RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #11 (NOVEMBER 13TH 1995) – “EVIL” HULK HOGAN WANTS THE HEAD OF MENG

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’re on the road to World War 3, with the stakes even higher for the 60 man battle royal main-eventing the show. Jimmy Hart revealed to the world last week that he added a stipulation to the Halloween Havoc title match indicating that if Hulk Hogan got disqualified, The Giant would win the WCW title. Because of interference by Jimmy himself, Hogan lost via disqualification and made The Giant the true WCW World Champion.

However, the WCW Championship Committee was having none of that. They stripped The Giant off the title and determined that the winner of the World War 3 battle royal would become the new WCW World Champion….

So we’ve got a few weeks to go before the war to end all wars and crown a new WCW World Champion. In the mean time, Nitro gives us four big matches for this episode. Hulk Hogan has sent Randy Savage to Nitro with the intention of determining who is on Hulk Hogan’s side in the battle with the Dungeon of Doom. Randy Savage takes on Meng, Chris Benoit battles Kensuke Sasaki and Sting will take on Dean Malenko in our main-event. We also have a WCW TV title match as the champion Johnny B Badd defends the gold against Eddie Guerrero.

 

Date: November 13th,1995

Brand: WCW

City: Jacksonville, Florida

Rating: 2

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

NOTE: In case anyone is wondering, this was actually at the same venue as last week‘s Nitro. WCW taped two shows back-to-back… except they taped this show FIRST! It’s kind of bizarre but yeah, we’re still in Jacksonville, Florida and my research showed that this episode did the exact same rating as last week’s show! Almost surreal!

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Speaking of surreal, we cut to this graveyard or what was supposed to be a graveyard anyway. It looked for all the world like WCW decided to raid the post-Halloween sales for scary props and stuff for this. Anyway, we’re shown Hulk Hogan dressed exactly like Emperor Palpatine who raided the bat cave for one of his masks!

I took the liberty of surfing the internet to find other reviews with descriptions of what Hulk Hogan was dressed like during this promo. I’ll quickly list them off here!:

  • A writer from Renegade Cinema said he was dressed as a S&M gimp!
  • Brandon Stroud from Uproxx with the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro series said he was dressed like a Sith Lord on his way to a swingers orgy!
  • A few sites simply referred to him as a Phantom of the Opera parody.
  • Team WCW from the Nerdopotamus had a great debate about Hogan’s appearance. Carlos claimed that Hogan looks like a dude that got laid off at Medieval Times to which his buddy Fredo stated that he looks like he just got hired at Medieval Times and he sneaks his costume home to show his mom his really awesome cosplay! I swear to all the gods out there that I literally just copied and pasted those words exactly from the post!
  • The Nitro Charged! series from Retro Oasis simply stated that Hogan has gone from emo to executioner!

I mean I could keep going on but suffice to say that Hogan looked absolutely ridiculous but so ridiculous that it was tremendous. It even appeared that Hogan had drawn himself facial hair, with his moustache out of the equation at the hands of the Dungeon of Doom! He was so heartbroken over his moustache that he drew himself a new one!

Hogan said the darkness in the Dungeon of Doom shakes in fear because of Hulk Hogan’s power. It’s here I noticed that he had the black glove on that he referred to one time in that creepy promo. Remember when he was talking about how people do bad things with black gloves? Strange showcase of continuity.

He said the Macho Man was on a mission to bring the head of Meng, the first man on Hogan’s hit list… otherwise known as the Hulkamania destruction hit list. Hogan whipped out his sword… an actually sword that he was wielding like a machete. Hogan said he has no idea where Sting is at with this relationship with Lex Luger. Hogan said if Sting was on Taskmaster’s side, Sting would be moved to the top of his hit list. He advised Macho Man to move fast, move swift and bring Meng’s head. Quite a crazy promo, which was followed by Bobby Heenan predicting that Hogan would be the first man eliminated in the battle royal.

 

Meng w/Taskmaster vs”Macho Man” Randy Savage

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Macho Man jumped Meng from behind to get things rocking as the fans went nuts. Macho Man, to show that he was truly on the darkside, was whipping out dirty move after dirty move including eye rakes. Macho Man went for a double axe handle but Meng cut him off. Jimmy Hart came down to the ring and Meng started to take control of the match.

This wasn’t much of a match early on until Meng tore off Savage’s shirt and Meng CHOPPED THE CRAP out of Savage. Savage may still have been suffering from a torn bicep at this point but even here, he was taken a proper beating from Meng to get the Tongan over. Savage’s body was RED RAW after this.

Meng went for a diving headbutt but Savage moved out of the way. Savage knocked Meng into Jimmy Hart and then hit Meng with the elbow drop for the pin which the fans were all ecstatic over.

Then The Shark and Lex Luger came down as Bobby Heenan yelled SHARK ATTACK! Lex worked on the arm of Savage on the ring post. Now I’d hate to be one of those guys but what on Earth was Luger wearing? He was wearing like pajama bottoms and a vest in pinstripes. It looked ridiculous but totally of the 1990s at the same time!

 

Kensuki Sasaki vs Chris Benoit

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This was a match I certainly wasn’t expecting. Chris Benoit vs… Kensuki Sasaki. Yeah, Kensuki Sasaki was what popped up for his name plate! I feel I should refer to him as so even though I’ve always known him as KENSUKE Sasaki. If it bothers anyone, I’ll go with Kensuke Sasaki for future episodes.

Sasaki hit a huge clothesline from the get-go and went to work on Benoit. Sasaki hit a big powerslam and went on to hit the most realistic bulldog I’ve ever seen. He SLAMMED Benoit to the ground with such ferocity. Sasaki locked on a reverse chin-lock. In somewhat of a interesting spot, Sasaki tried a side-walk slam but Benoit proceed to somehow land on his feet. Sasaki then tried a teardrop suplex but it was reversed into a crossbody. If you’ll recall, Benoit tried a suplex last week but Eddie reversed it into a crossbody for the pin. At least this demonstrates that Benoit learned something from his last match where he lost. I liked that.

Benoit eventually hit two German Suplexes and finished with a Dragon Suplex for the pin. This match lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds and for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, it was absolutely phenomenal stuff. With that being said, this match being as short as it was bizarre considering two things.

Firstly, I missed it but the announcers talked about how Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko both became new members of the Four Horsemen. Secondly, they also mentioned that Kensuki Sasaki was getting a US title shot later on in the week against Sting. If Sasaki is being set up for a US title shot, why on Earth did you set that up by having Sasaki lose in less than 3 minutes to Benoit? At least Eddie won two matches in a row to earn a TV title shot. Sasaki lost in 3 minutes and is getting a US title shot. Quite bizarre.

 

Speaking of Benoit and Guerrero, another Benoit vs Guerrero match was actually set for WCW Saturday Night. This actually sounds interesting as these two are tied 1-1 in their little series since Benoit debuted. They also plugged Dean Malenko in action and Sting vs Buckhouse Buck.

 

Johnny B Badd vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW TV Championship

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This was a very entertaining TV title match for the 10 minutes they got but it appeared that they were on different pages at times. Not the smoothest encounter I ever saw. A big reason was the size difference. Johnny B Badd was not a massive guy but he dwarfed Eddie in terms of size and that appeared to show in the match. He wasn’t quite able to match Eddie’s speed.

With that being said, Badd was beloved by the fans and he appeared to be more liked than Eddie in this match. Badd was somewhat a star in WCW. Eddie and Johnny shook hands. Johnny hit a decent tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but him hitting the move only reminded how great Eddie Guerrero’s tilt-a-whirl backbreakers were! Johnny hit his catapult leg drop for a near fall which I think was called the Badd Mood or whatever Tony Schiavonie called it one time!

Eddie almost landed directly on his own head doing a hurricanrana which could have ended nasty. Eddie and Johnny traded roll-ups. Eddie sent himself flying with a crossbody attempt where Badd evaded. Johnny hit a flip senton to the outside. Johnny missed a Springboard Splash and almost got pinned for it. The two kinda screwed up a victory roll where I think the difference in speed between the two was apparent.

After a while, Badd eventually got frustrated in this wrestling match. Therefore, the former Golden Glove Johnny B Badd hit a closed fist punch on Guerrero which is considered taboo in the world of wrestling. As Bobby explained that you do what you have to do, Eddie didn’t take to kindly to that. Eddie speared Badd and took him down, raining in punches from above. It leads to a wild frenzy and Badd attempted to jump at Eddie but referee Randy Anderson was in the way as Badd tried to jump at him. It looked kinda messy.

Eventually things calmed down as they tried to wrestle again. Eddie hit a teardrop suplex and would hit a Tope Con Hilo.

Johnny reversed a tombstone piledriver into a tombstone piledriver of his own for a near fall. At this point, we learned that there was a 10 minute time limit. Eddie hit a tornado DDT and the two crashed into each other with a crossbody attempt. The match eventually ends in a time limit draw with Eddie and Badd still swinging away at each other after the bell. They eventually shook hands and hugged each other after a hard-fought battle.

The match was great in the structure but somewhat sloppy with executions for about a 1/5 of the time. I like the idea that, yeah, Eddie and Badd lost their cool during the match. They both lost their cool and started brawling with each other. Even after a few moments on intense moments, the two men can shake hands and say well done after a time limit draw. The two babyfaces are not totally hating each other right now which makes them both likeable at the same time. They’re able to forgive and forget and I assume this will lead to another match down the road.

With that being said, we had a match with a 20 minute time limit with Badd and Brian Pillman at Fall Brawl. After the time limit expired, they went into overtime and kept wrestling. Why wasn’t overtime considered an option here? That was interesting. It was interesting considering that the Badd vs Pillman match was a number one contendership match and this Badd vs Eddie match was a title match!

Weird.

 

It’s here where Eric breaks the news that Hogan has called out Sting to wrestle him on Nitro next week. What a big match to reveal and he just announces it randomly in the middle of the show!

The Giant, Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster did an in-ring promo with Mean Gene. This is the third Nitro in a row where these three guys from the Dungeon of Doom have done a promo with each other! It’s the usually spiel between these guys.

Jimmy said that he and Taskmaster are the smartest men in the world as they took the WCW title from Hulk Hogan and Jimmy now has a new dilemma. He didn’t know what to do with his remaining Hulkamania jackets to which a disgusted Mean Gene says “gimme a break.” Taskmaster said that for 10 years, he was trying to figure out how to take down Hulkamania. It takes a true evil mastermind to take 10 years to come up with a plan to take out their arch-nemesis. All that plotting and planning!

Taskmaster said that they beat Hogan and plugged World War 3. They called World War 3 the biggest PPV event ever which I don’t think was the case. 23 years later and I don’t even know who won, although I have an idea! 60 men would fight for the biggest prize including the likes of Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage. The Giant declared that the competition was sky-high but there can only be one and that would be him. The Giant vowed that he would be the WCW Champion forever as he cackled along with his posse.

 

Sting vs Dean Malenko

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If you though Chris Benoit vs Kensuki Sasaki was an interesting Nitro match… we got Sting vs Dean Malenko for the main-event. I’d hate to compare sizes again but Sting was not a small man and he was in the ring with the cruiserweight Dean Malenko.

By the way, it was here when I noticed Sting was not even wearing the WCW US title down to the ring! Remember when Sting was defending the US title all the time against guys like VK Wallstreet and The Shark? Now, Sting doesn’t even come out with the belt!

They wrestled for a bit. Sting hit a Gorilla Press which was a guaranteed pop no matter how many times he did it. Dean hit a dropkick to the knee to get the heat. Dean locked on a heel hook. Sting tried a Scorpion Deathlock during the match but Dean got the ropes. Dean hit a dropkick to the knee again and Mongo said Dean was treating Sting like a red-headed stepchild.

They actually mentioned Dean’s father who was billed as “The Great Malenko” back in the day. Dean hit a beautiful, and I mean a BEAUTIFUL, German suplex on Sting. Like I mentioned earlier, Sting is a BIG GUY in his own right. This took a lot of strength from Malenko and it looked amazing.

Sting eventually reversed the Texas Cloverleaf into a small package for the win. A decent but somewhat strange main-event to the show.

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Mean Gene caught Sting in the ring for a post-match promo but before that, Eric was talking about how Jimmy Hart stabbed Hogan in the back and Bobby Heenan proceeded to stab his piece of paper with a pen! Subtle comedy from The Brain!

Mean Gene broke the news to Sting that Hogan challenged him to a match on Nitro next week. Sting said he had nothing against Hogan and that he never dreamed of the day that Hogan would come knocking on  his door looking for him. Sting said that he could let it slide as he compared Hogan to a little dog sat on the porch while Sting himself was the big dog. Sting proclaimed that if you checked the list of who Sting has beaten, it’s a long list of big dogs as this is where the big dogs play. Sting was looking forward to the match.

Mean Gene agreed with Hogan that something didn’t smell right and Sting simply replied that the big dog would see Hulk Hogan next week, So we have a main-event for WCW Nitro next week. It’s so strange to see this go down. I don’t know if this was Sting and Hulk Hogan’s first ever match against each other but what a time to do the match free on a random episode of Nitro. It’s strange considering that for the Starrcade 1997 main-event between these two, WCW built it up for one year before eventually giving us the match.

Mean Gene sends it back to the announcers saying: “Mongo, Heenan – CONMAN, and Bischoff… you’re not a conman!” Mean Gene was so great. I gave my thoughts on Mean Gene during the last review but this was a great man.

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That was your Nitro review. This was a decent Nitro in my eyes. Not as good as last week to me but we got a few good matches. The TV title match was fine, Sasaki vs Benoit was great for 160 seconds, Savage vs Meng was an OK opener and Sting vs Dean was OK. Nothing particular bad but we got stuff that was unbelievable to watch. I think Hogan inadvertently stole the show with that opening promo!

Next week, we’ve got a big Hulk Hogan vs Sting main-event. We will see you with the review of Episode #12 of WCW Monday Nitro.

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RETRO EXPRESS: WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 1995 (OCTOBER 29TH 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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At long last, we’ve managed to make it to Detroit, Michigan at the Joe Louis Arena. We’re here for a clash among men and among machines. A clash of titans for the right to be crowned king of the monster…. trucks. A clash for the right to be crowned the WCW World Heavyweight Champion. A clash for the right of revenge… revenge for a father’s greatest defeat at WrestleMania III or revenge for shaving a moustache on an episode of Nitro. These two men go head-to-head not once but TWICE on the same night. All will be terrorised when “The Giant” emerges in this ghoulishly grande event as there’s nowhere to hide for “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan. Will Hogan prove to be a mere mortal after all once this possibly deadly match comes to a close? THE GIANT VS HULK HOGAN FOR THE WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP.

Without further ado, let’s get on with WCW Halloween Havoc… with much filler to get through before a truly unforgettable clash between The Giant and Hulk Hogan!

 

Date: October 29th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Detroit, Michigan

Commentators: Tony Schiavone and Bobby “The Brian” Heenan

Before we get into the matches, the first clip they show is the two main-eventers in question Hulk Hogan and The Giant pacing back and forth in their monster trucks. The two snarled at each other as they revved up their engines for their monster truck match.

News also breaks that Ric Flair has been attacked by Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman ahead of his match teaming up with Sting against his former Horsemen buddies. It’s important to note right now that we don’t actually see video footage of what went down. They don’t show an angle or anything. Keep that in mind.

 

 

Diamond Dallas Page (c) w/Max Muscle and Diamond Doll vs Johnny B Badd for the WCW Television Championship

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The PPV started off strong, similar to what went down at Fall Brawl. We got a good match that the fans were into which got a good length of time. It wasn’t like a mind-blowing match or anything and it wasn’t on the level of Pillman vs Badd from Fall Brawl but it was good enough to warm up the crowd which is a good enough opener to have in their back pocket.

They recapped the entire feud between DDP vs Badd including the car tyre slashing from WCW Saturday Night and Episode #7 of Nitro where DDP laid out Badd before a scheduled title defence. Badd’s ribs were still hurt going into this one. Diamond Doll got a well-deserved pop when she came out. She looked… tremendous in her black dress.

This was the first time where I noticed this but DDP came out first in both title matches so far between these two. With that being said, Hogan would end up coming out first for the WCW title match in the main-event so I guess it’s not that rare to break tradition in WCW if this show is anything to go by.

It turns out there was method to this madness as an imposter Johnny B Badd popped up on the stage as the real Johnny B Badd flew in from behind to get the match started. ‘Twas revenge for Episode #7, where DDP flew in from behind with a title belt before their title match. Good continuity being used.

Badd ran wild on DDP and Max Muscle. Badd placed a bucket on DDP’s head and smashed him into a ring post which was strangely not a DQ. In the middle of all of this, Hogan and Giant were told to get out of their trucks as I believe they needed to get the monster trucks on top of the building they were dueling in.

Badd had a wrist lock locked on DDP to which the champion reached out to referee Nick Patrick’s shirt. Patrick simply warned DDP not to touch his shirt. DDP got the heat by dropping Badd on the top rope with a Snake Eyes. DDP apparently commanded Diamond Doll to hoist up the 10 card for that move but Diamond Doll didn’t do it. I’m pretty sure DDP yelled “come on woman” at Badd.

Bobby Heenan on commentary prophesied that DDP would become US champion some day. I’m pretty sure everybody in WCW during the final years became US champion at some time or another so DDP likely got a US title run to his name. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens.

DDP hit an early adaptation of the Styles Clash to which Tony GOD DAMN Schiavone called it The Pancake. There’s going to be an incident at Starrcade 1995 where Tony gets his comeuppance for this pet peeve of mine. The pet peeve of just giving every random move a random name as opposed to just calling the move. Call it a facebuster. If it’s a big move or a signature for the wrestler, give it a cool name. That’s fine. If it’s just a random move, just CALL THE MOVE. Thankfully, Dusty Rhodes will tear into Tony for this at Starrcade so prepare yourselves!

Tony did call Diamond Doll gorgeous… correct. Nick Patrick did send DDP cowering to the bottom rope as he yelled at him for something. I will say something, now that this is the second time Nick Patrick has stood up to a wrestler during a match. He did it to Orndorff in Episode #3. I initially was somewhat annoyed by it when I saw him do it the first time. Here, it kind of hit me that this is what we need more of in wrestling. I don’t want wrestlers to be shown as inferior to the referees or anything but referees holding a certain amount of authority and respect in a match. They’re not pushovers as they’re authority is final when it comes to the wrestling ring. I’d like to see that more in wrestling.

Badd struggled but eventually got DDP over for a backslide just for a 2 count. DDP responded with a huge clothesline. DDP tried a big boot which somehow landed on the top of Badd’s head. That’s possibly DDP’s fault for pulling the trigger too early on that spot but chances are it was just a bit of miscommunication. Heenan astutely noted that if you have money, you don’t have to make excuses. If you consider WWE’s business dealings and UFC’s business dealings in 2018, that was a pretty damn accurate statement.

Max distracted Nick as DDP choked Badd with some tape. Diamond Doll had the greatest facial expressions in the world with furious disappointment at first but then concern for her man for a brief second.. and then back to whipping out a scolding face! It was the best!

They did a spot where Badd “tripped” DDP with a roll but they weren’t even close to each other. Badd then ran wild in a frenzy where DDP somehow had his face cut up. Diamond Doll then gave JOHNNY B BADD the perfect 10 which the announcers played up big. Badd hit a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. DDP hit a DDT which our main man Tony Schiavone referred to as the DIAMOND DREAM.

DDP went for a Diamond Cutter but Badd held onto the ropes. Badd attempted a fake-out 619 which did not look pretty in the slightest. Bad hit a flip to the outside onto DDP and DDP’s Muscle… pardon the pun. Muscle held Badd in position but DDP was somehow dropkicked into Muscle and rolled up for a big near fall.

Muscle then tried to get involved but Muscle ended up accidentally clotheslining DDP, which was shockingly also not a DQ. Muscle then throws his hands up as Badd clips in on the back of the head and his selling consisted of him doing a twirl and then slouching down on the apron like me coming in after a long day at work! Muscle clearly not in position for that spot as Badd got the pin off Muscle’s clothesline to win the WCW TV title much to Diamond Doll’s glee!

Sloppy in parts but a fun opener with a TV title change for the second PPV in a row. The fans went crazy as Badd won the title so it was a huge success. Muscle CLEARLY clotheslining DDP and it not being a DQ really bothered me, considering that it was the move that was the finish of the match. With that being said, I’m sure Muscle costing DDP the match will also be important down the road when considering his relationship with DDP. I guess we’ll see where it goes.

Match Rating: **1/2

 

If you’re a fan of very short pointless PPV matches, then feast your eyes on the following three matches…

 

Randy Savage vs Zodiac. If Randy Savage won, he would move onto a match with Lex Luger should Luger defeat Meng.

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It didn’t occur to me until just now. The build for Lex Luger vs Randy Savage at Halloween Havoc is that they must win their matches with Dungeon of Doom members before they can face each other for a future WCW World title shot. At least, that is my understanding of the storyline. Luger and Savage must win their matches to face each other. They never explained what happened if only one them won. If they both lost, they simply would not do the match but if only one them won, did that mean they got the WCW title shot automatically? I guess we never had to deal with that since both of them won… how convenient.

Now, followers of the Nitro review series may recall that it was supposed to be Randy Savage vs Kamala at Halloween Havoc. There is an explanation for this. As Dave Meltzer put it in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter at the time, “Zodiac subbed for Kamala, who decided to quit the promotion early rather than do a job here.” All due respect to Kamala but you didn’t want to job to “Macho Man” Randy Savage? My research showed that he did lose to Hacksaw Jim Duggan a couple of months before this but for some reason, he didn’t want to lose to THE MACHO MAN? That’s crazy.

So The Zodiac, the least threatening and intimidating heel in professional wrestling history, was Kamala’s replacement and the WWE Network’s editing saw Zodiac come out to Rey Mysterio’s WCW theme. It was strange.

There was nothing to this match but there is an explanation for this too. Savage was working with a detached bicep at this time. Hard to imagine that Savage worked TWICE on this PPV but at least they were both short matches and this was REALLY short… 90 seconds to be exact.

The only thing worth mentioning is that a fan ran in during the match. There was a massive reaction when they were being led out to which Heenan shouted “listen to this reaction for the Macho Man!”

Macho Man won with the elbow drop.

Match Rating: 1/10* (Honestly was not sure whether to even give it a grade… it lasted 90 seconds!)

 

Mean Gene plugged the WCW hotline when Johnny B Badd came out for an interview following his big win. Badd said if you breathe, you can achieve and that dreams can become reality. Badd said he’s never gonna quit, he’s never gonna give up as he’s a baaaaaaad man. Badd spoke at a 1000 beats per second during this promo. This was actually the kind of promo that was good for the majority of it but great for the 5 seconds where Badd spoke at the speed of light. Regardless, this was a good promo as you could sense that this title victory meant a lot to Badd.

 

Road Warrior Hawk vs Kurasawa w/Col. Robert Parker

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I had such low expectations for this match. Considering the disasterpiece that these two put on during the tag team match at Clash of the Champions, I could only imagine how bad this could get when it’s these two one on one. By WCW 1995 standards, this was fine. That’s the best praise I can give it.

They actually recapped the segment from Clash of the Champions when Kurasawa broke Hawk’s arm. An important note is that the Clash of the Champions match took place two months before this and here is Hawk all healed up from his broken arm!

Hawk smashed away at Kurasawa and hit a shoulder tackle. Hawk hit a neckbreaker and a fist drop early on into the match. Hawk stomped away at Kurasawa and roared.

Kurasawa went for the arm after Hawk ran shoulder first into the turnbuckle but Hawk was having none of that. Hawk hit a big powerbomb. Col. Robert Parker tripped Hawk to get Kurasawa back into the match. Kurasawa missed a top rope senton.

Hawk hit a beautiful flying clothesline to Parker which was a smart babyface thing to do as it took the distraction out of the equation. Kurasawa got the heat as Hawk went into the ring post. Kurasawa, out of nowhere, hit a samoan drop and Parker grabbed Kurasawa’s feet on the rope to steal the pin from Hawk.

Like I stated earlier, this was nowhere near as bad as I figured it would be and it wasn’t actually particularly bad at all. It was just… your average match.

Match Rating: *

 

Mean Gene had Savage for an interview. Savage reminded us that it was one down and one to go from him. Savage talked about Hogan’s promo on Nitro about his friends. Savage predicted that he would beat him if he was in the ring. Savage and Mean Gene ripped into each other’s facial hair. After a while of things getting heated, Mean Gene just asked “How did we get to this?” Great bit of banter!

Savage said his curiosity is killing him like it would kill a cat. Savage said friendships are friendships but business is business and he would be watching. A fine typical Savage promo.

 

Mr JL vs Sabu w/The Sheik

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A rematch from their Nitro match where Sabu beat Mr JL and then beat him up after the match for no reason. The original Sheik was there accompanying Sabu to the ring. Keep in mind that The Sheik was 70 here and he actually had a heart attack in the Spring of 1995. Keep that in mind as I explained how Sheik got involved in the match.

Sabu ran right at Mr JL and they start to fight. Mr JL tried a baseball slide but Sabu was too far away. Sabu did a springboard moonsault and hit Mr JL AND THE SHEIK. The 70 year old Sheik took a bump about 6 months or so after having a heat attack. Seems kinda dangerous.

Sabu flew at Mr JL but JL ducked and Sabu went crashing to the floor. Mr JL did a big dive to the outside. Mr JL caught Sabu with a moonsault in the ring. Mr JL hit a sit-out powerbomb. Sabu hit a springboard flip leg drop. Mr JL hit a big german suplex from the top rope.

I’m just running down the list of what they did at this point. There’s not a lot you can say other than this is your normal Sabu match. He goes at his own pace, which is usually fast, and he just goes for flashy move after flashy move with no substance to any of it. Watching Sabu matches in 2018 really doesn’t work out well. His matches have not aged well.

Mr JL hit a springboard dropkick which sent Sabu crashing to the outside. Sabu hit a springboard moonsault for the pin. The Shiek THREW A FIREBALL at Mr JL and celebrated with Sabu by carrying a sword. A very typical Sabu match. If you’re a fan of Sabu matches, this match was right down your alley. This is the best way I can describe it.

Match Rating: *3/4

 

We had a Taskmaster promo with his father “The Master” but before that, Heenan claimed The Giant watched videos of Hogan alongside HIS father Andre The Giant! That’s a vignette I would have loved to have seen.

The Master said that the stars were aligned for tonight. The Master said that Taskmaster will walk upon the galaxy because The Giant and The Yeti will destroy Hulkamania. Taskmaster said that when Hogan put on the black, the evil in Hogan was now out of control. The Dungeon of Doom’s monster truck was the strongest in the universe as Taskmaster claimed Luger, Savage and Sting were vultures. The fans booed. The Master’s speech was very hard to understand.

 

Mean Gene was with Hulk Hogan, with Mean Gene also pointing out that they may have needed an interpreter to translate what The Master just said. This was early Hollywood Hogan gear for the Hulkster. Now I think it was Episode #1 where a Mike Hill won the Harley Davidson sweepstake so this was Mike finally getting it. Hogan called Mike “Maniac Mike” as he presented the keys. They presented him with sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats and stuff. They talked about the motorcycle itself that he won and Mean Gene said something like he could use an exhaust himself! Mean Gene, the ultimate promoter of Harley Davidson gear!

Hogan touched the motorcycle and said that this motorcycle was the last thing he was gonna touch lightly. Hogan said he was gonna squash The Giant like The Giant squashed Hogan’s motorcycle from before. Mike Hill then cut a promo about the motorcycle he just won, saying that he was gonna ride this sucker right home. Then Hogan, like the world’s biggest dick, starts tensing his muscles, his 24 inch pythons, right in front of Mean Gene and the rest of the group after he was finished with his promo. He had to take up 75% of the screen by showing off his muscles!

They plugged WCW World War 3, citing that the winner of World War 3 would get a WCW World title shot.

 

Lex Luger vs Meng w/The Taskmaster, If Lex Luger won, he would move onto a match with Randy Savage for an opportunity at the WCW World title.

 

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Now we’ve just had three very short matches in a row. Savage vs Zodiac lasted 90 seconds, Hawk vs Kurasawa lasted 3 minutes and 15 seconds and Mr JL vs Sabu lasted 3 minutes and 25 seconds. So their idea of a long match to follow all of this is MENG VS LEX LUGER? This next match lasted 13 minutes and 14 seconds and it was a horrific match for 13 minutes and 14 seconds.

I’m sure there’s a pay-off to this but Taskmaster accompanied Meng down to the ring but he did not accompany The Zodiac don’t to the ring. Heenan talked about how the Dungeon of Doom has never attacked Luger, not mentioning that The Giant chokeslammed Luger a few weeks beforehand.

Luger launched Meng with a catapult. I will say that Heenan went out of his way to promote all of WCW shows, advising us that anything can happen at all their shows like Nitro, Pro, Main Event and Saturday Night. No show was never not important as you may miss something. That’s great. With that being said, I don’t plan to watch anything other than Nitro and the PPVs right now. I may watch Thunder but no promises.

Luger threw Meng into the ringpost and worked the arm. Meng bit away at Luger and Luger tried a back suplex but Meng reversed it into a splash in mid-air.

Meng hit a shouler breaker, hit a piledriver and then went to the chin lock. Nothing was happening in this match. I wrote down a few moves on my notes but nothing was going on between these two. We had long chin locks. We had Meng wanting to do a dive but Taskmaster told him not to. Meng kicked away at Luger. Luger fired back with a suplex into the ring and then followed up with three huge clotheslines.

Luger ran wild… at least by Luger’s standards. Meng hit Luger with a golden spike. Following this, Taskmaster ran in and kicked Luger for the DQ. His boy Meng was in control and after 13 horrible minutes, Taskmaster ran in for the DQ. By the end of the show, this makes a lot more sense. However, if Taskmaster’s plan was for Luger to win the match, why didn’t he slap him or hit him 10 seconds in if he wanted Luger to move on to face Savage? In fact, if Luger and Taskmaster were in cahoots at this point, why didn’t Taskmaster tell Meng to lay down for Luger?

Furthermore, the match ended in a DQ as an outsider ran in and attacked one of the other competitors. If that’s the case, why wasn’t Johnny B Badd DQ’d in the TV title match when Max Muscle hit DDP earlier on in the night? This was a bad, long and boring match followed by a dirt, horrible finish. This match did not ever need to be 13 minutes long and I never need to see this match again. Sadly, I looked it up and they will face each other again in a 1997 episode of Nitro… I may have to boycott that Nitro! I can’t handle seeing this match again after this horrible match.

Match Rating: -*

 

Mean Gene interview The Giant, who was dressed in driving gear. This was WCW branded gear too so they went through the effort to make driving gear exclusively for The Giant! I respect that.

The Giant grabbed Mean Gene’s hand as the announcer screeched in pain! The Giant said Hogan would be forced to hand him the title. The Giant cackled as Mean Gene complained about his hand. The Giant declared that if Hogan lives through the monster truck challenge, Hogan was in for the beating of his life.

 

Ric Flair and Sting vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

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Before we get cracking, we’ve got another injury. Ric Flair suffered a rotator cuff earlier on in the week, which is why this match went down the way it did. I mean the finish of the match was probably planned for a while but Flair never really lifted a finger until the very end. I also felt the need to report that a dude was in the front row that looked liked the actor Scott Wilson who was Herschel in Walking Dead. I swear it was the spitting image of him. R.I.P. Scott Wilson, who passed away this year.

On Nitro a few weeks ago, Ric Flair walked down to the ring without Sting and Sting didn’t come down until later. Well, the tides were turned as Sting was forced to go at it alone as Flair was “injured” by Arn and Brian. That’s all well and good but my question is why did Sting bother to come out? This was Flair’s feud to begin with so why did Sting bother when Flair was taken out?

The fans chanted “we want Flair” as Sting ran wild on Arn and Brian. This was not at the level of Flairmania from a few weeks ago but it was still great. He was firing away from the get-go. Sting was lured out the floor but Sting was not easily suckered into a beating as Sting laid out both of the heels anyway. Sting press-slammed Brian.

Brian was gasping for breath in the corner as Arn looked frustrated that his partner was hurt and he had to do the work because Sting kicked Pillman’s ass.

Sting catapulted Arn into Pillman, who got crotched on the top rope. Tony said “Not many people can take on Arn and Brian at the same time” and was apparently not watching the last match where Flair destroyed the pair by himself. I like how when the moment Arn finally got a punch in on Sting in this match, Flair ran down to the ring!

Ric tried to get at Arn but the referee pushed him away. Flair ripped of his shirt but he still had his work slacks on! Flair had a big bandage on his head. There was a sign that said “FLAIR FOR PRESIDENT” which was actually foreshadowing of a future WCW storyline… we’ll see that develop in 1998 I believe!

Flair came in and hit Arn with one of his shoes but this was not a DQ. Arn tried to launch Brian into Sting but Sting got the knees up. Flair was fired up as he waited for the hot tag. Sting waddled over to Flair for the tag and he almost had it, but Arn attacked him and stopped the tag.

Flair chased Brian like a mad man outside of the ring. I love how the psychology of the match was very close to many WWE tag team matches nowadays in 2018 as they battled for the hot tag. At least tag teams nowadays, especially in NXT, are following the psychology of old school wrestling in establishing that it is important to fight to get or defend against a hot tag. It wasn’t just a routine part of the match. It was an important part of the match.

They beat on Sting as Flair could only watch as his new ally was getting beat on. Flair even tried to grab the hair of Pillman. That’s how much Flair wanted to get into the match. Flair couldn’t take it no more as he hit a cheap-shot at Pillman while they attacked Sting! Arn hit a spinebuster but Flair broke it up. Brian worked on the leg. Arn worked on a leg submission as Sting yelled “NATURE BOY” and Flair said “I’M HERE BROTHER” and I just loved it. Flair cheering Sting on this is just a perfect set-up for what’s about to happen…

The heels had the heat forever since Flair came down to the ring. Sting went for a tag once again but Pillman cut him off with an elbow drop. At this point, the fans were just begging for Flair to get the hot tag, as was I, but the heels stopped Sting at every turn. Sting finally clanked Arn and Brian’s heads together. I was laid down on the bed watching this PPV but as soon as Sting had a clear chance of making the tag, I sat up as RIC FLAIR GOT THE TAG.

FLAIR RAN IN. He was stylin’ and profiln’ as the fans were going crazy and in the melee… FLAIR DROPPED STING WITH A SUCKER PUNCH.

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My jaw dropped.

Flair, Arn and Pillman did a beatdown on Sting, who tried to fight them all off. Remember that Sting vowed to leave Flair for dead if Flair double-crossed him but all three men overwhelmed the one dude that had been beaten on for the entire match. The match gets thrown out. I had NO IDEA this was coming. This was an insane heel turn and as someone watching it for the first time, I could not believe my eyes after how great Flair had been in recent weeks as a babyface. However, now the old heel Ric Flair is back!

Ric eventually got on the mic and said something like he’s gonna take us all to school. Ric said the first thing you learn is that you don’t jump on Arn Anderson. The second thing you learn is that you don’t play around with Flyin’ Brian. The third thing is that you never mess around with the Nature Boy and fourth thing is that you don’t walk, talk or breathe until the Horsemen want you to. Flair said they were reunited and it feels so good.

This was sensationally great.

Match Rating: *** with a ***** heel turn and post match angle.

 

Mike Tenay interviewed Lex Luger ahead of his match with Savage after he “beat” Meng. Luger said there’s forces in WCW that wanna see Savage vs Luger tonight. He said when the bell rings, he will be there and he will be all over him. He says he is the Total Package and he would be the greatest WCW wrestler in WCW history. He said that he would be the WCW World Champion and he would make an example out of Savage. He would take apart the Macho Man piece by piece.

 

Hulk Hogan vs The Giant in a Monster Truck Sumo Challenge

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At long last, we have arrived at MACHINE VS MACHINE. We’ve built up 5 weeks of WCW programming for this showdown as these two monsters will face off in monster trucks in the mother of all sumo matches. It’s funny because as goofy as it is out of context, it is perfect for the blood feud that is The Giant vs Hulk Hogan. The Giant tried to kill Hogan twice and now these two will be trying to “drive” each other off of a platform which is pretty damn dangerous!

They recapped the feud between Hogan and The Giant and what a feud this was! Eric Bischoff came down to replace Tony for this one and joining them was Bob Chandler, who I believe was a monster truck expert. Bob claimed the motorcylces run on alcohol and 1500 horsepower. They claimed these monster trucks weighed 11,000lbs each! I’m not entirely sure I believe that considering the light body work that makes the body of the monster truck weigh a lot less! Then again, I could be underestimating the weight of the engines!

The referee told them the rules. He said the truck has to be completely out of the ring including the bumper. The Giant yelled “I’M GONNA WIN” as he and Hogan yelled at each other. They hooked the trucks together. The sumo match began as they pushed away at each other using their vehicles. The Giant pushed Hogan back but Hogan pushed back as the Hulkster was strapped to his seat!

The Giant growled at Hogan as they pushed each other. Hogan pushed away even more The Giant roared. It was very much even stevens at this point. Heenan said we always expect Hogan to be slow and he’s doing a heck of a job! The Giant pushed Hogan outside of the “ring” but he only pushed out the back wheels so the match was still going on. The Giant pushed him out again and hit one of the charges but apparently, Hogan’s truck was not fully out of the ring. Finally, Hogan pushed Giant’s truck outside of the ring as the Hulkster was the winner much to the fans’ delight.

(If any hardcore sumo monster truck fanatics out there were expecting better play-by-play reviews about this particular battle, I do apologise if I let you down. Monster truck battles are not my strong suit!)

So The Giant immediately got out of the monster truck. The Giant cornered Hogan and elevated Hogan to the top of the roof with a choke. Hogan pushed The Giant away but The Giant ended up falling off the top of the building they were battling on. Hogan, the new EVIL HULK HOGAN, was suddenly concerned when The Giant fell off the ledge.

It’s important to note that they never mentioned or showed where The Giant actually landed. Heenan asked the important question of whether The Giant actually landed in the water. Eric Bischoff’s response was to say that whether he landed in the water or in the parking lot, does it matter? My response to that is… YES IT DOES! Landing in the parking lot is instant death (unless The Giant landed on a conveniently placed tower of beds or he is in fact truly immortal) where as water can actually SAVE The Giant’s life if he can swim! Bischoff left the booth.

 

Lex Luger vs Randy Savage for a future shot at the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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I’m not going to lie, for a match that had been built up since Lex Luger arrived in WCW, this was a major disappointment. Obviously, there were circumstances that prevented this from being a big match but 5 minutes is somewhat a shame considering all the build towards it.

Tony was back as Heenan yelled that this was all Hogan’s fault for what happened to The Giant… AND HE’S RIGHT.

Luger offered a handshake but Savage was having none of it. Jimmy Hart then waltzed down to the ring as he was dressed in black. Luger stomped away at Savage. Savage swung at the referee for Christ knows what reason. If Savage turned out to be apart of the Dungeon of Doom, they’ve built it up quite well with his role in all of this. With what happened in the main event, it appears that wasn’t the case. Savage is such a heel in all of this.

Tony keeps quietly speculating “what’s going on” and “will we have a title match” to which Heenan eventually snaps and yells “DAMN IT. FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON!” He was sick of Tony’s quiet speculation here. HE NEEDS ANSWERS ABOUT THE GIANT.

Savage and Luger brawled on the outside. Luger tried a pin with his feet on the rope but Jimmy Hart was distracting the referee. Luger was bumped into Hart. Savage hit the elbow drop and got the pin for a huge pop.

This was another nothing match. Furthermore, this match made even less sense when you take into account the finish of the show. Anyway, it appears Randy Savage is the number one contender for the WCW world title from the sounds of it.

Match Rating: 1/4*

 

They cut to the announcers and Heenan yelled at Tony for not following up on The Giant story (no pun intended) so he left the announce booth. Heenan returned 30 seconds later as he couldn’t get outside as there were hundreds of people outside!

They showed Giant falling off of the roof. I know Paul Wright didn’t actually die in real life because of this but I love how somebody DIED on screen and WCW had no problem with showing it again! Heenan even said: “Hogan, pretending he has a heart now!”

So Heenan begged the production crew to tell him what was going on and even asked someone for a walkie talkie. Heenan was unbelievably awesome during this. He was legitimately concerned for The Giant considering his connection with Andre back in the WWF. This was great.

 

Hulk Hogan (c) vs The Giant for the WCW World title

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Michael Buffer did the ring introductions for The Giant but then Hogan came down first this time. The fans were going crazy for Hogan 20 minutes after he killed a man! Hogan said what happened to The Giant was not supposed to happen and actually confirmed that The Giant did land in the the parking lot when all of a sudden… THE GIANT INTERRUPTED.

The Giant really proved himself to be immortal, after weeks of proclaiming himself as the one true immortal! He returned to the arena without a scratch on him. Hogan look stunned as Bobby even said that he rose from the dead! Hogan’s face was incredible here as he looked like he genuinely could not believe The Giant survived. I think he survived the fall but Bobby said that The Giant rose from the dead. I actually believe The Giant just survived since Bobby had no idea what was actually going on himself anyway.

The match starts. This is for the WCW World Heavyweight title. For a man in his first WCW match, The Giant did not look too bad in this one. I can confirm that he looked better in his first match than Braun Strowman did in his first match if you want modern day comparisons!

Hogan punched away at The Giant, with The Giant sporting Taskmaster like facepaint on his forehead. So maybe the Taskmaster had something to do with reviving The Giant. I’m hoping Nitro gives me the answer as to whether he actually died and was resurrected or he survived with help from the Taskmaster.

Hogan tried to slam him but Giant just clobbered at him. This was The Giant’s FIRST EVER WRESTLING MATCH (at least on WCW television) and he had such a presence about him in the ring. He looked like a main-eventer, smashing away at Hulk Hogan. Considering he was in a WCW pay-per-view main-event with Hulk Hogan, that is an insane accomplishment. Giant was overpowering Hogan with the test-of-strength and Hogan apparently cried out to Jimmy that he’s too strong. Suddenly, the Hulkster fired up. He fired up and fired up… and then the Giant just kicked him right in the chest!

The Giant went for the leg drop but he did not land in a seated position. In a hilarious spot, he waved his arms back and crashed to the mat! Suffice to say that this was a failed attempt at a leg drop, which was probably the point of it being executed like that! Hogan fired back with 10 punches in the corner and even BIT The Giant in the middle of this blood feud. Hogan even threatened the referee as the evil of the evil Hulk Hogan poured out for this match.

Hogan clotheslined The Giant over the top rope and the fans went BONKERS. Taskmaster tried to lead The Giant to the back at this point…. FROM A WCW WORLD TITLE MATCH? I mean I sort of understand if my theory about the finish is correct which I’ll talk about later.

Hogan clobbered Giant’s and Taskmaster’s heads together which appeared to not be a disqualification. Hogan smiled as he had Giant staggering. The Giant then came back with a backbreaker. We then got a long bearhug spot from The Giant which didn’t look particularly great. I swear it looked like Giant was just cuddling Hogan like he was holding a baby at one point. I didn’t really look threatening!

This bearhug lasted a long time and Heenan said we were watching a great match. Heenan, god rest your soul, but we were not watching a great match!

Giant hit a chokeslam but Hogan kicked out and Hulked Up. So after all of these weeks of The Giant smashing geeks with a chokeslam every week, he hits it in his first match and Hogan kicks out! Way to go.

Hogan fired away with right hands and hit a big boot but The Giant was still standing. In a case of deja vu, Hogan slammed The Giant just like he did to Andre. Hogan hit the leg drop but the referee was down. We, at home, couldn’t really tell what was going on. However, fans in the front row were pointing at Jimmy Hart but Jimmy is denying his involvement. Then, all of a sudden, Jimmy hit Hogan with the belt and was caught red-handed by the Hulkster! The Giant then bearhugged Hogan as Taskmaster laid in the boots. Jimmy Hart has joined forces with the Dungeon of Doom.

Luger and Savage then both ran down but Jimmy hit Savage with the belt. OUT OF THE BLUE, Lex Luger ATTACKED Randy Savage and turned on him as The Yeti ran down. The Giant and The Yeti did an infamous double bearhug but it honestly just looked like The Yeti humped Hogan. It was like Yeti was on vibrate as Giant locked in the bearhug! It was one of the funniest double teams (I swear that was unintentional) I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring! Two men squeezed the life out of Hogan with an erotic bearhug in the main-event of Halloween Havoc!

Luger locked on the Torture Rack on Hogan and Savage. Yeti gave Savage some love as Hogan and Savage were left laying. Heenan applauded both men for getting this beating at the hands of the Dungeon of Doom. The referee threw the match out and said that THE GIANT WON via disqualification but Michael Buffer insisted the title cannot change hands on a disqualification. The replay showed that Jimmy hit the referee with the belt, which was supposedly the disqualification. Tony re-assured us that Hulk Hogan was still champion as we went off the air.

Match Rating: *1/2

We’re gonna be talking briefly about upcoming spoilers for Nitro so if you do not want to be spoiled, skip forward to the Halloween Havoc logo further down on the post.

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There’s a lot of questions that were raised because of that finish. Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart were revealed to be in cahoots with the Dungeon of Doom but this causes a lot of issues in terms of continuity with the PPV itself.

Firstly, if the Dungeon of Doom and Luger were in cahoots, why did Luger and Meng wrestle each other for 13 minutes? Let’s just pretend that Luger joined because he wanted to make sure he got his shot at the title. If that’s the case, why not have Meng lay down for him so Lex is 100% for Randy Savage? Why didn’t the Dungeon of Doom make more of an effort to help The Zodiac beat Savage to help Luger get his shot?

Why did the Lex Luger vs Randy Savage match go down the way it did? Why did Jimmy Hart screw up Luger’s match with Savage, costing him his shot at the title? Why didn’t the Dungeon of Doom help Luger out against Savage?

Then we can talk about Luger’s motivations. Why did Luger help The Giant win the title when, in the last time they were in the ring together, The Giant laid him out like he was nothing? Like there’s a part of me that thinks that this turn was decided during the show or they were possibly gonna do the angle with Savage instead but they changed it. Otherwise, this angle makes no sense when it comes to Luger.

Then issues come with the finish of the match. The referee declared it a disqualification. I was talking about Hogan clanking Giant’s and Taskmaster’s heads together and it not being a DQ. Maybe that is what the DQ was for. I know it took a while for the DQ afterwards but why else would The Taskmaster try to remove Giant from the match unless they wanted to lure Hogan outside? What Hogan did was a DQ so unless you wanna believe the official explaination of Jimmy causing the DQ, this is what I’m going with. Because Jimmy was officially Hogan’s manager when he got him DQ’d which made sense as to why Hogan was DQ’d.

Furthermore, there’s the issue of the title changing hands. They confirmed to us over and over that the title could not change hands on a disqualification. Yet at the end of the show, The Giant is parading around with the title.

Here’s the spoiler… This was supposed to be The Giant winning the title. I think it will be revealed later that Jimmy had it in Hogan’s contract that the title could change hands on a DQ. So knowing what happens in the future, Jimmy attacking the referee makes sense as he’s just won The Giant the title. However, at the time, they played it up like Hogan was still the champion.

I don’t want to speculate but I could see a scenario where Hogan didn’t want to lose to The Giant, at least cleanly. Therefore, they did a DQ finish where Jimmy sided with the Dungeon of Doom. However, Hogan had to take a bit time away from WCW after this match. At that point, they decided to go with the angle that the title could change hands on a DQ. That way, Hogan is still protected while Giant walks away with the title.

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This PPV, in many ways, was unforgettable. It was unforgettable because of the tag team match and because of the insanity of The Giant vs Hulk Hogan. If those two things weren’t there, this would have went down as an all-time horrible pay-per-view. However, they were the two money-making angles going in and they both worked. In a lot of ways, those two angles saved this pay-per-view.

That’s it from us at the Armbar Express. It has taken a while for this review to go out but we’re back to Nitros with Episode #8 and the fall-out of WCW Halloween Havoc 1995.

We’ll see you then. This will end up being the final post of 2018 so we will see you with more WCW Nitro reviews in 2019! I wish you all a happy new year from the Armbar Express!

 

WCW Nitro Episode List

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #8 (OCTOBER 23RD 1995) – THE YETI ARRIVES ON THE GO-HOME SHOW FOR HALLOWEEN HAVOC

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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On the last episode of WCW Nitro, Ric Flair was set to go at it against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Sting had agreed to be Flair’s partner but questions were raised as to whether Sting could trust Flair. Apparently, Sting had his own concerns as he was not present for the opening bell.

Flair went at it alone and massacred Arn and Brian in a chop-fest. However, when Flair was overwhelmed, the Stinger finally came to the aid of Flair. With Arn and Brian getting counted out, Sting told Flair that he was on his side as Flair proved he had a lot of guts and a lot of heart.

Other highlights included Chris Benoit’s WCW debut in a great match against Eddie Guerrero and DDP evading a WCW TV title defence against Johnny B Badd by getting himself DQ’d before the bell even rang.

Now we come to the go-home show for WCW Halloween Havoc. With Hulk Hogan on the show this week and Sting and Luger set to team up in the main event, the question remained as to what was going to happen between the heroes of WCW and the Dungeon of Doom as we are on the road to Halloween Havoc 1995 in Detroit.

Before we get to Halloween Havoc though, we’ve got a Nitro to review and… prepare yourselves for an infamous WCW debut in the closing moments of the show. You have been warned.

 

Date: October 23rd 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Huntsville, Alabama

Rating: 2.6

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

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Kurasawa

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Man, was I worried when I saw this match was set to take place. Kurasawa was a guy I was kinda high on when I first saw him. I then watched an infamous tag team match w/ him and Meng taking on Sting and Hawk and I could not believe how bad that match was. Now we had Randy Savage vs Kurasawa and even for a Randy Savage match… this was somehow boring.

This was boring because all Kurasawa did was kick away and karate chop away at Savage. When Ric Flair was chopping away at Anderson and Pillman last week, it was at least filled with fire and energy. Here, because Kurasawa was the heel, it was slow and boring. There was even a point in the match where Kurasawa was working on Savage and Savage threw Kurasawa out of the ring to buy himself some breathing room. After about 10 seconds or so, Kurasawa got back into the ring and started to work on him again.

I will say that the commentators did everything they could to put over Kurasawa, which was fine considering where this match was going on. They went on about how Kurasawa broke Hawk’s arm and defeated the undefeated Craig Pittman. That’s… fine.

So Kurasawa just kept beating on him, and beating on him, and beating on him. They went to a commercial, as the Americans put it, and then they came back and Kurasawa was STILL beating on him! This was just endless.

Actually, it wasn’t endless. Kurasawa went for a baseball slide but Savage evaded and Kurasawa fell to the outside taking a flat back bump. Kurasawa went for a head kick but accidentally kicked the ring post as Savage dodged. They got back in the ring and then Savage hit the elbow drop and won.

I can’t really hate the psychology of the match as they put Kurasawa over on route to Savage beating the guy, which is what you do. However, in terms of selling me on the idea of seeing Randy Savage wrestling twice at Halloween Havoc, this match doesn’t particular do a tremendous job when Savage was just getting beat on for about 90% of the match against Kurasawa.

Flair looked like a proper mega star when he beat the crap out of Anderson and Pillman last week. I don’t mean to keep bringing up Flair but Flair sold me on the idea that he’s a superstar and you’d want to pay to watch him smash Anderson and Pillman along with Sting. This match didn’t make wanna see Savage face Kamala and possibly Lex Luger as well as Halloween Havoc.

I will say that Dave Meltzer from Wrestling Observer gave this match minus a star and called it one of the worst matches of the year. I would not go that far. There’s been far worse matches than this since I started watching these Nitros. The first Nitro was also in like September 1995 so there’s a lot of ground we haven’t even covered. This match was certainly not at the level of badness that Sting and Hawk vs Kurasawa and Meng was.

 

I had to do some proper investigation following this next segment. The lights went out and a man was sat right on a big elaborate chair in a pre-taped video. It wasn’t until after this show where I figured out that this was Taskmaster’s father (a.k.a. The Master) and the founder of the Dungeon of Doom. Quite the lore to this Dungeon of Doom.

I swear I understood like about 10% of this promo. I actually had to rewind it in the middle of it as I was just in tears with laughter as this guy was yelling all kinds of random stuff which I didn’t even understand! He yelled that the insurance package had been delivered. As far as I’m aware, he said he found somebody that was thawed out of ice. The one they called… THE YETI. At that moment, they showed an ice block on the stage.

The Giant and Taskmaster then showed up and Taskmaster explained that his father went with the serpent guides to get the yeti. Taskmaster said that evil does dwell in Hogan’s heart. Taskmaster thought that there was no bit of goodness left as the fans chanted for Hogan. The Giant grabbed the mic and said that Hogan had many lives but the Giant would take the last life from Hogan at Halloween Havoc. Giant proclaimed that the one true immortal was himself and he cackled away. The VINTAGE Giant cackle which I wish he still did as the Big Show. I love it.

Taskmaster said the insurance package would be there at Halloween Havoc and Mean Gene advised that he would be talking to Hogan later.

I will get onto the Yeti later on as there’s a lot to explain about what was originally was supposed to happen. Nevertheless, this was a rather wacky promo as we learned more about the lore of the Dungeon of Doom.

 

We got another Randy Savage Slim Jim advert.

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Mean Gene welcomed, as he billed him, THE START OF THUNDER IN PARADISE and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan. I’m not entirely sure of a review series but I will be watching Thunder In Paradise… eventually!

Hogan was still wearing a neck brace and I don’t remember if Mean Gene said this or one of the commentators said it, but somebody said Hogan was ready for Halloween Havoc… need I remind them that dude that Hogan was wearing A NECK BRACE?

Hogan yelled that even though he walked through the valley of the Dungeon of Doom, he feared no evil. He carried the hopes of all of the Hulkamaniacs. I mentioned how strange Hogan’s promos have gotten as of late. Here, he talked about the fact that he was wearing black gloves and said that everyone knows what a man with black gloves is capable of…. this was a reference to OJ Simpson. What a bizarre babyface this Hulk Hogan is and here I though Roman Reigns was a terrible babyface.

Hogan said that he was gonna get his big monster truck and drag The Giant around until he disintegrates and then he was gonna beat him in the middle of the ring.

He then went into some big tirade as to how Sting, Savage and Luger all wanted to pick the bones of Hogan and the bad guy Hulk Hogan is ready for them. He’d beat Savage, Sting and Luger and he vowed to destroy The Giant.

This was a crazy promo but in hindsight, this was a brilliant promo. Knowing where the Hulk Hogan character would go in a year’s time, this promo was a slight foreshadow of the Hogan that will eventually feud with Savage, Luger and Sting. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is I talked about how the Hogan babyface character is possibly even worse than Roman Reigns as a babyface. This is kinda mute point considering what’s happened to Roman with his leukaemia but it does apply to pretty much every babyface in WWE right now. Roman was a babyface that couldn’t get over as a babyface because WWE didn’t give the fans any reason to get invested in the guy at all. Hogan got people invested in him as he had the creativity to be as crazy as he could.

Even if he’s saying weird stuff like how shaving his moustache was like burning the American flag and comparing himself to OJ Simpson, Hogan was so out of his mind with his promos that you just couldn’t help but stop and listen to him. When you give the talent a means to be entertaining by just letting them be nuts, it speaks a lot more to the audience rather than talent that are just scripted to death to sound exactly like everybody else. Nobody in WWE nowadays sounds like Hulk Hogan because they sound just like each other. They don’t sound… human. That’s an issue.

Hogan didn’t have that issue because he didn’t have 28 writers writing all of his dialogue and this promo, as crazy as it sounded, it made you invested in finding out what Hogan was going to do to The Giant at Halloween Havoc.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night, including Hogan being there, Lex Luger vs The Shark and the American Males defending the WCW tag team titles against Harlem Heat. I actually wanted to watch these two matches as I wanted to see the long-awaited rematch from Episode #3 where American Males randomly won the WCW tag team titles. I also had a perverse desire to watch Lex Luger vs The Shark because can you imagine how bad this match had the potential to be? However, I could not find this episode of Saturday Night on my online travels and it’s not on the WWE Network yet so unfortunately I can’t watch those matches. ‘Tis a shame as I planned that as a bonus review!

 

Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs Eddie Guerrero and Mr JL w/Alex Wright

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As advertised last week, Alex Wright was supposed to be teaming with Eddie Guerrrero but he had injured his knees according to Bischoff. Supposedly, he did this in a match with Chris Benoit which I’m surprised the announcers didn’t bring up. I also like how Alex Wright came out in crutches for this match that he wasn’t cleared to wrestle in but he was dressed up in his gear and trunks! Mr JL took his place.

Eddie and Benoit pushed each other and stared each other down before the bell rang. The two of them started off the match.

During the match, Benoit and Dean Malenko somehow pulled off a double leapfrog. Benoit and Dean tried a double team where Benoit held Eddie in position for Dean to hit a tope suicida but Dean accidentally hit Benoit. Eddie then just THREW Mr JL into Benoit and Dean and I mean THREW him like Braun Strowman throwing some security guard geek onto a pile of men or something! It was tremendous.

Eddie hit a beautifiul tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Eddie launched Mr JL into Dean for an elevated high knee. In the middle of this, Scott Norton and The Shark were shown brawling backstage as they were pulled apart by the Dungeon of Doom. That’s at least the second time where we’ve seen WCW cut away from a cruiserweight match to show some angle involving the Dungeon of Doom during Nitro. I imagine fans of the cruiserweights were not to pleased.

By the way, I couldn’t help but notice that Bischoff said that this brawl was because of the miscommunication between the two during Norton’s match with Randy Savage on Episode #2 of Nitro. It took Norton and Shark this long to be mad about it?

The heels got the heat. Bobby’s explanation for Alex Wright’s injury was that he was trying out the dance moves of Disco Inferno! Dean hit a very good and realistic looking belly to belly on Mr JL. Eddie broke up a pin on Mr JL and Benoit’s response was to shove Eddie with enough force to send him crashing outside of the ring!

It only just occurred to me at this point of the match that Eddie beat Dean a couple of weeks ago on Nitro and the announcers made no mention of that fact. Eddie broke up another pin following a Benoit superplex. Dean and Mr JL had a good ol’ backslide battle that Mr JL won. Eddie made a hot tag and then got immediately kicked in the gut by Dean! Eddie turned it around and even dropkicked Benoit off the apron when Benoit was yelling at a fan. The finish came when Alex Wright tripped up Dean with a crutch and Mr JL rolled Dean up for the win. It was a good match with a strange finish.

So Alex Wright had blatantly cheated in a match he wasn’t even in and Bischoff’s defence of the babyfaces was stating that the heels were pulling heel shenanigans during the match. Apparently Bischoff wasn’t aware that two wrongs don’t make a right. Brian Pillman then came out and laid out Eddie which Mr JL and Alex Wright just stood there and watched. I guess this was because Pillman is a cruiserweight himself and they’ll need to crown as cruiserweight champion. I guess that’s why he did it.

 

Lex Luger and Sting vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Sister Sherri

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WCW Hotline plugged once again by Bischoff, talking about an event from the night before called “In Your House”… ha ha. How clever.

I was more offended by, in response to Bobby calling Sister Sherri beautiful, Eric called him a sick, twisted and demented individual if he finds her beautiful. Nobody could get away with a line like that in 2018.

Sting started off by hip tossing Booker T over the top rope. Sting back-dropped Booker and Bischoff said he almost back-dropped him into another area code. Stevie Ray started to work on Lex Luger as we came back from the ads as Bischoff referred to Stevie as “the man in control of the total package.”

Stevie and Lex working together was not particularly eventful other than screwing up an eye rack spot so horrifically. Stevie looked like he eye-raked the sky and then Luger sold for it anyway when he wasn’t even close to Stevie!

Booker hit an axe kick. I will say, in Bischoff’s defence for the Sherri line (although I personally think beauty is subjective and nobody is truly ugly or anything), but Sherri was looking at a photos of Col. Robert Parker that she appeared to have retrieved them from her backside. I’m not making that up. She reached into her ass, whipped out the photos and then gave them both a big kiss! That was… oddly disturbing as my notes put it.

Booker went for a Houston Hangover but Luger got out of the way. Luger made the hot tag to Sting. Sting went wild as the fans went crazy. The fans always went crazy for Sting’s hot tag which made him such a tremendous babyface. Sting hit Stinger Splashes and went for the Scorpion Deathlock but Booker broke it up with a side kick.

Harlem Heat worked on Luger for a bit but Sting flew in out of nowhere and hit a top rope crossbody for the pin. This was not as boring as the Kurasawa vs Savage match but this was an absolute nothing match for me.

This match did not sell me on the idea of potentially seeing Luger in two matches either. Savage and Luger were not helped by this edition of Nitro heading into Halloween Havoc.

The Giant hit the ring to chokeslam Luger and Sting. If you remember from Episode #6 I believe, they teased the angle of Sting working with the Dungeon of Doom as The Giant had not attacked Sting yet. But now, there was no doubt as Giant just chokeslammed him. Savage came down and then Hogan came down to confront The Giant. The fans were going ABSOLUTELY CRAZY for this confrontation.

Hogan punched away at The Giant but Giant clobbered him on the back. Hogan hulked up and punched away at The Giant who started to stagger. The Dungeon of Doom came out to brawl with the babyfaces. The Head Of Security of WCW tried to calm down Hogan when all of a sudden, the ice block on the stage EXPLODED. Yes, ice had exploded.

Creepy music came on as a figure emerged from the explosion which was revealed to be the Yeti… DRESSED as a mummy as Nitro ended with a cliffhanger.

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OK… so about the Yeti. Apparently, this was supposed to be El Gigante (Giant Gonzalez when he was in the WWF). However, El Gigante apparently like wasn’t able to get down to the show in time or something to play the role. I believe it was due to his health. Therefore, someone else was dressed up as a mummy to take El Gigante’s place but he was still referred to as The Yeti!

This was a hilariously awful reveal of the Dungeon of Doom’s insurance policy. I don’t think it was as funny as the Shockmaster’s debut or as stupid as the Gobbledy Gooker’s debut but this was like the perfect balance of the two. You’d think that after all The Giant’s done to Hogan in the past couple of weeks, who could The Giant possibly need for an insurance policy against Hogan? Who The Giant apparently needed and who Taskmaster’s father and serpent guides went to the trouble of finding… was a yeti dressed as a mummy.

And you know what was the kicker to all of this is?…. this edition of WCW Nitro BEAT RAW in the ratings. That’s astounding considering this edition of Nitro.

This may have easily been the worse Nitro I’ve seen so far. I think I hated Episode #3 a lot but I think this episode was miles worse than Episode #3. Episode #3 did not have a boring Randy Savage match, a boring tag team match and THE YETI debuting. Although with that being said, I loved Hogan and The Giant’s big confrontation. It was done in such a way to make you more interested in seeing who was going to win this big WCW title match. I liked that segment.

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That’s it for WCW Nitro. I am pretty sure I’m going to be reviewing the WHOLE WCW Halloween Havoc event. Looking at the card, there’s more matches I wanna see than those I don’t wanna see so that maybe what swings it. There is a lot of horrible sounding matches in the mix as well as Road Warrior Hawk vs Kurasawa match which sounds… HORRIBLE.

However, I do think I should be as fair to this one as I was to Fall Brawl. I will mostly likely review the whole of Halloween Havoc 1995 then it is back to WCW Nitro reviews with the fallout to the show. I will definitely be reviewing Hogan vs The Giant so brace yourself! We will see you with our next WCW review here on the Retro Express.

WCW Nitro Episode List

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #7 (OCTOBER 16TH 1995) – RIC’S PARTNER STINGS ANDERSON AND PILLMAN, CHRIS BENOIT DEBUTS

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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On the last episode of WCW Nitro, we entered CHAPTER THREE of the feud between Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Arn won at Fall Brawl and Ric won in Episode #5. We were at 1-1 heading into a steel cage match in Chicago. Flair had things under control when Arn beat Ric at his own game. Arn smacked Ric with the brass knuckles to the face and won. An ENRAGED Ric Flair challenged Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman to a match for Episode #7 and Flair was more than happy to go at it alone if he couldn’t find a partner. One way or another, Flair was gonna get his hands on Anderson and Pillman.

We had Hulk Hogan vowing to beat The Giant at Halloween Havoc, more matches added to the Halloween Havoc card. Lex Luger and Randy Savage will face each other, as long as they get past Meng and Kamala respectively earlier in the PPV. Sting also defended the US title successfully against The Shark, Disco Inferno danced and Sabu beat up Mr JL.

So now, it’s a big week for WCW Nitro. We have Ric getting his hands on Anderson and Pillman, Johnny B Badd challenging DDP for the WCW TV title and the DEBUT of Chris Benoit as he faces Eddie Guerrero. Let’s get to it…

 

Date: October 16th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Albany, Georgia

Rating: 2.2

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

 

From the get-go, we suffer from the disadvantages of watching only WCW Nitro and nothing else. Because from the start of the show, they already announce that Sting will be the one to team up with Ric Flair against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. On an episode of WCW Pro, Flair asked Sting to be his partner. Sting agreed but vowed to leave Flair for dead if he turned on him. The commentators were still speculating as to whether Sting and Flair can team up together against Anderson and Pillman. Sting and Flair had not teamed together in years since Flair turned on him many years prior to this.

The commentators were having some banter as Bobby Heenan called Mongo’s dog a “tarantula”. Heenan asks Mongo to turn the dog around and goes “oh, there’s the batteries.”

 

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

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My extra research from Episode #5 appears to have finally paid off. Allow me to break down what has happened with Mr Johnny B Badd. Johnny B Badd became the number one contender for the WCW United States Championship at Fall Brawl. We watched a 29 minute match where Johnny B Badd grabbed the victory. On the Nitro following this, “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff squashed this guy in a matter of minutes. I asked the question of whether he would get his title shot or not. They announced he was still getting his US title shot in a Saturday Night match with Sting.

I decided to watch this match and see what happens but what happened was Johnny B Badd NEVER got his US title match. He no-showed but it appears the explanation was that somebody had slashed his tires and he broke down. In a Saturday Night segment, WCW Television Champion DDP said something about all of Badd’s tyres being slashed. Badd asked DDP how he knew all four of his tyres were slashed when he only said one of them got slashed. Badd punched DDP and that’s how we’ve got the former US title number one contender now challenging for the WCW TV title on Nitro. GOT ALL THAT?

To put a cherry on top of the whole thing, Eric announced that Badd and DDP would wrestle each other at Halloween Havoc anyway… so what was the point of this match, even if it was for the WCW TV title? If they’re doing the TV title match at the PPV, why bother doing this match?

In the end, it didn’t even matter. What happened was DDP SMACKED Badd with the belt before the match started and Badd was out cold on the floor. DDP started attacking him some more as Diamond Doll looked on in awe and disgust. DDP did his own count but the referee disqualified him anyway.

It’s always been one of the great inconsistencies of professional wrestling with disqualifications and what warrants disqualifications in matches. The simple answer is that it’s wrestling and the rules can change at any moment to fit a narrative. It was widely accepted by a lot of fans that nothing you do before a match counts before the bell rings. Brock Lesnar hit Big Show with dozens of chair shows before their Royal Rumble 2014 match before the bell rang and they had a two minute match. Here, DDP hit Badd with the belt before the match and was DQ’d for it.

NOTE: Johnny B Badd had hurt his ribs before the match, which is why they never did the match properly on this edition of Nitro.

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

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I’m going to give this disclaimer right now about Chris Benoit, as I don’t want any of my comments about Benoit’s work to be misinterpreted. Every comment about Chris Benoit is directed solely on his abilities as a worker. I don’t have any intention to discuss the nature of his personality and character as well as anything related to the tragedies that happened to Benoit’s family in 2007.

With that being said… I could watch Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero wrestle each other over and over again. Considering the circumstances of the deaths of the two wrestlers, it is somewhat sad to watch a match like this. However, Benoit and Guerrero were just two wrestlers who were masters of the craft. Every time they wrestled, it was quality. It was the type of matches that every wrestler should aspire to emulate. Look at the psychology of what Eddie did in the ring but especially look at the psychology of what Benoit did. I understand everything in professional wrestling is considered entertainment but everything in this match felt real for some reason.

Everything Benoit did in this match had a purpose and a goal. He was not just hitting move after move after move on Eddie Guerrero just because he could. They all mattered and Benoit would do things in the middle of the match that would play into the finish. Lance Storm has this philosophy about wrestling where he doesn’t like how matches nowadays are about the last few minutes and based on those final moments of the match, fans go on about how great these matches are. To an extent, he’s got a point and this match shows that. Benoit worked on the hand, over and over again, and it eventually led to the finish. But I’ll get onto that later…

Benoit and Guerrero traded hurricanranas earlier on. Eddie did a big dive to the outside to “Eddie” chants by the fans. Benoit tried a back suplex but Eddie reversed it, which sent them both tumbling to the floor. It looked really crisp and really well done. Eddie sent Benoit into the ring post but then Eddie went crashing into the ring post in order for Benoit to get the heat. Benoit worked over Eddie, including hitting a beautiful hammerlock suplex. He worked on Eddie’s hand, which is important when considering the finish.

The key to all of this “getting heat” on Guerrero was that it was never boring. That was the great thing about Benoit wrestling as a heel. It was never boring. Nothing ever came off as repetitive as every move mattered. It was not a 10 minute Randy Orton headlock or a Kevin Owens chin lock. However, it was also methodical… which is great.

In one motion Eddie reversed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, bounced off the rope and hit a springboard DDT. It was pretty. Benoit chopped at Eddie as Mongo ranted about the NFL players being pussies or something. God bless Mongo and, to an extent, I feel there is a need for some creativity from the commentators. However, Mongo going on about the NFL over and over just takes away attention from the wrestling and is somewhat irrelevant as the match is going on.

There was somewhat a screwed up botch when Eddie attempted a 619 but I think that was about the only spot they screwed up in this match.

Eddie went for the Frog Splash but Benoit got the knees up. Benoit slammed Eddie, and I mean SLAMMED Eddie, with an absolutely tremendous powerbomb. Benoit went for another powerbomb but Eddie reversed it. Eddie then tried to punch Benoit, but because Benoit worked the hand over, Eddie’s hand was hurting a lot. This allowed Benoit to capitalise with a Dragon Suplex to win the match via pinfall.

This was a great match… possibly the best Nitro match we’ve seen so far. Tremendous psychology. The WCW cruiserweight division was announced by Bischoff following the match and this was a great match as a means to promote it. Benoit, I don’t think, was a cruiserweight at this time but with the likes of Eddie and Dean Malenko… suffice to say we’re in for a lot of fun.

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Bischoff revealed that The Giant was here, much to the delight of Heenan as he cackled away!

Mean Gene is in the ring and we’ve got another plug of the WCW hotline. Mean Gene revealed that a top WWF executive was gone and a WWF guy got into a fight with a fan and lost. Gene said he couldn’t talk about it on Nitro but if you called the hotline for $1.49 per minute you could find out the answer. In case you were wondering, the executive that was fired was Bill Watts. I’m not particular sure who Mean Gene was on about when they mentioned the wrestler who lost a fight to a fan.

The Giant came down with the Taskmaster for a promo with Mean Gene. Taskmaster brought up that Hogan was dressed in black on the last episode and Hogan called Taskmaster evil. From the day he was born, Taskmaster said he knew he was the personification of evil. Evil, evil evil.

Taskmaster said when they shaved Hogan’s moustache, it took away his identity. He said Hogan gave up his colours but the fans had followed Hulkster for all of these years because he was a winner. After Detroit at Halloween Havoc, the fans would become followers of the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant said he was gonna push Hogan off the roof using his monster truck and then gave Mean Gene a close up of the hand that was gonna destroy Hogan by facepalming Mean Gene. Gene was shocked as The Giant cackled, vowing to destroy Hulk Hogan.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night, including Michael Wallstreet vs Jim Duggan, Disco Inferno vs Alex Wright, Hulk Hogan being there and Randy Savage vs Scott Norton in a rematch from Episode #2. So after Bischoff said he wasn’t on the roster last week, Disco Inferno is booked to face Alex Wright on WCW Saturday Night. I guess either he’s hired in storyline or they forgot he’s supposed to be a free agent.

 

Meng vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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Eric called this match a “barnburner” and although I would not go that far to describe the match, the match was very fun if you wanted to see two big dudes clobbering each other for a minute.

But before all of that, the aforementioned Disco Inferno arrived in all white gear. Before Disco could really get his groove on, like he did during Hawk vs Big Bubba, Meng’s music hit and Disco knew well enough to get out of town.

Meng jumped Duggan before the bell. Hacksaw fought back in a battle where they just punched away at each other. Hacksaw got back into it with a couple of dodges as well as getting the hell away from a massive Meng top rope dive. Hacksaw fired away at Meng and even hit a scoop slam. But Meng quickly regained control with a superkick that caused Hacksaw’s body to go limp as he crashed to the floor. Meng locked on the Tongan Death Grip and won. A very basic match of brawling with not a lot of actual wrestling and somehow that’s OK with me.

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Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart did a promo. They said that everyone now knows the evil in Hogan is real and Taskmaster was right when he mentioned that there was evil in Hogan. Hogan said the evil was here to protect the prayers and vitamins of the fans. Hogan said something strange like The Giant doesn’t realise that Hogan can make promoters fall to their knees in tears as Hogan is stronger than their entire promotions. These digs at WWF are just getting weirder and weirder!

Hogan said the “big stinky Giant” wants to burn down all of the trees to the ground. Jimmy is worried about what Hogan was gonna do to the Taskmaster and Giant. Hogan wanted to prove that Hulkamania was the strongest force in the world. He vowed to bury The Giant in the Motor Ciy right next to his father. He asked what The Giant was gonna do when the evil of Hogan ran wild on him. A crazy Hogan promo as usual.

 

Ric Flair and Sting vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

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There was no Sting for the opening bell of this match so this meant Flair had to go at alone by himself against Arn and Brian. It’s funny because while he was on his own, Flair was an ass-kicking machine! I think this was possibly the greatest performance of a one-on-two handicap match from a guy with the disadvantage. It was amazingly great.

He appeared to have no difficulty in absolutely obliterating Arn and Brian as he chopped away at both men throughout this match. He chopped Pillman so hard that the referee was forced back by the force of the chop. It was truly sublime.

Pillman would try getting in some chops but Flair would just chop him harder! Flair beat both of their asses and was running wild on his former buddies. I love how during the match where Flair is in control, Bischoff talks about how he had to pay the price as Sting didn’t trust him… WHEN FLAIR WAS DOMINATING ARN AND BRIAN BY HIMSELF!

The fans chanted “We Want Sting” during a match that also included Heenan comparing Hulk Hogan to Darth Vader. Flair went for the Figure Four Leg Lock on Arn but Pillman went to break it up. He tried to break it up but Flair somehow evaded Pillman from the position of having Arn in the Figure Four! It was awesome!

Flair tried a Figure Four on Pillman but that was broken up. Flair is still running wild as the ass-kicking Ric Flair was putting on a damn amazing performance. He was destroying both of these men but he was entertaining and believable at it. Flair was a believable crazy, wild mad man who you believed could smash Arn and Pillman so easily. It was awesome.

Arn hit a spinebuster and at this point, when the heels were in control… HERE COMES STING!

These fans went BONKERS for Sting has he came down to the aid of Flair. Eric went on about how Flair may have possibly earned Sting’s respect which is actually a believable statement if you saw Ric’s performance up until when Sting showed up. He wasn’t a geek that was getting beat on for 10 minutes. He was a fighter and Sting recognised that.

Sting was egging Flair to make the hot tag as the fans were going nuts and Sting eventually got the hot tag. He ran wild and even Sting running wild forced the referee to bump on every part of the mat! Sting hit Stinger Splashes all over the place and he was FIRED UP. THIS WAS A HOT TAG as the fans went crazy.

Sting was dominant and then all of a sudden, it was determined that Arn and Pillman were counted out. I never really heard a count by the referee but Sting and Flair won by count out and this did make you want to see the rematch at Halloween Havoc. Yeah, we’re getting a rematch at Halloween Havoc and I can’t wait!

Sting and Flair cut a post-match promo. Sting said there wasn’t a soul in the world that thought that he was gonna trust Flair. Sting was watching and said that Flair had a lot of guts and a lot of heart. Because Flair showed he had guts and heart, he’d earned Sting’s help. Sting and Flair did a high-five and started going nuts in the ring! This was an awesome exciting little post-match promo!

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That was Episode #7 of WCW Nitro. A huge improvement on last week. We saw a tremendous Ric Flair and Sting performance in the main-event, we had an awesome Benoit vs Guerrero match and this show did a lot in getting me hyped up for WCW Halloween Havoc coming up shortly.  This one gets a thumbs up!

Advertised for next week is Sting and Lex Luger vs Harlem Heat, Benoit and Dean Malenko vs Eddie and Alex Wright and Hogan will also be appearing on Nitro next week.

That’s it from the Armbar Express. We will see you with Episode #8.

WCW Nitro Episode List

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #6 (OCTOBER 9TH 1995) – RIC FLAIR VS ARN ANDERSON III… INSIDE A STEEL CAGE

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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On the last episode, we had two big matches on Episode #5. The Randy Savage vs Lex Luger match ended in controversy as The Giant ran down and chokeslammed Savage when Luger and the referee were down, giving Luger the victory. We saw a Fall Brawl rematch with Arn Anderson vs Ric Flair. The match ended in Flair getting the victory… somehow. However, Arn and Brian Pillman had the last laugh as they laid out the Nature Boy two-on-one. At the end of the show, the third chapter in the Arn Anderson vs Ric Flair saga was announced for Episode #6 of WCW Nitro. This time… it would be in a steel cage.

…oh and the Dungeon of Doom shaved Hulk Hogan’s moustache!

 

 

Date: October 9th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Chicago, Illinois

Rating: 2.6

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

 

They started off the show recapping the moustache-shaving of Hulk Hogan from last week. We were in Chicago so it was a Chicago Bears themed show as apparently it was the 10 year anniversary of the Chicago Bears winning the Super Bowl. The announcers were all wearing Chicago Bears t-shirts. They announce that a restraining order had been placed but Hulk Hogan was in the building anyway. Sting arrived and said this Nitro thing was unreal. Sting had a US title defence but he said he was also here to sort this thing out with Lex Luger and Randy Savage.

 

 Sting (c) vs The Shark for the WCW United States Championship

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The Shark came down being billed as from “the tsunami” which doesn’t even appear to be grammatically correct! Shark jumped Sting from behind to kick things off and grabbed the belt, declaring he was gonna win the title. The Shark went to work on Sting, with the running powerslam, elbow drop and a leg drop. The Shark was putting in the work.

Sting hit two Stinger Splashes and the force of it elevated The Shark to the top rope! Sting hit the move and the Shark jumped right into the air and landed on the top rope somehow! Sting hit a crossbody and retained the US title in a very short US title defence. Bischoff actually did say the line of “that’s why Sting is the United States Heavyweight champion” and that’s a true statement as Sting was a winner. He does not go 50/50 with guys for months and months until one guy wins for good. He’s not Roman Reigns or Charlotte Flair with her seven title reigns. He was the champion and he was beating guys to stay champion because that’s what a true champion does. This was fine.

 

They showed the moustache segment yet again. I forgot to mention this for the last episode, but it was on my notes. I guess I missed it. There was a dude in the front, as Hogan was shaking the hands of the fans, who was the spitting image of Joseph Park from TNA! He had the haircut, the size, the suit and everything. It was crazy and he even did like a goofy smile and stuck his hand out!

 

Sabu vs Mr JL

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We were in Chicago so Sabu was heavily supported during this match. Sabu attacked Mr JL from behind to kick things off and Sabu was flying all over the place. There were audible “Hogan Sucks”” chants during this match. There was one ugly spot where Sabu did a dive and came crashing down on Mr JL’s face. Pretty ugly stuff.

They fought for a while as Chicago loved Sabu. Mr JL hit a sweet top rope elevated DDT. Sabu missed a Frankensteiner and had an ugly landing on the bottom rope. Ugly is a pretty perfect way to describe Sabu so far in WCW. It’s not particularly elegant but there’s a sense of real-life danger where you’re wondering what Sabu is going to do next.

Sabu caught Mr JL off the top rope and hit a powerbomb, locked on the camel clutch and won. We got deja vu from Episode #2 where Sabu’s beatdown on his opponent was far from over. Sabu attacked Mr JL after the match and barely just hit a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor.

Eventually they cut to the announcers as Bischoff just says that Sabu and Mr JL are still going at it. Loud Sabu chants could be heard while the commentators were doing their spiel. You could hear those chants as well as clanging and banging as the wrestlers were still brawling and that was that.

I’m not particularly enthralled by this Sabu storyline. He beats an opponent and then attacks him afterwards for no reason. Just seems completely random in the middle of an old school rasslin’ show. Then again, we’ve got Hogan and Giant battling each other with monster trucks so maybe it’s not so bad. Also, the crowd seemed to really love Sabu here so I guess it was a success if you’re judging it based of crowd reactions.

By the way, anyone care to guess the identity of Mr JL? It is in fact one of Sabu’s fellow ECW alumni members JERRY LYNN. I don’t think Jerry was actually Jerry Lynn during his WCW run but I guess we’ll see for certain down the road.

 

 

While the commentators were still talking, Sting made his way down to the ring as Luger flanked him, suited and booted. Sting said that he’s got the solution to the problem involving Luger and Randy Savage so he called out Savage. The Macho Man came down and Sting held Savage back as Mean Gene told them to settle down.

Sting asked them both to listen to him as The Giant was “winning the game” as he was taking advantage of the situation. Savage cut him off by questioning why The Giant hasn’t attacked Sting yet, to which Sting called Savage paranoid. Sting said that they all wanted to be the WCW Champion. Sting told Savage to shut up as he may slap the wrong person. Sting books two matches… yes, STING books two matches. He says it’s going to be Lex Luger vs Meng (which we saw on Episode #4) and Randy Savage vs Kamala at Halloween Havoc. If Savage and Luger beat their opponents, they would then face each other for the right to fight for the WCW World title. Savage agreed but Luger was upset that Sting was speaking for him and “putting words into his mouth.” Sting said that Luger didn’t look like a “total package” and he’s tired of being a babysitter.

Eventually, Luger agreed to take care of business. Savage reminded Luger that “we’ve got a date, don’t be late.” This was a fine segment to build Halloween Havoc but Meng vs Luger again as well as Savage vs Kamala do not sound like promising matches. It seems a bit of a complex way to get to the Luger vs Savage rematch when they could have just done Savage vs Luger again. Why did Savage and Luger have to beat Kamala and Meng first respectively? What do Kamala and Meng get out of winning the match? HOW DID STING BOOK THE MATCH? Since when does he have creative control?

…I have to ask the hard-hitting questions guys.

 

They showed a clip of a limo in Japan. Coming out of this big limo is none other than Chris Benoit. Benoit says WCW is where the big boys play. Chris Benoit is on his way to WCW folks.

 

Road Warrior Hawk vs Big Bubba Rogers

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Disco Inferno was the sole saviour of this match between Hawk vs Big Bubba Rogers. First of all, Disco Inferno comes out and he’s the right amount of great and awful at the same time! He’s dancing and getting funky as Bischoff explains that Disco isn’t even part of the roster. Disco debuted on Episode #4 and that was his debut match. So was he FIRED after this WCW Nitro debut? Because if he’s fired, how is he able to come down and how come he has a theme song?

I will concede that Disco is a much better dancer than me. Big Bubba comes out and Disco stops, grabs a boom box and continued to boogie no matter what Bubba did! Road Warrior Hawk comes down and Disco is still dancing. Hawk scares him off but then Disco grabs a kid’s hat and then places it on Hawk’s shoulder pads. A huge LOD chant breaks out when Hawk realises what Disco did.

Then Hawk and Bubba actually had to wrestle and this was quite unbearable. Big Bubba jumped Hawk. There were even louder LOD chants. Big Bubba fires away at Hawk. Hawk hit a big powerslam as Disco got back on the apron and sported a astonishingly bad Hawaiian shirt. Hawk gets sick of this and beats up Disco as the ref counts him down and Big Bubba is your winner.

Other than Disco, there was nothing to this match that resembled entertainment to me. Hawk was over in this Chicago crowd but even Hawk was not immune to the “get-beat-in-your-hometown” rule in professional wrestling.

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Mean Gene brings down WCW Champion Hulk Hogan. Chicago BOOED the living daylights out of the champion. Even in 1995, Chicago was still as hardcore as they come. It was weird because Hogan comes down wearing all black, a neck brace, a black bandanna and a cross necklace. It was very much a nWo look he was sporting and the nWo was still like approximately 9 months away. Interesting.

Hogan told Mean Gene and Jimmy Hart to shut up as the games are over. Hogan has decided to play Taskmaster and Giant’s game. If the Giant shows up, Hogan vowed to kick his ass. Mean Gene brought up a restraining order that the Giant had imposed and this led to Hogan going into a tirade about Vince McMahon and his ego… at least that’s what I gathered. It seemed to come out of nowhere.

Hogan said Taskmaster wanted to burn the trees in the forest and The Giant wanted to chop down the Hulksters but Hogan wanted to plan the seeds. Hogan asked again where Giant was. Then, in a sentence I honestly could not believe the biggest babyface in wrestling history actually said, Hogan said that shaving his moustache was like burning the American flag. SHAVING HULK HOGAN’S MOUSTACHE WAS LIKE BURNING THE AMERICAN FLAG. I was… gobsmacked.

The Giant eventually interrupted this Hulk Hogan promo. He and Zodiac showed up in a monster truck backstage as the police begged them off. Hogan went to the back as Chicago ended the segment by chanting “Hogan Sucks!”

 

Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson III in a steel cage match

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The Rosemont Police arrived to advise Bischoff that they had Giant and Hogan separated. That is good news. Mongo also insisted before this steel cage match that there would be no interference from Brian Pillman… let’s all remember that.

People are going to hate this but I’ve seen this match like 3 times since in the past month of WCW television. The appeal of the match has really gone down with them giving me it so often. Nevertheless, it was a fine match.

Flair chopped away at Arn and beat him up. Arn got the heat by slamming Flair into the cage wall and choking away at him. Arn hit a spinebuster. I’m pretty sure the fans chanted “we want blood” which I guess makes sense as this was becoming a blood feud!

They smashed each other into cage walls and in the middle of this… FLYIN’ BRIAN comes charging down. This cage was supposed to keep away Pillman but it failed miserably as he just showed up out of the blue. He got up the cage but Flair met him at the top with a punch, pacing up that cage at the speed of light. Ric then hit the kneebreaker on Arn, went for the Figure Four Leg Lock but then Arn punched him in the face and pinned him.

Eric is then baffled as he believes that Arn had something in his hand and Mongo backs up these accusations. Eventually, it is revealed that brass knuckles were in his hands disguised as the white tape on Arn’s fingers in order to fool Flair. It was a creative finish as Arn beat Flair at his own game.

This then led to Ric Flair, AN ANGRY RIC FLAIR, pouncing on Eric Bischoff at the announce table. He stole Eric’s headset and screamed that it would be himself vs Arn and Pillman next week. More wrestlers booking their own matches! If Flair couldn’t find a partner, he would do a handicap match as Flair looked INCENSED by what just went down.

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That was WCW Nitro Episode #6. They plugged DDP vs Johnny B Badd for the WCW TV title for next week’s show, as well as the debuting Chris Benoit facing Eddie Guerrero, Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Meng and Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman were also advertised. It actually sounds like a decent show and I am looking forward to seeing where the Flair/Arn stuff goes and you know Benoit and Eddie will be a great showing.

As a whole, this episode #6 of Nitro was nothing really special. There were decent segments to build towards the PPV but the matches weren’t exactly memorable. We had another typical Sabu match, Hawk vs Big Bubba was sloppy, Sting vs The Shark was every face vs monster heel match you’ve ever seen and Ric vs Arn is a match I’ve seen 3 times in the space in a month.

That’s it from the Armbar Express. We will see you with Episode #7.

WCW Nitro Episode List

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #5 (OCTOBER 2ND 1995) – RANDY SAVAGE VS LEX LUGER, RIC FLAIR VS ARN ANDERSON II

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 got to a pretty big episode of Nitro considering how the shows have been built in the last few weeks. Savage and Luger will finally face each other after weeks of not trusting each other and confrontations. Now these two are going to go at it and Lex Luger’s career is on the line. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson will face each other in the Fall Brawl rematch in the main-event as finally Ric is gonna “kick Arn’s ass” as he promised 2 weeks ago. The “double main-event” Nitro is here with Episode #5 as the build to Halloween Havoc continues….

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…BEFORE we dive right into it, we’ve got some business to take care of. I promised two bonus reviews of a Sting vs Johnny B Badd for the US title from the WCW Saturday Night (September 30th, 1995) before this show and Sting and Road Warrior Hawk vs Meng and Kurasawa from Clash of the Champions a month or two before this. If you want to know why, please read our Episode #4 review for more details.

Sadly, I can only deliver on ONE of those promises and it’s not my fault! It’s not my fault because when I looked up the WCW Saturday Night episode in question, there were two issues. Issue #1 was that this particular episode is not currently on the WWE Network. They only started whacking WCW Saturday Night episodes on the network this year and they’re only up to 1993. Issue #2 is that, believe it or not, there was no Sting vs Johnny B Badd for the US title on that episode.

Allow me to explain. Johnny B Badd was supposed to receive a title shot on this episode. Sting waltzed down to the ring. He’s waiting for Johnny as Dave Penzer does the ring introductions. Johnny is nowhere to be seen so Dave declares that they’ll try this later on in the show. Brian Pillman is angry at whoever that Johnny is not here for his big US title match. He wants to be in the US title match but he’s told no. They try again but Johnny is still not here. They eventually determine that Johnny B Badd has no-showed the show so Brian gets his way and gets the title shot. Sting beats him and retains the US title.

After the match is over, Johnny B Badd arrives in the arena and claimed he had a flat tyre. Apparently, it was revealed down the road or on the show that WCW TV Champion DDP was the one responsible for it.

To recap, Johnny B Badd became the number one contender at Fall Brawl. Johnny B Badd lost to Mr Wonderful CLEAN IN THE MIDDLE on the Nitro after Fall Brawl. Johnny is given the US title match anyway and on that show, he’s unable to make it due to a flat tyre. Way to go Johnny B Badd… one of the worst booked title contenders I’ve ever seen.

 

Date: October 2nd 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Denver, Colorado

Rating: 2.5

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

 

The announcers are hyping up the show featuring a double main-event with Lex Luger vs Randy Savage and Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson II. Ric Flair cut them off in his robe and everything, telling Arn that “I’M COMING YOUR WAY BIG BOY” as he was going nuts. He was excited to kick Arn’s ass on Nitro after all of these weeks.

I got to say that this was probably the best performances for the trio of announcers for Nitro. All three of them showed excitement for the show! Steve “Mongo” McMichael was going nuts, Eric Bischoff was going nuts and Bobby Heenan was just a tremendous heel to bounce off these two idiot babyfaces! I loved it. For this one episode anyway, they all clicked!

They recapped the whole Luger/Savage feud, with the confrontations in the last two weeks and The Giant’s rampage from last week. I couldn’t help but notice it here during the replay, as I didn’t notice it the first time. The Giant GROWLS when he grabs Alex Wright for the bearhug slam! That was a nice touch.

 

Lex Luger vs Randy Savage

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I would be somewhat annoyed that one half of the “double main-event” for the show is going on first but it’s a hour long show and it is a great TV time to put the match on… right at the beginning.

Eric Bischoff alerted us that we could find out what happens on RAW by calling the WCW hot-line. I’m honestly surprised he didn’t tell us this week. Remember for Episode #1 when he spoiled that Shawn Michaels kicked “the big guy” in Sid? I have a feeling this may happen again in the future with a WCW commentator. Call it a hunch.

To be fair to WCW, they had a stacked card with Flair/Anderson II and Savage/Luger. Funnily, supposedly RAW and Nitro were tied this week. I was shocked. Mongo informed the fans that if they thought about turning the TV they’d be brain-dead like Bobby Heenan’s family. I swear babyface Mongo said that…

Luger and Savage get into the ring. They lock-up for about 45 seconds straight and they spill to the outside. Luger’s lock-ups are a weak point in his game judging on what I’ve seen from him since he’s arrived. Luger powered Savage into the corner and SLAPPED Savage, which was payback for what happened 2 weeks ago when Savage slapped Luger.

Savage tried a suplex on the floor and after a struggle, Luger turned it into a neckbreaker. Savage tried a small package but Luger kicked out. Luger pressed Savage over his head which is a greater feat of strength than you think. Savage may not look it compared to Luger but Savage himself was a big guy. He really was the “biggest boy” as he stated 2 weeks ago!

Luger was getting boos here as the fans don’t necessarily get behind Luger yet. Luger was way out of position for a Savage kick. They had an awesome spot where they battled for a backslide. For a full minute or so, they are trying to get the other man over for a backslide pin. Luger won the battle and got a near fall. I loved it as even a simple move like a backslide was fought for and was important to both wrestlers. There was a Booker T/Chris Benoit match I reviewed for Survivor Series 2005 where they did the same thing and I loved it. Every move should be important in a match.

Luger caught Savage off the top rope with a punch. Savage eventually hit a double axe handle on the outside. Savage threw Luger into the referee, slammed Luger and hit the elbow drop. In the latest of 101 ways to bury Lex Luger on Nitro, Savage has Luger down for a 10 count while the referee is out. Mongo is howling with laughter as the referee is taken out.

At this point, The Giant came down and choke-slammed Savage yet again for the second week in a row. Neither Luger or the referee saw it. The fans start to boo even more. Luger hurled Savage’s unconscious body up and onto his shoulders for the Torture Rack and won via submission. It looked kinda sloppy in execution but I liked the idea of Savage selling like he legitimately can’t move and Luger trying with all of his might to get him up for this move.

This actually got some serious heat with the fans as Giant helped Luger, a man who they already are not getting behind. Lex Luger has technically not done anything wrong as a babyface but a bad guy helped him win. I will say that this was a let-down as we got a screwjob finish but it did play into the storyline so I’ll allow it.

 

Man, this WCW Saturday Night show they advertised. They would explain what happened to Johnny B Badd in regards to his US title shot. They would have Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman vs Buckhouse Buck and Dick Slater as well as Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Big Bubba Rogers.

Bobby Heenan hyped up that The Giant was here to get his hands on Hulk Hogan. Oh yeah, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan was expected to be here as well! I didn’t mention that earlier but they hyped that last week!

 

They played Disco Inferno’s theme song and Disco came out. Eric Bischoff plays it like he doesn’t know what was going, Mongo appeared like he literally had no idea what was going on and Bobby Heenan was just sat there dancing as Disco made his entrance. Bischoff explains that we’re supposed to get Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko tonight but Disco came out when he wasn’t supposed to. Eddie arrives to tell Disco to get lost. Disco obliges and leaves. That was Eddie Guerrero’s WCW Nitro debut everyone.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko

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I was so excited to see this match pop up. They explain that Eddie Guerrero beat Jushin Liger on WCW Main Event the night before to appear on Nitro. That sounds like a really fun match. For the record, WCW Main Event episodes are not available on the WWE Network so I could not review that match.

Mongo’s analysis of Dean and Eddie were that these two fly more than two vultures around a bunch of dead meat. Mongo then questioned Dean Malenko calling himself the man of a thousand holds and mentions some book called “101 sex positions” or something weird like that. Before Bobby Heenan could say anything, Bischoff immediate cut him off by saying “don’t even touch that Bobby” to which Bobby sadly obliges. So I’m watching some of the most spectacular moves in a WCW ring since I started these Nitro reviews and in the middle of all this, they cut away from it to watch Hulk Hogan arriving at the arena.

It’s not like they just showed a second screen. Hogan took up ALL of the screen time and Eddie vs Dean was an afterthought. Hogan vowed to find The Giant and sort him out as my notes read. It’s all about the Hulksters out there and he’s gonna face The Giant eye-to-eye. They then cut back to Dean vs Eddie.

I didn’t take much notes during this match. It was very fast-paced and I just wanted to sit back and enjoy these two high-flyers put on a tremendous display. They showed slick reversals, monkey flips and eventually, Eddie hit the brainbuster. He was about to follow it up with the Frog Splash but Dean got the knees up. They both went for go-behinds but Eddie eventually tripped up him, grabbed the legs and pinned him. It was a lovely little match. Dean went up to Eddie after the match to ask for a rematch and Eddie accepted.

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So we finally get Hulk Hogan appearing in the ring with Jimmy Hart for an interview with Mean Gene. They talk about a man in town causing destruction and Hogan basically said there’s not a lot to talk about. Hogan said he had to go do some soul-searching after The Giant snapped his neck. He mentioned a kid doing a lung transplant who told the Hulkster to look Giant in the eye and take him down. Hogan said he’d go to the back and rip him apart but before he goes to rip the Giant apart, he makes the rounds and greets the audience with handshakes! Literally going from 0 to 100 real quick.. and then going right back to 0!

Obviously this would soon make sense as an old woman starts to beat up Hogan with a walking stick. Actually, an old woman beating up Hulk Hogan with a walking stick may not make sense! The old woman was revealed to be the Taskmaster. At this point, Mongo proclaims that this is what makes Nitro so great!

The Giant and Zodiac came down to help lay the boots to Hogan. The Giant ripped of Hogan’s neck brace and broke his neck yet again. Taskmaster then did the unthinkable… and SHAVED OFF Hogan’s moustache! It looked initially like they were gonna leave it as a Hitler moustache when they cut to The Giant chokeslamming somebody! The American Males and the Nasty Boys both came down to try and stop these miscreants but even the likes of the WCW Tag Team Champions were no match for The Giant. Throughout all of this, Bobby Heenan is laughing like a madman in the middle of all of this destruction. The heels soon left as Brian Knobbs literally crawled over to check on Hulk Hogan…

This was another great segment for the Hogan/Giant storyline. Giant destroyed the Hulkster and four other men and was a pure wrecking machine. Not many heels got this much heat on the Hulkster before so it was refreshing to see a huge threat to Hulkamania that didn’t seem like just another dude. The Giant was not like the other geeks from the Dungeon of Doom. He was his own Dungeon of Doom if you will and you were dead excited to see what would happen at Halloween Havoc. This was a thumbs up segment.

 

Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson

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The rematch from Fall Brawl 1995. As Ric Flair was coming down to the ring, Eric Bischoff was asking the hard-hitting questions of where Luger was when The Giant and his crew attacked everybody. They excused Savage as he was on a stretcher but WHERE WAS LEX LUGER? My question was why was Lex Luger expected to be out there? They couldn’t find any other fresh dude in the back that could have tried to stop The Giant?

Arn didn’t even get an entrance as they were just going fast from the bell. Bobby was still justifying the Dungeon of Doom’s actions and their attempt to cut Hogan’s hair as well by stating that Hogan needed a haircut anyway! Bobby was on top form tonight!

Arn and Ric brawled all over the place. I love how Ric Flair appears to be the babyface in all of this but was still begging Arn off during spots! Heel tactics aren’t going away that easy for Flair! Arn hit the spinebuster but both men were spent and Flair kicked out after Arn eventually made the cover. They traded sleeper holds. Flair locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Arn tried a piledriver but Flair countered it. Arn tried a DDT but Flair held onto the ropes and Arn took a flat-back bump.

Arn tried a dive from the top rope but Flair cut him off with a big mid-air chop. We had a perplexing finish as I have no idea what the intention was and I personally blame the referee for it. I didn’t write down who the referee was but I think it was Nick Patrick. Brian Pillman ran down as Flair got the Figure Four Leg Lock locked in. Pillman did a dive when the referee called for the bell. It was hard to determine whether the referee was calling the bell for the DQ or if Arn Anderson had given up. It’s not like Patrick decided Arn had given up before Pillman did his dive. He rang the bell after Pillman dived so I thought Flair won by DQ. Eric Bischoff, on commentary, was the one who clarified that Flair won as Arn gave up. I think the referee miss-timed calling for the bell so that’s how the finish got screwed up.

Flair and Pillman started clawing at each other but then Arn got involved. Flair wanted to chop Pillman as hard as he could but the heels overwhelmed him 2 on 1. This actually plays into the promo Arn and Brian cut last week as Arn warned that if Ric went for Arn, Brian would have his back. The heels were men of their words as Pillman ran down to help Arn and they eventually worked together to dispose of Flair.

It was then announced that WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel booked Flair vs Anderson III to take place in a steel cage on next week’s edition of Nitro. They also announced Sting vs The Shark, Big Bubba Rogers vs Road Warrior Hawk and Sabu vs Mr JL.

I loved this little ending of the show. Eric declares that Nitro is as good as it gets to which Bobby and Mongo unleashed battle cries to end the show! Bobby goes “YEEEEAAAH” and Mongo howls at the moon as the show ends. I LOVED THAT. The announcers going crazy over the product and actually looking like their interested in it. A nice change of pace from WWE announcing in 2018.

 

This was a decent show. I wasn’t particular fond of the finish of the Savage/Luger match as I wanted a clean finish but the ending plays into the storyline so I’ll accept it. We got some good cruiserweight action, The Giant got to look like a dominant and big threat to Hulkamania and we had a decent match in the main-event which builds towards a big grudge match next week. Thumbs up for me. I liked it.

Before I leave you, I did also promise a bonus review of the Sting and Road Warrior Hawk vs Kurasawa and Meng match from Clash of the Champions that got a -2 star rating from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. I was shocked at this rating but I will give you a bonus review of the match and see if my interest in Kurasawa is misplaced…

…spoiler but yeah, I may have placed too much stock in him because this was not particular great work!

 

Sting and Road Warrior Hawk vs Kurasawa and Meng w/Col. Robert Parker

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Michael Buffer did the ring introductions. The highlights from his ring introductions were that Meng was discovered by WCW as he worked as a bodyguard which appears to have been true in storyline. He then said that Kurasawa was the latest edition in Col Robert Parker’s “stud stable” because nothing says studs quite like Kurasawa and Meng!

By the way, Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan were the commentators. The heels jumped Sting and Hawk before the bell rang. It broke into a four way which was a terrible idea, as these four were brawling and everybody was in each other’s way. When the match was limited to two guys working together, it wasn’t so terrible unless Road Warrior Hawk was in there. When they had to do spots as tag teams or when all four guys were doing things, it was just a clunky mess.

It’s funny because I read up on our boy Kurasawa and he’s apparently had no martial arts background before going to WCW. It’s funny because although he had no martial arts background and he was throwing kicks all over the place anyway, Kurasawa was actually an accomplished amateur wrestler. Kurasawa actually competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the Asian Championship one time. He’s got this background but WCW saddle him with a gimmick of being a martial artist.

Kurasawa does these kicks and Hawk no-sells them like crazy. Hawk appeared that he did not give an ounce of care about these kicks that the deadly “martial artist” was delivering. Hawk was just on another level of bad here in this match. God bless Road Warrior Hawk, who is no longer with us, but he looked like he was on another planet and looked completely lost in the ring. Sting did an atomic drop and it looked like it went horribly wrong.

Kurasawa did some chops but Sting chopped away even more. Kurasawa and Hawk did a clothesline spot and there was no communication there at all. Kurasawa hit the clothesline and Hawk just tumbled to the ground. It was ugly. Hawk was just not reacting to anything. He didn’t try to protect himself. His arms were down, he leaned his head forward and his mouth was open as he lurched forward, and I’d hate to make this comparison, but very much like a zombie. He showed no emotion in this match.

Hawk even attempted a scoop slam and, even at this point, I was fearing the worst… from a scoop slam. Hawk almost messed this up as well as Kurasawa came very close to landing on his face. Sting eventually flew in. I had no idea if he even tagged in. Hawk had no idea what was going on. Hawk and Kurasawa had a legitimate contender for the worst brawl I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I think I made a similar comment regarding the WCW tag title match from Fall Brawl but there was nothing in that match as bad as this brawl between Hawk and Kurasawa.

Sting and Hawk hit a modified… I think a modified Doomsday Device or a Hart Attack. Either way, it was sloppy and Hawk got the pin. Kurasawa then broke Hawk’s arms and ran away.

This match was beyond bad. Out of the four wrestlers in the match, the two worst wrestlers (Kurasawa and Hawk) were the most used out of the four. Hawk looked like he had no interest in being there and Kurasawa just couldn’t get going. It was messy, it was botchy and it was no good. I’m not sure if I can go as bad as -2 stars. If I gave this match -2 stars, then I’d be saying it was as bad as Buckhouse Buck and Dick Slater vs Harlem Heat from Fall Brawl. I cannot say it was as bad as that match because at least this match was relatively short compared to that tag team title match. This was still a bad match though. I would not recommend it.

Match Rating: -*

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Thank you for reading and I’ll be back with Episode #6 of WCW Nitro as part of the Retro Express. We’re getting to see Sting back in action for the first time since Fall Brawl (at least on Nitro) and we got a big steel cage showdown between Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. We’ll see you at Episode #6!

WCW Nitro Episode List

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #3 (SEPTEMBER 18TH 1995) – FALLOUT TO FALL BRAWL 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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WCW Fall Brawl has came and gone. We got the big War Games match between the Hulkamaniacs and the Dungeon of Doom. Despite issues between Randy Savage and Lex Luger, the Hulkamaniacs survived the battle and toppled the forces of the Taskmaster. This meant Hulk Hogan got a chance to fight Taskmaster one-on-one in the double-ringed cage. This was interrupted by THE GIANT of all people, who beat down Hogan and snapped his neck. If the Dungeon was bad enough for the Hulkster, the second coming of Andre The Giant was not going to make things any better!

 

As much as I loved Fall Brawl, this fallout to Fall Brawl wasn’t very good. The Shark pulling off the “jumping the shark” spot during the War Games match was very appropriate when you think about this Nitro episode. I was rather perplexed through out this show. This was the show that did the WCW tag titles no favours as we’ll get to and it made the best match of Fall Brawl mean nothing when all said and done. The structure of the show was very clunky but we did get some great stuff regarding Randy Savage, Lex Luger and Ric Flair which we’ll get to.

 

Date: September 18th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Johnson City, Tennessee

Rating: 1.9

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

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Right off the bat, we get ambulance sirens which didn’t have anything to do with Scott Steiner. It had to do with the supposed murder of Hulk Hogan at Fall Brawl. Mean Gene is on the scene as The Giant arrives with the Taskmaster in an ambulance. The Giant said he’s been thinking about what it was like for Hogan to go into the back of an ambulance. The Giant said Hogan is called the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan but The Giant is the only true immortal in WCW.

At the time, The Giant was billed as (and I still can’t believe this) the SON OF ANDRE THE GIANT. For the younger fans out there, The Giant (a.k.a. Big Show) debuted in the professional wrestling business as Andre The Giant’s long-lost son. They played off that as Giant said if Andre were still alive, he’d be alongside Giant in his quest to destroy Hulk Hogan. The Giant then growled with a big grin on his face as a true villain should and he had such great presence for a guy who had only just started out in the wrestling business.

“The Blue Bloods” Lord Steven Regal and Earl Robert Eaton vs “American Males” Buff Bagwell and Scotty Riggs 

The American Males were supposed to face the Blue Bloods but the Blue Bloods were jumped before the match by the new WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (see our Fall Brawl review for details). Booker T got on the mic and said the Blue Bloods shouldn’t be here as Harlem Heat are the tag champions now. I guess they had inserted themselves in the match and, while they’re at it, decided that they were gonna defend the WCW tag team titles against the American Males…

“Harlem Heat” Booker T (c) and Stevie Ray (c) w/Sensational Sherri vs “American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I don’t know if Harlem Heat going in there instead of the Blue Bloods was better. We missed out on seeing Lord Steven Regal in action. However, it just did not click at all with these two tag teams and there’s one guy at the centre of it. This Stevie Ray is SO HORRIBLE. In every task he was given in this match, he could not accomplish it with any level of success. He could not bump, he could not sell and he could not brawl. He tried to do all of these things and just couldn’t do anything right.

Booker, Bagwell and Riggs tried to wrestle around this big stump and they did try. Booker executed a sweet scoop powerslam on Riggs. Bagwell got the “hot tag” but this led to Stevie clobbering Bagwell from behind and then Booker hitting an axe kick just as regular move which was strange. Booker hit a Harlem sidekick which Bischoff was going nuts about as he declared this to be a wheel kick.

There was a “We Want It RAW” sign right in the front row of the hard cam which I was shocked was not confiscated. Bagwell got another “hot tag” which saw Stevie evade a dropkick by just side-stepping as Bagwell fell on his back. The finish saw Col. Robert Parker come down. If you recall at Fall Brawl, Parker and Sherri had lust in their eyes for each other as they made out. Parker wooed Sherri off the apron as they made their way up the entrance ramp. The match continued as Booker went for a pumphandle slam but Bagwell reversed it by bringing Booker down mid-move and scoring the pin.

In case anyone isn’t keeping track, allow me to clarify the WCW tag team title situation. Harlem Heat beat Buckhouse Buck and Dick Slater for the titles at Fall Brawl because of the distraction caused by their managers. On WCW Nitro the day after, Harlem Heat drop the titles to the American Males because of the distraction caused by managers. It’d be one thing if they did the title change at Fall Brawl and then Buck and Dick won the tag titles back the next night. At least it would continue the storyline. Instead a random new tag team, who didn’t even earn the tag title shots, beat Harlem Heat and they’re now the new WCW tag champs.

It was a very sloppy match. Not as horrifically bad as the tag match at the PPV but it was bad. Bad to the bone.

 

They showed a brief 10 second but awesome Slim Jim commercial from our boy “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

Mean Gene brings out Ric Flair for an interview. It was revealed here that Ric Flair would face Brian Pillman here tonight and judging by what happened at Fall Brawl, that makes sense. Flair was upset that Arn Anderson BROKE THE CODE. He said it’s OK for him and Arn to feud between themselves but Arn brought in an outsider into their feud. Something oddly foreshadowy about Outsider huh?

Flair said they’re gonna settle this feud within the family. Flair turned to Brian. I’m just gonna start calling him Brian Pillman in these reports. It makes life more easier for me and I don’t even think they referred to him as Flyin’ Brian in this show. So Brian Pillman it is.

Flair said he was going to chop Brian hard and that he was going to find Arn in Tennessee and kick his ass. The concerned Mean Gene insisted that you can’t say “ass” on WCW Nitro.

 

They showed the line up for Saturday Night, including Sting vs Regal, Craig Pittman vs Kobra in a Fall Brawl rematch, Dusty Rhodes being on the show and an update on Hulk Hogan.
“Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs Johnny B Badd

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The follow-up to the legendary segment shown at Fall Brawl with Paul Orndorff and Gary Spivey. Paul Orndorff, now realising that he was in fact Mr Wonderful, comes out to a theme song which was 10 times as beautiful as The Man Called Sting theme song I raved about from Episode #1. Two opera singers were singing that “THEY CALL HIM MR WONDERFUL” as Paul came down to the ring admiring himself in a mirror. Eric Bischoff and the announcers were crapping on the theme song which was unbearable to hear. Please guys… the theme was WONDERFUL.

Orndorff came out flying with rights and lefts into the corner on Johnny B Badd. This beating was so bad that Nick Patrick, THE REFEREE, had to get in Orndorff’s face to get him to knock it off.

This wasn’t much of a match in all honesty. I just like how, at this point in the show, Bischoff decides to mention that we’ve got a new WCW TV champion coming out of Fall Brawl. Diamond Dallas Page was the new WCW TV champion. We didn’t get a peep out Page throughout the show but yeah, now’s the time when we must inform you of this news. Not mentioning the fact that the WCW tag team titles have changed hands twice in the last 24 hours AND that JOHNNY B BADD is now the US title number one contender. JOHNNY B BADD, who was in this match, was not acknowledged as the number one contender for the US title.

They don’t mention that but they did mention that Badd maybe fatigued due to the intensity of the matches he’s been having as of late. Again, not mentioning the fact that Badd had a 29 minute match the night before with Brian Pillman.

Orndorff pinned Badd by, as Mongo stated it as, SITTING ON HIS HEAD. Mongo saying that would be one thing, if it we’re not for Mongo than asking him to sit on Bobby Heenan’s head at ringside.

To start the show, we had the new WCW Tag Team champions from Fall Brawl losing the tag titles to American Males. In the SECOND match on the WCW Nitro AFTER Fall Brawl, the new number one contender for the US title loses clean to Mr Wonderful. If this leads to Mr Wonderful becoming next in line for the US title shot then I’m fine with this. If this leads to Johnny B Badd still getting his US title shot, I’d be baffled.

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They showed “Macho Man” Randy Savage on the set of Baywatch doing a bench press. These actors are here cheering Savage until Taskmaster runs down at presses the weights on Savage’s chest. He threw sand at Savage. He mauled at him until Baywatch geeks and RIC FLAIR came out to make the save. Flair added that Taskmaster had went too far.

I don’t really have any idea when this was supposed to have taken place. If it’d happened before Fall Brawl, Savage would have mentioned it during the big Hulkamaniacs promo at the PPV. I guess it happened just before Nitro. They flew out to the set for Baywatch (him and Ric Flair anyway) and Taskmaster was on their tail and ambushed the Macho Man.

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Macho Man then shows himself in Tennessee. Macho Man talks about what happened on the Baywatch set. Macho Man told Flair “thanks, but no thanks” which was met with a lot of boos as these fans loved Ric Flair. Macho said he’d cut the head off the snake that is the Taskmaster. He said the strong survive and nobody is stronger than Hulk Hogan. However, Savage admitted that Hogan dropped the ball by picking Lex Luger for the Hulkamaniacs as Luger “cheap-shotted” him. Mean Gene pointed out that a lot of the wrestlers were behind Luger and that Luger “cheap-shotting” him was merely an accident. Savage questioned his sources as he now believed Sting, Jimmy Hart AND Lex Luger were all with the Dungeon of Doom.

This brought out Lex Luger. Luger said that Macho Man may be jealous of him. Luger said that Savage claims Luger is only looking out for himself as he wants the WCW World title but yet Savage also wants the WCW title himself. Savage says he’s got the guts to say that he does have the WCW title in mind but still insisted that Luger cheap-shotted him. Luger says he’s here to take on the big boys and Savage said there’s no bigger boy than the Macho Man. Savage was ready for a fight and even slapped Luger and as they’re about to fight… they cut to a break.

AT THE MOMENT where Luger and Savage are about to come to blows, they felt the need to show the WCW fans the words from their sponsors! They had great confrontation but they didn’t even show what happened after Savage slapped Luger. The next thing they show when they come back is the commentators talking about Hogan and The Giant. WHAT?

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They showed the clip in full of The Giant destroying Hulk Hogan’s Harley Davidson motorcycle. Giant smashed right into the bike using a Monster Truck just after Hogan shows it off to all the little Hulksters out there with him. He loved this bike before Giant destroyed it. Giant reversed back into the motorcycle at the slowest speed he could and it appeared to do NO DAMAGE! Hogan clawed at Giant and yelled “ARE YOU OUT  OF YOUR MIND?” to which Giant just cackled!

They then replayed Giant killing Hogan at the PPV. I couldn’t help but noticed this, as they didn’t show this at the PPV, but Giant grabbed hold to the top of the cage like monkey bars as he gets in and then just launches himself into the first ring! The Giant, at this time, was ridiculously agile.

 

Ric Flair vs Brian Pillman

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Wrestling Observer Newsletter had this match as being on par with the WCW tag team title match. I have no idea what they were thinking. This match was miles better than the tag team match. Maybe not miles but it was still pretty OK.

This match was… very much the 1995 version of a Dolph Ziggler match. Pillman’s going super fast and Flair, who is 40 at this time I think, just could not keep up and nothing was able to sink in as a move. Nothing really got much heat with the exception of Ric Flair CHOPPING Pillman like crazy from the get-go. I like how Flair still had to style and profile in the middle of this beating during a blood feud with Pillman!

By the way, they played up that Johnny B Badd was fatigued earlier. Pillman was wrestling Johnny B Badd in their 29 minute match at Fall Brawl and here is Pillman flying at 100 miles an hour against Flair. He didn’t even sell being tired. Flair locked in the figure four leg lock and won.

Flair got on the mic and called out Arn as Pillman just walks to the back. Flair then said that since Arn didn’t show up here, he vowed that Arn would get his ass kicked on next week’s Nitro instead.

 

The announcers close the show by randomly stating that WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel would decide the fate of the WCW tag titles. Do we really need Nick to decide if American Males are the tag team champions? They won. Why does Bockwinkel need to decide if they’re the tag team champions?

Bischoff randomly says that something’s happening in the back. Then it just cuts to the card for the next WCW Nitro episode… I have no idea what that was about. Either it was a mistake by Bischoff to say that, a WCW production error or it was a WWE Network production error. Either way, we had no idea what happened in the back.

We do know that next week’s episode of WCW Nitro includes Alex Wright vs the Debuting Disco Inferno and Randy Savage vs Taskmaster. Ric Flair also said that he would kick Arn Anderson’s ass.

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I will say that upon review, this episode of Nitro was not as terrible as I remembered it being when I started writing it up. They were still some stupid stuff. I was mostly just upset at the lack of impact that Fall Brawl had on the product. Johnny B Badd became the number one contender and then lost to Mr Wonderful. Harlem Heat won the tag titles and then lost the tag titles to the American Males. We had some really sloppy matches along the way.

However, we had great stuff with Randy Savage as they built on the issues between him, Taskmaster and Lex Luger. I loved the Savage/Luger confrontation. Flair promos are always money. The Giant being all evil and diabolical was great to see too. In the undercard of WCW, there’s not much too it but the important storylines were dealt with carefully. Savage and Luger, Arn and Ric, Hogan and Giant. All these programs were dealt with brilliantly on this show. However, this was the worst out of the 3 WCW Nitro episodes I’ve seen so far. Hopefully things will improve with Episode #4 as Savage takes on the Taskmaster!

Thank you for reading and I’ll be back with Episode #4 of WCW Nitro as part of the Retro Express.

 

WCW Nitro Episode List