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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: *3/4

 

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #43 (JULY 8TH 1996) – THE NIGHT AFTER BASH AT THE BEACH 1996

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

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The big main-event going into WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 was the “Hostile Takeover” match with Team WCW in Lex Luger, “Macho” Man Randy Savage and Sting battling “The Outsiders” Scott Hall and Kevin Nash and a mystery third man. The mystery man did not come out initially and the Outsiders claimed that they would be fine with just the two of them. Lex Luger got knocked out which turned this into a tag team match with Sting and Savage battling the Outsiders. As the Outsiders got the upper-hand, Hulk Hogan made his return to WCW to seemingly help Team WCW. However, Hogan betrayed WCW as it was revealed that he was the third man all along as the New World Order was officially formed.

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I was excited when getting ready to watch this episode of WCW Nitro. I was thinking that this was the first Nitro since Hulk Hogan turned heel and the nWo is now officially up and running. Imagine all of the things they could do with this and I felt this was going to feel like a completely different show.

I was half-right… it was a completely different show. However, it was a completely different show for the wrong reasons. Firstly, Hulk Hogan was not even there. They revealed later that Hogan would be here next week with the big follow up to the PPV. Hogan turning heel was the big reveal from Bash at the Beach and WCW didn’t even properly follow up on it for another week, therefore making this show essentially a filler episode.

Secondly, although Hogan was not there he was still the centre of attention. In literally every match, Hogan was mentioned as there was a sombre tone from the wrestlers and the commentators. Jimmy Hart was all quiet, Sting was all quiet (at first) and Rey Mysterio is cutting these promos about how the Mexican people were let down by Hulk Hogan.

This is going to be a bad analogy, but it felt like somebody had died this show was so bleak. The feeling watching this show was exactly like (well not exactly like for many reasons) I felt at the time when watching the Monday Night RAW after Eddie Guerrero died in 2005. That is a horrible comparison for many reasons because Eddie dying was a legitimate tragedy. However, there was a reason why people were not as upbeat sounding on that show. A wrestler had died. In 1996, Hulk Hogan had turned on the fans and they are treating this as literally the death of Hulk Hogan or Hulkamania.

The death of “Hulkamania”, which Kevin Sullivan did mention later, is not a bad idea on paper. However, the ENTIRE SHOW was dedicated to this. It was mostly the commentators that bothered me with the way they called the show. There was a number of good matches on this show amidst this funeral-like episode of WCW Monday Nitro. It was… depressing

 

Date: July 8th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

Dean Malenko © vs Rey Mysterio Jr. for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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A great opener to kick off the show, because obviously you need excitement to hype up the crowd during a show where the theme is the greatest hero in wrestling had turned his back on the fans. This title match made sense as Dean and Rey both won matches at Bash at the Beach, leading to this match for the Cruiserweight title.

Dean wrestled Rey to the ground and tried to keep him down but Rey was able to hold his own. Rey came back with some sweet arm drags and teased the 619. Rey ran wild with his speed with the match displaying some great chemistry between himself and Malenko.

Dean eventually cut him off with a backbreaker and went to work on the mat as they cut to a break. Dean threw Rey high in the air as Rey splattered into the ground. Dean locked on the camel clutch. Dean tried a kitchen sink but Rey reversed it into a school boy roll up for the near fall which was very smooth and very well done.

Dean launched Rey into the ropes with a suplex throw. Dean went for the chin lock. Dean then hit a big brainbuster on Rey on the floor. I’ve seen reviews saying Rey should have sold a bit more for this brainbuster but this isn’t really the first time where I’ve seen a brainbuster just casually busted out during one of these cruiserweight matches. Therefore, it didn’t seem that big of a deal to me although it probably should have.

Dean hit a scoop slam and when I say he hit a scoop slam, he got Rey up and literally threw this little man to the mat. Rey Mysterio Jr, as small as he was, demonstrated an incredible pain threshold during this match. This was even before he beefed up a little while working for WWE. This Rey Mysterio was so tiny and thrown around like a rag doll. He’s was thrown around like Enzo Amore for example.

Dean went for a pumphandle slam but Rey reversed it into a crossbody for a 2 count. Rey sent Dean over the top with a hurricanrana and Rey did a springboard moonsault to the outside. However, he complete missed Dean and went smacking into the concrete floor. It did not look pretty.

Rey hit a top rope hurricanrana for a  2 count which the fans popped big for. Dean hit the top rope gutbuster but Dean pulled Rey off the mat after the cover which Larry scolded him for, as he had the man beat.  Dean threw Rey with a belly-to-belly suplex and, again, pulled Rey’s own shoulder up from the mat when he went to cover him. This confidence and cockiness would backfire as Rey pulled off a west coast pop of nowhere to win the title to a huge reaction!

A good opener but I can’t help but feel Rey’s win just seemed to come out nowhere. I also don’t particular approve of Dean pulling Rey’s shoulders up when he had the man beat. I understand the story but let’s pretend it was Hornswoggle, Disco Inferno or some comedy act that was gonna beat Dean Malenko. In those scenarios, Dean being cocky and then getting beating would be even better as Dean allowed himself to lose to a complete underdog.

I wouldn’t consider Rey to be a complete underdog, especially considered he earned his title shot against Psychosis the night before. If Dean could have beat Rey easily and was just shown playing with him, I think it made Rey look like a weak contender. Other than that, I thought this was a good opener and a shot of adrenaline to an otherwise sterile show.

 

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Nasty Boys and The Steiners, as they had a number one contendership match for the WCW tag titles later on in the show. Scott Steiner yelled about Harlem Heat for a while. Scott called Brian a fatso but he did respect the Nasty Boys’ ability. Scott said we would find out who the better team was. Jerry Sags said they only care about who won the match. Rick Steiner yelled that he smelled the heat and he was coming for them. He told the Nasty Boys that if they get in the way, it’s not gonna be personal what happens to them. Brian Knobbs yelled that they both respected each other. An aggressive way for both teams to say they respect each other!

In case anyone has wondered, a Glacier promo aired just like they’d done each and every week for what feels like 10 years.

 

“The Dungeon of Doom” Big Bubba and Hugh Morrus w/Jimmy Hart vs “The Blue Bloods” Lord Steven Regal and Squire David Taylor

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A complete waste of time. All you need to know is that John Tenta ran down and attacked Bubba which led to the finish of Regal and Taylor double-backdropping Hugh in the ring to score a pin fall win. Because lord knows we must continue to see this John Tenta vs Big Bubba feud even after Tenta has beaten him clean twice on PPV. The worst part is that it its Tenta initiating the continuation of this feud which makes zero sense. You’ve gotten your revenge. Why are you pursuing this pointless feud? Anyway, absolute nothingness.

 

Psychosis vs Eddie Guerrero

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Prior to this match was my most hated moment of the show. The previous tag team match was the biggest waste of time but this inset promo with Rey Mysterio after winning the Cruiserweight title (although it is possible they pre-taped this interview) completely undermined and took away from his big title win from about TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE. By the way, 20 minutes is seriously low-balling it. I was probably 10 minutes. Anyway so Mysterio just won the title and all over a sudden. he cut this promo about being disappointed in who the third man was at the Bash at the Beach. He cut a very sad promo as if someone had died. He was almost in mourning over this Hulk Hogan deal while completely no-selling his cruiserweight title win. There was not ONE MENTION OF IT by Rey… I was furious. Again, this could have been a pre-tape, but couldn’t they have shown this Rey promo before he won the title?

It completely undercut and rip to shreds the value of the big title at the start of the show all in the name of putting over this Hulk Hogan storyline. Of course, commentator Larry Zybsko threatened Rey from the announce booth.

There was tremendous stuff from Eddie and Pyschosis in this match. Eddie and Pyschosis wrestled for the headlock for a long time as Pyschosis tried his best to get out of the headlock of all moves. As talked about in this blog multiple times, it made the simplest hold seem so important in this match and I approve that kind of psychology.

Psychosis smacked into Eddie with a whisper in the wind corkscrew to the outside. Psychosis worked on the arm, doing things like wrenching the arm and then smashing it into the corner. Psychosis locked on an armbar and then draped the arm over the top rope

They revealed Hogan will be on Nitro live next week to talk about Bash at the Beach. Eddie did a frankensteiner for a near fall. Eddie turned a double axe handle from Pyschosis into an atomic drop. Eddie smashed into the ring post and Psychosis took advantage with a top rope Frankensteiner for a near fall.

Pyschosis went for a moonsault but Eddie cut him off for an electric chair drop which Pyschosis turned into a sit-out powerbomb. Pyschosis and Eddie suddenly started working really fast all of a sudden. I figured the second hour dynamite clock was about to go off but no, they just for some reason had to rush to the finish. I say this because all of a sudden Eddie then hit a superplex and a frog splash for the win out of nowhere.

A good match but they seemed determined to rush the last few minutes of the match so I wonder if they realised they didn’t have much time left and had to take it home. If only they cut out the previous tag team match and they probably would have been fine for time in this match.

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Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart, Taskmaster and WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant. Jimmy said this is the first time he’s lost for words and had no comment, even after all of these years of managing and having a business relationship with the Hulkster.

Taskmaster said he lived for the destruction and demise of Hulkamania for a year and a half an all the evil came back upon him as Hogan ended up destroying Hulkamania himself. Taskmaster said he was denied the chance to destroy Hogan himself and all of that work led to nothing. The Giant told the managers not to worry about it because as long as he had the WCW title, nothing in WCW can go wrong. The Giant reminded them that he took the title from Hogan at Havoc. The Giant bragged about beating the Four Horsemen and not having to work tonight.

Uproxx.com has a WCW Nitro series similar to mine called The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro. It was written years ago and it’s worth checking out their series alongside mine. The link to their review of this particular show can be clicked on here. Anyway, they make a solid point about one the best aspects of Dungeon of Doom feud being the lengths that the Dungeon of Doom went to in order to destroy Hulkamania. From summoning immortal giants, yetis, sharks and so much more, now they just have to live with Hogan killing off Hulkamania on his own!

Brandon Stroud, the writer of the piece, said: “That’s one of the hilarious, unspoken aspects of the Hogan heel turn … these enormous group of comical wrestling heels banded together to finally end this guy, going so far as to empower the son of Andre the Giant in a mystical, cold-water cave and unearth a buttf*cking Himalayan ice mummy from the north face of Mount Kilimanjaro, to orchestrate rooftop monster-truck sumo battles with explosives and triple-decker cage matches in near darkness, and all they had to do was point him in the direction of some young guys and say, “hey, those guys are gonna take your spot if you don’t pretend you’re their friend.” That’s all you needed to do. The secret to destroying Hulkamania was convincing it Hulkamania was almost over.”

 

 

“The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags vs “The Steiners Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner in a number one contendership match for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I’m just over these Nasty Boys matches and even with the Steiners involved, this match did absolutely nothing for me.

Scott and Jerry started. Jerry smashed away with back elbows and the Nasty Boys punched away at Scott in their corner. They smashed Scott with a double shoulder block.

Scott hit a tiger powerbomb and Rick cut off Brian as the Steiners took control of the ring. Knobbs smashed into Rick with a stinger splash in the corner. Rick slammed Brian around for a while. Scott hit a big T-Bone suplex. Sags waffled Scott with a chair on the outside, which was not a DQ as the fireworks went off for hour two.

I love how the fireworks went off and Bishcoff introduced the SECOND HOUR, with a FULL MINUTE of the cameras panning away from the “action” to show the fans and these fireworks. Never mind that there’s a match going on – look at all these beautiful fireworks! It was ridiculous.

Scott hit suplexes left and right as they showed Col Parker with Sister Sherri coming down to the ring. Parker then hit Knobbs with the cane as Scott picked up the win. I am now so lost with this Col Robert Parker thing. Last week, he helped Harlem Heat beat the Steiners to retain the tag titles. This week, with his beloved Sister Sherri back, he helped the Steiners. I have no idea of the kayfabe reasoning for why they helped The Steiners.

Not to mention, there’s been no mention of Madusa in months after she was involved in ruining Sherri and Parker’s wedding. This whole storyline has went from oddly interesting to complete nonsense in a matter of months.

 

Eric Bischoff shrugged off answering Bobby Heenan’s question of where Bischoff was for the main-event. The Nasty Boys were being interviewed by Mean Gene in the ring. Jerry yelled about wrestling being about attitude and there were always nasty. He said the big man along with the cane just sent a lighting bolt through his head with a big message that said “change was inevitable.” Sags said they needed to change and it’ll be a cold day in hell before what happened against the Steiners happens again to Nasty Boys. Knobbs yelled that they didn’t condone what Hogan did but he saw nothing wrong with what he did either. Knobbs yelled that the nWo do whatever they wanted just like the Nasty Boys did. So yeah, the Nasty Boys were randomly heels again. To be honest, I thought they were already heels. It’s hard to tell with these two.

 

Ric Flair © w/Woman, Miss Elizabeth and Debra McMichael vs Jim Powers for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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Fireworks were going off like crazy at Disneyland as Flair was coming out. Bischoff is all quiet on commentary as he talks about Hogan. Bischoff said Powers was not anxious after Powers was shown to be so anxious, he ran down to the ring for his entrance and did a quick headlock takeover!

Woman raked the eyes of Powers. Powers tried a sunset flip but Ric cut him off with a punch to the face. Jim chopped away at Flair. Jim didn’t really seem to be any good in this match and I was begging for him to slow down. You’re in the ring with RIC FLAIR for god’s sake. He was trying to go super fast and didn’t look good in the process and he seemed more blown up than energised.

Ric did a knee drop to Powers’ legs and yanked at the leg before he finally locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Powers verbally submitted as Ric Flair retained the title. This was… a bland match.

They revealed Kevin Greene will be on the show next week.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen and the women without Chris Benoit for some reason. Arn said there were highs and lows for the Horsemen at Bash at the Beach. Arn said what happened at the end of the night made him wanna puke. Arn said Hogan was supposed to stand for something and not leave and let people’s hearts be stomped on. Arn claimed that the Horsemen never claimed to be role models but Hogan let people believe that he was a role model, which was where he drew the line. Arn actually cut a great promo laying into Hogan.

So as all the heels are all banded together in being disgusted in Hogan, Ric Flair does not care one bit as he is just VINTAGE Ric Flair if you will. He put over Arn and Mongo and talked about driving little girls out of their heads. Ric talked about going all night long. I love Ric Flair promos but he was all over the place with this promo! He started making a point… and then just move onto his next point! This was not one of the better Ric Flair promos he’s ever cut. He was on another planet tonight!

 

Chris Benoit vs Sgt Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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I feel a bit bad for not liking this match more. It was the type of match you’d get if you did Chris Benoit vs Scott Steiner for example. However, Sgt. Craig Pittman was in there. He doesn’t really do anything for me when watching these WCW shows. He got blown up here with Benoit, who seemed determined to blow Pittman up in this match.

Pittman slammed Benoit to the ground and hit a big belly to belly suplex with Benoit bouncing off the ropes to start off the match. He dropped Benoit on the head with a german suplex. Benoit worked on Pittman’s knees and stomped to the head. Pittman was shown panting and breathing heavy as he gassed. Benoit locked on the crossface and Teddy told the referee to ring the bell as Pittman refused to give up. To me, this was another waste of time. It’s Chris Benoit of the Four Horsemen. Just let him have the clean pin.

 

Sting vs Arn Anderson

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With the tone of the show and the cruiserweights predominantly in the first hour, they eventually hit the atmosphere of a real life funeral with this main-event. It was Sting vs Arn Anderson and nobody cared. Sting was shown to visibly not care as he was mostly spaced out during his entrance. Arn offered the handshake to Sting but Sting refused with Sting very quiet, not roaring the crowd or anything. He looked like a man defeated after one of his allies turned to the side of evil.

Obviously, Arn was upset at the actions of Hogan from the night before. I guess the story was that both men were going at half speed. I say this because it felt so quiet and it felt like a nothing match.

Arn and Sting traded hammerlocks. Arn tried a piledriver on the floor but Sting turned Arn over. Sting tried to leap frog Arn but Arn caught him and slammed him with a spinebuster which I actually think was the one cool spot they did.

Arn choked away at Sting. Arn locked on the abdominal stretch. Sting got out of it with a hip toss. Arn locked on the Boston crab. They show a black limo that Bischoff had referred to earlier on in the match. Sting caught Arn coming off the top rope with his own clothesline.

They fought and fought for a while until Kevin Nash and Scott Hall came out of the limo, coming down to the ring.  Sting hit a top rope clothesline. Security cut off the Outsiders as Arn and Sting stopped wrestling. Even Randy Savage came down to the ring. Arn took advantage and tried a DDT on Sting but the Stinger reversed into a scorpion death lock to get the win.

Savage went for the Outsiders through security. A very quiet main-event and a really disappointing use of the Outsiders for this show on the night after Hogan turned heel.

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Mean Gene interviewed Sting after the match. After Sting was seemingly defeated and zombified by what Hogan did the night before, he proceeded to cut what was the possibly the greatest promo he’s ever cut. I always considered Sting to be a good promo so this promo was right up there with some of my favourite promos in wrestling history.

Sting said he’s not surprised about what was coming from the Outsiders. He was surprised by Hogan but he should have known this was coming for Hogan, as Hogan wanted to travel down to town with a big fat limo. Sting mentioned that Hogan was too busy walking on the dark side, making movies and calling Savage, Luger and Sting “3 little dogs.” I actually think I remember Hogan saying something about those three on Nitro so it was a great bit of continuity.

Sting said he made a big mistake in trusting Hogan but Hogan made an even bigger mistake. Sting yelled at Hogan for telling the fans to believe in themselves but now they now know not the believe in Hogan. He said Hogan told the fans to stick it but Sting said “Hogan, you can stick it.” This was emotional, passionate and had a sense of realism that Sting was giving the fans “the inside scoop” on what Hogan was really like. He made Hogan out to be the worst of the worst for letting down the fans and Sting was not having that. It was a glorious promo.

Savage said he’s got a message for “Hollywood” Hogan and said what he wants to do he can’t say on television and in Disney World of all places! He told Hogan to take the worst thing he can think of and times it by 9 million and then multiply it by infinity beyond because it is scary what he’s gonna do to do. Savage’s promo was not particularly good. It obviously didn’t help with Sting’s fabulous promo right before it but even without that, it was really hard for me to figure what Savage was on about at times.

You know what this was like? Remember when Seth Rollins turned on The Shield in 2014. The night after, Dean Ambrose cut this absolutely phenomenal promo about what he’s gonna do to Seth Rollins. He gave the mic to Roman and Roman was completely flat with his promo. Again, Roman was following up DEAN AMBROSE who sounded like he wanted to murder Seth! Sting and Savage in 1996 had this same dynamic.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Nash said that WCW took a beating and the fans took a beating as Hogan told them exactly what it was. Nash promised Hogan would be at Nitro next week and asked what the big boys were gonna put up against them. Scott Hall said that this portion of WCW was brought to you by the Outsiders and Hulk Hogan. Hall said they delivered and they kicked WCW’s butts. Hall said they should be begging them to come through the door. Hall said Mean Gene’s got the job for the New World Order as people kept telling Mean Gene all night that he may no longer have a job because of the nWo! Nash said Hogan was on a movie set as Hall accused Savage of being jealous and Luger of fainting during their match.

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There were certainly bright spots of this show and I can’t call this a bad show. I was more annoyed of the sad focus of the show which brought my enjoyment of the show down, despite a lot of things to appreciate. We got two cruiserweight matches in the opening hour and then the show just died in the arena along with me watching. Even Sting vs Arn Anderson was not enough to excite the fans for the main-event.

Hulk Hogan coming back next week will definitely help I think as the nWo are going to be back in full force for the next episode of WCW Monday Nitro

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #30 (APRIL 1ST 1996) – A BUNCH OF PLANS CHANGE AS THE GIANT TURNS FACE… AND THEN HEEL AGAIN

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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After months of programming revolved around a plot to end Hulkamania, the storylines in Nitro became centred around Ric Flair’s WCW World Heavyweight Championship once again. Ric Flair was defending the title against The Giant last week, who earned the right to fight Flair after he defeated Loch Ness at Uncensored. The Giant dominated Flair during the match and after Arn Anderson and Taskmaster both ran down and ate chokeslams from the big man, the referee called for the bell and Flair escaped with the title.

 

Now we’ve got a new episode of Nitro to review on, of all days, April 1st 1996. This show certainly felt like one big joke. This was the show where Nitro just fell complete off the rails for me. It’s clear from just looking at my review for the last episode and now writing this episode that a whole bunch of plans got changed. Storylines were dropped or changed with Lex Luger and The Giant. There was a whole bunch of messy matches, angles and promos. If things did get changed during Saturday Night or one of WCW’s other shows then they sure didn’t let the Nitro audience know.

I had no clue of what was going on for a lot of this show and it all stemmed from the opening match where The Giant and Sting are just randomly fighting. I’m going to just jump into this match from the get-go because the whole match and the whole idea of the match was just preposterous.

 

The Giant vs Sting

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There was no opening video package as there usually is for Nitro as Sting and The Giant start an impromptu match. They didn’t explain this until after the match but the original match going in was Sting and The Giant vs Harlem Heat as Lex Luger was pulled out of it for some reason. They showed a clip AFTER the match which showed Harlem Heat taking a bribe from Jimmy Hart to not do the match. They took it and I guessed The Giant was bribed to wrestle Sting and I guess the referee just OK’d it. This all happened RIGHT BEFORE the match was supposed to take place.

So the match kicks off the show. Sting goes to work but Giant eventually starts no-selling and even no-sold a crossbody. They fought to the outside and then Giant pressed Sting over the top rope. The Giant tries a chokeslam from the apron but Sting dropkicks Giant off the apron. The Giant takes this giant bump (pardon the pun) to the floor for a dropkick which, if you look at The Giant, he should never have needed to take a bump like that. It’s actually astonishing how many big bumps The Giant was willing to take at this stage of his career because this is at least the third time in as many shows I’ve reviewed where Giant took a big bump. He did the big corner spot against Loch Ness, he did that same spot against Flair last week and he did this bump off the apron for Sting.

Lex Luger runs down to “make the save” even though Sting was in control of the match. He and Sting hold control of the ring and stand their ground as the ref then calls for the bell.

The opening moments of this episode of Nitro made me think I missed a week or two of Nitros. I even exited the episode on the WWE Network to check if I was watching the right episode but no I was. After Lex Luger was still borderline babyface/heel after Uncensored, he was full-on babyface here saving Luger. No shades of grey. The Giant turned babyface last week I guess but is now back to fighting the babyfaces and working for Jimmy Hart. The infamous legacy of The Giant’s heel and face turns in professional wrestling began with this show as they changed their mind A WEEK after he beat up Taskmaster, Ric and Arn last week.

They didn’t explain what was going on and I was so confused as to why Lex Luger was a full babyface for some reason. I was so confused by the bribing thing and The Giant fighting Sting. Think about this as well. You’ve got Sting vs The Giant which I believe was the first time they did this, and it’s an impromptu match with no build.

By the way, I love the irony that in 2019, I just watched an AEW show where did something similar where they cut the ring and the Lucha Bros and Private Party are just in the ring ready for a match! No entrance or anything, just like this Sting vs The Giant deal.

 

After this, we get the Nitro opening video package.

 

Date: April 1st 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Cleveland, Ohio

Rating: 2.8 (My theory from last week of WCW saving Hulk Hogan for this week to bolster the ratings clearly wasn’t true. Their ratings went down and they lost to RAW!)

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

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags

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I have gone back and forth since watching this episode about whether or not this match was any good. My brain tells me that this match was no good. It was really hard to keep track of and it seemed a little messy. My heart tells me that this was a decent brawl with seeded hatred from all three teams that led to a clever finish. If you’ve watched this episode, please tweet the @ArmbarExpress or leave a comment below with your thoughts.

There was no ring introductions or entrances for this match either. Two men started in the ring as the four men were on the apron. Rick Steiner and Brian Knobs started off. They have a great scrap at the start, throwing hands like mad men which I enjoyed.

Rick landed a beautiful takedown but Sags broke up the pin to which Scott dropkicked Sags. Animal waltzed in with a tag and goes to work on Knobs but then crashed face first into the top rope. Scott tagged Sags by slapping his head! Good old Scotty!

Scott goes to work on Hawk. Fans popped for a Hawk neckbreaker of all things. Scott hits a belly to belly suplex but Sags takes advantage with elbow drops. So Rick tags in Scott as Nick Patrick’s back is turned and the ref just assumes the tag happened without hearing it! The rules are loose with the referees and I’ve even asked the question to Jim Ross on Twitter about this. He mentioned on an AEW Dynamite episode a few week ago that the referees can only call what they see in a match. What does this mean for what they hear? If they hear something, does they call it or ignore it? Again, tweet me @ArmbarExpress if you have an answer!

Suddenly, all hell breaks loose on the outside as the fans go crazy. There’s a huge brawl with all six guys. The three tag teams brawl on the outside but Nick Patrick is able to somewhat restore order. The match restarts and Bobby mentions that he doesn’t even know if the Steiners speak English! Clearly the Scott Steiner vs The English Language YouTube video wasn’t available back then!

Hawk barely applied a camel clutch. Knobbs goes for the cover on Hawk I think and Animal and Rick both break it up! Sags does it a big backbreaker. Knobbs goes to work as the Nasty Boys get the heat. Sags and Hawk stumble into the barricade as they brawl. Then Scott gets the heat on Jerry in the ring. I had no idea who the heels and babyfaces were. I guess the Nasty Boys are the babyfaces as I don’t remember them doing a thing wrong. I guess The Steiners are faces too but they’ve done heelish stuff on Nitro. I’m assuming the Road Warriors are the heels but they were babyfaces in peril at the PPV. Again, I had no clue what was going on with their character alignments other than… they all hated each other which I bought. Things happened that led up to this match with all three teams.

Hawk then decides to no-sell and beats up Sags. Knobbs flies in. There’s no real chemistry to this match but it was a fun brawl in my eyes. I should have hated this match but the fans are into it. I think the wrestlers were into it and I do like that there is rooted hatred that caused all of this. There’s reasons for why they’re so mad at each other.

Rick and Sags go for a belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope but the Road Warriors knock them off. Hawk gets dumped to the outside. Then Public Enemy come down. They beat up Sags and then Grunge rolls into the ring and swaps out for Brian Knobs. Grunge had a wig on and a tie-dye shirt on. He lets Scott Steiner pin him as the Steiner Brothers win the match.

Public Enemy pulling off Twin Magic was amazing to see and it worked with the storyline where they also had beef with the Nasty Boys. Bischoff explained that this proved Public Enemy attacked the Nasty Boys on the night the Steiners returned. I don’t know how it works but the finish was pretty clever. I wrote in my notes that “This show feels like a weird trip” but I will give credit where credit is due. The finish was interesting and executed well. There was some good brawling and the fans were into it so as tacky as the match seemed, I’ll give it a thumbs up. It worked with the stories they were trying to tell and the fan reactions.

 

 

Hulk Hogan and The Booty Man w/The Booty Babe vs Arn Anderson and Taskmaster w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth

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They revealed during the entrances that they were drawing the “Lethal Lottery” on WCW Saturday Night to take place in May.

Steve “Mongo” McMichael then explained during the entrances when referencing Hogan and Booty Man that: “You start from the top down.” I understand that this is like a prison mentality where you pick on the biggest guy in the yard to assert yourself but in the confides of the wrestling business, that is a terrible strategy! It’d be like if I started training for wrestling tomorrow and I decided to call out Brock Lesnar! Bad Idea!

Whoever was picking out Kimberley’s outfits each week deserved a raise. She looked tremendous in this outfit too and she looked good in whatever they were putting her in. Bobby Heenan randomly declares that he’s announcing his retirement from wrestling which seemed completely out of the blue to do it at this moment. He just randomly goes quiet and says he’s calling it a day.

Arn gets bounced around with punches from Hogan and Booty Man. Arn Anderson is the pure definition of a true worker. He had to sell his ass off for the Booty Man every week and he went out there and bumped like crazy. He even tried to bump during that Doomsday Cage match. This Arn Anderson was a great wrestler.

Booty and Hogan do a double big boot to Arn. I totally forgot that Taskmaster and Arn argued about the chair shot last week with Giant and yet here, they’re suddenly teaming together with no signs of discord. Arn set up Taskmaster to be killed by The Giant for god’s sake.

Booty Man ran wild with knee lifts. Arn wanted Hogan tagged in and Hogan obliged. Bobby accused Hogan and Booty of brainwashing Booty Girl to which Bischoff accused Bobby of losing his mind! Taskmaster accidentally elbow dropped Arn so I guess that played into what happened last week between Arn and Taskmaster. Hogan clunked their heads together.

Booty and Hogan do a double clothesline. Booty goes for a sunset flip but unbeknownst to him, Taskmaster made a blind tag and took advantage with a kick to the back to get the heat for the heels.

Woman even raked the eyes of the Booty Man. Hogan broke up a pinfall and then Hogan threatened the referee with a punch. I swear to god this happened. The ref sent Hogan to the corner and Hogan pulled his fist back to deliver a punch! WHAT? The biggest babyface in professional wrestling everyone!

Hogan gets the hot tag and runs wild on the heels. Hogan delivers two big boots to the heels. Elizabeth tried to help Arn. Woman gave Taskmaster her shoe which has been the norm for the heels as of late but in response, Booty Babe gives Hogan her shoe as Hogan used it on Taskmaster and won. I do like the faces turning the tides of the heels with the shoenanigns… I’ll let myself.

The girls went after Booty Babe after the match. but Booty Man protects her in the most gentlemanly way possible! He didn’t hit them but he got in front of Booty Babe and basically told them to back off. Booty Babe gave Booty Man a kiss, Booty Man is in a drunken state after this kiss as Hogan had a tremendous shocked face on display!

Arn and the heels goes after Booty Man in the ring as they’re showing the replays from the match but Hogan makes the save.

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Then we got a bizarre post-match promo. Mean Gene Okerlund is with Hogan and Booty Man. Hogan said it was a shoe-in… which was as cringe-worthy as my shoenanigans joke! I may have misheard this, but I could have sworn that Hogan said that Booty Babe was on top of her game “in many ways.” This caused me to raise my eyebrow a little bit. I questioned whether this was an intended euphemism or if I was just being silly. Then Booty Man said he had something on the backburner that’s gonna give them satisfaction: “if you know what I mean.” I swear to all of the gods that he said that! There’s no way this was a slip-up!

Booty Man said he can’t give it way but it’ll give them the upper hand and give them the satisfaction. Hogan said the heels were all laughing as they beat up the Booty Man. They took forever to get to the point that they were gonna get the last laugh. Hogan threw it Booty to close the promo and Booty said: “we’re gonna kick their caaaaans.”

This was a horrible promo mostly thanks to the Booty Man. Jesus Christ, he was very energetic guy but Booty Man could not cut a promo to save his life. He’s talking about satisfaction like this is the storyline for a pornographic film.

 

 

Ric Flair © w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs Lex Luger for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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This was exactly how you’d imagine a Ric Flair vs Lex Luger match going. In fact it seemed almost identical to their stuff together at Starrcade during their triangle match with Sting. It was very similar to Flair vs The Giant from last week from last week.

I think this was just a huge coincidence but this Ric Flair title reign is very similar to Randy Savage’s title reign from 1995 which I called the worst World title reign ever. On Nitros, Savage had back-to-back title defenses against Lex Luger and then against The Giant. In March/April 1996, Ric Flair defended the title against The Giant and now against Lex Luger! The big difference being that at least Ric Flair wound up winning this match which we’ll get to.

A fan flips off Flair in the front row and Flair just flexes right in from of them. Then Flair went up to who I believe was Mongo’s wife in the crowd. It was some blonde and some other woman yells right in his face. This fan proper lashed out at Flair and Flair just looks at her and kept walking down to the ring! We need more passionate fans like this in 2019 that are this much into the show!

Bobby gave Luger the advice that: “All he has to do is beat Flair, which is easy” which was an interesting way to bury Ric Flair. Flair’s a heel so I guess it doesn’t matter but he is the WCW Champion. Then Mongo bigs up Lex Luger! Last week, after Lex Luger turned face, Mongo was still calling him out and considered him a heel. A week later, he pulls a complete 180 and is on the Luger Bandwagon. You could say he was on a… Lex Express. 😉

OK, I’ll get back to reviewing the match!

Luger grabbed the arm of Flair and Flair sold this like it was death! Luger just grabbed his arm and Flair, screamed bloody murder and fell on the floor!

Luger Gorilla Pressed Flair and Flair rolled to the floor, grabbed his arm and was down for the count! Flair sold this like he was actually dead from this Gorilla Press, a week removed from being Gorilla Pressed all over the place by The Giant! This was one of the best Ric Flair sells I’ve ever seen!

Flair tries an Irish Whip but Luger’s arm was too big so Flair just fell down! Luger sent Flair off the top rope. Flair got mad on the floor as he does giant angry stomps on the floor, proper leaping into the air, and yells at the same fan that screamed at him earlier on! I’m sure that fan was so giddy after that segment, being on the receiving end of crazy Ric Flair!

Flair dropped to his knees to lure Luger in and then poked him in the eyes. Flair gets thrown off the top rope. Luger backs away the girls but then Elizabeth whispers something in Woman’s ears. Flair knocks Luger off the apron. Flair distracts the ref and Woman rakes the eyes of Luger. Bobby accused of Luger of making bad comments about her!

Flair’s Figure Four Leg Lock was then reversed by Luger as Woman squealed like a dying pig at ringside. Luger tries a sunset flip but Ric kicked out. Luger tries a backslide but gets a 2 count. Luger caught Flair off the top rope so the second straight week, Ric Flair actually does a dive from the top rope but the other wrestler caught him so it didn’t work!

Luger hits a big superplex and gets pumped up. Woman then grabbed a cup of coffee as Luger has Ric in the torture rack, and threw it in Luger’s eyes. Even though Luger has had hot coffee thrown at him, Flair still felt the need to get his feet on the rope as he pins Luger to retain the title! Sting comes down to chase off Flair.

I enjoyed this main-event. It’s a typical Ric Flair vs Big Powerful man match and Flair was awesome throughout and he got a big victory. So this gets a thumbs up.

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So to close the show, they cut to the announce booth. Bobby Heenan shakes Mongo’s and Bischoff’s hands as he again outlines his intention for this to be his last night. He cuts a big promo about walking away from the business. But then he goes… APRIL FOOLS!

I should have figured this out but I just saw the date being April 1st 1996 and I just ignored it. They had a show airing on Christmas Day and it wasn’t like that was a themed episode of the show, so I just figured this was going to be a regular show and when Bobby said he was gonna retire early on in the show, I thought it was just a random joke. He mentioned it once or twice during the show and it was just so obscure and out of the blue. So then they have this pay-off and Bobby cackles away, having a grand old time as he proclaims that he pulled one other everyone!

Bobby Heenan was so great and I’ll admit that it threw me off guard! Bobby still commentates for the next 6 years or so with WCW so I knew he wasn’t actually retiring as I thought this was some weird angle but yeah, this was a cracking April Fool’s Joke from Bobby “The Brain” Heenan!

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This episode of Nitro I was ready to just hate on, especially after the Sting vs The Giant thing but after reviewing the Booty Man/Hulk Hogan promo, I just learned to laugh at the silly stuff and the show became more enjoyable. I enjoyed the main-event, I enjoyed the pay-off to Bobby Heenan’s storyline during this show and I enjoyed certain aspects of the triple threat tag team match. This was not as good as last week’s show but this was OK. I can’t really give it the thumbs up but this was still not that bad.

I do believe there is another two weeks between Nitro episodes again so we will be back with the April 15th 1996 episode of Nitro as the reign of Ric Flair continues.

 

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

WrestleMania 32 – What If Triple H Beats Roman Reigns?

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It seems that Roman Reigns is the overwhelming favourite to win the WWE World Heavyweight title in the main event of WrestleMania 32. It is the story of a man that has been screwed out of the WWE World title over and over again, finally getting his revenge against the evil authority figure and walking out with the championship in Texas. It doesn’t seem that plans are changing this year. There’s no Money in the Bank holder around and there’s very little reason to think that there will be a different solution to this story. Roman Reigns is expected to win the WWE title.
With that being said, this article will look to see the potential consequences for WWE programming should WWE end the show with Roman Reigns NOT winning the title. We’re asking the question of what if Triple H DEFEATS Roman Reigns and retains the title.
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Again, the possibility of this happening seems very slim and it would very much catch me off-guard if it actually happened. As much as people don’t like Roman Reigns, the whole idea of WrestleMania ending with Triple H retaining the title just doesn’t seem like an idea that WWE would want to go with. You also have to take into account that a heel walked out with the championship at last year’s WrestleMania. Deja vu wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing but the whole point of WrestleMania is for the babyface to emerge victorious on the grandest stage of them all.
Also if they were to have Roman Reigns beaten in the main event, then it would basically be WWE’s way of admitting defeat in this quest to get Roman Reigns over as the top babyface in the company. I don’t think that the powers-that-be want to do that as they’ve put so much effort into Roman ahd it would be such a blow if they were forced to put Roman’s big WrestleMania win on hold for a second year in a row.
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On the other hand, it might be best to hold of the “WrestleMania win” until after the pay-per-view where a new babyface can come in and beat Triple H. Whether it’s Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles or whoever, there are other options around IF BUILT RIGHT. You don’t HAVE to put Roman over if you suddenly change their mind. If WWE are fearful about the potential extreme reaction that would follow the big Roman Reigns win, they can hold off if they want to. After all, WWE have made quite a habit of making decisions on the day of the show. They ended THE UNDERTAKER’S STREAK on the day of a WrestleMania so they could easily do the same for Roman.
If Triple H were to retain the championship at WrestleMania, what effects would it have on future programming? Well for starters, it makes things much more difficult for Roman unless WWE turned them heel. That would be my way to go as I’ve discussed a number of times, but WWE might not be up for that. If Roman doesn’t win at WrestleMania, it doesn’t mean that it’s all gloom and doom for him. They’d still be people pushing for him to win the title back EVENTUALLY. However, it’s a huge setback in the sense that he’s missed out on this big WrestleMania opportunity twice. Whether he’ll get a third chance is hard to predict.
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As mentioned, WWE should surely have someone else lined up. Dean Ambrose would be the next top babyface after Roman, so he would probably be next in line. However, it really depends on what happens in his WrestleMania match with Brock Lesnar. If Brock defeats Dean, how do you get Dean in the position to be WWE World Champion? Especially if he loses clean to Brock, it’d be difficult for Dean to get over as a major star.
Brock Lesnar would probably be your next bet but then you’d have to think about his schedule and how many dates he’s got left for the second year of his contract. If Brock wound up beating Triple H, then I doubt he’d be champion for long.
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It would be a risky decision to have Triple H beat Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32 unless WWE had something REALLY REALLY good up their sleeves. It would make life difficult for Roman but it does open the door for other new top babyfaces.

Should Dean Ambrose Turn On Roman Reigns?

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It appears that the 2015 Survivor Series main event is set. Around 18 months have passed since the Shield imploded. Seth Rollins betrayed his brothers to sell out to the Authority, leaving Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in the dust. Seth’s success has been exponential, having won the Money in the Bank briefcase and then cashing it in to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania 31. Roman Reigns was the man he pinned to get the job done, with Roman earning his opportunity at the 2015 Royal Rumble. Roman now gets Seth one on one for the title, with the Roman Empire possibly about to conquer Seth Rollins. However, there is another factor that could come into play at Survivor Series…

Dean Ambrose has had a number of WWE World title opportunities himself. He’s wrestled in main events against Seth at Elimination Chamber and Money In The Bank, but was unable to capture the gold. Right now, he’s the one member of the Shield that’s been really left on the outside to watch in on his two brothers battling for the richest prize in WWE. This has left many people speculating about Dean Ambrose’s future and whether he’s going to play a huge role in the main event of Survivor Series. Will Dean get involved to screw Seth or will he get involved… to screw Roman Reigns?

Payback 2015 Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns - Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Part Two-XL

While Seth Rollins has been rolling with the Authority ever since his heel turn, Dean and Roman have stayed close friends and fought side-by-side against the likes of the Wyatt Family. Dean has even said in a promo that Roman is the closet thing to a friend he’s got in WWE, even though he’s usually just a loner. With that being said, should Dean turn his back on Roman?

The question where asking here is not if Dean Ambrose should turn heel. I would like to see Dean as a heel but the question is whether or not he should do it by turning on Roman. Turning on your friends/partners is an easy way to get the turn done. Pulling a “Shawn Michaels” could be very simple for WWE in this scenario. In fact, if you turned it around this would actually work well for a Roman Reigns heel turn. I’ve talked about Roman turning heel a few times now. This would be effective for Roman as he may feel frustrated of missing out the title time after time and may feel that he needs to break away from Dean in order to do so. This would work for Roman but would it work for Dean?

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This probably wouldn’t work for Dean as Dean’s not really been in the WWE World title picture since he lost to Seth Rollins at Money In The Bank. The argument that Roman is holding Dean back is pretty flawed and that reason wouldn’t be a logical one for Dean to abandon Roman. The idea that Dean’s had to be in Roman’s shadow is a much better one. In WWE’s eyes, Roman is their golden boy and Seth is the Authority’s corporate champion. Dean might think that everyone sees him as “the other Shield member” and he refuses to be seen like that. Doing it this way would actually make sense when you look back at Dean’s career since the Shield broke up. That way, he’s not just another generic bad guy as he’s got legitimate gripes that would lead to his turn to the dark side. Even when he was fighting for the title in May and June, Roman was by his side during his segments with Seth Rollins. Even then, Roman is sharing the spotlight with Dean. It’s like Roman is Hulk Hogan and Dean is Randy Savage. The Mega Powers need to explode as Dean needs to get away from the idea that he is just the third wheel in this feud.

However, even this method has it’s flaws too. The main flaw this has is that it doesn’t really make sense with regards to Dean Ambrose’s character. He is the lunatic fringe that has always been portrayed as a crazy guy. For him to get into a huff just because Roman Reigns is stealing is spotlight wouldn’t work well at all. Why would he care? All he would be bothered with is kicking ass and drinking milk. Him turning on Roman because of this reason wouldn’t suit his character unless his character is going to get suddenly repackaged. For someone like Dean, a character change needs to happen over time. If I were to turn him heel, it would because of months of pent up aggression and an increasing derangement of Ambrose. Eventually, something would happen that’d cause him to snap.

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Him joining the Authority is another idea but again, wouldn’t suit his character. It’d also hurt Dean because there wouldn’t be a lot for him to do with the group. He would also have to play second fiddle to Seth Rollins, unless the Authority were priming Dean to take Seth’s spot at the top of the group. That suggestion also wouldn’t work as this has already happened with the group, with Seth replacing Randy Orton as the main man of the group last year.

That last suggestion doesn’t really have a lot to do with Reigns, unless Dean costs him the match at Survivor Series and joins the group afterwards. The point is there’s not a lot of valid reasons for Dean to want to turn on Roman other than to get out of Roman’s shadow, but even that has it’s issues.

I believe that Dean Ambrose turning heel would be a whole lot of fun, but him turning on Roman is just not the way to do it. People would go nuts but ultimately, it wouldn’t make sense from a storyline standpoint. With the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton taking time off now, the WWE needs all the top faces they can get…