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

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #33 (APRIL 29TH 1996) – RIC FLAIR VS THE GIANT IN A PERFECTLY BOOKED REMATCH FOR THE WCW WORLD TITLE

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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In thelast episode, the change in momentum of WCW Nitros continued. After what felt like months of lacklustre Nitros, we had another decent Nitro in the bag which felt fresh. We had Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero, Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Meng and we had a tag team main-event for the WCW World, TV and Tag Team titles. The main-event ended in a disqualification which meant none of the titles changed hands. The finish saw Ric Flair accidentally throw coffee in The Giant’s face. This led to The Giant vowing to beat Flair for the title and Flair saying he was gonna kick Giant’s “big ass” before the show ended.

 

I don’t have much complaints about this week’s show either. The show felt fresh and different to what we’re used to seeing on Nitros. We got fresh faces, we got fresh matches, we got fresh match types and we got a CLEAN VICTORY in the main-event of the show which we’ll get to later on. That is the short version of my review but there’s a lot more to appreciate and we might as well get started with the review of Episode #33 of WCW Monday Nitro.

 

Date: April 29th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Albany, Georgia (It’s listed as Albany, Georgia which was the same as last week so I’m assuming this was a taped edition)

Rating: 2.1 (Down from last week)

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

 

Sting © and Lex Luger © vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I initially groaned at the idea of this match happening again but you know what, this was actually a really good match this week from these two tag teams. The fans were into it, I was into it and the chemistry was on point for the majority of the match.

Before I get into the match, two other matches announced for the Lethal Lottery tournament were Lex Luger and Road Warrior Hawk vs Road Warrior Animal and Booker T and The Taskmaster and Chris Benoit vs Public Enemy. The irony of those two matches are just astonishing. The Road Warriors were booked to face each other. Lex Luger and Booker T, who were squaring off on this episode and actually teamed up to BEAT UP the Road Warriors at the last PPV, are facing each other. Public Enemy were RANDOMLY teamed together and yes… CHRIS BENOIT AND KEVIN SULLIVAN were teamed together. To anyone reading this who knows who Chris Benoit was, I’m sure you know where this angle is going when it regards to Kevin Sullivan and his wife…

Apologises forlast week saying Benoit wasn’t in the Lethal Lottery as I guess they maybe changed their minds. At least Benoit beating Eddie Guerrero last week led to something for Benoit. Also, they also kept calling the Lethal Lottery tournament the… LORD OF THE RING. I’m sure J. R. R. Tolkien was thrilled about that.

Anyway, back to the opening match of Nitro. Sting and Booker feel each other out to try and get the upper hand, and then Booker just hits a side kick. Booker does this fantastic sell from a clothesline where he came very close to doing a mid-air spinaroonie to sell this move! This big man moved like a Beyblade in the sky!

I didn’t write down in my notes who said this, but one of the announcers said it was “not gonna be a pretty picture” as Lex Luger and Stevie Ray battle in the ring! I kinda laughed at that line knowing how below average these two wrestlers were but you know what, it wasn’t too bad between them in this match minus Lex Luger getting super gassed quickly.  Lex Luger punched and stomps away at Stevie Ray at a ridiculous pace and got blown up because of it.

Lex and Sting actually worked really well as a tag team, especially in this match, where Luger is just getting better as he worked with Sting. The chemistry was there most of the time for tag moves. Booker hit a side kick which Bischoff called a “jump wheel kick” at least twice. Isn’t the “jump wheel kick” what X-Pac used to do?

Stevie Ray did a crappy looking crane kick as he stumbled and lost his balance and then just fell down on his backside. Sting and Booker dropped each other with a double clothesline in the middle of the ring. In the middle of all this, the announcers also talk about Booty Man and Rick Steiner vs Scott Steiner and Craig Pittman also happening in the Lethal Lottery.

The fans went nuts for Luger getting the hot tag. Luger hit some sloppy clotheslines as he “ran wild” which is being generous. Harlem Heat eventually overpowered him and Sting and actually took control of the match. They did a powerbomb/elbow drop combination when Jimmy Hart threw in the towel as Booker grabbed the towel to intercept. I assume this had nothing to do with Luger as Jimmy’s not really been involved with Luger since the PPV.

Stevie threw Jimmy into the ring and then Sting got the roll-up on Booker for the win. Harlem Heat ran after Jimmy Hart. A fine tag team match. I was a little uneasy going in but they put together a decent TV tag match. This gets a thumbs up.

 

 

“Fire and Ice” Scott Norton and Ice Train vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner

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We’re not even at the Lethal Lottery yet in this series, but this felt like such a bizarre match to happen in the middle of the show. We got two big men in Scott Norton and Ice Train against two other big men in the Steiner Brothers. They went in there and had a tag team hoss match and it was great. They had a three minute match where they just threw each other around in that ring. It was fun to watch, regardless of how short it was.

Mongo was more concerned that Norton and Ice Train weren’t pro American footballers because all Mongo knows how to do is put over the NFL footballers more than the professional wrestlers… during a professional wrestling television show.

Ice Train put on some decent flashes of athleticism. He had a sequence where he did a leapfrog, a powerslam and a big splash.  Rick hit a beautiful German suplex on the big man Ice Train which was… GLORIOUS. Scott Steiner did a great T-Bone suplex himself and followed up with an awesome belly to belly suplex.

Norton caught Scott Steiner off the top and did a a big Gorilla Press which was really impressive.

Norton ran wild with clotheslines but Scott Steiner caught him and dropped him with a stun gun. Rick tried a spinning elbow but just ran into the brick wall that was Scott Norton. Ice Train did a big boot but lost his footing a little bit. Scott Steiner got clotheslined over the top rope by Norton but then Rick hit Ice Train with a clothesline in the ring for the pin. A weak finish with a clothesline but a fun tag team match. I very much enjoyed it. This felt like a proper wrestling match between four of the baddest dudes they found backstage.

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Ric Flair came out with Miss Elizabeth and Woman. After all of this time on screen, Elizabeth still looks nervous as hell on TV. I’m not sure where this Miss Elizabeth angle goes but if it turns out that she was a double agent for the babyfaces, it’s perfect that she’s acting all nervous around Flair!

Mean Gene did an interview with the three of them. Ric wanted Mean Gene to look at Woman and then Woman stroked Gene’s face and Mean Gene is immediately smitten! Mean Gene was such a gem on these Nitros!

Ric Flair basically cut a promo saying The Giant is a little man compared to Ric Flair, at least he got Woman to say that. Ric Flair doing this gimmick of having his women talk about how great he is is fine on paper but with these girls, they weren’t really charismatic enough to pull this off especially not Miss Elizabeth. As good as Ric Flair is, he probably should not throw it to the girls to talk about how great he is. I’m pretty sure Ric Flair can cut a good promo talking about how great he is!

 

We got a “blood runs cold” promo as someone is coming to WCW. I believe this maybe for Glacier. This was such high quality and had such dramatic music like this was going to be a big-time star… and then it turns out to be Glacier! If you think about guys like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Rowdy Roddy Piper that are going to be on WCW soon, this big time promo is for GLACIER of all people! It’s kinda surreal.

 

The Belfast Bruiser vs Steven Regal in a parking lot brawl

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I got so giddy when I realised this was happening again. This match happening again with The Belfast Bruiser and Steven Regal, and the fact that they’ve raised the stakes with it being a parking lot brawl, tells you how so far ahead of 2019 WWE that even WCW were in 1996. They did this match on PPV and it got over, so they did it again on Nitro to try and pop a rating because they realised this got over. WWE flat out told the audience that Baron Corbin was the reason the ratings were going down and one year later, they are still pushing the guy when it’s shown and proven that he’s not connecting with the fans.

In WCW, they at least recognised what worked and they kept going when the fans were still into it. It was great to see this again. At least in 1996, they were able to figure out what was working well and what wasn’t.

The guys are shown fighting in the parking lot. Belfast Bruiser tried a big boot early on but ended up forcing his foot through a car window. This was literally one of the first things we saw in this match was Bruiser kicking out the window of a car.

Regal rubbed Bruiser’s face on the pavement. Bruiser beat Regal up with a tyre. Bruiser even ripped apart the bumper of a car and smacked Regal with it! Bruiser did a scoop slam on a car which Regal followed up with an elbow drop of the bonnet of a car. This match far surpassed the Public Enemy stuff we’ve seen as of late on the grounds that Regal and Bruiser were actually doing wrestling moves in the middle of all of this brawling. No matter how nasty they were, they were still wrestlers at heart and wanted to out-wrestle the other guy when they could.

Bruiser strangled Regal with a seat belt and then dropped Regal on the guard rail that the fans were stood behind during this. They fought up to a pick-up truck. They got to the top of it and then Bruiser just threw him off of it! I think Regal got smacked into the wing mirror of a car during this. Regal broke another window by smashing Bruiser into it.

Bruiser tried a tombstone on the pavement but thankfully Regal got out of it. Regal tried a piledriver ton the car but Bruiser reversed it. Regal hit a low blow and eventually hit a piledriver on the roof of the car to get the pin for the win. I was fine with this until Bruiser got back up RIGHT AWAY after the match and threw a bumper into another car. Other than that, this was a hell of a parking lot brawl.

Bobby Heenan eventually realised that one of those cars were one of his rent-a-car cars!

Before I move on, it tells you how much money WCW had to blow in money when they could just destroy 4 cars in a random parking lot brawl. Cars weren’t cheap back then either! Like if I went out there and I bought 4 £500 cars for a wrestling show just so I could destroy them, that would be one thing. I’m pretty sure they must have spent a fortune on these cars and Regal and Bruiser ripped them to shreds!

 

Ric Flair © w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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There was a lot of good stuff on this episode by this point. I think I liked every match they put on up until this point. Then we got my favourite match of the night and possibly my favourite wrestling match in the WCW series so far. This was Ric Flair defending the WCW title against The Giant in the epic rematch from their post-Uncensored match that ended in The Giant laying waste to all.

The reason why this match was so great was because The Giant and Ric Flair were booked perfectly based on their characters. The Giant was booked perfectly as an unstoppable Giant and Ric Flair was booked perfectly as the dastardly, cowardly heel paying for all of his crimes. It was one of the most perfectly booked title matches I’d ever seen. Not the best technically but one of the best booked in how this match was put together.

Ric Flair’s initial shoulder blocks fail as he falls down but The Giant remained standing. He does a chop and flees as The Giant yells “GET IN THE RING”. Flair tried again with a shoulder tackle but it doesn’t work. This was great because as a fan, you start to question: “What could possibly have made him think this was gonna work?” Ric Flair was a desperate man willing to try anything, even if he knew that wasn’t gonna work!

The Giant did a big Gorilla Press. Flair got Irish Whipped over the top rope and to the outside. The Giant chases him as Flair hides behind the girls. Speaking of the girls, Woman was absolutely outstanding with her performance screeching for Flair’s life on the outside which we’ll get to as we discuss the finish.

Flair does a leaping eye poke! Ric Flair had literally jump up at the chance to cheat in his match when he could!  Flair tried chops again but Giant just lurched on and no-sold them.

The Giant missed Flair as he charged at him and ran into the corner. Flair saw his opportunity to dive off the top rope but Giant cut him off. The Giant does a SUPLEX… to Ric Flair! The Giant tried a chokeslam but Flair grabbed the rope to prevent himself from going up.

As the girls distracted the referee, Flair low-blowed The Giant for the “heat.” Ric punched him twice but Giant pushed him away twice! Jimmy distracted the ref but Flair took advantage and dropped The Giant with the brass knuckles. This was actually a clever little spot because Jimmy almost caused The Giant’s downfall and this clearly demonstrates that Jimmy is holding The Giant back with his performances in the ring. If The Giant turns on Jimmy, this was a clever and subtle way to start telling that story. 

Flair goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock on Giant but Giant rose up like a zombie and grabbed Ric by the throat. Woman, who screamed during the entire match. pulled off one of the most perfectly-timed horror-movie-like screams during a wrestling match. The Giant grabbed her man and Woman screamed like she’d just witnessed Godzilla invade Albany, Georgia. Her performance in selling the monstrosity that was The Giant was simply sublime. She knew her man was in deep trouble and sold this better than every manager except Paul Heyman could have done in professional wrestling today. 

The Giant then chokeslammed and pinned Ric Flair to win the WCW World title CLEAN AS A SHEET in the middle of the ring as the fans went bonkers! This was such a tremendous moment where Jimmy leapt into the Giant. He ran around the ring and was jumping with joy. 

This title change was so great because yes, the status quo on WCW Monday Nitro was disqualifications or counts out to protect everybody in the main-event because nobody wanted to lose. Not tonight. Ric Flair and everyone else involved put The Giant over bigger than Hulk Hogan could have possibly done. This was such a one-sided affair that the fans literally could not believe their eyes when The Giant actually pinned Ric Flair. It was one man beating another man fair and square in the middle of the ring.

It wasn’t even like this was just fair and square. The Giant dominated and beat a 13-time world champion by this point and now he was the new man. I’ve been very critical of the title reigns and WCW title wins since this series began but this was top-notch. It just felt like a perfectly-timed squash match to put over The Giant big as legitimately the new man while Hogan was away. This was not quite Brock Lesnar mascaraing John Cena at SummerSlam 2014 but this was such a decisive finish and it legitimately came out of nowhere after months of interferences and disqualifications in these big matches. This RULED.

Mean Gene gets in the ring and did an interview as Flair was pulled out by the girls!

Jimmy Hart said Flair got to go home with the women but Jimmy said he got to go home with the world champ The Giant. The Giant said he knew that this belt was his since Halloween Havoc. Whether anyone likes it or not, he said he’s the world champion and a fighting champion. He said: “Sting, Savage and Hogan, you’re all gonna come and you’re all gonna fall.”

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This was a great episode of WCW Nitro. Up and down the show, we got good matches and fresh new faces and changes to the status quo. We got stars over big in The Giant and it feels we have a lot more direction towards Slamboree. This was a great episode and ranks high on the list of good episodes of Nitro so far, if not the best episode of Nitro.

Anyway, we’ve got more Nitros on the way. The build obviously will continue for the Lethal Lottery/Slamboree with a new World Champion in The Giant. The review for Episode #34 I’m hoping to upload some time this week before Sunday so stay tuned. 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! I will be back with my review of Episode #34 of Nitro from May 1996.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW WORLD WAR III 1995 (NOVEMBER 26TH 1995)

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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Are you all ready for the biggest battle royal in the history of professional wrestling? 60 men will battle for the vacated World Heavyweight Championship. The title was held up after the controversial finish from Halloween Havoc‘s main-event title match between The Giant and Hulk Hogan. While The Giant won via disqualification, and Jimmy Hart had secretly signed a “title-can-change-on-DQs” stipulation, the big man was ruled to not be the WCW World Champion. WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel determined that the vacated title will be awarded to the winner of their World War III 60 man battle royal.

This is a battle royal that included giants such as The Giant and The Yeti, Immortals like Hulk Hogan, all the members of the Dungeon of Doom including the recent turncoat Lex Luger, all the Four Horsemen including Ric Flair, other stars like Sting, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Kensuke Sasaki, Eddie Guerrero and many, MANY more….

 

Date: November 26th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Norfolk, Virginia

Attendance: 12,000 (WCW said it was sold out)

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie and Bobby Heenan

(NOTE: Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Chris Cruise and Larry Zybsko were also commentators for the battle royal. Mike Tenay was a commentator for the women’s tag team match)

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I had to watch this opening promo twice because I was clearly not paying enough attention to it the first time around. Hulk Hogan promos are always entertaining but he has a habit, especially during this period, of just being batshit crazy. There’s no other way to describe it and I apologise for the language but it’s true. We’ve had promos of Hogan wearing black gloves and comparing himself to OJ Simpson, he talked about being on the dark side, he cut a promo with a big sword two weeks ago. At this point, I was kinda numb to it as I just enjoyed them despite how crazy and exciting they were. There’s real no point analysing every little detail.

Here, it took me two attempts and several trips to the internet to figure out what he was on about. If Hulk Hogan would have cut this promo in 2019, where WWE have a weird obsession with making insider references to “dirtsheets” and the internet and all that crap, it probably would have worked out better. In 1995, this was just the most random promo I’ve ever heard.

I’ll break it down. He comes out with Sting and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He says that out of everything bad, there’s always something good. The Hulkamaniacs have stuck by him even when he was on the dark side. He said he knows who his friends are and that the dark side of Hulk Hogan will be no more. He ripped off the black gear as he vowed to burn the Dungeon of Doom. He actually set the gear on fire in this bin. He vowed he’s gonna stand by Sting’s side and that he would never question Sting again. He flat out said “I WANNA BE YOUR FRIEND FOREVER STING.” Let’s all remember that for the main-event.

Savage apologised and called Sting the coolest dude in the world as he was questioning Sting too during these run-ins with the Dungeon of Doom. Then Hogan went on an incredibly insane tirade. He was mad that people were saying that Randy Savage actually had a legitimate arm injury. Hogan laughed and suggested that it was part of the plan and there was nothing wrong with Savage.

On the second attempt of watching promo, I had to transcribe the next part of this promo. He grabs a piece of paper and says the following:

“OBSERVE THIS. This is what we call a rag sheet. They said The Giant would win the battle royal. They said Randy Savage was injured. This is like a dinosaur compared to the the internet and that the internet has all the scoops. We’re gonna steal the world title.”

Now… this was aimed at the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Apparently, they “revealed” that The Giant was gonna win the battle royal and win the title and mentioned something about Savage’s injury. Hogan was a man here with creative control and a platform to complete bitch about Dave Meltzer and “rag sheets” and he laughed off this newsletter and literally burned it. He laughed at the idea that Savage was actually hurt (and he was actually hurt which you could tell by the matches we’ve watched him in as of late).

All I could think on the second attempt of watching this is what were the fans thinking during this promo? All I could think is they’re like “what is Hogan on about?” In 2019, this promo might have worked better since the majority of wrestling fans are hardcore fans nowadays. Here, there was a lot of fans who didn’t read Wrestling Observer Newsletter that had no idea what Hogan was on about. Surreal.

 

They recapped a DDP promo with Diamond Doll and Mean Gene. I think this may have been from WCW Saturday Night. DDP tells Diamond Doll to shut up and Diamond Doll says no and stands up for herself. Mean Gene gets all flustered and declares to the world that they’re in the middle of an argument! Lovely insight from WCW journalist Mean Gene Okerlund

Diamond Doll said that she will put herself on the line for this TV title match at World War III as DDP doesn’t appreciate everything she does for him. She said he wouldn’t know a 10 if it was staring him in the face.

 

Johnny B Badd (c) vs DDP w/Kimberly the Diamond Doll for the WCW Television Championship

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If there’s not much to the review of this match, it’s only because we saw this exact same match at Halloween Havoc. This was slightly better if anything. They wrestled for a bit. Heenan drove home that DDP was worth $13 million and that’s why Diamond Doll should stay with him! Badd tried a 619 but DDP evaded and Badd responded by doing a big dive to the outside.

Badd tried to get to DDP but DDP used Diamond Doll as a human shield. He then threw Diamond Doll at Badd to get a sucker punch in on Badd. There was a weird spot that saw Badd go for a hurricanrana but DDP countered into a tombstone slam. Yeah, not a tombstone piledriver. He got Badd into a tombstone position and then just slammed him down.

Badd’s method of getting back into things was just collapsing out of the corner as DDP drove himself into the ring post. We saw an awesome spot when DDP went for a full on kick to the gut but he missed and slipped as if he actually slipped on a banana peel! DDP was a tremendous seller.

Tony explained that these two men had a disadvantage going into the battle royal later but Heenan explained that at least they’re on first. Heenan actually kinda contradicted this point later but we’ll get to that.

Diamond Doll gave Badd the 10+ sign just as she did at Halloween Havoc. Badd hit a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall that the fans went nuts for. DDP tried a pin with his feet on the rope but Badd kicked out. Badd went for the “Badd Mood” springboard splash but DDP got the knees up. I think they screwed up a gut-wrench spot as DDP just dropped him with a gutbuster. This was kinda confirmed by the fact that they went for the spot again.

Badd reversed a tombstone piledriver for one of his own for a near fall. Badd hit a dive to the outside which Tony also called the “Badd Mood” and he got the pin to retain the title.

I actually loved Kimberly’s facial expressions. She’s on the outside as Badd hits this Badd Mood. She actually shows concern for her man DDP and when Badd gets the pin, she actually looks stunned. She’s not like super happy about it… she’s just stunned. It wasn’t until she actually got into the ring where she showed joy about Badd’s win as it took a long time for it to sink in. She was getting sick of DDP, which is why she put herself on the line in the match and thinking that it may motivate DDP, but he lost and it completely took her off guard. After all, Badd won the match at Halloween Havoc because of Max Muscle. Here, despite being happy to be with Badd she still showed concern for the ex. This was great story-telling.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Mean Gene plugged the WCW hotline about the WWF steroid scandal. They actually name-dropped WWF this time which is an important and we’ll also come back to it later. Mean Gene interviewed Badd and Diamond Doll. Badd said he was gonna show DDP what respect is all about. Mean Gene was about to ask the question about how Diamond Doll felt about this but before she could give an answer, Badd offered her the chance to be his manager and wanted her to take some time to think about it. Diamond Doll appreciated the offer for her to think about it but respects the fact that the better man won tonight. Badd was excited for the battle royal.

This really hits home how good the story-telling was in this program. Badd’s not really shown to be a bad guy… pardon the pun. He allows Diamond Doll time to think about the offer and he’s not treating her like property. He’s treating her as a person and is giving her a choice of what to do. Even though she put herself up on the line, she’s got to be 100% cool with it for Badd to be cool with it. Diamond Doll is gonna think it over and I think in a week’s time, we’ll find out if she’s truly cool with this. This was awesome.

 

Big Bubba Rogers vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a “taped fist match”

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God, this was a bad match. I think if this would have been miles better if it wasn’t as long as this was. It was ten minutes long and in no circumstances should Big Bubba Rogers and Hacksaw Jim Duggan wrestle for ten minutes.

Duggan jumped Big Bubba from behind to get things going. Hacksaw tried to hit Big Bubba with the 2×4 but Big Bubba begged him off.

Hacksaw tried to clothesline him down with two attempts but he eventually sent him crashing to the outside with a third clothesline and then got a USA chant going.

I kinda feel bad for Tony and Bobby as their announce table was positioned right in the corner of two of the rings set up. It seemed unsafe as hell as Big Bubba nearly crashed right into it during the match.

Hacksaw and Big Bubba started scrapping in another ring. Hacksaw went for something off the apron but Big Bubba moved and Hacksaw crashed and burned. It didn’t occur to me until this match just how great a gig Hacksaw had in wrestling. This USA chant is so timeless that all he needs to do is yell USA and the whole crowd bursts out into USA chants and it gets them into the match and cheering for Duggan because he’s such a patriot in their eyes. He is even wrestling a fellow American from Georgia!

They tumbled into each other in another ring. Big Bubba whipped out possibly the only enziguri I’ve ever seen him do. Big Bubba whipped out tape and Tony asks “I don’t know what this is gonna do.” Isn’t the whole match a “taped fist match” for a reason? Isn’t the whole storyline that they’re constantly knocking each other out with these taped fists?

Hacksaw sent Big Bubba to the outside with an ugly looking tackle. Tony initially asked a legitimate question. They’re wrestling in all of these other rings. Why isn’t the referee technically counting him out if they’re supposed to be in one ring? In a standard singles match, this would be a good point. About a minute later though, Tony explained that this match can only be won via pinfall or knock out. Well then WHY WOULD THE REFEREE COUNT THESE GUYS OUT?

This really grinds my gears about the commentators. These commentators should be the smartest people in the WCW world. THEY should be the ones with all the scoops. Not the internet as Hogan alluded to earlier. This Tony Schiavonie doesn’t even know the rules of the match!

This also explains why Big Bubba taped Hacksaw’s arm to the rope and punches away at him and it’s not a disqualification. To be perfectly honest, they never even explained what the rules were until Tony mentioned the match can only be won via pinfall and knock out.

Hacksaw dumped Big Bubba to the outside and Big Bubba’s lower back SMACKED into the apron. It was one of the worst apron bumps I’ve ever seen and it wasn’t even intentional. Big Bubba was clearly not moving right afterwards. It looked so nasty that the fans all yelled oooowwww. Nasty.

Of course, then Hacksaw proceeds to slam away at Big Bubba’s back onto the mat.

Hacksaw hit a big clothesline as VK Wallstreet ran down with a taped fist of his own. Hacksaw hit Wallstreet with a 2×4 for a big pop. Big Bubba hits Hacksaw with a chain and knocked him out. By the way, this referee seemed so bored by this match just purely based on the delivery of his ten count. He looked like this was just a waste of his time. One arm up and looked half asleep. No that I blame him. This was a pointless match that went too long as they just brawled everywhere to no heat except when Hacksaw chanted USA. This was a bad match.

Match Rating: 1/2* and that is actually being generous. This match barely evaded a minus rating!

 

They plugged WCW stars being on CompuServe chatting with folks on the internet.

They cut to Mean Gene with Ric Flair. Flair was on form as usual. Flair says the whole wrestling world knows the Nature Boy is gonna style and profile. For what happened on Nitro a few weeks ago, the great one is back one more time to get Sting. Flair calls himself the best thing going today. Flair says it’s been his master plan as he’s got all the babyfaces in the same building and said that Flair would rule WCW one more time. Typical Flair promo.

 

Cutie Suzuki and Mayumi Ozaki representing JWP vs Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto w/Sonny Onoo repreesnting AJPW

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Before I watched this show, I took a quick peep at the card for the show since they never advertised anything on Nitro. I saw Bull Nakano’s name as part of a women’s tag team match and I got giddy. Oh, I have no idea how good I was gonna get it.

Mike Tenay joined Tony and Bobby on commentary supposedly as the Japanese expert in WCW. This was great from the get-go as Bull and Akira whooped ass from the start of the match. Bull threw Ozaki around like a ragdoll. Akira had a hold of her arm and Bull started biting the other arm as Ozaki had nowhere to go as her hands were tied with these heel wrestlers!

They did a lovely spot where Bull choked and hoisted Ozaki up and Akira caught Ozaki from the elevated position for like a modified Hart Attack.

Ozaki fired back but Bull dropped her with a big right hand sending her crashing to the ground. Ozaki finally was able to get free by hitting a big DDT. Cutie got the hot tag and what followed was an awesome spot. I can’t remember who got the lock in on who but Cutie locked on a Single Leg Boston Crab. Ozaki locked on a Single Leg Boston Crab herself as they had both had stereo Single Leg Boston Crabs locked on to the heels as the fans ate this up. They were going nuts for this spot and it was truly well executed spot.

Bull eventually got mad and turned things around. There was miscommunication as Suzuki crashed into Ozaki and sent her onto the floor. Bull tried a moonsault but missed. Then Ozaki and Cutie went absolutely crazy as they unleashed top rope foot stomps on the big bad Bull. One after another after another as the fans were going crazy. They went for the cover but Bull STILL kicked out at two. This was great.

So much was going on as it was insanely difficult for me to take notes! They tried a double suplex on Bull but the clearly much bigger Bull reversed it into her own double suplex! Akira went for a dive but missed. The heels went for double powerbombs but they were countered into roll-ups for near falls. This was tremendous.

Ozaki and Suzuki both went off the top for top rope crossbodies. Ozaki hit a beautiful dragon suplex for a near fall. Akira then decided enough with these babyfaces and proceeded to commit attempted murder. She almost DESTROYED Ozaki with a German Suplex. One of the most dangerous looking German suplexes I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I saw Brock Lesnar hurl everybody in WWE with German suplexes across the ring. One of my memories was Brock killing Big E with a suplex at Beast of the East. This looked so much more brutal than any suplex I’ve ever seen.

Akira hit a double front dropkick from the top and did a flip to the outside on babyfaces. Bull and Akira did a Doomsday Device for a near fall. Bull did a big leg drop from the top for the pin in an awesome, AWESOME match.

I just saw two great women’s matches at the 2019 Royal Rumble. Ronda Rousey faced Sasha Banks and Asuka faced Becky Lynch. I was debating all week in my head about which one of these matches were best. This tag team match from 1995 was miles ahead of both of them. I’m not sure I’m gonna go as far as to say these women were better wrestlers than the likes of Asuka and Becky etc. (especially not Asuka) but there was just a sense of excitement in this one that was missing in those two matches. This was not a routine WWE match. This was not even a routine WCW 1995 match. This was these four women doing whatever the hell they wanted to do and it got over with this crowd that’d never seen these girls before. This was amazing.

Match Rating: **** (Exactly like Dave Meltzer from Wrestling Observer at the time and I have no problem agreeing with that rating. Everybody go watch this match on the WWE Network!)

 

OK, Mean Gene plugs the hotline AGAIN. He said there was more comings and goings from another promotion, they can’t talk about here but if you call the hotline you can find out… YOU GUYS named-dropped the WWF specifically earlier and the steroid scandal.

He brought Jimmy Hart and Lex Luger and Mean Gene flat out called Jimmy a little twerp. That made me laugh. Jimmy said you might just be seeing the next WCW World champion in Lex Luger. Luger said that they’re looking at the flagship and the future of WCW wrestling. He was gonna smash Savage into the pieces and he was gonna stand there as the WCW Champion.

 

Kensuke Sasaki (c) w/Sonny Onoo vs Chris Benoit representing the Four Horsemen for the WCW United States Championship

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You remember a couple of weeks ago when Benoit beat Sasaki in a 2 minute 40 second match on Nitro? This was like a couple of weeks ago and they’re here at World War 3 with Kensuke Sasaki as the United States Champion defending the title against Chris Benoit! What a twist of fate!

Since I don’t think I touched on this during my review of their first match, allow me to explain what happened. On the same week as the Benoit match, they did a big WCW and Japan supershow. This is not on the WWE Network before you ask. On that show, Sasaki challenged Sting for the US title and beat him to win the title. It’s hard to believe with the finish of the Benoit match on Nitro but yeah, Sasaki was the new US champion of WCW.

Sonny Onoo had a great line where he looked straight at the camera and said “this Chris Benoit thinks he’s an American wannabe” and proceeded to laugh like Waluigi! It really went like “wahahahahaha!” We need more heel managers like this in 2019!

There was some great technical wrestling going on in this one and all you could do was just sit back and watch. There was some small details about this which I liked. Benoit was dominating the technical game so Sasaki’s response was to bring brute force into things with a couple of scoop slams and knocking the wind out of the faster Benoit.

Benoit hit a big dive which almost saw Benoit crashed head first into the barricade. This was a very scary spot and even scarier with the “benefit” of hindsight (which really isn’t a benefit all things considered).

Onoo got on commentary for a little bit and mentioned some deal about Starrcade. Apparently, the story was that he got kicked out of WCW but supposedly he’s got a deal set up for Starrcade.

Sasaki hit a big powerslam during all of this. Benoit hit two German suplexes but he went for the third and Sasaki got out of it and just flat out hit a big clothesline. Sasaki tried a tombstone piledriver but Benoit reversed it into one of his own, which would have been a more special spot if I hadn’t seen it in the opening match with DDP and Badd. Those two did the exact same spot.

Benoit hit a diving headbutt. I don’t want to talk about this for too long but I couldn’t help but notice this. Benoit hits the diving headbutt here and then just goes towards the next spot in these 1995 matches. If you watch an older Chris Benoit in action, he’d hit the headbutt and then he’d be down clutching his head for a while before doing whatever spot was next. It’s not nice to think about but I could not help but think about this. How much can change in the span of a decade.

Benoit did a Frankensteiner for a near fall. Sasaki tried an armbar variation but Benoit got the rope. Sasaki then finished things off with a big clothesline and a Northern Lights bomb to retain the title.

Not as exciting as the women’s match but a very well-done technically proficient match.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

I almost just left the room for the next segment. For what feels like the millionth time in my life, MEAN GENE OKERLUND DOES A PROMO WITH THE TASKMASTER, JIMMY HART AND THE GIANT!

HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SEE THIS? At least with Ric Flair, you know it’s going to be entertaining every time you see it as you have no idea what he’s gonna say. Here, the Dungeon of Doom are just rambling and babbling about the same old stuff. No substance to any of this other than The Giant’s excellent facial expressions.

Taskmaster blabbed about taking no prisoners and called The Giant the uncrowned champion. The Giant had his eyes laser-focused on the hard cam for the majority of this. Then the fans burst out into Hogan chants and the Giant roared and it got Jimmy Hart fired up with his promo. Taskmaster refused to believe that the Dungeon of Doom would implode as the Dungeon of Doom would win. The Giant vowed to throw Hogan over the top rope. He graced us with a poem: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m gonna kick you’re butt to Calamazo.” This was definitely one of the more livelier promos from the Dungeon of Doom.

 

They plugged Starrcade, which was set to air on a Wednesday.

Mean Gene was with Savage again. Savage said what it is is what it is. Mean Gene asked if Savage was jittery to which Savage responded by saying that he’s always jittery. Savage said he was the total package and he was gonna get Lex. Savage insisted that he was a million percent which he clarified was better that hundred percent! He is mathematically correct! He said he and Luger had a date with destiny.

 

Randy Savage vs Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart

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This was the 3rd match in the series between these two. Luger won the first match and Savage won the second match at Halloween Havoc so this was the rubber match. Bobby talked about losing his voice for Nitro but insisted that he’d be there as he needed this job as he’s supporting an orphanage in Guam!

These cameramen had no problem with constant shots of the Hooters girls in the front row.

I know the line between reality and fiction is very fishy with WCW. At Halloween Havoc, Savage was in kayfabe 100% against Lex Luger but worked very slow as he was working with a legitimate injury. Here, in storyline, the announcers played up that Savage’s arm was actually injured but Savage was working the match as if he was a million percent as he claimed earlier! Apparently, he still had the injury according to Wrestling Observer Newsletter so who actually knows how he was feeling.

He didn’t really add much to this match and it wasn’t like they did anything that they hadn’t done before. They did some stuff. Savage hit a scoop slam and hit an elbow drop but Jimmy Hart distracted the referee. Savage tried to throw Luger at Jimmy but Jimmy moved out of the way as Luger went crashing onto the floor.

It was here where we learned Sting and Luger were gonna team up on Nitro. Lex Luger locked on the Torture Rack on the outside as the referee was counting them down. As a true manager, Jimmy got on the megaphone and yelled at Luger what number the referee was at with his count!

Luger locked on an arm lock as Savage passed out in an odd finish. Luger refused to let go off the arm when Sting ran down. He got in Luger’s face just as Luger did for Sting when Sting locked on the Scorpion Deathlock on Flair on Nitro. Luger relented and Sting went to care for Savage. So even after they did the opening promo where Hogan and Savage had faith in Sting, they’re still playing up the nature of this friendship between Luger and Sting and that Sting is not totally on the babyfaces’ side.

Match Rating: *

 

They recapped the Sting/Ric Flair feud. Sting vowed that if he ever got Flair in the Scorpion Deathlock again, he would never let go.

 

Sting vs Ric Flair

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Tony plugged that Hogan would face Hugh Morrus on Nitro.

We had an awesome spot in this match where Flair was punched by Sting. The Nature Boy rolled out, rolled into another ring and started to style and profile in another ring! Flair even got a good thrust in towards one of the male fans who were outraged as the women cheered!

The fans were very hot for this match. Flair was dropkicked and rolled all the way into the third ring! Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker randomly came out to watch the match and smooch. It’s every Sting vs Ric Flair match you’ve ever seen except Flair was able to flop and roll into three different rings during the match!

Flair got in the ring and tried a test of strength. Sting literally had hold of one arm and Flair yelled ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGH!

Sting tried a Stinger Splash but crashed into the barricade. In a spot I’ve seen at least twice in the series so far, Flair went for a chair but the referee Nick Patrick interjected himself and grabbed the chair. Sting grabbed Flair by the throat but as Nick was trying to yell at Sting, Flair got a cheeky low blow for the heat!

Flair worked on the leg of Sting and then went for the Figure Four Leg Lock. Flair was so desperate that he actually clawed and punched away at Sting’s leg! Flair then made the mistake of slapping Sting. Sting roared as Flair went bug-eyed and screamed as Sting turned it over!

Sting did a backslide for a near fall. Flair pushed Nick Patrick but the referee was having none of it and pushed Flair to the ground as the fans went crazy for it. Flair ran into another ring which the commentators clarified was ring #1. Sting did a comeback but Flair cut him off with an eye poke. Sting threw Flair from the top rope. Again, every Sting vs Ric Flair match you ever saw and all of the same spots will never get old!

Sting hit a big superplex and locked on the Scorpion Deathlock as Flair gave up. It’s actually funny. Sting let go shortly after he got the win despite claiming he wouldn’t let go. I watched this and thought this was a point blank plot-hole. However, I though about it when I reviewed the Lex Luger vs Randy Savage match. Sting ordered Luger to let tgo and not make the same mistake he did. So maybe, with that in mind, he decided to learn from his mistakes and not stoop to Flair’s level by trying to end his career. That at least makes sense to me.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

Bobby actually predicted that none of the men that already wrestled at World War III would win. I said earlier that this was kinda a contradiction, since earlier he said Badd and DDP wouldn’t be at a disadvantage as they were wrestling first. Now he’s changing his tune and saying that they’re not gonna win. I dunno. It seemed like a weird lIne.

They revealed the three giants of the battle ring in each ring to be The Yeti, The Giant and HULK HOGAN. THAT GIANT… Hulk Hogan.

Speaking of Hogan, he was brought out for another interview with Mean Gene. Hogan said he smelt the stench of the smelly Giant. Hogan vowed to rip and tear his way all the way to the WCW title as he ripped his shirt off. Hogan said it’s every man for himself which actually turned out to be very accurate in the battle royal. Hogan said he had a chance to prove Hulkamania was the greatest force on earth. Hogan flexed as Mean Gene was so taken back by these physique to the soundtrack of the fans booing in the background!

I couldn’t help but notice, when they showed the WCW title, that Hogan’s name was still on the name plate. My question is how has it taken so long for that nameplate to be taken off the belt? I actually thought it was a spoiler about who would win the battle royal!

They showed the two other announce teams for this battle royal. Ring #1 was the announce team of Tony and Bobby. Ring #2 was the announce team of Eric Bischoff and Dusty Rhodes. Ring #3 was Chris Cruise and Larry Zybsko. God bless all of these commentators, but they had no hope in hell of successfully calling this battle royal!

 

The WCW World War III Battle Royal for the vacated WCW World Heavyweight Championship

Alex Wright vs. Arn Anderson vs. Big Bubba Rogers vs. Big Train Bart vs. Bobby Walker vs. Booker T vs. Brian Knobbs vs. Brian Pillman vs. Bunkhouse Buck vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Kanyon vs. Cobra vs. Dave Sullivan vs. Diamond Dallas Page vs. Dick Slater vs. Disco Inferno vs. Earl Robert Eaton vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Fidel Sierra vs. Hugh Morrus vs. Hulk Hogan vs. Jerry Sags vs. Jim Duggan vs. Joey Maggs vs. Johnny B. Badd vs. Kensuke Sasaki vs. Kurasawa vs. Lex Luger vs. Lord Steven Regal vs. Lt. James Earl Wright vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Mark Starr vs. Maxx Muscle vs. Meng vs. Mike Winner vs. Mr. JL vs. Paul Orndorff vs. Pez Whatley vs. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Santana vs. Road Warrior Hawk vs. Scott Armstrong vs. Scott Norton vs. Scotty Riggs vs. Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker vs. Sgt. Craig Pittman vs. Shark vs. Squire David Taylor vs. Steve Armstrong vs. Stevie Ray vs. Sting vs. Super Assassin #1 vs. Super Assassin #2 vs. The Giant vs. The One Man Gang vs. The Taskmaster vs. The Yeti vs. VK Wallstreet vs. Zodiac

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Now I’m sure you’re all wondering why I listed all 60 men in this battle royal! Because WCW actually went through the effort of introducing all 60 men separately into this battle royal! They all came out at completely random times (except Hogan coming out last) and they call came down in a single file row. Nobody was out of position. They call trecked down to the ring. Harlem Heat came out separately. THE SUMO ASSASSINS came out and were introduced separately as Sumo Assassin #1 and Sumo Assassin #2. The Barrio Brothers.

Scott Armstrong, future WWE referee, looked like the biggest geek in the world as he came out with a mullet and pointed to the camera! Some guys, when I wrote down their names, I just wrote THAT GUY and THAT OTHER GUY! It wasn’t until I looked it up where I could clarify their names. I could not catch the name but I wrote like three different versions of Big Train Bart’s name! Cobra, with the most “charisma” I’ve ever seen with the most serious face imaginable looked at the camera and went… woo. No umph to it. Just… woo.

Let’s talk about The Yeti. The last time we saw this… thing, he came out as a mummy and dry-humped Hulk Hogan with The Giant. He came back here and he was dressed as a giant version of Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. I have no idea as the man built as a Yeti transformed into a Mummy and then transformed into a ninja! I’d love to know what Eric Bischoff, Executive President I believe of WCW, was thinking when he thought of the Yeti’s very gimmick!

I wrote on my notes that this was going to be the worst review of my life! So here goes nothing!

Michael Buffer finished the introductions and after all the fireworks in the world… all 60 men in the three rings started to fight!

There were three rings with 20 men in each ring. Once one of the rings were down to ten men, they’d go into another ring (I think ring #1 was the one they had to go into). So when it was down to 30 people, the camera focused on the one ring they were all in. By the way it took like 10-20 minutes in for them to get to 30 people in the ring!

I literally wrote on my notes: “You cannot keep up with any of this shit as there’s 3 screens.”

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Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair start to fight from the start of the match and the announcers are unable to call it. The fans are going crazy but because 60 people are all brawling at the same time, the announcers cannot see this thing.

Everybody was fighting. It’s hard to call what happened. My notes are mostly just these two men fought on the outside, Disco Inferno was on the outside, Lex Luger was on the outside, this guy tried an elimination, this guy tried elimination etc. Reviewing a battle royal is weird. I had no idea how to grade it when it was over.

A notable thing to note was that The Yeti was eliminated almost immediately. All the fanfare on Nitro before Halloween Havoc and on Halloween Havoc itself to hype up The Yeti and this ninja was thrown out early on in the match. One of the three giants was already eliminated!

Big Bubba Rogers was the Dolph Ziggler of this battle royal. Ziggler has this thing in battle royals where, I think as a means to show how athletic he is at staying in, he’s thrown out all the time but is able to hang on. Big Bubba did the exact same thing. The Shark and Hogan both tried to eliminate this guy but he stayed in by like hanging on the ropes or something. It was astonishing to see BIG BUBBA ROGERS of all people do this!

These announcers missed eliminations left and right and you really couldn’t blame them. I didn’t realise until like a third into the match that the referees were also in the ring during all of this! WHY EVEN BOTHER? One skinny referee is in there with all of these big bodybuilders, with 20 men in each ring, just squished. Why bother if there’s two much action for them to call?

5 minutes in and we had two eliminations – The Yeti and a dude called Mike Winner. Mike was actually the first one eliminated so he was not a winner. There was WAY TOO MUCH brawling outside of the rings. Hogan and Flair were brawling on the outside, Orndorff and Luger, Savage and Luger. Lex Luger is actually a key in all of this, He was on the outside for like 95% of this match. At what point do they start DQ’ing guys who stay outside of the ring in battle royals? I know this still goes on in 2019 but Luger was barely in the ring while everybody else was getting beat on. Why doesn’t everybody just wrestle on the outside so they can’t get eliminated? This bothered me way too much.

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Guys like Mark Starr, Big Train Bart were eliminated in the melee. Arn tried a piledriver on Luger on the outside but Luger somehow countered it. A Barrio Brother was eliminated. Scott Armstrong was eliminated and was left unmoving on the floor. It looked like he landed hard. Bobby Walker was thrown out. The Giant after like ten minutes decided to run wild. He tossed out Stevie Ray, the other Barrio brother and Brian Knobbs. Alex Wright was tossed out, somebody else was tossed out.

Randy Savage eliminated Lord Eaton. Dirty Dick Slater LEFT according to Tony! Ring #2 was down to 10 men so they all moved to Ring #1. VK Wallstreet was thrown out by Savage. Scott Norton was eliminated by fellow Dungeon of Doom member Hugh Morrus. Hulk Hogan and The Giant finally come to blows but this is barely touched upon by the announcers as they probably had no idea it was going on.

Finally, 31 people are left and are all fighting in one ring according to the announcers. The Dungeon of Doom all tried to attack Hogan. Pittman locked on an armbar on Joey Maggs and then threw him out. It was like he snapped his arm and they threw him out. It was kinda cool looking.

Eric Bischoff claimed Kurasawa was eliminated but it was never shown. It eventually emerged later that Kurasawa was still in the ring so Bischoff couldn’t even keep up. The man in charge of running the show could not keep up with this battle royal.

Somebody was stretchered out as Big Bubba and Hacksaw eliminated each other. Disco Inferno was eliminated and Dave Taylor was eliminated. The Dungeon of Doom then all turn on each other… FOR NO REASON. They’re dominating the match and then The Giant and One Man Gang start to fight. Then Hugh Morrus got involved and he started fighting with them. This was a complete mess of a match but I loved it. A train wreck of the most tremendous type!

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Jerry Saggs and Booker T were both eliminated. Hogan eliminated Taskmaster to a big pop. Steven Regal was eliminated. Hogan and Giant had a terrible lock up in the middle of the ring. DDP and Badd eliminated each other and fought to the back. Pittman was thrown out.

Benoit was eliminated. Savage tried to eliminate The Giant but Giant escaped and then headbutted Macho Man in his groin. Meng was thrown out. Flair and Sting fought again. Morrus eliminated another Dungeon of Doom member in The Zodiac. Sasaki finally got rid of Hugh Morrus.

Hawk eliminated Pillman. Hogan burst onto the scene and eliminated Hawk and Kensuke Sasaki. We were down to ten men. Sting almost eliminated Eddie Guerrero accidentally but Eddie stayed largely due to his legs leaving him hung out to dry. Hogan dumped out Mr Wonderful and as Orndorff rolled out, his legs got stuck up by the barricade and was propped like a doll on the barricade.

Ric and Arn Anderson worked together on Eddie Guerrero. Arn hit a spinebuster and threw him out. For a cruiserweight, Eddie Guerrero was given a lot in this big WCW PPV main-event. He made it to the final ten. Sting and Hogan worked together on Flair. Sting catapulted Arn into Flair on the top rope to eliminate Flair and then Hogan eliminated Arn in a matter of seconds.

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Fans are going crazy now they can finally see what was going on. Flair ran into another ring and was IRATE about this development.

The final six were Hulk Hogan, Sting, Randy Savage, Lex Luger, One Man Gang and The Giant. It was mostly babyfaces vs heels when it came down to the final six. Eventually, Sting and Luger worked together to try and eliminate The Giant. Just as they had him on the verge of elimination, HULK HOGAN eliminated all three men from behind.

So after all the talk about how he’d always be Sting’s friend and he’d always stand by Sting’s side, he eliminated Sting from behind. What an absolute cock this Hulk Hogan is! He eliminated his friend when his back was turned. He didn’t even wait until the end to have a fair fight. Hogan was totally a heel at this point!

Eventually The Giant pulled Hogan from underneath the bottom rope. They begin to fight and Hogan even slams The Giant but as this is going on, Savage eliminated One Man Gang in the ring. We couldn’t see it  but the bell rings as Savage was declared the winner.

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Savage declared the winner actually got a lot of boos. An irate Hogan, even more irate than Ric Flair, pleaded his case to the referees. He even went as far as to motion himself as if to show what happened. He was pulled underneath the bottom rope by The Giant. Hogan was such a great friend to Savage that after his friend Savage won the title, Hogan is trying to upstage him. He mockingly laughs at Savage being given the belt, he whines while Mean Gene insists this is gonna stand.

In Hogan’s defense, he was screwed. He was never technically eliminated and this match being such a train wreck actually plays into the story. As I mentioned how the referees must have no idea what was going on, the referees didn’t see HOW Hogan was suddenly out of the ring. So many people were going outside of the ring that they may have just been going over the top rope and the referees wouldn’t have known. Here, they saw the only two people left in the ring were Savage and One Man Gang. Hell, we had at least two occasions where rivals eliminated each other and then fought to the back. They may have seen Giant and Hogan fighting and figured, Giant eliminated him.

Savage is in the ring and said he valued Hogan’s opinions but he saw nothing. However, Savage lives by what it is is what it is. Hogan even went as far as to ask the fans if he went under the bottom rope. Mean Gene was unsure as to whether this would stand up in court.

Hogan said there was a dark cloud as neither man went over the top rope. Savage said that he wanted to see the film and Hogan said he wanted a title shot if it was shown he went under the bottom rope.

After a while, Hogan eventually calmed down and shook Savage’s hands. He gave congrats to his friend despite the fact that he was screwed in this battle royal.

Match Rating: **

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If you think about it, this finish was just the ultimate poetic justice for Hulk Hogan. At Royal Rumble 1992, Sid Justice eliminated Hogan from behind and Hogan was outraged by this. He was so outraged that he helped Ric Flair eliminate Sid. EVERYBODY except Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon (and I guess Gorilla Monsoon if you listen to the commentary) saw Hogan as the heel. He helped a heel eliminate a babyface when he was FAIRLY thrown out of the Royal Rumble.

Here in this battle royal, he eliminates his friend Sting from behind after doing the big promo about he’d never leave Sting’s side and he wanted to be his friend forever. So he completely does a flip-flop from the Royal Rumble 1992 and eliminates Sting. This time, HOGAN is robbed of the Battle Royal and his other friend Savage wins the title. It’s the karma to end all karmas and if you want to look at this with that incident in mind, Hogan got what he deserved here.

Regardless, this was a great finish. This sets up three big matches. It sets ups Randy Savage vs Hulk Hogan as when it’s proven Hogan went under the bottom rope, he will get the title shot that he wanted. It sets ups Randy Savage vs The Giant as he was technically never beaten for the title and Savage never even eliminated him in the battle royal. It also sets up Randy Savage vs Lex Luger again as Luger beat him earlier on in the night.

I’d say this PPV was a thumbs up. The wrestling up and down the card was great with the exception of I guess the Big Bubba/Hacksaw match and the Savage/Luger match. The battle royal was a MESS of a match and extremely difficult to follow but I had a fun time watching it. It was a complete train wreck for the first half and in the second half it was more co-ordinated. This PPV gets a THUMBS UP.

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I am 7500 words into this review and I am pooped. We hope you enjoyed that review as I had a lot of fun writing it. I usually hate doing the PPV reviews as they’re longer but this one was a lot of fun to write. I hope everybody liked it and I will be back for more Nitro. Back for fallout from World War 3 as we’re on the road to Starrcade!

WCW Nitro Reading Order

Money In The Bank 2016 Review – The Shield’s Main Event Dominance

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Money In The Bank was a pretty important and monumental pay-per-view for WWE. Not only would a new Money In The Bank holder be decided, but we had two of the biggest and most anticipated matches in recent memory. John Cena and AJ Styles finally had their dream match and Roman Reigns finally defended the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Seth Rollins – the man that was never beaten for the title.

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“The New Day” Big E (c) and Kofi Kingston (c) vs Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs “The Vaudevillains” Simon Gotch and Aiden English vs Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows in a fatal four way tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship  

This may have been the match that has changed my perception of the idea of a fatal four way tag team match. Despite seeing them too often, at least these tag team matches will give you a lot of action and chaos which could see anyone fight each other. In one fatal four way tag team match, the New Day tried winning the match by having Big E pin Kofi! This tag team match at Money In The Bank made me realise something… this type of match is hard for the viewers to keep up with.

It was hard when trying to keep track of who were the legal men. There were moments that I got confused, as I questioned several times who the “legal men” of the match were. There was a lot of chaos and complication with this match, with a lot of badly screwed up spots. The huge spot that was messed up was when Enzo and Cass hit their finisher. They went for the pin and the referee counted one, two, three and then Luke Gallows broke it up. Yes. Luke Gallows failed to break up the pin in time as the fans all believed that Enzo and Cass won the match. The announcers didn’t mention this as the crowd chanted “that was three” as the match rolled on.

So this match was already a mess by this point and then it got worse. Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer and Anderson made the cover. In an impressive feat of strength, Big E picked up Anderson and was able to get him up from that position into the set-up for the Big Ending. This would have been an awesome finish, if it were not for what happened next. Gallows is leaning on the ropes and watches as his partner is in peril as Big E is about to drop him. Gallows stares at him and does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The reason he does nothing is because supposedly, Big Cass missed his cue for whatever came next. So for a good ten seconds, Gallows stares at Big E as he’s got Gallows’ partner Anderson up for the Big Ending. THIS WAS… EMBARRASSING.

The New Day picked up the win but I just completed hated this match. I thought that the New Day should have won as Anderson and Gallows winning the belt should be in a normal tag team match with the New Day.

 

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Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler

I was so incensed when I heard that this match was happening again at Money In The Bank and I actually have to a respond to a comment I saw on Facebook. Somebody on Facebook made a joke about Corbin and Ziggler fighting forever and some fool replied by mocking the fans who are now “complaining” after getting more feuds with slow burns. He talked about the fans wanting more lengthy storylines and then completely burying programs like this.

Let me explain something to this “fan” who made this comment. Here’s the issue with this theory. The fans do want detailed feuds that go on for months, provided that they are good. That’s all well and good. However, this feud is not good. This feud is not interesting. The WWE has not given us any new reasons for wanting to see these two fight again. The whole feud is based around one man winning a match, an attack from the loser which leads to another match. This is a cycle that is going on for some many feuds in WWE. This mindset does not give fans reasons to want to keep watching these matches. Instead, they zone out unless the match happens to be between wrestlers like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

I actually remembered back to a feud between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels in 2008. I thought about this as I was writing up my Retro Express piece on Unforgiven 2008, which featured their unsactioned fight. You know what was so great about that feud? Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and the WWE gave us a reason to want to keep watching these two go at it and their feud lasted from April 2008 to November 2008. That’s a really long period of time but they were able to keep the audience invested into that feud as they gave us something different each month. The feud stared with the question being asked of whether Jericho could trust Shawn. Then it became a blood feud, with Jericho turning on Shawn for lying to him. Then it became a personal feud, as Jericho punched Shawn’s wife at Summerslam. After Shawn destroyed Jericho and after Jericho won the World title at Unforgiven, it became a world title feud. The story of the feud changed each month as the WWE realised that the fans didn’t want to see these two wrestlers do the EXACT same thing each month. They wanted something different.

Ziggler and Corbin don’t give us anything like that. Not to mention that these two already did several blow-off matches, with Corbin beating up Ziggler at Extreme Rules and then Ziggler kicking Corbin in the nuts on RAW. There’s no other reason to keep the feud going, other than to waste the audience’s time. The audience felt that their time was wasted in this match. There were large chants of “boring” and “let’s go Ziggler, Ziggler sucks” among with others. With chants like that, it’s pretty obvious that the fans don’t want to see this match again.

With that said, this was an OK match. I was not blown away by it and it was boring in places but the right man won and HOPEFULLY both men can move onto different things.

 

 

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Becky Lynch and Natalya vs Charlotte and Dana Brooke

This was an OK women’s tag team match. Natalya, Becky and Charlotte are all good workers and Dana was doing fine when in the ring with these three talented wrestlers. The finish saw Dana throw Becky into Natalya, with the babyfaces clashing heads, leading to the heels picking up the win. The aftermath was the really important part.

Natalya is in tears in the ring as Becky tries to console her. Becky lifts her up as the fans start to applaud, which leads to Natalya turning on her friend Becky and attacking her. Natalya did in fact turn heel.

I don’t have a problem with Natalya turning heel and a potential feud between Becky and Natalya. Those two are really good workers and it’ll keep Natalya’s character fresh by having her be a full-blown heel for the first time in a number of years. However, the issue for me is what it took to get there.

Think about this for a moment. Natalya got beat in her last three pay-per-view matches against Charlotte and takes her anger out on Becky. Why did she attack Becky? The obvious explanation is that she was taking out her pent-up frustration but why was Becky the target? After getting beat by the heels, it did no favours for Becky and Natalya to do that angle. After losing to Charlotte and Dana, now these two losers are going to face each other in a feud. Other than personal interest in the careers of Becky and Natalya as well as the potential their matches could have, I have no other reason to see these two girls wrestle. If they had won this tag match and then they did the feud, then at least the two girls would be more interesting to the viewers. If they had the two beat the Women’s champion in a pay-per-view tag team match, fans might start to wonder whether that will lead to a title match for one of these women down the road.

Let’s say that they went with this. Natalya lost her two matches with Charlotte at Payback and Extreme Rules. She is very much disappointed with herself and is going into this match looking to at least get some redemption against her bitter rival Charlotte. So Natalya gets the hot tag and runs wild. She has Charlotte on the verge of tapping when Dana breaks it up. As Natalya is brawling with Dana, Becky makes a blind tag. Becky hits an exploder suplex and gets the pin or makes Charlotte tap out with the “dis-arm-her” finisher. However, Natalya is still annoyed at Becky for stealing this victory from her so she turns on Becky.

Natalya’s claim is that Becky was being selfish in stealing the victory from Natalya, when Becky knew how much a victory over Charlotte meant to her. Becky can lash back by claiming that all she did was try to win the match for her team. Natalya was in trouble with Dana, so Becky made the blind tag to make sure that she could capitalise on a weakened Charlotte. Both these women would have legitimate motivations for a feud and both of these women would be WINNERS after beating the heel tag team at a pay-per-view.

Maybe if the writers would stop going out of there way to elevate Charlotte and think about the rest of the women, maybe you could have an actually dandy women’s division. Instead, we’ve only got one women in the entire division that is even booked as a winner. Really does annoy me.

 

 

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Apollo Crews vs Sheamus

There was a lot of brawling between Apollo and Sheamus. It was very hard to get interested into this match but there was a lot of big hits with Sheamo and Crews. Crews won. The right man won in this match as the newcomer beat the veteran. I’m under the impression that this feud will lead to a rematch at Battleground, which is probably not the best route to take with these two. Keep Apollo fresh by squaring him off with other wrestlers. Him wrestling the same old mid-card talent is not going to do him any favours.

 

 

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John Cena vs AJ Styles

This match actually told a really good story. This was John Cena’s first match since December 2015 and he was up against a very active AJ Styles in this dream match. With Cena showing ring rust, AJ completely wrestled circles around the dude. Cena was constantly outmatched and out-thought by AJ as he had beaten him in every turn. This even led to Cena looking visually tired, which I’ll get onto later. AJ had all the tools to out-do him but he couldn’t put him away. When the referee was down, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson showed up and hit the Magic Killer, giving AJ the victory.

I will say that I will give the announcers credit in the fact that they played up how this was a big dream match that was ruined by the Club. This was exactly what the finish of the match demanded. I know there are a lot of people upset with the finish, believing that AJ should have won cleanly. However, I have no problem with this finish as AJ IS THE HEEL. He is supposed to cheat every once in a while and this match demanded a screwy finish. Anyone that has any clue about who the Bullet Club was should know that the Club were such good heels as they went against Japanese wrestling tradition. Interference and shenanigans were all part of the US adaptation of wrestling, which some will argue hurt wrestling as a whole. If a match like Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi ended with interference from the Bullet Club, that would lead to the Japanese being annoyed that they didn’t get a proper finish because of the dastardly Bullet Club. Gallows and Anderson ruined the match and JBL went on about how much of a disgrace that this finish was. Why do people feel that all the heels should win every match clean? Wouldn’t that defy the logic of what being a heel is all about?

Those were the positives of the match. Let me move onto the negatives. Firstly, Big Match John returned back to his glory days in terms of calling spots really loud in the ring. I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with calling spots in a match, if everything Cena said was not picked up on the referee’s hidden mic. Cena talked A LOT during this match which is not good. I have a feeling that this will decrease over time with the next few matches these two have but it is worrying for a fifteen year veteran to feel the need to call spots this loudly.

My next complaint is actually of the announcers. I did give them credit earlier but here’s the negatives. I mentioned that John Cena could have been suffering from ring rust, which would have explained why Cena looked slow in the ring. Bryan Alvarez from Wrestling Observer came up with a much better explanation, which is probably the best sounding theory. A day or two before Money In The Bank, John Cena traveled to China for that big conference where he was talking fluently in Mandarin. A short time after this trip to China, he is out there wrestling AJ STYLES of all people in a big match and looked slow and not himself. Hopefully you all are figuring out what I’m hinting towards, so I may as well just spill it out… JOHN CENA WAS SUFFERING FROM JET LAG.

These announcers, having mentioned Cena’s trip to China during that match, failed to make the link between Cena looking slow and his trip to China. The announcers didn’t bring it up. Jet lag would have been a great way to explain it so you also protect Cena even more. They could have even claimed that AJ was staying in Las Vegas for a few days before the event, to get used to the humidity. Having been to Las Vegas myself, I can tell you for a fact that the conditions at this desert were certainly hard to get used to. I’m from England and I was going to Las Vegas so OF COURSE I would not feel like myself. John Cena had made the trip from CHINA to LAS VEGAS. Of course he was going to be knackered.

With that said, it was a very well structured match. If only these writers did a better job at explaining a lot of this booking, perhaps my opinion of this match would have dramatically rose.

 

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Dean Ambrose vs Cesaro vs Kevin Owens vs Alberto Del Rio vs Chris Jericho vs Sami Zayn in a Money In The Bank ladder match

This was a really good Money In The Bank ladder match. These six have all been able to work well against each other and when you throw them together, you’re going to be in for a treat. My only major criticism, and it’s not really a big one, is the fact that this will not go down as one of the most memorable Money In The Bank matches of all time. There weren’t really a lot of memorable high-risk spots that I’ll remember in a few years time. The spot with Sami Zayn launching Kevin Owens onto the edge of the ladder was probably the closest one you’ll get, and it really was a sick bump for Owens to take. He was leaning on the ladder and the first thing that popped into my mind was a scene in the Simpsons where Homer was punched, landing on a fire hydrant and his back was arched on that hydrant. What Homer said after that punch was “this is more painful than it looks”, which was probably what Kevin Owens was thinking!

Everyone was able to get involved in the spots, including those not usually associated with this kind of match like Alberto Del Rio. We got an awesome spot from Cesaro, where he jumped off the ladder onto the ropes and then uppercutted Kevin Owens. That was one of Cesaro’s greatest uppercuts of all time and Cesaro throws some of the best uppercuts in the world. That basically means that this was one of the best uppercuts in wrestling history.

We had the usual spots of all six man battling on the ladders to reach the briefcase. They then had the ladders set up in a weird way, which allowed all six of them to do battle on the ladders. That spot might actually be one of those moments that people will remember. The end of the match saw Dean knock down Owens and win the briefcase.

I guess the reason why I don’t think that this ladder match will be that memorable is because of what happened at the end of the night being far more memorable. I sort of remembered Kane’s Money In The Bank match in 2010 when he won it, but his cash-in later that night sticks out even more. This was probably the same with Dean.

 

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Rusev (c) vs Titus O’Neil for the United States Championship

There was a great start to this match where Rusev and Titus O’Neil were outside on opposite ends to the ring. These two big bulls locked eyes, ran around the ring and clashed into each other with a massive double clothesline spot. A great big man spot to start the match.

Rusev won with the Accolade. Following the victory, we got an awesome post-match promo from Rusev. Being the absolute best heel he possibly could be, Rusev was out of the ring and stood next to Titus’ kids. He teased them about their father and told them that Titus was a loser. Then he left feeling triumphant.

I’ve got to say that Rusev will be one of the most over wrestlers in this company by the end of the year if the WWE keep going in this direction. The WWE are now well aware how great a talker Rusev is. He is tremendous at being an evil Russian and being a complete dick to his opponents and even THEIR FAMILY! He beats up these foolish mid-carders, reminds us that these mid-carders are failures and then leaves with Lana. Right now, it must be great to be Rusev! Easily my favourite thing going in all of WWE.

 

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Roman Reigns (c) vs Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship

I would not put this in the same realm as the last two pay-per-view main events, featuring Roman Reigns’ battles with AJ Styles. However, this was a good match between the two former Shield members. The match structure was very unique in the sense that Rollins worked the majority of the match as a babyface and Roman worked a lot of the match as a heel. There were even times when Roman mocked Seth, with Seth responding defiantly. Roman and Seth were both great in their roles for this match, which is another reason for why WWE should be pushing for a Roman Reigns heel turn. The dude is a natural big bad guy and Seth has the speed and the moveset of a babyface. Some great stuff here.

Seth was really going all out to try and test his knee, with a number of flips and dangerous moves. They even did a spot where Seth was thinking about doing the same powerbomb that he tried against Kane, which saw him blow his knee out. He hesitated but eventually did it and he seemed to have found his confidence. Not really sure whether it was wise for Seth to go all out in terms of testing out his knee.

There were some cool spots, including Seth countering Roman’s spear with a mid-air pedigree. The more I think about this spot, the more impressed I am by it. Seth was not able to hook the hands of Roman in mid-air, but the fact that he caught Roman’s head with his legs in mid-air and drove Roman head-first into the mat is an incredible feat. In hindsight, this should have been the finish.

Seth eventually hit another pedigree and defeated Roman CLEAN IN THE MIDDLE to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. With the news of Roman’s suspension, it does make a bit more sense about why Seth beat Roman clean here. I wouldn’t have booked a clean finish in this match due to what happened in the post-match, but I’ll dive into that in a bit. Overall, a good match with a surprising finish upon first viewing.

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Once the match was over and Seth Rollins hoisted the championship up high, Dean Ambrose’s music hits. Seth valiantly stood his ground, ready for Dean to fight him. He does not run, he does not hide and he is ready for a fight. Despite this, Dean Ambrose hits him with the briefcase from behind. Dean had an emotionless look on his face as he turned to the referee and gave him the briefcase. Dean then hits the Dirty Deeds and pins Seth Rollins. As soon as he wins, the fans go crazy. Meanwhile, the announcers are playing up the idea that Dean had finally won the big one after years of struggling. What they failed to mention however, is the fact that it was unfair for Seth to win the title fairly only to be cheapshotted and beaten for the title.

This is NOT going to be a popular opinion… but I was not a fan of this cash-in. Don’t get me wrong. The cash-in worked in getting Dean Ambrose over. Seth’s victory worked in keeping Seth looking strong. The idea of all three Shield members holding the WWE title on the same night is pretty cool when you think about it. However, this cash-in flies in the face of the idea of story-telling. For you see, the only one acting like a babyface at Money In The Bank was Seth Rollins… who is SUPPOSED to be a heel.

Seth wrestled the entire match with Roman Reigns as a full-blown babyface and WON the match as a babyface. He beat the man clean in the middle. You know what would have been really great? If you really wanted to make it seem like this was poetic justice when Dean cashed in on Seth, why not have Seth CHEAT to win? Why doesn’t he just act like a heel should and beat Roman either by hitting him with the belt or grabbing his tights? All this finish did was make Roman look bad, which was probably the idea considering Roman’s suspension. However, let’s just pretend for a second that Roman wasn’t suspend. The WWE are still promoting Roman for the main event at Battleground against Seth and Dean. Shouldn’t you do whatever you could to protect Roman before that match? By beating Roman clean, the only wrestlers that have credible claims to be in the WWE Championship match at Battleground is Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

Seth even said on RAW that Roman had no claim to a rematch as Seth beat him legitimately and cleanly. If Seth cheated to beat Roman, then Dean cashed in, then you can actually lead the audience to believing that Seth had this coming. Dean’s actions seem justified in the fact that Seth screwed over his best friend, so Dean might as well screw over Seth. Seth still has a legitimate claim for a rematch and it’s not like you hurt Seth, and Roman still has a legitimate claim for a rematch and it’s not like you hurt Roman. That way, a triple threat match at Battleground is more justified and all three combatants seem on par with each other.

I made the argument on SLTD Wrestling that it was in the company’s best interest to turn Seth into a babyface at Money In The Bank. You don’t necessarily have to turn Roman or Dean, although one of them turning would probably be best. However, there’s no reason to keep Seth as a heel but have him wrestle as a face. If Seth’s going to wrestle like that, then he should have just came back as a babyface. Now though, the chances of an eventual Rollins babyface turn in the future having the big impact that it should have are just rapidly decreasing. The reason for this is because you’re dragging it out. It’s watered down as Seth is facing the wrath of two babyfaces (one for the next 30 days) who are screwing him out of the title. At the end of the day, you are wasting everyone’s time who are losing investment into Seth’s character. The fans are quickly losing interest in Seth as Dean Ambrose is now the face that runs the place and is the most over man in the company. There’s a chance that a turn at Summerslam might be good, depending on how you execute it. However, I’m just not that confident about the future of Seth if he doesn’t turn soon.

With that said, this cash-in was a successful one with regards to the fan reactions and how over Dean Ambrose is. He’ll be a top champion and the viewership for the RAW after Money In The Bank went up significantly from last week. I can’t argue with the numbers but the storyline aspects of this is just very detrimental. That’s actually part of a bigger issue with the company, which is the lack of definition for the characters of ALL of their talent. The fans can cheer and boo for whoever they want. That’s all fine. The bigger issue is the fact that if you don’t make it clear about the motivations and alignments of all of your talent, the fans aren’t going to care at all.

 

 

UFC On Fox: dos Santos vs Miocic – Alistiar Overeem Finishes Stefan Struve Quickly In Important Bout

Stefan Stuve vs Alistair Overeem

Alistair Overeem scored a huge victory at UFC on FOX, finishing off Stefan Struve in the first round.

Not many times has Overeem fought a fighter as tall as Struve, but Overeem seemed to have no trouble getting by the man he called “the tallest fighter he ever faced.”

Overeem went for a grapple 50 seconds into the fight, but Struve managed to break things up

Overeem scored a nice belly-to-belly like takedown two minutes into the fight.

Overeem went into the ground and pound and scored huge hits.

However, Struve did a good job on the on the defense kicking Overeem away frustrating him and the crowd

Overeem eventually got back into the thick off things and few big hits later, it was all over!

Great work on the incredibly tall and dangerous Struve. He went for the grapple on Stefan rather than the strikes which proved to be effective for Overeem. Good to see Overeem on the winning books tonight!

WWE Night Of Champions 2013 Review – WWE Give Us The Worst Pay-Per-View Of The Year As Daniel Bryan Wins The WWE Title Off A Fast Count!

Wrestling fans, I am “Big Hungry” Tom Robinson here again. We’re coming off Night Of Champions with a lot of controversy coming off the main event and a lot of things to address because I really wasn’t impressed by last night’s event. Nothing really stood out for me, other than the main event. There was only one title change and all the matches seemed really flat to me, as did the fans for all but two of the matches. Let’s get to it…

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An Impromptu Intercontinental Title match sees Curtis Axel FINALLY defeat Kofi Kingston

We start off the show with COO Triple H addressing the WWE universe and stating that the WWE Championship match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton would have ZERO interference, making it a fair one on one encounter. This was interrupted by Paul Heyman and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel, with Heyman making a last-minute plea to Triple H to cancel his and Axel’s handicap elimination match against CM Punk later on. Triple H started to mess with Heyman and Axel by questioning Heyman’s trust in Axel’s ability and refused to cancel the match. Curtis Axel then got the mic and suggests that Triple H is still holding a grudge over his defeat to Axel on May 20th 2013. Yes, Axel actually stated when his first victory over HHH took place. Axel’s talking got him into trouble as HHH would then put Axel in an IC Championship defence to start the show against the first person he sees when he goes to the back (which just so happens to be Kofi Kingston, the guy Axel has lost to a couple of times in the last few weeks. How convenient). Two things were really off about this segment I believe….

  1. Triple H still having a grudge with Heyman and Axel sort of makes the new corporation seem sort of face if you will. It takes away the heat that the corparation has when he messes with fellow heel Paul Heyman.
  2. I hated that the fans were chanting “BORING” during Axel’s promo. For god’s sake, give the guy a chance to talk. Yeah, Axel’s not the greatest talker but at least give him the chance at least without unleashing a “BORING” chant.

The match itself was really good in comparisons to their matches on RAW and SmackDown! over the last couple of weeks. Some really good near-falls during the match, including Axel kicking out of the S.O.S. Axel got the victory and gives himself confidence ahead of going up against CM Punk in the handicap match, which was actually upgraded to a No-DQ Elimination Handicap Match. Good way to start off the show.

 

Awkward Botch Ruins An Already Awkward Divas Title Match

Before AJ Lee’s Divas Title defence against Naomi, Natalya and Brie Bella in a fatal four way, Alicia Fox and Aksana both ended their alliance with AJ, with Layla possibly doing the same. This was like the shortest stable in WWE history! It lasted like 2 weeks and it could have actually been a decent stable if they didn’t lose their first match together last week on RAW. Anyway, it appears AJ will have no back-up against the 3 divas from “Total Divas” that she slandered on RAW 3 weeks ago.

To be honest, it was a decent effort by all 4 women. They tried to make the match as interesting as possible and you’ve got to commend them for that. All 4 women had their fair share of time to show their stuff. But to be honest, this never seemed to get the fans interested one bit. It felt so awkward and out of place. The only time the fans popped during this match was then Natalya locked in the double sharpshooter. Also, it didn’t help when the referee made a HUGE error near the end of the match…

Right, Natalya scoop-slammed Brie Bella onto Naomi who was taken out before. Anyway, Brie Bella’s laying on top of Naomi for about 20 seconds, Naomi’s shoulders were down, and the referee did NOTHING. He was supposed to make the count and all he and Natalya were doing was just staring at both women. Sure, it’s nice to stare at two women on top of one another but he should have made the god-damn count. Even the commentators were even yelling at him to make the count. It was one of the most awkward botches of the year in my opinion. Anyway, the one thing to take as a positive from this match was that AJ Lee retained the championship.

 

A disqualification sees RVD’s World Title Hopes Shattered By Alberto Del Rio

To be honest, this match was nowhere near as good as Del Rio’s recent title defences against Dolph Ziggler and Christian in recent pay-per-view, but it was at least a decent effort. The only thing that was off-putting about this match was the fact that it ended in a disqualification. When RVD got to the ropes after being locked-in the Cross-Armbrearker, Del Rio refused to break the hold and was disqualified. This hurts Del Rio’s credibility a bit as this is the second time in 3 PPV World Title defences that Del Rio’s retained the title on a disqualification. Del Rio should have made RVD tap out. Maybe their setting up a rematch at Battleground for all I know. At least I hope so because I think will a bit more time this match could be a lot more improved at Battleground.

 

The Miz and Fandango Are Given A Match On A PPV… why?

The Miz vs Fandango has been like the least appealing rivalry of the year and for some absurd reason they were given a PPV match. Really? I mean it’s bad enough that Fandango showed up to ANOTHER PPV but he has to go up against The Miz of all people? Two guys who I can’t stand right now and their match was such a bland match. I hope this is the end of their feud because the fact that I had to sit through that match just really wound me up. -.-

 

Ryback Helps Heyman Against CM Punk And Becomes The New “Paul Heyman Guy”

This match went exactly as I thought it would. Axel fights Punk. Punk beats Axel. Beats Up Heyman A Little Bit. Taken Out By A New “Paul Heyman Guy”. While I didn’t like the predictability of it all, I like the way it was executed. It was a really brutal exchange between Axel and Punk, with kendo sticks and chairs being used in the fray, as well as a table being set up. However, CM Punk would make Axel tap out, leaving Paul Heyman to Punk. After chasing him around a little bit, Punk finally got his hands on Heyman and beat the crap out of him with the kendo stick. He event handcuffed him and then unleashed a fury of kendo stick shots on Heyman. Just as Punk had finished the beatdown, Ryback made his way to the ring and speared Punk through the table. This proved to be enough to put Punk down for the count to three as Heyman picked up the victory over Punk.

I do feel that CM Punk should have took a lot more damage from Ryback before getting pinned. I think it should have been more than a spear through the table to put Punk away considering how resilient he was against Brock Lesnar during their feud. It seems a little bit unbelievable that Punk can take a beating from Lesnar and still keep fighting, but one spear through the table from Ryback and he’s done. However, this was a good way to introduce Ryback as the new “Paul Heyman Guy” though. Ryback does need Paul Heyman as his manager. Ryback’s bullying gimmick had to stop and with Heyman on board he could actually go places. But the question is, with Ryback supposedly on board, where does that leave Curtis Axel?

 

The Shield Retain All Their Gold At Night Of Champions With Dolph Ziggler and The Prime Time Players Getting A Taste Of “Justice”

Yep. The Shield still have all the gold they won back at Extreme Rules in May. Dean Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the US Championship and Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns defeated The Prime Time Players to retain the tag titles.

Let’s talk about the US Championship. It’s clear that Ziggler is still not sitting well with WWE right now just because the manner of his loss. No screwjob. No Shield-interference. He flat-out LOST to Dean Ambrose. It’s sad to see Ziggler being punished by WWE. I mean it’s not like the match was a great match anyway. It sort of felt like a TV match. It’s was OK, but it didn’t deserve to be on the card if it was going to be just… OK. If Ziggler was going to lose like we all knew he would, he should have at least had a great match with Ambrose which we know he’s capable of. But of course, when you’re in the WWE Dog House, the chances of you getting to look good goes right down the drain.

And the Tag Team Championship match. A very decent match and the fans were all over the Prime Time Players. Both guys looked strong against The Shield and I actually thought they’d beat The Shield near the end. But I think this might be just a prelude to their title win in weeks to come. I think after this match, the PTP look in a strong position to win the gold despite not winning in Detroit, Michigan.

So, up until this point, every champion has retained their championship. Only one champion remains to defend their title… WWE Champion Randy Orton…

 

Randy Orton Vs Daniel Bryan For The WWE Championship

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It was not the greatest of main events. In my opinion, Daniel and Orton have had plenty of better matches than this one was. It was really slow paced and it ended abruptly (I’ll get on the ending in a bit). It was one of Orton’s better matches and it’s good to see Orton’s been developing his wrestling as of late. He’s had a couple of stellar matches in the last few months. But, of course the thing that annoyed me about the match was the result. Daniel Bryan won of the flying kick he used to win the title from Cena at Summerslam… oh and a FAST 3 COUNT BY SCOTT ARMSTRONG!

Really? The night ended with a fast count? I read somewhere after the match that the commentators were not meant to mention the fast count, but they should have said at least something about it, especially JBL. The Heel Commentator JBL would have PLENTY to say about a fast count. I mean yeah – if Daniel won of the fast count and Triple H came out and reversed the decision that night, it’d make sense. But we’ve got to wait until RAW to find out the fate of the WWE Championship? I

All I’ll say is this… if Daniel’s title win stands, then it was a daft way for it to go down, and his regaining of the title came WAY too soon. I mean what does that say of the heel regime when they don’t have the WWE Championship anymore? I hope Triple H reverses the decision of the match on RAW. Because a face winning the title of a FAST COUNT makes zero sense. And Orton would have gotten royally screwed if the result of the match stands. Let’s just hope for the best, because I am not happy with how that “title change” took place.

Overall it was a really under-whelming PPV. I think it was the worst PPV of the year so far. While the WWE, IC and Tag Team title matches were all decent matches as was Punk vs Axel and Heyman , the Divas match was EXTREMELY AWKWARD, the US Title match was such a disappointment and the World Title match ending made Del Rio look weaker as a champion. The crowd weren’t into half of the matches, and that’s worrying and really decreases how good a show is when the crowd isn’t into it? With Battleground only 3 weeks away and Hell In A Cell only 3 weeks after that, PPVs are coming in thick and fast and WWE are going to have a hard time building up each one. I just hope that RAW can recover a badly-delivered PPV.

That was the Night Of Champions review. I’m Tom Robinson!

RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE POST! Vegeta from the Dragonball Z series being the expert counter that he is! Hey, I told you it was random! XD Follow the @ArmbarExpress On TWITTER!