RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #13 (NOVEMBER 27TH 1995) – STING AND LEX LUGER VS ARN ANDERSON AND BRIAN PILLMAN

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.

maxresdefault

We’ve went to war. World War III came around, headlined by the World War III 60 Man Battle Royal for the vacated WCW World Heavyweight Championship. 60 men vied for the big gold belt in a battle royal featuring giants, sharks, sumo assassins, horsemen, cruiserweights and many, many more. Eventually, it came down to six men left in the one ring. It came down to Dungeon of Doom members The Giant, Lex Luger and One Man Gang battling the babyfaces in Hulk Hogan, Sting and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Friends Sting and Lex Luger united in an attempt to eliminate The Giant. As they were on the verge of eliminating The Giant, Hulk Hogan sneaked up from behind and tossed out all three men including his best friend forever Sting.

The Giant wasn’t having that and pulled the rug from underneath Hogan, by pulling him from underneath the ring and attacking the Hulkster. Hogan and Giant battled outside of the ring and as Hogan had taken care of The Giant, Randy Savage eliminated One Man Gang. Hogan turned around to discover that his friend Randy Savage had been declared the winner and the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion. An irate Hogan pleaded his case that he was never truly eliminated but eventually calmed down and congratulated his other best friend forever Randy Savage on his big title victory….

 

Date: November 27th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Salem, Virginia

Rating: 2.5 (According to my research, the ratings for RAW and Nitro were virtually the same for the last two weeks! Spooky.)

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

 

Johnny B Badd w/Diamond Doll vs DDP

1

I believe this was a non-title match as they had the TV title match at World War III. DDP getting another title shot the next night wouldn’t make sense but it was hard to figure out what the ring announcer was saying. If anyone is able to confirm whether this was a title match, please let me know.

This was the return match from World War III, where Badd defeated DDP to retain the TV title and gain the services of the Diamond Doll. Despite this, a devastated DDP came out and presented flowers to his former Diamond Doll. As he gave her the flowers, he delivered a cheap-shot to Badd to get the heat.

The Diamond Doll Kimberley was actually shown to not be totally disgusted at DDP but somewhat happy that DDP gave her flowers and thought about her. Nevertheless, she was somewhat confused. She inspected the flowers and discovered a chain within the flowers.

DDP hit the same tombstone slam he hit at World War III which caught me off guard. It was very hard to pay much attention to this one. Firstly, because we saw this match at Halloween Havoc and World War III and this one was just a TV version of those PPV matches. Secondly, because the camera was placed on Kimberley for the majority of the match and not on the action in the ring!

The finish saw DDP wanting Diamond Doll to throw him the chain. She was conflicted but eventually threw the chain underneath DDP’s legs. Badd grabbed the chain and clobbered DDP with it for the win. Badd got initially upset with what Diamond Doll did. He questioned whether she meant to throw it at him or at DDP. Diamond Doll simply responded by saying it didn’t matter as he won. Badd was like… OK, and then they were both happy!

So right now, Diamond Doll’s motives aren’t quite clear and it’s unclear where her affections lie…

 

Mean Gene Okerlund was with Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster. I would lose my mind about this considering the amount of times we’ve seen a Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart combo promo in the last month’s worth of WCW content, except that at least The Giant wasn’t out there. It was always a trio of Jimmy and Taskmaster cutting promos as Giant looked mean. As much as I love The Giant in that role, at least this was a change!

This was also not their usual spiel. Taskmaster questioned Jimmy’s motives and asked why Lex Luger was running with Sting? Taskmaster was upset that Luger let go of the submission after his victory against Randy Savage at World War III. If Luger hadn’t let go of the hold, Savage wouldn’t have won the title. Jimmy pleaded his case as Taskmaster’s first manager and that this was all part of a plan.

 

Cutie Suzuki and Mayumi Ozaki vs Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto w/Sonny Onoo

x1080-kgq

This was a rematch from their amazing World War III match. If you haven’t watched their World War III match, I implore you to go watch it on the WWE Network. It is a thing of beauty. This Nitro rematch… was ALSO a thing of a beauty.

Akira tried a sneak attack but she got double teamed with a double clothesline by the babyfaces. Bull tripped the good guys for the heat for her partner. Bull RAGDOLLED the living daylights out of Ozaki who was TINY in comparison. They repeated the elevated choke Hart Attack from World War III but Suzuki broke up the pin.

Ozaki hit a top rope bulldog. Suzuki hit another beautiful dragon suplex. Akira hit a fallaway slam. The fans went nuts as Bull attempted a top rope leg drop, all giddy with excitement! They did a screwy spot where Suzuki leapt on top of Bull’s shoulders and they just fell down face first! Then Ozaki and Suzuki did a double foot stomp together on Bull but only for a near fall.

Bull pulled out a double suplex on the babyfaces which the fans popped for. Akira hit a NAUGHTY looking powerbomb on Suzuki. I mean she almost lost her grip of Ozaki but she pulled it together and you just heard a big THUD and she got slammed onto the mat. Akira missed a spinning kick. There was miscommunication between the babyfaces and Akira capitalised with a Northern Lights suplex for a near fall. The action spilled onto the floor and this led to Akira trying a Molly Go Round (I know that’s what Molly Holly called it but it’s like a 450 seated senton from the top rope, if that makes sense) but crashing into Bull instead.

They hit a few more moves on each other and Akira eventually hit a Northern Lights Bomb for the pin. The fans were super into this and it was a good match. For four women who had not appeared on WCW television before, these fans ate up the action from the Japanese women. This was awesome.

 

Hulk Hogan vs Hugh Morrus

wwef_36838363_th_64

There isn’t really much to say about this match. Hogan beat up Hugh Morrus for the majority of the match. Hugh eventually got the heat. Hugh tried a moonsault but Hogan kicked out. Hogan hulked up. Hulk Hogan hit a big boot and a leg drop for the pin. That’s literally all you need to know about this match…

…..

….what more do you want me to say? It’s nearly 90% of all of Hulk Hogan’s matches in his career. He beats on his opponent, the heel gets the heat, Hulk hulks up and beats him. DONE.

I will say this about Hogan. I know this is stating the obvious but Hulk Hogan looked MASSIVE in this match. Hogan was always a tall guy. I think he was actually 6’8. He was in his casual clothes (casual for Hogan anyway) for the Giant and Sting matches he’s had in the last month and during the battle royal at World War III, we could barely see Hogan because of how messy that battle royal was. Here he was up against Hugh Morrus, with the announcers talking about the size of Hugh Morrus, and Hogan dwarfed in height and in broadness of the shoulders. He looked 10 feet tall.

Again, stating the obvious but he was really humongous in this match…

hulk-hogan.png

Mean Gene brought out the NEW WCW World Champion Randy Savage for an interview. Savage said he’s ecstatic about being the new champion and that means he’s the only world champion. He vowed to face everyone and he was about to talk about World War III when Hogan interrupted him.

This crybaby Hulk Hogan whined about the finish of the battle royal. Hogan even brought up (like I brought up in the World War III review) that his name is still on the name plate to which Savage replied that he was gonna get it changed!

Hogan then showed the clip from World War III and conveniently at the moment where Giant was going to pull Hogan from underneath the ropes, the clip went fuzzy. Hogan is losing his mind about this as Savage is saying that the clip didn’t show anything and he didn’t see anything. Then The Giant comes down to attack the the babyfaces.

The Giant chokeslams Randy Savage on the cement ramp. Keep in mind by the way, it was believed Savage was working with an injury (well not believed by Hogan if you listen to the opening promo he cut at World War III) and this guy is taking a chokeslam on the floor. Sting tried to make the save but Giant got his hands on the Stinger. Before he can do major damage, Hogan comes flying in with a chair.

He smacks him a few times in the back with a chair and they’re relatively hard hits. He knocks him out of the ring and even elbows a referee in the process. This crazy mad man Hogan continues to run wild with the chair. Then Hogan wants to get in some good chair shots to the head…

In what is a double-edged sword situation, Hogan hits Giant with the lightest chair shots to the head you could think of. He didn’t proper SWING it like Bradshaw would for example. He placed the chair in position and ran at The Giant with a chair to the head. While the fans may have cringed at how bad these chair shots were, these were not chair shots that were ever gonna cause a concussion or head trauma. It was the lightest chair shots you could think of and, I know this is a cliche, these chair shots could not hurt a fly.

Eventually, Sting backs Hogan off of The Giant. So I’m sitting here watching Sting watch out of his buddy. Watching out for his best friend forever Hulk Hogan, even after Hogan eliminated him from behind at World War III. Even when Hogan was accusing him of working with the Dungeon of Doom, Sting still was looking out for Hogan’s mental well-being as he did not want Hogan to make the same mistake Sting almost made against Flair. After all, Sting is a great friend. But ERIC BISCHOFF was sceptical about Sting backing Hogan off of The Giant, like he was protecting THE GIANT.

You know I’ve really tried to cope with Bischoff on commentary, but Bischoff is such an annoying presence on the commentary team. You’ve got three announcers as part of the Nitro team. You’ve got the babyface in Steve “Mongo” McMichael. You’ve got the heel in Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. So they’re polar opposites that are gonna argue with each other about the stars that they like. As the third man (pardon the foreshadowing) Bischoff should be the one that remains neutral.

This is not Eric Bischoff as part of the nWo as of yet (spoiler alert but Eric Bischoff was a part of the nWo). Bischoff, as a generic commentator, is spreading wildfire about this and that and trying his damnedest to make every babyface unlikable except Hulk Hogan. He made the comment about Randy Savage possibly screwing Hogan at World War III, Sting possibly siding with the Dungeon of Doom and Lex Luger possibly siding with the Dungeon of Doom. Granted the third thing happened with Luger but you should be trying to at least report the facts. Not spreading gossip like you’re one of these dirtsheets that you guys supposedly hate.

Bobby Heenan will play “devil’s advocate” and Mongo is supposed to be on the side of right. If you’re the play-by-play impartial one, don’t you go ranting and raving about the WWF. Don’t you go accusing people left and right of turning on Hulk Hogan. Don’t go out of your way to make somebody unlikable. That just degrades the status of these big stars.

He really winds me up nowadays but sadly, we’ve got YEARS of this to go with Bischoff. Buckle up.

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

sneak_nitro91_01--f1bef9b9f7f3a5ec45eedfa226376cca (1).jpg

Luger had a really bad night in this match. His timing was off for a number of spots. Luger and Sting ran wild early, minus an Arn Anderson spinebuster. Bobby said he’d never seen Luger and Sting as a tag team… with no memory of their match against Harlem Heat from a month ago.

At least Luger wasn’t going complete babyface on the heels, with the Total Package whipping out eye pokes and heel moves to work on the bad guys. Unsportman-like tactics used against his fellow heel. Sting had Arn locked on a Scorpion Deathlock. Brian tried to dive onto Sting to break it up but Luger accidentally sent Flyin’ Brian flying into Sting to inadvertently break it up. The heels got the heat. Luger and Pillman started fighting on the outside. Eventually, Sting rolled up Pillman for the pin.

All of a sudden, Ric Flair FLIES down to the ring at a speed very close to The Flash. I have no idea what it was but Flair in a jumper and slacks got down to the ring so fast. I wrote up the finish of the match and I looked away from the TV and when I looked back up, Flair was at the ring going to work on Luger!

The Horsemen laid out Luger, Sting and the referee during the scuffle. Flair locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock when Hogan came out for a third time during the night to make the save. Hogan then went for Luger but Sting made the save to stop him from attacking Luger. Sting and Hogan argued but eventually shook hands and got over it.

I understand, from a storyline perspective, why Hogan went after Luger. Hogan allowed Luger to fight beside him at Fall Brawl and then Luger turned on him at Halloween Havoc. It’s well established that Hogan does not trust Luger. Fine.

The Sting situation however somewhat baffles me. I get that because of his affiliation with Luger, the good guys did not 100% trust Sting. Savage even accused Sting of working with the Dungeon of Doom on Episode #2. Sting and Hogan eventually settled their differences in the ring, they worked together at the end of last week’s episode of Nitro and then they’re friends again at the start of World War III.

Hogan even flat out said that Sting’s relationship with Luger doesn’t matter any more. He will never ever doubt Sting again.

Even after Hogan eliminated him from behind at World War III, Sting came out to rescue Hogan against The Giant on this episode and tried to talk some sense into him. After Sting is such an exceptional friend to Hogan, Hogan goes off on Sting about Sting protecting his friend Lex Luger.

After the two babyfaces bury the hatchet, they’re back to bickering at each other about where Sting’s loyalties lie. If Hogan hadn’t been a complete dick in recent weeks on Nitro, I probably wouldn’t have minded this. However, as a fan, why would I possibly get behind Hogan in this feud and why would I have any reason to not trust Sting?

It’s still gonna be at least 6 months of Hogan as a babyface so I don’t think this was planting the seeds of Hogan’s heel turn at Bash At The Beach. Because Eric Bischoff and Mongo after both on Hogan’s side and Bobby still hates Hogan. In their mind, Hogan is absolutely in the right with this issue with Sting and STING is the asshole just because he’s friends with Lex Luger.

What a bubble these guys live in.

50482d44719535.5a1dcf2f71e46

That was Nitro everybody. Some mixed feelings about a number of segments on this show. There was some exceptional wrestling that was, I guess overshadowed, by crybaby Hogan who is such a horrible friend to Sting and Randy Savage. Bash At The Beach 1996 cannot come soon enough!

We’ll see you all with Episode #14 of Nitro. I don’t think they plugged anything for Nitro. They did plug a special Starrcade announcement for WCW Saturday Night which I assume will be mentioned on Nitro. Nevertheless, we’re on the road Starrcade!

Wrestling Flashback – The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels & Triple H Wrestlemania Feud

20060129_henry_taker

The Undertaker’s streak. Many tried to beat it. Monsters like Mark Henry, King Kong Bundy and Giant Gonzalez have tried to crush the Dead Man. They failed. Some have put up championships against the Undertaker, hoping to be known as the great champion that ended the Undertaker’s streak. Batista, Edge and Psycho Sid all put their titles on the line against Undertaker, only to lose those belts they hold dear and become part of the streak. Men like CM Punk had tried to use head games as a means to break the streak, but could not get the job done. Many tried. One succeeded. However, none of the matches came close to the excitement and story-telling than Undertaker’s streak of matches against Shawn Michaels and Triple H.

It was not like none of matches before his encounters with Shawn and Triple H, that spanned from Wrestlemania 25 to Wrestlemania 28, were any good. There were some beauties that the Undertaker took part in against the likes of Randy Orton, Batista, Edge, Ric Flair and even Triple H at Wrestlemania 17. However, none of them stole the show quite like the matches in the saga between Taker, Michaels and Triple H.

wm25-1426328040-2345500

These matches were usually a thing of beauty but the story-telling of these matches were even more impressive. At Wrestlemania 25, Shawn Michaels was the first man to step up. With Shawn Michaels being almost an exclusive to the RAW brand and the Undertaker being almost exclusive to SmackDown!, these two legends never seemed to collide during the brand split of WWE. However, when the two of them would battle in the Royal Rumble, it was usually exceptional. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels produced possibly the best finish to a Royal Rumble match in 2007. While Undertaker won that particular encounter, Shawn returned the favour by eliminating Undertaker at the 2008 Royal Rumble. At Wrestlemania 25, we got to see Shawn and Undertaker go at it for the first time since 1998… in a match that put an end to Shawn’s career for four years.

Shawn was confident though, particular bragging pre-match about how the Undertaker had never beaten him. The two clashed and it was quite possibly the best Wrestlemania match we’ll ever see in our life time. These men kicked out of everything they could throw at each other. Shawn even kicked out of the Undertaker’s tombstone piledriver which caused Jim Ross to, and I quote, “have an out-of-body experience.” In the end, Undertaker prevailed in what was the match of the night by a HUGE margin. And they weren’t finished there…

Undertaker_vs_HBK_at_WrestleMania_26

Both Undertaker and Shawn Michaels would take a hiatus from the WWE following Wrestlemania, returning in August 2009. Shawn had re-united DX and battled Legacy and Jeri-Show en route to winning the Unified WWE Tag Team titles while Undertaker dominated the SmackDown! roster en route to winning the World Heavyweight Championship. At the 2009 Slammys, Michaels and Taker won the Slammy for Match of the Year. While accepting the award, Michaels issued a challenge to the Undertaker for a rematch at Wrestlemania 26. Undertaker declined, so Michaels would try to force the issue at the 2010 Royal Rumble. If Michaels won the match, he could challenge for Undertaker’s World title and more importantly… the streak. Sadly, Shawn was not able to win the rumble match. Shawn’s life continued to deteriorate, as he was unable to accept his loss to the Undertaker the year before. Michaels’ obsession would lead to Elimination Chamber, where he cost Undertaker the World title. The next night on RAW, Michaels goaded Taker into a rematch claiming that Taker wanted revenge. Taker accepted with one condition… if Shawn lost, his career would be over. Michaels stated that if he couldn’t be Undertaker, he’d have no career and he accepted the stipulation.

While this match was not at the level of their match at Wrestlemania 25, this was still great. It was the main event of the show and rightfully so. Shawn kicked out of everything the Undertaker had and refused to go down. Michaels slapped Undertaker to get him to fight and Undertaker went into a fury. Taker gave Michaels one final tombstone and that was that…. Shawn Michaels’ career was over.

wm27_photo_169

Having beaten Shawn Michaels in two incredible Wrestlemania matches in a row, the question was this… what could WWE possibly do to follow up two of the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history? Their solution was to put Undertaker up against the “Cerebral Assassin” Triple H at Wrestlemania 27…

Undertaker and Triple H had faced each other at Wrestlemania before but this one was very special and necessary for a few reasons…

  1. Their match at Wrestlemania 27 would be a rematch from their previous Wrestlemania 17 showdown ten years before… which Undertaker won.
  2. It’d make sense for Triple H to try and avenge his best friend Shawn Michaels, who had his career ended by the Undertaker.
  3. Triple H and Undertaker, like Shawn and Taker, have both been near-exclusives to the RAW and SmackDown! brands respectively. Therefore, they’ve not really had any big programs together for almost a decade. This was unique.

The first match was made No Holds Barred match. This helped appeal to the intensity of both these characters. These men could go all out and they did. It was hard-hitting and it just helped Taker and HHH thrive. This was not like the wrestling masterpiece that the Michaels/Taker matches were. This was a straight up battle. It suited both men well.

This match was also unique in it’s layout. The story of the match was last outlaw of WWE refusing to give up as Triple H was wanting to put him away. It was not like Undertaker and Triple H just had a great back-and-forth match. It was initially, but then Triple H just simply battered Undertaker. He battered him with chairs, pedigrees and even a TOMBSTONE of his own! However, Undertaker still refused to give. Triple H wanted to end things with his trusty sledgehammer, but Undertaker locked on Hells Gate to make Triple H tap and escape with the streak intact. However, Undertaker ended up being carried out on a stretcher. Undertaker won, but it hardly seemed like a victory. This match was the brightest spark during a pretty lame Wrestlemania 27. The ending was also the perfect set-up for a rematch…

Undertaker-vs-Triple-H-WM28

While Undertaker had spent the year on the sidelines, Triple H had been through a fair amount of character development. Following Money In The Bank 2011, Triple H would take the reins in WWE as the COO. He had traded in his wrestling gear for a suit as he started doing more paperwork than pedigrees. On an episode of RAW in January 2012, Triple H was about to fire Interim GM John Laurinaitis. As he was doing it though, we heard that all too familiar gong. Undertaker returned, hinting towards the rematch. However, Triple H seemed to take a pass on one final match.

Despite pressure from Undertaker and even Shawn Michaels, Triple H refused to face Taker as he didn’t want to destroy the “brand” of the streak that helped made Wrestlemania such a success. It was great that the build up to this match was also able to tie-in to Triple H’s role as COO as well. Undertaker was adamant about erasing the memory of Triple H forcing Taker onto a stretcher the year before and offered Triple H one more shot at immortality. Undertaker went as far as to call HHH a coward and claim Shawn was always better than him, which pushed HHH over the edge. Triple H accepted on one condition… Hell in a Cell.

This was an appropriate finish to this four year storyline. As pointed out, Taker and HHH had a lot of history inside the cell. A standard match might have not had as much impact. The Cell made more sense from a storyline standpoint. Shawn Michaels was also added to the match as he had the streak in the palm of his hand. The stage is set. At Wrestlemania 28, Taker beat Triple H in the cell to take the streak to 20-0 and end the era which I believe was simply this four year storyline. While a lot of people might not have gotten the “End of an Era” billing of the match, I think it was just this era of Wrestlemania matches which was centred around Michaels, Taker and HHH. Jim Ross was also brought into to commentate the match and did a great job.

Now, I’m going to say something which will not be a popular opinion… I was left disappointed by this match. This was by no means a terrible match. It was not as great as their match at Wrestlemania 27 but it was still a great match. However, there were a few things about it that really hurt the match in my opinion.

The first issue I had with it was Shawn Michaels as the special referee. The reason Shawn gets a bit of criticism is because it wasn’t really made clear what his motivation was leading into this match. It was kind of hinted on television that he was going to screw Undertaker. However, the storyline in the match became about whether Michaels would allow his friend to do what Michaels himself was unable to do or if he would help his friend end the streak of the man that had ended Michaels’ career. Therefore, everything Shawn was doing as the referee was just dead confusing to me. He teased calling for the bell, then he jumped in when Triple H was beating Undertaker with the chair and then he tried to screw Taker himself with the super kick. By the way, that Super Kick/Pedigree spot was the highlight of the night.

The point is, Michaels’ actions just came off as so confusing that it looked for all the world like he was Darth Vader struggling to decide between saving Luke or siding with the Emperor but it was done in such a complicated matter that it took way from his role as referee. There was also the use of the Hell in a Cell itself. Now let me just make clear that I did not expect HHH and Taker to do something crazy like going to the top of the cell. However, HHH said in a promo leading into the match that he and Taker should “go all the way.” To me, it didn’t look like they “went all the way.” It looked like they just did a repeat of the match from the year before, added Shawn Michaels and a Cell. They rarely ever used the cell. I would have preferred it if they just left it to being a singles match with Shawn as the referee. At least then, the cell wouldn’t have limited Triple H and Undertaker.

Wrestlemania-XXVIII-28-The-Undertaker-Triple-H-and-Shawn-Michaels

With that being said though, this was still a great match. The hug at the end was great and it was a great way for this saga to end.