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.
We’re heading into Slamboree 1996, with The Giant defending the WCW World title against Sting. Both men picked up victories last week but the show ended in a brawl where Sting was able to get The Giant in the Scorpion Death Lock briefly but this was interrupted by Jimmy Hart. Lex Luger, who was supposed to get a WCW title shot last week, arrived late to the show with the Stinger once again questioning Lex Luger’s actions.
This review was the go-home show for Slamboree 1996. It didn’t really do much for me other than the angle to close the show to set-up or get me excited for Slamboree. I think this was officially the show where the good-show streak ended. This wasn’t bad but this was the first Nitro I’ve watched in a while where it felt like it was just…. there. It just existed and there wasn’t lot there for me to further my interest in a number of storylines. This episode just didn’t do it for me.
We’re also two weeks away from Nitro going two hours long. Next week’s episode I’ve already found out is more than an hour long because of a weird overrun. So this will be the last episode which took me less than an hour to watch on the Network. The Network listed this as 42 minutes long.
Date: May 13th 1996
City: Nashville, Tennesee
Rating: 2.3 (Better than last week but still lost to WWF RAW)
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby Heenan
Let’s start this review with the review of the opening segment with Lex Luger. The storyline has been that Lex Luger was claiming that he missed flights or whatever which has led to him missing two opportunities to face The Giant for the WCW title. This week, he had a plan. Lex Luger literally CAMPED in Nashville outside of the arena. He didn’t go to a hotel or anything. No, he was outside camping as if he were waiting for the midnight screenings of Star Wars or something.
I paused it because, this set up Lex Luger had included two bottles of water, three bananas, an orange, an apple all on top of a box which may have been like a cooler or something. He had a flashlight, duvet and pillow as he then proceeded to swat away at a fly with a fly-swatter thing he random whiped out! He then proceeds to whip out a newspaper too.
I have a few questions. Firstly, why Luger couldn’t just stay at a nearby hotel is perplexing to me! Secondly, Luger isn’t shown training or anything for his big world title match. He sits there reading the newspaper! This whole plan of Luger’s seemed to have a lot of flaws but you know what, this at least proved that Luger was willing to go the extra mile to be here for this match with Giant. So I liked it… it was goofy but it was the right kind of goofy.
“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock
The announcers said that Randy Savage was barred from ringside and fined $50,000 twice, after last week where he beat up two referees and choked Hugh Morrus out with his own jacket.
This tag match started with Scott hitting gorilla press and throwing Grunge I think at Rocco, which is quite a feat of strength as neither of those guys were small dudes. It may have been the other way around but that’s what was written on my notes so I’m gonna go with that order.
Rick did a great catching belly-to-belly suplex on Grunge. Scott followed up with a big belly-to-belly suplex of his own. The teams brawled on the outside. Rocco accidentally hits Grunge and this led to… nothing. It led to nothing as Rocco just started beating up Rick.
Eric Bischoff talked about Scott Norton and Ice Train a.k.a Fire and Ice looking very powerful as of late … the last time they were on Nitro, the Steiners beat them in about 3 minutes if I recall correctly.
Rick crotched Rocco and did a suplex from the top rope. This wasn’t like a superplex or anything. Rocco was sat on the top turnbuckle and Rick lifted him from that position which was quite impressive. Scott hit this fantastic tilt-a-whirl sit-out slam, Scott went for the Franksteiner but Grunge dropped him with an electric chair as Rick was distracted with the referee.
Rocco did an assisted springboard senton from the top rope for a 2 count. Public Enemy did a double elbow smash. Rocco missed a senton which led to Rick Steiner running wild with clotheslines off the hot tag.
Public Enemy eventually overpowered Rick on the outside. Rocco tried a flip senton over the top rope but hit Grunge by mistake. Scott did a Frankesteiner in the ring, pumped his hands up in the air and went for the cover for the win.
This was a decent tag match at best. I’ve seen Public Enemy have way worst tag team matches than this and this at least gave the Steiners a lot of shine. The right team won and this was OK in my books.
Chris Benoit vs Squire Dave Taylor w/Jeeves
I don’t have a lot of notes for this match but this was another decent match in its own right. It’s just that not a lot happened between these two and there wasn’t a lot of heat from the fans for this one.
The announcers revealed Lord Steven Regal is teaming with Dave Taylor at Slamboree as I guess Belfast Bruiser was out of the tournament. They also mentioned DDP was also in the Lethal Lottery now, replacing Hardwork Bobby Walker. This isn’t quite WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge from 2018 where they changed up the teams DURING the tournament but this was very hard to keep up with heading into the PPV.
Benoit and Taylor grappled around the ring for a bit as there was some crackling with the audio. They wrestled for a bit and then Benoit just delivers some closed fist punches to bring some intensity into the match.
He delivered a catapult and then some chops to Taylor and Dave Taylor mostly just responded with European Uppercuts. Dave Taylor slammed Benoit to the ground with an electric chair drop. Dave hit an awesome fallaway slam which was the highlight of the match.
Dave missed a dive from the top rope and Benoit hit a Dragon Suplex for the pin. Not a lot to discuss about this one but this was another decent match.
Mean Gene Okerlund was talking to Randy Savage outside of the arena. Savage is trying to get in when Steve “Mongo” McMichael came outside to meet with Savage. Mongo then proceeds to cut a promo on Ric Flair and tells Savage to chill out as he has a plan.
Mean Gene turns around and tells Savage that he’s lost it. Savage said Gene hadn’t seen crazy yet and he was gonna turn WCW upside down. Savage said he doesn’t care about the money and fines. He warned Gene to not tell him where he’s going because he didn’t know where he’d been, which I actually thought was a solid line. Savage said he’s gonna win the Lethal Lottery even if it meant carrying around a dead partner in Ric Flair. Savage dropped a line something along the lines of a psychiatrist said he’s OCD which stands for “One Cool Dude.” I chuckled at that.
Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs VK Wallstreet
This was a weird match to see with the heel VK Wallstreet working as the babyface against Ric Flair in a match designed to see the fans cheer for Wallstreet over RIC FLAIR. Shockingly, the fans were getting behind VK Wallstreet during this match, so it wasn’t like this didn’t accomplish what it set out to do.
I love Miss Elizabeth having this big smile on her face as Flair danced around with her on the ramp. Even though she’s supposed to be a heel and she’s with the dastardly Ric Flair, Ric danced with her and she had this big smile on her face!
Wallstreet out-wrestled Flair briefly at the start of the match. Flair then dropped him with a drop toe-hold and Wallstreet reversed it into a wrist lock.
Wallstreet ran wild for a little bit and Flair retreated to the outside. I love how Ric bounced off the rope and the moment he bounced off, Wallstreet pounced and hit a drop toe-hold, going to work on the legs. It’s actually amazing how much Wallstreet got on Ric Flair in this match.
Ric Flair sold and sold for VK WALLSTREET of all people. Wallstreet went for a cover but Flair got his foot on the rope and Woman still took the time to adjust his foot on the rope a little bit anyway! No matter if he got his foot on the rope or not, his team will always try to bend the rules for the Dirtiest Player in the game!
Wallstreet tried a high knee on the outside but jumped knee first into the ring post. Flair worked on the legs and locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Woman grabbed the arms of Flair to get extra twerk and to emphasise this, Flair thrusted vigorously in the air to demonstrate the amount of pressure he was applying! Flair tapped him out for the win.
This was the weakest match of the show so far but this was an OK match in its own right.
Mean Gene interviewed Flair. Flair talked about Dolly Parton riding Space Mountain which I wouldn’t even wanna attempt to imagine. Ric talked about Savage saying he would drag a dead man to the ring. Ric then danced around with Elizabeth and asked if he looked dead to you. Ric Flair said ass during this promo and Mean Gene was appalled by this! I love how ASS was a word that was appalling and frowned upon in the eyes of the WCW announcers! Ric Flair talked about Mongo. Flair talked about hitting touchdowns and he grabbed the women and said look at the wide receivers. I was gob-smacked by that line. The Attitude Era and Crash TV hadn’t totally arrived in WCW yet but this was not subtle language in the slightest by Flair!
The Giant © vs Lex Luger for the WCW title
So they’re setting up this big angle of Lex Luger possibly showing up for his title match, with the announcers speculating whether he was going to show up or not. They come back from a break and Lex Luger is just in the ring with The Giant ready for the match. No entrances or anything for either man in this match. They didn’t even try when they come back to play up the possibility that Luger may no-show.
Luger tried shoulder blocks but Giant was too big. Luger tried a scoop slam but got thrown to the outside. Luger got out of a suplex and tried to dive on Giant but Giant caught him and slammed him into the corners. Luger tried a diving forearm but Giant was still standing. Luger was thrown outside of the ring.
Luger tried to get The Giant off the apron but The Giant held onto the rope for a long time, refusing to go but Luger eventually knocked him down with a big forearm.
Giant went over to Flair, who was sitting watching this match with his women also sitting at a table. The Giant cleared the table as Flair screamed NO, as Woman also screamed. Giant then chokeslammed Luger through the table for the DQ.
Jimmy Hart literally jumped on Giant’s back to stop him from doing anything more as Sting came out to the aid of his friend as Giant was led to the back. I guess Luger being chokeslammed through the table was enough to prove to the announcers that Lex Luger was a true babyface now. Mean Gene tried an interview but Sting told him to get out of here.
I do like that this did add a bit of weight to the Sting vs The Giant title match for Slamboree. When they did this feud, literally out of nowhere, they just randomly announced the match for Slamboree. Now it’s for the title and now The Giant has made things personal, going after Sting’s friend. Now it feels more than just a random title match as the animosity between the two is at a boiling point heading into the PPV.
This episode was the weakest episode we’ve seen in a while on Nitro I think. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t particular good either. There were some matches that were above average and that was about it. I guess by those standards, I should consider it a good show but it really struggled in building up anticipation for the PPV. It was just a random Nitro to me that didn’t really accomplish much for a show that happened to be the go-home show for Slamboree.
Speaking of WCW Slamboree 1996, that is the next review for the blog. We’re gonna have the Lethal Lottery tournament, a few title matches and Sting vs The Giant for the WCW title. Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly an update whenever Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too!
WCW Nitro Reading Order
- #1 – September 4th 1995
- #2 – September 11th 1995
- WCW War Games 1995 – September 17th 1995
- #3 – September 18th 1995
- #4 – September 25th 1995
- #5 – October 2nd 1995
- #6 – October 9th 1995
- #7 – October 16th 1995
- #8 – October 23rd 1995
- WCW Halloween Havoc 1995 – October 29th 1995
- #9 – October 30th 1995
- #10 – November 6th 1995
- #11 – November 13th 1995
- #12 – November 20th 1995
- WCW World War III 1995 – November 26th 1995
- #13 – November 27th 1995
- #14 – December 4th 1995
- #15 – December 11th 1995
- #16 – December 18th 1995
- #17 – December 25th 1995
- WCW Starrcade 1995 – December 27th 1995
- #18 – January 1st 1996
- #19 – January 8th 1996
- #20 – January 15th 1996
- #21 – January 22nd 1996
- #22 – January 29th 1996
- #23 – February 5th 1996
- WCW Superbrawl VI – February 11th 1996
- #24 – February 12th 1996
- #25 – February 19th 1996
- #26 – February 26th 1996
- #27 – March 11th 1996
- #28 – March 18th 1996
- WCW Uncensored 1996 – March 24th 1996
- #29 – March 25th 1996
- #30 – April 1st 1996
- #31 – April 15th 1996
- #32 – April 22nd 1996
- #33 – April 29th 1996
- #34 – May 6th 1996 (Nitro)/May 6th 1996 (RAW)