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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Date: September 9th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Columbus, Georgia

Rating: 3.7

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

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

 

Pat Tanaka vs Super Calo

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARE THE NASTY BOYS FACES OR HEELS?: FACES

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Joe Gomez vs Juventud Guerrera

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rick Steiner vs Lex Luger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Bischoff sounded so defeated as he called this match

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs John Tenta

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Date: August 26th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Palmetto, Florida

Rating: 4.2

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

Billy Kidman vs Juventud Guerrera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Mike Enos vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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I don’t know how this was possible but they brought out the WCW Cruiserweight Champion for a title match on Nitro and they found away to turn it into the slowest match of the show. They did give them a lot of it but a lot of it didn’t really matter when we see what happened during it.

Tony claimed J.L. was very mysterious but he could confirm he was not from Mexico! I mean he can’t have been that mysterious can he if Tony has already deduced that he was at least not from Mexico!

I do kinda like the spot of J.L. trying to bounce off the ropes with the headlock but Rey just let his body collapse to the mat to stopping JL’s momentum. It’s like if you’re trying to get your toddler up from the floor but he collapses to the floor because he doesn’t wanna stand up! It’s great because trying to move someone who doesn’t wanna move is difficult! This made sense

THEN THEY CUT TO nWo shenanigans…

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Hollywood Hogan is with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. They take a cameraperson to the video production truck where they spray paint nWo 4 LIFE on the side of this truck. Hogan asked if they thought “they” would get the message. I love how one of the Outsiders have spray paint that wasn’t particularly any good. The reason I say this is because someone wrote nWo in black and it looked like it was going to fade. Just to be sure that it could be seen, because the spray paint wasn’t that strong, Hogan does spray paint over spray paint over the faded-looking nWo spray paint. I wrote down that it was Nash that did the weak spray paint but I don’t remember if that’s right. Hogan bragged that this was gonna wake them up. Rey did a camel clutch as they cut to a break.

Obviously, the nWo was such a popular act at the time but this was another silly angle where they really did not come off as cool at all. You cut away from this title match to show a bunch of GROWN ASS ADULTS acting like teenagers as they did graffiti on the side of a production truck? This was lame.

It worked in getting the nWo HEAT, at least from me!, because they came off as such dorks to me and they interrupted the cruiserweights in action but they ended up coming off as the coolest things on the show for a lot of people. It’s surreal.

Dean Malenko came down to watch the match and emotionless doesn’t do Malenko’s expression justice. This is the closest one man can look to being sleep if that man was stood up and his eyes were open.

J.L. and Rey did weird spots where they each got on all fours and waited for the other man to do a move. J.L. did it and went down on all fours, and Rey grapples him on the ground! Rey then goes on all fours… and J.L. just kicks him! These were the stupidest spots! Why were both men going down to allow the other man to do a move on them? This was void of logic.

J.L. hit a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count. Mysterio reversed an attempt at a second one with a roll-up for a 2 count. The commentators even compared Hogan and the nWo to a bunch of kids. J.L. locked on a Boston crab and Rey sold this by flat out saying “ow my back”. J.L. just got the heat forever and it sucked the life out of this match. I mean they were interrupted by the nWo so maybe they just half-arsed it because they knew the nWo and fireworks would interrupt them.

Speaking of which, the fireworks literally just went off in the middle of the match. Rey did a sweet diving hurricanrana from the steel steps. Rey then almost spiked himself with a West Coast Pop and picked up the win. Rey called out Dean for a match right now and then celebrated with the crowd.

The match wasn’t bad but if you look at the the first three matches of the show. We got three short matches which were 3-4 minutes each. You put the cruiserweights out there and have them wrestle for 15 minutes as J.L. is slowing it down, the people are just gonna zone out. If it was the opening match on the show and if the nWo didn’t show up, maybe it could have been a good way to open the show. Here, the placement of this type of match was not right after three short matches.

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Mean Gene did ANOTHER INTERVIEW this time with Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael who were accompanied by Elizabeth, Woman and Debra McMichael. Mongo said he’s here for the match they demanded. They wanted to prove to WCW and the good guys they were ready for War Games. Benoit said they didn’t relinquish their spot as it was a decision made by the Horsemen. I know they were heels so it doesn’t really matter but Ric Flair flat out said it’s up to Benoit and Mongo about whether they would give up the spots last week! He had that much faith in the Horsemen that he left it to Mongo and Benoit to decide whether they would abdicate the spots or not. As mentioned earlier, this felt like a completely random 180 by Mongo and Benoit. Benoit said tonight was about security but it was not about security for the Horsemen but for WCW.

They recapped Hogan’s chair shot to “Macho Man” Randy Savage from 2 weeks ago and then Savage’s promo from last week. By the way I did not exaggerate this last week, Savage did say he had 15,000 stitches in his head last week when he was cutting his promo on Hogan! They also showed Savage and Giant’s fight from last week. I still can’t get over that big leap over the top rope from the Giant last week. He jumped CLEAN over the top rope in such a fabulous manner for a big man!

Mean Gene interviewed Savage. Savage said it’s for all the marbles. Savage said he’s only got one marble in his head but it’ll be the scariest match in history at Halloween Havoc against Hogan. Savage said he’s in the zone as he was shown to be super intense with this promo. He was a man of little words as he said he was gonna kick Hogan and Giant’s asses and then he stormed off.

 

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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Duggan walked right through fireworks for his entrance which seemed rather dangerous! It’s funny Bischoff said The Giant could be the man who decides the balance of power, which is a very interesting choice of words when you see where this nWo storyline goes…

Jimmy grabbed the leg of Duggan. Duggan chased him and Duggan threw Jimmy’s jacket at Giant and fired away with punches.

God bless The Giant but he did a running charge into the ring post. He didn’t just run into this ring post and kinda control the impact a little bit better. He ran and shoulder barged into it and smashes his arm right into the post! That looked so nasty and I hope The Giant learned to never do that again. It looked nasty, even for The Giant.

Giant did a bear hug as Eric Bischoff hyped up the debut of Chris Jericho. Speaking of debuts but who should come down to ringside but THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN TED DIBIASE. Bischoff even reminded us and mentioned that: “we’ve seen this before” in reference to Scott Hall’s WCW debut. He just mades his way to the front row dressed in black.

Duggan used the tape to no affect and he even wound up the taped fist punch and nailed Giant and he still was not able knock him down. What a way to kill off Duggan’s tape gimmick. They played it up like it was such a deadly thing to be hit with the taped fist and The Giant just takes two of them and no-sold them! Way to go Duggan…

Duggan and Hart wrestled over the 2×4. Giant then goes for the chokeslam and Duggan can barely get up. Some guys like Benoit, as discussed last week, will jump high into the air for The Giant to slam him down. Duggan didn’t jump at all as he clearly didn’t wanna take the bump. He tried to go up only barely and it almost led to Giant dropping him. However, this was THE GIANT, and he was able to hold him in place and got Duggan high in the air as if to say “you’re going up for this chokeslam whether you like it or not!” Giant controlled Duggan, he got him up and he slammed Duggan and got the pin. Duggan had an expression on his face like his life flash before his eyes after taking that bump! It was inadvertently the best struggle of the entire show!

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Ted DiBiase then put up a four horsemen sign to the camera then raised his thumb as a fan yells “next week 5” and the announcers play this up as if Ted DiBiase could be the fifth horsemen or that he could be the fourth or fifth member of the nWo….

The Giant was interviewed by Mean Gene. Giant yelled that Savage talked about Giant letting the WCW down and he rightfully questioned where Savage was for “us” during the match match at Hog Wild. Giant mentioned he will be there at Fall Brawl and mentioned Savage doesn’t deserve a shot at the title.

He yelled right at the camera and saliva and sweat landed right on the camera lens which was like a great comic book effect! Mean Gene, like a pro, whips out a handkerchief from his pocket, wipes the camera lens as he complained that these guys are very messy! I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of Mean Gene earlier on but this was a great moment! He was literally the Alfred to these WCW wrestlers, cleaning up after their messes as a true ally to the wrestlers! I thought that was a nice touch.

 

“The Four Horsemen” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson w/Woman and Elizabeth vs “Rock and Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson

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I don’t have many notes about this match as it is exactly the type of match you’d think Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs the Rock and Roll Express would be on Nitro in 1996 with these guys. The heels got the heat, the heel women take cheap shots at ringside, they get the heat on Robert Gibson, Ricky Morton gets the hot tag, the heels cheat and win. That’s all you need to know and it wasn’t bad but somewhat predictable.

The finish itself was rather something. Bischoff cut a big promo about referee Randy Anderson being in control of things during this match unlike Nick Patrick. Then Randy Anderson’s back is turned to chew out Gibson. As the referee is distracted, Flair dropped Morton crotch first with an atomic drop and Arn hit a DDT to streal the win. SUCH CONTROL demonstrated from this senior official!

Ric Flair yelled at the camera to Hogan mentioning that he heard Hogan quit, referring to their Clash of the Champions match.

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen minus Benoit and Mongo. Arn yelled about the nWo picking their spots but when they step into the cage and this will be the one and last War Games for the Outsiders. Arn said if you’re gonna be a man you gotta jump a man eye to eye, nose to nose. Ric yelled about the Clash match and claimed that Hogan said, and this is a quote, “OH GREAT NATURE BOY, I GIVE UP. IIIII QUIT. YOU’RE TOO MUCH MAN TODAY!” I love how elaborate and detailed Ric was with what he claimed Hogan said during their Clash of the Champions match! When I imagined Hogan saying that in my head, I died!

Ric told the nWo to get ready as they’re in North Carolina, the home of the Horsemen, for War Games. Elizabeth was laughing her arse off as she just watches Flair lose this mind. It must be like the most surreal thing in the world to just be standing right next to Flair in front of a live crowd as he cuts this crazy promo and is being Ric Flair. I would either be just constantly getting goosebumps or just in hysterics like Elizabeth!

 

Chris Jericho vs Alex Wright

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At last, THE DEBUT OF CHRIS JERICHO! As I watched this in 2020, Chris Jericho in 2020 currently has his Fozzy song “Judas” as his entrance for AEW and when he wrestled in NJPW too. That song got so over that every crowd for Dynamite was singing that song as Jericho was coming out as it’s revered as one of the best theme songs in the business today. In 1996, Jericho came out with one of my favourite WCW theme songs ever!

The song was “All The Days” by Mammoth and it was such a fabulous song and I popped like crazy when I heard it again for this episode of Nitro. It’s glorious…

The cruiserweights shake hands and Jericho looked so short compared to Alex Wright. The last cruiserweight Jericho needed to be in the ring was to DWARF him in the ring was Alex Wright. Wright was so tall compared to Jericho, it was like a 10 year old wrestling with his 20 year old brother!

They wrestle for a bit and Jericho’s busting out moves that would become vintage Jericho spots like the wheel kick and springboard drop kick to the floor. Jericho suplexed Wright back into the ring. Wright did a huge dropkick to Jericho coming off the top rope. The German got some major air time on this dropkick. Say what you will about Alex Wright but this was an athletic man at this time.

Then Wright’s athleticism becomes his downfall as he tries a springboard crossbody and smashes right into the face of Jericho in a horribly executed spot. Jericho does a running clothesline and he does WILHELM SCREAM as he runs right into Wright. It was one of the funniest voices I’ve heard Jericho do during his entire career. I’ve watched him since I started watching wrestling in 2003 so think of the ground that covers for me!

Wright crashed into the steel guard rail and then Jericho went to the referee and said he didn’t wanna win like this so this match was ruled a no contest as Jericho tended to Wright. The announcer officially declared that Chris Jericho does not wanna win this way so it is a no contest. That’s a new one!

Mean Gene interviewed Jericho. Jericho mentioned that he wanted to fight to the best of his ability. He said to accept that win would not have been to the best of their abilities. Jericho trash-talked the nWo and of course he gets booed, because the nWo came off as so much cooler than WCW. I mentioned that the nWo came off as dorks but if you look at the promos that the likes of Konnan, Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho and even NICK PATRICK have all cut about the nWo, they all come off as such geeks in comparison to these edgy heels. Wright goes to talk and Mean Gene said: “we’re out of time!” and completely cut off the German and denied him the chance to talk. What a cock Gene was being on this show!

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “The Blue Bloods” Dave Taylor and Earl Robert Eaton

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The Blue Bloods argued about who start the match because it was established last week that there was issues within the Blue Bloods. Rick bonked their heads together to get the match going.

Then Taylor tried to tag himself in and Eaton pushed him off. Rick ran wild on the Blue Bloods by himself and then Scott just entered the ring fresh as a daisy and posed with Rick! I dunno why but I found that hilarious that they did the Steiner pose when Rick did all the work by himself! Rick was kicking their arses 2 on 1 during this match!

Scott tagged himself in. Taylor commanded that Rick is tagged back in so RICK IS TAGGED IN. I’m pretty sure Rick Steiner did about 99% of the work during this match for the Steiners!

There was miscommunication from the Blue Bloods. Taylor recovered as The Blue Bloods tried a crossbody Doomsday Device but Rick reversed this and got the pin. Scott’s contributions to this entire match was he did one eblow smash and shoulder blocked Taylor at the very end to stop him from breaking up the pin! What a contribution and a great win for Rick Steiner and thank you to Scott Steiner for his 1% contribution to the win for the Steiners!

Taylor eventually attacked Eaton and the Blue Bloods got into a brawl in the ring after the match, which was actually a decent brawl. The Steiners urge them on as Rick stirred the poop as the Blue Bloods brawl some more! The Steiners were basically kids watching a school fight and egging them on! The Steiners yelled at Harlem Heat as they’re wrestling AGAIN at Fall Brawl. I am sick of this Steiners vs Harlem Heat feud…

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Woman, Debra McMichael and Elizabeth

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Let’s talk about the opening sequence of this match. So the match descended into a big brawl in the ring between all four men. I don’t know who put this match together but they pair up Sting and Benoit together to fight and they pair LEX LUGER AND MONGO TOGETHER FOR A FIGHT. Who came up with that decision and figured all was gonna end well at all?

It didn’t end well and to say chemistry was not there for Mongo and Luger is an understatement. They just bumbled around this ring while Benoit and Sting actually had a good looking fight.

Benoit got in the ring to increase the match quality with Luger. Benoit and Luger dropped each other with a clothesline. I don’t know why I thought about this during this match but seeing Lex Luger, Elizabeth, Woman and Chris Benoit all out there in some capacity made this somewhat uncomfortable to watch when you considered how those respective relationships ended up in real life.

Sting got the hot tag as the fans don’t pay attention and they all look at something that has happened in the crowd. I figured at first that a fight had broken out in the crowd. It turned out to be Hollywood Hogan coming through the crowd!

Mongo threw Luger into the ring post. Sting missed a dive. Benoit missed a diving headbutt. Then out came the Hulkster as he made his way down to the ring with a can of spray pain in his hand. He comes across Mongo and then Hogan backed away from Mongo! I don’t think that match ever happened but them teasing babyface Mongo versus Hollywood Hogan for a big match is unbelievable to think about!

Of course, the Outsiders fly in before anything happened. Scott Hall literally flew in as him and Nash beat up Mongo. They spray paint the back of Mongo. Hall dropped Benoit with what would be called the Outsiders Edge and Nash does the Jackknife powerbomb to Sting. They spray paint the nWo letters on Sting and Benoit’s backs. Ric and Arn run wild on the Outsiders for a brief period, kick their arses for a while but Hogan sprayed the face of Flair and actually spray painted Flair’s hair black which I’m sure Flair was thrilled about.

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The nWo celebrate as trash is thrown into the ring. There was water thrown into the ring and all kinds of stuff, so I wonder what the production team or whoever was taking down the rings must have thought when they saw all of this trash being thrown into the ring. That can’t have been fun to deal with.

Hogan actually spray-painted Nash’s white shirt. I didn’t understand what the significance of that was. Hogan raised his arms in victory as nWo have literally laid waste to the ring!

For the first time ever, the nWo take over the announce booth. Nash and Hall take over the announcers’ headsets as Hogan spray painted the WCW Nitro logo. I actually thought this was a hot segment to end the show as the nWo demonstrate that WCW needed to be united. The nWo were united and kicked WCW’s arse as WCW were literally fighting from within. I thought this was a great end to a wacky episode of Nitro. Not all of it bad wacky but some stupid stuff alongside some quality stuff. Wacky is probably the appropriate word for it.

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We hope you enjoyed that review from the Armbar Express. The Armbar Express currently does not have a social media presence but please feel free to spread the word about this series and follow the blog on WordPress to get notifications of future posts from this blog!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #51 (SEPTEMBER 2ND 1996) – THE GIANT AND TED DIBIASE JOIN THE NWO

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

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The New World Order took advantage of the divide within WCW during the latest episode of WCW Nitro. They came out at the end of the show to lay waste to Sting, Lex Luger and the Four Horsemen and then took over the announce booth to end the show. The show also included debuts for Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, who teased that either he was the fifth member of the Four Horsemen of the fourth or fifth member of the New World Order…

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It is hilarious that the big mystery last week was whether there was a fifth member of the Four Horsemen or the fourth and fifth member of the nWo. Ted DiBiase teased it and walked into this episode with a lot of mystery as to who else could possibly join up with the nWo in the takeover of WCW. If you happened to watch WCW Monday Nitro on the WWE Network like I did, the thumbnail for this episode is a shot of The Giant at the end of the show hanging out with the nWo at the announce booth! No attempt at all to at least cover up the spoiler for potential first time viewers of Nitro!

To be fair to WWE, their archive is focused on meeting the old-school demographic. RAW’s key demographic in 2020 are people in their 50s who have fond memories of the Monday Night Wars. It’s probably way easier to help direct people to this episode by posting the spoiler as if to say “this is the episode that you’re looking for”. If you wanted to relive The Giant turning on WCW and the Dungeon of Doom and siding with the nWo, you’ve got it right here. Works as an archive, miserable for first-time viewers.

 

Date: September 2nd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Rating: 4.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

DDP vs Alex Wright

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Could Alex Wright have come off as a bigger geek on these WCW Monday Nitros? I don’t even remember seeing him win a match on Nitro yet and he just comes off as such a nobody who barely accomplishes anything. The dude was very athletic, don’t get me wrong, but he’s in there with DDP for this match and despite of all of his efforts and athleticism, he’s still came off as such a nothing guy even compared to the cruiserweights, let alone the heavyweights. 

I was on my internet travels and I stumbled across an interview with the recently released from WWE Deonna Purrazzo. Deonna is actually a very solid comparison to how Wright was treated here. Wright ended up staying with WCW for a long time but both Wright and Purrazzo were very athletic and talented people. Deonna talked about how she never ever won while in WWE and brought up a good point of how she was ever going to engage with the fans if all she did was lose. If all she did was lose then why should she still be there on television or whatever?

If you wanted DDP on this night to squash a guy with a Diamond Cutter and win, there are so many jobber guys that they could have gotten on the cheap that would have done the job just as well as Alex Wright. That’s not a knock on Alex Wright but anybody else could get beat up for a while and get hit with the Diamond Cutter to put DDP over. If you have Alex Wright, who is an athletic guy, then he shouldn’t be reduced to just a glorified jobber to the midcarders unless you’ve actually got a plan with him. If you don’t, don’t bother wasting his time.

DDP’s over-selling really jumped the shark here. He’s pulled it off really well before but it really irritated me here when he is flopping around for Alex Wright at the start of this match. There’s nothing wrong with a cartoonish sell but his stuff selling for Wright just looked silly. Wright took control with some dives but missed a crossbody as DDP got the heat. DDP hit a side-walk slam to a ridiculous pop. The fans really liked this slam. DDP hit a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count.

DDP tried the cutter but Wright pushed him off. Wright hit a belly to belly suplex. Wright upper-cutted the gum out of DDP’s mouth. The finish saw Wright doing a backflip from the corner and then he turned around, and walked right into a kick in the gut by DDP. DDP hit a Diamond Cutter and won the match. Why bother doing a backflip that’s just gonna lead to DDP hitting his move and pinning the guy? 

It was a short but a decent match, all things considered, but this did not help Alex Wright at all.

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The previous match had been refereed by our main man Nick Patrick. Mean Gene interviewed Patrick and talked about Patrick being “slow on the draw” for that count. I think this is kinda stretching it to hype up the “controversy” of the Nick Patrick storyline. Patrick said WCW reviewed all of his matches and he’s still in WCW. Patrick was upset of people being on his case and Mean Gene for spreading lies. He mentioned Randy Anderson blew a call with Hogan/Flair a few weeks ago but Patrick is constantly the one under the microscope. He called Mean Gene a liar. This got a fair amount of heat and Nick Patrick did actually cut a decent promo all things considered.

However, I’m still baffled at this idea of interviewing the referee after the match and completely ignoring the efforts of the wrestlers in the ring. No interview with DDP, THE WINNER, or Alex Wright. Of course we have to amp up this referee storyline.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sister Sherri and Col. Robert Parker. Parker wanted to woo Sherri and got her a present, which was a black leather jacket. Col Robert Parker said Sherri was gonna ride his horse John Henry back in his farm and…. this storyline has been going on for one year. ONE YEAR. Do not think I am exaggerating this, because they were doing this storyline during the early Nitros with Parker and Sherri. Did this storyline ever go anywhere?

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) vs Greg Valentine and Buddy Valentino for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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This was the one and only Nitro wrestling appearance from Buddy Valentino. Think of Valentino as what would happen if you got a picture of Greg Valentine and then stretched the width of the picture on the Paint program on your computer. This was a wide man. Greg Valentine wasn’t really in that tremendous shape in 1996 but he was Lex Luger compared to Valentino.

Valentino had this singlet on which accomplished nothing in terms of covering up the exposed parts of his chest. The singlet was draped over his shoulders with his nipples to the side of them. I mean I don’t want to get on a man for his appearance on a wrestling show and I don’t wanna get on Valentino because he wasn’t that bad in this match. He was working hard for an appearance on a big wresting show and he was able to pull off a dropkick despite being such a big man. It’s funny, he did this dropkick and Greg Valentine is laughing his ass off on the apron as he clapped on his partner! That I enjoyed!

Referee Mark Curtis was making his WCW debut as Ted DiBiase arrived coming down the steps as the fans popped. Greg went to work on Booker T as the fans paid zero attention to the match. Harlem Heat got the heat on Buddy for a while and Booker eventually hit the Harlem Hangover and Harlem Heat won for the clean win.

Say what you will but Harlem Heat getting a string of clean wins together on Nitro episodes sets themselves up very well for defending the titles against the Nasty Boys at Fall Brawl. Now the Harlem Heat come off as legitimate tag team champions and now they are up against some nasty challengers, pardon the pun.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Harlem Heat. In a line I could not believe Harlem Heat could get away with saying in 1996, Stevie called the Nasty Boys “two fat milk-drinking suckas”. The Nasty Boys jumped the Heat and kicked their arses to a huge pop. They isolated Booker in the ring as the fans chanted “NASTIES”. They hit Booker with a spike piledriver and Knobbs got in a elbow drop in before they leave to attack Stevie Ray. I have no idea who the babyfaces and the heels are in this feud. Harlem Heat are winning matches clean like babyfaces but the Nasty Boys have “turned heel” and attacked the Heat but the fans went crazy for them! The ever-changing allegiances of the Nasty Boys continues!

 

Dean Malenko vs Chris Jericho

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A great match. It was the slow methodical pace of Dean Malenko against the fast pace of this recently-debuted youngster Chris Jericho. It was a crisply-worked match and the fans got into Jericho a bit more this week and it worked in all the areas that mattered. It worked with the crowd and it worked in the ring. 

Mike Tenay was joining the announce booth for this match as it was revealed he would be joining the announce booth for Nitros going forward. I love Tony Schiavonie referred to Chris Jericho as a “great cruiserweight” after he DEBUTED last week in a match where he called for a no contest as he didn’t wanna win a match against Alex Wright! At least they explained Jericho beat J.L. on Saturday Night so at least has won matches in WCW since he arrived!

Jericho ran wild as the fans chanted “ECW”. Dean then cut him off with a belly-to-back suplex. Dean smashed Jericho with a brainbuster

Dean got the heat and then Ted DiBiase decided to leave and walked all the way up the steps through the crowd. Of all the matches Ted DiBiase wanted to leave the show during, it was this one? Dean had a head scissors locked on Jericho and Jericho got him up from that position and then dropped him with an electric chair drop. That was a pretty impressive spot and as discussed last week, Jericho was not a large man at this time. 

So I guess the storyline was that Nick Patrick was more an incompetent referee than a crooked referee. He refereed this match and Dean kept grabbing the ropes and Patrick kept missing this. Dean then pointed at Jericho and Patrick of course attended to him and completely ignored Dean getting the ropes again. Weird since I guess the storyline is Patrick is now looking to call it down the middle. I think it was explained by his announcers that he’s over-compensating. Therefore, his calls have been all over the place to I guess convince the fans that he’s calling it objectively down the middle. 

Dean sent himself and Jericho crashing over the top rope with a crossbody. Jericho crashed into Malenko with a top rope crossbody to the floor. Far be it for me to critique Chris Jericho’s in-ring work, but this was a man that had yet to master the ability to slow down in the ring! This was the case of Jericho being too fast for Malenko as he came crossing down and appeared to crash into the face of Malenko which did not look pretty. 

Jericho hit a missile dropkick from the top rope. Jericho tried a tombstone but Dean reversed it into one of his own for a 2 count. Jericho hit a nice bridge German suplex for a 2 count. Jericho hit a “spin wheel kick” and then reversal after reversal leads to Jericho getting a pin fall following a victory roll-up pin. A fine match between Jericho and Malenko. I guess Dean Malenko, after being hyped up to challenge Rey Mysterio again for the Cruiserweight title, is out of the title picture and losing to the recently-debuted Chris Jericho. 

 

They showed a hype video for Rey Mysterio vs Super Calo for the Cruiserweight title at Fall Brawl. This was a simple but effective video package to hype up this match. All they needed to do was showcase these guys as doing as many flips and cool moves as possible to tell the viewer that if they paid to watch Fall Brawl, they may be able to see all of these cool moves again in a big time title match at the pay-per-view. This gets a thumbs up from me. 

More amazingly, they promoted WCW Saturday Night and one of the matches they promoted was… John Tenta vs Steve “Mongo” McMichael. That match seemed so unbelievable to me when they announced that I had to check and see if they actually did it. They didn’t do it on the episode of Saturday Night promoted nor did they do it at all. My personal theory is that John Tenta watched Mongo’s performance in the main-event and decided he was not doing that match! However, what a match that could have been!

 

Brad Armstrong vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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It’s funny, Giant got a massive pop coming out and the fans really liked The Giant, who had been wrecking guys for the last year on WCW Nitro. Keep that in mind when we cover later what happened at the end of the show. It’s a slow performance from The Giant where he slowly beat on Armstrong. It’s not particularly exciting as they cut away from the match to show a limousine. A clear indication into how Eric Bischoff felt about this match!

Giant threw Brad across the ring. Brad tried a roll up but Giant lifted him with both hands from the floor and up in the air to a thunderous roar from the crowd. Brad did a top rope dropkick to send Giant into the corner but Giant grabbed him and slammed him with a chokeslam for the victory and a big pop from the crowd. A more dragged-out squash match than usual from The Giant but it was OK for what it was.

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We got a nWo announcement. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan talked about styling and not having to sneak around anymore. Hogan booted a globe ball right at the camera. Hogan talked about The Giant crying and Ric Flair crying, referring to WCW as the World Crying Wrestlers… sick burn. He declared that in War Games at Fall Brawl, Sting would be stung, Luger will be HUNG, Flair won’t even be there and Arn won’t be Arn anymore. I love that Hogan was going for like a rhyming diss on the babyfaces and it came to Arn, so he just rhymed Arn with Arn! 

He said the nWo will take care of all the nWo business. Hogan said you’ve gotta take what you want. Hogan mocked Flair, Sting and everyone talking about the old days of WCW and he asked whatcha gonna do when the nWo ran wild on you. He added that anything else would be civilised and then Hogan unleashed on the greatest evil cackles I’ve ever heard in WCW. This was a MONEY promo. Two thumbs up for the Hulkster for a wacky but solid promo building up Fall Brawl.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Ron Studd

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We kicked off the second hour with “Macho Man” Randy Savage versus our new glorified giant jobber in Ron Studd. That is Studd’s position now. Chris Benoit and Randy Savage have both beat this guy in to hype up their respective matches with The Giant. 

Mike Tenay actually explained the origin story of Ron Studd where he was trained by Big John Studd and then took the name of Studd for his name. Tenay left out the tales of his run as the Yeti (which you can read about at these two links below!)

Studd did clobbering blows to the back of Savage. As Studd got the heat, they showed the nWo coming out of the limo as Hogan forced the camera man to get outta here as they wanted to get the “big man” out. Speaking of big men, Kevin Nash really struggled to get out of this limousine. He’s one of the biggest stars in this nWo feud and he was having problems with his knees already. 

Studd tried to scoop slam Savage over the top rope and this tiny referee got on the middle rope to stop him from doing it, because it’s been established throwing a guy over the top rope is illegal.

Savage did a double axe handle to Studd on the outside. Savage scoop slammed Studd but hurt his back in the process and then was able to hit an elbow drop for the win. It did what it needed to do in having Savage beat up a giant to build him up to fighting The Giant at Fall Brawl, so I was OK with this.

Mean Gene interviewed Savage for what I thought was a pretty solid promo. Savage wished Halloween Havoc was tonight because he guaranteed to the people around the world AND THE UNIVERSE that he was going to beat up Hollywood Hogan and take everything he wants because that makes me happy. It was set to be Savage vs Hogan for the title at Halloween Havoc in October.

Savage said he’s living on the edge and if anyone out there was not living on the edge, they’re taking up too much room, which was actually a sweet line that got a big pop from the crowd. Savage buried Giant for “not handling the pressure” at Hog Wild. Savage said he operates better under pressure. He said both Giant and Hogan will melt when the heat of the Macho Man brings them down. A good job in building up two future big matches for Savage in the next few months. 

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs Sting and Lex Luger

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The Four Horsemen ran outside to the limo but there was no one inside as they figured out the nWo were in the building. 

They kicked off this match with the Steiner Brothers vs Sting and Lex Luger. Think of what a big match this would have been. These two teams wrestled at the very first WCW Superbrawl show many years before this. We have another big match between these teams on Nitro. Rick And Luger grappled as the fans were amped up for this match. In this lock-up, Luger got pushed into Patrick. Patrick had this stern look on his face. This referee, after weeks of his character being called into question, has now just been shoved into by these big men. Nick Patrick’s response was to ring the bell and call for the disqualification… and the place EXPLODED with such heat for Nick Patrick!

This is what NUCLEAR HEAT is all about. I’m not a fan of Nick Patrick but when he called for the bell after being pushed into following the first move of this match, it was like these fans wanted to jump over the barricade and beat him down. His actions made you want to see him eaten alive by the babyfaces. Sting and Luger yelled at him. All four men cornered him in the corner amongst deafening boos from the fans.

Patrick pulled off a great performance and he was such a great character during this angle. He was a man trying to do his job, in his mind at least, and was now doing everything in his power to prove that. He made questionable calls for weeks, he gets called out by “the media” as Patrick put it. He gets bumped into by these big dudes. He was not gonna take this verbal and physical abuse anymore, so he rang for the bell.

As a character, you could have read this in so many ways. You could have read this as Nick Patrick being a crooked referee that was only looking out for himself, calling for the DQ to get out of here and earn a simple pay check. He could have easily been paid off by the nWo to lure Sting and Luger to the parking lot like he did, in order to get them to steal a police car and get them into trouble. Oh we’ll get to that…

Alternatively, you could have seen this as Nick Patrick simply standing up for himself. In his mind, he feels he is genuinely a good referee and after all of the accusations, he snapped. He rang for the bell after a wrestler laID their hands on him. By the rule book though, it was not like Patrick was wrong to disqualify them. Even if it was a “soft” push or whatever, he was still provoked so he had every right to DQ them if he felt it was right. 

Or… you can can conclude that he’s just an incompetent referee that is just over-compensating to make up for his mistakes. Any one of these scenarios would work.

This I thought was solid work. This gets two thumbs up!

 

“The Dungeon of Doom” Meng, The Barbarian, Big Bubba and Taskmaster vs “The Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Debra McMichael, Woman and Elizabeth

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This match had some of the best and worst of professional wrestling wrapped up into one match and thankfully, they got the worst of professional wrestling out the way at the very start of the match. The match started with “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan and Steve “Mongo” McMichael and I swear, the stuff these two men did together couldn’t have gotten any worse unless one of these men ended up getting accidentally killed in the ring. Everything that could have wrong went wrong.

Taskmaster, the veteran of the two, grabbed Mongo and tried to do an Irish Whip but Mongo tripped and fell down to the ground. These two were on two completely different books as Taskmaster tripped following another Irish Whip and went to grab Mongo again. I think Mongo thought it was a clothesline as he takes a bump to the ground as Sullivan just looks down at him. That spot fell apart so that’s two for two in screwed up spots so far in this match. They tried two spots and messed up both spots.

Mongo did a shoulder tackle which is successfully pulled off. Then Mongo went to the top rope as I think he wanted to do a moonsault because his back was turned to Sullivan as Flair cheers him on. Mongo lost his footing, turned around and fell onto the middle rope. Mongo did this big dive off the middle rope and just lands in the middle in front of Sullivan. It was basically a flying nothing executed by Mongo as Sullivan crawled to the bottom rope. RIC FLAIR was left speechless on the apron watching this all go down. It was like Ric Flair’s brain malfunctioned at the sight of such sheer horrific wrestling from Mongo. Words do not do these spots justice. You really should look up this episode on the WWE Network and watch the first 90 seconds of this match. It is worth seeing…

Taskmaster himself was not any better and it does take two to tango. Taskmaster, as the veteran, was supposed to walk Mongo through their four spots and they screwed up three of them. Sullivan just appeared to wanna grab Mongo and do what he wanted to do while Mongo was just clearly not able to work a match on the fly. The “dive” spot was 100% Mongo’s fault but this was some of the worst wrestling you’ll ever see. 

I love that Benoit and Barbarian proceeded to have a quickfire chop battle with such ferocity. These guys were awesome in this match. Benoit german-suplex Barbarian like it was a regular move for him and please keep in mind htat Barbarian was a large competitor.

Flair finally got the tag to a big pop. This was some of the very BEST of professional wrestling. Ric Flair talked about being a babyface during the Stone Cold Broken Skull Sessions episode he did. He said he didn’t like being babyface because he was the dirtest player in the game all and all he did was cheat, so how was he gonna get himself over as a babyface? This crowd didn’t care. Flair got the hot tag and he did low bow after low blow to the Dungeon of Doom to thunderous reactions from the crowd. It was the most heelish house of fire spot you will have ever see. The referee just let it all go as the place is going bananas. Then, as Flair is running wild, THEY CUT TO THE BACK. 

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Sting and Luger are shown chasing Nick Patrick down to the limo as Patrick pleaded for his life. Patrick ran past the limo but then Ted DiBiase is shown going into the limo.  Sting, as a rational thinking babyface, threw a cement block throw the windows of limo! If I were in that limo when Sting threw that cement block, I would have been crapping myself to see a massive cement block that was able to break through the window at such high speed. This was a scary spot. 

AND THEN, Sting and Luger decided to play Grand Theft Auto as they steal a police car and go after the limo. WHAT? They stole a police car which the announcers point out will land them in jail all because they wanted to chase a retired professional wrestler in a limo! Absolute insanity!

Back to the match, I love that it was the Horsemen vs the Dungeon with two heel groups, and both teams were trying every dirty trick in the book in the middle of this nasty stable war. It wasn’t like the Horsemen suddenly worked like complete babyfaces. They were the babyfaces but they were acting like the Horsemen and pulling off Horsemen tactics. Arn talked about needing to do the wrong thing and doing bad things to win War Games two weeks ago and they demonstrated that during this match

Benoit and Sullivan start fighting on the mat but this was broken up. Meng did one of the best-looking atomic drops ever to Benoit. I like Meng doing a curb stomp to the gut of Benoit on the floor and Benoit bounced off the mat to sell it! Barbarian hit a powerbomb on Benoit but Arn broke up the pin. Sullivan actually threw Benoit over the top rope while the referee’s back was turned.

Flair eventually got out a chair as things started spiralling out of control. Arn got in illegally and hit Bubba with a spinebuster. The Faces of Fear missed a double top rope splash. Ric ran wild with another hot tag. Flair locked on a  Figure Four as the rest of the Horesmen took care of the Dungeon. Benoit floored Jimmy Hart at ringside. In an uncomfortable spot with the benefit of hindsight, Benoit yelled at Woman to grab Flair’s arms as the Horsemen got the win. Benoit argued with Woman as Woman was upset at Benoit for mixing personal with business or something.

This was a fun train-wreck of a match when all things are considered.

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The nWo jumped everyone after the match as Bobby left the booth. Hogan floored the referee. I do want to point out before The Giant came out that the nWo were kicking WCW’s arses 3 on 8 at this point! They were controlling the ring albeit with the wrestlers already being beat-down by each other and Flair’s infinite low blows delivered. It was an un-even fair that the nWo was winning!

The Giant then walked down to the ring. The nWo back off and then Giant turned around and chokeslammed Barbarian and then Meng. He is revealed as the fifth man on the New World Order (with Ted being the fourth I guess) as he hugged Kevin Nash. The Giant has betrayed us all and joined the nWo.

It’s funny because the running joke of The Giant/Big Show’s career was that he was always turning babyface and heel like every few months, so the people could have considered this a heel turn as he joined the nWo. However, The Giant was still aligned with Dungeon of Doom who are clearly heels. He was the heel in the feud with Randy Savage and he was squashing jobbers as a heel monster. He was the defacto babyface against Hogan but other than that, he was a full-blown heel at this time. This was a heel that somehow turned heel again despite already being a heel! Only The Giant could pull that off!

Savage ran down with a chair as he cornered Hogan. This was the funniest wrestling spot of the entire night. Savage had Hogan cornered with a chair. If you recall 3 weeks ago, Hogan hit Savage with a chair to the back of his head. 3 weeks later, Savage had Hogan at his mercy with a chair and he was gonna swing this chair right at Hogan. In the most agile thing Hulk Hogan as ever done, he ducked the chair shot and shoot took Savage down to avoid the chair shot at all costs! It was the best technical wrestling Hogan had ever done and it was a necessity for him, because this crazy Randy Savage had a chair shot with Hogan’s name on it! It was the funniest spot to see Hogan take down Savage as if this were a shoot fight, which it probably was in Hogan’s eyes!

The nWo took control again as Hogan smashed Savage with the chair. Giant delivered one last chokeslam and I love Hogan had to get his hands on Savage as well as Giant slammed him down. Because apparently Hogan was concerned Giant could not lift and chokeslam RANDY SAVAGE! I think he would have been fine doing the spot Hulkster!

Because this was the Hollywood Hogan show, Hogan couldn’t help but deliver three leg drops to Savage in a homage to Bash at the Beach. The WCW guys all tried to get in the ring but the nWo holds the fort in the ring. So yes, the nWo were kicking WCW’s arses despite having a 4 on 9 disadvantage! What underdogs these nWo hooligans were! 

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Hogan grabbed the yellow spray paint as they painted a yellow streak on SAVAGE’s back. The nWo make they way up the ramp and Hogan even yelled: “come on you chickens” as the WCW dudes stayed in the ring like cowards… AT FIRST. The nWo take over the booth. Hogan yelled about if there’s any question about who the most powerful organisation in the world IS, they just showed everybody. The Giant then started cutting a promo. Before I get to the promo, it is a nice change of pace to see a dude turn heel and immediately being able to cut a promo to explain why he did it. There’s no need to wait a week for Giant to cut a big promo about why he joined the nWo. They had a Giant cut a big promo to explain why he did what he did. That sounded good… on paper. In execution, it didn’t work out for Paul Wright.

I’ve loved Giant’s promos for the last year, but he cut one horrible promo at the end of this show. Giant talked about how he got a phone call from Ted DiBiase and he wanted to talk to him about business. Giant talked about getting to Florida and the home of Hulk Hogan. As Hogan commanded him to spit at the WCW logo. Giant mumbled about how there was 20 Harley Davidsons and 5 Mercedes and he walked around his big home. Giant just went on and on about all of Hogan’s stuff that he owned. It sounded honestly that Giant was a realtor trying to sell Hogan’s house. He just started talking about Hogan’s house to the point where he just got completely lost by cutting a promo in a style which clearly didn’t suit him yet.

This promo was eventually interrupted as the nWo and the WCW guys continued to fight. It’s a wild brawl and it really felt like an out of control situation. Everybody is fighting everybody and this was another thing I loved. How many times do we get a big heel turn in WWE and it takes the babyfaces weeks or even months to get their revenge on the people that turned on them? The Dungeon of Doom got betrayed by The Giant and they wanted his head! They were vicious heels so when Giant betrayed him, they wanted to beat his arse. They didn’t have to wait a week to get their revenge. They wanted some of the Giant on this show!

Then the fighting stopped and Giant got back on the headset again and talked about this mansion again. Hogan decided to step and basically cut Giant’s promo for him. He steamrolled over Giant and mentioned everything he showed Giant was his. Hogan stole Flair’s line of whether you like it or you don’t like it, it’s the best thing going today. Hogan destroyed the announce desk as all you see is wreckage as Nitro goes off the air.

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I have to say, the chaotic nature of the ending of Nitro worked really well even by 2020 standards. It turned into a giant “shoot like” brawl and it worked. The Giant’s promo about what Hogan was offering was very weird. Big Show talked about being strong-armed into the group on the Stone Cold Broken Skull Sessions, and this remains to be seen, but he did not look like he fit with this group here. The scary Giant of the Dungeon of Doom selling out for the money all seemed like totally out of character and a weak transition. 

It was also clear from this angle alone that Giant was not going to benefit a great deal from being in this group. By the end of the show, it became clear that Giant was just another one of Hogan’s lackeys in his crew after being the biggest heel in the company for a year now. If you want to discuss wrestling politics, it is entirely possible that Hogan wanted Giant under his wing just so his status as the biggest heel in the company was not in jeopardy. If this guy in The Giant was with the nWo taking direction from Hogan, that meant he coudn’t possible surpass Hogan as the biggest heel. I mean it sucked to be Giant because after being such a stand-out star in WCW and potentially the next big star to go up against Hollywood Hogan, he is now just another guy in Hogan’s group a month after defending the title against the Hulkster.

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I did not think this WCW Nitro episode was any good. It was a very memorable show, especially because of what happened with The Giant. However, even the memorable stuff had some absurdity to it. Sting, the biggest babyface in the business, stealing a cop car and throwing cement blocks at limos. Ric Flair whipping out low blows like it was nothing and being the biggest babyface of the night. The Giant joining the nWo and selling out for the money. There was some good stuff during this show and it felt like an “easy” show to watch if that makes sense to everybody. The show didn’t feel like it dragged although the main-event was quite long. I tolerated the show and things like Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko helped a great deal.

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #49 (AUGUST 19TH 1996) – THE NICK PATRICK SHOW

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

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We’ve come to Episode #49 and we’re on the road to WCW Fall Brawl 1996. This episode establishes the main-event of WCW Fall Brawl 1996 with a great segment which saw the Four Horsemen agree to work with Sting and Lex Luger to fight the New World Order. That along with the closing segment involving Randy Savage and The Giant were both really well done, albeit misleading from an advertising standpoint. More on that when we come to it.

However, what bothered me the most about this episode was the lack of focus on the wrestlers. There were plenty of matches but the star of this show, in WCW’s eyes, was in fact referee NICK PATRICK.

At Hog Wild, referee Nick Patrick was paid off by the New World Order to help the Outsiders beat Lex Luger and Sting. WCW Nitro last week basically confirmed that he was in the nWo’s pocket by moving Hall out of the way of a Stinger Splash before the heels were ran off by the Four Horsemen.

A week later, they dedicated an entire wrestling show to this stupid referee storyline. Every other match on the show involved Nick Patrick as the referee and the announcers speculating about his refereeing credentials. They just could not talk about anything other than Nick Patrick, with this New World Order storyline being a close second. Other than that, this was a decent episode.

 

 

Date: August 19th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Huntsville, Alabama

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

VK Wallstreet vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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This is a match I feel I’ve seen a 1000 times but before I get to the match, they showed the finish to Duggan and Wallstreet’s match at Clash of the Champions. This Nitro match was a rematch to their Clash of the Champions match. The finish to their match at Clash of Champions saw Hacksaw’s tape get tangled up with the referee’s arm. Wallstreet rolled up Duggan as they were both tied up and Duggan brought the referee to the floor with his tape. The referee then pinned down Hacksaw.

It’s kind of poetic justice if you think about it. Larry correctly pointed out on commentary that Duggan used a foreign object to inadvertently tie him up with the referee so any mention of cheating was irrelevant. Duggan tried to use a foreign object, which is ILLEGAL, and then it backfired on him. As stupid as the finish was, it was poetic justice but it was the babyface Duggan getting what he deserved!

Nick Patrick was the referee for this match. MATCH #1 for Nick Patrick. Hacksaw ran wild on Wallstreet with punches and clotheslines. Duggan sent Wallstreet to the floor with an atomic drop. Wallstreet locked on a sleeper hold and got the heat for a while. Hacksaw started to fire back and reversed a suplex. Hacksaw then went for the tape. Nick Patrick took it away. Wallstreet intercepted the tape as Patrick chewed out Wallstreet for trying to us the tape, because using the tape was illegal. Duggan then got some more tape from within his trunks. He knocked out Wallstreet with the tape in plain sight of the referee and Patrick just counted the pin.

This was a lame match. This was a slow, nothing-happening match and a complete snoozefest with a preposterous finish. Patrick had a go at Wallstreet for wanting to use the tape and then did nothing when Duggan used the tape himself. He didn’t disqualify him or yell at him. He threw his hands up in the air and just counted the pin. If you think about it as well, Hacksaw Jim Duggan had two rolls of tape in his trunks. Somehow, Duggan figured out that his attempt to use the tape would be someway thwarted so he packed back-up. This is stupid on so many levels…

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Duggan. Duggan said everyone in WCW had been screaming about what they wanted to do to Hogan but nothing’s happened yet. He said Hogan turned his back on everything he believed it. Randy Savage interrupted Duggan as Duggan yelled “WHAT’S GOING ON?”

Savage said we’re on the same wave-length same frequency. Savage said he would take care of Hogan. Savage said that the chair shot from Hogan last week was a wake-up call. I think he said he was gonna make things right and was not gonna lay back one bit. Savage said The Giant made a deal with Savage that if Savage stepped aside Giant would make things OK but everything was not alright.” Savage is yelling about Giant not getting the job done against the nWo at Hog Wild and all I can think was that Giant was fighting the nWo three on one on that show. If Savage wanted Giant to take care of Hogan, why didn’t he come out to help him at Hog Wild? He sat there in the back at Hog Wild and watched Giant get beaten down three on one and then cried that Giant didn’t get the job done.

Savage claimed to have 15000 stitches in his head which might have been a slight exaggeration! Savage said he’s got problems with Hogan but he’s got problems with Giant as well so he’s gonna take care of that tonight as he and Duggan celebrated in the ring. A very weird but entertaining promo with Duggan and Savage.

 

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They showed a clip from Clash of the Champions of the The Giant vs Chris Benoit match. The whole match saw Giant dropkick Benoit into the turnbuckle while his jacket was being undone and then The Giant then hit one of the greatest chokeslams of all time. Giant hoisted up Benoit and Benoit’s ENTIRE BODY from the waist up is over Giant’s head. So Benoit is about 10 feet in the air. Everyone in the crowd gets up onto their feet as Giant walks around with this guy ABOVE HIS HEAD. Giant lifted one of his own legs and then jumped off the other leg as he and Benoit came crashing down to the mat with the chokeslam. It is one of the greatest chokeslams you’ll ever see. Giant pinned Benoit shortly afterwards so yes, after all of the hard work to build up Benoit for The Giant he was chokeslammed and pinned in 30 seconds.

This probably would have been really terrible for other guys but because clean victories are so uncommon in WCW, it got Benoit over in a weird way in the same light as Daniel Bryan was when he got beat in 18 seconds by Sheamus. It was so unpredictable that just because he was involved, Benoit was more over for it because it was so unique.

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman and Elizabeth vs Earl Robert Eaton

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There were problems within the Blue Bloods according to the commentators as Regal apparently made a comment on Saturday Night about going after singles belts. Regal was actually wrestling against a WCW Cruiserweight title contender later so that made sense.

Benoit and Eaton locked up with Benoit raking the eyes to take over the match. Benoit and Eaton’s grappling sent them to the outside where Benoit smacked Eaton’s face into the ring post. Benoit did a hip toss on the floor.

As Benoit made his way back in the ring and as the referee distracted himself, Woman got a kick in at Eaton on the floor.

Tony explained that we didn’t know who the War Games participants were yet but that would be revealed tonight. Eaton finally turned things around by choking the neck of Benoit in the corner.

Eaton hit the swinging neck breaker. Eaton clumsy missed top rope leg drop and Benoit hit a diving headbutt for the win. This was an uncomfortable landing where Eaton went down in the leg drop position when he jumped off but then extended one of his leg as he was coming down and it looked like he landed on his leg. That could have ended up really badly.

However A CLEAN WIN for Chris Benoit. For a man who had just been beaten in 30 seconds, this was what the doctor ordered for Benoit. There was no manager interference or overbooked finishes. Benoit hit the diving headbutt and beat the man. This gets a thumbs up.

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They showed a clip from Clash of the Champions where Scott Steiner had the WCW tag team title triangle match won for the Steiners with the Frankensteiner but the Outsiders came out and it caused Nick Patrick to call off the match, despite the Outsiders not actually getting involved in the match. Patrick claimed he followed the book “to a tee” which is weird because there was a triangle match on Nitro months ago where 20 security guards went into the ring, and NICK PATRICK refused to stop the match and the match just kept going!

They showed the finish of the Hogan/Flair match where Tony said Hogan gave up right before he threw the referee out of the ring. I did review the Hollywood Hogan vs Ric Flair match from Clash of the Champions which you can find by clicking on this link if you’d like to read my thoughts about that match.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger and Sting. Luger said they got a plan against the Four Horsemen as they were advertised to wrestle Ric Flair and Arn Anderson on Nitro. Sting said he’s living life with a totally different attitude. He said life at WCW has never been a cakewalk and still after everything they’ve been through, they don’t like the Horsemen but they’ve got a surprise for the Horsemen.

 

Disco Inferno vs Scott Norton

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There was fan with a “where’s glacier” sign as well as a clever New World Odor sign with Hogan drawn to look like a skunk. Great art-work in the crowd.

Scott Norton vs Disco Inferno really worked as a squash match to me. It was albeit boring but the squash match was never intended to be exciting in wrestling. It was to show off a guy to be a big deal and get him over big. They had big Scott Norton to get over and he looked menacing as he snarled and beat Disco all over the place. Disco would be dancing in the ring for example and Norton made him pay for it with a big clothesline. Simple things like that to get the guy over.

This match was like a hungry cat stalking a fish outta water with Norton slowly stalking Disco and Disco squirming away. That’s the best way I can describe this match . I love that Disco tried to do multiple elbow smashes and Norton does one big back elbow to floor Disco!

Tony claimed Disco has had success in the last few months. I don’t think I’ve seen Disco since his match with Dean Malenko at The Great American Bash I believe. I’m pretty sure Tony said the same thing about Jim Powers a few weeks ago but maybe if Tony explained what Disco had done in the last few weeks, maybe I could have considered him a bigger threat when seeing him wrestle Scott Norton.

Disco tried a DDT but Norton lifted Disco and Disco nose-doveright  into the mat. Norton did a big backbreaker and then yelled at Ice Train through the camera. He did the “flash back” arm breaker and locked on an armbar for the win. A slow match but it accomplished what it needed to do in getting Scott Norton over as a big star at least on this night.

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Mean Gene interviewed Teddy Long and Ice Train. Teddy Long thanked the fans for the cards and letters after Giant chokeslammed Teddy on the go-home Nitro of Hog Wild. Teddy claimed he saw Hog Wild and saw the match between Norton and Ice Train. He claimed Norton didn’t beat Ice Train as the referee NICK PATRICK stopped it with Ice Train apparently not giving up. I guess he said that to play up the Nick Patrick angle. However, Patrick did the right thing in that match in stopping the match because Ice Train was in no position to defend himself. Norton beat him and beat Ice Train down, who was injured beforehand, and then he locked on the arm bar and Ice Train did not respond so the referee called for the bell. It wasn’t like Ice Train got screwed. Scott Norton was the better man.

They showed a clip of Norton beating up Ice Train at the CompuServe centre at Clash of the Champions. Ice Train then cut a promo saying he wouldn’t always look like a mummy. Ice Train had a great voice and was a great talker but for a promo, he didn’t really seem to engage that well. For example, Ice Train made a comment about Norton looking into his eyes and then he took his glasses off as if he’s gonna look at the camera… and then just stared down and talked down to the mic. It was like he look disengaged with the interview. For example, Hacksaw Jim Duggan cut a promo a few weeks ago on Hogan and he looked at the camera as he talked directly to Hogan. Here, you think Ice Train was going to do the same thing when he took off his sunglasses and then just talks down to the mic and doesn’t even look at Mean Gene, the camera or whoever.

Not the best promo from Ice Train.

 

 Lord Steven Regal vs Dean Malenko

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This was such a good match. This was not a a good guy vs bad guy match, which I would usually prefer in a match, but this match didn’t even need any alignments or anything to make it interesting. It was two of the best grapplers in the company going in there and have a good old wrasslin’ battle.

I liked the spot where Dean tried a drop toe-hold but there was somewhat a struggle as Dean was a cruiserweight and Regal was visibly bigger. I dunno why but I liked that little detail. The fans were getting really into this match. Regal did a great enziguiri to floor Malenko. Regal even whipped out a cartwheel and the spot of him doing a cartwheel as Dean kipped up was really well executed by both men.

Dean eventually pulled off a hip toss after a struggle. Regal did a headscissors submission and Dean wiggled his way into the ropes. I love Regal grabbing the back of Dean’s head like in a MMA fight and doing the double knee strikes to the face! Regal locked on full nelson as Regal forced Dean down to the mat.

Dean did a springboard dropkick to the back of Regal’s head. Dean launched Regal with a big German suplex and did a second one with a bridge for the near fall. Regal hit a butterfly suplex for 2 count with Regal trying over and over again with repeated pinfall attempts. They traded roll-ups with Dean trying one last cradle to get the pin fall victory. The fans loved the match, I loved the match… this was a true technical battle and great television. This gets two thumbs up!

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen. Arn Anderson said he never needed anyone to like him as the Horsemen always backed him up. He said he never needed a weapon in his back pocket to feel tough. Ric Flair was acting like he was on vibrate as bounced up and down as Arn cut this promo! Ric then cut his own a big promo while the fireworks went off! Ric was just yelling over the top of the fireworks! Ric said between Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan and Hollywood Hogan, Ric’s got more playing time than all of them! Ric Flair was an excited man!

 

“The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock

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I was about to lose my mind when I saw that there were doing this match again. I’ve never ever seen a Public Enemy vs Nasty Boys match I’ve liked and I’ve seen a lot of them during this WCW series. I couldn’t believe this they were doing this again. However, this match ended up being a decent match. It wasn’t as messy as it was before. It was short and a lot of the stuff and brawling they did actually looked good so I had no problem with it this time.

Eric Bischoff mentioned WWF initiated a lawsuit against WCW which I’m not even sure what lawsuit that referred to. I know there were hundreds of lawsuits being thrown around left, right and centre in that Monday Night Wars. There was the Madusa lawsuit whenshe arrived and threw the WWF Women’s title in the trash can but this may have been about Hall and Nash. It’s hard to say at this point. There was probably 5 different lawsuits between these two companies and that’s not even mentioning the Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon stuff in the WWF.

The tag teams in this match did some wild brawling to kick off the match. Knobbs did a dive to Grunge on the outside. Eric Bischoff advised me not to get out my textbook and make notes as we’re not gonna get a technical wrestling match! We did not get a technical wrestling match… but I still took notes about this match. The next thing I wrote down actually was “Knobbs yelled BASTARD in the middle of all of this.” Insightful wrestling analysis from the Armbar Express!

Sags did a clothesline to send himself and Rocco to the outside. Knobbs did a facebuster and an elbow drop. Grunge missed an elbow drop from the apron to the floor. Public Enemy hurled Knobbs’ arse into the steel steps. Sags did a double clothesline to a big pop from the crowd.

Public Enemy did an elevated senton from the apron and then went for their finish, where they would both hurl themselves through the apron onto their opponent and through the table. However, Sags moved and both members of Public Enemy went crashing through the table. Knobbs did AN ELBOW DROP of all moves and got the pin. This was one of the better Public Enemy vs Nasty Boys matches so this gets a generous thumbs up.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Nasty Boys. Sags said everyone entering Nastyville will leave Nastyville just like the Public Enemy did. They claimed they were as nasty as they wanna be. Knobbs said Hogan was once a friend and always a friend. Knobbs said Hogan does what he does and Knobbs does what he wants. Nasty Boys called out the tag team champions. Mean Gene’s closing thoughts are “clearly these men hit the buffet early.” Insightful wrestling analysis from Mean Gene Okerlund!

 

Eric Bischoff made some comment before the next match claiming all the WCW babyfaces weren’t paranoid and claimed RANDY SAVAGE was not paranoid at ll, after 9 months of Savage being paranoid about the Lex Luger, Sting and Dungeon of Doom! I thought that line was ridiculous!

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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They showed Clash of the Champions where Eddie Guerrero beat DDP for the lord of the ring that DDP won at Slamboree. DDP shook Eddie’s hand and then DDP hit a Diamond Cutter, throwing out the ref and choking at Eddie. DDP hit another Diamond Cutter when Chavo Guerrero Jr. ran down. DDP pushed him outta the way and then DDP hit a top rope Diamond Cutter. What a geek this Chavo turned out to be!

Chavo had his chance for revenge against DDP in this match. DDP still had the ring even know he technically lost it to Eddie. Bobby claimed possession was nine-tenths of the law as DDP still had this ring.

DDP played the big man role in his match against the much smaller Chavo. Chavo is another one where he really beefed up over the years. Chavo was tiny and as quick as Rey Mysterio but when he got older, his body got really buffed up. That’s not an accusation or anything against Chavo, but it was astonishing how big he got over time.

Chavo ran wild on DDP with DDP continuing to throw Chavo off of him in the corner. DDP hit a sit-out powerbomb but didn’t go for the cover as he hit a belly to belly suplex but again, he didn’t go for the cover. Eric then yelled at Patrick to disqualify DDP, I guess because DDP didn’t wanna end the match yet.

Chavo got a bridge roll-up on a cocky DDP and pinned him for an upset victory. I actually wrote down that DDP kicked out so I went back and checked and Chavo did actually pin him. It didn’t really matter because DDP hit a Diamond Cutter to a big pop and then proceed to whip Chavo. Chavo didn’t really get anything from this “huge victory” over DDP.

DDP whipped Chavo with Patrick’s belt as he whipped the living daylights out of poor Chavo. Now, having seen what happened at Clash of the Champions, you’d think Eddie would now come out and save his nephew Chavo. Chavo helped him so now Eddie can return the favour. Who should come out to MAKE THE SAVE but REFEREE Randy Anderson as he intercepted the belt! Can you imagine that?

Not Eddie Guerrero… but RANDY ANDERSON was Chavo’s knight in shining armour. Randy yelled at Nick Patrick for not doing anything about what happened to Chavo. Like I mentioned, the attention was spent on the referees over this angle with the wrestlers in DDP and Eddie. They’ve got to write a storyline about Nick Patrick so he’s the one at the centre of all of this. Not DDP for whipping Chavo, not Eddie who could have made the save, not Chavo for WINNING THE MATCH or even Randy Anderson who MADE THE SAVE. The storyline is about Nick Patrick standing there and not doing anything about DDP. AND THEN…

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Mean Gene interviewed Nick Patrick after the match. This would be like if you had Conor McGregor winning a fight in the UFC and Joe Rogan just went a did an interview with the referee! It’s so ridiculous that referee was getting air-time to cut a promo!

Mean Gene called out Patrick on his bullshit and that’s the best way to describe it. I apologise for swearing but for this storyline, bullshit seems like a perfect way to describe this. Then NICK PATRICK cut a promo live on Nitro! He compared himself to a police officer where if there was a shoot-out, would he go in there alone or would he wait for back-up? Patrick claimed the media was blowing everything up as Bischoff called Patrick a snake. Patrick claimed WCW was not sticking together anymore. SO YES. KONNAN AND NOW NICK PATRICK are both supposedly heels but simultaneously calling for WCW to be united against the nWo. This is an amazing show on so many levels, and not always for the right reasons.

I do like how Mean Gene claimed he couldn’t help but notice the big beautiful home Patrick has bought recently. Nick Patrick left before he could respond to Mean Gene.

 

Harlem Heat © w/Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker vs American Males for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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They showed American Males vs Harlem Heat from the September 18th 1995 edition of Nitro where the Males beat Harlem Heat in an upset to win the tag team titles. Nine months later, they get another shot on Nitro for the WCW Tag Team titles.

Nick Patrick was back referring, right after a match where Patrick was supposedly not doing his job in stopping DDP. Patrick is under scrutiny over his credentials and he’s refereeing what felt like half the matches on the show. He’s refereeing AGAIN in this WCW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH. It’d be one thing if this was Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs VK Wallstreet in a nothing match. This was for the WCW Tag Team titles. The last time he referred a WCW tag team title match was at Clash of the Champions where he threw out the match because a couple of dudes came down to the ring and did nothing. From a storyline standpoint, WCW are the dumbest company in the world for not pulling Nick Patrick from officiating matches! Here, he’s referring all the matches! This storyline… boggles the mind.

As Patrick hoisted up the titles, Harlem Heat got the jump on American Males. Booker did the missed elbow drop/spinaroonie spot. Stevie did a standing side kick which Bischoff called out as being “slow”. Stevie Ray was never particularly a good wrestler but ERIC BISCHOFF calling out a wrestler on being slow in the ring and critiquing his in-ring work was rather hilarious.

Stevie did a suplex and Sherri argued with Patrick for about 30 seconds. Riggs cut off Booker with a dropkick. Bagwell ran wild on Harlem Heat. Ray tried a pumphandle slam but Bagwell reversed it in déjà vu from their first match but Booker broke it up this time. Booker pushed Bagwell off the top rope and Ray caught him with a powerslam for the win.

Harlem Heat won a match clean, which I was astonished by! When was the last time Harlem Heat won a match on Nitro clean! I don’t even think they beat Rough and Ready clean! The WCW Tag Team Champions actually won a match fair and square. What a concept. The match was… OK.

 

GLACIER IS STILL COMING TO WCW

 

“Four Horsemen” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs Sitng and Lex Luger

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What was supposed to be a match turned out to be like a board meeting between the babyfaces and the heels. Sting and Lex Luger came out and called out the rest of the Four Horsemen as they did a in-ring interview with Mean Gene Okerlund. In case you were really wanting to see this match, they never even delivered it. However, I would agree that what they delivered would have been better than if they actually went through with a match on Nitro. This was an exceptional angle.

Mean Gene did an interview with everyone in the ring and took his jacket off for this. Sting said they should all recognise there is a major problem with WCW. Sting said they can’t trust the Horsemen and they will never trust them but he also knows that all of their blood and sweat has been sweat in WCW. Sting talked about War Games and mentioned that only Luger, Sting, Flair and Arn have been in War Games in the past and wanted to team with them at War Games against the New World Order.

Arn talked and said he doesn’t like Sting and Lex Luger. Arn said Lex can’t bring these jiggling pecks and muscles to war games as they won’t help him but if Luger brought that passion and hard work into making that body, they could get somewhere. Luger asked Ric and Arn to answer the question if Luger and Sting have ever given up when they stepped in the ring with them. Speaking of Flair, this was like a polar opposite energy Flair had here than what he was like in his earlier promo. Flair was all excited earlier and now Flair was all calm and quiet as he actually listened and paid attention to what everyone said.

Arn said to survive War Games, they can’t do the right thing and they had to do something so violent and so painful that a man quits in the ring. Sting said WCW has not been a cakewalk for anyone but he has lived the life of WCW. Sting said if Mongo and Benoit would step aside, he would fight alongside Ric and Arn at War Games against the Outsiders. However Ric would leave it to Benoit and Mongo to decide if they wanna step aside.

Benoit said he’s always wanted to be a horsemen and Ric has never betrayed him so he will stand by his decision. Mongo yelled about making a sacrifice but if Sting and Luger doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, what the nWo does will be nothing compared to what the Horsemen was going to do to them.

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I actually thought this was a pretty great segment. This storyline makes the motivations of everyone involved make sense. Lex Luger and Sting had strong motivations where they realise they can’t fight the nWo alone and so they needed to swallow their pride and fight with the Horsemen. Arn questioned whether Luger and Sting was big and bad enough to fight in War Games and do violent things but he respected them. Ric Flair was great. Benoit and Mongo stood aside and had good reasons for doing so and they were making a sacrifice for the Horsemen. This was awesome. This gets two thumbs up and did a fabulous job in building up WCW vs nWo in War Games. This was great stuff.

 

There was a nWo announcement. They were in black and white as they mumbled and flexed in front of the camera. Nash referred to themselves as modern day gladiators while laying down and lounging around for this promo! They called Sting and Luger pathetic and Hall said don’t call us, we’ll call you. Typical nWo shenanigans were they goofed around and made fun of the babyfaces.

 

 

The Giant w/Jimmy Hart vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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This was another one where they advertised Savage vs Giant for the main-event of WCW Nitro and didn’t deliver but what they did was actually way better than what an actual match would have looked like.

Savage attacked Giant with a chair before the bell as he smashed away at the head and the back of the big man. Giant took control as threw Savage into the ring post. Giant Gorilla Pressed Savage into the ring. Randy Anderson then found a clue and threw the match out. TAKE NOTES WWE! I saw this ELIAS VS KING CORBIN match from WrestleMania 36 where Elias hit Corbin with a guitar before their match and Michael Cole declared it was not a DQ until the match started. Here, the referee called it off because it was out of control and Savage had used an illegal weapon before the match. THIS MATCH SENSE.

Giant tried a chokeslam but Savage got out of it. I guess Savage booted Giant down below. Jimmy tried to use the chair but Savage stopped him. Savage attacked Hugh Morrus and Big Bubba with the chair. Savage smacked Barbarian and Meng as well and then fled when the numbers became too much for him. At least Savage came off as a clever babyface here where he tried to fight them off at first but when he realised the odds were too much so he left to fight another day.

Then The Giant got pissed and he RAN DOWN TO THE BACK AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT. Saying that he “ran down” is actually not doing this justice. This is worth re-watching this spot everybody. Giant got mad and roared and he VAULTED out of the ring. He jumped clean over the top rope and ran down as if he were The Hulk looking to eat someone. Think of this spot like the scene from the Avengers film in 2012 where The Hulk chased Black Widow down a hallway. Giant thundered down this ramp to get his revenge on Savage as Eric warned Giant would eat him!

I loved this. I love how much of a freak Giant was at this time. He was not physically like Brock Lesnar for example but for a tall man, Giant was ridiculously athletic at this time. I mentioned him whipping out a dropkick to Benoit but if you look at how he charged down the ramp and how moved in the ring at this time, it was astonishing. Giant does not get enough credit to how athletic he was at this time.

Eric confirmed at the end of the show that the War Games match was officially and I like that Bobby wrote it down and took notes. I don’t know why but when was the last time in wresting where an announcer is shown on screen writing down notes? I thought that was pretty clever.

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I was ready to tear this show apart but honestly when I look back, it was a pretty solid show! The Nick Patrick stuff drove me crazy but everything else was really well done. The last two big segments of the shows were slam dunks, we had clean finishes up and down the show and we got solid wrestling with Dean Malenko vs Lord Steven Regal. This show gets two thumbs up from me. I enjoyed it!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

NEWS: WWE Announces Major Releases Including Rusev, Kurt Angle and Zack Ryder During Coronavirus Outbreak 2020

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WWE have officially announced the releases of a number of wrestlers and staff today on the 15th of April 2020. This comes a day after WWE was considered an “essential service” in Florida and it marks a dark couple of days for the company, with many families of the wrestliers also suffering during a time where almost every business has been affected in the world in some way by the current coronavirus outbreak.

The names as of 10pm in UK time are as followed:

  • Kurt Angle
  • Rusev
  • Zack Ryder
  • Primo Colon
  • Epico Colon
  • Luke Gallows
  • Karl Anderson
  • Eric Young
  • Drake Maverick
  • Maria Kanellis
  • Mike Kanellis
  • No Way Jose
  • Sarah Logan
  • Mike Chioda
  • Lio Rush
  • EC3
  • Aiden English
  • Rowan
  • Heath Slater
  • Curt Hawkins

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Producers Lance Storm, Billy Kidman, Mike Rotunda, Dave “Fit” Finlay, Pat Buck, Shawn Daivari, Scott Armstrong, Sarah Stock, and Shane Helms were all also furloughed without pay for the period of time but could also be brought back to the company once the fortunes for WWE change following the Coronavirus outbreak.

This also comes after the releases of Luke Harper, Sin Cara and the Ascension from a few months ago and The Revival being granted their releases from the company less than a week ago.

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I would be very stunned if this was the first time you’d be finding out about this if you are reading this post right now, which I very much appreciate by the way!. I’ve been reviewing WCW Nitro episodes ironically on the WWE Network for this blog and I’ve not really been looking for views actively but if you are here because of what is going on, thank you and I hope you read on as I have a lot to say about this. This news all comes the day after WWE was deemed an essential service to Florida and as considered a “key worker” myself in the United Kingdom, this whole scenario rubs me the wrong way.

I work in the UK’S Civil Service and I have dealt in a service involving people being laid off from work, becoming unemployed and seeking financial assistance from the UK Welfare system. I won’t mention more than that but that is a brief summary of what I do for a living. This Coronavirus has affected billions of people in the world, let alone millions of people in the UK who have been furloughed, seen their self-employment or been let go all together because of the current situation. As a key worker, I help these people with managing their lives during this crisis of situation for themselves and the rest of the country. People have been heart-broken by this…

I learn yesterday that WWE has been officially considered an “essential service” for the state of Florida where they can continue to operate in that state and do live shows. I don’t care to discuss the political aspect of that because I am a Civil Servant, but this move has been subjected to massive criticism questioning the necessities of WWE to continue doing shows during this time.

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So the day afterwards, I come in from work where I am considered a key worker as part of an essential service like WWE is apparently considered an essential service in Florida. While I catch-up on watching AEW Dynamite ironically, I get alert after alert on Facebook. A few wrestlers’ releases are announced by WWE like The Club, EC3, Curt Hawkins, Lio Rush and Drake Maverick… oh we’ll get to Drake Maverick.

Almost like a horror movie or the scene from Avengers: Infinity War where Thanos snapped characters out of existence, more names appear on WWE’s statement for these major releases and cuts. They keep going and going with these cuts. Maria Kanellis, who has recently given birth, was released along with her husband. Long time WWE employers like Mike Chioda, Zack Ryder and Primo Colon are also cut from WWE. Kurt Angle is released from his legend’s contract. Rusev is released.

All I can think when this was all going down is that where I work, because I am part of an essential service, it is all hands on deck. They are looking for bodies to do work when they can, whether it be at work, and they are taking all the precautions necessary to make sure we are safe while providing a service to the public who depend on us during this time.

With WWE we have a business that has made a minimal attempt to actually adhere to social distancing and safe-guard their wrestlers as they are having to WRESTLE EACH OTHER in the ring each week. Not only that but as they are considered an essential service to provide, they then release and cut staff left and right during a time where you’d think an essential service would need all hands on deck.

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This company is essentially telling their employees that they the business are needed at this time but they don’t need their employees despite them giving years of their lives to work for WWE and do their best to entertain the fans. Drake Maverick weed himself on pay-per-view just to make the boss happy, Maria, Mike Kanellis and Rusev were all involved in angles where they were in unhealthy relationships and being emasculated on live television especially for Rusev and Mike Kanellis. Aiden English cried on television for god’s sake.

They do all of these sacrifices for the company, under the motivation that the owner wouldn’t ask them to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. Their reward for embarrassing themselves to make their boss happy (probably solely for that reason) and to try to entertain the fans in some way is that they are told to hit the bricks and we’ve got nothing for you, during this time where the coronavirus has hurt their talent pool. Roman Reigns, The Miz. Rey Mysterio and Dana Brooke were all cut from WrestleMania because of their health conditions but WWE had the audacity to fire these guys right after they were deemed an essential service.

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I’ve seen the WWE do a lot of tacky things, including releasing a DVD for profit on Owen Hart who died in their ring. I’ve seen WWE turn real-life deaths into storylines and I’ve seen them use the Gulf War in an angle. When it comes to taking care of the talent who have stayed loyal to them for so many years, they’ve dropped the ball here.

During a time where people’s livelihoods have been hugely affected and families have been affected by this, they do stuff like this where these wrestlers who had financial security have all been cast aside for the sake of the business. Yes, I understand it is a business. However, that’s all they treat themselves as. If they treated themselves as a true wrestling promotion, given all the money they make and the profits they’ll still make even with what’s going on, they could have found some way to at least do something for these people aside from just cutting them.

However, they don’t do that. It’s not like the WWE does anything to help wrestlers with life after wrestling and for some of these veterans, this could be the last bit of wrestling they ever do. Rockstar Spud/Drake Maverick alluded to that on his Twitter account after getting the phone call today. Now they are being thrown into the wilderness possibly with nowhere to go if companies like AEW, Impact Wrestling or NJPW don’t pick them up. The Renegade was released from WCW in 1998 I believe and after becoming severely depressed because he wasn’t able to find work, he took his own life.

To release these talented wrestlers in this manner after everything they’ve done for this company I think is disgraceful. To do it the day after being considered an “essential service” I think is pretty tacky and audacious from this company. My thoughts are with the families of the wrestlers that no longer have a job in wrestling from today as well as the wrestlers themselves. It is a terrible situation for everyone involved.

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Drake Maverick posted a video on Twitter with his thoughts about the whole thing where he is in tears about this whole ordeal and shaken by it. To him, he’s not even sure if he’ll wrestle again after he wrestles in the NXT Interim Cruiserweight Tournament as part of his final commitments. I welled up watching it and it’s a hard video to sit through but you should all watch it to understand just how hard this is hitting these wrestlers.

I went on a massive tirade years ago about Lio Rush who mocked Emma/Tenille Dashwood on Twitter for getting released. Years later, he is the one released as part of major cuts from WWE and I’d like to think that this will finally show him exactly what Tenille was going through this time three years ago. I’m obviously trying to say that it was right for him to be released and I wish him the best along with everybody else who got released, but I think this was a wake-up call for a lot of people.

I will echo the words from Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter on Twitter as this was a bad day on so many levels. I have not heard of anyone else getting cut since that list was posted. Supposedly Deonna Purrazzo from NXT was also released or asked for her release but I haven’t see that one yet but those people listed above are the releases we know of at the moment.

Let me know in the comments what you think about these developments for the WWE. If you’re new to the Armbar Express, I’m currently doing a WCW Nitro review series on this blog. If you follow the blog you will be kept up-to-date with every review or any other posts the Armbar Express does. I hope you’ve enjoyed the post you’ve just read.

It’s weird plugging the WCW Nitro series which I currently watch through the WWE Network! I’m plugging this during a blog post where I talk about WWE’s management of these releases! However, I don’t plan to stop those reviews so stay tuned! If you’d like to read any of the reviews I’ve done for that series so far, please click on the links below for all the reviews I’ve done so far!

Be sure to safe everybody doing whatever you may be doing during this time!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS #33 – HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (C) VS RIC FLAIR FOR THE WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

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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Howdy! We’re changing things up a bit with this post. The last episode of WCW Monday Nitro I reviewed was building up the main-event of WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII which was Hollywood Hogan vs Ric Flair. Now I never watched the last Clash of the Champions they did in January 1996 and I didn’t really wanna watch this one either. However, I did want to watch the main-event for a few reasons:

  1. Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair was a pretty big dream match at the time so whenever they wrestled each other, it was pretty much considered a big deal.
  2. This would most likely tie-in to the current New World Order storyline.
  3. This was the first ever Hogan vs Flair match where Hogan was the heel and Flair was the babyface…. that is HUGE.

I watched The Giant and Hogan from Hog Wild and I found it so surreal to see Hogan wrestle a “Hulk Hogan” match as the heel with Giant running wild on him. How is a babyface Ric Flair vs a heel Hulk Hogan going to work? I couldn’t help myself so I watched this match as part of this series.

Think of this as a bonus match review, as we’ve done before, as part of the Retro Express WCW series!

 

Hollywood Hogan (c) vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Tony Schiavonie at commentary did an excellent job in hyping up this match. He broke down the entire storylines of both these men from the moment when Hulk Hogan arrived in WCW in 1994 up until this point. Now Ric Flair is being cheered against the “low-life” Hollywood Hogan as Bobby Heenan referred to him as. It creates the contrasts to the men these two were two years ago to the men these two are now.

Hogan was still cheered as a babyface as he came down and ripped off his shirt though. The Giant nameplate was still on the belt. Hogan slicked his forehead for some reason. Flair then responded by slicking his own hair back to big “woos” from the crowd.

They locked up as Ric took over with a confident look on his face. Hogan knocked down Flair with a shoulder block. Hogan positioned Flair on the top turnbuckle and when the referee was dealing with Hogan, Flair got in a cheeky slap to the face. Hogan wrestled Flair to the ground and worked on the arm which did not look good. Flair then chopped away and punched at him as Hogan got upset on the outside, Hogan threatened to punch a female fan who was giving him all kinds of hell!

Hogan won the test of strength and Flair bit at Hogan to take control ofthe match. They had a few spots where they were on totally different pages.

Ric Flair pulled off a big delayed suplex to Hogan which is quite a feat of strength. Hogan then HULKED UP as Flair punched away as the fans went crazy. Hogan did his whole babyface Hogan comeback. Hogan then missed the Leg Drop and Flair capitalised with the Figure Four Leg Lock as Heenan commanded that Flair breaks Hogan’s legs! Hogan threw down the referee Randy Anderson as he was locked in the hold.

Then the Outsiders ran down and the nWo beat down Flair. The Horsemen and Sting and Lex Luger chased away the nWo as Tony believed Hogan had given up. Flair was declared the winner via disqualification.

Flair and Sting pushed each other as Hogan yelled from the entrance ramp. Hogan posed with the belt as Dave Penzer officially declared Flair was the winner but was not the champion.

Exciting at times but an otherwise dull typical Nitro main-event at Clash of the Champions.

Match Rating: *3/4

 

I shouldn’t be surprised that this match was as big of a let-down despite the interest and build towards it. This is hero Ric Flair versus villain Hulk Hogan. Who could have imagined that we’d ever see this in a wrestling ring? What happens? Instead of building this up for, I dunno, Starrcade or some other big pay-per-view, they rushed towards putting it on television in this TBS special. Because WCW wanted to protect both men (for multiple reasons probably), they had a typical disqualification and it was bothersome.

If not already established by the last edition of Nitro, I guess this accomplished the goal of perhaps “tightening” the unity between the Horsemen, Luger and Sting but it didn’t really seem to accomplish anything for the future. A big match they could have built on and delivered at a bigger stage going to waste at a Clash of the Champions event and producing a non-finish.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Date: August 12th 1996

Brand: WCW

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

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Renegade vs Diamond Dallas Page

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Konnan vs Jim Powers

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ron Studd vs Chris Benoit w/Miss Elizabeth and Woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order