karate got over in the wrestling world? The reason for that is simple…. THIS IS WRESTLING NOT MARTIAL ARTS.

Glaicer tripped Bubba as he has a stance of some kind. I have no idea what this was supposed to be or what style this was supposed to be. Bischoff put over Glacier’s “perfect control” and his martial arts skills as Glacier tried two roundhouse kicks and tried a karate chop but Bubba cowered in the corner. Then Bubba finally grabbed Glacier and all the fans cheered! Five months, $35,000 costumes and all the money you could throw at this guy and the people have already turned on him a minute into his debut Nitro match!

Bubba caught Glacier and slammed him with a spinebuster. Bubba mocks Glacier but Glacier kipped up, did a sweep and delivered some kicks. Glacier hit a spinning side kick for the win.

This came off as the fakest martial arts in the world, which is ironic because the man playing Glacier was legitimately a championship winning martial artist before joining WCW and doing “fake” martial arts in the ring! He studied Hung Ga and studied karate but the stuff he did in this Glacier get-up was horrific. Bobby’s recap of the match was: “I don’t like him”

This was a bad match but at least Bubba tried to sell and put over the match. Bischoff talked about Glacier having a bright future ahead of him… oh just you wait Easy E.

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Sting walked out to the ring and he grabbed a mic. Sting was scheduled to team with Lex Luger later on that night against Benoit and McMichael. However, Sting came out and turned his back to the hard cam to address the fans. Sting started talking as he explained  that he tuned in to Nitro last week and saw his friends doubt the Stinger. Bischoff asked quietly: “why is he not looking at the camera?” until he figured out that Stind has turned his back on the company and was directly addressing the fans.

Sting explained that because Luger threatened to kick his ass, he went into seclusion. At least this explained why Luger had waited a week to see Sting face-to-face at the PPV despite knowing where Sting lived, so at least that plot-hole was covered by the Stinger’s promo!

Sting said he went face to face with Luger at Fall Brawl and Luger refused to believe him. Sting brought up the excellent point that he has been the mediator and the babysitter for Luger for a year now. He gave Luger the benefit of the doubt every time. Sting said he gave his blood, sweat and tears for WCW. For all of the fans and wrestlers and the people that never doubted the Stinger, he vowed to stand by them if they stood by him. For all of the people, the commentators, the wrestlers and the best friends who did doubt him… he told them to STICK IT.

Sting said from now on, he considered himself a free agent. From time to time, he will come in when we least expected it. From now on, WCW were all on their own.

This was such a great promo because you could totally understand why Sting felt betrayed and this was the last straw in his eyes. How many times has Sting been betrayed by someone in WCW? During this series, how many times was he betrayed by someone? He mentioned standing by Luger, despite Luger being a heel with the Dungeon of Doom. Ric Flair double-crossed him after Ric got a bunch of kids in the ring to ask for Sting’s help. Hogan turned his back on Sting and joined the New World Order. Despite never turning on anyone himself, his name was dragged through the mud and everyone thought Sting had turned his back on the company.

This promo was basically him saying enough was enough. “You all though I turned my back on the company so now… I’M TURNING MY BACK ON THE COMPANY.” He literally turned his back to the hard camera to address the fans. This was so brilliant that it’s hard for me to believe this promo took place on this show. In a lot of ways, it was also kinda sad because…. this was the last of “Surfer” Sting. There are no more “The Man Called Sting” songs to be played when he comes out with this big smile on his face. This is the last time we will see this version of the Stinger in WCW. That to me is sad!

 

Chris Jericho and Marcus Bagwell vs “The Four Horsemen” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson

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The Horsemen don’t come out as they just show the entrance way. Ric Flair was shown arguing with Woman and Elizabeth as Elizabeth didn’t wanna come out because of what happened to her at Fall Brawl. Elizabeth didn’t wanna come out and Arn eventually said she’s nervous, so let’s leave her back here.

Waltman pressed a remote control at ringside and a bunch of leaflets fell down from the top of the building. Some dudes walk pass the hard cam with nWo signs as it is clear now that Waltman is in the nWo. Bischoff refers to him as the “sixth” one even know we already have six guys in the nWo! It’s unfortunate time for the man who would be called “Syxx” but we’re approaching the time at WCW where the stable will just be flooded with members. We’ve had four new members of the group in the space of three weeks. Don’t think it’s going to slow down from here….

The ring was littered with all kinds of garbage as Ric Flair lost his mind as they cut to a break.

The phrase: “we beat you, now you’re paying the bills” was showing on the signs among many other leaflets falling into the ring. The wrestlers all kick away the papers including referee Nick Patrick but then Patrick himself kicks away more flyers out the ring AFTER CALLING THE BELL. As a referee, shouldn’t he clear the ring of this rubbish before starting the match? At least in football, they stop the match if like a streaker or even a cat runs onto the pitch. Patrick is continuing this match in the midst of pieces of paper littered on the mat.

Bischoff said they haven’t mentioned the details but he has agreed to give the nWo their own television show. The match goes on and Ric eventually loses his mind again at the flyers on the floor. He grabbed a whole bunch of them and threw them away.

The Horsemen cut off the babyfaces with a  beautiful spinebuster by Arn as Ric worked on Jericho. Ric raked the eyes for Jericho for about half an hour as Nick Patrick talked to Bagwell in the corner. The heels work on the legs of Jericho.

They show Sean Waltman in the back with the entire nWo posse. The Giant played a boombox playing recording of Sting from WCW Monday Nitro that they used to trick WCW into thinking that was the real Sting last week. Hogan recapped all of this by saying the Sting has now stunk. Hogan called Waltman big man as Eric buries him for his size on commentary.

Bagwell gets the hot tag and ran wild. Bagwell hit a fisherman suplex on Arn but Ric broke it up. Bagwell rolled up Flair but Woman raked the eyes. Arn spiked Bagwell with the DDT and Flair pinned Bagwell with the Figure Four Leg Lock. Heenan even mentioned Bagwell was out cold and Woman still felt the need to grab Flair’s arms as he got the pin!

It’s funny Heenan said the official can only call what he can see in defense of the crooked referee Nick Patrick. It’s funny because Jim Ross uses that to defend the referee EVERY SINGLE WEEK during every heel finish like this on AEW Dynamite and JR is supposed to be a babyface.

 

Lex Luger vs “Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael

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Some dude from the crowd got in a great throw as he threw trash in face of Mongo as Mongo came down to the ring. Sting was obviously not coming back so Luger was going at it alone against Benoit and Mongo.

Luger ran wild for a bit with clotheslines. Luger hit a forearm on Benoit that did not look like it connected at all. Benoit beat the crap outta Luger during the match. Mongo choked and punched away at Luger on the mat. Mongo scoop slammed Luger.

Mongo did a head butt to another man’s groin right in front of his wife at ringside! Luger and Benoit floored each other with a double clothesline. Luger made his own comeback and locked on a Torture Rack but Ric Flair ran into the ring along with Arn as the referee called for the bell.

Luger fought the horsemen on his own but Mongo cut him off with a chop block. The Four Horsemen beat up Lex Luger as they then show the nWo backstage, hanging out in the back of a limo. Hogan talked about half of WCW being in Japan next week. Hogan was going arrange for the nWo to be there next week as they laughed and Luger is shown defeated on the mat.

It was here, after Sting was gone, The Giant had joined WCW two weeks ago and the Four Horsemen are back to being stone cold heels again where I realised that there are literally no babyfaces anymore except Luger. They did have “Macho Man” Randy Savage but he’s not a babyface for much longer either, which is kind of a spoiler but it feels necessary to mention it now.

Lex Luger was shown face down on the mat beaten up by four men. It was depressing to see. No Sting there to save him this time or to fight the Four Horsemen again. At the end of the day, it was Luger that caused all this to happen and not the Four Horsemen. Sting had told Lex to stick it. Savage got destroyed at the PPV and was going crazy. The last clear babyface Lex Luger, who had the temerity to call out Sting for betraying WCW, was left alone with nobody to save him.

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At the time, this was very unique to see such domination from the heels in wrestling. Even with the Four Horsemen, they lost the majority of War Games matches they had in WCW as heels. The majority of time in WWF and WCW, the biggest stars were the babyfaces. The WWF Champion at this time was Shawn Michaels, pushed as the next big babyface to the WWF’s detriment for the next year or so. The fans rejected Shawn but the fans loved Hollywood Hogan, who was the biggest star in the industry as a full-blown heel.

In a lot of ways, the nWo really did a number on the business for years to come. The nWo will prove to dominant for so many weeks in the next few years and it basically gave permission for every other company to book their shows around the biggest heels as opposed to the biggest babyfaces. The WWF would start doing it with Triple H in the 2000s, he would have his own heel group in Evolution during the “Ruthless Aggression” era and even TNA had groups like Aces and Eights and Immortal running the show. The Bullet Club took over NJPW, Brock Lesnar is dominant in WWE now and even AEW book the Inner Circle more prominently than even The Elite.

With this angle, the babyfaces were being relegated to being the nWo’s whipping boys. Guys like Lex Luger and Randy Savage and even more guys to come will pop in only to fail at the hands of Hogan before Sting reappears for his big showdown with Hogan eventually. It’s sad that although this was revolutionary with WCW at the time, watching it with modern eyes is a curse. I see so many heels booked better than babyfaces in the 2010s and 2020s and now, I get to see it all over again with the company that really just started it all off. Now, babyfaces rarely get really over in wrestling to the point of being the biggest stars of the company… ever.

I do want to comment that this was quite an elobarate plot to cause WCW to fall from the inside because they went through the effort of creating a fake Sting to drive a wedge within WCW. That I at least appreciate.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 (SEPTEMBER 15TH 1996)

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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Here we go again with WCW’s annual Fall Brawl PPV with the main-event dedicated to War Games! Only this time, the stakes were even higher with the threat of the New World Order. The nWo were going to step into the War Games structure against WCW represented by the likes of Lex Luger, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair.

The big mystery up in the air was the man called Sting. “Sting” appeared to have betrayed WCW and sided with nWo on Nitro and with a mystery fourth man on each team, where did the Stinger’s loyalties actually lie? Scott Hall promised a war when he first arrived in May 1996 and finally at last, the nWo and WCW were going to war!

 

Date: September 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Attendance: 11,300

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

The show started with a sweet video package hyping up the entire nWo storyline and anarchy that has transpired ever since Scott Hall arrived. This also included an angle on WCW Saturday Night as the Outsiders, Giant and Ted DiBiase smashed up Lex Luger’s car. The second nWo-related incident related to Lex Luger and cars! Remember when the nWo kicked Sting’s ass when they were at Luger’s car?

 

DDP vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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I think this was a decent match. I would not say this was a good match. There were too many botchy looking spots that took me out of the game a little bit. The match psychology was messed up too as Chavo did a 1000 moves during this match and got no reaction but DDP did very little in the match and got more over with every move he hit. Traditionally, the heel would get all the moves in during the “heat” of the match and the babyface would fire back whenever they could with big moves as the fans get more and more into them. This would then lead to the finish. Chavo did not strike me as a good babyface in peril. He just wanted to get in as many moves as he can and none of it go over with these fans.

Chavo ran wild early with some dropkicks and then a planacha to the outside. Chavo paid DDP back for when DDP whipped him with a belt on Nitro, by whipping him back with somebody’s belt… I have no idea where he got it from! Nick Patrick certainly wasn’t out there this time!

Chavo got a 2 count from a crossbody. Chavo worked on the arm. The main attraction of this match was two guys dressed as Razor Ramon and Ric Flair posing and coming down these steps right in the view of the hard camera. These fans were having a ball on their own despite all of Chavo’s efforts.

It was Chavo getting the better of DDP for a long time. Then DDP got stuck within the ropes, Chavo tried a dropkick but DDP somehow moved and Chavo was sent crashing through the ropes and to the floor.

DDP did one top rope clothesline for a gigantic pop. Like I mentioned, Chavo did move after move after move… to barely any reaction at all. DDP hit one big move and the place went nuts! This is because sometimes less is more. Every time DDP hit a big move, it got over with the crowd. Chavo just did a bunch of moves on after another and it was as effective as a sleeper hold in terms of getting the crowd into this match.

There was one move I loved where DDP got Chavo up for a back suplex and then just threw Chavo to the mat. He got him in the back drop position and because he was so tall compared to Chavo, pushed him and launched him across the mat to a big pop. It was more of a back throw than a back suplex!

DDP got Chavo’s head and Chavo was on his knees and, this is not mincing any words, DDP thrusted into Chavo’s head and yelled BANG, BANG, BANG as the crowd roared with laughter. There’s no ambiguity about what that was supposed to suggest. DDP had control of Chavo and just made him out to be a complete joke!

Chavo did a springboard crossbody as he finally got back into the match after DDP got the heat. Chavo did a top rope dropkick for a 2 count. Chavo barely did a head scissors from the top rope for another 2 count. DDP cut him off with an elbow and he got his feet on the rope but Chavo still kicked out.

DDP threw Chavo over the top rope into the second ring which caused ambiguity with the rules. If you threw a man over the top rope in WCW, that was traditionally a disqualification. However, this referee just continued the match because they were still technically in a ring. DDP was barely able to pull off a sidewalk slam with Chavo. Chavo tried a roll-up for a 2 count.

DDP hit a tremendous gutwrench powerbomb that was so great that it should have been the finish but Chavo kicked out which was a clear sign that they needed to take the match home. DDP got this memo and slammed Chavo with a Diamond Cutter for the victory. It’s so crazy how over DDP was here.

Match Rating: **3/4. Dave Meltzer gave this 3 and a half stars at the time for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter but I can’t got that high. Too many near-blown spots to award that high of a rating. However, this was still a decent match.

 

Harlem Heat, Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri were at the CompuServe centre with some geek as WCW plugged their CompuServe hotline thingy.

Mean Gene recapped the entire nWo storyline from Scott Hall’s first appearance and nearly every appearance since then. If you happened to not be watching WCW in the last few months, this was a tremendous summary of the entire story building up to this point and Mean Gene recapped it very well.

 

Scott Norton vs Ice Train w/Teddy Long in a submission match

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This match was “on like tree trunks” as Dusty put it. The referee had a microphone so this was like an I quit match or an “I respect you match” (please read this Superbrawl 1996 review to get this reference!).

Ice Train did a front slam to start off the match. Ice Train missed big splash and then Scott Norton planted him with a DDT. Norton struggled but was able to pull of a back suplex on the big man Ice Train. Ice Train hit a powerslam. Ice Train tried a camel clutch but it was transitioned somehow into a rest hold

Ice Train hit a big splash in the corner but Norton bounced back with a clothesline. Norton did an “code red” armbar similar to Teddy Long’s other client Sgt. Pittman. Teddy did have a towel and was considering throwing it in for his main man Ice Train but I guess the referee said only the man in the ring could give up. Therefore, towel throwing was I guess useless in this match.

Norton had this hold in for about a minute or so. It was on for a long time but Ice Train survived so Norton tried something else. Norton dropped Ice Train with a neckbreaker. Ice Train hit a scoop slam and tried his own Fujiwara Armbar like how Norton beat him at Hog Wild.

Ice Train tried a running senton but he ended up just flat out sitting on Norton for the impact!. It wasn’t like his back connected with Norton’s mid-section or shoulders. There’s no gentle way to put it but Ice Train’s arse connected with Norton’s mid-section. That can’t have been fun for Norton with this 315lbs man sitting on him.

Ice Train tried a splash but Norton got the knees up. Norton hit a big powerbomb and tried a Boston crab as Ice Train screamed with agony but refused to give. Norton gave up on this move too and tried the Fujiwara Armbar but Teddy got on the apron so he let go of the hold.

Norton then tried a submission where he stood over Ice Train and I guess put all of his weight on Ice Train. I don’t know what it was supposed to be. Norton finally got his hands on Teddy who got into the ring. Ice Train got Norton locked in a Full Nelson and lifted Norton up in the air and then he grounded him, with Norton tapping out… What was the point of the referee having a microphone if Norton just tapped out? That microphone didn’t play into the finish at all.

I thought this was a fine little battle and with the good guys finally getting the win over his dick of an old partner. Now Ice Train and his ex-partner can move onto different feuds. This was fine and a decent conclusion to the Ice Train vs Scott Norton storyline… assuming this is the end of the feud. I’ve been wrong before!

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Konnan © w/Jimmy Hart vs Juventud Guerrera for the Mexican Heavyweight Championship a.ka. AAA Americas Heavyweight Championship

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So I was able to answer my own question as to whether the Mexican Heavyweight Championship was a valid WCW Championship or not. It turns it was actually the AAA Americas Heavyweight Championship but I guess WCW was either too lazy or too possessive to call it that on television. It’s weird because WCW did do business with places like NJPW and AAA and mentioned them frequently and Mike Tenay joined the commentary team for this match, referring to AAA. However, they wouldn’t acknowledge this as an actual AAA title.

This match really turned things around, at least in my eyes, for Konnan. He was brought in as a traditional happy-go-lucky babyface and trying to be blue collar wrestler. He had some good matches but whenever he tried to be a high flyer it didn’t work and when trying to be a likeable babyface it didn’t work. So WCW brought in some new Mexican cruiserweights and so they turned Konnan into a gangsta heel. He showed a bit of character and charisma on the last episode of Nitro and here… it was like he was a totally different wrestler.

This was the best Konnan’s looked in a WCW ring so far and it was Konnan playing to his strengths as a powerhouse among the luchadors. He hit a lot of big moves that Juventud sold like crazy for and he came off as a legitimate star for what seems like the first time in his WCW career. However this was not the best night for Juventud Guerrera…

Juventud arrived on WCW and infamously cut one of the worst promos ever for his debut Monday Nitro promo where he couldn’t speak any English. Things didn’t start off well. Then he came down the isle for this title match. I’m watching Juvi come down to the ring. He was bouncing around as Mike Tenay was putting over this match. He talked about if a great little man can beat a great big man in Konnan. Juvi is all fired up, he turned around to point and pose to the camera while walking back. He turned back around and falls over the steel steps. I was reduced to tears. I had actually tears coming out of my eyes as I had to pause the show to control myself. This was unintentional comedy gold from WCW.

Not to mention, What a rib on Mike Tenay. This was his chance of glory in the announce booth to put over great intentional talent and Juvi screws it up by making himself look like a complete geek!

BOTCH RATING: *****

Then the match started, Juvi then tried to bump fists with the heel Konnan and Konnan kneed him in the gut, working him over with knees and punches. Could Juventud come off as a bigger geek than he did with his entrance and the opening fist bump attempt?

Konnan sent Juvi hurling over his shoulders with a complete flip off a German Suplex. Then this great big man Konnan picked up Juvi like he was a child and threw his arse over the top rope. We’d not seen stuff like this from Konnan before and he pulled it off on PPV and it blew people away in the crowd.

Juvi redeemed himself as he did a great triple jump into a “spin kick” for a 2 count. It was incredibly well done by the luchador. Juvi does a suicide dive to Konnan. Juvi dove off the steel guard rail and Konnan caught him and slammed him to the floor with a powerslam as he taunted with the crowd. When I say Konnan taunted with the crowd, he danced and celebrate like what a dude would do when Maury would say the words “you are not the father” as he clapped with the crowd and cheered. It was remarkable to see in 1996.

Konnan locked on an abdominal stretch on the ground to wear down the quicker man. Juvi tried a springboard but fell through the ropes and into the other ring. Juvi tried this headscissor spot into the ring again like he did with Joe Gomez. This spot increased by about 10% more with Konnan than with Joe Gomez but it didn’t really look good here.

Konnan did a throwing powerbomb from in between the rings into one of the other rings. Konnan did a heel hook of some kind for a long time. Juvi did an inadvertent springboard pele kick that appeared to be a moonsault attempt. Konnan did a big powerbomb to a big pop. Konnan did two rolling German Suplexs. Juvi then got up and just walked around the ring… doesn’t even sell these suplexes as he just walked around. It was a weird for about 90 seconds or so as I guess Juvi was trying to figure out what to do next for spots or was just upset by something in the match.

Juvi’s idea for a spot was that he started working on Konnan in the corner, he did a flip to his feet and Konnan just dropped him with a front dropkick…why did Juvi even bother with this flip? If the spot was gonna end with Konnan dropkicking him, why bother doing a cool flip if it didn’t even lead to anything?

They traded roll-ups for a number of 2 counts.  Juvi did a springboard corkscrew wheel kick for a 2 count. Konnan did one of the best looking wheel barrow suplexes I’ve ever seen. Konnan tried a cover near the ropes and the referee Nick Patrick refused to count the pin.

Juventud did a flip leg drop for a cover but Konnan this time was on the ropes so Juvi just kicked at him. Juvi did a 450 splash and looked like he landed right on the face of Konnan for the 2 count.

Juvi did a ballerina spin knee drop for a 2 count which is the best way to describe this spot. Konnan hit an alabama slam and a bridge for a near fall. Konnan did a nasty looking muscle buster for a 2 count. Konnan finally put Juvi away with a power drop for the clean victory.

A lot of the spots look really great. It was very sloppy but the right kind of sloppy. This was the best Konnan has looked. Some of this was the worst stuff of Juvi’s career but overall this was fun PPV match.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit

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Another excellent match. If you look at three of the last four matches Chris Benoit has had on PPV, they’ve all been excellent matches. He had the legendary falls count anywhere match with Taskmaster, he had an excellent match with Dean Malenko at Hog Wild and him and Jericho had a great battle here. This felt like a NJPW-style match where they worked a fight more than they worked a performance. Jericho was fighting for his life against the rabid wolverine and it produced some excellent wrestling.

Benoit got the heat at the start of the match and ironically did a Liontamer to Chris Jericho as Jericho wailed in agony. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Jericho reversed it and it led up to a Jericho wheel kick. Jericho caught the leg and did a dragon screw leg whip. Jericho did a springboard dropkick to floor Benoit.

Jericho tried a springboard senton similar to Darby Allin’s “coffin drop” and came so close to just crashing on the apron. I hope Jericho never tried that spot again as it was so silly and could have really screwed up his back if he landed awkwardly.

Jericho smashed Benoit with a naughty powerbomb for a 2 count. Jericho did a tiger suplex but Benoit’s feet landed on the ropes. Benoit and Jericho unloaded with chops and elbows at each other as the fans got more and more into the close-up brawling from both competitors. Benoit took a page out of DDP’s book when he did a back suplex with Jericho inside of the ring and he lifted him over the top and dropped him to the floor just like DDP did with Chavo earlier.

Benoit hit Jericho with the kitchen sink. Benoit and Jericho chopped at each other again and Jericho unloaded with some ridiculously hard slaps to the chest oFF Benoit. Stiff does not even begins to describe the hits being dished out by these Canadians.

Benoit locked onan abdominal stretch but Jericho got out of it with an arm drag. Benoit did a diving headbutt. Benoit tried a German suplex but Jericho clutched onto the ropes to avoid it. Jericho did a Northern Lights suplex himself.

Jericho and Benoit traded fists and slaps and this really felt like a fight. Benoit tried a tombstone but Jericho reversed it into one of his own in what has become such an overused spot in WCW, particularly with Benoit matches. Jericho did not got for the pin as he went for the Lionsault, but Benoit got out of it so Jericho smashed him with a clothesline.

Dusty said Jericho would be a big star in WCW. Bobby made an astonishing comment where he said: “if the right man got a hold of him, he would make him something”…. that man would turn out not to be WCW President ERIC BISCHOFF. Benoit eventually hit one final back suplex for the clean victory.

This was an awesome match. This really made Jericho out to be a big star, even in defeat, and they both laid it in and really showcased the type of wrestling that should be featured more in American wrestling. AEW has matches with big spots and fast-paced action, NXT and WWE have near falls and put on performances but we need to see more FIGHTS in American wrestling. These two put on a believable fight but were also able to put on wrestling clinics when given the tools to do so. This match is worthy watching back if you can.

Match Rating: ****

 

Rey Mysteiro Jr © vs Super Calo for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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If you want Lucha Libre and a bunch of cool looking Lucha Libre spots, this was the match for you. Not a lot of psychology but some of the bigger move were really well executed for this match.

Calo did a rolling Braun Strowman powerslam and some fan yelled “boring” early on in the match. Calo worked on the arm. Rey wrestled rings around Calo in the early stages and did a feint 619 to throw Calo off his game.

Calo hit a powerbomb bouncing off the top rope and then into the mat. I wrote a bunch of notes which all started with off “Calo did a…” as literally a lot of what Calo did was just move after move after move. There was little effort to slow the match down or add psychology. If you’re into that type of thing and just wanted to see the spots, I guess this was the stuff for you. I’m just gonna list off my next 8 notes of my review:

  • Calo did a top rope shoulder tackle
  • Calo did a top rope dropkick from the top rope
  • Calo did a scoop slam on the floor
  • Calo did a flip senton to the outside
  • Calo did a frankensteiner for a 2 count from a “deep cover”
  • Calo did a flying clothesline which Rey got turned inside out for
  • Calo locked on the abdominal stretch
  • Calo did a surfboard submission

Rey did a crossbody which I think was supposed to send Calo over the top rope. Rey was a little man so Calo did not go over so Rey grabbed him by his shirt and dragged Calo over the rope to complete the spot and then did a dive to the outside. At times, this match was really awkward.

They just did moves forever and nobody cared and soon as I wrote that in my notes, Rey did a springboard hurricanrana to the floor which got a big pop from the crowd. At the very least, Rey Mysterio WCW matches do an excellent job in making the really big moves count and get over more with the crowd which is what wrestling is all about.

Rey did a sunset flip for a 2 count. Rey did a springboard corkscrew and then tried another move but Calo dropped him with an electric chair drop. Rey did a Frankensteiner roll-up for a 2 count. Calo tried a front dropkick but landed right on his head. Rey did a fabulous spot where he did a double bounce springboard frankensteiner roll-up for the win. That spot was so sublime and I don’t want it say it saved the match, because the match was decent enough, but it really elevated it in my eyes.

That bumped this match up to a ***1/4 rating if anything.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

 

“Harlem Heat” Stevie Ray © and Booker T (c) w/Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I have not been enamoured with the Nasty Boys since the WCW review series started but this match, which I was not looking forward to going in, turned out to be a good tag team match. How many sloppy hardcore matches have we seen the Nasty Boys compete in during the last year of WCW television? This match saw them in there with Harlem Heat and it was the best wrestling match they’ve pulled out so far in the Nitro series. It was a legitimately sound wrestling match put together on pay-per-view. THAT’S ALL I COULD ASK FOR!

Stevie started with Sags and punched away with some horrible punches to Sags. Nasty Boys ran wild with clubbering blows as Dusty called them the master of clubbering. Knobbs laid in some fantastic forearms as he beat up Booker as he showed such ferocity. A weird spot saw Knobbs have one of the Harlem Heat members held in position for like 30 seconds before Sherri I guess remembered her spot and broke up whatever spot the Nasty Boys were going for.

Stevie hit an awesome look crane kick to Knobbs. Booker just got into the match without a tag when the referee’s back was turned… it’s funny because this was the new referee that only debuted two weeks ago! Sherri slapped Knobbs to which Knobbs raised his hands and growled like he was like Frankenstein’s monster chasing her! Then Booker cut him off with a double axe handle as her knight in shining armour! I don’t know why but I loved that spot!

Harlem Heat got the heat. Booker tried the Harlem Side Kick but Knobbs evaded as he landed on the ropes. Sags got the hot tag as he beat down Harlem Heat. Sags threw Sherri into the ring. Sags did a roll up over the body of Sherri in the ring on Booker for a 2 count which the fans bough as the actual finish. Sags hit a piledriver but Ray broke it up. Parker tripped Sags from the top rope but Stevie cut him off and “obliterated” Sags on the outside.

Booker hit a scissor kick as Sags rolled to the outside with Sherri getting kicks and slaps in alongside Parker. Sags sold this punishment like he was dead. His body was motionless as he lounged about on the apron. Sags floored both members of the Heat. Sags crawled over Booker to make the tag to Knobbs as he was itching to get back in the match.

Knobbs ran wild on Harlem Heat. Knobbs did a “Nasty Splash” but it was broken up. Booker and Knobbs were the legal men as Knobbs hit the splash and got the cover but as the referee was distracted. Sherri hit Knobbs with the cane as Harlem Heat capitalised and got the pinfall to retain the titles.

This was a a good match all things considered. The best Nasty Boys match I’ve seen so far in WCW.

Match Rating: **3/4… I’m feeling generous. It had more psychology than DDP vs Chavo so I thought about bumping it up to 3 stars but with some blown spots didn’t warrant the full 3 stars for me.

 

Mike Tenay interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Savage said he was gonna turn the universe upside down. Savage said he was evil necessity of WCW. Savage said he was gonna rip the out the black heart out from Hogan’s chest. Savage said he was gonna walk down that isle and he was gonna send a message to the nWo that the Macho Man would not be denied.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs The Giant in a grudge match

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In a weird twist, Giant came down to the Dungeon of Doom theme song initially and then it changed to the nWo theme song. Giant tried to enter the ring but Savage held the fort in the squared circle, kinda like what the nWo did to WCW 2 weeks ago when Giant turned on WCW.

Savage tried a scoop slam on the outside but Giant was too big. Giant slammed Savage into the ring. Giant clobbered Savage with a big clothesline. Giant got Savage up HIGH for a side walk slam but slammed him down on the knee for the backbreaker.

The fans stopped paying attention as they looked to the crowd. Bobby Heenan picked up on this but they are not sure what to make of this. Then the fans turned away so I’m guessing a fight broke out or something in the crowd. No nWo involvement… at this point.

Giant did a Boston crab and then followed that up with a bear hug. This match got boring for a long time. Savage tried what appeared to be a double axe handle but Giant caught him and slammed him down.

Giant went for a knee drop but Savage moved away from it and then Savage tried to chop him down by stomping on the wounded knee. He actually got Giant down with a top rope bulldog and went for the cover but Giant threw Savage in the air off of him for the kick out. Flashbacks to the ending of the 1993 Royal Rumble began for me!

After all of these months of Savage trying to scoop slam The Giant but The Giant being too big for him to do it, Savage finally hit a scoop slam to a thunderous pop. Savage is rocking and rolling but who should come out but Hollywood Hogan to distract Savage. Savage hit the elbow drop before turning his attention to Hogan and stalking him up the ramp.

Scott Hall tried to get a punch in that Savage ducked but Kevin Nash ended up hitting Savage with a chair. The nWo did a big beat down as Nick Patrick talked to The Giant for about a minute as the nWo do their thing and drag him back to the ring. Conveniently as soon as Savage is back into the ring, Patrick goes down to count the pin for Giant.

This was a pretty standard pay-per-view Giant match but it worked big time with the crowd. Savage losing to The Giant to build up Savage to fight Hollywood Hogan for the title at Halloween Havoc seemed like a really weird call. It is possible that Savage could find some way to beat Giant before he fights Hogan at Halloween Havoc. I wouldn’t have had Savage lose to Giaant as it’s not like Savage got his revenge at the end of the night either. Savage didn’t really seem like a strong contender when the smoke cleared after Fall Brawl.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mike Tenay interviewed “Team WCW” in Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Lex Luger. Flair yelled that the Horsemen was gonna kick ass. Arn said if you want something right do it yourself. During the promo, Sting interrupted. Luger claimed he’s been waiting 6 days for this confrontation with Sting… didn’t Luger say on Nitro he was gonna go to Sting’s house to kick his ass? He said he knew where Sting was so what exactly took Lex Luger so long to get to Sting in Venice Beach? To be fair to the storyline, at least the nWo destroying Luger’s car may explain how Luger was not able to drive to Venice Beach to proceed with kicking Sting’s ass!

Sting claimed it was not him on Monday that jumped Lex but Luger was sure it was him. He said he looked into Sting’s eyes on Nitro and knew it was him. Sting shrugged this off and said whether they believe him or not, he’ll see them out there. Flair called Luger a lean mean wrestling machine as they cut to the ring.

 

“Team WCW” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger and ????? vs “nWo” Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and ????? w/Ted DiBiase in a War Games match

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I’m going to start off the review with lines used from my Fall Brawl 1995 review a few years ago. War Games is such a simple concept that you can’t mess up. In 1996, it was Michael Buffer that explained the rules. One guy from each team starts the match and wrestles for five minutes. For every 2 minutes, another wrestler jumps in until all eight men were in the double cage and then the match cannot stop until someone submits or surrenders. EASY.

It is such a tragedy when you think that WCW was the company that created War Games and this was the company that was put out of business. How much money do you think WCW would have made each year if they were still in existence if these War Games continued as annual tradition year-after-year? TNA did their Lethal Lockdown but they never did it right. NXT has War Games but to me, it’s too spot-driven for me to really get invested in them like I do watching this old WCW War Games.

These matches were such a simple concept and had easy storylines for WCW to tell and this one, with the New World Order, it was elevated by the men in the ring and yes with the mystery of where Sting’s allegiances were. Everything that the New World Order did with “picking their spots” as Arn Anderson put it, Hollywood Hogan turning his back on everyone, Sting who had allegedly turned his back on everyone, the Four Horsemen who were in the first War Games 10 years before this, Lex Luger fighting for WCW and even Nick Patrick as the referee after all the shenanigans he’s put the entrie company through since Hog Wild. It all built to this where all of those storylines paid off.

I’m actually astonished that Nick Patrick was the senior referee if you look at the storyline. This is a match where WCW’s future is in jeopardy because of the nWo and the WCW Board of Directors or whoever was in charge assigned the referee who has had the storyline of being an incompetent referee. It is ridiculous that Patrick, in storyline, was able to referee this match but this was like his true testing ground as a referee as to where he stood during this conflict.

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Starting off the match for the nWo was Scott Hall and starting off for WCW was Arn Anderson. I’ve never ever mentioned this on the blog but Scott Hall delivered some of the greatest punches in the business and he delivered some excellent punches as he punched away at Arn. Arn fired back as Dusty cheered on and the announcers were in full support of WCW during this war. Bobby commanded Arn to “kick him like a dog”.

Arn chopped down Scott Hall and worked on the leg which made sense because Scott Hall was actually a tall dude, especially compared to Arn, so why not chop him down to size? I don’t remember what the spot was but Nick Patrick told Arn during the match that he could ring the bell right now, to which Dusty Rhodes, who invented War Games, screamed “no you can’t!”

Arn did a sleeper hold and wore down the big man. Arn hit a spinebuster to a big pop with less than one minute left as the nWo were revealed  by the announcers to have won the coin toss for the man advantage. The fans, of course, had no idea who won the coin toss so when Kevin Nash JOLTS down to the ring, the fans start to boo with dread. Jolt does not do Kevin Nash justice here. This was the fastest I’ve ever seen Nash move. I am prone to hyperbole and that line is somewhat cliche but Kevin Nash moved as fast as Usain Bolt coming down to save Scott Hall!

Arn ran wild on Nash but Hall simply held Arn as Nash laid in a big boot to lay the man out and get the heat. DONE. That was all Nash needed to do as the Outsiders beat down Arn for the next two minutes. This was the right type of match for guys like Hall and Nash where all they needed to do was deliver punches and brawl as this was war games. They didn’t need to out-wrestle Arn, they just beat up Arn for the next two minutes of the match. Arn got tossed into the cage as the Outsiders got the heat.

Lex Luger ran down early and ran in with 10 seconds left to spare on the clock. The announcers were OK as this was WAR! The nWo had jumped on WCW guys and “picked their spots” for months so now it was Lex’s turn! Luger ran wild on the Outsiders. He delivered a big forearm. Luger literally carried Hall around and drove him head first into the cage wall. Arn eventually recovered as all four men battled in a fair fight.

Hollywood Hogan ran down as the next nWo entrant to make things 3 for 2 as the fans boo and have dread as now the Hulkster is in. Then, in one of the greatest hope spots in wrestling history,  Luger and Arn immediately beat away at Hogan in the corner to a huge pop! They get the jump on Hogan and Hogan is briefly overwhelmed by the babyfaces but the Outsiders save his arse as we’re back to WCW being on the back-foot.

Hogan worked on Arn in one ring as the Outsiders beat up Luger in the other ring. The fans chant “WE WANT FLAIR” as Flair delivered with his entrance into the match. Ric hauled his arse down to the ring with the fans going crazy. Flair goes crazy himself as he called the nWo out to the second ring where it was just Flair on his own. Hogan took the bait as Hogan and Flair had a showdown. Hogan fired away but Flair fired back with punches. Flair whipped out the brass knuckles as hit Nash with a low blow and he kicks Hall down below as the fans roar with support. This is WAR GAMES! Do whatever you can to survive!

Flair locked Hogan in the Figure Four Leg Lock as Hogan is crying with agony. He has Hogan in this hold for a long time. Then it is time for the fourth man of the New World Order to come down to the cage… and it’s Sting. The announcers are devastated as there is no question now that Sting is with the nWo.

This Sting is not shown to be the excited Sting we all know and love as he is dressed exactly like Sting. However, “Sting” beat away at Luger and Arn in the cage and he actually wrestled like Sting. He did the bulldog like Sting. He did punches like Sting. “Sting” did the roar like him. It was at the point where he did the King Kong roar beating his chest which I think gave him away as the fans then chanted “WE WANT STING”.

Then the timer comes up for WCW’s final man. Hogan hits a big leg drop on Flair as the nWo took over with 30 seconds left. “Sting” does the Stinger Splashes to the WCW guys. The timer goes down to zero and the man who comes down for WCW… IS STING.

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The fans goes CRAZY as a second Sting appears in the ring to fight for WCW! Sting goes face to face with the nWo’s Sting as this impostor Sting froze as he is face to face with the real deal. The real Sting ran wild and cleaned house on the nWo. He beat their arse on his on. Sting does his own Stinger Splashes to everyone. Everyone in WCW just stops and watched and that is the key. The rest of WCW are doing nothing as Sting takes care of WCW on his own. Flair started to woo as the fans look in shock but then Sting just stops.

He leaves one cage. Sting walked up to Lex Luger and yells “is that good enough for you there? Is that proof?”. He tells Luger to stick it, calling back on Hogan’s big line from Bash at the Beach, and then he walked out on Team WCW.

This storyline is so brilliant and this was such a fabulous pay-off to what honestly feels like a year of story-telling, at least with Lex Luger and Sting. I’m gonna talk about the Nitro after Fall Brawl with the next post, where Sting talked about Lex. Sting brought up up that everybody had questioned Lex Luger over the past year but Sting trusted him because he was his friend. That is all true. I complained over and over about how much time they dedicated to this Sting/Luger angle from whenLuger arrived on the first episode Nitro. Even when Luger turned heel and joined the Dungeon of Doom, Sting was still his friend. That storyline mattered and was relevant to this storyline.

Sting mentioned that everyone doubted Lex except for Sting. In the one time where Sting’s name was dragged in the mud, Lex questioned him? He believed that Sting had betrayed WCW and Lex had apparently “looked into his eyes” and saw it was Sting? All Sting could think to say was “stick it” and that he should have trusted him. We’ll get more into that promo when we actually cover it for the blog. But anyway, it was so perfect and it made it even better that Sting was not the third man of the nWo as originally intended.

Bobby pleaded with Sting that he was sorry and WCW were sorry and begged him to please come back but Sting had left the building. nWo’s Sting locked on a scorpion deathlock on Luger as Hogan had a front face lock on to Luger. Nick Patrick said he gave up and called for the bell. Luger quit on WCW, his allies and the nWo had won. Because yes, if WCW had trusted Sting, they would have won War Games. This was because Sting was kicking their arses for about 1-2 minutes on his lonesome as the WCW guys just stood there. Without him and without trusting him, WCW had doomed themselves to failure.

I love how Patrick tried to raise the nWo’s hands but ended up raising both his own hands in celebration!

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Tony talked about if everyone trusted Sting, they would have won. The nWo continued the beat down as they stood tall. Luger crawled to the back as he yells STINGER! He continued to crawl as continued to yell STINGER as Hogan then delivered some shots to the back and punched away at the head. People nowadays would call this corny but to me, it was perfect. Luger was such a tremendous character in all of this. He made a mistake in not trusting Sting and he was begging for Sting to come back… but the Stinger did not.

Arn and Ric tried to make the save and Flair actually kicks arse for a while. Savage ran down and threw Hogan to the ring and had Hogan at his mercy. Hogan rolled back to the second ring and begged again like he had before. Then The Giant marched down and the nWo take control of Savage in the ring. Giant hit a big chokeslam.

Miss Elizabeth ran down to the ring as she pleads with Hogan as Hogan berates her. Elizabeth covers Savage to save him. Hogan does not care as he raised the spray-paint can and sprays painted Elizabeth’s back. Hogan yelled as Elizabeth and Giant barked at her. This was somewhat uncomfortable . Hogan yelled that these two losers and low lives made a sacred oath. He said they made an oath as until death does them part. He said the nWo would make that happen as he spat at Elizabeth. The nWo pose together in the ring. As a means to make you hate the nWo, this did the job tremendously.

Giant spray-painted something on Savage’s back. Giant calling himself a Michelangelo or Da Vinci which was kinda funny. He and Hogan said whether you like it or you don’t like it, it’s the best thing going today as Hogan spits at the camera. Giant goes “thanks for that movie role.” The nWo take over the booth as Hogan holds up a “nWo country” sign. Ted DiBiase talked about making demands and wanting them. They all posed as the show goes off the air.

Match Rating: ***

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EDITOR’S NOTE: It was not until finding the pictures for this blog where I noticed Nick Patrick’s facial expressions when the two Stings have a showdown!

I could talk about that War Games match all day and you’d think that would make this PPV essentially a one-match show? Well think again. This entire show was great throughout. We had awesome matches with the cruiserweights, Benoit vs Jericho, Konnan being great, we had great tag team action, decent submission matches and a decent opener. This really was one of the stronger WCW PPVs I’ve seen so far. This gets an easy two thumbs up and the story told during the War Games was one of the best stories ever told during a wrestling match. If anything, watch that War Games match.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #52 (SEPTEMBER 9TH 1996) – A MAN CALLED STING BETRAYS WCW AND JOINS THE NWO

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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The numbers increased for the New World Order as two new members were revealed during last week’s episode of WCW Monday Nitro. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase was shown entering the nWo limousine as Sting and Lex Luger chased crooked referee Nick Patrick out of the building. Sting’s appropriate response would be to steal a police car and chase the nWo limo as it took off!

As Ted DiBiase left, the rest of the nWo arrived in Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. They beat up the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen until The Giant arrived and teased making the save. However, The Giant betrayed WCW and the Dungeon of Doom as he chokeslammed the Faces of Fear and joined up with the nWo. The Giant cut a promo at the end of the show saying that Ted DiBiase and the Hulkster offered him everything he ever wanted and Hogan bragged about how this was the best thing going today.

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We have now arrived at the go-home show for WCW Fall Brawl 1996. The main-event of that would be WCW vs nWo in a War Games match, in what would end up being a famous War Games match connected to what took place on this show.

A new trend is starting to form on WCW Monday Nitro which would set a bad precedent for future wrestling shows. The nWo storyline was done really, really well at this stage and everything that was a part of that storyline was obviously well-thought and executed. Eric Bischoff had his teeth tucked into this storyline featuring his main man Hollywood Hogan and the nWo. Just look at the number of nWo t-shirt commercials that aired during this Nitro for example.

The big angle coming from this show played into this storyline and it worked out, and it’s a good thing it did. Because without that storyline, this was one of the most bland wrestling shows you’ll ever see. We got a bunch of nothing matches across the board and non-finishes in the matches featuring the biggest stars. They showed hundreds of video packages to show us what happened last week and what happened DURING THIS SHOW and a whole bunch of interviews. All of this felt like filler that could have been used for something far more productive.

 

Date: September 9th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Columbus, Georgia

Rating: 3.7

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Mike Tenay and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

 

Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zybszko opened up the show as usual. Tony goes out of his way to make it clear that although The Giant joined the nWo last week, the fourth man for the nWo in the War Games match was still not yet known as The Giant was already booked to face “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Fall Brawl. So the storyline is being played up as to who the mystery man is. It feels like every Nitro since Scott Hall showed up has included a “who is the mystery man” storyline of some kind. Whether it was Hall’s “big surprise”, or who the third man was, orthe fourth man or the fifth man. Now it’s who will be the fourth man at War Games!

 

Pat Tanaka vs Super Calo

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One of the advantages of having a massive roster like WCW had was that after a few weeks of using the same guys on Nitro, random wrestlers would burst back onto the scene and would come off as so fresh to the crowd. Here, the opening match was PAT TANAKA VS SUPER CALO and it came off as so random to me! It’s not like it didn’t belong either, because Super Calo was challenging Rey Mysterio Jr. for the Cruiserweight title at Fall Brawl. I appreciate the company going out of its way to be different. Some times it’s good different, some times it’s bad different but they get an A for effort regardless!

What also took me off guard was Pat Tanaka’s music, which would end up becoming the theme song of one Bill Goldberg. I was about to call out the WWE Network for editing in Goldberg’s theme song for some reason but apparently, that’s what he came out to. It’s weird hearing that song without “GOLDBERG” chants accompanying it.

The match itself wasn’t particularly spectacular but it was certainly unique with its layout. You had two guys with complete different styles and they just did a bunch of cool spots, really trying to make the most out of their few minutes of fame they had on this episode of Nitro.

Tanaka took down Calo with a “reverse back kick”. Calo does a flying crossbody off the top rope and then a top rope shoulder tackle to follow that up. Calo took out Tanaka with a dive. They show “youngsters” outside in nWo shirts with packs of printed paper coming into the arena.

Tanaka does the Bray Wyatt crossbody to take out Calo for a 2 count. Calo tried a hurricanrana but Tanaka cut him off with a big powerbomb as the fans went “oooo” as even they felt the impact of this powerbomb. The finish saw Tanaka try a gutwrench suplex from the top rope but what happened was Calo somehow reversed it into a crossbody for the win without actually doing anything! It was weird but it weirdly worked where Calo and Tanaka just crashed down to the floor and Calo covered him. Again, I admire WCW trying out a new finish! This finish gets a thumbs up!

 

Rick Steiner was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund in a great segment. One of the things people remember about Rick’s brother Scott Steiner was Scott’s crazy promos and interviews that he’d do where he’d just went absolutely crazy. Rick didn’t quite hit what would be peak Scott Steiner when he was in TNA but Rick was out of his mind for this promo!

Last week, there was a tag team match where Lex Luger and Rick wrestled but they tumbled into referee Nick Patrick who called for the bell. This was at the very start of the match for those of you who don’t remember. During this interview, Rick yelled and claimed that he had Luger beat last week! He claimed to have Luger beat after the FIRST MOVE OF THE MATCH! Luger came in to interrupt Rick’s wild rantings! Luger put over Rick but Lex said he was focused and he was gonna be the Total Package. Rick squealed again about how he could beat Lex and I died. Squealed is actually the best way to describe this noise Rick Steiner was making. He sounded exactly like Scott when he was talking really fast during this promo and I just loved the delusion Rick had that he could beat Luger after they wrestled for roughly 10 seconds last week! This also gets a thumbs up!

 

They showed the first of a number of nWo announcements as they promoted the famous nWo shirts. Kevin Nash added that all proceeds would got to the Ric Flair retirement fund. These shirts never got old, ever. This look was such a classic and it looked so cool compared to what everyone else was doing at the time. If you look at a lot of WWE t-shirts nowadays or even AEW shirts, there’s a lot of effort being put into producing these shirts. WCW did it right with these shirts and eventually the Wolfpac shirts. It was a black shirt with the white nWo logo and it looked cool. I even own an nWo shirt myself and even a Bullet Club shirt which follows the same pattern. If you make it simple and stand out, anyone will want to buy it and it would look stylish. These shirts they had just aged really well.

 

WE HAVE BREAKING NEWS as GLACIER FINALLY DEBUTED AT WCW PRO! After 5 MONTHS of building up Glacier to bring Armageddon or whatever to WCW, Glacier arrived on the third or fourth ranked WCW show. He didn’t even show up on WCW Saturday Night. He showed up on WCW Pro, which I didn’t even know existed until I started watching these shows! His debut was that he did a bunch of “martial arts moves” but it honestly look like he was doing a dance in front of this live audience. He was doomed when it took him five months to arrive on WCW television but this debut was a serious let-down. I can only imagine what they’re gonna try to do with him in the next few months!

 

 

“The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rougeau and Carl Oulette vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags

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This was the WCW Monday Nitro debut of the Quebecers, Jacques Rougeau and future ROH World Heavyweight Champion Carl Oulette. To get over just how foreign this team was, The Amazing French Canadians started singing the Canadian national anthem as the Nasty Boys proceeded to kick their arses. 

Then the heels turned things around and then beat the Nasty Boys’ arses for the rest of the match and all the way until the finish. It was like a “Macho Man” Randy Savage WCW match, where Sags and Knobbs sold and sold until the finish when they won.

Jacques hit Sags with the Canadian flag to get the heat I guess. We broke away from this action to show Larry throwing away the flyers the nWo youngsters in the crowd were handing out with the flyers saying: “you haven’t seen bad… but it’s coming”.

Jacques scoop slammed the big man Carl onto Sags. The Amazing French Canadians did a sweet double team senton. Jacques held Carl on the top rope and then Carl did a flip and delivered the senton. The finish saw Knobbs grab the Canadian flag and hit Roulette and Sags got the pin. This match was so backward-assed booked. It was the weirdest heel/face dynamic from the Nasty Boys. They got their asses kicked clean in the middle against the Canadians and then used literally a “foreign weapon” and cheated to win… and they were babyfaces.

I may start to play a game each week for these reviews. Are the Nasty Boys babyfaces or heels on this show? This week, my vote is that they are babyfaces. They were going up against the foreigners who sang their own national anthem, they beat them and the fans cheered and then cut a promo about how they were not with the nWo. They cheated to win the match but the fans cheered when they did it. Nothing like American pride to get someone over as a babyface. Also in the Nasty Boys’ defence, the Amazing French Canadians used the flag as a weapon first so I guess that was just revenge!

ARE THE NASTY BOYS FACES OR HEELS?: FACES

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Nasty Boys. They discussed the Nasty Boys beating down Harlem Heat last week. Fans chanted for the NASTYS. Sags said everybody was pointing the finger at the Nasty Boys. Nasty Boys said the WCW tag team titles are all that concern the Nasty Boys which is with WCW. They only care about Harlem Heat and the tag titles. Brian said they couldn’t give two hells what the nWo does. He said they were WCW and they were coming to take the titles SUCKA. A decent promo to hype up Fall Brawl.

 

St Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long vs Scott Norton in a Hold vs. Hold match

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The loudest bell in the world sounded to kick off this match. This was effectively a submission match but they called it a “hold vs hold” match where I guess the man with the best hold won! This was to build up Ice Train vs Scott Norton in a SUBMISSION match at Fall Brawl. Teddy Long was also managing Ice Train alongside Pittman. 

Pittman ran wild for a while with a few head butts to the gut. Norton cut him off with a rake to the eyes and the arm breaker. Pittman Irish-Whipped Norton into the steel guard rail. Norton threw Pittman into the steel steps

Norton locked on the armbar as Teddy was I guess questioning whether Pittman wanted to give up. I was so confused by what was going on here. I think Pittman didn’t want to give up but Teddy was arguing with rferee Nick Patrick of all people to stop the match because of what Norton was doing. I mean there was nothing Patrick was doing wrong since Pittman hadn’t given up but I guess Teddy wanted Patrick to call off the match as Pittman was not going to give up.

The opportunity was taken out of their hands as Ice Train came down. More crooked than the refereeing by Nick Patrick was the fashion on display by Ice Train. as he seemingly came right out of a YMCA video. He had a fanny pack, black leather cap and a denim jacket. It’s actually amazing but if you put Ice Train against the outfits of Bobby Heenan or Tony Schiavonie from Hog Wild, Ice Train would probably lose against both men in the battle of who wore it better! Dusty Rhodes was another plane of bad but this was not a good look for Ice Train. 

Ice Train came down and threw in the towel for Pittman to save him. Norton and Ice Train went nose to nose as Pittman got hot at Ice Train… ironically. I do love how they showed the replay as part of the “Pepboys Power Pin of the Week” and the POWER PIN of the week was Norton’s submission hold that won him this match! The irony was running wild on this episode of Nitro!

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Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair. Flair asked Luger where Sting was. Luger said he knew what it was like to be a horsemen but he had no idea where Sting was. Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Chris Benoit showed up and they questioned Sting, saying that the “rat” has jumped the ship. Luger just said Stinger was not there for the interview but he would still be there.

I love how Sting not showing up for an interview was evidence enough for the Horsemen that Sting was not on their side! It’d be like when Conor McGregor would be late for a weigh-in show for example and whoever he was fighting then started claiming that he’d jump ship to Bellator or something! Like you’re that paranoid? He’s not there for an interview but there’s dozens of interviews on Nitro. Mean Gene talked to everybody during these shows INCLUDING THE RFEEREES! 

Actually, now that I think about it, remember when a few months ago Ric Flair was supposed to team with the Horsemen in the main-event against Sting, Luger and Savage and he no-showed the match? That was a show-long storyline that went nowhere too. Flair was randomly accused during that episode and now Flair is questioning Sting because he missed an interview! Ric Flair missed THE MAIN-EVENT OF NITRO on that show!

Luger confirmed Sting would be there. Arn said he expected to get hurt at War Games. Arn said Hogan lit the fire now it us gonna burn the nWo all to the ground. A very energetic promo from Team WCW heading into War Games.

 

Joe Gomez vs Juventud Guerrera

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I haven’t read the source of these rumours but supposedly this match got Joe Gomez put in the “doghouse” of WCW because of how it went down. I’m not sure if I can put the blame solely on Joe Gomez for this but this was such disastrous match which all fell apart at one spot near the end where they tried the dumbest spot imaginable which was even worse in execution. 

Juvi I guess was getting a Mexican title shot at Fall Brawl which Konnan currently held. I’m not even sure if it wa an official title because they’ve barely had Konnan come out with it on WCW television. Juvi did a springboard 450 Liger kick which is the best way I can think to describe this springboard kick. 

There was actually some decent spots during the match but this spot I’m about to talk about was so abysmal. Let me cut to the case. Juvi and Gomez are both standing on the apron on different sides of the ring. The planned spot was Juvi was going to springboard diagonally over to Gomez and do a hurricanrana to send him flying into the ring. This to me is a stupid spot although I get what they were going for. Maybe if they had two legitimate luchadors, this could have worked. However, they tried to do this spot with Juvi and non-luchador Joe Gomez and it didn’t work.

Juvi springboarded over to Gomez and tried a hurricanrana but he just crashed down to mat and Gomez tumbled over the rope to try and sell the move. It looked horrible. I blame this spot on Juvi personally because Juvi tried in one motion to flip Gomez over the top rope and expected Gomez to go over in time. Gomez was still trying to get himself in position for the spot and Juvi just flies away and hoped the spot was going to work out. Juvi appeared to be a wrestler that just worked at his own pace and if you couldn’t keep up with him, the match would just fall apart. That’s what happened here. 

Juvi did a springboard corkscrew apparently called the “hiro con plancha” for the win. Sloppy spots during the match really hurt this match and it didn’t really do favours for either wrestler. 

 

Mean Gene interviewed Nick Patrick yet again. We’ve had surely at least four weeks in a row of Mean Gene interviewing Nick Patrick after matches. Mean Gene asked about the DQ from the tag team match last week. Patrick claimed Luger deliberately hit him and he claimed this happening because of the lies Mean Gene has been spreading. Patrick claimed Sting and Luger should have been suspended. Mean Gene claimed there was too many incidents to suggest this is just a coincidence from Patrick. Patrick claimed to be WCW all of the way. Mean Gene talked about the cars and the new Rolex watches Patrick had and Patrick retorted about Gene being Mr Mercedes Benz. I like some of the banter between these two but I am over this storyline with Nick Patrick and I’m fairly certain that it is far from over….

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I talked about some of the angles from last week’s angles being absurd. Nothing on that show last week would have been as absurd as this. The nWo are in full force outside of the arena. This is not WCW’s fault obviously but it was raining outside for this episode of Nitro. We can’t control whatever weather God throws us at us. Fine.

However, Hollywood Hogan, The Giant, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall are all outside putting out flyers on the cars all decked out in nWo gear. The rain was POURING DOWN as they were doing all of this in tank tops, t-shirts and caps! There was no nWo branded jackets apparrently that they were wearing or there weren’t any coats they had. Ted DiBiase had a blue umbrella outside of the limo as he talked to some inside the limo and everyone else was outside in the miserable pouring rain putting flyers on the cars parked outside of the arena.

There’s so many things that is ridiculous about this scenario. Firstly, Ted DiBiase was revealed as a member of the nWo and it’s mentioned on this show that he is bankrolling the nWo. He’s bringing in all of this money for limos and time to promote their shirts and nWo announcements and yet the nWo felt the need to go outside in the rain to put these flyers on cars? Even if they felt it so strongly that this needed to happen to spread the word, it was already shown that they have “youngsters” that are handing out flyers IN THE ARENA FOR THEM but the nWo THEMSELVES are the ones outside in the wind and rain dishing out these flyers? 

Finally, let’s think about this. It’s pouring down with rain and it is windy. Your plan as a wrestling stable is to put pieces of papers on the cars and hope they don’t fly away because of the wind? Why the heck did you guys even bother? This was at the same time hilariously great and hilariously stupid at the same time! This is something that was straight out of Hulk Hogan’s MO so I don’t find it hard to believe that he thought this was gonna look cool for the nWo to do! It just looked ridiculous. 

 

Rick Steiner vs Lex Luger

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It was not Nick Patrick this time refereeing the match with Luger and Steiner. It was Randy Anderson.

There were a lot of headlocks, mat-based wrestling as Rick kept wrestling Luger down to the ground. Then for like 30 seconds, Rick stalked down Luger as Luger stayed grounded as Rick didn’t even touch him. I have no idea what was going on. It was like Rick was trying to wrestle himself while Luger stayed on the mat. There were no holds so Lex just kept laying on the ground.

For the time before the fireworks went off for the second hour, it was the most boring match in the world. Then the fireworks went off and Luger suddenly fired up and Luger did a flying forearm. All of a sudden, the match burst into life for the second hour! It felt like we had just turned the channel to an alternate reality of WCW Monday Nitro where the match was exciting!

Rick dropped Luger with a big belly to belly suplex for a 2 count as the fans started getting into the match. Luger eventually fired back and hit a “perfectly executed” powerslam to Rick. Luger went for the Torture Rack as Nick Patrick ran down to interrupt the match. Luger ran to the back with Patrick as Luger was then counted out. This was the second match of the show where a man went down to the ring to basically stop the match. Ice Train stopped Pittman’s match by throwing in the towel and Patrick did it here to grab Luger’s attention.

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Ted DiBiase was shown talking to who appeared to be Sting who was supposedly in the limo.  Lex Luger came out to confront DiBiase but then a man called Sting popped out of the limo and attacked Luger as he and the nWo jump Luger in the rain.

I don’t think I can properly describe this angle without revealing a Fall Brawl 1996 spoiler so if you want to watch that PPV without “spoilers” it may be best to watch that PPV and then come back to this review. You have been warned….

….this is a fake Sting. However, he proper looked like the real Sting. He was decked out to look exactly like Sting and in the Sting gear and it was almost like a complete double of Sting. Eric Bischoff screamed “nooooo” as the nWo and even Ted DiBiase got in a few shots. Luger eventually fired back and threw away the chauffer. There was two limousines out there as the nWo appeared to have vanished.

Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight and the technology we have in 2020, it would be easy for us nowadays to tell this was a fake Sting. This was 1996 where such technology did not exist. The fans could not prove to each other in heated debates whether this was the real Sting. They were people that were sure this was not the real Sting but there was always doubt and that’s the beauty of this angle. Any opportunity you have to “work the fans” and keep them guessing as to whether this was real or fake is an opportunity to take.

By the way, it can’t have been fun for Luger to get jumped IN HIS GEAR in the pouring rain as he’s rolling around in all of this water. 

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Now I mentioned that a lot of fans did figure out that this was not the real Sting but in the eyes of the WCW announcers and the WCW wrestlers, there was no question that Sting had betrayed them. Eric Bischoff was gobsmacked as he told Sting to stick it (a callback to when Hogan and Sting both used that line on each other), Heenan was in near tears as he shakes and the announcers were clearly shaken by the betrayal of the one constant in WCW in Sting.

Say what you will about WCW but they played this up as a legitimate turn. There was no questioning what Sting did. Sting was with the nWo in WCW’s eyes and there was no question as to whether this was a “fake” or what the deal was.

It’s funny, the fans were not shown anything of what happened backstage so 15 minutes of nothing happened for the live crowd as the last thing they saw was Luger walking out of a match! A lot of nothing happened on this show and the fans were booing throughout this show as Bischoff tried to play up the sombre atmosphere of Sting betraying them. A bunch of the wrestlers go outside to check one of the limos. 

 

Rey Mysterio Jr © vs Billy Kidman for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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One uncomfortable moment was where Mike Tenay called out WCW for not having leadership and Bischoff berated him for being a newcomer and calling out WCW for leadership! 

Rey sent Kidman over the top rope with a hurricanrana. Rey got cut off by a high dropkick from Kidman. Kidman did a Shawn Michaels-like top rope body splash for a 2 count.

Rey did a springboard flip senton to retain the cruiserweight title. This match was exactly 100 seconds long. I don’t have much of a review of it and that’s a shame considering this was Mysterio vs Kidman for the Cruiserweight title.

Bischoff sounded so defeated as he called this match

 

“The Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian w/Jimmy Hart vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock

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Dear god, the timing for matches on this show was all over the place. As discussed, Kidman and Mysterio got 100 seconds. Every other match except Luger vs Rick got about 3 minutes of time. Luger vs Rick Steiner got about 6-7 minutes before Luger walked out of a boring match. Then they gave 10 minutes to PUBLIC ENEMY VS THE FACES OF FEAR. What?

They all brawled as Barbarian and Rocco screwed up a moonsault spot in the ring. THE LEPRECHAUN ran down as chased way Jimmy Hart.

THEY CUT AWAY FROM THE MATCH to do an interview with Lex Luger, Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. This was not like a inset promo during a match. This covered up the whole screen as the babyfaces cry about Sting. Arn said he’s not disturbed that Luger lost a friend or that he himself lost ally. Arn said the only thing you could count on was Sting, even when WCW was previously bought out. Arn said he’s speechless but he wanted an answer. Luger talked about his best friend having stabbed him in the back. Luger yelled that he knew where Sting was and he knows where he lives and he’s gonna go find him. That actually tied into Giant’s betrayal last week. Remember when the Dungeon of Doom attacked Giant after the big turn to immediately get revenge? Luger’s friend Sting turned his back on him in his mind so Luger was going to find Sting where he lives and get his revenge!

Ric yelled that they were gonna go to war. Flair was literally losing his voice as he was yelling at about War Games. 

All of a sudden, the tag match turned into a crazy fight. Patrick was turning his attention to Grunge and Jimmy Hart yelling backstage and missed the cover initially from Meng. He did the count and it was 2 and a half so if Patrick was available at the scene, the Faces of Fear could have won the match right there. So again, they are playing into the Nick Patrick storyline… 

Grunge got the hot tag and tried to headbutt the Faces of Fear but it didn’t work as they no-sold it and roared. Bischoff quietly told Sting to stick it. I love how Bischoff was trying to play the tough guy but he told Sting to “stick it” like in a quiet tone because he was actually petrified of the guy.

Barbarian tried a big splash onto Rocco through the table but Rocco moved as Barbarian crashed through the table on his own. Another table was brought into the ring as Nick Patrick sternly warned him not to use it. Rocco did a top rope moonsault.

Rocco went for the cover but Meng sat up like he was the Undertaker and proceeded to beat Rocco’s arse from that position. He did the Tongan Death Grip turned into a four way brawl and then it was ruled a no contest. It honestly looked like they were legitimately fighting at one point! Patrick then awarded the match to Faces of Fear as he begged them off.

Someone called Meng “Haku” by mistake and Bischoff went on this big tirade apologising and saying he is no longer with the WWF and all that jazz. He was deathly afraid of a WWF lawsuits at this time.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the remnants of the Dungeon of Doom. Jimmy Hart yelled about everybody being in his face about him creating The Giant. Bubba called out Glacier again. All of a sudden, Konnan is now with the Dungeon of Doom. Konnan has transformed his gimmick into a gangsta-like character and he’s with the DUNGEON OF DOOM of all stables fighting alongside guys like Hugh Morrus and The Leprechaun.

Speaking of which, Konnan said he’s seen the best gang wars and led the best gang wars. He’s sick of them paying for nWo announcements and he said the toughest men are in the ring right now. Kevin Sullivan said for Savage, all he needed to do was take care of Tenta tonight and Giant at the PPV and the debt would be considered paid for the Dungeon of Doom as the Dungeon helped Savage to the back last week.

 

We got a nWo announcement. Ted DiBiase is now cutting promos alongside Nash, Hall and Hogan. I love how Ted was cutting a promo into a nWo exclusive microphone. Hall talked about it being nWo 4 life and they all laughed. Usual nWo shenanigans.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs John Tenta

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This was every Savage WCW match ever. Savage sold forever, he hit a double axe handle, and he would usually hit an elbow drop and win… this one had a bit of a twist.

Savage hit Tenta in the head with a chair and smacked him in the back with a chair with the DQ not being called for any of this. He did one last chair shot as he hit a double axe handle and hit an elbow drop and went for one more as Teddy Long came out to urge Savage to exit the ring.  Savage therefore did a big jump out of the ring as Teddy warned that “they’re back”.

Tenta is left in the ring as the referee throws the match out. Savage leaves just as the limo leaves. WCW guys are searching the limo. They find yellow paint like the used on Savage last week. They spray pain the limo in yellow.

 

Arn Anderson makes his way to the announce both. Arn yelled that the world was in shock and outraged but no one was hotter than the Horsemen. He said the whole thing started 10 years ago and we paved the way for Hogan. He said Hogan wanted to be a Horsemen but he just didn’t know how to. Arn said Hogan surrounded himself with thugs. Arn vowed to take Sting’s head off if he was the fourth man. Ric Flair took a headset and he said they were going to War Games and yelled at Hogan that he was not gonna leave War Games alive.

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I did not like this episode. The Sting stuff was good but besides from that, a whole bunch of nothing matches took place on this show. There were moments where all we got was segment after segment after segments and when were were down with all the segments, we had matches which were either squashes or had some shenanigans leading to the finish. Rey Mysterio vs Billy Kidman went 100 seconds. This was not an easy episode to watch and it wasn’t that exciting to me. Therefore, it’s gets a thumbs down. It’s saving grace is that it did get me excited to see what would happen in the main-event of WCW Fall Brawl.

 

We will be reviewing WCW Fall Brawl 1996 for our next Armbar Express blog post. As always, be sure to stay safe and follow the blog for further updates and further WCW Monday Nitro reviews as part of the Armbar Express’ Retro Express series!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #50 (AUGUST 26TH 1996) – TED DIBIASE AND CHRIS JERICHO DEBUT IN THE WACKIEST EPISODE OF NITRO SO FAR

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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Last week saw the main-event of WCW Fall Brawl 1996 officially put together, where Sting and Lex Luger asked to team alongside Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to fight the New World Order in a war games match. Fellow Four Horsemen members Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael stepped aside to let Sting and Luger fight alongside Flair and Arn. The Giant and Randy Savage got into a heated brawl in the main-event of the show where Savage left to fight another day while Giant chased him.

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This was such a fun and wacky episode of WCW Nitro. This episode was by no means the greatest episode of WCW Nitro ever. However, this is what people think of when people think of WCW. There was a lot of good action which was interrupted by outsiders (literally), there were some all-time horrible wrestling finishes, a disqualification finish in the main-event, trash being thrown into the ring, horrible promos, Ric Flair going crazy during a promo, Nick Patrick’s heel tactics, overbooked finishes to protect everyone and goofy angles up and down the show. The weirdest thing was… I loved it.

The show was far from perfect but it felt like a fun show where they tried out things and there was a lot of new types of angles they tried. Some of it worked for me, some of it missed the mark but it all came off so interesting that I could not turn away. It’s the type of a train-wreck where you can’t help but stick around and continue to watch. This show was not necessarily a train-wreck but it was all kinds of wacky. I like things to be unpredictable and, with the exception of the main-event finish, this was unpredictable.

This was also a huge success in terms of ratings and it was the highest rated episode of WCW Monday Nitro up until this point. They had no competition from RAW this week but WCW really took advantage of being the only show around for the next two Monday nights.

 

Date: August 26th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Palmetto, Florida

Rating: 4.2

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

 

 

Billy Kidman vs Juventud Guerrera

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There were multiple notable debuts on this episode of WCW Monday Nitro and we kicked things off with the debut of Juventud Guerrera. This man would become a mainstay in WCW for the rest of their existance. However, they put Juventud in there with Kidman for a 3 minute match and it was a fun three minute match.

Kidman hit a pretty sweet looking powerslam at the start of the match and then ate a NASTY powerbomb from the apron onto the floor. This was a hard, HARD landing for such a small man at the time in Kidman.

If you’re a fan of springboard moves and dives, this match was the match for you. Juventud did a springboard leg drop to the floor. Juventud did a slick looking springboard corkscrew for a 2 count. Juventud was caught by Kidman for a powerbomb for a 2 count which got a good pop. I like that the springboards were eventually backfiring on this luchador. He was a great luchador and the early parts of the match showed that but he was wrestling in the US where the style had changed. Therefore, he had to adapt if he wanted to win.

Kidman did a springboard leg drop. Kidman reversed a suplex for a 2 count. Kidman set himself up on the top rope and the fans know a big move is coming as he goes up and hit a shooting star press. He hits this move and it gets a two count. It didn’t come off like a near fall. He just hit the move and Juventud kicked out like Kidman had just hit a scoop slam.

Juventud did a “victory roll reverse hurricanrana” for the victory as Tony described it. That was a sweet cruiserweight match. Every big move looked very slick and Kidman and Juventud were just as quick as each other so the chemistry was there. I very much enjoyed this. Fans booed the finish but the right man won I think. This gets a thumbs up.

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Juventud was then interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund. I tore into Konnan a few weeks ago for a promo he cut where he was a babyface and a heel at the same time, and I deemed it as a “Kalisto-like” promo (a reference to the infamous promo Kalisto cut in 2016 during the WWE draft). Compared to this promo, I was not giving Konnan enough credit for his mic skills. Juventud Guerrera, through no fault of his own, cut one of the worst promos I’ve ever heard on his debut for WCW.

I’m a huge fan of Mean Gene Okerlund and I have a Funko Pop Vinyl sitting at my desk at work. I’ve admired his work on Nitro so far but he had a horrible night at the office tonight. I don’t know if this was just Mean Gene being a character or what the deal was but he did not help Juventud out at all. Gene mentioned that he “no comprande” Spanish and Juventud does not speak English well at all but he was going to let Juventud try to cut a promo in English anyway. This was a recipe for disaster.

Mean Gene mentioned an injury of Psychosis that we apparently all knew about the injury of Pyschosis. I have no idea about it. This is the first time I’m hearing about it and it’s not like the announcers mentioned Psychosis’ injury on commentary. What was this all about? Guerrera then tried a promo in English but then roared in Mexican as the fans started to boo as they could not understand him.

One should not really boo a man for speaking a different language than them but why WCW even let Guerrera near a microphone at this time blew my mind. The man could barely speak English as Mean Gene said and he was not going to get himself over by just speaking in Spanish and then randomly yelling I’M THE GREATEST WRESTLER IN MEXICA.” The fans booed the hell out of this man. If it was Asuka yelling in Japanese in an intense manner for example, maybe it would work. But no, he just starts talking in Spanish and the American fans aren’t able to engage with him.

Juventud kept trying and trying and Mean Gene let this all happen until he just gave up and they cut to a break. A bigger train wreck than that Konnan promo from 2 weeks ago which I’m amazed was even possible. Konnan was Ric Flair compared to this promo by Juventud Guerrera which is a shame for Juvi.

 

“Powerful Males” Marcus Bagwell and Jim Powers w/Teddy Long vs “Dungeon of Doom” Taskmaster and Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart

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They mentioned Scotty Riggs was injured. I mean he wrestled a week ago so I find it hard to believe that was a work so Riggs was out and Jim Powers became a part of the American Males for one night at least!

They put over the Taskmaster as “one of the most dangerous men we’ve seen in this sport” according to Tony as they show a video package of Taskmaster doing the running knee to an opponent in a tree of woe, teasing the possibility that we may see it again. Well wouldn’t you know it, he did that move during this match!

Taskmaster and Powers fight with Larry commentating that Powers was FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE. A four way brawl broke out in the ring. The babyfaces somehow gain control. Bagwell’s offence is literally dropkicks and punches. Calling him a wrestler at this point is a bit of a stretch and I know we’ve discussed this before with Bagwell but there doesn’t appear to be any signs of improvement yet.

Bubba caught Bagwell and slammed him with a spinebuster-like drop. Bubba hooked Bagwell in the tree of woe and Taskmaster smashed into Bagwell with the running knee. Bubba hit the laziest looking shoulder tackle ever. It was like accidentally bumping into someone in the street and Bagwell sold this!

Powers got the tag and ran wild. He smashed all the heels with turnbuckle smashes including Jimmy Hart and the fans were going nuts for Powers as he takes it to the Dungeon of Doom. The dude was getting over. Powers hit a crossbody and got the pin and the fans actually went crazy for this huge upset! I was stunned and I figured this is a great way to get a guy over. It was a clean win and they got such a big pop for the babyfaces. Jim Powers can now slowly build a rapport with the crowd and maybe they can do something with the guy. But of course, this was WCW and they couldn’t even let Jim have this….

Referee NICK PATRICK restarted the match claiming that Bubba got the shoulder up, which was preposterous when they showed the replay of it. It was as clean of a pin as any! So Patrick decided that the match must go on. The heels takeover and Bubba hits a spinning side slam and gets the pin.

This was a big opportunity to get over some lower-card guys that was squandered and sacrificed for this stupid Nick Patrick storyline. Did WCW really have to go out of their way to protect Big Bubba during this tag team match? For one night, they could have got Jim Powers over and given him a big win but they took it away. Last week, Chavo actually got a clean win but DDP laid him out and a referee made the save. Why can’t the babyfaces have anything nice on this show?

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Mean Gene interviewed the Dungeon of Doom after the match. Bubba said he should be getting the title shots and the main-events and he was not gonna be looked over any more after tonight. Bubba then called out Glacier! Yeah, Glacier was this big character they were building up that was becoming a joke because he hadn’t even arrived yet and Bubba was calling him out! We had to protect Bubba so he could go onto feud with GLACIER.

Jimmy mentioned Glacier saying blood runs cold but when he arrived, the only one running would be him. Taskmaster questioned that Mean Gene was apparently spotted around Hogan’s place. Mean Gene said “did the man have hair” and Taskmaster responded: “yeah, he had bald hair!” I loved that exchange! Taskmaster talks about the nWo and Gene questioned him about greasing the pole with Patrick or something weird like that. Basically he was implying that Nick Patrick is just “the heel referee” of WCW now, not necessarily with the nWo but an ally to the heels in general.

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Mean Gene interviewed Sting and Luger backstage. I guess Mean Gene TELEPORTED to the backstage area to do this promo. I was watching WCW Nitro on the WWE Network so we didn’t get any adverts. Therefore, we cut from one Mean Gene interview in the ring to an interview backstage! Mean Gene was all over this show.

Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael had called out Luger and Sting for a tag team match for their spots in the War Games match. Luger said he accepted Mongo and Benoit’s challenge. Luger said they’re in the right frame of mind to kick some behind. Sting claimed the Horsemen wanted to “test” them which suggested that the Horsemen didn’t trust Luger and Sting and they were making a mistake.

Last week, Benoit and Mongo stepped aside to let Sting and Luger fight with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson but I guess they had a change of heart this week. This feels like a really sudden change in attitude from last week.

 

 

Mike Enos vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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Having looked back in my notes, I still can’t believe they did this match. You could tell that there was no competition from RAW in the first hour because in the middle of this Monday Night Wars, they did Mike Enos vs Chavo Guerrero Jr! What a star-studded match with a noteworthy finish!

They already had Hollywood Hogan booked to defend the WCW title at Halloween Havoc in October against “Macho Man” Randy Savage. That is some serious long-term booking right there with Fall Brawl already a few weeks away.

Enos caught Chavo coming from the top rope and hit a fallaway slam. This was basically Mike Enos playing the big-man role like DDP last week. Enos was basically The Giant as he carried Chavo in like a powerslam position and threw him back into the ring.

Enos did a backbreaker and Chavo was slipping off like he was slipping down a greasy pole. He barely had him in position as he was sliding all over the place while draped over his knee. It didn’t look like Enos was applying a hold at all. Konnan was in the audience and looked SOUND ASLEEP as he was wearing sunglasses and appeared to be in a lawn chair or something.

Enos hit a powerslam, Enos hit a northern light suplex. Enos was just doing moves forever on Chavo and nobody cared. He tried a powerbomb and Chavo just fell down on him and landed on Enos’ ankle. Chavo locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock but Randy Anderson gog knocked down.

What happened next has to be a contender or the leading contender to being the dumbest finish to a match in the history of WCW matches. The referee was down and Dirty Dick Slater, who is in a towel and has his head covered in this towel, his an elbow drop and broke up the Figure Four Leg Lock. Dick threw Enos to the outside. I want to stress to everybody that Dick had a full head of long hair and Enos has a short haircut. KEEP THAT IN MIND when I explain what the spot was they attempted.

Dick put the towel over Enos’ head and Dick went back in the ring as Dick started wrestling with Chavo. Yes… Rough and Ready’s Dick Slater and Mike Enos tried “twin magic” on WCW Monday Nitro. The signature move that would become the trademark spot for the Bella Twins, who is ironically being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year if they still do it, which those girls could pull off BECAUSE THEY LOOKED ALIKE. Slater and Enos looked nothing alike during this match!

Dick hit the swinging neckbreaker and he goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock and Chavo reversed it for a roll-up and the ref counted the pin. Dick popped up with this full bush of hair right in front of the referee and the decision just stood as Rough and Ready are frustrated in the ring.

Tony then talked about the team were gonna complain that the wrong man was in the ring which they had every right to do… THE WRONG MAN WAS IN THE RING. We just saw a referee restart a match for the hell of it so Randy Anderson could have noticed the wrong man was in the ring and restarted the match. That is apparently in his powers as a WCW referee and he stood there and did nothing. He could have called for a disqualification at least but… this is the dumbest finish I’ve ever seen.

They tried the twin magic spot with two men who clearly looked NOTHING LIKE EACH OTHER and it backfired to such a monstrous proportion. This was a HUGE THUMBS DOWN.

Mean Gene interviewed Chavo where Chavo just yelled rapidly about DDP. Chavo cut a promo about DDP not accepting losing to Eddie and someone had to teach him how to lose with respect. He said when someone messes with one Guerrero, they mess with all of us as the fans boo. The format was talk really fast, yell and talk about the Guerrero family. Welcome to what would be the template for every Chavo Guerrero promo for the next 20 years of his career.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs J.L. for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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I don’t know how this was possible but they brought out the WCW Cruiserweight Champion for a title match on Nitro and they found away to turn it into the slowest match of the show. They did give them a lot of it but a lot of it didn’t really matter when we see what happened during it.

Tony claimed J.L. was very mysterious but he could confirm he was not from Mexico! I mean he can’t have been that mysterious can he if Tony has already deduced that he was at least not from Mexico!

I do kinda like the spot of J.L. trying to bounce off the ropes with the headlock but Rey just let his body collapse to the mat to stopping JL’s momentum. It’s like if you’re trying to get your toddler up from the floor but he collapses to the floor because he doesn’t wanna stand up! It’s great because trying to move someone who doesn’t wanna move is difficult! This made sense

THEN THEY CUT TO nWo shenanigans…

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Hollywood Hogan is with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. They take a cameraperson to the video production truck where they spray paint nWo 4 LIFE on the side of this truck. Hogan asked if they thought “they” would get the message. I love how one of the Outsiders have spray paint that wasn’t particularly any good. The reason I say this is because someone wrote nWo in black and it looked like it was going to fade. Just to be sure that it could be seen, because the spray paint wasn’t that strong, Hogan does spray paint over spray paint over the faded-looking nWo spray paint. I wrote down that it was Nash that did the weak spray paint but I don’t remember if that’s right. Hogan bragged that this was gonna wake them up. Rey did a camel clutch as they cut to a break.

Obviously, the nWo was such a popular act at the time but this was another silly angle where they really did not come off as cool at all. You cut away from this title match to show a bunch of GROWN ASS ADULTS acting like teenagers as they did graffiti on the side of a production truck? This was lame.

It worked in getting the nWo HEAT, at least from me!, because they came off as such dorks to me and they interrupted the cruiserweights in action but they ended up coming off as the coolest things on the show for a lot of people. It’s surreal.

Dean Malenko came down to watch the match and emotionless doesn’t do Malenko’s expression justice. This is the closest one man can look to being sleep if that man was stood up and his eyes were open.

J.L. and Rey did weird spots where they each got on all fours and waited for the other man to do a move. J.L. did it and went down on all fours, and Rey grapples him on the ground! Rey then goes on all fours… and J.L. just kicks him! These were the stupidest spots! Why were both men going down to allow the other man to do a move on them? This was void of logic.

J.L. hit a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count. Mysterio reversed an attempt at a second one with a roll-up for a 2 count. The commentators even compared Hogan and the nWo to a bunch of kids. J.L. locked on a Boston crab and Rey sold this by flat out saying “ow my back”. J.L. just got the heat forever and it sucked the life out of this match. I mean they were interrupted by the nWo so maybe they just half-arsed it because they knew the nWo and fireworks would interrupt them.

Speaking of which, the fireworks literally just went off in the middle of the match. Rey did a sweet diving hurricanrana from the steel steps. Rey then almost spiked himself with a West Coast Pop and picked up the win. Rey called out Dean for a match right now and then celebrated with the crowd.

The match wasn’t bad but if you look at the the first three matches of the show. We got three short matches which were 3-4 minutes each. You put the cruiserweights out there and have them wrestle for 15 minutes as J.L. is slowing it down, the people are just gonna zone out. If it was the opening match on the show and if the nWo didn’t show up, maybe it could have been a good way to open the show. Here, the placement of this type of match was not right after three short matches.

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Mean Gene did ANOTHER INTERVIEW this time with Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael who were accompanied by Elizabeth, Woman and Debra McMichael. Mongo said he’s here for the match they demanded. They wanted to prove to WCW and the good guys they were ready for War Games. Benoit said they didn’t relinquish their spot as it was a decision made by the Horsemen. I know they were heels so it doesn’t really matter but Ric Flair flat out said it’s up to Benoit and Mongo about whether they would give up the spots last week! He had that much faith in the Horsemen that he left it to Mongo and Benoit to decide whether they would abdicate the spots or not. As mentioned earlier, this felt like a completely random 180 by Mongo and Benoit. Benoit said tonight was about security but it was not about security for the Horsemen but for WCW.

They recapped Hogan’s chair shot to “Macho Man” Randy Savage from 2 weeks ago and then Savage’s promo from last week. By the way I did not exaggerate this last week, Savage did say he had 15,000 stitches in his head last week when he was cutting his promo on Hogan! They also showed Savage and Giant’s fight from last week. I still can’t get over that big leap over the top rope from the Giant last week. He jumped CLEAN over the top rope in such a fabulous manner for a big man!

Mean Gene interviewed Savage. Savage said it’s for all the marbles. Savage said he’s only got one marble in his head but it’ll be the scariest match in history at Halloween Havoc against Hogan. Savage said he’s in the zone as he was shown to be super intense with this promo. He was a man of little words as he said he was gonna kick Hogan and Giant’s asses and then he stormed off.

 

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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Duggan walked right through fireworks for his entrance which seemed rather dangerous! It’s funny Bischoff said The Giant could be the man who decides the balance of power, which is a very interesting choice of words when you see where this nWo storyline goes…

Jimmy grabbed the leg of Duggan. Duggan chased him and Duggan threw Jimmy’s jacket at Giant and fired away with punches.

God bless The Giant but he did a running charge into the ring post. He didn’t just run into this ring post and kinda control the impact a little bit better. He ran and shoulder barged into it and smashes his arm right into the post! That looked so nasty and I hope The Giant learned to never do that again. It looked nasty, even for The Giant.

Giant did a bear hug as Eric Bischoff hyped up the debut of Chris Jericho. Speaking of debuts but who should come down to ringside but THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN TED DIBIASE. Bischoff even reminded us and mentioned that: “we’ve seen this before” in reference to Scott Hall’s WCW debut. He just mades his way to the front row dressed in black.

Duggan used the tape to no affect and he even wound up the taped fist punch and nailed Giant and he still was not able knock him down. What a way to kill off Duggan’s tape gimmick. They played it up like it was such a deadly thing to be hit with the taped fist and The Giant just takes two of them and no-sold them! Way to go Duggan…

Duggan and Hart wrestled over the 2×4. Giant then goes for the chokeslam and Duggan can barely get up. Some guys like Benoit, as discussed last week, will jump high into the air for The Giant to slam him down. Duggan didn’t jump at all as he clearly didn’t wanna take the bump. He tried to go up only barely and it almost led to Giant dropping him. However, this was THE GIANT, and he was able to hold him in place and got Duggan high in the air as if to say “you’re going up for this chokeslam whether you like it or not!” Giant controlled Duggan, he got him up and he slammed Duggan and got the pin. Duggan had an expression on his face like his life flash before his eyes after taking that bump! It was inadvertently the best struggle of the entire show!

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Ted DiBiase then put up a four horsemen sign to the camera then raised his thumb as a fan yells “next week 5” and the announcers play this up as if Ted DiBiase could be the fifth horsemen or that he could be the fourth or fifth member of the nWo….

The Giant was interviewed by Mean Gene. Giant yelled that Savage talked about Giant letting the WCW down and he rightfully questioned where Savage was for “us” during the match match at Hog Wild. Giant mentioned he will be there at Fall Brawl and mentioned Savage doesn’t deserve a shot at the title.

He yelled right at the camera and saliva and sweat landed right on the camera lens which was like a great comic book effect! Mean Gene, like a pro, whips out a handkerchief from his pocket, wipes the camera lens as he complained that these guys are very messy! I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of Mean Gene earlier on but this was a great moment! He was literally the Alfred to these WCW wrestlers, cleaning up after their messes as a true ally to the wrestlers! I thought that was a nice touch.

 

“The Four Horsemen” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson w/Woman and Elizabeth vs “Rock and Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson

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I don’t have many notes about this match as it is exactly the type of match you’d think Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs the Rock and Roll Express would be on Nitro in 1996 with these guys. The heels got the heat, the heel women take cheap shots at ringside, they get the heat on Robert Gibson, Ricky Morton gets the hot tag, the heels cheat and win. That’s all you need to know and it wasn’t bad but somewhat predictable.

The finish itself was rather something. Bischoff cut a big promo about referee Randy Anderson being in control of things during this match unlike Nick Patrick. Then Randy Anderson’s back is turned to chew out Gibson. As the referee is distracted, Flair dropped Morton crotch first with an atomic drop and Arn hit a DDT to streal the win. SUCH CONTROL demonstrated from this senior official!

Ric Flair yelled at the camera to Hogan mentioning that he heard Hogan quit, referring to their Clash of the Champions match.

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen minus Benoit and Mongo. Arn yelled about the nWo picking their spots but when they step into the cage and this will be the one and last War Games for the Outsiders. Arn said if you’re gonna be a man you gotta jump a man eye to eye, nose to nose. Ric yelled about the Clash match and claimed that Hogan said, and this is a quote, “OH GREAT NATURE BOY, I GIVE UP. IIIII QUIT. YOU’RE TOO MUCH MAN TODAY!” I love how elaborate and detailed Ric was with what he claimed Hogan said during their Clash of the Champions match! When I imagined Hogan saying that in my head, I died!

Ric told the nWo to get ready as they’re in North Carolina, the home of the Horsemen, for War Games. Elizabeth was laughing her arse off as she just watches Flair lose this mind. It must be like the most surreal thing in the world to just be standing right next to Flair in front of a live crowd as he cuts this crazy promo and is being Ric Flair. I would either be just constantly getting goosebumps or just in hysterics like Elizabeth!

 

Chris Jericho vs Alex Wright

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At last, THE DEBUT OF CHRIS JERICHO! As I watched this in 2020, Chris Jericho in 2020 currently has his Fozzy song “Judas” as his entrance for AEW and when he wrestled in NJPW too. That song got so over that every crowd for Dynamite was singing that song as Jericho was coming out as it’s revered as one of the best theme songs in the business today. In 1996, Jericho came out with one of my favourite WCW theme songs ever!

The song was “All The Days” by Mammoth and it was such a fabulous song and I popped like crazy when I heard it again for this episode of Nitro. It’s glorious…

The cruiserweights shake hands and Jericho looked so short compared to Alex Wright. The last cruiserweight Jericho needed to be in the ring was to DWARF him in the ring was Alex Wright. Wright was so tall compared to Jericho, it was like a 10 year old wrestling with his 20 year old brother!

They wrestle for a bit and Jericho’s busting out moves that would become vintage Jericho spots like the wheel kick and springboard drop kick to the floor. Jericho suplexed Wright back into the ring. Wright did a huge dropkick to Jericho coming off the top rope. The German got some major air time on this dropkick. Say what you will about Alex Wright but this was an athletic man at this time.

Then Wright’s athleticism becomes his downfall as he tries a springboard crossbody and smashes right into the face of Jericho in a horribly executed spot. Jericho does a running clothesline and he does WILHELM SCREAM as he runs right into Wright. It was one of the funniest voices I’ve heard Jericho do during his entire career. I’ve watched him since I started watching wrestling in 2003 so think of the ground that covers for me!

Wright crashed into the steel guard rail and then Jericho went to the referee and said he didn’t wanna win like this so this match was ruled a no contest as Jericho tended to Wright. The announcer officially declared that Chris Jericho does not wanna win this way so it is a no contest. That’s a new one!

Mean Gene interviewed Jericho. Jericho mentioned that he wanted to fight to the best of his ability. He said to accept that win would not have been to the best of their abilities. Jericho trash-talked the nWo and of course he gets booed, because the nWo came off as so much cooler than WCW. I mentioned that the nWo came off as dorks but if you look at the promos that the likes of Konnan, Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho and even NICK PATRICK have all cut about the nWo, they all come off as such geeks in comparison to these edgy heels. Wright goes to talk and Mean Gene said: “we’re out of time!” and completely cut off the German and denied him the chance to talk. What a cock Gene was being on this show!

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “The Blue Bloods” Dave Taylor and Earl Robert Eaton

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The Blue Bloods argued about who start the match because it was established last week that there was issues within the Blue Bloods. Rick bonked their heads together to get the match going.

Then Taylor tried to tag himself in and Eaton pushed him off. Rick ran wild on the Blue Bloods by himself and then Scott just entered the ring fresh as a daisy and posed with Rick! I dunno why but I found that hilarious that they did the Steiner pose when Rick did all the work by himself! Rick was kicking their arses 2 on 1 during this match!

Scott tagged himself in. Taylor commanded that Rick is tagged back in so RICK IS TAGGED IN. I’m pretty sure Rick Steiner did about 99% of the work during this match for the Steiners!

There was miscommunication from the Blue Bloods. Taylor recovered as The Blue Bloods tried a crossbody Doomsday Device but Rick reversed this and got the pin. Scott’s contributions to this entire match was he did one eblow smash and shoulder blocked Taylor at the very end to stop him from breaking up the pin! What a contribution and a great win for Rick Steiner and thank you to Scott Steiner for his 1% contribution to the win for the Steiners!

Taylor eventually attacked Eaton and the Blue Bloods got into a brawl in the ring after the match, which was actually a decent brawl. The Steiners urge them on as Rick stirred the poop as the Blue Bloods brawl some more! The Steiners were basically kids watching a school fight and egging them on! The Steiners yelled at Harlem Heat as they’re wrestling AGAIN at Fall Brawl. I am sick of this Steiners vs Harlem Heat feud…

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Woman, Debra McMichael and Elizabeth

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Let’s talk about the opening sequence of this match. So the match descended into a big brawl in the ring between all four men. I don’t know who put this match together but they pair up Sting and Benoit together to fight and they pair LEX LUGER AND MONGO TOGETHER FOR A FIGHT. Who came up with that decision and figured all was gonna end well at all?

It didn’t end well and to say chemistry was not there for Mongo and Luger is an understatement. They just bumbled around this ring while Benoit and Sting actually had a good looking fight.

Benoit got in the ring to increase the match quality with Luger. Benoit and Luger dropped each other with a clothesline. I don’t know why I thought about this during this match but seeing Lex Luger, Elizabeth, Woman and Chris Benoit all out there in some capacity made this somewhat uncomfortable to watch when you considered how those respective relationships ended up in real life.

Sting got the hot tag as the fans don’t pay attention and they all look at something that has happened in the crowd. I figured at first that a fight had broken out in the crowd. It turned out to be Hollywood Hogan coming through the crowd!

Mongo threw Luger into the ring post. Sting missed a dive. Benoit missed a diving headbutt. Then out came the Hulkster as he made his way down to the ring with a can of spray pain in his hand. He comes across Mongo and then Hogan backed away from Mongo! I don’t think that match ever happened but them teasing babyface Mongo versus Hollywood Hogan for a big match is unbelievable to think about!

Of course, the Outsiders fly in before anything happened. Scott Hall literally flew in as him and Nash beat up Mongo. They spray paint the back of Mongo. Hall dropped Benoit with what would be called the Outsiders Edge and Nash does the Jackknife powerbomb to Sting. They spray paint the nWo letters on Sting and Benoit’s backs. Ric and Arn run wild on the Outsiders for a brief period, kick their arses for a while but Hogan sprayed the face of Flair and actually spray painted Flair’s hair black which I’m sure Flair was thrilled about.

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The nWo celebrate as trash is thrown into the ring. There was water thrown into the ring and all kinds of stuff, so I wonder what the production team or whoever was taking down the rings must have thought when they saw all of this trash being thrown into the ring. That can’t have been fun to deal with.

Hogan actually spray-painted Nash’s white shirt. I didn’t understand what the significance of that was. Hogan raised his arms in victory as nWo have literally laid waste to the ring!

For the first time ever, the nWo take over the announce booth. Nash and Hall take over the announcers’ headsets as Hogan spray painted the WCW Nitro logo. I actually thought this was a hot segment to end the show as the nWo demonstrate that WCW needed to be united. The nWo were united and kicked WCW’s arse as WCW were literally fighting from within. I thought this was a great end to a wacky episode of Nitro. Not all of it bad wacky but some stupid stuff alongside some quality stuff. Wacky is probably the appropriate word for it.

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WCW Nitro Reading Order