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.
Wrestling history is something that I feel any true wrestling fan should be willing to relive and go through. If you’re a younger wrestling fan or if you’ve just started watching wrestling, utilise the WWE Network and explore the huge collection of wrestling history from the old days of the WWF, ECW, NWA, WCCW, along with many other promotions and yes, WCW. It teaches of the things that have worked before in wrestling that can work as a concept for traditional wrestling booking. WWE, AEW, MLW, Impact Wrestling, AAA, NJPW, ROH and so many other wrestling promotions out there can learn from the past. You can find out what worked and what didn’t work, using this knowledge to your advantage when booking for the future. This show was an example of what didn’t work…
I cannot even begin as I usually do with these PPV reviews. I’d usually start with a brief summary of the storylines going in and trying to hype up the review. As good in places as the PPV was, the thing I will always remember when thinking about this PPV is the main-event. The Doomsday Cage match with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage battling Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, The Barbarian, Meng, Lex Luger, The Taskmaster, Z-Gangsta and The Ultimate Solution… this match was the worst wrestling match I’ve ever seen.
I thought back to legendary horrible matches of the past like Jenna vs Sharmell from TNA Victory Road 2009, Sting vs Jeff Hardy from TNA Victory Road 2011 or even that one match with Kaitlyn and Maxine from NXT which was ungodly terrible in its own right. None of those matches can come close to this match on the grounds that at least those matches were short… this Doomsday Cage match was an illogical, clunky disaster of a main-event which went on for 25 minutes.
What’s most amazing about that was that this match wasn’t even in the longest match on this show! The Road Warriors faced Sting and Booker T in a 30 minute tag team match right before this. That match itself was also memorable but it pales in comparison to how much this Doomsday Cage match will be remembered for infamy.
It’s a shame because the first three matches on this show were fine. I enjoyed the first three matches so I figured this was just a good show that was ruined by a bad main-event. No. They followed up the first three matches with a slow boring match, a two minute monster match, an even longer slow boring match and then ended with a horrific main-event.
I have a grander rant planned for the main-event of this show and this review but I will review the show in full, as I believe in giving credit when credit is due. So let’s get going….
Date: March 24th 1996
City: Tupelo, Mississippi
Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes
Speaking of giving credit where credit is due… the commentary team was fantastic during this PPV. With the exception of the main-event where I think they just didn’t care, they called a blinder of a wrestling show. Tony Schiavonie, who I’ve been a little harsh with as of late (with these reviews especially. He’s fine with AEW at the moment), was on top of his game for this wrestling PPV. Dusty Rhodes was great with his input and Bobby Heenan was great at being Bobby Heenan. They showed a legitimate passion for the product and interest, providing insight that the average wrestling fan won’t be able to pick up on. They put the talent over when they could and they cared about what was going. They were brilliant on this show all things considered.
Konnan © vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
The announcers point out that this was the first and only title match of the evening for this pay-per-view. I understand it is the United States Championship but the idea that the one title match booked for a pay-per-view is on first is laughable to me. You want me to care about this championship match and your plan is to put it on first? This would be like if the UFC put on all of the title matches at the start of the show. It would kill interest in those titles if they are presented as after-thoughts.
With that being said, this was a huge improvement on the US title match from Superbrawl. Eddie worked hard here and it does help when you’ve got a guy like Eddie Guerrero in there with Konnan.
With that being said, having Konnan and Eddie Guerrero go 18 minutes was a terrible idea. Konnan had this big reputation of not being able to do long matches and this did not help that reputation. His conditioning was just not there to keep up with Guerrero and so we got stalling, clumsy spots and I feel the crowd got killed by the end of this match. The fans were hot for the start of it but dead by the end which would suggest this match was a failure.
They do some crisp matt wrestling from the get-go though. I enjoyed it initially and this was followed with Eddie doing a lovely arm drag, flying high in the air and coming down to Earth and sending Konnan flying.
Eddie put pressure on the legs of Konnan by doing like a handstand, putting all of his body weight on the legs as Tony puts it. I loved it because it was not a deliberate attempt by Guerrero to show off as it was just a move to get more from a basic wrestling hold. This wasn’t even a hold too… he did a handstand!
Konnan rolled in for something but he and Eddie weren’t on the same page and he kinda rolled into the ropes. They traded roll-ups and Konnan got a heel hook locked in on the mat. Konnan actually twisted the foot of Eddie for some twerk which I thought looked good. Konnan did a Boston Crab but it didn’t look good. It looked like it did nothing as Dusty even told him to put some of his back into the move for pressure.
Konnan and Eddie did some pretty great lucha libre, fast-paced action and it fired them both up as the fans chanted for Eddie. You could tell that the announcers were really into this match. The wrestlers went to the corners to pump up the crowd which was OK… at this point.
Eddie applied a camel clutch which looked a little awkward as Eddie was very small at this time and Konnan had a wide chest. Eddie eventually found a way to ground him and put some twerk on the camel clutch. There was some obvious stalling apparent here as they went to work the crowd so I wondered at this point if I was in for a long match.
Konnan had some great arm drags being displayed in this match. They traded head locks and arm locks in the ring as the camera crew apparently got bored, and cut to a shot to the stage.
Eddie fought out of an arm lock with a quick arm drag. Konnan walked around on the floor for the while as the fans start to get restless and boo. At this point, the fans just wanted some action and clearly this was a spot to suggest that Konnan couldn’t deliver this action.
Konnan did a monkey flip and Eddie Guerrero did the most majestic landing on his feet from a monkey flip I’ve ever seen. It was beautiful if you can go back to watch this match. I think it is in the second half of the match and Eddie just went high in the air and landed with such finesse.
Eddie suddenly ran wild with a headscissors and a gorgeous dive to the outside. They wrestled on the mat again. Konnan did a weird submission where he was on his back grabbing the legs of Eddie but wrapped his own legs on Eddie’s head. The difference in wrestling ability between Konnan and Eddie was very apparent. Eddie was too fast and Konnan wasn’t able to keep up but he was still trying to keep up with Eddie.
Konnan hit a sit-out powerbomb for the near fall. Eddie got pushed off the top rope by Konnan. Konnan barely connected with a dive. Eddie hit a big superplex
It was clear to me that Konnan just struggled with long matches while Eddie was totally at home. Eddie paced himself well where he could go in there with anyone for 20 minutes and look great. Eddie went for a hurricanrana but I guess Eddie landed on Konnan’s head crotch first and got low-blowed, as Konnan just covered him for the win.
Eddie refused a handshake and this was a bad finish to an otherwise decent match. This wasn’t a blow-away match or anything and as an opener, this really didn’t work in getting the crowd pumped up. If anything, it did the opposite because the fans weren’t into this match by the end.
Match Rating: **3/4
Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Col. Robert Parker and Dick Slater. Col Parker thanked Dick for training as he was set to face Madusa tonight. Parker said he’s doing this for his family, for Mean Gene and Mississippi. He said he was gonna get that girl and “rub her face in it really good” which was a weird way of putting it. He called the male fans cowards. Dick said when the colonel whips Madusa, it was gonna be great. Col Parker said he’s gonna teach Madusa what a man stands for. I love Col Robert Parker’s heel mean promo where you’d really want Madusa to kick his ass. ON PAPER… this was a fine way to make you hate Parker and make you want Madusa to kick his ass. Keep that in mind.
Steven Regal vs The Belfast Bruiser
This match was a thing of beauty and by a thing of a beauty, I mean one of the stiffest matches I’ve ever seen! Remember when the Belfast Bruiser (a.k.a. Fit Finlay) debuted and he called out Regal? I mentioned that I could not wait for that match. I finally got my match and it was… glorious. This was the best thing on the entire show. It was a glorious… FIGHT between Regal and Bruiser. Two heel tough guys who beat each other up for 17 minutes and the commentators were into it and loved it. I loved it and the fans started to love it by the end. Then we got a crap finish which we’ll get to.
NOTE: If you’re new to the blog, I’m calling Belfast Bruiser just Finlay for the simplicity of writing this review. He was officially billed as the Belfast Bruiser but I’m just going with Finlay for these reviews.
Finlay threw his jacket at Regal to kick things off. Regal hit an absolutely fantastic hip toss as they got into a fight. A beautiful fight with uppercuts and knee lifts. Finlay was as ugly and tough as they come. He hit a beautiful clothesline which floored Regal and when I say he hit a beautiful clothesline, he SMACKED Regal across the chest and forced him to go down. This was not Regal needing to fall down in time. Finlay clobbered him and Regal went down as he was supposed to! This was great!
Regal locked a front face lock as Finlay and Regal growled during the hold! Regal locked on an abdominal stretch and Finlay’s response was a simple knee to the face! Finlay worked on the arm of Regal, ramming it into the ring post and then stomping on the arm,
Finlay had an arm wrench locked in but Regal fought his way up to his feet with strikes. Regal hit a fantastic dropkick on Finlay who was bouncing off the corner!
There was not one guy getting heat during this match. This was not a case of my turn, your turn. They WRESTLED for control throughout this match. They were both heels as far as I could tell and they were both two mean guys who were doing anything to get an advantage and it was great. This was not a routine face vs heel where a heel gets the heat and the face makes a comeback. This was refreshing to watch.
Finlay hit a big senton to a floored Regal. They punched and threw elbows at each other. Finlay exploded out of the corner with another beautiful clothesline. Finlay had some of the best clotheslines I’ve ever seen. He slammed Regal’s face on the mat. Regal booted Finlay right in the face! I loved just how ugly this match was! This was not pretty and it was not a performance. This was a fight!
They battled for the suplex off the apron and Regal won. Regal even pulled off an elbow drop from the apron. Some fans then started booing this match. I’m not going to advocate violence but if anyone would care to lend me a time machine, I’ll have no problem travelling back in time to sort out these fans! How could you possibly boo this match?
Dusty pointed out that “pain was being dished out by these guys.” EXACTLY. They were looking to HURT each other and that’s the name of the game. As Dusty said that, Finlay booted Regal right in the back! I loved every minute of this match.
Regal instructed the referee to move out of the way and Regal used this chance to boot Finlay right in the balls! Regal did a wrist lock but Finlay got his leg on the rope. Finlay pulled out pokes to the eyes like there was no tomorrow to get the upper-hand.
Finlay drove Regal’s face into the mat with his knee. Regal applied another wrist lock while pressing his knee into the back of the head of Finlay. Finlay then just literally threw Regal over his shoulders! This wasn’t a back drop. He grabbed Regal’s legs and launched him over his shoulders and threw his arse in the air! It was so great.
Regal started mouthing off and Finlay responded with a closed fist punched to the face and the announcers just started howling with laughter! They loved this. I loved this. Dusty is losing his mind at commentary over just the straight closed fist to the face of Regal!
Then we got the finish… The Blue Bloods came down and attacked the Belfast Bruiser for the DQ. They got up the Belfast Bruiser and Regal Slapped Belfast Bruiser right in the face. Finlay then hauled his arse up that ramp to beat up some of the Blue Bloods.
WHY… would you do a DQ finish? You have a match that the fans are getting into, the commentators are getting into it so much that you know is good watching and you’re just gonna do a DQ finish? Keep in mind, they promoted this entire PPV telling you the fans beforehand that every match was going to have no disqualifications. Yet in the second match and the best match, there’s a disqualification? Give me a break.
Match Rating: ***1/2 (It was a beautiful match minus a horrible finish)
I was reading a review of this show before I started writing my own and the dude who did this review (and I don’t have a link sorry) flat-out said there was not one good finish on this PPV. Other than the DDP vs Booty Man match where I could possible argue they had a good finish, he was pretty much spot on. There was some awful finishes on this show.
Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart and The Giant. Jimmy said nobody gets their hand on Jimmy Hart and gets away with it so I guess Loch Ness beat up Jimmy or something during one of the WCW Saturday Night shows. The Giant said to Loch Ness: “I’m gonna smoke you like bacon on a grill.” He told Mean Gene to tell Ric Flair he’s gonna tear him limb from limb. The Giant says the title was his and that’s all that’s got to be said. Simple but effective. The winner of The Giant vs Loch Ness match on this show got a title shot on Nitro. Mean Gene called Bobby the weasel to which Bobby just yells “BALDY” in such a bitter fashion! Bobby Heenan being Bobby Heenan was wondrous!
Mean Gene followed this up with an interview Loch Ness. He was billed as nearly 700lbs and I don’t remember if that was true or not. Loch Ness said that weasel face Hart got him from across the ocean. Loch Ness said Jimmy promised him a shot of Hogan in the Doomsday match but he got pulled out of the match. Tonight, he said he would take it out on his man The Giant. He said when he drops 700lbs, The Giant won’t get up. That he guaranteed. Mean Gene, standing right next to a 700lb monster, then tells Loch Ness that he’s got introduce him to a guy who is a dentist… and Loch Ness stares a hole into Mean Genes’ soul like he’s going to eat him!
Mean Gene demonstrated the biggest balls in the world, in kayfabe, with that line! Mean Gene casually cuts away to something else as Loch Ness stares him down. I thought this was great! I liked Loch Ness’ promo. It was concise and it was effective and sounded believable. You could believe that when Loch Ness drops all of his weight on The Giant, The Giant ain’t coming back up. You’ll have to stick around and see if he actually gets up from an elbow drop. I thought this was good
Madusa vs Col Robert Parker w/Dick Slater
There was a big female pop for Madusa actually. Madusa was relatively over with this crowd so the Col. Robert Parker promo was effective in getting this crowd to get behind Madusa!
Col Robert Parker was suited and booted as he does an intentionally horrible job at bouncing off the rope before the bell sounded. Parker locked up with Madusa and powered her into the turnbuckle. Yes, Parker was winning on the former WWF women’s champion with a lock-up. My mind was blown as the whole story should be that the manager is the coward picking a fight with a woman but yet he cleanly wins the initial lock-up!
Madusa powered Parker into the corner herself and sent him flying with an arm drag to which Dusty sniggered at. The snigger was exactly like a friend of mine from work! Dusty was loving it!
Parker got Madusa for an aeroplane spin but then she reversed this into a sunset flip. She slammed Parker and Parker sold this like he was a fish outta water. The fans were proper into this match. Dick came out and encouraged Parker to go back in the ring…. again, there were issues with phrasing during this review!
Parker choked Madusa and slammed her down. Yes, he was OVERPOWERING MADUSA all on his own by this point. This was not like Madusa was mostly destroying Parker and he got a few lucky shots in. He was wrestling on par with supposedly the best female wrestler in WCW! Amazing.
Parker missed an elbow drop. Madusa did a standard dropkick and then did a front dropkick from the second rope. Madusa did a dive but Parker caught her and then they just fell down.
Madusa somehow pulled off a German Suplex but Dick Slater broke it up. This was the finish… Parker covered Madusa and pinned her. That’s it. He laid on top of her and pinned her. He didn’t hit a move. He didn’t do anything to her. He laid over, put all of his weight on Madusa and pinned her. Maybe Dick did something to Madusa but there was no clear sign of interference. Col Robert Parker pinned Madusa clean.
If you think to all of the trouble WCW went too when getting Alundra Blayze from the WWF. They had her drop the WWF women’s title in a trash can on national television, which was followed by a lawsuit. What have they done with her since that time? She lost clean in her first Nitro match against SISTER SHERRI and she lost her first pay-per-view to Col. Robert Parker. These two were both managers and they both beat Madusa CLEAN.
They had such a golden ticket in their lap with Alundra Blayze of all people. You could have developed a legitimate women’s division which is something the WWF didn’t really have anymore. You had girls coming in from AJPW who were brilliant in WCW, you could have brought in other good wrestlers for that division and you could have made Alundra a star in her own right at WCW. This was such an opportunity and they have shown to blow it a couple of months in. It’s remarkable.
Match Rating: **
Lee Marshall interviewed The Road Warriors. Animal said they wanna kick everyone’s butt. He said Sting and Booker T are gonna find out why they’re called the Chicago Big Bullies. Hawk said they’re gonna remove their brain stems which was a sick burn I guess in 1996. They said they get the job done when they say they will. They said it’ll be an all-out blitz and nobody cares, except for the Road Warriors. A weird promo and Lee Marshall didn’t really help with his introduction before this promo. He didn’t come off as a legitimate interviewer as he just came off as a character with a dramatic introduction about the tag team division. It was just very weird and it didn’t work at all.
The announcers at the booth did explain Booker T is siding with Sting for this tag team match because Harlem Heat want a shot at the tag titles.
The Booty Man w/The Booty Girl vs Diamond Dallas Page in an I Quit Wrestling match. If DDP wins, he gets his money back and the Booty Girl. If DDP loses, he quits WCW
DDP came out in scruffy clothes as they explained that DDP was down on his luck and had no money. DDP yelled at the fans. DDP kept refusing to get in the ring and kept yelling at the fans. One guys actually flexed in front of him, getting into the show themselves!
DDP and Booty went to the turnbuckles for cheers and boos and the fans were into this fun at least. DDP did an incredible sell early on, falling on his head as Booty Man did a shoulder tackle to him.
Dusty’s commentary included a line where he said: “Booty’s always got a good game plan.” Interesting choice of words! DDP yelled “shut up you fat pig” at a fan while Booty had him locked in a hold. Booty started strutting his stuff. DDP charged him to which Booty punched him and sends DDP flying out of the ring over the top rope.
DDP wanted to leave but Booty Man went after him and pulled him back into the ring. So… the story of the match is that if DDP walked out, DDP would quit wrestling right? Then why would Booty Man bring him back into the ring? Let DDP walk out of the ring and walk out on the company. Why would he bring him back into the ring?
Booty smacked DDP’s face into the three turnbuckles as he rolled onto the floor… PHRASING! Kimberley a.k.a. The Booty Girl came out in this ballerina dress. JEEZ LOUISE. The announcers were blown away by her and for good reason. She looked stupendous in this outfit. She was an absolute treat on WCW.
DDP and Booty did some criss-cross stuff. Booty Man did an Irish Whip. What resulted was that DDP fell down and Booty Man keeled over to which Tony just asked: “what was that?” I they were doing an arm drag spot (at least DDP was) but maybe Booty was going for a shoulder tackle and the communication got lost somewhere, maybe in the Jersey Shore.
DDP slammed him with a back suplex and taunted and even fellow heel Bobby Heenan is telling him to not waste time. DDP had a sleeper hold. Booty fought out of it but DDP knocked him down with the knee as Booty Girl said twice “he’s so cute.”
DDP then grabbed Booty Girl and kissed her to which Booty Girl slapped him, Booty followed this up by hitting the High Knee and won. The finish came out of nowhere. We had 15 minutes or so of non-action. They rushed to the finish and Booty Man won but I woud argue that maybe it was a decent finish, because at least the heel who was a prick to his girlfriend got what he deserved by the babyface couple. Booty Girl got a slap in and then Booty Man pinned him and won.
However, this match was such a snooze fest. Remember when DDP and Johnny B Badd some of the best matches on the PPVs? Now DDP was in one of the worst matches of the PPV and that’s really sad.
Booty Man gave Booty Girl a kiss and Booty Girl was literally blown away by it.
Match Rating: * and that’s been generous. This was long And boring but a satisfying ending
Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart. Jimmy said this would be his last night with Lex Luger. Jimmy left distraught as I figured maybe Luger didn’t want Jimmy around him as he tried to win favour with Sting his tag team partner. Luger said the Doomsday Cage match was the most dangerous match he’ll ever be in. If he’s referring to it being dangerous to his career, he may have a point! After all, two of the men in this match had their last ever wrestling match in this Doomsday Cage match! Luger said he had to watch his partner in action and he admitted it broke his heart for him not to be teaming with Sting. He said he had his back and being the competitor he is, he’ll step in the Doomsday Cage match. This was a fine promo and the Lex Luger character in the last month has been very solid.
The Giant w/Jimmy Hart vs Loch Ness in a number one contendership match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
When I saw this match was going to happen on this pay-per-view, I could only speculate about how bad this match was going to be. The Giant, 5 or 6 months into the business, vs Loch Ness who could barely move. I figured this would be as big of a disaster as the Doomsday Cage match… this match ended up being fine.
It was not good but it was not a disaster. It was exactly as you’d figure this match would be. It went 2 and a half minutes and did not need to go a minute longer. This was the only match on this show that had the appropriate amount of time given to it! Time management on this show was horrible. Konnan got too long of a match, Booty Man got too long of a match, the Chicago Street Fight go 20 minutes too many and the Doomsday Cage match got 25 minutes too many. This one, in terms of the time, went as long as it needed to be.
The two monsters stared each other down. They locked up and The Giant ran wild with knees and like 5 chops. The Giant pushed his leg into the throat of Loch Ness.
Loch Ness fought back with some big big blows. The Giant threw some sloppy kicks again like he did against Hacksaw Jim Duggan a couple of weeks ago. The Giant goes for a big Stinger Splash and The Giant flies over the top rope and onto the floor. The Giant was going all out for this spot, which I assume was the only time he ever attempted this. This was Triple H going over the top rope from a catapult, except this was THE GIANT! He was too big to do a spot like that!
Loch Ness hit a big elbow drop but instead of going for the cover, he went for one more but this time, The Giant moved. The Giant hit a clothesline and hit a super kick. The Giant did a horrible leg drop and won. The Giant yelled about Ric Flair after the match.
Match Rating: ½* mostly because of that bump to the outside. I give credit where credit is due and I appreciate the effort.
Lee Marshall interviewed Sting and Booker T. Booker mentioned that he and Sting talked about what was at stake. Booker talked some trash. Sting yelled at Booker saying that he needed him fired up and shoved him to get him hyped. He told Booker to knock out the Road Warriors. Sting said they were coming for them. Booker said it was gonna be nothing but a thing like a chicken wing. They were both pumped for this big match. This was a fine promo.
Sting and Booker T vs “The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk in a Chicago Street Fight
In my treasured notes, I’ve written 155 words for this match! These notes mostly consisted of the words “they brawled” as these two tag teams had a 29 minute match which had no right going any longer than ten minutes. The concept of the match and the concept of this being a war between these two tag teams was something I had no problem with. As a match though, they just kept brawling and brawling and brawling and it was so uneventful.
I’m not going to go through a play-by-play of everything that happened in this match because if I did, I’d still be writing this review for the next 10 years. The crooks of this match were that there was so much “muscle groin” offense as Mongo called it last week. Animal got attacked in the balls at least three times. Hawk got crotched, Booker got crotched, Sting got crotched I think. It was legitimately dick-based offense throughout this entire match!
There was so much choking and chair shots and casual chops and punches being thrown that although it’s crap in execution, it’s good in theory in the sense that they represented that this was a FIGHT. The only problem is that was all they did. It was good for a lot of it but I don’t remember any other moves they did to each other. There was certainly not a tag team move and here’s the thing. As a review on this link points out, the storyline of Booker and Sting having to “work together” is negated by a tornado tag team match when they are both off having their own brawls with other guys. They never needed to work together.
A couple of things to point is that Animal got crotched by Booker. Booker got a cover and Animal put his leg on the rope and the referee NICK PATRICK calls for a rope break in a CHICAGO STREET FIGHT. To everyone complaining about a recent AEW match a few weeks ago where they called for a rope break during a No DQ match, Nick Patrick did this throughout this match about 23 years ago. That’s the first thing.
The second thing was that Booker T was in mid spinaroonie and one of the Road Warriors laying around on the floor got in his way, which just tells you how clunky this match was. People were just in each other’s way and it did the match no favours.
Something else I want to point out as I’ll give credit where credit is due is that Animal choked at Booker and Booker hit a low blow in response. Booker pulled out a heel tactic but it was totally justified in this match as it was no disqualification and the Road Warriors were using dirty tricks for the last couple of weeks on Nitro. This spot I liked.
The weird thing is… the crowd and the commentators were into it. The announcers were trying their best to put this over and the crowd was into Sting as normal. It worked with the audience.
I’ll jump to the finish. Booker seemingly walked out on Sting as he waved off the match but Animal went after him. It was down to Hawk and Sting in the ring. Animal was shown backstage looking for Booker. They brawled backstage. Luger backstage accidentally got attacked by Animal so he and Stevie Ray and Jimmy Hart jumped Animal. They taped up Animal to a post as Luger continued to stomp away at Animal.
Sting tried a Stinger Splash on the outside but missed and hits the barricade. Booker came back and hit a side slam. Booker missed the Harlem Hangover. Stevie Ray came out and hit Hawk with a chair and Booker got the pin to FINALLY, FINALLY end the match.
Match Rating: ** (I didn’t totally hate it because it came off as a legitimate war. It was like a legitimate street fight. This was a true street fight in its nature and it worked out to a degree. It was longer than it had any right to be but what the hell, it worked with the crowd and the commentators were into it. It worked but it was WAY TOO LONG.)
Let’s all remember what Tony Schiavonie would say next, building up the Doomsday Cage match main-event.
Tony said: “The rules I understand are very simple.”
The rules were supposedly that Hogan and Savage must clear every stage of the Doomsday Cage and pin the opponents to move onto the next stage. I don’t think they even mentioned how to win the match. However, keep those “rules” in mind.
“The Mega Powers” Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs “The Alliance To End Hulkamania” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Taskmaster, Lex Luger, Z-Gangasta, The Ultimate Solution, Meng and The Barbarian in a Doomsday Cage match
I didn’t write down all of Michael Buffer’s ring introductions although there’s a few lines I have to note before we get into the match. Buffer starts with the following introductions: “Welcome to an event like no other.” Writing this review, all I could think was that he was spot on! Nobody had or will ever do a match like this ever again. Maybe WCW did it in 2000 but that’s the closest anyone will ever come!
Notable introductions for the heels included “From some unknown part of the planet” for Meng and “From Hulk Hogan’s past” for Z-Gangsta. All the heels had ridiculous ring-introductions from Buffer but those two were noteworthy.
I don’t even know how to describe the structure of this Doomsday cage. There were at least 3 cages stacked on top of each other with scaffold holding the whole thing together. The only problem was that the actual cage with a ring to wrestle in was at the bottom. In this match, Hogan and Savage STARTED from the top and had to fight their way down. So therefore, all of the heels in the cage had to walk around menacingly on the metal floor which looked so unsafe. Most of the time, the heels were just clinging to the side of the cage for dear life. They did not trust that cage floor enough to take bumps.
It started with Hogan and Savage vs Arn and Ric on the top cage. Out of the eight men that made up the Alliance to End Hulkamania, the first two you’re going to feed to Savage and Hogan are ARN ANDERSON AND WCW WORLD CHAMPION RIC FLAIR? The two best workers of that team would be the FIRST OBSTACLE for the Mega Powers and would be eliminated first. It’s not like they left them for the final showdown at the end. They were gonna be beaten up first!
They fought on the top of the cage. They did not want to do a single wrestling move on that scaffold cage. I think I saw Arn try one bump. I did love Hogan grabbing Arn or Ric and yelling “get him Macho” as Savage laid in punches!
There was some miscommunication where Savage did the same thing, grabbing Arn for Hogan to punch him and he had him held there for legitimately 30 seconds. I assume Hogan was so into his own stuff with Flair that he just totally forgot about Macho Man. Hogan started no-selling the chops of Ric, as Savage choked Arn. Bobby declared that “this is great television history” which was surpassing the Super Bowl. This is… factually incorrect. I don’t even consider that an opinion! They’re still doing Super Bowls! They’ve never done a Doomsday Cage match again since this match!
Arn did a slow Figure Four Leg Lock on Hogan while Ric did his own on Savage. At almost the exact same time, Savage and Hogan turned the tide on their opponents so at least their spot co-ordination was on point for this one. This would be an even greater spot, if the wrestlers weren’t so high up and the fans could’t see a thing. The fans could not see a single thing. They had no idea what was going on so there’s was little reaction to this spot or anything they did in that cage.
Ric passed something down below to Taskmaster. I think Ric dropped it to the floor as Taskmaster is shown looking down when they cut to a wide shot. Even Ric passing a weapon down to Taskmaster got screwed up. This whole match was falling apart.
Hogan and Savage whipped out white powder, threw it at Arn and Ric and escaped to the next floor. Then Tony just revealed that Ric Flair and Arn Anderson were eliminated. What? Hogan and Savage escaped the top cage after 5 minutes of brawling and Ric and Arn were just eliminated? It’s not even like they pinned Arn or Ric as the rules earlier said you had to pin a guy to move onto the next stage. The faces just got up and left, and so Ric and Arn were done! There was NO REACTION because the fans had no clue what the rules were and what was going on. I only know Ric and Arn were eliminated because Tony told me. The fans couldn’t hear the announcers so they didn’t know what was going on!
Jimmy passed something to Taskmaster, which I think was whatever Ric dropped earlier. In the end, I don’t even remember what the weapon was. I just know Taskmaster and the referee ended up fighting over it which we’ll get to.
They move onto the next stage as The Faces of Fear work on Savage, while Taskmaster and Luger beat up Hogan. Hogan locked the Faces of Fear in one of the cages and left Taskmaster alone with Hogan and Savage. Taskmaster and the referee in the middle of this, wrestle over some weapon Taskmaster wanted to use in the middle of this. On a show where it was promoted as no disqualification and in the middle of a no disqualification cage match, the referee stops Taskmaster from using a weapon! This is not even the referee calling for a DQ in a Hell in a Cell match. The referee is screwing the heels by not letting them use a weapon which they are ENTITLED to use. In the Chicago Street Fight, Bobby Heenan flat out said you could get away with murder! This was an unbelievable logical catastrophe.
Hogan and Taskmaster battled on the scaffold as Dungeon of Doom and Arn tried to get to Taskmaster. Yes, the eliminated Arn Anderson tried to get at Hogan. Hogan tried kicking Taskmaster off the scaffold and Taskmaster hit a low blow to save his own life. Taskmaster tried to dump Hogan off the scaffold in revenge… all of this attempted murder is going on and nobody cared. This is right after the referee stopped Taskmaster from using a weapon.
Luger battled Savage as Hogan and Taskmaster just escape the cage and brawl outside of the cage. That’s dumb enough but then Savage and Luger both just escape the cage from another side to brawl with Hogan and Taskmaster on the ramp. So after being in the dangerous Doomsday Cage, four guys are just fighting on the ramp.
The rules were just… there were no rules. There was no structure to this match. I’m 90% certain they just made it up as they went along because Hogan and Savage have escaped the cage but are still fighting with Luger and Taskmaster. I guess the Faces of Fear were just eliminated. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson suddenly vanished. Hogan and Taskmaster run down to the ring. Hogan takes Buffer’s mic and batters Taskmaster. It’s suddenly a tornado tag team match outside of the cage. What was going on? None of this made any sense… and then it just gets worse.
Hogan hits the big boot. He beats up Taskmaster in the ring. Then Hogan beats him up outside of the ring. Hogan fought back at the cage. Hogan then SNEAKED UP and attacked Luger to save Savage. Yeah, 6’8 HULK HOGAN sneaked up on someone like a dastardly villain!
All I could think was where was the Faces of Fear and Arn? If Luger and Taskmaster could just escape, where the hell were they so they could beat up Hogan and Savage? Tony even asked: “where was Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution?”
The fans finally cheered as they could see Hogan and Luger fighting in the ring. Tony just declares that everyone else is gone and eliminated. Taskmaster low-blowed Hogan in the ring. Hogan hit Luger with a chair a couple of times. Luger and Taskmaster turned things around. Savage chokes away at Taskmaster, which is apparently all these two could do together because every time I see Savage and Taskmaster that’s all I see them do is choking and punches to each other. Hogan and Savage did stereo punches to Luger and Taskmaster. At this point, Jimmy Hart led Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution down to the ring.
In case you were wondering, Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution weren’t even in the cage to begin with. Why they weren’t in the cage to begin with, if they were such big threats to Hogan, is a question that I’m sure only someone like Eric Bischoff could explain. The monsters brought Hogan and Savage back to the cage. They brought him back into the actual cage including the ring. The fans chanted for Hogan as Hogan, Savage, Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution squared off.
Hogan kept getting pushed back by Ultimate Solution. Then all of a sudden… weird blue and red lights surround the ring so if the fans could see anything before in this cage, they couldn’t anymore because of this stupid lighting. It was like the Seth Rollins/Fiend Hell in a Cell match from a couple of weeks ago where the red lighting meant the fans could barely see anything. The parallels between 2019 WWE and 1996 WCW is astonishing,
Savage got Z-Gangsta wobbly with a double axe handle. No mention of the fact that Savage teamed with Z-Gangasta a.k.a. Zeus to battle Hogan before. Z-Gangsta did a dreaded bear hug. Hogan punched Z-Gangsta but Z-Gangsta no sold it as Hogan showed concern. Z-Gangsta started choking Hogan down. Hogan is literally down for a three count during this choke with his shoulders on the mat and the referee just stands there and watched Hogan and Z-Gangasta. He does not count or anything. This referee screwed the heels at least twice to my knowledge!
Ultimate Solution catches Savage in mid-air with a bearhug. THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN ARN ANDERSON AND RIC FLAIR are suddenly back in the cage and beat up Hogan and Savage! This was the most miserably plot-hole filled match in wrestling history. By this logic, the heels should have gotten every heel they could find back in that cage. Lex Luger had just disappeared. The Faces of Fear disappeared. For god’s sake, THE GIANT is with the group at this point right? THIS MAKES NO SENSE. Ric and Arn are just back out there like nothing happened as if they were not eliminated earlier. Keep this in mind by the way. I know I’ve said this like 5 times during this PPV review but this is the most important one. Seriously, let’s remember that Ric Flair and Arn Anderson were eliminated earlier.
Jimmy Hart cackles like a mad man. The two monsters just stand there as Arn and Ric do the actual wrestling. Z-Gangsta does these clobbering blows to Hogan. He does them like the Triple H poses in the corner and goes aaaaarrgggh (like he’s gonna sneeze) and then threw his arms down like he’s closing the boot off the car! One of the funniest punches ever thrown in a wrestling ring!
Hogan then runs wild with FRYING PANS! I kid you not. The Booty Man comes down, gives out frying pans to Hogan and Savage and then I don’t even remember seeing Booty Man again! He’s out there for his friends and could have helped them in a 2 on 8 situation but no, he gives them the weapons and fled like a coward. What an ally that Booty Man turned out to be!
Luger comes down and runs wild with these frying pans on the babyfaces. Tony Schiavone then said: “LEX LUGER IS OBVIOUSLY THE FRESH MAN, HE’S NOT BEEN HIT WITH THE FRYING PAN.”
At this moment, I had to pause the show. My brain could not take any more of this. I didn’t go for a walk but I needed to refocus my scrambled brain. At this point, I just concluded this was one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen. With the finish that followed, I soon concluded that this WAS the worst match I’ve ever seen.
I restarted the show. Luger gets a weighted coal-miners glove. Luger throws a punch at Savage but Savage ducked, Luger could see that Savage ducked and then Luger hits Flair with one of the most deliberate fake punches you’ve ever saw. I assume this is Luger turning babyface but it was hard to tell with what was going on. Lex Luger spent the entire match beating up Hogan and Savage. He was clearly a heel earlier on in the show against the Road Warriors. All of a sudden, he lays out Flair.
THEN, HULK HOGAN KICKS LEX LUGER’S ARSE. FOR NO REASON! Lex Luger was on his side and Hulk Hogan just beats his arse because Hulk Hogan’s character in WCW is that he’s the biggest dick in all of the land. Then Hogan tries to escape the cage to I guess win the match which again, we’ve just watched them brawling for 10 minutes outside of the cage. Why would Hogan try to escape the cage? Savage picks up on this and figures he needs to pin someone and so Savage pins Flair to WIN THE MATCH.
Ric Flair was eliminated earlier on in the match and then Savage out of nowhere is able to pin him to win the match all together? WHAT? Not to mention. I have no idea what the original plan was for the finish but the idea that out of all of the geeks in that heel stable, you had to pin the WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair? You couldn’t pin THE BARBARIAN, MENG or one of these geeks monsters we’ll never seen again? JEEZ LOUISE, this is the worst match I’ve ever seen.
Dusty finishes the show saying: “This PPV will go down as something never before seen.” My notes finish with the following line – This was an utter piece of shit.
Match Rating: -***** (MINUS FIVE STARS)
I do believe this is the first time in the history of this blog I’ve ever given out a -5 star rating. When I give out this -5 star rating, it takes everything into consideration. The rating represents the build-up to the match, the weeks of convoluted tag team matches and so much more. This was everything that led to this debacle and the match itself which beggars belief. This represents everything a lot of wrestling fans look at when they see WCW. The absolute dirt-worst before the nWo arrive and although I figured this Doomsday Cage match would be bad, I had no idea.
With everything that was wrong with this though, I will briefly play the role of Mr Positive. This match felt like a necessary evil for WCW. I think this was likely the trigger for Hulk Hogan to finally figure out that it was time for a change. People did cheer Hogan during this match but this sort of old-school Hulk Hogan versus monsters booking just wasn’t working anymore. There’s a certain charm to it but ultimately, the audience was never gonna totally accept this rubbish for much longer especially when they’re in the middle of a wrestling war with the WWF. Hogan got one last babyface match to get this out of his system and then it was time to change up his character.
As a wrestling show, this was half a decent show and half a disaster. That’s the best way I could put it. I figure if you just watch the first three matches, it’d be OK. If you just watch the last match, it’d be the worst pay-per-view ever. If you look at the finishes of the matches, it was a horrible pay-per-view up and down. If you look at the historical significance and how it inadvertently changed the way WCW booked its product, it was a necessary evil. Shortly afterwards, a new necessary evil would emerge in WCW and the wrestling industry would never be the same again.
WCW Nitro Reading Order