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.
The New World Order have been conducting a hostile takeover of WCW and took over for real last week with half of the roster wrestling in Japan during this episode. They took over the program for the second hour where they introduced their newest member Vincent, strong-armed Eric Bischoff and beat up a number of WCW guys to assert their dominance in the world of professional wrestling….
…oh yeah, and Public Enemy won the WCW Tag Team Championship.
This week’s episode was a better episode than last week. I ended my review of last week‘s episode with a big speech about the nWo taking over the show and how it took away from the wrestling. This week, we did get some more nWo shenanigans and a big chunk of the show dedicated to the Miss Elizabeth drama but we got a lot of decent wrestling matches too. This wasn’t a strong show or anything but I got a lot more wrestling this time and I was all for it. This was back to being a wrestling show again….
Date: September 30th 1996
City: Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko
Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay
The announcers were recapping what happened last week and described it as: “the lowest point in the history of this program” when the nWo took over last week according to Tony. OH JUST YOU WAIT. We’ve got years of content to come, Schiavonie.
They cut to Eric Bischoff at the announce booth. Eric said this is not about him and this is about what WCW represented. He brought up all the former champions and said they may not mean anything to the nWo including “180 lb wimp they call Syxx”. He said the nWo nonsense is going to stop as this company is not gonna tolerate it. Bischoff said this is not fun anymore. He called the nWo all dirt bags and that included Hulk Hogan. Bischoff admitted the one singular mistake he ever made was bringing Hulk Hogan into the company. He said this was all gonna stop. Supposedly the fans were chanting “nWo” during this promo although I don’t remember this!
A defiant Eric Bischoff promo standing up for WCW which is hilarious in hindsight but to his credit, this was a good promo. It felt for a moment that he was fighting for WCW and was standing his ground against WCW. With what has happened with Bischoff in recent weeks with him ducking questions and making the nWo aware of WCW’s tour in Japan, it still felt obvious that Bischoff was up to something related to the nWo. However, Bischoff was still playing the role of WCW spokesman and he was passionate about destroying the nWo at all costs. I liked this promo. THIS GETS A THUMBS UP.
“Public Enemy” Rocco Rock © and Johnny Grunge © vs El Technico and Juventud Guerrera for the WCW Tag Team Championship
Teaming with Juventud to go up against the new tag team champions was “El Technico”, who I believe was Billy Kidman in a red body suit while wearing a half red and green mask… quite a silly costume. “El Technico” means technical wrestler according to Tony.
Rocco Rock was bouncing all over the place to sell for Juvi until he eventually smashed Juvi into the steel guard rail to take control of the match. Technico got the tag and ran into a boot in the corner. Public Enemy did a double team elbow drop which was broken up by Juvi.
Juvi tried a powerbomb but Grunge sent him over the top rope. Public Enemy did an elevated springboard senton for the win to retain the tag team titles. No stupid finishes to retain the titles. No need to protect Juventud and El Technico. They beat them clean and strengthen their own title reign, they were dominant in their performance and this is a fine way to put the new champions over. Fine.
Like complete dicks, Public Enemy put El Technico through a table. Public Enemy do this to their opponents all the time and they’re supposed to be good guys. It’s quite astonishing actually. Not great conduct from your babyface world tag team champions.
Mike Tenay interviewed Chris Benoit, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra McMichael. Mongo did not have a match but he was there to watch Benoit’s back. He complained about the nWo beating up Savage in a handicapped situation. Clearly Mongo forgot what happened 2 weeks ago when the Four Horsemen beat up Luger four on one! Here, Mongo has the cojones to call out the nWo for taking cheap shots! Incredible, the irony of that statement. Benoit vs Rick Steiner was booked for tonight. Benoit put Rick over and said he was a great wrestler but tonight he was in the ring against the best.
The nWo were backstage with Hollywood Hogan’s child Nick Hogan with them. Nash made some crack about Bill Murray and talked about Mongo. Ted DiBiase talked about WCW paying all of the bills. Giant was hungry. I have no idea what these guys were saying at times. This was not very good.
This seemed like a lame party the nWo were hosting. By the way, the nWo did the “following announcement has been paid for by the New World Order” line to which Hogan or someone yelled “not anymore.” This hasn’t been made totally clear but I guess because they lost at Fall Brawl in the War Games match, WCW were paying the nWo’s bills or something which is why Hogan said this before EVERY segment they were in during this show.
Dean Malenko vs Alex Wright
Dean Malenko had the mask of WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. as supposedly he jumped Rey during an interview with Tony at Saturday Night, took the mask and Tony covered the luchador up. As Tony explains this and what happened with Rey losing his mask, Larry goes: “why, is he that ugly?” I did laugh at that.
Alex Wright got booed coming out. Wright and Malenko wrestled on the mat for a bit. I like how Wright tried to trip the leg and go for the abdominal stretch but Malenko side-stepped him and Wright went crashing to the floor. One simple side-step and Malenko had gained the heat in this match! Simple but effective.
Malenko locked on a kneebar of some kind. Wright ran wild in the corner to big boos. Malenko missed a top rope crossbody and Wright cradled him for an upset victory. Larry even said it shocked him which was saying something according to him as he was “smarter than the world”. This was a fine television match.
They showed a clip from Saturday Night as Savage wrestled Big Bubba but he threw the referee out of the ring. Tony said he didn’t condone the attack on the referee but he did enjoy the follow up attack on Nick Patrick as Savage punched him out! They then show Mike Tenay was on the entrance ramp to do an interview with “Macho Man” Randy Savage on Nitro. Savage’s theme played but there was no Macho Man. Mike Tenay just says: “we’ll be back after the break”. A complete waste of time.
There was a Slim Jim advert with Randy Savage hyping up the Slim Jim Halloween Havoc sweepstake for a Slim Jim Monster Truck and a trip to Las Vegas. This was so bizarre as Savage was in a Frankenstein mask and then took it off. He cutsthis promo about the sweepstake and he’s got a gorgeous woman in a Slim Jim Nascar car I believe, when Ric Flair interrupted him with his two women. It’s so bizarre because Savage and Flair have been in a blood feud about Elizabeth for the last year and yet here they are, with Flair all happy as they are doing this advert together! This was surreal to watch!
Eddie Guerrero vs Jim Powers w/Teddy Long
Eddie Guerrero cut a inset promo about wanting to lock horns with Jim Powers. DDP vs Eddie Guerrero was booked for Halloween Havoc.
The referee Nick Patrick was shown with a neck brace on after it was shown that Savage had put his hands on him during the episode of Saturday Night. Matt Ghaffari was at ringside again. Eddie and Jim wrestled for a bit with Powers playing the big man role including hitting a sweet belly-to-belly suplex on Eddie.
Even with the size difference, Eddie was able to shoot take him down and starting punching away at Powers! Powers did two hard Irish whips and then a clothesline. Tony then claimed he didn’t want to see anyone get hurt RIGHT AFTER HE ENDORSED SAVAGE BEATING UP REFEREE NICK PATRICK.
HUGE NWO CHANTS BROKE OUT as the geeks with nWo signs walked around within the crowd. They do explain that Powers’ manager Teddy Long had a problem with Nick Patrick because he himself was once a referee, and thought Nick was not good enough. Eddie did a back suplex and went up to the top rope but Powers cut him off. Powers hit a superplex for the two count.
Eddie did a German suplex with a bridge for a 3 count. Powers claimed to have kicked out but Patrick called for the bell anyway and awarded the match to Guerrero. It felt like a screwed up finish because Powers did not look like he kicked out at all. It looked like Powers kicked out about second after Eddie got the three count so the controversy for this finish was not even there.
Teddy began to psychically show how Powers got his shoulders up before the 3 count! Teddy told Patrick to go back to referee school. Nick dared Teddy to put on a blue shirt and basically be a referee if he thought this was so easy.
The nWo were backstage where the Nasty Boys joined the party and yelled that they were here to party. Some hotel staff got food for the group as the lady providing room service was smiling throughout all of this. This was dead funny to see this woman just stand here totally happy and not even look intimidated in the slightest by the likes of The Giant and Kevin Nash. It was as if she was their mother bringing in cookies while they played video games or whatever. She provided room service and left them to it with a smile on her face! She might as well have said: “OK, you boys have fun!”
Sags did a Eric Bischoff impression by opening his ass and saying “oh no, the nWo are gonna get me” and Scott Hall shot a blank stare at the camera basically acknowledging how stupid this was. It was one of the greatest Scott Hall facial expressions I’ve ever seen! There was a certain charm to these segments but overall, it looked really stupid. The Nasty Boys came off as really uncool which I guess was the story because I expected the nWo to kick them out for being uncool. However, the Nasty Boys was there the entire time. I guess they proved they could party with the nWo…
Mike Tenay interviewed Arn Anderson, Elizabeth and Woman. Arn said they forgave Elizabeth for making a mistake at War Games and decided that they needed to pull together. Woman said business is business and asked what she was doing out there during War Games. Elizabeth flat out said she doesn’t know what to say and she clearly had NOTHING to contribute to this segment! Arn said either Elizabeth is in or out but if she’s in, she’s all the way in. All of this Elizabeth drama was all fine and the story of where her loyalties laid was fine, expect Elizabeth herself was not up for the role at all. She legitimately didn’t know what to say when Arn and Woman were giving her this brow-beating for helping Savage. This was very awkward for Elizabeth.
Hugh Morrus vs Brad Armstrong
This was a rematch from two weeks ago. Brad and Hugh were playing keepaway for a while until Hugh eventually grabbed him and punched away at Brad.
Brad turned it around with a hip toss and a dropkick, missing a second one before the production crew cut to the fireworks for the second hour. Mike Tenay was at the commentary booth again for the second hour. Morrus caught Brad with the powerslam.
Eric Bischoff was not out there for long on commentary but he couldn’t help but say: “Nasty Boys, you’re dumber than you look” to which Bobby responds: “they’re not that dumb”.
This was a far more competitive match than their last match. Brad tried a Russian leg sweep but Hugh grabbed the rope to avoid the impact. Hugh did a moonsault and went for another one and got the pin. This was an emphatic victory for Hugh as he bragged about tickling Brad’s funny bone. This was OK I guess and that is being generous.
They showed Arn, Woman and Elizabeth arguing, Arn was all about business as Elizabeth was upset about something. Eric Bischoff left the booth as he left it to Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan to continue the show.
Arn Anderson w/Woman vs Chris Jericho
Elizabeth was not there joining Woman at ringside as Tony replaced Eric at the announce booth. We finally got the very first time on WCW programming where it was speculated by Bobby that Eric could be with the nWo. Elizabeth was shown watching this match from backstage, watching on one of the monitors.
The match was going along fine. Woman eventually slapped Jericho to a large pop as Arn took control of the match. By the way, two weeks ago I talked about Savage hitting his opponent, I think it was Scott Norton, with a chair on the outside and it was not a disqualification. I was baffled why this was the case when he got DQ’d for a chair shot in the ring anyway. It was sort of explained to me that I guess everything outside of the ring was legal in WCW but if you bring anything in the ring, then it’s a disqualification. I guess those were the rules in WCW as there was no DQ following Woman slapping Jericho here.
Elizabeth eventually left wherever she was watching the monitor as Arn continued to get the heat on Jericho. Jericho caught Arn coming off the top rope with a dropkick.
Jericho did a springboard shoulder tackle and followed it with a diving back elbow from the top rope. Jericho missed a Lionsault but Arn planted him with a DDT for a clean pin. After all of that drama with Elizabeth possibly coming out or not, it didn’t play into the finish at all. The one time you almost expected shenanigans from Elizabeth or EVEN WOMAN WHO WAS OUT THERE, Arn beat the guy clean.
This was a fine match regardless. This was not like Jericho was hurt losing to Arn Anderson. This was good television and a good television match. Elizabeth got her bags and she left the building.
M. Wallstreet vs Lex Luger
Wallstreet was no longer “V K” Wallstreet anymore. It was M. Wallstreet now, I guess as a nod to his real first name Mike.
The announcers weren’t paying any attention to the match as they talk almost exclusively about the nWo. I cannot confirm this but I’m sure Tony called Randy Anderson “a good looking Randy Anderson” or something. A bizarrely worded compliment from Schiavonie.
This was an absolute nothing match so I don’t blame the announcers for not paying attention to the match to be fair. Luger locked on an abdominal stretch, a sleeper hold, a chin lock… this was just completely slow and nothing action. By the way, this was the first time they’ve mentioned on Nitro that Luger lost the WCW TV title to Lord Steven Regal last month. That’s kind of an important detail considering Luger was involved in the nWo angle.
Eventually Luger got back into the match with some rolls up and a big forearm for a 2 count. Wallstreet fired back with his own clothesline. Luger reversed a suplex into a torture rack and got the clean win over Wallstreet. This was a boring, bad match. BIG THUMBS DOWN.
Tony talked about how WCW were wrong about Sting and revealed a special “Sting” WCW car to be driven in the upcoming Nascar event as a peace offering! WCW playing the role of the dumped partner in this relationship with Sting and doing everything to get Sting back is kinda funny! I’m pretty sure one of the announcers even said: “please come back” as they are offering this car to him!
“The Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian w/Jimmy Hart vs “The Rock and Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson
Ricky Morton kept trying to bring down Meng with sleeper holds at the start of this tag match, jumping onto the back of the Tongan to force him down but Meng was too big. Bobby claimed Meng has not been to sleep since ’62.
Gibson got in the ring to do a double team move and both members of the Rock and Roll Express go for the cover and referee continued to count Barbarian down for both members of the Express, They both covered Barbarian for individual pins even though only ONE OF THEM was the legal man. They both dog-piled pinned Barbarian and he still kicked out! The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express came off as completely geeks doing nothing to the Barbarian here, even with illegal pin attempts!
Gibson did a sunset flip as they cut to a break. Meng spat at Gibson then delivered a piledriver to Morton. I love how this referee had a problem of Gibson running in at this tage after Meng spat and punched at him, despite earlier being OK with an illegal competitor going for the pin on a legal opponent.
Barbarian did an awesome backbreaker where Ricky went high up and Barbarian literally slammed him down on his knee. It looked cool. Meng locked on a camel clutch. Meng and Barbarian did a double headbutt onto a floored Morton. Morton evaded a top rope headbutt from Barbarian.
Gibson got the hot tag. The Express ran wild, Gibson grabbed Jimmy Hart at ringside but Barbarian delivered a kick to the back of Gibson’s head as the Faces of Fear got the pin. Gibson and Morton were never given a chance to rock and roll in this company and this was another example where they’re just another tag team. They were complete jobbers in this tag team division. Their matches were fine, and this was a fine match, but that’s just a shame.
I loved Morton tried to save his partner from a post-match beat down from the Faces of Fear but Meng booted him right out of the ring! Public Enemy made the save but Faces of Fear kicked their asses and then the Faces of Fear exposed the knee of Grunge and did splashes to the knee which was not good for Halloween Havoc. Public Enemy were set to the defend the titles against the Outsiders at Halloween Havoc (even though Harlem Heat were still advetised to face the Outsiders during this show!) No to mention, what unbeatable monsters the Faces of Fear turned out to be. They were at a four on two disadvantage against the babyfaces and destroyed them!
Chris Benoit w/Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra McMichael vs Rick Steiner
A hard-hitting main-event with Rick Steiner and Chris Benoit of all people. It’s great to see them in this position but considering the main-eventers they had, it’s surreal to see Rick Steiner vs Chris Benoit as the main-event! Then again, High Voltage were in the main-event last week so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Patrick cut a promo on Savage to the camera before the match started.
They were still hyping up Outsiders vs Harlem Heat for Halloween Havoc as I mentioned before. Rick delivered an absolutely beautiful German suplex to Benoit. This was a huge release suplex with Benoit landing right on his shoulders. Rick worked on Benoit for a while. Rick floored Benoit with a clothesline
Rick caught Benoit and slammed him down for a 2 count. Debra distracted Nick Patrick and Mongo hit Rick with a briefcase as Rick attempted a belly to belly SUPLEX from the top rope so Benoit just fell down onto Rick to pin him for the win. Speaking of this spot, Mongo took a solid minute to get into the ring to get himself ready to hit Rick with the briefcase. It took forever for Mongo to do this for some reason. Trash got thrown into the ring by the fans following a hard-hitting match with a bad finish.
There was one last announcement from the nWo before the end of the show as it was revealed that Elizabeth had left the building early to go to the nWo party. Giant talked about having two movies and doing a movie last week. Giant said if she listened to them they would get success or something. Elizabeth looked so depressed as Giant and Hogan dwarfed her.
Vincent walked in the hotel room too. Hogan walked Elizabeth through a bunch of movie deals. Elizabeth talked about things changing since the deal they made. Vincent got a gift that was sent to the nWo. Elizabeth left. Savage ran down and screamed at Elizabeth as he grabbed a piece a paper she received. Savage yelled “son of a bitch” as the show went off the air.
This was so uncomfortable. I have no idea if this was Elizabeth officially joining the nWo or what the deal was but she looked completely out of place. She felt completely out of place as a heel with the Four Horsemen but along with Woman, they were able to make it work as she and Woman played off of each other. Elizabeth sat down on the sofa with Giant on one side and Hogan by the other with the nWo as she looked like she didn’t want to be there, which she probably didn’t in real life.
While we’re at it, why was she there in the group? The women’s division is non-existent in WCW, there’s no championship for the women, Madusa shows up once in a blue moon but there’s nothing else. No women for her to feud with and it’s not like she’ll be able to cut promos. She couldn’t cut promos as a babyface let alone as a heel. It honestly felt like she was put in this group because of this storyline at that’s it. Otherwise, what would Elizabeth being with the nWo accomplish?
It also did not look like it was fun for Elizabeth. I was not a fan. Not to mention, she left Randy Savage in real life a few years before this. Ever since she was brought into WCW, everything she’s been involved in somehow has featured the Macho Man. They’re not even dating at this time again and Savage is screaming at her like he was during the height of the famous Hogan/Savage feud in the WWF.
This was a better show than last week. There was a lot more good wrestling involved, there were more characters and storylines to play around with this week and the nWo shenanigans had been reduced drastically more than the week before. An improvement but I would not go ahead and say this episode was good. Fine and acceptable are the words I would use. There was not a lot wrong about it but nothing particularly special about it either. This was a perfectly fine wrestling show in my books.
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)
- #35 – May 13th 1996
- WCW Slamboree 1996 – May 19th 1996
- #36 – May 20th 1996
- #37 – May 27th 1996
- #38 – June 3rd 1996
- #39 – June 10th 1996
- WCW The Great American Bash 1996 – June 16th 1996
- #40 – June 17th 1996
- #41 – June 24th 1996
- #42 – July 1st 1996
- WCW Bash At The Beach 1996 – July 7th 1996
- #43 – July 8th 1996
- #44 – July 15th 1996
- #45 – July 22nd 1996
- #46 – July 29th 1996
- #47 – August 5th 1996
- WCW Hog Wild 1996 – August 10th 1996
- #48 – August 12th 1996
- WCW Clash of the Champions #33 – Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair
- #49 – August 19th 1996
- #50 – August 26th 1996
- #51 – September 2nd 1996
- #52 – September 9th 1996
- WCW Fall Brawl 1996 – September 15th 1996
- #53 – September 16th 1996
- #54 – September 23rd 1996