RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #28 (MATCH 18TH 1996) – THE ALLIANCE TO END HULKAMANIA RECRUITS ZEUS FROM NO HOLDS BARRED

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

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Last week saw the rivalry between the Mega Powers and the Dungeon of Doom continue, with a six man tag team double strap lumberjack match. Confusing on paper and even worse in execution, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and The Booty Man defeated Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster once again to get more momentum going into a big Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored.

This week, we’ve got the go-home show for Uncensored 1996. It turned out to be a rather infamous event but this show was a horrible preview of things to come. I thought last week’s show was pretty bad but this was worse. I will make it perfectly clear that the main-event from last week was worse than anything on this week’s episode of Nitro. However, at least last week had some redeeming qualities about it. I liked The Steiner Brothers’ big return and The Giant vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan. There were hardly any redeeming qualities on this show. Nothing worth going back to watch and the closing segment was just… it felt really flat to me. As a closing segment to hype up Uncensored, this didn’t do it for me.

Anyway, let’s run-down the show…

 

Date: March 18th 1996

Brand: WCW

City:Chattanooga, Tennessee

Rating: 3.6

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby Heenan

 

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The show does not start with WCW cutting the announcers as they usually. It cut to Loch Ness and The Giant having a “brawl” and when I say a brawl, it was the equivalent to Godzilla slowly beating up a building. Loch Ness can barely moved and he is just leaning and grabbing the handrail as The Giant threw kicks and punches (better than his kicks from last week). Jimmy Hart, the smallest guy imaginable in this scenario, tried to get between them. The Giant threw knees as Lex Luger comes out. Lex Luger walks by as Giant continues to kick Loch Ness’ arse. It turned out that Lex Luger was actually supposed to be defending the WCW TV title against Loch Ness!

 

Lex Luger © vs Loch Ness for the WCW TV title.

Loch Ness is exhausted leaning on the handrail as the referee starts counting him out. Lex Luger implores the referee to count him out and Loch Ness is unable to move at all, so he gets counted out and Lex Luger retained the title!

This led to an awesome Lex Luger moment! Lex Luger has been pretty great in the last few weeks. He starts celebrating like he just won a gold medal. Then Jimmy Hart jumps into the ring and is all excited, RIGHT AFTER two of his guys have had this massive brawl! I don’t know why, but I found that hilarious. He managed every heel so even though two of these monsters are killing each other, he’ll go celebrate with Luger when he retains his title!

Luger backs Jimmy Hart away again. Luger comes to the booth and cuts a great promo. Luger grabs a mic and says he’s on a roll! Lex Luger says he’s ready and he’s peaking at the right time, calling out Hulk Hogan. I thought Luger had a great little moment here.

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Eric Bischoff then reveals they have a stand-by match. I love the idea that they even had a stand-by match because this implies that in storyline, they expected LEX LUGER and LOCH NESS to go like 10 minutes or something! Loch Ness I don’t even think has wrestled 10 minutes in his combined WCW career yet by this point!

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage are being interviewed by Tony Schiavonie. Hogan said this place was on fire. Hogan predicted the same momentum as the last few weeks. Savage and Hogan said they’re gonna go to the top together and they’re gonna go to dust together. Savage cuts a crazy promo himself. Hogan said there’s no titles on the line at Uncensored as they’ll wreck havoc wherever they go. Hogan said he heard what Taskmaster said… they never during the promo what Taskmaster actually said. I had no idea what Hogan was on about. Hogan says bring all of your horses, bring all of your men and the Mega Powers will kick your ass again. I actually loved that line to close the promo and Hogan and Savage had tremendous tag team promo chemistry. They were both so crazy with their delivery that they played off each other very well.

 

“Public Enemy” Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner

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The closest thing to an average match on the entire show. Public Enemy does this stupid wave dance as they make their entrance… and it’s over with the crowd. The fans in the building are all doing this wave and going nuts for Public Enemy. It’s almost astonishing what was considered cool in 1996!

With that being said, I was at an England Rugby match against Italy right before the Rugby World Cup this year. I think it may have been the match before the World Cup for England and there’s 50,000 people there for this match. In the middle of it, a wave breaks out. This wave breaks out and it does a complete lap of the crowd four times it went on so long. Maybe it’s a crowd thing that they just felt the need to entertain themselves!

Public Enemy grabbed tables. Rocco did a beautiful arm drag reversal from a tilt-a-whirl which I actually thought was pulled off well. Scott was about to put Rocco through a table with an elbow drop but Rocco moved out of the way. Rick Steiner did a suplex as Bischoff breaks the news that NBA star Dennis Rodman has been suspended for 6 games… whoop de doo.

Grunge did a bulldog to Rick Steiner onto a chair which was not a disqualification. There are bigger fishes to fry with this later on in the show but, why not try to enforce the rules a little bit?

Booker T is revealed as Sting’s partner against the Road Warriors for their match at Uncensored. Rocco did a DDT. Rocco flew off the top rope and Rick BARELY caught him with a powerslam. Rocco pulled off a springboard moonsault.

Scott hit a big belly-to-belly suplex and made the tag to Rick Steiner. Rick and Rocco brawled to the floor. Scott does the punches in the corner. Rocco goes for a dive through the table but Rick moves and Rocco goes right through the table as Scott and Rick hit their finish the Steinerizer for the win.

Now, I get Public Enemy are the hardcore tag team in WCW… but when are tables allowed in a match? I understand they didn’t hit the Steiners with tables and chairs but they used them to their advantage when it is against the rules in a tag match to use them. No matter if you hit them with it or you just use it, it is against the rules of a regular tag match to use a weapon to your advantage. END OF STORY.

Rick and Scott yelled at the Road Warriors as Bischoff refers to WCW Nitro as “the hottest show on the planet”… incorrect. Unless the standards of television were really bad in 1996, I find this very hard to believe.

 

Arn Anderson w/Woman vs The Booty Man w/The Booty Girl

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Arn Anderson tried so hard to get a good match out of the Booty Man. He tried his hardest to sell for the guy but it was hard to care. The Booty Man didn’t do a thing for me as a babyface. He was very bang average as a wrestler. I found it hard to get into him. This was the second closest thing to an average match on the show.

I will say that I loved that Arn went to throw a punch during the match but then he just collapsed to the mat Flair-style. Arn was trying really hard to get this guy over. Kimberley is with The Booty Man as… THE BOOTY GIRL. I’ve said this a few times but what a strange time the 1990s was for professional wrestling. The edgy content hasn’t even arrived for the WWF or WCW yet and they’re just casually dropping the name BOOTY GIRL as a name for Kimberley.

Arn got the heat. Arn worked on the arm of Booty. Booty runs wild as some fans actually boo.

I’m going to recap the finish but I’m going to leave in the notes as exactly as I wrote them. After I wrote what happened next, I could not believe my eyes as to what I wrote. As a wrestling blogger for about 7 years now, this was one of my crowning moments for the Armbar Express.

Booty throws punches when the Booty Girl arrives. Woman grabs the shoe and goes towards Booty. Booty gets in between them as Arn flies in with a double axe handle. Booty hits the high knee for the win.

In these notes, I would often refer to Booty Man as Booty for short. Writing THE BOOTY MAN over and over is just hard to do fast. So yeah, I just call him booty. Just that it led to the sentence “Woman grabs the shoe and goes towards Booty” is just remarkable. The only problem is that those notes are completely accurate. That’s what happened!

 

They broke down the Uncensored card during this match by the way. Booty Man is facing DDP at Uncensored. Eddie Guerrero is facing Konnan for the US title. Sting and Booker T are facing the Road Warriors. Madusa is facing Col Robert Parker. The Giant is battling Loch Ness. The main-event, of course, is the Doomsday Cage match.

 

“The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags

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I’m 90% certain this was the worst match on the show. After the Road Warriors have their best tag team match in a long time against the Steiner Brothers last week, they had a tag team match that completely fell apart against the Nasty Boys. The tag teams brawled from the get-go. Knobbs goes for a double axe handle to Animal on the floor and just falls down. The least elegant double axe handle I’ve ever seen and that set the tone for this match in many ways.

Bsichoff advised that the Nasty Boys were FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES against the Road Warriors… IN A REGULAR TAG MATCH? I mean this was not a regular tag match. They were brawling but I don’t even know why they were brawling. It was very sloppy stuff as they just brawled. Knobbs goes to the top rope but Hawk pushes him off. Knobbs bumped all over the place and bumped into the guard rail. It looked like it really hurt Knobbs as he was grabbing his gut during the match. The tag teams smack each other with those chairs again as Nick Patrick tries to get in between them.

It was here where I started to question whether every match on this episode of Nitro was No DQ because the refs aren’t doing a thing about any of this. They use weapons and there are no disqualifications at all… at least in the first two tag team matches.

They eventually get into the ring and start to wrestle for a change! There is some huge miscommunication between Knobbs and Hawk in the ring. I don’t think they had a clue what to do or Knobbs was hugely injured from the guard rail spot from earlier so they had to think of stuff on the fly.

They mentioned on commentary that Mean Gene Okerlund was off with a flu. Hawk kicked Knobbs I think in the groin or what Mongo called them: the groin muscles. Again, this was not a disqualification. Animal hits a powerslam. Animal goes for a big splash but Knobbs gets the knees up. Saggs gets the tag and this leads to nothing.  They all brawl in the ring. Knobbs looked like he could barely move.

The Steiners come out to brawl with both tag teams I think… RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REFEREE. The ref doesn’t even call for the bell. They all fight each other and in the middle of this melee, Animal hits  Knobbs with the spike shoulder pads while the ref gets distracted. The ref then comes over and counts for three. Again… a massive mess of a match.

I have a few problems with this match other then how bad it was. Firstly, The Road Warriors couldn’t beat The Nasty Boys clean going into the tag team match with Sting and Booker T? It was so important to protect the Nasty Boys here? Why bother doing a run in during this match?

Secondly, WCW were promoting Uncensored to be no disqualification all over the PPV. To build to a PPV where there are “no rules”, they had a number of matches where the wrestlers did what they wanted and the referees didn’t care. Why would people want to watch the PPV when they could watch No DQ matches all the time on free WCW television? This sucked.

 

 

 

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Taskmaster in a tornado tag team match

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I hadn’t even got to the main-event and this review was hard to write. This show was just so draining to talk about and then we got this main-event.  If you take the messy and sloppy aspects of the six man tag team matches as of late with these two factions and made it into a tag team match, you basically got this match. Not a lot of wrestling and hard to keep track of what everyone was doing. As shown later, the announcers couldn’t even keep track of what everyone was doing.

The match started. Hogan and Savage take over as Hogan chased Flair to the outside. Flair cuts him off with the eye poke. Hogan grabbed a big green hat, pulls it over Flair’s head and smashes Flair’s head into the turnbuckle.

For like 90% of the match, they only showed Flair and Hogan on television while Taskmaster and Savage are just brawling elsewhere. Hogan and Flair brawl. Hogan pushes Flair off the top rope as Savage and Taskmaster brawl on the outside. Savage eventually holds Taskmaster up in the ring and Hogan delivers a big right hand to knock him down.

Hogan chokes Taskmaster with some wire as Woman rakes the eyes of Savage as they had a split screen on the go. Hogan ran wild on Taskmaster and Flair. Savage then floors Flair with a clothesline. Savage punches away at the Nature Boy. Tornado tag matches are fine to do but these guys really aren’t having a tag match. There’s just a bunch of stuff happening as they all took turns brawling with each other. To borrow Arn’s line from last week, this match did not resemble professional wrestling at all.

Flair goes for the Figure Four on Savage as Hogan doesn’t even try to save Savage. Hogan just goes for his own Figure Four Leg Lock on Taskmaster as the battle of the Figure Four Leg Locks begin! Eventually Savage reverses Flair’s Figure Four and gets out of harm. Flair pushes the ref and the ref pushes back which is a spot only Ric Flair can pull off this well.

Savage goes to choke Taskmaster’s neck but he ends up grabbing his shoulders so it looked like he was given him a back massage instead! Flair does a back suplex but Hogan no-sold this. Hogan sends Flair over the top with an Irish Whip. Then Flair hits Hogan with a low blow while they were fighting on the outside. and of course, the announcers miss this. Not one of the three announcers were able to see Ric doing this.

I was begging for this match to be over as this was no good. Hogan fired back. Taskmaster gets knocked into Flair. Flair hit Hogan with Woman’s shoe again. This time Hogan kicks out and powers up!

Hogan Hulks up on Ric Flair as Savage and Taskmaster are just in the way. Then Arn Anderson comes down. Hogan hits the big boot. Arn trips Hogan. Then BRIAN PILLMAN runs in and attacks Hogan and Savage as the ref calls for the bell. After everything we saw in the earlier tag team matches, we got a disqualification in the Nitro main-event.

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I understand it just becomes like the gimmick of WCW Nitro where all the main-events ended in a disqualification. However, we had a show where all the tag teams did whatever they wanted with chairs and tables and it was no disqualification. In fact, the Steiner Brothers did a run in and it wasn’t a disqualification. Brian Pillman runs in and suddenly it’s a disqualification.

You know what. I’m going to establish this now… this was the worst episode of Nitro I’ve seen so far. There was no sense in the finishes, there was no consistency and the talent was just not there to pull this off. You have guys like Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit on the payroll but first, we gotta make sure that The Booty Man is in there instead. This show needed some serious change.

I will say that Savage and Pillman go on to have a hell of a brawl where they just claw at each other, which I think ended up busting up Savage a little bit. Speaking of The Booty Man, he runs down. Who should make the save for the heels but ZEUS and some other big guy. This was Zeus from the No Holds Barred movie with Hulk Hogan and he was back in professional wrestling with the Dungeon of Doom.

The babyfaces then leave the ring. Rather than staying and fighting, these three cowards walk out at the mere presence Zeus and this other guy, which we’ll get to. I loved Zeus’ face which… you could not take seriously but it was cartoon-like and it fit right in! The babyfaces FLED from the ring as Flair calls out Hogan but Savage backs Hogan off as they leave.

Tony Schavione interviews the group of heels. Taskmaster said they’ve upped the ante. Jimmy Hart said Hogan and Savage were Dumb and Dumber. All the heels said some stuff and rambled on. Arn had some statement where he said he was undefeated on Nitro before The Booty Man beat him. I call B.S. on that one based on the fact that Hogan pinned him 3 weeks ago. Now granted, Arn is a heel so his lies would make a bit more sense when you consider that he’s a heel that’s supposed to be delusional. That at least makes sense to me!

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OK, so as for the new two recruits to the heels’ stable. This stable I believe was officially called the Alliance to End Hulkamania. The two guys introduced here were set to face Hogan and Savage at Uncensored. I’ve lost track of all the guys that Hogan and Savage were meant to be fighting at Uncensored. Apparently, Brian Pillman was supposed to be in that match as well but he ends up not showing up. Anyway, the thing with these two are that these would be wrestling their final wrestling matches in their careers on this show.

Believe it or not, Zeus was going by Z-Gangsta in WCW! He wrestled exactly five times in his wrestling career. He wrestled in tag matches against Hulk Hogan for WWF as part of the No Holds Barred movie build. He wrestled this match in WCW. Believe it or not, he wrestled ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER IN 1990. In WWC Puerto Rico, they had a match. This match is on YouTube so I do plan on watching this match! I am a glutton for punishment but I must see this match! Zeus in his prime I guess!

The other guy’s name was Jeep Swenson. As unbelievable as some of you may find this to believe, he was initially called the Final Solution. This was actually the name of Adolf Hitler’s plan in World War 2 to destroy the Jews so, as you could imagine, this caused some complaints so they ended up changing the name. He then became the Ultimate Solution for this match.

Swenson actually passed away a year later with heart failure. He actually had a role as Bane in the also infamous Batman and Robin movie too. These guys were right up Hogan’s street in terms of big, mean dudes for Hogan to conquer. I think this doomsday cage match could turn out to be one of the worst matches I ever watch. If this show is anything to go by or if any of the previous six man tag team matches in recent weeks are anything to guy, this will be nothing short of a disaster. Keep in mind that those matches that came beforehand did not include Z-Gangsta, Ultimate Solution and Lex Luger who would also be in this match.

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The plan is to watch WCW Uncensored in full although I did consider watching just the main-event. However, I am going to watch the PPV and try to stick to watching every PPV as I’ve done before. The real attraction will be this Doomsday Cage match main-event. I will see you with my review of WCW Uncensored 1996.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #27 (MATCH 11TH 1996) – THE STEINER BROTHERS DEBUT ON NITRO AND MAIN-EVENT IS A MASSIVE TRAIN WRECK

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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In the last episode of WCW Nitro, we got our big six man tag team match with Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and THE BOOTY MAN battling Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster. After weeks of Arn Anderson getting the best of the Hulkster, Hogan finally scored a big pinfall victory over the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson. The celebrations were short-lived as with literally 30 seconds of television to spare, Miss Elizabeth “handcuffed” Hogan to the corner as Ric Flair whipped the Hulkster to end the show.

 

 

Date: March 11th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Winston-Salem, NC

Rating: 3.2

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby Heenan

 

There’s been two weeks since the last episode of WCW Nitro. There was no Nitro for March 4th 1996 so RAW was left unopposed. However, Nitro was back and it was back with a rematch from two weeks ago. Hogan, Savage and Booty Man would face Flair, Anderson and Taskmaster again but this time was different… in so many ways. They would be “wrestling” in a six man tag team double strap lumberjack match. Quite the mouthful. It was complex in writing and even more complex in execution. What a disaster this main-event would be. I think this was a pretty poor episode of Nitro accompanied by a disastrous main-event. Anyway, let’s delve into the show and see why I thought it was so bad.

 

As Eric Bischoff dubbed WCW Nitro as the “war zone”, which was ironic considering RAW would go onto call their ring “the war zone” themselves, they reveal that there is a new WCW Television Champion apparently crowned in the 2 weeks since the last episode. The new champion was in action later which we’ll get to later…

 

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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I’ve listened to reviews of this match and read reviews online and I maybe the only person who actually thought this match was alright. Obviously, it’s HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN VS THE GIANT. I wasn’t expecting like a Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega classic or something. You’ve got Hacksaw Jim Duggan and you’ve got a still green Giant in there against each other. However, I think this was the best match you could have done with these two given the circumstances. The Giant I think is shown to very cautious in his matches, which is a great trait to have as a wrestler. Hacksaw got a very basic but effective match out of the guy, which worked with the crowd.

Hacksaw fired away at Giant to little effect but by god he was trying his hardest and then The Giant just hit two big gut punches to Hacksaw!

Hacksaw tried a double axe handle off the apron but Giant caught him and drove him back-first into the ring post. There was a Brian Pillman sign shown as Brian Pillman himself was in the crowd apparently. Bischoff left the booth to attend to this so, regardless of what happens with Pillman in the future as we’ve discussed before, Bischoff looked to still be pushing this angle hard with Brian Pillman.

Giant did a bearhug as Pillman was shown being dragged away by security. Bischoff gets back to the booth and said: “back to the match.” Hacksaw bit Giant to escape the bearhug. Giant did a big charge and then delivered sloppy kicks to a grounded Hacksaw. The Giant’s kicks didn’t really look like kicks. He just stuck his leg out but his leg didn’t bend at all and it stayed straight as he kicked Duggan. Giant was still rather green with 5 or so months of experience under his belt but mostly I can see just bits and bobs he needs to work on in his game. Spoiler alert, but he eventually becomes a better wrestler!

Giant did a big stinger splash to the corner but Hacksaw moved. Hacksaw actually clotheslined Giant over the top rope but Giant was still standing as the fans popped a bit. The Giant did another bearhug.

In case anyone was wondering or you did not read my Hell in a Cell review last week, I did watch NXT and AEW last week. In fact, I watched NXT, AEW and SmackDown!’s debut on FOX on the Saturday after and then I watched this episode of WCW Nitro on the Sunday. What a change of pace to go from the likes of Adam Cole vs Matt Riddle to The Giant vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

The Giant then lifted and placed the referee out of the way but then Hacksaw knocked Giant down with three shots to the head. Jimmy Hart got in the ring and Hacksaw punched him down to a big pop. The Giant then out of nowhere chokeslammed Duggan and pinned him for the win.

I liked this match. Hacksaw was such a great babyface even against the almighty Giant. It had some bumps in the road but it was effective with this crowd so if you judge matches by crowd reactions this was a THUMBS UP.

 

Scheduled next was The Nasty Boys vs The Road Warriors but instead, we hear motorcycle engines and no Nasty Boys. Driving down the ramp in motorcycles were in fact THE STEINER BROTHERS. The Steiner Brothers made their big WCW return as the fans went nuts with dog barks. I have to say that this was a welcome change. The tag team division for WCW has been rather lacklustre since we started reviewing WCW Nitros…. so seeing the Steiners back with WCW was a much needed shot of adrenaline to this tag team division.

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk

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As luck would have it, the Steiner Brothers come back and they have a good match with the Road Warriors! It was like they showed up and the tag team division was miles better right away. The Road Warriors have had some average to below average matches since returning to WCW but they had a good match here. They sold for the Steiners’ suplexes and they worked their asses of in this match, including Hawk of all people.

Hawk chopped away at Scott Steiner and Scott Steiner sold like crazy. Like Hawk would hit a chop and Steiner would thrust his entire body back to sell the impact of this move. It was great.

Scott hit a big belly-to-belly suplex and the fans went nuts. Steiner hit a pumphandle drop, and the fans popped again. Hawk hit a big clothesline off the top rope and the fans popped again. The fans were really into this match and the Steiners especially. The fans wanted to see this match and every move was seen as a big move to them.

Hawk hit a big boot and a neckbreaker. Scott hit a big Tiger Powerbomb. Rick got tagged in as the fans barked in response! Animal got tagged in. Animal hit a powerslam and a scoop slam. Rick knocked down Animal with two clotheslines and Rick hit a huge German suplex to return the favour.

Rick actually hit a belly to belly off the top rope. Scott again delivers with another belly to belly suplex. The tag teams continued to battle. Steiner locked on the Steiner Recliner. Hawk broke this up but then Scott just went right back to work with the Steiner Recliner!

It’s a nit-picky thing with wrestling but I don’t like the part in a tag match where the partner in trouble would get hit with a big move. The tag team partner jumps in to break up the pin and then the tag team that’s winning the match would just go try something different. Like if this was WWE in 2019, after the Steiner Recliner would be broken up then the Steiners would try something different because that’s how the match would be put together.

In reality, in this match anyway in 1996, Scott knows this move is effective as Hawk broke up the submission. Hawk was concerned Animal might tap out. What does Scott do in response? He goes back to the devastating Steiner Recliner. I don’t get the need that once a move is broken, the tag team cannot possibly go for the move again. Why not try again with the Steiner Recliner? It’s a weird thing but it’s effective when a match can demonstrating wrestlers being smart in the ring.

Animal and Scott did a double clothesline and both went down. Hawk vaults into the ring off the hot tag and runs wilds on the Steiners! Yeah Hawk, who could barely do anything in the past couple of weeks, vaults into the ring and starts whooping ass!

Hawk hits a powerslam as the Road Warriors continue to run wild. They hit the doomsday device and Scott breaks up the pin. Scott sends Animal crashing into the guard rail. Rick hits a German suplex and the Steiners went for the Doomsday Device themselves but Animal broke it up.

Scott hit a top rope clothesline and so Animal followed up with his own top rope clothesline. The two tag teams continue to battle as Scott hit a Frankensteiner.  The Steiners hit a Doomsday Device bulldog, which I believe is also called the Steinerizer, but then Animal hit Rick with the spikes off their shoulder pad which led to Hawk getting the pin.

A great match with a bit of a crap finish. The Road Warriors are supposed to be babyfaces and the main-event of the show would confirm that they’re supposed to be babyfaces but yet they cheated to win here. Mixed messages but an otherwise good match.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Steiners after the match. Scott said they’ve been hunting the Road Warriors for 4 years and they left the US for 4 years for the Road Warriors to come to them!  I was going to laugh at the idea that the Steiners have been hunting the Road Warriors for 4 years but if you think about it, the Road Warriors only arrived in WCW a couple of months ago. Therefore, the Steiners’ story adds up where you could believe “oh there they are. Let’s go to where the big boys play and face the Road Warriors!” That I least give credit for.

Scott said the way the Road Warriors won was disgraceful. Mean Gene asked about the Nasty Boys and Scott said they came where the competition was and the Road Warriors hadn’t seen the last of them. Rick complained about the cheap shot and yelled that this wasn’t the end.

 

Lex Luger (c) vs Alex Wright for the WCW Television Championship

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Yes, Lex Luger is the new WCW Television Champion. Apparently he beat Johnny B Badd for the title who is now for real out of the promotion. Apparently Johnny B Badd “didn’t feel up for it” according to Bischoff so Alex Wright is facing Luger tonight. This match happens which I’m pretty sure was just an excuse for Eric Bischoff to bury Johnny B Badd for 5 minutes. He made comment after comment about Johnny B Badd during this match.

They plugged an advertisement for the WCW hotline where Bobby Heenan and Mean Gene were creeping up on other wrestlers trying to find the scoops which came off as so creepy to me. If it was just Bobby Heenan, the advertisement would make sense as Bobby is “the weasel” according to everyone in the company. Mean Gene doing it to promote a hot line? I dunno. It kinda came off bad to me… pardon the pun.

Bischoff buried Badd for not being “up for it” as Wright does a big dive to Luger on the outside. Apparently Luger was out of the tag team title match with Sting at Uncensored so this means that Sting is without a partner for the Road Warriors match. With that being said, Sting and Luger are still the tag champs.

Wright fired up at the start of the match but Luger took control of the match after a couple of minutes. Luger gorilla pressed Wright and slammed him down.

Wright did a springboard crossbody but Luger caught him during the second attempt and dropped him on the top turnbuckle.

Luger then mocked Wright for trying again and even started bullying him, getting really angry as he did it. Wright eventually kicks away at Luger and fires back with punches and European Uppercuts to get back into the match.

Jimmy Hart ran in with the interference and Wright pushed Hart off the apron. Luger dropped Wright on the top rope for the pinfall victory. That was the finish! Luger didn’t lock on the Torture Rack. He pushed him off the top rope, got the pin and won! Your average Lex Luger vs little man wrestling match to me. Nothing special.

Luger then yelled at Jimmy as he didn’t want Jimmy out there.

 

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Booty Man vs Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster in six man tag team double strap match with lumberjacks with straps at ringside

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This match was such a train wreck. On paper it sounded convoluted and over-the-top and in execution it was even worse. You got six men out there for a “double” strap match with lumberjacks on the outside also with the straps. This felt harder to keep track of than the 60 man battle royal at World War III and this was just a six man tag team match. The six men in the ring are brawling, the men on the outside are brawling with each other, Kimberley came out randomly yet again and keep in mind, they couldn’t even keep last week’s six man tag team match straight about who the legal men were. In this match, it was tornado rules and everyone got in each other’s way constantly.

I do love that the lumberjacks were actually dressed like lumberjacks including Meng of all people! I think if any wrestling promotion is going to put on a lumberjack, it should be a requirement that they are dressed as lumberjacks. Seeing Meng as a lumberjack with a big grin on his face and ready for this match was such a sight to see. For god’s sake, have some fun with the lumberjack match gimmick!

The six men in the ring all brawl to kick things off and The Giant then grabbed Hogan. Then The Giant and Loch Ness start to fight over who gets Hogan and they have a great big brawl to the back! It was an ugly brawl which did not really look good but I got so excited for like 5 seconds! Then things just completely fell apart.

There’s brawling everywhere. The six men in the match brawl and the lumberjacks are all attacking each other with straps on the outside. KIMBERLY appears again, looking like she’s smitten. Ric tried to flee but Road Warrior Animal brought him back to the lumberjacks. I got so confused as it appeared that they turned heel for cheating against the Steiners but apparently they were on Hogan’s side against the heels. WHAT?

So much stuff happened that I couldn’t keep track.  They just all fought in the ring. Again, lumberjacks brawl on the outside. Why were the lumberjacks just BRAWLING with each other on the outside? I understand it’s faces and heels on the outside so maybe they don’t like each other but their job is to throw guys back in the ring if they leave the ring and they were too busy fighting each other not to do that.

The heel lumberjacks gang up on Hogan and tried to choke them out. Kimberly is shown still standing there on the entrance ramp. Regal, Meng, DDP and Malenko all whip at Hogan and then Hogan makes his own comeback on the heels.

I’m sure Hogan whipped Savage by accident during all of this as again, everyone was just in each other’s way. The lumberjacks brawl AGAIN. Even if you’re going to do a spot where the lumberjacks brawl with each other, isn’t it best to leave that until the end of the match and build up to it? Maybe you could build tension between the two factions of lumberjacks and then after a while, they start to the brawl.

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PERFECT EXAMPLE: They did a Roman Reigns vs Erick Rowan lumberjack match on SmackDown! last week where it went as normal, they all brawled and then Roman took them all out with a big dive to take them all out and turn the attention to the ring. FINE. That’s perfectly fine in a lumberjack match where the brawling on the outside is an important part of the match. In this lumberjack match, the lumberjacks brawl for no reason and it doesn’t play into the match at all.

Hogan ties up Flair with the straps and throws Flair across the ring but Flair pokes Hogan in the eye for get out of it. Savage kicks at Steven Regal for no reason. Hogan whips at Flair. Hogan then hits a big boot and leg drop out of nowhere and pins Ric Flair as Hawk no-sells the Faces of Fear whipping him in the chest. I guess the heel lumberjacks and heel tag teams all flee. Then Flair suddenly is up on his feet on running away right after Hogan’s Leg Drop! Flair doesn’t even sell the Leg Drop of Doom and just runs away… and then he comes back to cut a promo. This was… a disaster.

 

As mentioned, Ric Flair along with Arn and Taskmaster cut a promo on the babyfaces. Taskmaster cuts a promo on Hogan. He said Hogan will have to go through 4 cages for I believe the Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored. He mentioned Hogan has to go through Arn, Taskmaster, Luger and Flair. I was so confused because they said earlier that Lex Luger was not able to team with Sting, I assumed it was because he’s the TV Champion now. But no, he can’t team with Sting because he’s in the Doomsday Cage match! Keep in mind, Lex Luger wrestled in multiple matches at Starrcade. All of a sudden, he can’t wrestle more than once at Uncensored?

Arn Anderson flat-out said: “what happened tonight doesn’t resemble professional wrestling.” That’s what he said and that’s the quote. You can quote me on the quote. Arn flat out just said that the Nitro main-event didn’t resemble wrestling… AND HE’S RIGHT.

Ric Flair warned the babyfaces not to touch Elizabeth and Woman. Flair calls out Hogan and Savage saying: “look what I got” and grabs Elizabeth. Flair sings “whole world in my hands” again. Flair yells at the announcers and Flair goes crazy as they go off the air.

 

Having finished this review, this show wasn’t actually that bad. I think if you just watched the first two matches, it was a fine show. That main-event was such a disaster that it just brought the whole show down. My interest in this Uncensored show is rapidly declining. Jesus, that main-event was atrocious. I’m not sure if it rivals the WCW tag team match from Fall Brawl as at least this match was shorter. However, this was worse in terms of the fact that this was WCW’s biggest program right now. 3 months or so until the nWo arrive but we do have the Steiner Brothers at least! It’s gonna be tough for a couple of months I think!

We will see you with our review of Episode #28 of WCW Nitro.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

WWE Hell In A Cell 2019: Seth Rollins vs The Fiend – Thoughts and Reactions

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The first week of October 2019 will go down as a pretty damn historic week for wrestling. There’s a lot I could talk about. I could talk about the first week in the “Wednesday Night Wars” between AEW and WWE NXT. I could talk about the season premiere of RAW with Lana and Lashley having a smooch session while Rusev stood and watched it. I could talk about Tyson Fury feuding with Braun Strowman. I could talk about Cain Velasquez feuding with Brock Lesnar. I could talk about both of these big time combat stars wrestling in WWE in Saudi Arabia at Halloween. I could talk about Brock Lesnar beating Kofi Kingston in 7 seconds to win the WWE Championship. There’s so much I could get into.

In case anyone’s wondering, yes, I did watch SmackDown!, NXT and AEW Dynamite. I liked all three shows. I can’t really say that out of NXT and AEW, one was better than the other. If I’m starting to keep record, I’d say this week goes down as a tie to me. In the ratings, AEW defeated NXT soundly but we’ll get a better view of things a few weeks in before we can starting really assessing these two shows head-to-head. I liked what I saw.

I even liked SmackDown!’s FOX debut. It was nowhere near at the level of the Wednesday shows but there were some parts of the show that I thought was just better in general. It felt crisper and not as much as a chore to watch than sometimes it used to be. I even saw the positives of Brock Lesnar beating Kofi Kingston the way he did. Yeah, it sucks if you’re a fan of Kofi Kingston but I understood and actually admired the boldness of this decision. A man beating another man in 7 seconds promotes the idea that anything can happen in the ring and personally, losing in the way that he did I think will help Kofi in a weird way for the future.

I liked the build towards a future Brock vs Cain match at Saudi Arabia. For Braun vs Tyson Fury, the jury’s still out. I have no idea as a match how that’s gonna turn out. All of this was going down during the week that many people, including WWE from the looks of it, forgot there was a WWE PPV on the Sunday… WWE Hell in a Cell which had promoted 4 matches before Sunday. That tells you something.

I will admit to only watching three matches. I watched the Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks Hell in a Cell match which was a great Hell in a Cell match. Both girls worked hard and it wasn’t too crazy but also creative with certain spots. It worked with me and I think it is worth watching if you haven’t yet. Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs Erick Rowan and Luke Harper was another good match. It was predictable with the layout but very well done with execution with the babyfaces having a feel-good moment at the end. I liked that a lot. It turns out those two matches were the first two matches of the show and every other match, thrown together at the last minute, followed until the main-event.

Dear god… this main-event.

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You want to know what really bothered me about this main-event? This has nothing to do with the match itself which we’ll get to. In WWE, there was one guy that was getting over big with the fans and treated as special. With the exception of like Brock Lesnar, this guy had a unique character nobody else had and was killing guys left and right and looking like a killer. He was looking like a legitimate star. Some people may remember him as Husky Harris, others remember him as Bray Wyatt but now he was The Fiend.

I legitimately could not believe that Bray Wyatt was able to get over again as The Fiend. He started getting over so big as Bray Wyatt when he first arrived but after so many wacky storylines with the likes of Undertaker (who he resurrected), Dean Ambrose (who he feuded with over a chair), John Cena (who he tried to turn heel), Xavier Woods (who was scared of Bray), Matt Hardy (who he battled in a match that Michael Cole openly buried on TV and then teamed with to lose to the B Team) and so on. He was put through so much crap and that doesn’t even include his House of Horrors match with Randy Orton. Oh yeah, remember when he was Sister Abigail? My god, he’s been through creative hell and back.

Yet somehow, he found a scary gimmick which was working. He was over. WWE immediately decided to put this guy in a feud for the Universal Championship. Already, they rushed the guy into a title program which I think was far too early for the guy. This was not the time for such a big push yet but what the hell. The Giant was pushed to the WCW title right away after debuting in a big feud with Hulk Hogan and the guy turned out OK. Brock Lesnar won the WWE title a few months after debuting. Even if you rushed the new character into a world title program, it’s possible to make it work.

In fact, there was one sure-fire way to make this angle work. It’s simple, The Fiend goes into his big match, destroys the Universal Champion and wins the title and starts running through the roster. He does exactly what he’s been doing since he became The Fiend and you can run this angle all the way to WrestleMania where a babyface slays The Fiend and wins the title. It’s so easy to build up a new scary monster and possibly a household name. He’s got a great look as The Fiend, he’s unique and he has the side of him that makes you think that he could do anything. Why not have him as your Universal Champion?

Heck, now would be a perfect time to do WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs Universal Champion The Fiend at Survivor Series. I got so giddy at the thought of that after Brock won the title. No matter what you do as a wrestling promoter, two men who always win facing each other in a monster vs monster match will never not draw. Godzilla vs Kong will draw when it comes out next year I believe in the cinemas and so would this match….

…and WWE took all my dreams and turned it into this nightmare.

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This Hell in a Cell match was so horrible. This was not so offensive that I was mad at it. It was so horrible that I laughed at it. This was not so bad it was good. This was so bad that I mocked it. It was a parody of a Hell in a Cell match. I’m not going to do an in-depth analysis of the match like I usually do with Nitro reviews, but I will break down what happened if by chance you did not watch this match.

These two men get into the cell and they have a regular old Seth Rollins vs Bray Wyatt match. This was not The Fiend coming out of the gate and just destroying Seth Rollins. They fought evenly with weapons and big moves, with The Fiend selling a little bit but not a lot. They zapped out the dominating factor of The Fiend right away with this one. The Fiend attacks Seth with a big mallet and I want everyone to remember this when we get to the finish.

Suddenly, Seth starts to take over. I think The Fiend hit a Sister Abigail but mostly… this was Seth Rollins beating the crap out of The Fiend. He’d hit every finisher he could find, including a pedigree, but The Fiend would either no-sell it or kick out at one for each big move. While Seth Rollins, the heroic babyface, is giving it his all in this match to give The Fiend all that he had, the crowd boos the living daylights out of Seth Rollins.

They booed Seth because they so desperately wanted to see The Fiend, who was over, become champion. Seth Rollins had been a disaster of a champion, he is completely unlikable on Twitter doing such things like bragging about his bank account and he’s not over. So they decided to have a Hell in a Cell match and decided to have Seth start to dominate on The Fiend and of course the fans are all pissed about it. These fans, who can barely see the action because of the red lighting, were pissed off about this development too.

Seth hit about 11 curb stomps to no effect. The Fiend would just pop up once in a while just to freak out Seth. Seth starts freaking out. The Fiend is making his finishers look so pathetic to the point where he’s not even selling it. The Pedigree didn’t work out either. He starts getting angry that he can’t put him away so he attacks Fiend with a chair to the head. He attacks him with a toolbox. He grabs a ladder. He suddenly grabs a SLEDGEHAMMER. Keep in mind that The Fiend used a mallet earlier on in the match and this was followed with Seth grabbing a sledgehammer.

He gets back into the ring and the referee is pleading with Seth not to hit The Fiend with the sledgehammer. The ref cuts a promo on Seth telling him to not forget who he is and that he doesn’t need to do this and go too far. This is all going down… DURING A HELL IN A CELL MATCH. The very same match where Mick Foley got thrown off the top of the cell twice and still continued the match for 10 minutes. The very same match where Triple H used the sledgehammer OVER AND OVER AND OVER again in his Hell in a Cell matches. I reviewed a Hell in a Cell match with Triple H from Unforgiven 2006 where he walloped Vince McMahon in the head with the sledgehammer. The reason this was all fine was because there’s meant to be NO RULES in a Hell in a Cell match… because it’s HELLish for the wrestlers.

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So Seth Rollins, with a bunch of weapons on top of Fiend’s head to protect him, hits The Fiend with the sledgehammer and the referee calls for the bell. This Hell in a Cell match ended in a disqualification.

I know that so many people on Twitter were pissed off with the disqualification but on its own, that didn’t bother me so badly. There really should never really be a disqualification in a Hell in a Cell match but then again, there should never really be a no contest in a Hell in a Cell match and we saw that last year. It’s a stupid finish but whatever… but it didn’t end there.

So Seth is screaming that “you forced me to do it” and the medics raise the cell to see to The Fiend. After the medics all come down, The Fiend gets up like he is completely fine and beats up Seth Rollins after the match.

I was so mad at this particular part. I wasn’t really that mad about the DQ but I was really mad at the aftermath. I watched Seth “destroy” or at least hit a 1000 moves and weapon shots on The Fiend for a solid 10 minutes or whatever straight. The Fiend responded by not doing anything in response or just no-selling the moves or whatever. All of a sudden, after this supposedly horrific attack by Seth that forced a DQ, he gets up like he’s 100% OK and beats up Seth.

I have no idea what the logic was behind any of this. What was The Fiend’s motivation? He had the opportunity to win the title and his plan was to let Seth try to beat him up and then after the match, attack him. If Seth’s attacks meant so little to him, why didn’t he get up and attacks him during the match and win the title? Does he even want the title? If not, then why was this a title match? What was the motivation for any of these characters?

Anyway… The Fiend left Seth laying and the show was over.

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This match was an embarrassment to professional wrestling. During one of the most historic and biggest weeks in wrestling history, it ended with this Hell in a Cell match. This may have been the worst ending to a WWE pay-per-view in the history of WWE. At least Roman Reigns’ big win at Royal Rumble 2015 that was booed massively had some logic to the booking. There was no logic to this booking. This hurt the careers of both men. Seth and The Fiend both weren’t even on RAW the next night which tells you how much WWE were embarrassed by this match and really should be ashamed at themselves for this match.

There’s no chance that The Fiend will ever get back to the level of overness this character had before this feud started. There’s no chance Seth Rollins will be getting cheered any time soon. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. This Seth Rollins, on-and-off screen, has never looked so bad as he has done in the last few months. He can’t possibly be the Universal Champion after this.

Now… there are two possibilities that Seth could overcome this and redeem himself. Possibility #1 is that he goes away for a while. The Fiend could come out and attack him and Seth is forced to relinquish the title or Seth beats up an authority and gets fired. Anything to get him off TV for a while and then at the Royal Rumble, he can get a big return and try to start again. Possibility #2 is quite simple… he turns heel.

I feel like I’ve been through this exact scenario with Roman Reigns but if WWE knows what’s good for Seth, they’ll have him turn heel on his very next appearance on WWE television. It’s impossible for this guy to be a beloved babyface for the time being so you turn the guy heel for a while and then try again with him as a babyface a year from now. He’s gotta go heel and use all of this negativity to his advantage.

As for The Fiend, I’m not even sure he can be redeemed anymore. Why is it that Bray Wyatt is stuck with these bogus storylines? He finally gets this gimmick that gets him over and all they had to do was have him beat everybody on the road to WrestleMania and they HAD to this at Hell in a Cell. You can’t have him go up against Seth for a rematch. You can’t have him up against BROCK LESNAR for what could have been a big money match. I have no idea what you do now but it sucks to be The Fiend and Seth Rollins right now.

This match will live in infamy. WrestleCrap will already have this waiting in the wings for its yearly awards. People will never forget this for bad reasons and it was a nightmare. I could not believe my eyes watching this match.

My Twitter @ArmbarExpress is still active so if you have a desire to send me you shared hatred of this match, by all means send it to me! I’d love to read it. However, if you actually liked this match for whatever reason, please get in touch as I am curious if anyone actually thought this match was good and I’d like to get their opinions!

Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and be sure to check out my Retro Express WCW Nitro reviews! I’ve been reviewing every Nitro episode from the very first one and all of the links to the Nitro reviews can be seen on the links below!

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #26 (FEBRUARY 26TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN, RANDY SAVAGE AND THE BOOTY MAN VS RIC FLAIR, ARN ANDERSON AND TASKMASTER

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 Booty Man arrived on the scene at WCW…. and I think that’s all that needs to be said! He sided with Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan in the battle against Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and the Taskmaster and “kicked the can” at the end of the show. Despite overwhelming odds against the heels, Hogan and Savage have a new ally in… THE BOOTY MAN.

 

Date: February 26th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Knoxville, Tennessee

Rating: 3.2

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby Heenan

 

Sting vs Big Bubba

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I thought this was a good match. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t really seen a lot of him or whatever the deal is but I’ve never really associated Big Bubba a.k.a. The Big Boss Man as being a good worker. I had nothing against him but he didn’t really strike out to me as someone that would be any good but he’s had some really good matches on this series. I realise he was in the ring with Sting in this match but he had in-ring instincts and mannerisms that adds a little bit more to everything that he was doing. This was a good opener.

By the way, he was not Big Bubba Rogers on this show. He was merely billed as Big Bubba. Eric Bischoff mumbled through the RAW results as Big Bubba made his way down to the ring and took a shot Bob Holly saying “he’s still around?” This was actual mumbling. Last week, I wrote that he was calling the match so fast. This week, he responded by mumbling through the RAW results. This was probably by design to disregard the WWF as nothing but it didn’t make him look good as an announcer at all.

Big Bubba actually wins on Sting for a while at the start of this match. Big Bubba wasn’t really cheating. He was just overpowering and out-wrestling Sting for a long time and I actually like an opponent giving Sting a run for his money. This was not Sting just beating on someone. Big Bubba looked good as he was getting the heat on Sting.

Sting tried to fire back but Big Bubba caught Sting with a spinebuster for multiple two counts. Big Bubba worked on Sting despite Sting doing everything he can to fight back. Big Bubba argued with an old woman in the front row and Sting pops up with a right hand to a big reaction from those in the front row!

Sting hit a naughty looking reverse tombstone piledriver, with Bubba landing on top of his head. It was like a Styles Clash Piledriver. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a wrestler have complete faith with Sting in the ring delivering a piledriver! This could have went really bad but Big Bubba was literally leaving his life in Sting’s hands with this move!

Sting and Bubba go blow for blow. Sting tried a Vader Splash but Big Bubba got the knees up. Big Bubba tried a dive to the outside but Sting dropped him on the top turnbuckle and Sting hit a top rope crossbody for the win. I liked this match. It felt like a big win for Sting even if it was against Big Bubba as they showed Big Bubba was a legitimate threat to Sting. Sting had to dig deep to win. This has been shown a few times but Sting had another way to win a match with a crossbody which shows that Sting isn’t a one-trick pony with this arsenal. He’s a got a lot of moves that can get the job done. This gets a THUMBS UP!

 

Lex Luger, of all people, then started to steal the show! Sting and Lex Luger are about to be interviewed by Mean Gene before the Road Warriors interrupt. The Road Warriors asked where Sting’s head is at. The Road Warriors start cutting a promo on Luger and Sting, the WCW tag team champs by the way. They’ve been away from TV for a while but they were both back tonight. Animal said they were the masters of every match and Luger responded by saying they’ll wrestle the Road Warriors any time and any match as he poises with both belts! Luger is getting real confident now that he is a WCW tag team champion.

They start arguing about whether Lex Luger is from Chicago or not! Luger then leans on Sting and said: “tell them I’m from Chicago!” and they have this banter! Hawk said Luger reminded them of a washing machine as they really agitated them! What? In 16 years of being a wrestling fan, I’ve never seen a wrestler call another wrestler a “washing machine” before! That’s what Seth Rollins, babyface Universal Champion (as of me writing this), is missing nowadays! That’ll get him over!

I guess the Road Warriors challenged Sting and Luger to a Chicago Street Fight for the belts and Luger agreed to the match. Then, as soon as the Road Warriors leave, Luger turned to Sting and asked: “what’s a Chicago Street fight?” I laughed and I laughed and I laughed! Sting responded by saying: “why don’t you use your head and think about it?”

Lex Luger’s character was fabulous on this show. Luger is trying to be a tough guy for his best friend Sting and so he accepts any challenge that the Road Warriors dish out without even knowing what the match was! Luger’s a dumb heel trying to be a babyface and it was wonderful! And then, it got better!

 

Lex Luger vs The Renegade

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This was way better than you’d think. The Renegade, who is still with the company, was up against Lex Luger. This wasn’t particular good but this wasn’t really bad either. It was just there… but it wasn’t like a big calamity.

They show a WCW Magazine which included Madusa slamming Sherri’s head into the mat last month. These two wrestle for while. It’s nothing really special except that Renegade just no sells a couple of spots vintage Warrior style I guess. Renegade misses a crossbody and slams into the ropes as Luger goes to work. Luger gets a two count from a back suplex. The Renegade does a sunset flip but Luger kicks out and then comes back out with a clothesline.

Renegade does the pin power-up spot, like he lifts up Luger with the power off this kick out,… and then Luger just goes back onto him with a chin lock! All of that power… led to Luger locking on a chin lock!

Some fan in the front row had like a Bart Simpson mask on at the front which didn’t seem to fit his body at all! Bart has like a small neck since he’s a child but this big man stands up to cheer and he’s just a regular dude in a big coat!

Jimmy Hart comes down and pushes Renegade off the top rope. Luger does the torture rack for the submission win. Jimmy runs around the ring and jumps into the arms of Luger, who bounces his pecks up and down! Sting comes down to confront Jimmy and Luger and Luger covers up his pecs!.. like he’s just been caught in bed with another man! I loved that. He was out there half-naked anyway but Sting comes out to confront him and Luger feels the need to cover up like he’s just been up to no good. I LOVED IT! And then Luger goes after Jimmy!

Sting asked, not on the mic by the way, what Jimmy is doing out there but Luger insists he doesn’t know why he’s out there. He raises Renegades hand and tries to be babyface. Sting gets in Luger’s face and berates him for being with Jimmy Hart. I loved this segment.

Everything with Sting and Luger in on this show was great. We got two weeks without the Sting and Luger storyline and after two weeks, they’re back and there’s a big development in their storyline where Sting now is like “it’s him or me.” They don’t over-expose these two like they did before. Now, everything these two do should matter as part of the storyline where Luger and Sting are having friendship difficulties. You don’t over-do it but now it’s the time to flesh out the characters a little bit more. This was great.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray vs “Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk

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This was just a boring tag team match to me. Nothing really special. The teams get in each others’ faces as Nick Patrick gets between them to break it up.

Booker beats up Hawk for a while to get things going and talks trash as he does this. Hawk does a dropkick to send Booker to the floor. Hawk does a neckbreaker and follows up with a fist drop for a two count.

Animal and Stevie Ray get tagged in.  Not gonna lie: Stevie looked rather tall against Animal and as soon as I thought that, the announcers talk about the upper body of Stevie Ray!

Stevie does the release powerbomb to Hawk which I pray he stopped doing especially when he damn near killed Luger with one at Superbrawl. Booker hit an axe kick which Hawk just kicks out of… very weird to see Hawk just kick out of a move that would go on to become Booker’s finisher as a singles competitor!

Harlem Heat continues to get the heat on Hawk. Hawk tries to fight back but Hawk goes crashing into the ring post. Apparently the winners will get a shot at the tag titles according to Bischoff, right after an angle where Road Warriors and Sting and Luger agree to a Chicago Street Fight.

Animal runs wild. Animal pulls off doing a back flip off a double back suplex and does a double clothesline to a big pop! Booker breaks it up as things just quiet down all of a sudden. I got no idea what happened. Booker hits a Houston Hangover but the referee is distracted with Stevie Ray. Animal kicks a distracted Booker in the face. Hawk covers Booker as Stevie just stands there in front of it on the outside and lets it happen. Hawk pins Booker. Apparently something went awry because Stevie just stood there and didn’t even try to break it up. No storyline or anything. It was like they hit pause on Stevie Ray and he was just motionless. A sloppy finish to an otherwise boring match.

 

 

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Booty Man vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster

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We had our big six man tag team match main-event. The six men brawled in the ring to kick things off. Eventually Booty Man and Arn are the two legal men in the ring.

Kimberley Page comes down onto the entrance ramp with roses. This came off as rather random so I would have to imagine that Johnny B Badd is out of the company. Either way, this led to nothing on this show.

Booty Man shook his booty as Savage suddenly enters the ring, tells Booty something and then leaves. I wonder if Booty Man forgot a spot because again, it just came off as so out of the blue…

Booty hits a “high knee”. I guess they ousted Zodiac as the Booty Man who was infiltrating the Dungeon of Doom on commentary. The Booty Man ran wild on the heels. I legit lost track of who was the legal man was as the announcers even lost track of who the legal man was. Everyone just kept coming into the ring and doing spots. Flair and Booty Man suddenly start wrestling.

Booty Man and Ric Flair wrestle for the upper hand in the test of strength. Savage rips his shirt after getting tagged in and throws it at Elizabeth I think… or Woman possibly. Savages fights all of the heels as they all enter the ring again but Savage stands his ground.

Ric posed as Hulk Hogan is tagged in. Hogan ran wild on Flair. Hogan overcame Arn and Taskmaster, sending them both over the top rope with a clothesline. Bobby was still confused about who the legal man was and Mongo said: “it doesn’t matter who the legal man is.” Yes Mongo… it does.

Booty Man tagged in and again, all the heels jump in the ring and Booty Man fights them off. Hard to keep track about the heel was that was the legal man as Booty Man ran wild. This was getting ridiculous.

Savage grabbed the hair of Woman and Elizabeth to ridiculous cheers which leads to the heels getting the heat on Savage. WWE could not get away with this in 2019! The 90s was just a weird time for wrestling when putting on your hands on women was endorsed by the fans!

Flair goes to wok on Savage on the outside. Taskmaster and Savage both tumble into each other and this gives Savage the chance to tag in the Booty Man yet again. Booty Man runs wild with a minute left on the show which got me concerned. This has also got me concerned when writing this review as I’ve felt I’ve written “The Booty Man runs wild” so often during this review! I’d hate to keep repeating myself but that’s what happened! Anyway… minute left – Booty Man gets the hot tag.

Booty Man throws all three heels into Hogan’s boot. Hogan got tagged in and Hogan suddenly hits the leg drop on Arn and finally pins Arn Anderson to a huge pop from the crowd! I thought… great. Hogan finally got his victory over Arn after weeks of Arn sneaking his way into victories over the Hulkster. Hogan finally beat the man and pinned him. He got a big victory. This was all fine… but then the show kept going with about 30 seconds left on the show.

The heels then take over after the bell. Elizabeth takes forever to handcuff Hogan to the corner to the point where I think Hogan just flat-out handcuffed himself to the ring post! The camera just solely focuses on this as this is going on by the way. Ric Flair whips Hogan with something as the show goes off the air.

Why couldn’t you have just ended the show with the babyfaces celebrating after a big win? Was it really necessary for the heels to get their heat back? Ric Flair didn’t even get pinned and he gets Hogan handcuffed and beaten with like 30 seconds left on the show. Why was it so important with so little time left to do that spot, not executed well at all by the way?

There was a massive issue with timing on this show, especially with the finish. The show was fine as a whole but I think the main-event was very much a train wreck to me. Too much was going on with the constant switches and tags. It was very hard to keep track of it all and then they had to rush to a quick finish and a goofy angle with 30 seconds left. The finish to the show left a bad taste in my mouth. I think the Lex Luger and Sting stuff was really the highlights of the show.

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A heads up for the next episode. There was no episode of Nitro for the week after this episode. I don’t remember what the reason was but they did mention it at some point. I think we’ll be at episode March 11th or something and with 2 weeks or so left before the Uncensored PPV.

I will see you with the review of the next edition of Nitro! If you read this review, thanks for reading and please tweet @ArmbarExpress with your thoughts!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #25 (FEBRUARY 19TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN VS ARN ANDERSON II AND A RIC FLAIR VS RANDY SAVAGE REMATCH FOR THE TITLE

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 were coming off Superbrawl VI, with Ric Flair being the WCW World Heavyweight Champion once again and the battle between the Mega Powers, the Four Horsemen (well three horsemen for now) and the Dungeon of Doom raged on. Savage knocked off Hugh Morrus and set his sights on getting revenge on Ric Flair and the recently turned Miss Elizabeth. Hulk Hogan battled Arn Anderson in the main-event with Anderson picking up a shock pinfall victory following interference from Flair, Elizabeth and Woman.

This week’s Nitro episode will see the Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson rematch and the Randy Savage vs Ric Flair title rematch from Superbrawl.

 

Date: February 19th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Salisbury, Maryland

Rating: 2.9

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby Heenan

 

I thought this episode was a vast improvement of the last month or so of Nitros. I don’t know what it was that made me like it. There were stuff you’d normally expect but these things were sharper this week. Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson was very similar to last week and it worked. Loch Ness’ squash match this week was a sharper version of his last match from last week and it worked in making Loch Ness look like a monster. I saw a good match with Fit Finlay a.k.a. The Belfast Bruiser facing Brad Armstrong. I saw a good match with Randy Savage and Ric Flair as always. There wasn’t much wrong with it and it was an easy watch.

In no way did this feel like a chore and that’s exactly what you want for a wrestling show.

 

Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson w/Woman

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The screen went black somehow as Hogan ran down to the ring for this one. I have no idea what the technical difficulty was with the show here. The match started with Hogan beating up Arn before he can even take off his jacket and Steve “Mongo” McMichael, babyface announcer and the voice of the good guys, said: “Hogan is doing the right thing here.” Hogan attacked a man who couldn’t even defend himself and he’s “doing the right thing” Mongo?

Bischoff’s said Hogan’s eyes were hurt “due to attacks by heels”… ha ha. Very clever Eric. Hogan caught Arn off the top rope with a clothesline which actually looked better then you’d expect it to be with Hogan and Arn Anderson of all people. Hogan choked away at Arn and raked the eyes.

Bischoff took a shot at Vader and mentioned some altercation with Paul Orndorff. I believe they had a fight before Vader was fired or whatever. I think I talked about this on the series before near the start of it.

Hogan choked Arn with a fan’s scarf right in front of Nick Patrick… NOT A DQ. He choked Arn with an illegal weapon and Nick Patrick just stood there watching it. They plugged Uncensored in March where apparently all the matches are No DQ so I guess that spot was a teaser for that PPV!

Hogan was all over Arn as the fans chanted “Hogan sucks” until Arn finally got a polish hammer in. Hogan even struggled to sell that… possibly by design. Hogan caught Arn’s foot as Arn attempted a stomp and proceeded to push Arn over the top rope.

Arn did an Irish Whip and Hogan runs, stops, waves his arms in the air and then bumps into the corner. The weirdest run off an Irish Whip I’ve ever seen by the Hulkster.

Hogan did a Figure Four Leg Lock as Arn grabbed the referee. Savage prevented a Taskmaster run-in and then the ref called for the bell. Hogan thought he won. The match awarded the match to… Arn Anderson. For what? Because Savage attacked Taskmaster who was not in the match? In fact, NEITHER MAN involved in that run-in touched Anderson or Hogan!

Arn Anderson now holds two wins in a row over Hulk Hogan but I was really confused by that finish. Savage and Taskmaster didn’t even touch Arn Anderson or anyone. They just went in the ring and did a spot together. Somehow Hogan was disqualified for this.

Again, Hogan mostly beat the crap out of Arn and Arn escaped with the victory. At the very least, in storyline, this may build up to Hulk Hogan finally getting a big win over Arn Anderson and it’s rare moment of Hogan with his back against the corner. The heels are outsmarting him left and right. Flair beat him before Superbrawl and now Arn has two victories over him after Superbrawl. Hopefully this will lead to Hogan finally scoring that big win over Arn and getting a big win leading to a match with Flair down the road. So I like this and the storytelling in these matches with Hogan and Arn. This gets a thumbs up for now!

 

Loch Ness vs Alex Wright

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A massive improvement from their last match featuring a massive man in Loch Ness. I did love though that Eric Bischoff talks about bringing you the best every single week as there’s suddenly technical difficulties as the screen goes green and fizzles a little! I found it rather hilarious!

Loch Ness could barely move as Wright tried some dropkicks. Wright tries to choke out Loch Ness and they showed a close up the ugly looking Loch Ness with teeth missing! He was a mean ugly heel as every heel should be! Loch Ness did a bear hug and Alex Wright somehow got out of it!

Loch Ness did hardly anything and was sweating buckets. He got blown up from walking, never-mind when he was doing spots. Wright came flying in and Loch Ness booted him out of the sky. Loch Ness did a massive elbow drop as the ring shook. The fans went ooooh and the announcers really sold the impact of this elbow drop. Loch Ness did a slam and they acted like it was death to the German Alex Wright! Loch Ness won a slightly better match then from last week. Loch Ness wanted Hogan… turns out he doesn’t get Hogan but we’ll get to that at another time!

 

The Belfast Bruiser vs Brad Armstrong

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We finally got the Monday Nitro debut of FIT FINLAY. Billed as The Belfast Bruiser in this match, Finlay was so great in this match and I’d forgotten just how good this guy was in the ring. As made clear at the start of the series, I never watched WCW back when it was on air. I was 1 year old when this episode aired. My only memory of Finlay was his WWE run in 2006. To get to watch Finlay in WCW is such a treat and Finlay had a fine performance against Brad Armstrong.

NOTE: Not that I’d say this to his face but Finlay was sporting a naughty looking moustache and mullet combination! Then again it was the 90s so who am I to judge?

The fans chanted USA. I’m just gonna call him Finlay as I do the review of this match. Calling him “the Belfast Bruiser” while accurate would be very hard to stick to! Finlay worked on the arm of Armstrong funnily enough. Of course if you work on an Armstrong, you work on the arm of an Armstrong! The clue is in the name!

He wrenched on the arm and then gouged the face, following up with the elbow to the face! I loved the combination of picking apart body parts of the opponent and then getting some cheap shots in once in a while!

Finlay did a standing surfboard-like arm wrench. Armstrong tries to fight back and Finlay just clobbers him down to regain the heat! It was pretty great! Armstrong finally gets back in the match with some headlock takedowns.

Armstrong kicks Finlay over the top rope and Finlay responds by taking out the legs! Finlay thinks at this point: “he thinks he can kick me? I’ll wrap his leg around the post and make sure he doesn’t kick me anymore!” Finlay was the man!

Finlay locks on a calf crusher but Armstrong refused to give up and then does a big elbow to the face to get back into the match. Armstrong and Finlay go flying over the top rope with a crossbody. Armstrong did a big face slam and hit a big back suplex as the fans start to go nuts from BRAD ARMSTRONG! If you think of all of the wrestlers in 2019 that struggle to get a reaction for the comeback and yet BRAD ARMSTRONG is being rooted on and cheered by the crowd in a match with the Belfast Bruiser!

Finlay hits a big gutwrench suplex for the pin. I thought this was a great match as the Belfast Bruiser calls out Regal. I cannot wait to watch that match as well!

 

Ric Flair (c) w/Elizabeth and Woman vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Again, you’re rarely ever gonna find a bad Randy Savage vs Ric Flair match and this was a great world title match. Also great on this show was Elizabeth’s outfit… she came out in a skirt and jacket and she looked marvellous!

Flair grabs Woman and Elizabeth, puts his arms over them before the match and sings “I got the whole world in my hands” giving us Bray Wyatt’s inspiration for when he started using that phrase!

Nick Patrick grabs the title and hoists it up at the cameraman in the corner. When I first looked at it, all I could see was “man” on the name plate. I thought “what the?”so I rewound it and it said MACHO MAN! I looked at it and thought, did they just spoil the finish? Bischoff covers it up by saying Ric Flair kept Savage’s nameplate on the title. I have no idea if they just left it on by mistake because I find it hard to believe that this was part of a storyline that RIC FLAIR would leave another man’s nameplate on his own world title belt.

Bischoff called segments of this match like he was a auctioneer, speaking at a ridiculous pace! “Savage going for the Irish whip, he hits the Irish Whip. Flair hits an elbow” he’d say for example and he said all of that in the space of like 5 seconds without catching his breath! “Nature Boy Ric Flair. The Nature Boy takes Randy Savage on the outside…” he’d say that at the speed of light to which I yelled at the TV “SLOW DOWN!” Eric Bischoff, if you’re reading this review, could have killed ya to talk a little bit slower on commentary? This put Jimmy Hart to shame in terms of fast-paced talkers!

Savage got distracted with Woman and Flair takes advantage. Woman raked the eyes of Savage as the referee was distracted with either Elizabeth or Flair. Savage fought back but Flair cut him off with an elbow and then collapses to the ground!

Savage goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock. I love that the storyline they’re trying to tell is that Flair has everything Savage holds dear and yet Savage responds by taking Ric’s own finisher and using it on Flair! “You think you can take my things Flair? I’ll take your finisher!”

Flair begged Savage off but Savage is no fool and stomps him anyway! Savage locked on a sleeper hold but Flair reversed it with a back suplex. Flair does a suplex and then grabs his head and screams “OH GOD” which I think he was just selling his head as he wouldn’t go “OH GOD” if he was legitimately hurt I don’t think.

Flair locked on his own Figure Four Leg Lock and after a while, Savage reversed the figure four to get out of it. Savage gets a near fall with a backslide, to which Mongo goes “that was a slow count.” Flair bounces off the corner with a running chop and Savage sold this like he got shot in the chest with a sniper! Tremendous selling!

Flair and Savage threw chops and punches. Savage spits at Flair and Flair doesn’t get mad and fired up like most wrestlers… he gets on his knees and begs him off! That is a spot that only Ric Flair (and I guess Eddie Guerrero) could pull off so well!

Savage did the double axe handle off the top and then Elizabeth distracted him. Woman throws her heel to Flair but Savage intercepted it and hit Flair with it.

Taskmaster and Hogan both ran down. I think Woman hit Savage in the face to break up a pin attempt or Flair kicked out. Nick Patrick goes to make the count and I don’t think that was supposed to happen. Maybe Woman thought that Patrick would turn his attention to Hogan and Taskmaster first, which he eventually did and that would allow her to break it up. No, Patrick goes for the count and I think Woman feels she has to do something to break it up and I also think Ric may have thought he needed to kick out. Either way, this particular part of the finish got screwed up.

Arn then comes out an hit a DDT on Savaeg as the referee is somehow distracted and Flair covered Savage for the pinfall win. Good match but a hugely over-complicated and over-booked finish. You had like 5 people, other than the referee, Randy Savage and Ric Flair involved in this finish:

  1. MISS ELIZABETH distracted Macho Man.
  2. WOMAN threw the shoe to Ric Flair but it was intercepted by Savage.
  3. TASKMASTER runs down.
  4. HULK HOGAN runs down after Taskmaster.
  5. ARN ANDERSON comes out and hits a DDT on Savage.

You couldn’t have just done a ref bump and then Arn comes out and DDTs Savage and then Flair gets the pin? You had to get four other people involved?

The heels gang up on Savage and Hogan and some dude makes the save! The announcers don’t say who he is but even a millennial wrestling fan like me, who has never seen Nitro before, recognises that it is BRUTUS BEEFCAKE aka THE BOOTY MAN! Yet Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan had no idea who this guy was! BOBBY HEENAN, of all people, didn’t know who it was that came out.

The Booty Man runs them off as Elizabeth tumbles off the ramp! Poor Elizabeth. The heels commandeer the announce booth as Flair cuts a promo but the babyfaces force them to flea. Hogan and Savage goes nuts on Bischoff for some reason and Hogan finally declares “Did you see him run from the Booty Man?” Yeah, this is the moment where Hogan declares this “mystery” third man to be THE BOOTY MAN.

Hogan said: “This is the Booty Booty Man. If he can’t kick the can, nobody can.” That has to be one of the worst catchphrases in wrestling history! Hogan is cutting this big promo for the BOOTY MAN and all I can think is that his name is the Booty Man! He was The Zodiac as a member of the Dungeon of Doom but now he’s THE BOOTY MAN?

Mean Gene clarifies that there’s gonna be a six man tag team match next week as Hogan, Savage and Booty takes on Flair, Taskmaster and Arn. Booty Man shakes his ass a lot on television as Bischoff agrees to get this match done so I guess Bischoff is acknowledged as the dude running the show now? Then again, he’s always listed as an Executive Producer or something for the PPVs so I guess it was always implied to the audience anyway.

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That was Nitro. It was not boring. As a matter of fact, it was kind of fun. Finlay was a breath of fresh air. Savage vs Flair matches always work for me. They worked the kinks out for Loch Ness and I like the B plot story they’re telling with Hogan and Arn. This show gets a THUMBS UP! The first good Nitro in a long time for me!

We will see you with our review of Episode #26 of WCW Monday Nitro!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order