RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #48 (AUGUST 12TH 1996) – THREE TITLE MATCHES AND THE OUTSIDERS VS STING AND LEX LUGER REMATCH

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 Hog Wild saw the next step in the New World Order’s plan to destroy WCW. The Outsiders defeated Sting and Lex Luger following shenanigans from a crooked referee in Nick Patrick. In the main-event, Hollywood Hogan and the nWo toppled The Giant in order to seize the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from WCW. The last image of the show saw Hulk Hogan spray paint “nWo” on the championship belt to deface the title and literally leave a black mark on the prestigious World Heavyweight Championship.

 

My thoughts on the post-Hog Wild edition of WCW Nitro are that there was a strong emphasis on the second hour of the show. There were a bunch of “filler” matches I guess in the first hour and then a huge line-up for the second hour. We had three title matches on the second hour, including Randy Savage vs Ric Flair and the Outsiders making their WCW Nitro debut in a rematch from Hog Wildagainst Lex Luger and Sting. Very interesting format for the show so I can only assume that Nitro were going up against RAW in that second hour and they wanted a really strong hour.

I think it worked. Firstly, Nitro won the ratings war against against RAW by 3.3 to 2.0, which I believe was the largest gap between the shows up until this point. Secondly, the second hour was actually a strong hour. We got two main-event worthy matches and they were putting in a lot of ground-work for future events, including a Hollywood Hogan vs Ric Flair match at Clash of the Champions. I thought this was a good episode as we move towards Fall Brawl.

 

Date: August 12th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Casper, Wyoming or as Larry Zbyszko called it, “in the middle of nowhere”

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

The show started with Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko’s usual introductions, where Larry called out the Four Horsemen, Sting, Lex Luger and the Dungeon of Doom, a.k.a. the “brotherhood” of WCW, for not showing up to help Giant in the main-event of Hog Wild. I guess this was to play up the angle that WCW were not truly united yet in the fight against the New World Order.

 

“High Voltage” Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage and “Rough and Ready” Dick Slater and Mike Enos vs “Dungeon of the Doom” Taskmaster, Hugh Morrus, Meng and The Bababarian w/Big Bubba and Jimmy Hart 

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This was probably the biggest clue that WCW didn’t really care for the first hour of the show. The opening match saw whatever was left of the Dungeon of Doom take on High Voltage and Rough and Ready! This was one of a few matches on this show where all I could think was “who put this match together?” It was… insane.

Taskmaster was in street clothes for this one. I wrote there were “massive boos for these guys coming out” which I think were related to High Voltage and Rough and Ready.  Hugh did a clothesline and the fans went nuts for the Dungeon of Doom during this match.

Dudes just started running into the ring at random. I don’t even remember there being a single tag in this match. Enos was pretty bad in this. Taskmaster just ran and attacked dudes like crazy and the referee just allowed it to happen and eventually it broke into a wild brawl. Kaos missed a dive by about 1000 miles. There was like no attempt by Kaos to make it seem like he was even remotely going to hit Meng on the floor. Meng hit a superkick and won via pin fall.

Rough and Ready beat up High Voltage and Dick Slater fell down trying to stomp on them and… this was just a giant massive mess. A clear indication that the first hour was not a priority even in the midst of this weekly wrestling television war!

 

Sting and Lex Luger and came down. Luger grabbed the mic and they said they would both have a sleepless night. Sting said they didn’t care about controversy from their match at Hog Wild. Sting and Luger made a challenge towards the Outsiders for right now as the fans got amped up. They wanted to see this fight and Sting weas urging them on to make more and more noise. Sting said if the nWo had the guts, they’ll show up to the ring right now. Sting said that it’s 2 on 2 and he whined that the nWo always picked their spot. They eventually gave up and I guess the ball was left in the nWo’s court to whether they accept the challenge or not.

 

Renegade vs Diamond Dallas Page

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There was not a lot to this match but I personally think it was one of the better regular DDP matches on Nitro in the last few months. I’ll break it down shortly but I did ask myself a question during this match… was there ever a reveal of who DDP’s benefactor was?

Remember when DDP became broke after Kimberly took all of his money in a match? He was down in the dumps and became homeless and then, a “mysterious benefactor” helped DDP get back on his feet. They’ve not made a reference to this in months. I did check and there was apparently no official reveal as to the identity of the mystery benefactor. Apparently DDP has said in interviews that he believed the angle would reveal that Kimberley was the benefactor all along. There was another name rumoured but this is for someone that has yet to arrive in WCW, so I won’t mention who the man or woman was that was also rumoured to be the benefactor.

Back to the match, DDP worked on the arm for a little bit. The men bounced off each other from the shoulder tackle attempt. DDP bumped his arse off for a Renegade shove then later proceed to smack Renegade with a lariat. DDP hit a swinging neckbreaker as they revealed the nWo would respond to the challenge later on in the show.

DDP put on a chin lock for a long time. Renegade almost sneaked his way into a win with a roll up. Renegade literally kicked the gum out of DDP’s mouth and did the comeback. Out of nowhere, DDP did a counter and hit a Diamond Cutter for the win. A decent Nitro TV match. Maybe I’m in the minority on this one but I thought it was alright.

 

The New World Order are shown sitting down backstage. Kevin Nash said they’ll do the match with Sting and Luger when they feel ready. Hall said they beat WCW at Bash at the Beach and Hog Wild and Hogan won the title at Hog Wild as well. They mentioned they heard some whining and crying about Nick Patrick and called him a “FINE senior referee.” Hogan mentioned a fourth and fifth member of the nWo. Hogan complained about the belt and wanted to redesign the belt with a “Buddy in Tampa.” Nash said whatcha gonna do when the nWo runs wild on you? Hogan said the WCW faithful would disown Sting and Luger if they beat them again.

This was a pretty bland nWo backstage promo. They were just sat down talking for a long time about embarrassing WCW, accepting challenge etc. and it wasn’t particularly interesting. I think it was their attempt to make it look like a shoot but it just looked bland. It really didn’t get me invested in the rematch. Sting and Luger did a far better job at hyping up this main-event earlier on in the show.

 

Konnan vs Jim Powers

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I wrote down “A mess of a match” and this match wasn’t even the worst thing Konnan did all night.

Konnan did some horrible punches and knees and then locked on an abdominal stretch. Powers got a huge pop out of a clothesline. I laughed when the commentators claimed Jim Powers was “very successful” in WCW. I’ll say it again, I don’t remember ever seeing Jim Powers win a match on Nitro!

I guess Konnan is a heel now because of what Hogan did. Fans chanted USA. Powers bounced Konnan’s head of the turnbuckle as he ran wild on Konnan. The fans were really into Powers here. Powers did a dropkick and Konnan could not just fall down to sell the move. Konnan instead twisted in the air and just fell down on his front. For god’s sake. Just take a bump to the mat and sell the move better.

Konnan reversed Powers charging at him with a kick and got a pin with his feet on the ropes. This was a poor match.

Mean Gene Okerlund interview Mexican Heavyweight Champion Konnan after the match. Konnan cut the most bipolar promo in WCW history up until this point! Konnan said Mean Gene’s opinions are irrelevant and mentioned the nWo have been stinking up the joint. Konnan mumbled about having a bulletproof plan. Konnan then said that he was sticking for WCW and told the nWo to look out and the fans booed. He cut a heel promo and then turned it into a babyface pro-WCW rally promo against the nWo. WHAT?

Man this was a bad promo from Konnan. This promo was so bad. Konnan just got totally lost with his own promo. If there was ever a man that needed a scripted promo to follow, I think we’ve found our guy. He just completely lost focus during this promo. This was the 1996 version of the Kalisto promo after the WWE Draft 2016 where Kalisto talked about making a good lucha thing! Awful stuff!

 

Ron Studd vs Chris Benoit w/Miss Elizabeth and Woman

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This was another one. My first note from this match was: “Who fucking put this match together?” In the morning of Nitro, Eric Bischoff, Kevin Sullivan or whoever it was started thinking: “OK. We need Chris Benoit to get a big win on Nitro to capitalise on his big win at Hog Wild. Who can we put him in the ring with?” They looked around the locker room and saw the former “Yeti” Ron Studd and decided to have Chris Benoit SQUASH this giant of a man in Ron Studd! WHAT IN THE… WHA WHAT?

It was so bizarre. How many wrestlers did WCW have on the payroll at the time? It was probably in the hundreds but I know they had like 200-300 wrestlers on their payroll at one time with hundreds of them not working at all. Lanny Poffo was signed to WCW and never worked a match during his time there! They looked at all the cruiserweights, all the big dudes and all of the technical wrestlers but the man they wanted Benoit to squash was RON STUDD this seven foot tall dude. The funny thing about this selection is…. the match ended up being GOOD!

Chris Benoit took this dude, who rarely ever wrestled in his life, and got a good match out of the guy by just getting the heat and chopping down the big man. He was chopping down this giant to show that he could chop down any giant in his path as a preview of his match with THE GIANT at Clash of the Champions! It was so simple and effective.

Elizabeth was a total babyface shaking the hands of the fans while walking nervously towards the ring. Benoit talked trash up to Ron’s face. Benoit slapped him in the face and then Ron grabbed him and stomped away at him and choked away at the Canadian. Benoit looked so tiny compared to this man. This worked visually in presenting Benoit as the clear underdog and showed what type of a mountain this man had to climb to beat this mountain of a man.

He chopped Ron down with a dropkick to the knee and worked on the leg as Ron screamed and wailed. As great as a match this was, Ron Studd sounded so unauthentic as he wailed on the floor “AAHHHH AAHHH AHHH.” He screamed like he stood on Lego rather than have his leg broken or snapped by Benoit! To Studd’s credit, he sold way more than Dean Ambrose usually would have in WWE.

Benoit wrapped Studd’s leg around the ring post. Benoit tried a shin breaker but Studd did a few elbows and a scoop slam to take over. Benoit pulled off a superplex on the big man to a huge pop as the fans loved Benoit. I don’t think I’ve ever someone the size of Benoit do a superplex to someone the size of Studd. Studd went up for the superplex and Benoit did a big superplex for the pinfall and win.

This crowd was so hot for this show and for Benoit as he called out the Giant by looking at the camera saying giants can be beat. I’ve seen a lot of tall guys the size of Studd worse than him and he had a decent match with Benoit! I would mostly give the credit to Benoit but I do think this match being put together raises an excellent point…

This was such a unique match in the way it was put together and just how crazy on paper it sounded but WCW still did it. They threw two wrestlers who didn’t look like they could fit together and the wrestlers tried their best to make something of it. I’m writing this on the 5th of April 2020 having watched WrestleMania 36. The majority of matches on the show with how they wawer put together and how they was formatted (I guess with the exception of the Boneyard match and the Bray Wyatt match) was exactly the same. All the styles were exactly the same. In this match in 1996, we got two clashing styles and it somehow WORKED!

Again, I may be in the minority, but this gets a THUMBS UP from me!

 

Mean Gene interviewed Benoit, Woman and Elizabeth. Mean Gene complained about being “light-headed” due to Woman. Benoit was facing Giant at Clash of Champions. Benoit put over Dean Malenko as one of the best technical wrestlers today and respected him but Benoit was a man with an agenda. The Horsemen had a agenda and Benoit said Giant was strong and big but he vowed to knock him down to size. The promo drifted off a little at the start but I think Benoit pulled off a decent promo by the end of it. He showed passion and I think this did a good job in building up that Clash of the Champions match.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) w/Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I will echo the sentiments from Brandon Stroud from the The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro series with Upprox.com. Every week there’s a Harlem Heat match, and every week they find a stupider way to finish it. They had a stupid and over-booked finish at the Hog Wild show and they did another one here.

I do actually want to mention one thing about Hog Wild which I purposely did not mention but I will address it here. If you read my Hog Wild review, I did mention the spot where the fans were honking and revving up the bikes to get under the skin of Harlem Heat and they booed the hell out of them. Allegedly the fans were shouting out all kinds of racial slurs towards the Harlem Heat tag team during that event.

I never mentioned it although it was pretty clear that the Harlem Heat tag team were the most hated people during that show. In case you were wondering why I didn’t mention it, it was because my reviews are mostly focused on the wrestling aspects of the shows and I try not to mention anything that doesn’t relate to the wrestling aspect of it. For example, I was mad at the crowd for booing during the Chris Benoit vs Dean Malenko match which was tremendous. I have a rule to not discuss political, social attitudes and sensitive matters during these reviews. In case you were wondering, that’s why I never mentioned it during the Hog Wild review.

Eric Bischoff claimed: “he was taking care of business” for last week’s episode of Nitro and completely zoomed past Heenan’s question of where he was at Nitro and Hog Wild. The Steiners wasted little time and beat up and sent the Harlem Heat packing to the outside of the ring.

Scott did a powerslam and hit a sweet belly to belly suplex. The fans were super into the match and the Steiners and I think it was Stevie Ray that cut off Rick’s momentum. Scott tripped over a fallen Booker and came very close to not connecting with a clothesline. I got flashbacks to the Test/Steiner spot from Bad Blood 2003 where Scott completely missed a double axe handle (please read my WWE Bad Blood 2003 review at this link)!

Scott tried a suplex but Sherri grabbed Scott and Booker fell on Scott but Col Robert Parker stumbled into the pin when he ran away from Rick for the disqualification. It was creative for a cheap finish but was there any need to do a rematch between the tag teams if you’re basically going to do the same concept of a finish? Harlem Heat once again retained the titles after their managers got involved. This was just a complicated way to make sure that nobody “does the job” and effectively meaning that no-one got over.

Harlem Heat get hot at Parker after the match. Nick Patrick was the referee and the disqualification apparently proved to Bischoff that Nick Patrick was a fair official! There are storyline reasons for why certain characters are acting the way they are but for the purposes of not divulging spoilers to the uninitiated, I will leave it at that. This was an OK match.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs The Ultimate Dragon w/Sonny Onoo for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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Think of this match like an edited version of the PPV match. Dragon did all the stuff he did at the PPV. He got the heat on Rey by basically just getting all of his stuff in and then Rey got the roll-up out of nowhere and won!

This was a return match from Hog Wild. Dragon unleashed a few side kicks which Bischoff claimed was a great showcase of martial arts. Dragon did a springboard elbow smash. Dragon smashed Rey with a running powerbomb what Bischoff called a “sprint powerbomb”.

Rey cut off a Dragon dive with a foot to the face. Rey did a nice hurricanrana and a big plancha to the outside. Dragon cut off a dive to the outside with a dropkick. Dragon did a nasty dive to the outside himself.

Dragon hit a Dragon Suplex for a 2 count. Dragon hit a moonsault from the top rope. Dragon tried a powerbomb and Rey reversed it into a roll up for the win. A fun little TV match as Rey Mysterio was so happy about being the champion and Rey called out Malenko. Didn’t they mention at the PPV that Mysterio beat Malenko in a title match on WCW Pro? I find it weird that Rey would want a rematch with Malenko after already beating him twice before in the last month or so.

 

Ric Flair © w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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Eight months ago at WCW Starrcade, these two men were fighting in the main-event for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. I don’t know how this happened but eight months later, they were fighting for the US title and it was presented as a far bigger deal than this match was presented eight months previously. These two are supposedly in line for future WCW title shot anyway but I do find that interesting.

Savage ran at Flair but Flair cut him off. Savage smashed away at Flair with some punches. Savage choked away at Flair. Savage spat at Flair and Flair responded with a poke to the eye.

Flair used Elizabeth as a human shield but Elizabeth moved out of the way as Savage ran right at Flair. Savage lunged at Elizabeth as Ric got the heat on Savage. Savage fired back at Flair with some jabs. Savage did double axe handle as the fans were going crazy for Savage. Flair cut off Savage with a punch to the gut.

Flair did the chop block that apparently he stole from Nick Patrick! Woman got a kick in at Savage and then ran for her life! Flair got a Figure Four Leg Lock locked in as Flair grabbed the ropes whenever he could. Savage tried to reverse the pressure and Flair tried one last grab of the ropes but the referee saw it and eventually kicked Flair’s hand off the ropes as Savage finally reversed the pressure.

Flair accidentally clotheslined the referee which I actually loved. We don’t see many “ref bumps” during a Ric Flair match and here’s the reason why. Ric Flair is known as the dirtiest player in the game who does everything in his power to bend the rules! However, the referee was down. Therefore there was no rules to break for himself or for his opponent too! Not only could Ric do whatever he wanted, so could the Macho Man!

Savage hit a big double axe handle to the outside. This crowd was insane as Savage was looking to end this match and win the prestigious United States Heavyweight title. Savage started tearing up the mat on the floor. Then coming down to the ring with a chair was Hollywood Hogan…

Hogan came down with a chair. I’ve made jokes about how weak Hulk Hogan chair shots were in the past. Here, this was not safe in the slightest. Savage had his back turned and Hogan walloped Savage in the back of a head with a chair. It looked ridiculously nasty.

He hit him again with the chair to the back which did not look as bad. Referee Nick Patrick ran down to the ring asking for assistance with the injured referee as Hogan walked to the back. Then as soon as Flair went for the pin, Patrick ran into the ring and counted the pin!

I love that even though Randy Savage was knocked out with two Hogan chair shots, Flair cannot help himself but put his feet on the rope with Woman holding onto his legs! Because you see, Ric Flair must get the advantage at EVERY CHANCE he can!

They mentioned on commentary saying that Hogan did not make a move towards Flair, suggesting maybe Flair is with the nWo. This to me was a really fun match.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Hollywood Hogan. Hogan said the nWo took the WCW title EASILY and turned it into the New World Order title. Hogan said there’s no stopping the nWo. Hogan said he wanted to make sure that WCW still had such a high regard for Flair and didn’t want to have a mark on his body as he doesn’t want any excuses when he beats him in Denver, Colorado. He said Outsiders are here to clear up some busy. Once they are done with “Stinky” and “Flex Lexy”, the nWo were gonna rename people and categorise them with different names. He proclaimed that Ric Flair will be known as “the stupid little man.” Hogan told Flair if he could do what he did to the Booty Man at Hog Wild imagine what he was gonna do to Flair at Clash of Champions (Booty Man allied himself with Hogan and then Hogan turned on him Hog Wild in case you weren’t aware).

I think with names like “Stinky” and “the stupid little man” that Hogan was DETERMINED to get the fans to hate him! What stupid names he came up with! They were not clever but I don’t think he intended for them to be clever. This was not like Kevin Nash where he did everything in his power to make himself appear to be cool. Hogan was trying everything in his power to get booed! It certainly didn’t work at Hog Wild brother!

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall

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They confirmed it was “nWo time” and the match was on but no one could find the Outsiders. The Outsiders showed up through the crowd. I do like that there was a ECW-esque vibe to them walking out through the crowd as if they were actual outsiders. That I did think was cool and it was different to what everyone else was doing in that company.

Lex Luger came out but there was no Sting. Lex Luger ran wild with a  double clothesline as he smashed both men into each other. Sting eventually came out and did a big top rope clothesline to Nash.

Sting sent Nash to the outside with a clothesline as Luger sent Hall to the outside. The Outsiders tried to surround Luger and Sting but the babyfaces were ready for them. Sting did a springboard to the outside as they beat away at the heels. Nick Patrick appeared to pull Sting off of Nash which saw Nash take a cheap shot in order for the Outsiders to get the heat. Bischoff was more concerned and questioned why a man got throw over the top rope and this was not a disqualifcation!

I think Sting was waiting for a dive but Nash wasn’t ready so he got down off the top rope and just started beating up both men. Eventually, the big spot came when Patrick pulled Hall out of the way of a Stinger Splash from Sting as it was confirmed that the Outsiders had paid off Patrick. Nick Patrick was now I guess officially the nWo referee if not already established at Hog Wild.

The Four Horsemen eventually ran off the Outsiders as the match was I guess thrown out as Bischoff claimed “this bites”.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen. Ric Flair however was the only man who talked. He said doesn’t like Sting and Luger but he’ll play ball with them cause they’re WCW. Flair yelled about Hogan calling himself to be the immortal. He said the first rule of fighting is never to outmatch yourself. He said Mongo was a match for Nash which I good a good kick out of. Can you imagine if they did Kevin Nash vs Steve “Mongo” McMichael? What a specatacle that would have been!

Flair kept going by saying Arn Anderson was a match for Hall and the “bussaw” Benoit would be a match for whoever the 4th man was. Ric Flair went nuts and said they were gonna run wild and style and profile horsemen style.

 

That was WCW Nitro. I thought it was a fun show overall. Certain aspects of the show which would look bizarre on paper actually worked and there were fun matches throughout the show. It felt like an easy to watch and digest overall. I enjoyed it at the very least. This shows gets a thumbs up!

In case you are wondering, I will be reviewing the main-event of the Clash of the Champions show referenced to during Nitro. It’s Hollywood Hogan defending the WCW title against Ric Flair. Think of it like a bonus match review as part of the series. I’m gonna review that match and then we’ll back with the Nitro review. I hope you enjoyed this review and be sure to follow the Armbar Express on WordPress to get alerts to future posts…

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #47 (AUGUST 5TH 1996) – BAD BOOKING CAUSES BUMP ON THE ROAD TO HOG WILD

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’s episode saw the New World Order lay waste to four men as part of a well-done viscous attack that disrupted WCW Monday Nitro. They beat down Arn Anderson and Marcus Bagwell with baseball bats as well as taking out Scotty Riggs and throwing Rey Mysterio like a dart into a trailer. They left the arena in a limo, which “Macho Man” Randy Savage chased by literally jumping on top of the moving vehicle! Good guys and bad guys put their differences aside to attend to their fallen comrades during an historic episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

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The episode we’re reviewing today is the go-home show for WCW Hog Wild. This is the card for the Hog Wild show for those of you that need a reminder:

  • Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs Ultimo Dragon for the WCW Cruiserweight title
  • Ice Train vs Scott Norton
  • Madusa vs Bull Nakano with the winner destroying the loser’s motorcycle
  • Dean Malenko vs Chris Benoit
  • Harlem Heat (c) vs The Steiner Brothers for the WCW Tag Team titles
  • Ric Flair (c) vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW US title
  • Lex Luger and Sting vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall
  • The Giant (c) vs Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World title

As for building up this card, WCW have done an excellent job with the matches involving the nWo. Lex Luger and Sting are at the forefront of this big invasion angle and the Outsiders have been destroying people left and right so obviously Sting and Luger want revenge. The Giant has been smashing guys every single week leading to his title defence against the traitor to WCW Hollywood Hogan. They’ve done such a great job building up those two matches in particular. Since they are the money matches anyway, I guess you can consider the build to this PPV good.

As far as the rest of the card, there’s a lot we need to talk about. I’ll mention them again during the review but these storylines are modelled in the same way as a lot of the WWE storylines are nowadays leading into a PPV. Traditionally, wrestling pay-per-views would have the very best wrestlers on those shows because the biggest matches possible would be taking place. The Giant has beaten challengers each week going into Hog Wild to fight the biggest star in the world Hollywood Hogan for example.

This episode of Nitro made caring for these individuals really difficult. Let’s start with Ice Train and Scott Norton. They have this big break-up angle where partner miscommunication led to them losing to the Steiner Brothers on Nitro. They accuse each other of being the weak link and then a week later, we have them both in separate singles matches. What happens? They both lose by disqualification. Why should I care about two losers that were already losing as a tag team now facing each other in a singles match at Hog Wild?

This plays into what happened this week. How many times have I talked about the way Madusa has been booked since she arrived in WCW. She arrived as the WWF Women’s Champion which caused WWF to actually sue WCW in real life. They go through all of that effort to bring her into the company and she’s away from Monday Nitro for MONTHS after a little feud with Sister Sherri. She came back a few weeks ago to have a good match with Malia Hosaka. They do the rematch on this episode of Nitro and what happens? Hosaka got the win. Why? Why is Madusa constantly losing on Nitro to set up such things as a big match with her and Bull Nakano at Hog Wild?

Eddie Guerrero. While Eddie Guerrero has been winning matches on Nitro since Bash at the Beach, I’ll give WCW props for that, I was still mad with the way he was presented him last week in his match with Big Bubba. Big Bubba beat him up for about 21 hours and Eddie got a fluke win to, in theory, set up Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair for the WCW US title. This week, they showed Eddie Guerrero saving Chavo Guerrero from Ric Flair during an episode at Saturday Night. Eddie turned around and Ric Flair attacked him from behind and made him look like a geek.

Would it not have been better to see Eddie face and beat all the members of the Four Horsemen leading to him vs Ric Flair at the PPV, so at the very least he is presented as someone as being on Ric Flair’s level? No. He’s presented as so vastly inferior to Ric Flair. I understand this is Ric Flair we’re talking about but they did a poor job in building up Eddie for Ric in the last few weeks.

Speaking of the Four Horsemen, then there’s Chris Benoit. They were getting Benoit over so big in his feud with Kevin Sullivan. He was the young lion of the Four Horsemen and he was putting on great performances every week. Since Bash at the Beach, I don’t think he’s won a single match on Nitro once. The Horsemen didn’t win any of the matches with Luger, Sting and Savage in the last few weeks, he lost to Eddie Guerrero about 3 weeks ago. Then on this episode of Nitro, what happens? He got distracted by Dean Malenko, he went out and attacked him and he supposedly lost by count-out to Alex Wright? ALEX WRIGHT. God forbid that we have Chris Benoit beat Alex Wright clean to build up Benoit vs Malenko.

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I realise the stuff I’m ranting about is not really that important, and with wrestling being fake, it really doesn’t matter who wins and loses. However, possibly due to the WCW backstage politicking at the time, they over-booked everybody on the mid-card on the exact same level to the point where they all stay in the same position as a means to keep to keep everyone happy. I guess nobody wanted to do the job so the lengths they had to go to in order to protect everyone is mind-blowing.

Their saving grace, at this time, was that the talent was so excellent that the ring-work made up for it. I’m sure Malenko vs Benoit at Hog Wild was a great match and I believe Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair ended up being a good match at Hog Wild.

….I don’t mean to start this episode review with a rant! If you see the way these wrestlers were treated as I go through this review, thank god WCW did have the New World Order at least at the start! Even with this episode though, the nWo didn’t really do anything spectacular or anything at the level of last week. I’ll get to that when I talk about the nWo’s “involvement” with this episode of Nitro.

 

Date: August 5th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

 

The show started with Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko talking about what happened last week. Larry Zybsko kept trying to coin phrase “New World Odor” like he did this last week. They actually mentioned that they were four empty chairs in the front row which was apparently where the FOUR members of the nWo were expected to sit. Big Bubba, Scott Norton, Meng and The Barbarian all come out to act as security for the show.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) w/Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker vs “The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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It was so weird as in the middle of all this nWo madness, the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS were randomly challenging for the tag team titles on Nitro! However, we got big HEAT chants before the bell rang and Harlem Heat were very much over with this crowd.

Both teams were wearing red. Booker and Ricky started off the match. Larry pointed out the teams had their “speed men” in the ring to start the match. Booker took over early. The Express took Booker down with a double elbow smash and a double clothesline

Tony then declared that the security team had worked… TEN MINUTES INTO THE SHOW! We still had approximately 110 minutes left of the show but apparently the security was a success in the eyes of Tony Schiavonie!

The fans were into Harlem Heat as they got the heat on Ricky Morton. The Heat got distracted with the managers and almost got rolled up by Ricky. Booker yelled at Col. Rober Parker on the outside. Sherri whined about her anxiety being out here and Booker was not happy about it.

Booker did the Harlem Side Kick. Booker missed a top rope splash and Ricky literally rolled into a Robert Gibson hot tag. Gibson ran wild and hit an enziguri on Ray.

Robert went for the cover but Sherri kissed Robert or at least tried to. Gibson pushed her off the apron. Col Robert Parker got mad and took off his jacket. He riled himself up and was ready for a fight but he got punched in the face. Harlem Heat took advantage for the win with Ray hitting a big boot as Booker prevented Morton from breaking up the pin. Average Nitro tag team match to me. It was OK but was nothing particularly memorable.

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Nasty Boys. Brian Knobbs said they were getting a lot of heat just because Hogan is a friend of theirs. They make it clear that Hogan did what he wanted to do and the Nasty Boys did what they wanted to do. They expressed it’s a free country when Sting and Lex Luger interrupted. Sting wanted to know where they stood. Remember when Sting was constantly being questioned about where is loyalties lied when Lex Luger was allied with the Dungeon of Doom? Now he’s doing it to the Nasty Boys!

Sags said they stood in Nastyville. Knobbs yelled they don’t condone what Hogan did but didn’t see anything wrong with it here. Knobbs brought up a good point that WCW wanted them to step up but WCW’s guys weren’t willing to help them during their tag team matches so why should they help WCW? That is a… solid point. This was to build up the main-event of this Nitro episode of Sting and Lex Luger vs The Nasty Boys.

GLACIER is still coming. I’ve read a similar review online saying it’d been 15 weeks since the original Glacier videos started.

 

Malia Hosaka w/Sonny Onoo vs Madusa

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Apparently this women’s division consists of three women because this is a rematch from 3 weeks ago and we’ve not seen any other women wrestle on Nitro since.

Madusa did a sunset flip for a 2 count. Hosaka levelled Madusa with some kicks and with a hair-assisted snapmare. Madusa hit a spinning heel kick.

Hosaka got the leg and stood there for like 20 seconds either forgetting her spot or not making her mind up about what she wanted to do. She eventually did the Figure Four Leg Lock to literally no reaction. Even in small promotions where someone would do the figure four leg lock and at least one or two fans would go “woooooo.” Here, Hosaka does the move and nobody cared. The fans chanted “USA” to cheer on Madusa.

Then Hosaka went back to work on the knee of Madusa as they cut away from the action to show a black limo. Madusa struggled to do a gutwrench suplex. Hosaka did a sunset flip but Madusa got the ropes at one.

Madusa did a superplex . Madusa did a front drop kick to Sonny on the apron and then Madusa fell down on her back. Hosaka covered her as soon as Madusa fell down and Sonny grabbed Hosaka for leverage for the win. I already talked about the booking of this match during my introduction. But again, this is to build… MADUSA VS BULL NAKANO for the PPV. This was a pretty poor match compared to their last match.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night that was meant to act as a pre-show for Hog Wild. This Hog Wild, that was intended to promote the PPV, included JOHN TENTA VS BIG BUBBA as well as Hugh Morrus in action! What a show to get me excited for Hog Wild!

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs Alex Wright

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The two men locked up and then Benoit took advantage by raking the eyes and then firing away with punches. Wright fired back with his own punches and kicks. Wright then ran wild with “headscissor dropkicks” and then worked on the arm.

It’s funny Meng was out there for security when he and Benoit got into a screaming match during the nWo angle last week. I guess they buried the hatchet or they just forgot about whatever it was there were screaming about!

There was young kid in the front row that appeared to be crossing his fingers when Benoit covered Wright. This kid was clutching to his dad appearing to cheer on Alex Wright! That’s what wrestling is missing nowadays is kids crossing their fingers and rooting for their heroes. With John Cena not on the scene anymore, you don’t really get this type of reactions from young kids anymore! It’s mostly just adults upset that Goldberg beat The Fiend for example…

Wright reversed a kitchen sink into a roll up for a near fall. Benoit locked on a camel clutch. Jimmy Hart came down to talk to the girls. He yelled that Woman was wasting her time with Elizabeth as “she is useless”. Jimmy yelled that there was someone backstage she was driving crazy and she pointed to a sock with Kevin Sullivan’s face in. For those of you that are somehow unaware of this but Woman (a.k.a Nancy Sullivan) was the wife to the “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan.

Dean Malenko ran down to take Woman backstage by force. Benoit dove on the outside and beat the crap out of Dean Malenko which I wrote down had led to the no contest. Benoit isn’t focused on the match anymore, a new fight had broken out… whatever. A no contest was fine. Then Tony called it a “count out” victory for Alex Wright. WHAT?

There was no actual count from the referee and Dean was attacking Benoit or was trying to screw Benoit out of the match. If anything, if it was not a no contest as I figured previously then shouldn’t this finish have been a disqualification victory for Benoit since Malenko was attacking him as they fought to the back.?It also sucked because this was a good match up until that point. Wright held his own and kept up with Benoit and they were making something out of this match.  

Really though, Alex Wright did not need to win this match. He’s not on the PPV. Benoit has a big match with Dean Malenko who destroyed Billy Kidman and Chavo Guerrero in recent weeks. If Benoit beat this cruiserweight, it would set up perfectly for a big cruiserweight match for the PPV. Bad booking in my eyes.

 

Lord Steven Regal w/Jeeves vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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OK, I’m assuming that all of the last 5 episodes of Nitro were taped because it was all bright for the two earlier matches and it was pitch black for this match. So I’m kinda assuming they taped several matches from each day in one big bunch and then just picked and chose matches for each show.  I haven’t checked to see if this was the case but that’s the only thing I can assume.

It was also weird because Malenko and Benoit brawled to the back after Benoit’s match and then for Ric Flair’s match later on in the show, Benoit was back out there and we never saw Malenko again. It was almost like nothing had happened before.

There was some in-match banter when Regal warned Savage “you better watch it or I’ll slap you” and Savage put his hands up and went “ooooh”. This was great. Simple things like that were awesome in at least showing some personality for these characters. It’s simple but effective.

It was very scrappy stuff but in a good way where Savage would choke away at Regal and Regal would try to out-wrestle Savage. It’s pretty much exactly how you’d think Regal vs Savage would go on an episode of Nitro! Regal wore down Savage and the fans chanted “Macho”.

Apparently Bobby and Eric weren’t ready yet for the second hour and Larry somehow didn’t realise that nobody was there as the fireworks went off for hour two! Great awareness from the Living Legend! In case you were wondering, Tony and Larry called the full two hours on this episode of Nitro.

Regal fired away with some great forearms as Sting and Luger came down to the ring. Sting and Luger sat at two of the four vacant seats meant for the nWo. Savage back-dropped Regal and started brawling with the Englishman on the outside. He smashed Regal into one of the chairs Sting and Luger were sat at (Luger and Sting had fortunately moved out of the way!).

Savage hit the elbow drop and got the win as Regal got up and walked away beat red with tears in his eyes! A short but decent match from Regal and Savage.

Sting and Luger went to the black limo parked near the ring and opened the door but found a bouquet saying “condolences on the death of WCW.”

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Mean Gene interviewed Randy Savage. Savage said he would be facing Giant or Hogan  after Hog Wild for the WCW World title… which actually kinda makes sense since I don’t think Savage has lost a match since Bash at the Beach. This booking made sense!

Savage said he cut a deal. Savage said The Giant would get a bigger piece of Hogan than Hogan thinks and if Giant left a little bit for Savage, Savage will finish the job. Now, this kind of plays into what I mentioned earlier but this was building up for a program, likely on Nitro, where either Hogan or Giant would face Savage. Savage wasn’t even on Hog Wild and he’s already looking past that PPV. A weird way for a PPV go-home show to play out.

Sting and Luger showed up in the ring. There was no Outsiders but they got the bouquet. Sting admired the pretty flowers but had a problem with the line saying “WCW was dead” when “WCW was alive and well”…less than five years later dude.

Savage threw down the flowers. Sting held down the bouquet and Savage booted it out of the ring. I was begging for Sting to swipe the bouquet at the last minute like Charlie Brown! That I wanted to see! This was a fun segment nevertheless.

 

Ric Flair w/Miss Elizabeth, Debra McMichael and Woman vs The Booty Man w/Booty Babe

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I do believe this will end up being the end of the Booty Man. The Horsemen beat up Booty Man after this match and it appeared to be an injury angle to write him off of television. This is a bit of a spoiler but Booty Man does not come back as the Booty Man as they repackaged him with a new gimmick. It’s sad seeing the end of the Booty era here on WCW Monday Nitro!

Booty Babe said everyone was looking “bootyful” which I’m 99% sure if I used that line when chatting to a woman it would backfire. Arn Anderson came out with a chair and his arm taped up. Now… one of the problems I had with this show is that Arn Anderson took such a vicious beating last week and here he is with a bunch of bandages like it was nothing. They showed Rey Mysterio being at WCW Saturday Night too but… I felt this was a deal they should have played out for at least another week. They should have had Arn, Rey and the American Males off of television until at least after the PPV. I was not a fan of seeing Arn this early after how big the nWo angle last week was built up.

Heck, they had Eric Bischoff away from television for 2 week after Nash powerbombed him at The Great American Bash so why not have Arn off of television for a month?

Ric Flair beat up Booty and hammered away at Booty with punches to the head. Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael guarded the entrance way. Ric gouged the eyes of Booty Man. Bobby Heenan came down and yelled about making it to the show himself but Bischoff was not there. He said Bischoff doesn’t miss things so he questioned where he was. Heenan left again as again, they’re questioning where Bischoff is during all of this carnage which does have a pay off in the upcoming months…

Booty and Ric continued fighting. Booty missed a high knee and went knee first into the corner. Ric got the Figure Four Leg Lock and then Benoit and Mongo attacked Booty as Ric continued to grabbed the ropes. This match got thrown out.

The referee also got thrown out to the outside as the security did nothing about this. Keep in mind the security was there to keep away the Outsiders but did nothing as Booty Man was being obliterated by the Four Horsemen. This was such a beat down by the Horsemen as well. They didn’t hold back and even Arn was getting involved with a chair shot to the leg!

Mean Gene gets in the ring to do an interview and yelled at the Horsemen to stop it. Arn starts cutting a promo and said his life flashed before his eyeslast week. As Arn was cutting this promo, Ric was still taking cheap shots at Booty Man right behind Arn. Arn said the good book said when the New World Order is put into place it is the end of times. Arn said there’s one rule of gang fighting that is if they send one of theirs to the hospital, they must send one of theirs to the morgue.

Benoit yelled about seeing fury and vengeance unleashed. Mongo yelled that the Outsiders needed to get it together as they’re coming after them. Ric yelled at Hogan to watch this as he continued to kick away at Booty. Ric yelled at Booty to tell Hogan to send a message. Ric yelled that Hogan wanted their attention and now he’s got it. Ric said Arn was his best friend and Hogan crossed the line and now he was gonna paid the price. He yelled: “That was your best friend, come and get him big boy.” Because obviously, Booty Man was an ally to Hogan against the Dungeon of Doom…

My impression from what happened last week is that the good guys and the bad guys were all on the same page and fighting against the nWo, which would make the Horsemen the babyfaces when they go up against the nWo themselves. Here, they do a four on one beat down on Booty Man like complete arseholes. At least the nWo beat the four men last week in a fair fight. There were apparently four members of the nWo last week beating up the WCW dudes. Here, four men are beating up one and the security are doing nothing about this!

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There was another nWo announcement. Apparently they lured Luger in for the beating on Sting on WCW Saturday Night 2 weeks ago with an emergency phone call. They said Hogan would become the nWo champion. They sung happy birthday to Hogan and I loved that. You could tell Hogan was having so much fun as a heel! Nash said we’re not talking about taking over, it’s about extermination now. The video just stopped as Sting and Lex apparently ordered the production team to stop this footage.

Sting and Luger are backstage and literally bullied and intimidated the production crew into stopping the footage. They’re supposed to be good guys and they’re threatening and imposing their will on the production team. Explain to me how they are any better than the Outsiders when they did this two weeks ago? Again, they came off arseholes like the Four Horsemen! No wonder the fans started to cheer the nWo and boo WCW during this feud!

Sting and Luger accused the staff of putting the videos on the air for the money. Sting decreed no trash should go on the air. Sting cracked the joke about pork pie and mountain dew that Nash did two weeks ago and then they left.

 

The Giant (c) w/Jimmy Hart vs Sgt. Pittman w/Teddy Long for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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The Giant then no-sold two diving headbutts and then Pittman ran into a chokeslam for a pinfall victory. Pretty much the same as 90% of Giant’s match on Nitro since he arrived. However, I still love Jimmy Hart running around Giant after the match like he’d just beat Hogan clean or just won the Oscars! No matter who is in the ring, Jimmy will always celebrate like it’s the biggest win of Giant’s career! That was great. Teddy Long stopped a further beat down on Pittman but he himself ate a chokeslam from The Giant as the fans chanted “one more time.”

Think about this for a minute. We have the Four Horsemen, Sting, Lex Luger and The Giant all fighting for WCW against the New World Order. The Horsemen attacked someone four on one during this show, Sting and Luger bullied the production crew and The Giant is chokeslamming the manager Teddy Long like a complete dick! This man is the babyface champion going into the match with Hogan at the PPV! You have WCW wrestlers acting like arseholes while the nWo are coming off as cool to the fans!

I love how Larry was concerned that Teddy was going to have a heart attack and during a SmackDown! storyline more than 10 years later, Teddy Long had a on-screen heart attack during a wedding! Larry planting the seeds for a storyline 10 years later for a different wrestling company!

 

Mean Gene interviewed Giant and Jimmy Hart. Mean Gene berated Giant and called Teddy Long just a guy off the street. Hart said everyone always told Hogan what he wanted to hear. The black limo had returned as Jimmy was cutting this promo. Hart yelled Giant would be ready for Hogan. Giant said he sent a message to the world as the fans chanted for Hogan. Giant said he had one job and that was to be the champion since he was a kid. Giant said he doesn’t feel sorry for anyone that stepped in his way. He said Hogan talked his trash about how he’d take over WCW. He said Hogan’s 15 minutes were up and he dared him to show up at Hog Wild.

They showed a clip of Mongo and Debra re-gaining the money in the briefcsae from Randy Savage. Dear god, because this storyline must keep going. In case you didn’t read my review from two weeks ago, Savage regained his money that Elizabeth had gotten from him as part of their divorce. They had been flaunting it around like it was a trophy. Savage got the money back to a big pop and now the heels have the money again! You’d think Savage would have put his money in the bank by now since getting his money back! It’s ridiculous.

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Nasty Boys” Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs

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The Steiner Brothers came down to ringside with a chair. Luger ran wild on the Nasty Boys for a bit. The Nasty Boys got the heat. Knobbs did a splash in the corner and an elbow drop for a 2 count.

Knobbs got the heat for a while but then Sting got his foot up as Knobbs went for the splash. Luger literally jumped into the match for a hot tag. He ran wild with clotheslines and hit a powerslam. Luger tried a torture rack but Sags broke it up. Sags tried to hit Luger but hit Rick Steiner by accident and then Rick hit Sags with a clothesline.

Sting somehow got the tag as Sags tapped out for the win. WHEN DID STING GET THE TAG? Luger went to the outside and brawled with Knobbs I think and was outside the entire time before Sting got back in the ring. At what point did Sting get the tag back into the ring?…. did I miss something? Please leave the comment if you know when Sting got a tag back in the ring during all of this match.

This was an OK match but…. with the Nasty Boys in the main-event I was begging to see what was on the other show. I wasn’t not particularly thrilled about the possibility of this match

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They show two kids in the ring flexing with the babyfaces. Mean Gene said they must be working at the “main event fitness centre”. Mean Gene mentioned the limo was back. Sting suggested they go check out the limo. Luger thought it was another gag gift but Sting and Luger went down anyway as Mean Gene wanted to go along with them. Scott Norton also walked down alongside the rest of security.

Sting opened the door and a bag was thrown as them with a TURNER logo on the front, suggesting Turner Broadcasting was somehow involved and possibly funding this operation.

They showed an “after show” exclusive that the WWE Network had access to. They had a piece of paper inside the bag with the nWo saying they’d see them at Hog Wild.

 

This episode was a massive thumbs down for me. If you look at the quality of Nitros as of late, this really didn’t hit the mark. As the follow up to the big nWo angle it didn’t deliver, as a go-home show for Hog Wild it didn’t deliver and as a wrestling show it didn’t deliver. There was only one good match on the show in Benoit vs Wright but it had a horrible finish. The other matches were short matches, boring matches or average matches at best.

I think Hog Wild will be good based on the card I mentioned earlier on in the review. This show in particular didn’t sell me on this pay-per-view and… I’d like to think it’s going to pick up after Hog Wild. We will be reviewing WCW Hog Wild as part of the blog and I’m looking to post that on the blog at some point this week.

Stay safe everybody and follow the blog to be update on future reviews or posts we put up on the Armbar Express.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #46 (JULY 29TH 1996) – THE NWO ATTACK WCW DURING AN HISTORIC EPISODE OF 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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The road to Hog Wild 1996 was still in full gear, a show where WCW wrestlers alongside Eric Bischoff would literally be riding into Hog Wild on motorcycles. WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant accepted Hollywood Hogan’s challenge for Hog Wild, vowing to chokeslam Hogan for WCW. Ric Flair no-showed WCW Nitro last week, leading to speculation of where his loyalties lied. Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage picked up a win in the main-event and declared their intention to fight for WCW and take out the New World Order. Meanwhile, the New World Order were invading WCW’s production truck and literally hijacked Nitro as Kevin Nash and Scott Hall took over the show.

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WCW Monday Nitro. We are two weeks away from WCW Hog Wild and we got an episode of Nitro that was considered a ground-breaking and historic episode with one angle featuring the new bad boys in town in the New World Order. I made the point during the review of thelast episode that everything so far had felt “tame” from the New World Order. Up until now, it was Kevin Nash and Scott Hall spray-painting blanket sheets andplaying around with the production equipment. It was the kind of evil plots Professor Chaos from South Park would have put together. It didn’t particularly come off as cool and edgy, although traditional wrestling fans would argue that heels should not come off as cool and edgy. Solid point.

However, it felt like the nWo storyline completely turned around again in the right direction after this episode. I’m going to change this review up a little bit. See normally, I would just review the show chronologically from start to finish but this time I’m going to tackle it somewhat out of order. The first thing I will review in-depth is this angle with the New World Order attacking World Championship Wrestling. It feels right to discuss the big angle right off the bat, as I have a lot to get through…

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What happened was they were having the rematch from last week’s main-event with a slight adjustment. It’s Sting, Lex Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage taking on “The Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Ric Flair, who was replacing Arn Anderson who filled in for Flair last week.

Jimmy Hart interrupted the match as Lex Luger wa running wild. He was up on the apron trying to get everybody’s attention. He eventually gets Lex Luger’s attention. If you’ll recall, Jimmy Hart used to manage Lex Luger on WCW so it would make sense why he would go to Lex Luger first in this matter. Jimmy yelled that the Outsiders are here and the announcers stress that this is not a “Dungeon of Doom” ploy as the wrestlers eventually leave the ring.

They cut to outside at the parking lot where Kevin Nash and Scott Hall from the New World Order were standing above Four Horsemen member Arn Anderson with baseball bats. Arn was clutching his arm as Nash and Hall were looking mean over him and Marcus Bagwell who was also laid out by the Outsiders. Scotty Riggs came out and sees this and he gets taken out too with some kind of video equipment.

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Then WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio got a bright idea and jumped off the top of a trailer onto Kevin Nash. Nash caught Rey and gets him in a powerslam position. Nash then literally threw Rey Mysterio like a dart head-first into the trailer. This was like a spot that could only work in the 1990s. WWE would never attempt a spot like this nowadays and it really wouldn’t work as like a big spot nowadays, especially if you consider all the insane stuff we see from places like CZW for example. Here, it worked really well.

Think of this Rey Mysterio/Kevin Nash spot like Stone Cold Steve Austin hitting Vince McMahon with the bedpan on RAW when Austin visits him at the hospital. Austin was beating up Mr McMahon’s foot as Vince was wailing at the top of his lungs. AHHH! AAAAAAAHHH! He was screaming his head off. Austin then grabbed the nearest thing he could find, a tiny bedpan, and smacked Vince in the head of it. He hit Vince with it one time and it made the best noise in wrestling history. It was like Tom and Jerry in the sense that he hit Vince and it was like a ping sound that came out. It was one hit with a bedpan and Vince was out like a light.

Here, Rey gets thrown into the trailer. Keep in mind, Rey was putting his hands out so it wasn’t like he actually went head first into the trailer. Rey got thrown into the side of this trailer and all you hear is a big thud as Rey dropped to the floor and was down for the count. It was such a spot that was made for television. The sound of Rey hitting the side conveyed the…. I don’t want to say comical, but entertainment aspect of professional wrestling. It’s the sound that put the move over more than if Kevin Nash hit him 20 times with a steel chair. He did this one time and then he and Hall left the building.

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Nash and Hall stepped into a limo that was their getaway car. Rey mentioned later when he was being attended to and the announcers alluded to this as well, that there was four men out there doing this attack. They only showed Hall and Nash so Hollywood Hogan or the fourth man was not on television. Anyway, Hall and Nash enter their limo when the six men that were in the six man tag match all arrive on the scene to make the “save” I guess but it wasn’t really a save as the damage had been done. Everyone attended to the fallen on the floor… EXCEPT for “Macho Man” Randy Savage!

Randy Savage jumped onto the limo as it moved off. Yes, Randy Savage jumped on top of a moving vehicle and got into the sun roof. He gets stuck with his legs sticking out in the air as they drive away from the building. It was such an elegant jump that only “Macho Man” Randy Savage could pull off with such finesse and in such a way that it totally fit the character. He vaulted onto the limo to go after the nWo like a mad man, as he wanted to beat up the nWo, as established last week with his promo. If Sting or Lex Luger had done this spot for example, it would be one thing. Savage going crazy and jumping onto a limo as it drives away… absolute insanity.

In case you are wondering, everything I’ve just described covered about two minutes of real-time as to what actually happened with the nWo and this attack on WCW. This two minutes was such a home run. As I mentioned, WWE could not pull off an angle like this and make it come off important, but WCW did. It was a simple and effective angle where they laid waste to four men and then left. It made the nWo come off as a bigger threat than ever and as alluded too, there are now four men for WCWto deal with from this nWo group. Therefore, the angle had escalated to even further heights as we build towards Hog Wild.

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I have a few things to mention before I move onto what happened next on the show. Eric Bischoff mentioned on commentary that the nWo had taken out “half of the roster” backstage… half of the roster which consisted of four men! In fact, there were at least ten people out there at the ring for the six man tag when this whole attack went down! The maths from this announce booth was not really on form tonight!

The last thing was that Bischoff claimed the National News had been calling up about this. I was going to mock the idea that Bischoff claimed the National News would be interested in what was clearly a wrestling angle. However, Bischoff later claimed on his 83 Weeks podcast that there were people legitimately calling 911 because of what Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had done!

The quote I wanted to mention from Bischoff was: “It is true. It was something that I didn’t think about. It’s not like I was sleeping at the wheel or was too busy, but I never would have anticipated that you could do something on a wrestling show that was so believable where people sitting at home would call the cops in the local market, but that was exactly what happened … Sure enough, we had Orlando cops showing up on set because people called 911. They thought there was a murder going on backstage because they had never seen anything like it. It was so believable, it just didn’t look like a pro wrestling angle. It was everything. You didn’t see ambulances, or anything remotely close to this scene before. You may have kind of in a way similar but not executed like this or produced as well.”

As previously mentioned, this is nothing WWE could pull off in 2020 because the fans would see right through it and no one would call have actually called up 911 after Randy Orton attacked Edge after the Royal Rumble 2020 for example. It was clearly presented as a wrestling angle. This nWo thing was a wrestling angle which came off realistic because how it was presented was different than how everything had been presented in wrestling by that point.

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They come back from the break and Arn is shown grabbing his arm as Woman hugged Arn and was in tears over him. Woman pulled off such a great performance as an actress during this angle. Really, a lot of wrestlers in the back acted very well in looking distant or distraught or pissed off as to what happened. Woman in particular, who hugged Arn as if he were a loved one, was great as you could totally see Woman treating Arn as a genuine friend. Woman was not in a relationship or teased to be in a relationship with him like she was with Chris Benoit. It was not like Woman was consoling Ric Flair who hit on everybody and was a womaniser. Arn was just a guy alongside the Four Horsemen that looked out for his own tribe. So yes, Woman was in bits over Arn Anderson being attacked… I could buy that in storyline and it worked very well.

A big FIRE TRUCK drove in after four dudes got jumped by the Outsiders. Not an ambulance or the police or anything like that… it was the fire department! To be fair to WCW, I don’t find it difficult to believe that if a fire truck knew some major injuries and  big attack went down, that they would not immediately attend the scene even if there wasn’t a fire at Disney/MGM Studios. Heck, if there was a company out there who I could see getting emergency services onto the scene this early at their entertainment park… it’s DISNEY!

Rey grabbed his mask as the they tried to attend him. They eventually take off Rey’s mask as Tony explained the importance of masks in lucha libre in covering up their identities. In reality as well, no matter what the importance of lucha libre masks were, the ambulance staff would have had to take his mask off to see if there was damage to the skull or whatever. Rey did cover up his face but the point is, it was portrayed as new as lucha libre in particular was such a sacred thing in wrestling. Therefore if they were taking of Rey’s mask, the audience would knew something big had went down and it wasn’t just another wrestling angle.

Mongo yelled about how he can’t believe WCW let them come in here. Mongo was just yelling about all of this. Woman was literally in tears and devastated over this… her acting was tremendous. The characters were all in panic, showing great concern whether you were a good guy or a bad guy. They put their differences aside. Benoit was literally in TEARS, as is Elizabeth grabbing her head. Even little details like that was great because if you are in tears and distraught because something went down, you feel like your head was spinning and you feel like you’ve got a massive headache. This… was all insanely great.

Mongo’s face is shown trembling. Meng burst onto the scene mocking everything in Tongan and he and Benoit go nose to nose. They shove each other as Benoit growled at him. Meng wasn’t even speaking in English and Benoit was still all mad at him! That’s how emotionally distraught he was!

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This is where I must address the elephant in the room because Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan arrive on the scene waiting for the hand-over of commentary as it was the second hour. Bobby yelled it’s not worth him coming out there with a history of neck injures and a damaged nerve on his hand. He needed a guarantee that Heenan would not be hurt which Bischoff obviously could not guarantee that so Heenan decided not do the broadcast. Before I get into the elephant in the room, I do find it funny that Heenan had to go home for his own safety and wellbeing as the entire world in 2020 is forced to do the same during the coronavirus outbreak!

Anyway, the elephant in the room. We were just coming into the second hour of this episode of WCW Nitro and this entire segment took up at least 30 minutes of television time. There’s a yin and a yang to this. The yin is that they dedicated so much time to an angle which highlighted the “seriousness” that they wanted to convey to the viewer. That’s great and I appreciate that.

The yang, however, is that this angle went on way too long. They dedicated a third of the show to the aftermath of this attack. Remember, the whole attack was over in about two minutes. The rest of the time was showing Arn, Rey, Bagwell and Riggs being attended to. The fans were restless in the arena as they chanted boring. I personally was begging for a match to happen myself. A theme for the rest of this review is that all these fans wanted from World Championship Wrestling… was wrestling.

As ground-breaking and innovative as this angle was, this kind of stuff would ultimately lead to WCW’s downfall. Wrestling fans want wrestling… which I’m sure will shock some of you reading this review especially if your name is Vince Russo. They weren’t getting it here and they started to get bored.

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The problem down the road is that Bischoff and eventually Vince Russo relied too much on “Crash TV” and lack of attention to the wrestling and it eventually led to the WCW losing the Monday Night War. Really, all wrestling fans, and all these wrestling fans in attendance for this show, would want is wrestling. Even if it was Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Mike Enos in the opener, they didn’t care. The stuff like this that was intended for a TV audience really doesn’t play well with a live crowd.

By the way, remember when Hogan knocked Giant off of a building at Halloween Havoc and seemingly killed him? There was nowhere near as much time dedicated to that angle as there was to this angle where four guys got attacked backstage. The Giant… DIED and they were back to the ring for another match! I checked my own review of that PPV and that’s what happened! Don’t look at me!

Anyway, that was an absolutely great angle that was certainly innovative and different at the time that got given way more time than it should have. This made it an unpleasant viewing experience purely because of how long it was.

I’m 2,500 words into this review and I’ve covered one angle as part of a two hour wrestling show! I guess I should talk about the rest of WCW Monday Nitro.

By the way… Bischoff mentioned that they did have “stand-by matches” that they were scrambling to put together. The card originally was The Giant defending the WCW World title against Arn Anderson and Rey Mysterio defending the Cruiserweight title against Eddie Guerrero.

 

Date: July 29th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3.1

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie, Larry Zbyszko and Eric Bischoff (and Bobby Heenan for about one minute)

 

The first thing they conveniently show is footage from WCW Saturday Night of Hall and Nash filming Lex Luger and Sting. They attacked Sting on his own as Luger was away from the car to make a phone call or whatever. Obviously, a third party was filming this beating alluding to the reveal of a possible fourth member… although it could have easily been Hollywood Hogan!

However, not even the dark lightning could hide the horrible white shorts Sting was wearing. They stuck out like a sore thumb. God, if I was wearing these shorts I would want a bunch of dudes to kick my arse while I’m at my car too! They were that bad.

 

Mike Enos vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews of this match. Dave Meltzer described this match as a “worst match of the year candidate” on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter at the time. I didn’t think it was that bad and I would much rather watch this match ten times than the Doomsday Cage match from Uncensored 1996! This match to me was OK.

The announcers noticed there was no Col. Robert Parker, Dick Slater or whoever accompanying Mike Enos down to the ringside. There were USA chants. Enos attacked Duggan. Duggan hip-tossed Enos and then sent him over the top rope with a clothesline.

They get into a shoulder block battle but then they headbutt and punch away at each other. Duggan did the atomic drop but then Enos got the upper-hand by pulling the top rope and sending Duggan crashing to the floor.

Enos did a scoop slam on the outside. Duggan then proceeded to attempt some horrible punches but I guess Enos no-sold them and just took control of the match. These punches would not hurt a fly and would have even put Shane McMahon to shame in terms of their delivery, Maybe these punches put this match on “worst match of the year” level in the eyes of Meltzer!

Enos wore him down with the chin-lock but Duggan fired up to his feet. Duggan threw some better punches and then they tumbled into each other from a double shoulder block attempt. Duggan tried a sunset flip, literally pulling on Enos’ tights and showing Enos’ backside to the world.

Enos went for a top rope splash but Duggan evaded this. This was a very basic match but it’s amazing how much these fans were into this match. Duggan fired up again and fired away with punches in the corner. Hacksaw took the tape out his trunks, hit Enos with it to get the win and the pinfall and then Duggan raised the tape up high in the air for the referee.

It worked with the crowd and… it wasn’t that bad of a match. It was a solid OK but nothing more. They didn’t screw anything up but they did hardly anything of value. Therefore, I cannot put this on worst match of the year territory.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In case you are wondering, the Doomsday Cage match from Uncensored mentioned earlier did “win” the category for worst match of the year for the Wrestling Observer Awards in 1996. For my fabulous review of that match, please click on THIS LINK to read about that monstrosity.

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Hacksaw Jim Duggan after this match and Duggan cut a very good promo. This was a dude that had been up and down the road with the Hulkster, being a beloved babyface during Hulkamania where Hogan was a beloved babyface himself. Duggan said the young kids looked up to Hogan and they knew each other for 20 years. Duggan insisted that he knew what was in Hogan’s heart and so questioned why did he turn his back on everything he know? Duggan’s looking directly into the camera as he cut this promo by the way as if he’s talking to Hogan. An effective way to connect to the crowd and captivate you. I was very much hooked into this promo.

Duggan said the first word his little girl said was “Hulkster”. Duggan then claimed that Hogan was a great technical wrestler! HULK HOGAN is not the man I would have considered a great technical wrestler! Maybe compared to Hacksaw Jim Duggan, he was a great technical wrestler!

However Duggan said he didn’t wanna wrestle Hogan and he just wanted to beat him up. This was a fantastic heart-felt promo from Duggan. Hogan had turned on the fans and Duggan was upset. This really made me want to see Hogan vs Duggan… in some capacity. I wonder if WCW ever did this because this would have a been a solid money promo for that match, if they did it on Nitro for example. I guess we’ll wait and see

 

Ric Flair, Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Woman, Elizabeth and Debra McMichael vs Sting, Lex Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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Yes, I did use a photo from last week’s show. In case you were wondering….

I mentioned this match earlier and when I realised they were doing this match again, I was gobsmacked. It didn’t work last week, so they tried it again? It’s not even like they replaced Steve “Mongo” McMichael with Ric Flair. They replaced Arn Anderson with Flair as Arn was supposed to be in a world title match later. Why? I have no idea why the did this. The worst wrestler in the match last week was Mongo and you’re gonna swap ARN with Ric Flair and not Mongo?

Getting back to Arn Anderson before we get to the match, Arn has lost every Nitro match he’s had in the last 3 weeks. How he got himself a WCW title match on that win/loss record blows the mind.

The men all get into a big brawl as Benoit and Savage batter each other like crazy. Savage and Benoit were a great combination where you could totally believe that they wanted to beat the hell out of each other. As established with the limo spot, Savage was out of his mind and we happen to know for a fact that Benoit became out of his mind in real life. However, their brawling together was really intense and well-done.

Sting worked on Flair in the ring. Savage literally had Benoit squeezed into a front face-lock as Benoit tried to claw at him. The referee tried to get in between them as they cut to a break. The referee eventually restored order and started the match. Sting beat up Benoit for a while and then Ric Flair tagged himself in. Flair took a cheap shot at Savage as the announcers questioned Flair’s loyalties to WCW. Flair and Savage brawled at the “VIP section” as they throw food at each other!

How Sting constantly fell for the finger poke from Ric Flair after all of these years, I’ll never know! Savage spat at Flair from the apron. Savage pointed at Elizabeth and in response, Flair rushed out of the ring to give her a kiss on the lips to infuriate Savage even further.

I love that Savage didn’t even try to wrestle Ric, or lock up with him. He threw hands with him and he just brawled with him. Savage was a mean dude, seeking Ric Flair’s blood at this point! This was another great combination of brawlers. Ric and Savage had some great brawling during their matches as we’re watching the Nitros. It was more old school and less intense as Savage and Benoit but it was great to see.

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Eventually Mongo and Luger get tagged in. Luger was hesitant to go in the ring which I would totally understand if you saw Mongo’s display last week. Somehow, it got worse…

Lex and Mongo locked up… barely might I add. They locked up a second time and it’s not even close to be a proper lock-up. Mongo got Luger into a head-lock and Luger bounced Mongo off the ropes. Mongo lost his footing when running the ropes, he tripped and then fell out of the ring. They cut to Mongo on the outside and Benoit was shown standing on the apron just looking at him as if to say “my god you suck.” Benoit looked at him like you would look at a co-worker thinking “why is he or she still employed?” It was a glare but more a glare of disappointment. Dear god, when Lex Luger is ten times the worker you are, that’s something to indicate that you don’t belong in a ring. This Mongo couldn’t even run the ropes.

Then they struggled to do a headlock together again, and Mongo eventually dragged Luger towards the corner so Flair could get the tag. I guess that was just an audible called by Flair as he could not let Mongo continue in that ring for much longer!

Benoit stomped aware at Luger in the corner. Savage and Benoit get into a brawl. Sting ran wild on Flair… what else is new? Sting slammed Ric with a superplex but Benoit broke up the pin.  Mongo is tagged in and does a clothesline following up with a backbreaker. The heels get the heat on Sting.

Sting eventually fired back and actually tries a backslide but Benoit broke up the pin again. Isn’t there a rule where you’re only supposed to break up the pin once during a tag match? WCW’s rules are strict enough where you can’t even throw a guy over the top rope without getting disqualified (please see my review from last week at this link for further context) and guys are running in with breaking up the pins for the hell of it. Maybe I need to pull up the rule book on that one…

Flair tries a figure four leg lock on Sting I believe but they roll each other over to try and reverse the pressure. Tony Schiavonie claimed referee Nick Patrick was “consistently good”. He’s consistent alright but “consistently good” was not what I was thinking. Jimmy Hart of course ran down and took the camera as the match just stopped. Of course, if you read my introduction to this review you know what happened next.

A rather bland match I didn’t need to see that eventually was a prelude to the real main-event of the show…

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “High Voltage” Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage

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As mentioned, we were waiting around for about 30 minutes as the nWo angle went down. They finally put out a match. Apparently the announcers claimed High Voltage were making their debut which they weren’t. I do recall the Faces of Fear kicking their arses on Nitro previously. Rick Steiner was shown very cautious and paranoid as he made his way down to the ring, looking to the back as Scott was shown trembling as he made his way down to the ring too.

Scott took over Kaos with a Fireman’s Carry and locked on an armbar. Scott tagged in Rick and yelled at him: “let’s go” and “come on” as they’re in the middle of this match.

Rick gets tagged in and get his arse kicked for a while. High Voltage did a double dropkick and a double suplex. Rage did a top rope shoulder tackle. Kaos tried one of his own and Rick was supposed to catch him but Kaos just landed right on his head. It was an absolute horrible bump taken. If I had not re-watched the battle royal from the AEW Double or Nothing show where Joey Janela went head first through the table, that would have been the worst spot I’d seen all day when I watched this!

Scott got the hot tag and ran wild. Scott did a tiger powerbomb. Rick slammed Rage into the corner. Scott dropped Rage with a Steiner Screwdriver for the win. This was… a match with one dangerous botch from Rick and Kenny Kaos.

 

Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart vs Eddie Guerrero in a stand-by match

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This match basically confirmed that the nWo angle did a tremendous job in getting heat for themselves for their attack. Eddie Guerrero was supposed to face Rey Mysterio for the cruiserweight title. Obviously, Rey Mysterio was no longer available to defend the title. Therefore, they replaced Rey Myterio with BIG BUBBA. It’s quite a change of pace to move from facing the CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION to BIG BUBBA. Trust me, I was booing the nWo myself for what they’d done! They robbed from me Eddie Gurerrero vs Rey Mysterio on Nitro. -.-

Also, keep in mind the amount of great cruiserweight matches we’ve seen on Nitro in the last month with Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, Guerrero, Psychosis etc. We get a Cruiserweight championship match cut from the show in favour of Eddie Guerrero vs Big Bubba. Therefore the first thing Bubba must do is get on his knees to mock the height of Eddie Guerrero. Are you kidding me? You’re picking this show, where the WCW Cruiserweight Champion was easily man-handled by Kevin Nash, to again have a heavyweight basically make the cruiserweights seem like jokes? Come on.

Bubba took Eddie down with a shoulder block and then got the heat for what felt like as long as that nWo angle. They do mention The Giant was still scheduled to defend the title tonight but there was no challenger determined. I have to say that obviously they had a plan for Hog Wild, but this would have been a great time for Hollywood Hogan to interject himself into the match and beat The Giant for the title here on Nitro to pop a rating. If it was like a master plan from the nWo to get Hogan into the match by taking out Arn Anderson? It’d be like the finger poke of doom but having the opposite affect. However, they had a plan so why rush things? Therefore, I’m OK with them waiting.

Bubba choked away at Eddie. Bubba did a bearhug slam for a 2 count. Eddie fired back but Bubba just knocked him back down. Bubba put on a LONG ARSE chin lock which felt 20 hours long. There were big Eddie chants along with some dudes booing. It was probably the same dudes chanting boring due the nWo angle.

Eddie finally hit a tornado DDT as the fans were standing and roaring because finally there would be some life in this match. Jimmy took the referee and threw the megaphone to Bubba. It missed Bubba, Eddie then does a sunset flip as the megaphone slipped from Bubba’s grasp after he finally grabbed it and Eddie got the pin. Larry even mentioned that Bubba didn’t need to use the megaphone to win… CORRECT. Bubba was beating Eddie soundly. Eddie Guerrero came off as a geek to me after this show.

Kevin Nash would infamously use the phrase “vanilla midgets” to describe the cruiserweights of WCW. However, if you watch how Rey and Eddie were treated on this show, they were in fact portrayed as vanilla midgets that didn’t matter. Nash took out the Cruiserweight Champion like it was nothing and this match with Eddie Guerrero. Big Bubba beat his arse for about 21 hours and Eddie got a fluke win because the opposing manager screwed up. After weeks of Eddie getting putting over big with victories over Benoit and Psychosis, Big Bubba smashed him for a long time and Eddie got a fluke win to supposedly set up Eddie Guerrero challenging Ric Flair for the WCW United States title at Hog Wild? This match was way worse than Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Mike Enos to me. I don’t care what anyone says…

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Then we got more history. They show the first ever paid-for announcement by the New World Order. There was actually a lot of firsts from this episode of Nitro. They showed the famous nWo logo and play the famous nWo theme music. They declared that “The following broadcast is brought to you by the New World Order.” I love how the nWo proceeded to cut a promo on “Billionaire Ted” when it was probably Ted Turner’s organisation in storyline who agreed to put this on the air! Like it must have been a scenario where the nWo must have offered them a load of money to put these videos on the air and Turner Broadcasting were like… “OK.” Even though nWo were trying to destroy WCW!

The nWo members were all wearing sunglasses. Hogan said it’s a New World Order and there’s nothing you can do about it. He said they were new and they were taking over WCW. Hogan said they made the choices and be ready for the call if anyone was set to join the nWo. Hogan roared with laughter so loud as Hall talked quietly about who’s next to join the nWo. Nash said the whole world wanted to know one thing about Lex Luger…. “whaddya bench? Whaddya bench?” I died. Kevin Nash… his comedy is currently on and off with me. It missed last week with the production team stuff but that line I creased at this line about Lex Luger! Tremendous stuff from Nash.

Hogan said he would beat up The Giant and the very best WCW has to offer. The nWo will establish itself as the greatest wrestling organisation in the world. Hall told Sting and Luger to don’t sing it and bring it.

It was all in black and white and even by today’s standards, it came off so innovative that the people wanted to know what they were gonna do next. This also came right after an angle where they smashed four guys like it was nothing. So yeah, these were interesting times if you were a WCW fan as to what the nWo were up to.

 

The Giant © w/Jimmy Hart vs Greg “The Hammer” Valentine for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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These fireworks that went off for The Giant sounded like dolphins. If you watch this match and listen to the fireworks, they chirped like they were dolphins in the sea! It sounded so not-imposing despite The Giant being out there! Giant slammed Valentine into the ground off a push. Valentine tried to knock down Giant with clotheslines but then Giant just flattened him with a punchline as I’d like to call it…. it was  clothesline/punch hybrid and it was very funny to see Giant just clobber him!

Valentine hit a double axe handle but Giant caught him off the top rope as he attempted ta second one and hit a chokeslam from the top rope. Valentine was what 40+ years old and he was taking a top rope chokeslam from The Giant! Giant had the straps down as he roared and got hyped up with the crowd. The Giant hit a second chokeslam and got the pin. A short squash match for The Giant.

Mean Gene interviewed The Giant and Jimmy Hart. The Giant mocked Hulk Hogan’s “Mean Gene promos” and Giant said Hogan conned America that easily and he made the fans believe what he believed but Hogan himself never even believed in it. The Giant said he’s beaten the finest athletes and has beaten everybody with as much honour as in his body. I understand The Giant is the big babyface now but I do recall guys like Jimmy Hart running in for The Giant during WCW title matches! Honour isn’t particularly the word for it!

The Giant urged: “If we don’t hang together then we’ll all hang individually.” Jimmy promised that they would take Hogan out.

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There was a lot to love about this show but there was also a lot to despise about this show. Yeah, there were important angles that took place that were really well done and shot. However, the nWo angle made everything else seem so unimportant. Dave Meltzer put it best on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter edition for August 5th 1996 that: “The 7/29 Nitro show was basically a backdrop for a major angle.” Yep, that is a perfect description for this episode of Nitro.

We had boring matches and nothing matches up and down the show and the real highlight wasn’t even a match. Again, there’s a yin and a yang to this kind of stuff. As a show to hype me up further for WCW Hog Wild, this really got the job done. This show gets a thumbs up for hyping up Hog Wild and this nWo angle but a thumbs down for everything else.

We have one more episode to go before we get to WCW Hog Wild. I very much enjoyed writing this review and I know I’ve not been as active with the reviews since the new year started but I’m hoping to try and knock as much of these reviews as I can in the next few months. I think the Coronavirus will give me enough time indoors to get to work on this! Stay inside and be safe everybody! Take care of yourselves and I hope you follow the blog to get updates of all of the Nitro reviews and other posts presented by the Armbar Express!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #45 (JULY 22ND 1996) – NEVER MIND THAT SHIT, HERE COMES MONGO!

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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Hollywood Hogan re-appeared for the first time since his big heel turn at WCW Bash at the Beach as he was now aligned with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. The Outsiders and Hogan interrupted an exhilarating Lex Luger vs Big Bubba matchlast week to kick their arses and send them packing. Hogan cut another money promo about the fans turning their backs on him after he showed their children the right path. He said again that the New World Order would rule the professional wrestling world. He issued out the challenge to the WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant for a world title match at Hog Wild, vowing to rename it the nWo Championship.

 

Date: July 22nd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 2.6

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

Squire Dave Taylor vs Scott Norton

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I guess Scott Norton was the “heel” in the break-up angle between himself and Ice Train, which they revealed has led to Scott Norton vs Ice Train being booked for Hog Wild. In case you aren’t caught up with this storyline, they showed last week that Norton and Ice Train were having issues. So seeing Norton vs Squire Dave Taylor in a heel vs heel match seemed kind of odd. As much as I appreciate that not every match is typical good guy vs bad guy match and I appreciate how every match is not the same as the next one, two bad guys just having a nothing match is really not the best way to open Nitro as a means to get people excited.

Meng vs Arn Anderson had this same problem last week. As good as those two men were, they put them in the ring together and there was barely any reaction from the crowd because they were both heels. In response to that I guess, they take Taylor and Norton, who were two decent workers, and had them open the show with a nothing match.

Norton knocked Taylor down with a shoulder tackle. Norton shrugged off uppercuts and dropkicks and floored Taylor with a clothesline. Taylor tried again with uppercuts and shoulder tackles but Norton instead threw Taylor over the top rope for the disqualification. Those are all of the notes I have on this match. They brawled, Norton threw Taylor’s arse over the top rope and the referee called for the DQ.

An absolute waste of time and all the more reason why they needed to get rid of this over-the-top-rope rule. I kinda appreciate the concept but not the best way to get the crowd excited when you could get disqualified for throwing someone over the top rope. In essence, you’re disqualified for kicking too much arse.

Taylor smashed Norton into the ring post. They brawled and then Norton tried a powerbomb but Taylor rolled off of him as Norton relented his assault and walked to the back as Taylor was declared the winner.

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Four Horsemen. There’s Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit as well as the ladies in Miss Elizabeth, Woman and Debra McMichael. However, there’s no Ric Flair. Arn said Ric would be here right on queue. Mongo said it was his chance to beat up the real “pretty boys” in Randy Savage, Lex Luger and Sting and things would not be pretty after tonight. Beauty is subjective by its very nature but the one thing I do not associate with “Macho Man” Randy Savage is being a pretty boy! This was certainly a weird promo from Mongo! Benoit said we were gonna experience the crippler, silent but violent.

 

VK Wallstreet vs “Konan”

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Konnan came down to the ring and was billed on the TV screen as “Konan”. One of the n’s were dropped from his name for whatever reason.

Konan took Wallstreet over with an arm-drag. They were feeling each other out and Wallstreet bounced Konan off the turnbuckle, and Konan bounced off this turnbuckle with quite the oversell.

Konan wrestled Wallstreet to the mat. Wallstreet smashed Konan into the steel steps. There were buffering problems galore during this match for me on the WWE Network. Wallstreet took over and worked on the leg, stomping on it and wrenching on it. The fans booed as not a lot happened in this match.

Wallstreet then locked on a chin-lock and there was suddenly a “Konan” chant as the fans tried to urge him back into the match to bring some energy to the match. Konan tried to get back into the match and he just ran at and missed Wallstreet, smashing into the corner and Larry Zybsko made fun of him for just trying to run at Wallstreet.

Konan hit a lariat. Konan fought back. Wallstreet hit a sloppy Samoan drop which I think Konan screwed up as he fell down too early. The timing was just not there for the finish. Konan reversed the lazy pin into a cradle of his own for the win. I was very much not a fan of this match. I felt it was very quiet, clunky at times and it really never did anything for me. Thumbs down from me.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sting, Randy Savage and Lex Luger. Luger said Flair was probably in a big fat limo or hotel but he, Sting and Savage came here to make a statement. Luger explained Sting and Savage were in Japan last week but now they were all here to make a strong statement of where they were all at. Sting said he felt like chomping on horsemen tonight. Savage wanted Hogan, the Outsiders and Flair and suggests they get it all over with in one night. Savage went crazy wanting them all to come out and sort it all out tonight.

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They showed Glacier whipping out some martial arts to hype up his debut… again.

Then they aired the following video package – it was four geeks walking together side-by-side at a beach. It was Alex Wright, Joe Gomez, Jim Powers and The Renegade. I think Gomez and Renegade teamed up against the Four Horsemen on Nitro but other than that, this was the first time we’ve seen them as a faction.

Now in order to highlight how much of a geek stable they looked, I want to bring up the stable called Evolution from WWE in the Ruthless Aggression era. The WWE Network have been releasing documentaries about this era and one of the episodes was about Evolution. They explained that when Batista was injured and while it was just Triple H, Flair and Randy Orton together, they were considering bringing in Mark Jindrak as the 4th member. They tell the story about how they were filming the four men walking side-by-side while they were filming their titantron or something. It’s how we got the infamous image of Jindrak walking alongside these guys.

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Anyway, so WWE did that in 2003 to try and show them off as four cool dudes in suits walking down the road. You had the past in Triple H and Ric Flair flanked by the future in Randy Orton and… in this case, MARK JINDRAK. In WCW 1996, they have these four nothing guys in sunglasses individually all take their Nitro shirts in the most uncool/un-hot manner. They have these four MEN then walk down the beach Evolution-style with this long hair and posing up a storm. These hot-throbs were not looking hot… at least not me. Maybe some women in 1996 fainted at the sight of these four hunks.

And then….

 

The Renegade, Alex Wright, Joe Gomez and Jim Powers vs “The Dungeon of Doom” Taskmaster, Hugh Morrus, The Barbarian and The Leprechaun w/Jimmy Hart

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So the Dungeon of Geeks faces the Dungeon of Doom in an eight man tag team match. Joining the Dungeon of Doom at this time was a man called “The Leprechaun”, as he ran around and harassed everybody like a mad man. In case you were all wondering, I watched this episode of Nitro on St. Patricks Day. And of course, they show THE LEPRECHAUN on the episode of Nitro I happened to be watching ON ST PATRICK DAYS OF 2020!

Renegade ran wild and then they cut away from this match to show disruption in the production area. They show Barbarian smashing away at Wright, with Wright coming back into the fight with a moonsault. Then they cut to the backstage area for about 90% of the match.

They showed “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in the control room. It turned to black and Nash joked they shouldn’t have bought that cheap TV. Nash yelled “IT’S THE BRAIN CENTRE” as he hijacked a headset. Hall told one of the production geeks to pan to the crowd as he got a headset. The production crew did what the Outsiders said as they pleaded with them with the geekiest voices imaginable. Hall threatened to sue the security for throwing him out and then forced the production to pan to the crowd. They then get back to the action as Gomez was battling with Taskmaster. As a wrestling fan watching this almost 25 years after it happened, this came off so bad. I guess it worked with the fans as they started to love the New World Order but this came off so corny to me.

All they really did was pick on a bunch of geeks on the production screen and play around with the cameras, with Nash cutting dad jokes. With this as well as the scene last week of Nash and Hall getting blankets and covering the WCW sign, this really hurt the seriousness of this angle. Nash and Hall came off as such dorks rather than an actual threat to WCW. This is a little bit of a spoiler for next week, but they are presented in a much more formidable force in WCW which we will cover on the Armbar Express.

Meanwhile, how pissed off must the eight men in the ring (and Jimmy Hart at ringside I guess) have been with how this match was literally hijacked by their own company? Teddy Long came down to inspire and amp up Powers. Powers actually got a power boost if you will as he fired away at Hugh Morrus. Powers started actually smashing guys. The good guys ran wild and then WCW World Champion The Giant ran down as smashed every babyface in the ring with chokeslam, one after the other. The fans were actually going nuts for all of this because when you have one man dominating and conquering all, the fans take notice as this was a force to be reckoned with. Sucks to be the babyfaces (and the rest of the Dungeon of the Doom for that matter) but the goal was to put the WCW World Heavyweight Champion over to fight Hogan which I had no problem with.

Giant raised his arms and the fans cheered. Mean Gene interviewed The Giant and Jimmy Hart. Mean Gene said: “Jimmy you scare me especially when you’re behind me like that.” The Giant said his mission when he arrived was to win the title which he did. He said he’d defend it wherever he was, whether it was Japan or here in the US. Giant said while Hogan was trying to make movies and win Oscars, he was dominating WCW. The Giant said WCW wanted him to take care of Hogan and he was going to chokeslam him in the middle of the ring as the fans roared with approval. Jimmy said The Giant would be ready for Hog Wild. This was good promo from The Giant to hype up the main-event of Hog Wild. A thumbs up from me!

 

DDP vs Prince Iaukea

DDP hit a Diamond Cutter and got the win. That is pretty much all you need to know about this match.

….Moving on….

 

Dean Malenko vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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Making his WCW Nitro debut this week was Chavo Guerrero Jr. He cut an inset promo saying Malenko had fought many men but he hadn’t fought him. I thought this was a fun match. It was the most fun match of the show up until this point.

Chavo started off very fast and Dean cut him off with a gutbuster. Dean threw him up and splattered him down to the mat. They announced Dean Malenko vs Chris Benoit for Hog Wild as Dean cost Benoit his match with Eddie Guerrero last week. The irony that Dean helped Eddie last week and is now facing Chavo in a match this week!

Dean dropped Chavo right on his head with a teardrop suplex. Dean hit a fallaway slam with 30 seconds left before hour two. Dean and Chavo battled for the superplex as the fireworks went off, with Bischoff sounding like he was on a walkie-talkie as he welcomed us to the second hour. This came off very low-rent to me as the fireworks seemed to have a really bad affect on the audio eqipment.

Dean smashed Chavo with a clothesline and went to work with a headscissors submission. Bischoff asked for Bobby Heenan on commentary and we got no response and then… we just heard a crash. It was like something had been knocked over and then Bobby started talking and we went on as normal. Weird technical difficulties at Disney/MGM Studios.

The front row showed a family of three going crazy during this match and then there was a girl to their right just backing away while looking at them with disgust!

Dean locked on a bow and arrow submission I think and then locked on the STF as Chavo refused to give up. More fireworks went off as Dean continued to go to work. Chavo got out of a submission with a dropkick. This family was still continuing to have a ball in the front row!

Dean hit a brainbuster. Jimmy Hart made his way down to the ringside and cheered on Dean. Dean hit a big powerbomb and Jimmy yelled that he wanted Dean as part of the Dungeon of Doom. As Dean is distracted with Jimmy, Chavo almost caught him with a roll-up and then later on nearly pinned him with a small package.

Dean caught Chavo off the top rope and locked on the Texas Clover Leaf as Chavo tapped out for a submission victory for Malenko. A fun match I think. Not as good as the Kidman match from last week but a fun match nevertheless. This gets a thumbs up.

 

Ice Train vs Meng

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This, to me anyway, became the newest funnest match of the episode. Meng vs Ice Train had a hoss battle! Two big dudes smashing into each other. It was sloppy in parts but a fun train-wreck nevertheless!

I love Bobby putting over the fact that Ice Train started a year ago but stopped when he realised he wasn’t ready but now he’s back and seemed ready to go and that made him a smart man. It made him seem like a mature wrestler and I appreciate that. As I talk about Ice Train being smarter and mature, Ice Train was playing to the crowd and Meng just started kicking his arse!

Ice Train hit a massive crossbody on Meng as the two big behemoths crashed into each other.  Ice Train and Meng messed up a sunset flip where Meng was just stood there was Ice Train waited for him to keel over for the spot.

Ice Train did a small package for a two count TO MENG. Meng was a tall frame but he was willing to do spots involving small packages and roll-ups! Meng dropped Ice Train with a head butt. Ice Train tried a scoop slam but Meng was too big. Meng snarled as he went to work on Ice Train!

Meng locked on a double never hold but Ice Train eventually shook off the abuse. Ice Train hit a running shoulder tackle. Meng dropped Ice Train to his knees with two headbutts and then Meng tried a camel clutch but Ice Train broke free. Ice Train fired up with big chops in the corner with sweat being splashed into the camera as he ran wild. I don’t know why, but I thought that was cool. This was such a hard-hitting match that sweat got all up the corner and in the camera lens as Ice Train hit these chops with such ferocity!

Ice Train hit a big power slam for a 2 count. Meng murdered Ice Train with a superkick as Ice Train came off the middle rope. Then Scott Norton beat up Meng for the disqualification. Norton yelled that he’s got Ice Train’s back as he doesn’t want Ice Train to have no excuses as Ice Train’s worst nightmare is about to come true.

I figured this disqualification was coming but when you think about it, both Ice Train and Scott Norton lost their matches on this episode leading to them having a match on pay-per-view. It’s a feud of two losers costing themselves or each other to lose all the way to the pay-per-view. I get why they did it but it didn’t make either of them good. Other than that, I was OK with this battle between Meng and Ice Train.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Psychosis

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I thought it was kind of cool to see Pyschosis spit green mist into the air for his entrance. It was visually great and added more to this luchador to the casual viewer.

The two luchadors grappled on the mat for control with Psychosis eventually gaining control with a spinning toe hold and then slapping Eddie in the face. Bobby Heenan talked about the Guerreros and Eddie would have been the one that would become the very best Guerrero. If we’re talking about name recognition, Bobby Heenan ended up being right on the money about this!

Eddie ran wild and hit, and I mean HIT, a top rope crossbody. Eddie landed right on top of Psychosis and was stood back up cheering with the crowd. Eddie lifted Psychosis up who either was not willing to go up for the backdrop or Psychosis was just too tall for tiny Guerrero.

Psychosis eventually took control and hit a top rope wheel kick which actually looked very slick. I love how Psychosis did a dive and sent Eddie crashing to the feet of the fans and the fans in the front row yelled down at Eddie and encouraging him to get up!

Psychosis did a top rope leg drop. Eddie did a victory roll for the 2 count. Eddie turned things around and hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. There was a sweet exchange which nearly turned to Psychosis getting the roll up win.

Psychosis hit a powerbomb and a corkscrew with Eddie kicking out at two. Eddie eventually fired back and hit a hurricanrana and hit a frog splash for the win. This was an awesome match but again… Eddie was looking to rush to the finish for some reason like he did during their first match two weeks ago. He got the moves done so quick and then power-walked to back saying “WCW.” It was weird. However, this was the best match on the show by a huge margin.

 

“The Four Horsemen” Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Woman, Debra and Miss Elizabeth vs Sting, Lex Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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As I watch the career of Steve “Mongo” McMichael progress as a WCW wrestler, there’s a part of me that really does not want to think that he was as bad as people made him out to be. When I watched his big tag team match at the Great American Bash and the odd Nitro match, I figured that maybe he wasn’t that terrible. There was some promise and he was doing things right in terms of taking things slow, focusing on the stuff he was good at. In this six man tag team match, he did a nice shoulder tackle for example.

However, other than that one spot I just mentioned, this Mongo was so horrible and please take into consideration the men he was in the ring with. Lex Luger isn’t particularly great but think about everybody else. You have Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, Sting and Randy Savage in the ring and Mongo made this match completely fall apart. This isn’t even like the Four Horsemen eight man tag from 3 weeks ago where he did very little. Everything he did in this match, minus one spot, was some of the dirt-worst of professional wrestling.

Arn was shown in a white limo I guess looking for Flair but he wasn’t there so I guess Arn was taking Flair’s place in the match. Sting ran wild on all three Horsemen but it was Mongo that stopped him in his tracks with a middle rope shoulder tackle, which I mentioned earlier.

Savage chased the women around as Arn choked Sting. Benoit hit a suplex as he urged Sting to give up. Then Mongo got tagged in and hit a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Sting went for a crossbody and smashed right into the head of Mongo. Sting over-shot his target so I’m not entirely sure I can blame Mongo on that one. However, Mongo didn’t really seem to welcome a flying Sting coming at him… for a former American football player! That was only the beginning of miscommunication between Sting and Mongo in this match.

Sting fired back to his feet but Arn kept Sting down on the mat by trapping his legs as Sting tried to reach for the hot tag. Sting fired away at the heels and for some reason, Mongo grabbed Sting’s arm and then they fell down and Mongo went for the cover. The botch looked so bad but in storyline, if you really think about, Mongo wrestled Sting to the ground. WHAT?

And then, oh then the highlight of the match, Mongo lifted Sting from his leg and barely supports Sting’s body as he initially tried to do a back suplex. Sting was not willing go up for this back suplex and grabbed the top rope. So Mongo’s just got Sting in the air and Sting is grabbing the rope. Mongo’s idea to recover the spot is just to fall back, drop Sting and have it turned into an in-adverted sit-out powerbomb where Sting fell on his arse. Yeah this was terrible stuff from Mongo. Mongo was gassed as well on the apron so he got blown up from this point!

Lex Luger eventually got the hot tag. Luger did a scoop slam to Mongo and somehow, they pulled it off with no issues. Lex Luger and Mongo did a spot together! It broke out into a six way brawl. It turned into a mess of a match as they tried to synchronise spots. Debra and Woman argue over the briefcase allegedly with Randy Savage’s money inside but Savage intercepted it and got his money back to a monstrous pop from the crowd. After all of this time, Savage finally got his money back from the heels.

It does make you wonder though about this storyline with Randy Savage’s money… are the heels in storyline just completely moronic with how they use it? One week, Elizabeth is throwing around Savage’s money and is apparently the “sugar mamma” of the Four Horsemen, funding everything they do. Then, they give a briefcase of Savage’s money to Mongo who just carried it around. Mongo sold out for money and then he just carried the money around in a briefcase. Then Savage intercepted the briefcase and somehow, he’s got all of his money back. For some reason, the Horsemen had all of Savage’s money in this briefcase which Mongo didn’t even spend! Which begs the question… why did he join the Horsemen if not for the money which was apparent early on in the storyline? To WCW’s credit, Savage getting his money back did get a big pop from the crowd but this storyline was tricky to keep up with.

Then my review notes just read -” What the fuck” most because of the finish. Sting went for a roll-up on Mongo but Mongo kicked out. Mongo stayed on the mat and the referee distracted himself with Sting and Mongo as Savage hit Benoit with the briefcase and Luger pinned Benoit so I think this was the fault of the referee. Benoit and Luger were already the legal men so I have no idea what the referee was doing counting the pin for Sting and Mongo. I think Sting was yelling at the referee afterwards as they showed the replay of the spot. Then the referee saw Luger in the match pinning Benoit and counted to three. So it appears Sting, Mongo and the referee all lost track of who the legal men were in this match. This match, and the finish,… sucked.

Bobby just said let’s get out of here.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sting, Luger and Savage again. A woman threw something in the ring and Mean Gene told the young lady not to throw her underwear in the ring! Macho Man, who clearly didn’t care one bit, said “that’s OK!” Savage was totally OK with women throwing their underwear at these handsome men. Maybe Mongo was on to something with that “pretty boys” line from earlier on in the show!

Sting said that they were not feeling down, they were feeling mean. Sting said he doesn’t read horoscopes and apparently it was gonna be a bad day for Leos and called the Outsiders “Leos”. Luger said the Outsiders were pushing all the wrong buttons. Luger said they’ve done a good job of pushing them over the edge and they’re gonna lose it. Luger said they mocked WCW but he said they were gonna shove their teeth down to their throat to wipe the smirks of their faces. I actually though Luger did a great job with his promo. Savage said nothing was gonna stop him from kicking Hogan’s ass. The fans were going nuts for this big promo. This was a fine promo to close the show.

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Generally, I thought this was a good show with bumps on the road here and there. The train-wreck of a main-event didn’t help but it was saved by a good promo from the babyfaces. There were some fun matches on the show and the fun stuff outweighed the bad stuff so this show gets a thumbs up from me! Maybe I’m being generous but during a time like this for the world with coronavirus, maybe we need some positivity here and there. I’m also a believer in giving credit where credit is due, so I’m gonna go this show a whole bunch of credit today!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #44 (JULY 15TH 1996) – “HOLLYWOOD” HOGAN RETURNS AFTER BASH AT THE BEACH

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 had finally arrived in WCW, with Hulk Hogan revealing his true colours at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996. The Outsiders appeared onthe night after the PPV, revealing Hulk Hogan would be appearing on Nitro the week after. Sting vowed revenge after the PPV, Randy Savage vowed revenge after the PPV, Arn Anderson was disappointed in Hogan, Taskmaster was upset at not killing Hulkamania himself, Ric Flair didn’t care and Rey Mysterio Jr won the WCW Cruiserweight title during a very solemn-like episode ofWCW Monday Nitro

 

We’re back with WCW Nitro reviews. This felt like a really mixed edition of Nitro, this July 15th 1996 edition. There weren’t many things about this that came off as plain and formulaistic. Last week saw multiple cruiserweight matches hat were both good but similar to each other in the form. Accompanying this was just a bunch of nothing matches that were interchangeable. This episode was different.

We got big men throwing each other around in the opening match, we got a cruiserweight match where Dean Malenko destroyed Billy Kidman, we got Benoit vs Guerrero again, we got women’s wrestling of all things on this episode and we got Arn Anderson vs Meng which was such a weird concept if you think about it. There were very few things on this episode that were similar to each other. Even the nWo business was unique in how it was presented but we’ll get to that. It wasn’t just Hall and Nash showing up this week either. No, they had company…

 

Date: July 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3.4

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

“Fire and Ice” Scott Norton and Ice Train vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner

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As much as I was looking forward to this match again, two Scotts in this match always makes note-taking HARD for me! I ended up writing things like Scott did (blank) to Scott for example and it’s hard to transcribe the action when they’re not that different from each other in size and certain things they did in the ring. Maybe if it was Scott Steiner vs Scotty 2 Hotty I could at least assume it was most likely Steiner that did a belly-to-belly suplex for example!

As much as I was looking forward to this match again, this match didn’t quite have the “fire” if you will of past Fire and Ice vs Steiners matches. I said there wasn’t really a set formula with these matches on this episode but there felt more of a pattern to the Steiners vs Fire and Ice matches than there was initially. This was the first time where it felt like they were just doing stuff until they got to the finish. I wasn’t a fan.

Sting, The Giant, Ric Flair and Randy Savage apparently were not here on this episode of Nitro. They claimed they were wrestling in Japan. The only one that had felt the nWo’s wrath, according to the announcers, that was there on this show was Lex Luger. The announcers talking about “friction” within Fire and Ice and I had no idea what they were on about. I guess this was part of a WCW Saturday Night storyline.

Norton beat up Scott Steiner for a while. Scott Steiner eventually fired back and hit a big belly-to-belly on Norton, sending him to the outside. Not a lot happened prior to the first break. Teddy Long came down to ringside.

Things picked up a little as Ice Train hit a big powerslam. Rick dropped Ice Train RIGHT on his head with a belly to belly. It looked nasty. Rick hit a reverse DDT for a 2 count. The Scotts both got tagged back in but Norton threw Steiner’s arse to the floor and delivered a double axe handle.

Norton hit a middle top clothesline and tried a fist drop but Scott Steiner got the foot up. Rick got the hot tag and caught Norton and slammed him down but Ice Train broke up the pin.

Ice Train ended up hitting a big splash to his own partner as Rick hits a German suplex with a bridge. Ice Train’s foot was as clear as day under the bottom rope and referee Nick Patrick just did the three count. A very clunky match.

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Dungeon of Doom. Taskmaster talked about living for the death of Hulkamania. Jimmy said some stuff. Big Bubba cut a promo as the Faces of Fear came out. Fire and Ice walked past the Dungeon and to the back bickering with each other. Taskmaster said Benoit got a little too personal with him at the PPV.

Then Mean Gene was with Fire and Ice. Scott Norton yelled that they were getting the best teams beat but Ice Train kept screwing it up. Teddy Long cut them off and said he didn’t wanna see them break up. Norton pushed down Teddy Long. Ice Train and Norton threatened to kick each other’s arse as Teddy laid MOTIONLESS on the ground at the sheer push of Scott Norton! This Teddy Long was quite a pro with putting over these big monsters!

 

Dean Malenko vs Billy Kidman

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Remember when I said the cruiserweight matches fromlast week were very similar to each other? This cruiserweight match was totally different to both of those matches and ironically, it included a guy in Dean Malenko who was in one of those matches last week!

Dean Malenko, if you’ll recall, lost the Cruiserweight title last week. Dean’s response to losing this championship he held so dear was to destroy poor Billy Kidman! The match happened and went along at a smooth pace and then Dean decided to decimate him with an incredible finishing sequence! This was not a match where they did a whole bunch of near falls and then Dean hit one last move and pinned Kidman. The match was fairly even and then Dean proved to be the better man by making an example out of this Kidman. Last week, he took Rey Mysterio Jr. lightly and lost the title. Here, Dean did not take Kidman lightly!

Dean tried a piledriver on the outside but Kidman reversed it. Kidman did a top rope dropkick for a 2 count. Kidman dropped Malenko with a German Suplex. Dean took over and locked on a knee bar. Dean worked on the knee.

Kidman fought back but Malenko cut him off with a big powerslam. Dean got the heat. Dean hit an Alabama Slam. The two men reversed roll-ups. Kidman did a Dudley Dog like bulldog. Kidman missed a shooting star press and then Dean Malenko made this poor young buck pay for missing this high spot.

Dean dropped him with a brainbuster and then smashed him with a powerbomb and then hit a tiger powerbomb and then did a Texas Clover Leaf for the submission win. In one big sequence, he massacred Kidman and the fans went going nuts for every move he followed up with until the match was over. Dean smashing Kidman with this finish was quite great to see. Kidman was the sacrificial lamb in Malenko’s eyes!

A decent match with an tremendous finish!

 

Mean Gene was with Kevin Greene. The last time we saw Kevin Greene was at The Great American Bash when Steve “Mongo” McMichael turned on him during their tag match. Greene proceeded to cut a very good babyface promo. He showed passion as he talked about “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. Greene talked about growing up on eating vitamins and saying prayers only to find out that Hogan didn’t even believe what he was preaching. Greene talked about Hogan being a hero and then Hogan stabbed everybody in the back. Greene called out Mongo as he’s got 2 hours before his plane leaves. I thought Kevin Greene cut a great promo on Hogan and Mongo!

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Sister Sherri vs “Rough and Ready” Mike Enos and Dick Slater w/Col. Robert Parker for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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Of course a tag team called “Rough and Ready” had to feature two men known as Dick and Enos in WCW. Vince Russo isn’t even here yet and the innuendos are running wild on WCW Nitro.

Rough and Ready rough up Harlem Heat. Stevie wrapped his hands around Dick for the bear hug. The fans chanted for Harlem Heat as Stevie and Enos did the test of strength.

Enos fought his way out with headbutts. Stevie beat up on Enos for a while. Booker did a side kick that looked like it completely missed. Dick threw Booker out of the ring. Dick and Enos double-teamed Booker as Enos hit a scoop slam on Booker. Booker cut off Dick with a low blow.

Stevie looked gassed on the apron as Booker was in the ring. Booker hit a side kick which connected and then he followed up with a Scissors Kick. Stevie choked on Enos.

Then the match broke into a four way brawl and it just completely fell apart. It’s very sloppy stuff as I had no idea who the good guys and bad guys were. Booker missed a corner dropkick and fell on his shoulders. Dick pounded away at Booker. Enos sent Booker flying with a fallaway slam.

Stevie got the hot tag and it just completely fell apart again as referee Nick Patrick claimed Stevie never got the tag. Parker got on the apron and then, Sherri kissed Dick. Booker then rolled up Dick for the win.

Jokes aside, that match was a complete mess to me.

 

Kevin Greene was talking with Mean Gene again as Greene still wanted Mongo to come out. Greene was begging for Mongo as he took his shirt off. He eventually he gave up as he had to catch his plane. He promised to come back after the NFL season was over!

 

Madusa vs Malia Hosaka

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I thought this was a very enjoyable women’s match. Madusa hit a Northern Lights Suplex. Osaka smashed Madusa with a spinning kick Osaka tried to pin Madusa with just her knee. Larry Zybsko, of course, had to talk about women needing to be in the kitchen rather than being in the ring. At this point, I was begging for Eric Bischoff to come and get Larry out of the announce booth.

Osaka got the heat. Osaka did hair-assisted snapmares and went for the headlock. Madusa retaliated as she fired away with kicks and did her own hair snapmares. Madusa tried a powerbomb but Osaka tripped the leg and did a Boston Crab. Madusa got out of it. Osaka hit the swinging neckbreaker and then missed what was basically a coffin drop that Darby Allin does nowadays. Madusa does a top rope senton but she missed. Osaka missed a crossbody and Madusa hit a german suplex for the pin.

In short, the finish of this match was the girls trying and failing every dive they attempted until Madusa eventually tried something else… and won! That was the finish! A fun women’s match in my eyes with an interesting finish.

 

The fireworks went off for the second hour and who should show up but Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. I guess the letters W C W were up there. In response, Nash and Hall covered up the letters with sheets or blankets or something and spray-painted the letters N W O. This really did come off as really stupid. I understand that the nWo are heels and are not supposed to be liked, but this came off as the dorkiest thing ever.

As established last week when Kevin Nash and Scott Hall arrived in a limo, the nWo has money. You mean to tell me that Hall and Nash’s big idea was to go grab three blankets from like the local supermarket and spray-paint on them? This came off so bad.

 

 

Meng w/Jimmy Hart vs Arn Anderson

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Was this just like a contest to see if Arn could have a more boring match each and every week? Last week, him and Sting just had a nothing match that nobody cared about. Here, he’s wrestling Meng so there’s no heat as there is two heels fighting each other. The match was just there and then Arn got beat in the middle like it was nothing. Remember like a few months ago when Arn beat Hulk Hogan two weeks in a row? Now, the Four Horsemen are becoming the whipping boys the Dungeon of Doom to I guess set up The Giant for Hogan. A weird way to book since The Giant was not involved in this match!

Meng backed Arn into the corner with Meng trying to trade fists with him. Arn and Meng eventually got into a bit of a wrestling match. From a massive whistle going off in the crowd and fireworks CONTINUING to go off in the background, it took a lot away from the match. These fireworks went off for like 5 minutes and were very difficult to ignore. Meng got the heat and Meng choked away at Arn. Arn work on the big legs of Meng by wrapping his legs around the corner of the ring.

The Barbarian came down and I wanted Barbarian or Meng to go down and eat this person that kept blowing this whistle during the match. If there was one thing more annoying than the fireworks was this guy or girl blowing this whistle constantly. This was a pretty boring match to be fair and I’d hate to say about Arn Anderson and Meng.

Jimmy got some kicks in on the outside, mocking the Four Horsemen symbol. Meng jumped from the apron and did a diving karate chop to the head. Arn went back to working on the legs. Barbarian got up on the apron and interfered, and Meng followed this up with a super kick, walked around for a while and got the pin.

A pointless match.

 

 

Mean Gene interviewed Steve “Mongo” Michael and his wife Debra. I love how Mean Gene immediately stated that it was funny Mongo came out right after Kevin Greene had left. Mongo started to get all cocky and then Mean Gene alerted him that they had Greene right there ready for him. Then Mongo is all spooked out and turned around. Mean Gene then butted in and goes: “well I guess he’s already left.” This was such classic chickenshit heel stuff from Mongo! He was all tough when he knew Greene wasn’t there but at the first mention that Greene might be here, he turned back into a coward! Mongo avoided Kevin Greene all night and acted all tough. The slightest whiff that Greene might be in the building and Mongo is scared. Mean Gene basically called him on his bluff!

Mongo, without a beat, got all cocky again. He called out Greene. Debra, in my opinion, cut a bad promo about all the stuff Mongo did in the NFL… on a WRESTLING SHOW. As an outsider who doesn’t watch NFL, I had no idea why their NFL careers were relevant as part of the programme with Mongo and Greene. Yeah, they were both NFL players. However, the key is Mongo sold out on his friend for money. I’m not a fan of doing an angle based on another sport for a wrestling angle.

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

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The best part about seeing Benoit vs Guerrero again is that this is not like we see this match every week. It’s been months since we’ve seen Benoit vs Guerrero on a Nitro which is a big key. They may have been wrestling 10,000 times on WCW Saturday Night or WCW Pro or whatever. However, the eyeballs were on the biggest show they’ve got which is WCW Nitro. Therefore, when they show this match after months of it not being featured on Nitro, it came off fresh and exciting to the viewers who possibly only have time to watch Nitro. It’s great because it doesn’t burn out Benoit and Guerrero to the viewers either.

Benoit wanted the referee to check Eddie and then Benoit took advantage with a cheap shot. Benoit beat down Eddie. Eddie tried a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but Benoit landed on his feet. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Eddie did an arm drag out of it. Eddie did a dive to the outside.

Eddie did a rolling senton into the ring. Eddie was running wild and finally hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker after a few attempts. Benoit did a back suplex. Nash and Hall eventually left. Benoit locked on a camel clutch. Eddie hit a beautiful belly to back suplex.

Benoit did a liontamer-like boston crab. Benoit hit a big powerbomb for a 2 count. Benoit got the heat for a while. Benoit eventually went up to the top rope but Eddie cut him off and hit a superplex which the fans popped for. Eric Bischoff even said “this crowd is lit”… in 1996.

Eddie punched away at Benoit in the corner and then they traded punches, chops and slaps to the chest in this true fight. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Eddie launched himself and Benoit over the top with a headscissors. All of a sudden, Dean Malenko ran out and threw Benoit into the ring post. Apparently Jimmy Hart was talking to Dean earlier, and I guess paid him off to take out Benoit.

Eddie beat the 10 count into the ring but Benoit did not as Eddie picked up the count out victory. Say what you will but a count out victory did come off as a finish that was different and new. With the exception of like double count-outs, we have rarely seen this kind of a count-out victory in a singles match, even if it’s from shenanigans by Malenko.

This was a fun Benoit vs Guerrero match as always.

 

 

Lex Luger © vs Big Bubba for the WCW Television Championship

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Bubba punched away at Luger and went to work but Luger cut Bubba off from the top rope. Luger sent Bubba to the outside. Luger wrenched Bubba’s arm but Bubba cut him off with an eye poke.

Luger hit a forearm for a 2 count. Bubba hit a ugly looking facebuster on Luger. Bubba got the heat. The black limo showed up with Nash and Hall watching on. Bubba whipped out an enziguri for a 2 count. Luger fired back up and they hit a double clothesline to knock each other down. Not a lot happened in this main-event. It honestly didn’t matter because Nash and Hall eventually made their way down to the ring for the disqualification.

Nash and Hall jumped Luger in the ring and pummelled him. It’s funny because I didn’t write down a finish! Therefore I just assume the match was thrown out and Bubba was disqualified! Yeah, god forbid that Lex Luger beats Big Bubba clean in the main-event of Nitro.

Eventually, in walked HOLLYWOOD Hulk Hogan all in black for the first time since “Evil” Hulk Hogan wrestled Sting. Nash hit the Jacknife powerbomb. Hogan slapped away at a floored Luger and shook Bubba’s hands. It turned out to be a ruse as Nash and Hall jumped Bubba as well. The fans booed unmercifully as the nWo egged on the fans to boo them even more. They really did have the fans at Disney World at the palm of their hands as they incited even more hatred! They were the baddest of the bad… and then a bunch of fans chanted “Diesel”!

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Mean Gene interviewed the nWo. Hogan said he wished he did this 2 years ago. Hogan said he was bigger than the whole world of professional wrestling. Hogan said they would rule the wrestling world. Mean Gene asked “well what about the children?” Hogan said these people had the gall to boo Hulk Hogan after he tried to lead the children down the right path? He once again told the fans to stick it. Hogan talked about Sting being a little body builder. Hogan said Macho Man blamed his divorce on Hogan. One bottle from the crowd was thrown and hit Nash right in the face and he completely no-sold it. It’s actually unbelievable. They’re in DISNEY WORLD and all these fans are pelting garbage in the ring! This isn’t even like ECW at the Hammerstein Ballroom or like the hardcorest of fans at Madison Square Garden, these were tourists and just families pelting crap in the ring at the heels! It was surreal.

Hogan said the New World Order will rule the wrestling world. Hogan said the Outsiders were the foundation and Hogan said as he will build his empire, Hogan teased some of the wrestlers and more outsiders possibly joining the group. Hogan said he’s done with the kids. He talked trash about “skinny” Macho Man and “crybaby” Sting. Hogan called The Giant out for Hog Wild and they were gonna take the WCW title and rename it the nWo title. Hogan vowed to beat up the whole of WCW right now as Hogan and the Outsiders were all fired up.

This was a money promo to say the least. If you weren’t excited about this storyline before, then you sure as hell were now. They were a group looking to take over the company and Hogan was not gonna let the kids or let anyone get in his way anymore. They have a match for Hog Wild in The Giant vs Hollywood Hogan for the title and the fans were hanging onto every word he said as a heel. It was tremendous work from the Hulkster.

Then the Steiners and the Faces of Fear came down along with Arn Anderson as they surrounded the nWo. The nWo armed themselves with weapons. They ended the show as the fight was about to start.

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I though this was a fun episode. There were some good matches. The show dragged at places but I think the ending was a fun way to continue this storyline. We have a direction for Hog Wild and this show gets a thumbs up from me!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #43 (JULY 8TH 1996) – THE NIGHT AFTER BASH AT THE BEACH 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 big main-event going into WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 was the “Hostile Takeover” match with Team WCW in Lex Luger, “Macho” Man Randy Savage and Sting battling “The Outsiders” Scott Hall and Kevin Nash and a mystery third man. The mystery man did not come out initially and the Outsiders claimed that they would be fine with just the two of them. Lex Luger got knocked out which turned this into a tag team match with Sting and Savage battling the Outsiders. As the Outsiders got the upper-hand, Hulk Hogan made his return to WCW to seemingly help Team WCW. However, Hogan betrayed WCW as it was revealed that he was the third man all along as the New World Order was officially formed.

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I was excited when getting ready to watch this episode of WCW Nitro. I was thinking that this was the first Nitro since Hulk Hogan turned heel and the nWo is now officially up and running. Imagine all of the things they could do with this and I felt this was going to feel like a completely different show.

I was half-right… it was a completely different show. However, it was a completely different show for the wrong reasons. Firstly, Hulk Hogan was not even there. They revealed later that Hogan would be here next week with the big follow up to the PPV. Hogan turning heel was the big reveal from Bash at the Beach and WCW didn’t even properly follow up on it for another week, therefore making this show essentially a filler episode.

Secondly, although Hogan was not there he was still the centre of attention. In literally every match, Hogan was mentioned as there was a sombre tone from the wrestlers and the commentators. Jimmy Hart was all quiet, Sting was all quiet (at first) and Rey Mysterio is cutting these promos about how the Mexican people were let down by Hulk Hogan.

This is going to be a bad analogy, but it felt like somebody had died this show was so bleak. The feeling watching this show was exactly like (well not exactly like for many reasons) I felt at the time when watching the Monday Night RAW after Eddie Guerrero died in 2005. That is a horrible comparison for many reasons because Eddie dying was a legitimate tragedy. However, there was a reason why people were not as upbeat sounding on that show. A wrestler had died. In 1996, Hulk Hogan had turned on the fans and they are treating this as literally the death of Hulk Hogan or Hulkamania.

The death of “Hulkamania”, which Kevin Sullivan did mention later, is not a bad idea on paper. However, the ENTIRE SHOW was dedicated to this. It was mostly the commentators that bothered me with the way they called the show. There was a number of good matches on this show amidst this funeral-like episode of WCW Monday Nitro. It was… depressing

 

Date: July 8th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

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

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A great opener to kick off the show, because obviously you need excitement to hype up the crowd during a show where the theme is the greatest hero in wrestling had turned his back on the fans. This title match made sense as Dean and Rey both won matches at Bash at the Beach, leading to this match for the Cruiserweight title.

Dean wrestled Rey to the ground and tried to keep him down but Rey was able to hold his own. Rey came back with some sweet arm drags and teased the 619. Rey ran wild with his speed with the match displaying some great chemistry between himself and Malenko.

Dean eventually cut him off with a backbreaker and went to work on the mat as they cut to a break. Dean threw Rey high in the air as Rey splattered into the ground. Dean locked on the camel clutch. Dean tried a kitchen sink but Rey reversed it into a school boy roll up for the near fall which was very smooth and very well done.

Dean launched Rey into the ropes with a suplex throw. Dean went for the chin lock. Dean then hit a big brainbuster on Rey on the floor. I’ve seen reviews saying Rey should have sold a bit more for this brainbuster but this isn’t really the first time where I’ve seen a brainbuster just casually busted out during one of these cruiserweight matches. Therefore, it didn’t seem that big of a deal to me although it probably should have.

Dean hit a scoop slam and when I say he hit a scoop slam, he got Rey up and literally threw this little man to the mat. Rey Mysterio Jr, as small as he was, demonstrated an incredible pain threshold during this match. This was even before he beefed up a little while working for WWE. This Rey Mysterio was so tiny and thrown around like a rag doll. He’s was thrown around like Enzo Amore for example.

Dean went for a pumphandle slam but Rey reversed it into a crossbody for a 2 count. Rey sent Dean over the top with a hurricanrana and Rey did a springboard moonsault to the outside. However, he complete missed Dean and went smacking into the concrete floor. It did not look pretty.

Rey hit a top rope hurricanrana for a  2 count which the fans popped big for. Dean hit the top rope gutbuster but Dean pulled Rey off the mat after the cover which Larry scolded him for, as he had the man beat.  Dean threw Rey with a belly-to-belly suplex and, again, pulled Rey’s own shoulder up from the mat when he went to cover him. This confidence and cockiness would backfire as Rey pulled off a west coast pop of nowhere to win the title to a huge reaction!

A good opener but I can’t help but feel Rey’s win just seemed to come out nowhere. I also don’t particular approve of Dean pulling Rey’s shoulders up when he had the man beat. I understand the story but let’s pretend it was Hornswoggle, Disco Inferno or some comedy act that was gonna beat Dean Malenko. In those scenarios, Dean being cocky and then getting beating would be even better as Dean allowed himself to lose to a complete underdog.

I wouldn’t consider Rey to be a complete underdog, especially considered he earned his title shot against Psychosis the night before. If Dean could have beat Rey easily and was just shown playing with him, I think it made Rey look like a weak contender. Other than that, I thought this was a good opener and a shot of adrenaline to an otherwise sterile show.

 

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Nasty Boys and The Steiners, as they had a number one contendership match for the WCW tag titles later on in the show. Scott Steiner yelled about Harlem Heat for a while. Scott called Brian a fatso but he did respect the Nasty Boys’ ability. Scott said we would find out who the better team was. Jerry Sags said they only care about who won the match. Rick Steiner yelled that he smelled the heat and he was coming for them. He told the Nasty Boys that if they get in the way, it’s not gonna be personal what happens to them. Brian Knobbs yelled that they both respected each other. An aggressive way for both teams to say they respect each other!

In case anyone has wondered, a Glacier promo aired just like they’d done each and every week for what feels like 10 years.

 

“The Dungeon of Doom” Big Bubba and Hugh Morrus w/Jimmy Hart vs “The Blue Bloods” Lord Steven Regal and Squire David Taylor

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A complete waste of time. All you need to know is that John Tenta ran down and attacked Bubba which led to the finish of Regal and Taylor double-backdropping Hugh in the ring to score a pin fall win. Because lord knows we must continue to see this John Tenta vs Big Bubba feud even after Tenta has beaten him clean twice on PPV. The worst part is that it its Tenta initiating the continuation of this feud which makes zero sense. You’ve gotten your revenge. Why are you pursuing this pointless feud? Anyway, absolute nothingness.

 

Psychosis vs Eddie Guerrero

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Prior to this match was my most hated moment of the show. The previous tag team match was the biggest waste of time but this inset promo with Rey Mysterio after winning the Cruiserweight title (although it is possible they pre-taped this interview) completely undermined and took away from his big title win from about TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE. By the way, 20 minutes is seriously low-balling it. I was probably 10 minutes. Anyway so Mysterio just won the title and all over a sudden. he cut this promo about being disappointed in who the third man was at the Bash at the Beach. He cut a very sad promo as if someone had died. He was almost in mourning over this Hulk Hogan deal while completely no-selling his cruiserweight title win. There was not ONE MENTION OF IT by Rey… I was furious. Again, this could have been a pre-tape, but couldn’t they have shown this Rey promo before he won the title?

It completely undercut and rip to shreds the value of the big title at the start of the show all in the name of putting over this Hulk Hogan storyline. Of course, commentator Larry Zybsko threatened Rey from the announce booth.

There was tremendous stuff from Eddie and Pyschosis in this match. Eddie and Pyschosis wrestled for the headlock for a long time as Pyschosis tried his best to get out of the headlock of all moves. As talked about in this blog multiple times, it made the simplest hold seem so important in this match and I approve that kind of psychology.

Psychosis smacked into Eddie with a whisper in the wind corkscrew to the outside. Psychosis worked on the arm, doing things like wrenching the arm and then smashing it into the corner. Psychosis locked on an armbar and then draped the arm over the top rope

They revealed Hogan will be on Nitro live next week to talk about Bash at the Beach. Eddie did a frankensteiner for a near fall. Eddie turned a double axe handle from Pyschosis into an atomic drop. Eddie smashed into the ring post and Psychosis took advantage with a top rope Frankensteiner for a near fall.

Pyschosis went for a moonsault but Eddie cut him off for an electric chair drop which Pyschosis turned into a sit-out powerbomb. Pyschosis and Eddie suddenly started working really fast all of a sudden. I figured the second hour dynamite clock was about to go off but no, they just for some reason had to rush to the finish. I say this because all of a sudden Eddie then hit a superplex and a frog splash for the win out of nowhere.

A good match but they seemed determined to rush the last few minutes of the match so I wonder if they realised they didn’t have much time left and had to take it home. If only they cut out the previous tag team match and they probably would have been fine for time in this match.

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Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart, Taskmaster and WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant. Jimmy said this is the first time he’s lost for words and had no comment, even after all of these years of managing and having a business relationship with the Hulkster.

Taskmaster said he lived for the destruction and demise of Hulkamania for a year and a half an all the evil came back upon him as Hogan ended up destroying Hulkamania himself. Taskmaster said he was denied the chance to destroy Hogan himself and all of that work led to nothing. The Giant told the managers not to worry about it because as long as he had the WCW title, nothing in WCW can go wrong. The Giant reminded them that he took the title from Hogan at Havoc. The Giant bragged about beating the Four Horsemen and not having to work tonight.

Uproxx.com has a WCW Nitro series similar to mine called The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro. It was written years ago and it’s worth checking out their series alongside mine. The link to their review of this particular show can be clicked on here. Anyway, they make a solid point about one the best aspects of Dungeon of Doom feud being the lengths that the Dungeon of Doom went to in order to destroy Hulkamania. From summoning immortal giants, yetis, sharks and so much more, now they just have to live with Hogan killing off Hulkamania on his own!

Brandon Stroud, the writer of the piece, said: “That’s one of the hilarious, unspoken aspects of the Hogan heel turn … these enormous group of comical wrestling heels banded together to finally end this guy, going so far as to empower the son of Andre the Giant in a mystical, cold-water cave and unearth a buttf*cking Himalayan ice mummy from the north face of Mount Kilimanjaro, to orchestrate rooftop monster-truck sumo battles with explosives and triple-decker cage matches in near darkness, and all they had to do was point him in the direction of some young guys and say, “hey, those guys are gonna take your spot if you don’t pretend you’re their friend.” That’s all you needed to do. The secret to destroying Hulkamania was convincing it Hulkamania was almost over.”

 

 

“The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags vs “The Steiners Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner in a number one contendership match for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I’m just over these Nasty Boys matches and even with the Steiners involved, this match did absolutely nothing for me.

Scott and Jerry started. Jerry smashed away with back elbows and the Nasty Boys punched away at Scott in their corner. They smashed Scott with a double shoulder block.

Scott hit a tiger powerbomb and Rick cut off Brian as the Steiners took control of the ring. Knobbs smashed into Rick with a stinger splash in the corner. Rick slammed Brian around for a while. Scott hit a big T-Bone suplex. Sags waffled Scott with a chair on the outside, which was not a DQ as the fireworks went off for hour two.

I love how the fireworks went off and Bishcoff introduced the SECOND HOUR, with a FULL MINUTE of the cameras panning away from the “action” to show the fans and these fireworks. Never mind that there’s a match going on – look at all these beautiful fireworks! It was ridiculous.

Scott hit suplexes left and right as they showed Col Parker with Sister Sherri coming down to the ring. Parker then hit Knobbs with the cane as Scott picked up the win. I am now so lost with this Col Robert Parker thing. Last week, he helped Harlem Heat beat the Steiners to retain the tag titles. This week, with his beloved Sister Sherri back, he helped the Steiners. I have no idea of the kayfabe reasoning for why they helped The Steiners.

Not to mention, there’s been no mention of Madusa in months after she was involved in ruining Sherri and Parker’s wedding. This whole storyline has went from oddly interesting to complete nonsense in a matter of months.

 

Eric Bischoff shrugged off answering Bobby Heenan’s question of where Bischoff was for the main-event. The Nasty Boys were being interviewed by Mean Gene in the ring. Jerry yelled about wrestling being about attitude and there were always nasty. He said the big man along with the cane just sent a lighting bolt through his head with a big message that said “change was inevitable.” Sags said they needed to change and it’ll be a cold day in hell before what happened against the Steiners happens again to Nasty Boys. Knobbs yelled that they didn’t condone what Hogan did but he saw nothing wrong with what he did either. Knobbs yelled that the nWo do whatever they wanted just like the Nasty Boys did. So yeah, the Nasty Boys were randomly heels again. To be honest, I thought they were already heels. It’s hard to tell with these two.

 

Ric Flair © w/Woman, Miss Elizabeth and Debra McMichael vs Jim Powers for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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Fireworks were going off like crazy at Disneyland as Flair was coming out. Bischoff is all quiet on commentary as he talks about Hogan. Bischoff said Powers was not anxious after Powers was shown to be so anxious, he ran down to the ring for his entrance and did a quick headlock takeover!

Woman raked the eyes of Powers. Powers tried a sunset flip but Ric cut him off with a punch to the face. Jim chopped away at Flair. Jim didn’t really seem to be any good in this match and I was begging for him to slow down. You’re in the ring with RIC FLAIR for god’s sake. He was trying to go super fast and didn’t look good in the process and he seemed more blown up than energised.

Ric did a knee drop to Powers’ legs and yanked at the leg before he finally locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Powers verbally submitted as Ric Flair retained the title. This was… a bland match.

They revealed Kevin Greene will be on the show next week.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen and the women without Chris Benoit for some reason. Arn said there were highs and lows for the Horsemen at Bash at the Beach. Arn said what happened at the end of the night made him wanna puke. Arn said Hogan was supposed to stand for something and not leave and let people’s hearts be stomped on. Arn claimed that the Horsemen never claimed to be role models but Hogan let people believe that he was a role model, which was where he drew the line. Arn actually cut a great promo laying into Hogan.

So as all the heels are all banded together in being disgusted in Hogan, Ric Flair does not care one bit as he is just VINTAGE Ric Flair if you will. He put over Arn and Mongo and talked about driving little girls out of their heads. Ric talked about going all night long. I love Ric Flair promos but he was all over the place with this promo! He started making a point… and then just move onto his next point! This was not one of the better Ric Flair promos he’s ever cut. He was on another planet tonight!

 

Chris Benoit vs Sgt Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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I feel a bit bad for not liking this match more. It was the type of match you’d get if you did Chris Benoit vs Scott Steiner for example. However, Sgt. Craig Pittman was in there. He doesn’t really do anything for me when watching these WCW shows. He got blown up here with Benoit, who seemed determined to blow Pittman up in this match.

Pittman slammed Benoit to the ground and hit a big belly to belly suplex with Benoit bouncing off the ropes to start off the match. He dropped Benoit on the head with a german suplex. Benoit worked on Pittman’s knees and stomped to the head. Pittman was shown panting and breathing heavy as he gassed. Benoit locked on the crossface and Teddy told the referee to ring the bell as Pittman refused to give up. To me, this was another waste of time. It’s Chris Benoit of the Four Horsemen. Just let him have the clean pin.

 

Sting vs Arn Anderson

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With the tone of the show and the cruiserweights predominantly in the first hour, they eventually hit the atmosphere of a real life funeral with this main-event. It was Sting vs Arn Anderson and nobody cared. Sting was shown to visibly not care as he was mostly spaced out during his entrance. Arn offered the handshake to Sting but Sting refused with Sting very quiet, not roaring the crowd or anything. He looked like a man defeated after one of his allies turned to the side of evil.

Obviously, Arn was upset at the actions of Hogan from the night before. I guess the story was that both men were going at half speed. I say this because it felt so quiet and it felt like a nothing match.

Arn and Sting traded hammerlocks. Arn tried a piledriver on the floor but Sting turned Arn over. Sting tried to leap frog Arn but Arn caught him and slammed him with a spinebuster which I actually think was the one cool spot they did.

Arn choked away at Sting. Arn locked on the abdominal stretch. Sting got out of it with a hip toss. Arn locked on the Boston crab. They show a black limo that Bischoff had referred to earlier on in the match. Sting caught Arn coming off the top rope with his own clothesline.

They fought and fought for a while until Kevin Nash and Scott Hall came out of the limo, coming down to the ring.  Sting hit a top rope clothesline. Security cut off the Outsiders as Arn and Sting stopped wrestling. Even Randy Savage came down to the ring. Arn took advantage and tried a DDT on Sting but the Stinger reversed into a scorpion death lock to get the win.

Savage went for the Outsiders through security. A very quiet main-event and a really disappointing use of the Outsiders for this show on the night after Hogan turned heel.

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Mean Gene interviewed Sting after the match. After Sting was seemingly defeated and zombified by what Hogan did the night before, he proceeded to cut what was the possibly the greatest promo he’s ever cut. I always considered Sting to be a good promo so this promo was right up there with some of my favourite promos in wrestling history.

Sting said he’s not surprised about what was coming from the Outsiders. He was surprised by Hogan but he should have known this was coming for Hogan, as Hogan wanted to travel down to town with a big fat limo. Sting mentioned that Hogan was too busy walking on the dark side, making movies and calling Savage, Luger and Sting “3 little dogs.” I actually think I remember Hogan saying something about those three on Nitro so it was a great bit of continuity.

Sting said he made a big mistake in trusting Hogan but Hogan made an even bigger mistake. Sting yelled at Hogan for telling the fans to believe in themselves but now they now know not the believe in Hogan. He said Hogan told the fans to stick it but Sting said “Hogan, you can stick it.” This was emotional, passionate and had a sense of realism that Sting was giving the fans “the inside scoop” on what Hogan was really like. He made Hogan out to be the worst of the worst for letting down the fans and Sting was not having that. It was a glorious promo.

Savage said he’s got a message for “Hollywood” Hogan and said what he wants to do he can’t say on television and in Disney World of all places! He told Hogan to take the worst thing he can think of and times it by 9 million and then multiply it by infinity beyond because it is scary what he’s gonna do to do. Savage’s promo was not particularly good. It obviously didn’t help with Sting’s fabulous promo right before it but even without that, it was really hard for me to figure what Savage was on about at times.

You know what this was like? Remember when Seth Rollins turned on The Shield in 2014. The night after, Dean Ambrose cut this absolutely phenomenal promo about what he’s gonna do to Seth Rollins. He gave the mic to Roman and Roman was completely flat with his promo. Again, Roman was following up DEAN AMBROSE who sounded like he wanted to murder Seth! Sting and Savage in 1996 had this same dynamic.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Nash said that WCW took a beating and the fans took a beating as Hogan told them exactly what it was. Nash promised Hogan would be at Nitro next week and asked what the big boys were gonna put up against them. Scott Hall said that this portion of WCW was brought to you by the Outsiders and Hulk Hogan. Hall said they delivered and they kicked WCW’s butts. Hall said they should be begging them to come through the door. Hall said Mean Gene’s got the job for the New World Order as people kept telling Mean Gene all night that he may no longer have a job because of the nWo! Nash said Hogan was on a movie set as Hall accused Savage of being jealous and Luger of fainting during their match.

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There were certainly bright spots of this show and I can’t call this a bad show. I was more annoyed of the sad focus of the show which brought my enjoyment of the show down, despite a lot of things to appreciate. We got two cruiserweight matches in the opening hour and then the show just died in the arena along with me watching. Even Sting vs Arn Anderson was not enough to excite the fans for the main-event.

Hulk Hogan coming back next week will definitely help I think as the nWo are going to be back in full force for the next episode of WCW Monday Nitro

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order