RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #58 (OCTOBER 21ST 1996) – STING RETURNS AND MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN BLACK AND WHITE

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 very close to Halloween Havoc, with the New World Order leader Hollywood Hogan defending the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth is once again in the middle of another Hogan vs Savage storyline in wrestling, with Elizabeth putting together a video apology last week for the Macho Man for singing with the nWo. This heartfelt apology rocked Savage who left the building distraught and possibly throwing him off his game ahead of his big title match against Hogan.

 

This episode I’m about to review I felt was a decent go-home show for WCW Halloween Havoc 1996. Good matches up and down the card. There weren’t many things done to build towards that pay-per-view and even the closing segment with Savage and Hogan was off to me. Keep in mind, that closing segment ended with Savage suggesting that he was going to kill Hollywood Hogan at the PPV! I’ll talk more about the Elizabeth stuff later but this seems like a complicated way to get Savage in a position of wanting to kill Hogan at the PPV, with Elizabeth being in business with Hogan. It felt anti-climatic despite the stakes being raised.

 

Date: October 21st 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Mankato, Minnesota

Rating: 3.2

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

Bobby Eaton vs Chris Jericho

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I thought this was a solid opening match. WCW have really stepped it up in the last few weeks with the opening matches for WCW Monday Nitro. It was Malenko vs Brad Armstrong last week and it was Jericho vs Bobby Eaton this week. I think in Bischoff’s mind at this time, it’s very clear that the second hour was the more important hour for him. The big angles were done on the second half of the show involving Hogan and Savage for example. However, putting a solid opening match to kick off Nitro was a great way to get the fans hyped up for the rest of the show and appealed to traditional wrestling fans. They tuned into Nitro wanting good wrestling and they got some!

They announced Savage vs Chris Benoit for later on in the show and Sting was set to appear on this episode of Nitro. It was somewhat ambiguous at this point as to which Sting was actually going to turn up for Nitro – the real Sting or the nWo Sting.

I guess Eaton was no longer with the Blue Bloods with Larry claiming he was “thrown out” of the Blue Bloods. They didn’t even show us what happened but I’m guessing based off Regal winning the TV title and Taylor and Eaton brawling a few weeks ago, they cut the man loose from the group.

Syxx and nWo Sting were amongst the crowd with a nWo banner in the background, Syxx was filming the show… for god knows what reason. The commentators explained Syxx was “scouting” Jericho ahead of their match at Halloween Havoc but I’m fairly certain that the New World Order will have owned televisions and would have the money to watch them for the sake of scouting.

Jericho used the speed to gain the advantage over the bigger Bobby Eaton. Jericho locked on a surfboard stretch submission. Eaton did a powerslam where I think Jericho tried bouncing INTO the rope and then bounced off the and stumbled as they did the spot.

Jericho wrestled down Eaton with a hammerlock. Jericho did the springboard dropkick. Eaton turned things around and worked on Jericho with an arm lock of his own. Eaton and Jericho knocked each other down to the floor with a punch at the same time which looked quite comical. They brawled on the floor with Jericho trying a back elbow but smashing his elbow into the ring post. Jericho backdropped Eaton on the floor.

Eaton hit a swinging neckbreaker and tried a move from the top to which Jericho cut him off but then the Canadian got knocked right back down again to the mat. Eaton did a top rope knee drop “on the shoulder” of Jericho but Jericho kicked out. Jericho did a side kick “enziguiri “ of some kind. Jericho did a top rope dropkick and frantically rushed over to score the pinfall for the win.

I love how Jericho had to go up to referee Nick Patrick just to check with him if it was a three count, given Patrick’s recent history with his refereeing. I thought this was a fine opener.

Eaton actually raised Jericho’s hand after the match showing signs of a babyface turn.

 

Tony Schiavonie interviewed Jericho after the match. Jericho said it was only six days before Halloween Havoc and said Syxx would be coming out of the PPV with a loss. He said he will come out with a victory and we’ll see who the better man is. A lot of yelling from Jericho. Far be it from me to critique the promo capabilities of Chris Jericho but I was not enthralled by the generic good-guy promos from Jericho at this point.

 

We got a Rey Mysterio Jr. video package. Some of the video effects used were seizure-inducing. Black and white effects really hurt my brain as they were showing all of these cool moves from the WCW Cruiserweight Champion Mysterio but the visual effects brought down the video package quality.

 

Dean Malenko vs Jimmy Graffiti

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Another great Nitro match featuring “The Man Of 1000 Holds” Dean Malenko as he wrestled Jimmy Grafiti. Jimmy Graffiti was dressed as Johnny Grunge, with a head like The Sandman but kinda worked like Super Calo. He and Malenko put on some great stuff together on this Nitro. It’s said that any TV opportunity is an opportunity and Graffiti worked his ass off for this one and that has to be respected.

Very good chain-wrestling to start off the match and after a while, Jimmy hit a decent looking float-over DDT. Graffiti hit a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Grafitti hit a side-kick. Some very crisp looking moves hit by Graffiti during this match.

Malenko hit an uppercut but Graffiti fell through the ropes and almost landed right on his head on the floor. I watched that spot a few times and Graffiti was very luck to walk away from that spot seemingly un-phased.

Dean did a chin-lock. The nWo Sting was shown with the video-tape and Larry called him “Stink”. Dean slammed Graffiti with a back suplex. Grafitti tried a bridge pinfall attempt but Dean kicked out. Dean hit a side kick for another 2 count. Dean hit a delayed suplex. Grafitti tried a Magistral roll up but got a 2 count.

Malenko crashed over the top rope with Graffiti following a crossbody and Graffiti landed head first into the apron. It looked nasty. I mentioned he got lucky following out of the ring earlier but here, his head smashed into the apron with a big thud when coming down. It also wasn’t like it was the top of his head, the side of his head smashed the apron. That was ugly.

Graiffit tried a dropkick off the top rope but Malenko reversed into a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory. Sloppy in parts but a another fine match to follow up the Jericho/Eaton match.

The irony of the “Power Pin of the Week” was the fact that it featured Dean locking on a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory! What a POWER PIN!

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs Sgt. Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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Nick Patrick, of course, was the referee and still wearing his neck brace. He refereed the opening match too. This was the continuation of the Nick Patrick vs Teddy Long storyline with one of Teddy’s clients in the ring with DDP who had previously put his hands on Teddy on Nitro.

DDP spat at Teddy before the match started. Teddy summoned Pittman towards him on the apron and then DDP jumped Pittman to start the match. Bad strategy from Team Pittman where Teddy allowed Pittman to have this back turned to a cheating scoundrel like DDP!

DDP caught a kick and hit a Discuss Clothesline. DDP did the elbow drop to the gut but Pittman sold it as if DDP hit him in the balls, therefore calling Patrick’s refereeing into question yet again.

DDP hit a Styles Clash-like facebuster. Pittman kicked out but DDP got thrown into the referee who sold his back. Pittman locked on the code red armbar but referee Patrick was distracted with Teddy Long. Pittman yelled that DDP had given up but Patrick didn’t see it. DDP then hit a Diamond Cutter for the win. Teddy and Patrick yelled at each other even more, Pittman got mad at Teddy Long and this storyline needs to go away.

I mean seriously, where is this storyline going? Other than Nick Patrick working for the New World Order, this Nick Patrick storyline just keeps going and going and it is really starting to jump the shark. WCW are just throwing Patrick in there for every match where the wrestler is managed by Teddy Long. You have DDP and Craig Pittman trying to work a match but they are the backdrop and extras to the Nick Patrick/Teddy Long feud. Once again, the referees and managers are more important than the wrestlers in the ring. That I hate about wrestle. It’s not even like Teddy or Patrick are adding any further to the storyline. They’re just bickering back and forth with no end in sight.

 

Tony interviewed Nick Patrick. Patrick claimed he did not hear DDP give up in the previous match. He blamed Teddy for being the reason that he did not hear him as all he saw was DDP getting to the ropes. To be fair to Patrick, how many times does Teddy Long get up on the apron to chew out the referee when really he should be there to help his clients? Teddy Long distracting the referee which cost Pittman the match so of course, Pittman chewed out Teddy after the match as well and got frustrated with him.

Patrick insisted that he was not the nWo referee claiming he was in twice the better shape than that referee. Patrick warned Tony about what happened the last time an announcer came at him with accusations in reference to “Mean Gene” Okerlund. I was wondering where Mean Gene went because he seemed to disappear from the face of the earth but it turns out his WCW contract expired at this time. In case anyone was wondering what happened to hi.

 

They recapped the nWo attacking Ric Flair two weeks ago and the recap of Jarrett’s promo last week which it also said took place “two weeks ago” so that was an error. Those two events did not happen on the same episode.

 

Jeff Jarrett vs Ron Studd

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They explain that Ric Flair had a MRI on his shoulder so he’s out of action for now. Ron Studd was on jobbing-giant duty tonight as he faced Jeff Jarrett, who would be fighting The Giant at Halloween Havoc in Ric Flair’s place. This was the continuation of Ron Studd’s role of being the giant to lose to a babyface ahead of a match against The Giant.

It’s sad because any wrestling promoter would kill to have a guy as tall as Studd in their ranks. You know how Vince treats giants and a giant ninja has just debuted recently with Akira Tozawa on RAW in 2020. They did try with Studd as the Yeti but now he’s back to being a random lower-midcard guy as a set-up guy for future matches with The Giant. First Chris Benoit, then Randy Savage and now Jeff Jarrett. It would be difficult to push him as a giant with The Giant and Kevin Nash already in the company for the nWo so Studd is just in this position. To be fair, at least Studd has a purpose in WCW unlike the 100s of other wrestlers signed to the company that are just signed for the hell of it. At least he has that going for him.

Ric Flair made his way down to the ring in a suit which he explained were his street clothes…which I totally believe! He’s Ric Flair! He’s always stylin’ and profilin’! Ric commanded Jeff Jarrett to do his strut to mostly boos but some cheers. Then Ric Flair showed him how to do it. He took off his jacket, slicked his hair and did his own strut as the fans went nuts. Fans booed Jarrett and chanted “Nature Boy” with Ric then going into full Ric Flair mode with his stylin’ and profilin’. It’s an awkward position for Jarrett to be in because they were trying to get him over but when Ric Flair came out and ain’t nobody gonna get cheered more than Ric Flair. Therefore, when Jarrett is doing the struts and he was trying to be Flair, the fans turned on him. Why have a cheap imitation when they had the real Ric Flair?

Flair and Jarrett. shook hands as he left Jarrett to it. Jarrett beat up Studd in the corner. Studd tried a suplex but Jarrett grabbed the rope to block it and then Jarrett did a suplex of his own to Studd as the fans actually popped for. Jarrett did a Figure Four Leg Lock on the big man and got the submission victory. It sucked to be Studd but at least this was effective in showing to the viewers that Jarrett could chop down and beat a large man in preparation for a match with another large man.

 

Tony interviewed Jarrett. Jeff said it’s time for him to put up or shut up. He said it’s time for everyone whose ever watched Ric Flair and who respects Flair to be the hunters instead of the hunted. Jarrett said there’s a big bullseye on Giant’s leg and he’s putting on the Figure Four. He said: “You’ve chokeslammed them all but you haven’t chokeslammed Jeff Jarrett.”

Flair interrupted and said he sat home last week and saw a man talk good about Flair. Flair said the nWo outsmarted outflanked and played the game dirtier than the Four Horsemen at War Games. Flair said he would be in Jeff Jarrett’s corner. He said the day he get back in with Jarrett and The Four Horsemen, he will kick the nWo’s ass.

 

Lex Luger vs Roadblock

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THE DEBUT OF ROADBLOCK. It’s almost like a balancing act with how wrestlers are signed with WCW at this point. For every new cruiserweight like Jimmy Graffiti or some great worker like that, they have to sign a big stiff for the big boys of World Championship Wrestling. Roadblock looked massive! He was as wide as a roadblock, he had a road block sign on his shoulders and had an ugly expression on his face. That’s not to say that he’s ugly but the way he gritted his teeth and snarled I enjoyed!

I love how Roadblock ran the ropes first and foremost! He was in the ring with Lex Luger. He ran up and charged at Luger to start the match with his hands in the air to start off the match! It was such a funny run as he charged at the Total Package.

Luger clotheslined him out of the ring. Luger did a scoop slam. Arn was cutting an inset promo about how “those impressive things “he was doing in the ring wouldn’t help him against Arn at Halloween Havoc and at the time of the promo being played, Luger was doing barely anything “impressive” in the ring!

Roadblock did a clothesline. There was an awkward spot where Luger took an Irish whip into the corner and then just turned around! He didn’t even try to do it naturally. He went back first into the turnbuckle and then span around like a Bayblade and then sold the move!

I loved this finish. I don’t think this finish was planned out this way but ended up being perfect with getting Luger over. Luger tried a Torture Rack but Roadblock, because of his size, slipped off of Luger’s shoulders. Luger tried again but Roadblock slipped off again. It was looking like a disaster but Luger started amping up the crowd! He rallied himself up and the fans as he was determined to get this big man up for the Rack. He throws his hands up. He tried the Torture Rack more time and he pullED it off to a big pop and Roadblock submitTED! Then just drops Roadblock down to the mat when he was done!

Whether this was a botched finish or not, this worked out perfectly for Luger. The storyline going on last week was Luger was selling his back because of a chair attack from Arn the week before. Therefore, they put him in the ring with this big guy and Roadblock kept slipping off his back because he was so big and Luger couldn’t keep him up. It played into that. After two attempts, the fans got fired up as they wanted Luger to get this man up for good and he delivered with a great pay-off. This was unintentionally one of my favourite matches of the night!

 

“The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri in a non-title match

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There’s not really much I can say about this match other than the finish. This was your typical American Males match with them working very fast and this was your typical Harlem Heat match with shenanigans. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bagwell hip tossed Booker clean over the top rope as Bobby Heenan correctly pointed out should have been a disqualification. Tenay tried to explain this away as he talked about the momentum and Bobby cut him off and said: “Mike, Don’t think.”

Bagwell turned Booker inside out with a clothesline. As Booker hit a powerbomb, the Outsiders come out also to videotape Booker and Ray. Booker got cut off the top rope with a dropkick. Riggs got the hot tag and ran wild on the Harlem Heat.

Now to the finish, American Males were running wild in the ring but referee NICK PATRICK stopped Bagwell and took him to one side. Riggs punches Col. Robert Parker off the apron. Booker laid out Riggs as his back was turned. Booker went for the cover and Bagwell froze for 2 seconds as the referee counts to two, then he jumps in at the last minute to break it up but supposedly that was a three count and Harlem Heat won the match.

Over-booked tripe for a Harlem Heat match once again. It was honestly like Bagwell was frozen in a block of ice and then thawed out as Patrick got to “two” on his count. Bagwell had all the time in the world to break it up but because Patrick had to be distracted for Harlem Heat to do their spot, Patrick had to turn around and then do the count before Bagwell broke it up. This was a disaster and a miserable finish. I cannot wait for Harlem Heat to lose those titles. I’ve had garbage finishes in title matches for more than a year now with this team and now I want something different with this tag team division. THUMBS DOWN FOR THIS FINISH.

 

“The Fantastics” Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rodgers vs “The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart

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This was a great way to get Faces of Fear over for their match with Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael at Halloween Havoc. Take a random tag team in the Fantastics and have these two monsters destroy them for five minutes. AEW does this well in 2020 but I love the idea of establishing a dominant force by having them destroy enhancement talent. They don’t need to beat one of your other star tag teams. This was the problem with Nitro doing Harlem Heat vs Faces of Fear last week. Nobody could be booked to lose without losing momentum so they had the Outsiders interrupt the match and caused the match to be thrown. This would have been a better option.

Hire a few guys on the cheap and have them sell for the big stars and get them over. It’s good for the stars you wanna get over, it’s good for the enhancement talent because they have the “rub” of being in the ring with a star and it’s a better financial move to make in the long run. Maybe enhancement talent isn’t the word to describe the Fantastics but they were compared to the Faces of Fear in WCW’s eyes at the time.

My favourite spot of this match was when The Faces of Fear did a back drop from Meng into a powerbomb from The Barbarian in an awesome spot in one motion. The Faces of Fear don’t strike me as “spot” guys if that makes sense. All I’ve seen is big power moves from these two monsters as they destroy people left and right. Then suddenly they do this complex spot and they pull it off! I was blown away by them.

I love whenever Barbarian does a backbreaker to someone. It’s not just a motion where they go up and go down. Barbarian lifts him high in the air and slams him right down on his knee. The Barbarian was quite great in the ring.

The monsters destroy the Fantastics with Meng delivering a piledriver. There was double diving headbutt from Faces of Fear on the floor and then they got one of the babyfaces standing up and did a double headbutt while they were on their feet! Bischoff is constantly talking about how these Fantastics have no chance.

Fantastics get the hot tag. Rodgers ran wild. They slam Barbarian with a double back suplex and then do a double top rope dropkick for a 2 count. Barbarian caught Rodgers I believe from the top rope, Meng then booted him and they score the pin.

The Faces of Fear with a fun dominating display and this was a fun five minutes!

 

They recap the Elizabeth video package from last week. I loved the irony of this. Eric Bischoff made sincere apologises to Savage and his family for showing the video package. He’s extremely apologetic and all morose with his delivery as he is sorry for showing the video package and making Savage “an emotional vegetable”. He’s so sorry… but he showed the video again anyway! “Hey Savage, I apologise for this video but I will repeatedly show it as a way to pop a rating!” was basically what Bischoff did here! Bischof claimed he had footage about how low-class Hogan could be that he would show later on. 

 

nWo Sting vs Mr JL

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So Eric Bischoff had been teasing all night that Sting would be here and I don’t remember when it was but then Bischoff got word that it might not be the real Sting. Then, wrestling Mr JL, was the nWo Sting who actually still came out to “The Man called Sting” theme that Sting came out to.

They explained that Elizabeth’s contract would be up in November with WCW which is why I guess she joined the nWo so at least, she would still be signed with the nWo.  The nWo arrived with Vincent, Ted DiBiase, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx and The Giant.

Sting did the World’s Strongest Slam front slam. Sting did the Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Deathlock but the match is interrupted by, believe it or not, THE REAL STING. For the first time in WCW, Sting was here in WCW while wearing the black and white. It was not quite the vintage black and white face-paint he would sport later on in the feud with the nWo. However, he was wearing black scorpion trunks and white face pain and a black trench coat He dropped nWo Sting with the Scorpion Deathlock and he beat him up for a while.

The nWo just stood around the ring as Sting did a Stinger Splash and did the Scorpion Deathlock. The nWo then get into the ring surrounding the real Sting and Ted DiBiase told everyone to say hello to the real Sting. DiBiase offered Sting a place in the nWo. He said if they join them, he would be joining a family. Nash said it’s time for him to break on through to the other side. Hall said Sting had been carrying the WCW banner for 9 years but what does he have to show for it? Hall said he knew the fake Sting would get to him and said there would be no stopping them if the real Sting joined too.

Sting said he may or may not be in their price range or maybe he could be. Sting said the only thing for sure about Sting is that nothing is for certain and then he left. Ironically, after the nWo talk about nWo Sting just being bait and doing nothing to help the fake Sting, Fake Sting still posed with the nWo after the nWo did nothing to save him! It’s weird because the nWo talked about being a part of family if Sting joined and nWo Sting was already in the group and they left him to get his ass kicked! I get the nWo are heels but if this was supposed to sell Sting on the idea of joining “a family” than this was a horrible sales pitch! Such disregard for people who are ALREADY with the New World Order!

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The main-event was supposed to be Randy Savage vs Chris Benoit. Benoit made his was down to the ring just like Mike Enos last week. “Macho Man” Randy Savage came out in what was described as his “street clothes” which was in full back. I can suspend my disbelief that Ric Flair would walk down the streets all suited and booted… because he’s Ric Flair! It was impossible to believe that any normal human in the world would wear this outfit Savage had on in the streets! He looked more like the Undertaker than a regular guy street clothes!

Eric Bischoff said he apologised for last week but now he’s got more footage to show! Yeah Bischoff is aware of the effect his music had on Savage but yet he’s got another video to show anyway RIGHT BEFORE his match with Chris Benoit!

The video showed Hogan on the set of the 3 Ninjas film referred to last week. My description of Hogan’s look in my notes noted that he “looked like a shitty version of Shao Kahn” from the Mortal Kombat series! Ironically, there is a blog post on the Armbar Express from my early days blogging about a ScrewAttackDeath Battle video featuring Shao Kahn which you can read more about that on this link!

Hogan complained to his director and claimed the nWo would betaking over produciton of the film. When in the world when making the movie could someone just take control of producing the film like this? Even when Joss Whedon replaced Zack Snyder from Justice League, it’s not like Joss just walked up at the set and said he was taking over the project! There was a process to this change in the movie! The Giant was apparently going to direct the film and Hogan was gonna produce as he said: “welcome to the world of Hollywood Hogan.”

Elizabeth was on the set with the nWo as she supposedly had a cameo I guess agreed to her in her nWo contract. Hogan pressured Elizabeth to tell Savage she loved him. Giant yelled at the camera man “what you’re doing boy?” as Hogan got upset with Elizabeth. Giant sent Elizabeth back to the trailer as Hogan berated her. He said: “What Hollywood wants, Hollywood gets.” Hogan said she wanted some acting lessons Hulk Hogan style.

Eric asked for Savage’s thoughts as they cut back to them at the arena and Savage eventually broke his silence. He said: “it just occurred to me how fragile friendships and relationships can be. Eric, you and I both know how fragile business can be.” He ends with promo with saying: Hulk Hogan, life is fragile” and he waleds away. So yes, it was played up to suggest Savage was going to KILL HULK HOGAN at Halloween Havoc! To be fair, Savage did release a rap video many years later about wanting to fight Hulk Hogan in real life! Maybe this was just life imitating art!

That was a horrible segment. When building up a babyface Randy Savage against a heel Hollywood Hogan for Halloween Havoc, it shouldn’t be this difficult. Hogan turned on Savage at Bash at the Beach, Savage went nuts and wanted revenge. Of course the Elizabeth stuff from WWF is an aspect of this feud but you don’t have to directly address it. Here, they address Elizabeth and it watered down what should have been a great personal rivalry when Savage should do everything he can to try and kill Hogan. They inserted Elizabeth into the middle and it took away from the personal rivalry aspect of Hogan vs Savage.

They had to write the storyline around her which I think took away the heat from Savage and Hogan. I have not been a fan of this storyline but heck, maybe Halloween Havoc delivered in a big way. We will wait and see.

 

The WCW Halloween Havoc review is coming up next on this blog. In the mean time, enjoy time indoors during this crazy time to read up on my thoughts about every WCW up until this point! Be sure to follow the blog as we’ve got more Nitro reviews and PPVs to come for the foreseeable future!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #49 (AUGUST 19TH 1996) – THE NICK PATRICK SHOW

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

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We’ve come to Episode #49 and we’re on the road to WCW Fall Brawl 1996. This episode establishes the main-event of WCW Fall Brawl 1996 with a great segment which saw the Four Horsemen agree to work with Sting and Lex Luger to fight the New World Order. That along with the closing segment involving Randy Savage and The Giant were both really well done, albeit misleading from an advertising standpoint. More on that when we come to it.

However, what bothered me the most about this episode was the lack of focus on the wrestlers. There were plenty of matches but the star of this show, in WCW’s eyes, was in fact referee NICK PATRICK.

At Hog Wild, referee Nick Patrick was paid off by the New World Order to help the Outsiders beat Lex Luger and Sting. WCW Nitro last week basically confirmed that he was in the nWo’s pocket by moving Hall out of the way of a Stinger Splash before the heels were ran off by the Four Horsemen.

A week later, they dedicated an entire wrestling show to this stupid referee storyline. Every other match on the show involved Nick Patrick as the referee and the announcers speculating about his refereeing credentials. They just could not talk about anything other than Nick Patrick, with this New World Order storyline being a close second. Other than that, this was a decent episode.

 

 

Date: August 19th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Huntsville, Alabama

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

 

VK Wallstreet vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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This is a match I feel I’ve seen a 1000 times but before I get to the match, they showed the finish to Duggan and Wallstreet’s match at Clash of the Champions. This Nitro match was a rematch to their Clash of the Champions match. The finish to their match at Clash of Champions saw Hacksaw’s tape get tangled up with the referee’s arm. Wallstreet rolled up Duggan as they were both tied up and Duggan brought the referee to the floor with his tape. The referee then pinned down Hacksaw.

It’s kind of poetic justice if you think about it. Larry correctly pointed out on commentary that Duggan used a foreign object to inadvertently tie him up with the referee so any mention of cheating was irrelevant. Duggan tried to use a foreign object, which is ILLEGAL, and then it backfired on him. As stupid as the finish was, it was poetic justice but it was the babyface Duggan getting what he deserved!

Nick Patrick was the referee for this match. MATCH #1 for Nick Patrick. Hacksaw ran wild on Wallstreet with punches and clotheslines. Duggan sent Wallstreet to the floor with an atomic drop. Wallstreet locked on a sleeper hold and got the heat for a while. Hacksaw started to fire back and reversed a suplex. Hacksaw then went for the tape. Nick Patrick took it away. Wallstreet intercepted the tape as Patrick chewed out Wallstreet for trying to us the tape, because using the tape was illegal. Duggan then got some more tape from within his trunks. He knocked out Wallstreet with the tape in plain sight of the referee and Patrick just counted the pin.

This was a lame match. This was a slow, nothing-happening match and a complete snoozefest with a preposterous finish. Patrick had a go at Wallstreet for wanting to use the tape and then did nothing when Duggan used the tape himself. He didn’t disqualify him or yell at him. He threw his hands up in the air and just counted the pin. If you think about it as well, Hacksaw Jim Duggan had two rolls of tape in his trunks. Somehow, Duggan figured out that his attempt to use the tape would be someway thwarted so he packed back-up. This is stupid on so many levels…

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Duggan. Duggan said everyone in WCW had been screaming about what they wanted to do to Hogan but nothing’s happened yet. He said Hogan turned his back on everything he believed it. Randy Savage interrupted Duggan as Duggan yelled “WHAT’S GOING ON?”

Savage said we’re on the same wave-length same frequency. Savage said he would take care of Hogan. Savage said that the chair shot from Hogan last week was a wake-up call. I think he said he was gonna make things right and was not gonna lay back one bit. Savage said The Giant made a deal with Savage that if Savage stepped aside Giant would make things OK but everything was not alright.” Savage is yelling about Giant not getting the job done against the nWo at Hog Wild and all I can think was that Giant was fighting the nWo three on one on that show. If Savage wanted Giant to take care of Hogan, why didn’t he come out to help him at Hog Wild? He sat there in the back at Hog Wild and watched Giant get beaten down three on one and then cried that Giant didn’t get the job done.

Savage claimed to have 15000 stitches in his head which might have been a slight exaggeration! Savage said he’s got problems with Hogan but he’s got problems with Giant as well so he’s gonna take care of that tonight as he and Duggan celebrated in the ring. A very weird but entertaining promo with Duggan and Savage.

 

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They showed a clip from Clash of the Champions of the The Giant vs Chris Benoit match. The whole match saw Giant dropkick Benoit into the turnbuckle while his jacket was being undone and then The Giant then hit one of the greatest chokeslams of all time. Giant hoisted up Benoit and Benoit’s ENTIRE BODY from the waist up is over Giant’s head. So Benoit is about 10 feet in the air. Everyone in the crowd gets up onto their feet as Giant walks around with this guy ABOVE HIS HEAD. Giant lifted one of his own legs and then jumped off the other leg as he and Benoit came crashing down to the mat with the chokeslam. It is one of the greatest chokeslams you’ll ever see. Giant pinned Benoit shortly afterwards so yes, after all of the hard work to build up Benoit for The Giant he was chokeslammed and pinned in 30 seconds.

This probably would have been really terrible for other guys but because clean victories are so uncommon in WCW, it got Benoit over in a weird way in the same light as Daniel Bryan was when he got beat in 18 seconds by Sheamus. It was so unpredictable that just because he was involved, Benoit was more over for it because it was so unique.

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman and Elizabeth vs Earl Robert Eaton

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There were problems within the Blue Bloods according to the commentators as Regal apparently made a comment on Saturday Night about going after singles belts. Regal was actually wrestling against a WCW Cruiserweight title contender later so that made sense.

Benoit and Eaton locked up with Benoit raking the eyes to take over the match. Benoit and Eaton’s grappling sent them to the outside where Benoit smacked Eaton’s face into the ring post. Benoit did a hip toss on the floor.

As Benoit made his way back in the ring and as the referee distracted himself, Woman got a kick in at Eaton on the floor.

Tony explained that we didn’t know who the War Games participants were yet but that would be revealed tonight. Eaton finally turned things around by choking the neck of Benoit in the corner.

Eaton hit the swinging neck breaker. Eaton clumsy missed top rope leg drop and Benoit hit a diving headbutt for the win. This was an uncomfortable landing where Eaton went down in the leg drop position when he jumped off but then extended one of his leg as he was coming down and it looked like he landed on his leg. That could have ended up really badly.

However A CLEAN WIN for Chris Benoit. For a man who had just been beaten in 30 seconds, this was what the doctor ordered for Benoit. There was no manager interference or overbooked finishes. Benoit hit the diving headbutt and beat the man. This gets a thumbs up.

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They showed a clip from Clash of the Champions where Scott Steiner had the WCW tag team title triangle match won for the Steiners with the Frankensteiner but the Outsiders came out and it caused Nick Patrick to call off the match, despite the Outsiders not actually getting involved in the match. Patrick claimed he followed the book “to a tee” which is weird because there was a triangle match on Nitro months ago where 20 security guards went into the ring, and NICK PATRICK refused to stop the match and the match just kept going!

They showed the finish of the Hogan/Flair match where Tony said Hogan gave up right before he threw the referee out of the ring. I did review the Hollywood Hogan vs Ric Flair match from Clash of the Champions which you can find by clicking on this link if you’d like to read my thoughts about that match.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger and Sting. Luger said they got a plan against the Four Horsemen as they were advertised to wrestle Ric Flair and Arn Anderson on Nitro. Sting said he’s living life with a totally different attitude. He said life at WCW has never been a cakewalk and still after everything they’ve been through, they don’t like the Horsemen but they’ve got a surprise for the Horsemen.

 

Disco Inferno vs Scott Norton

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There was fan with a “where’s glacier” sign as well as a clever New World Odor sign with Hogan drawn to look like a skunk. Great art-work in the crowd.

Scott Norton vs Disco Inferno really worked as a squash match to me. It was albeit boring but the squash match was never intended to be exciting in wrestling. It was to show off a guy to be a big deal and get him over big. They had big Scott Norton to get over and he looked menacing as he snarled and beat Disco all over the place. Disco would be dancing in the ring for example and Norton made him pay for it with a big clothesline. Simple things like that to get the guy over.

This match was like a hungry cat stalking a fish outta water with Norton slowly stalking Disco and Disco squirming away. That’s the best way I can describe this match . I love that Disco tried to do multiple elbow smashes and Norton does one big back elbow to floor Disco!

Tony claimed Disco has had success in the last few months. I don’t think I’ve seen Disco since his match with Dean Malenko at The Great American Bash I believe. I’m pretty sure Tony said the same thing about Jim Powers a few weeks ago but maybe if Tony explained what Disco had done in the last few weeks, maybe I could have considered him a bigger threat when seeing him wrestle Scott Norton.

Disco tried a DDT but Norton lifted Disco and Disco nose-doveright  into the mat. Norton did a big backbreaker and then yelled at Ice Train through the camera. He did the “flash back” arm breaker and locked on an armbar for the win. A slow match but it accomplished what it needed to do in getting Scott Norton over as a big star at least on this night.

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Mean Gene interviewed Teddy Long and Ice Train. Teddy Long thanked the fans for the cards and letters after Giant chokeslammed Teddy on the go-home Nitro of Hog Wild. Teddy claimed he saw Hog Wild and saw the match between Norton and Ice Train. He claimed Norton didn’t beat Ice Train as the referee NICK PATRICK stopped it with Ice Train apparently not giving up. I guess he said that to play up the Nick Patrick angle. However, Patrick did the right thing in that match in stopping the match because Ice Train was in no position to defend himself. Norton beat him and beat Ice Train down, who was injured beforehand, and then he locked on the arm bar and Ice Train did not respond so the referee called for the bell. It wasn’t like Ice Train got screwed. Scott Norton was the better man.

They showed a clip of Norton beating up Ice Train at the CompuServe centre at Clash of the Champions. Ice Train then cut a promo saying he wouldn’t always look like a mummy. Ice Train had a great voice and was a great talker but for a promo, he didn’t really seem to engage that well. For example, Ice Train made a comment about Norton looking into his eyes and then he took his glasses off as if he’s gonna look at the camera… and then just stared down and talked down to the mic. It was like he look disengaged with the interview. For example, Hacksaw Jim Duggan cut a promo a few weeks ago on Hogan and he looked at the camera as he talked directly to Hogan. Here, you think Ice Train was going to do the same thing when he took off his sunglasses and then just talks down to the mic and doesn’t even look at Mean Gene, the camera or whoever.

Not the best promo from Ice Train.

 

 Lord Steven Regal vs Dean Malenko

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This was such a good match. This was not a a good guy vs bad guy match, which I would usually prefer in a match, but this match didn’t even need any alignments or anything to make it interesting. It was two of the best grapplers in the company going in there and have a good old wrasslin’ battle.

I liked the spot where Dean tried a drop toe-hold but there was somewhat a struggle as Dean was a cruiserweight and Regal was visibly bigger. I dunno why but I liked that little detail. The fans were getting really into this match. Regal did a great enziguiri to floor Malenko. Regal even whipped out a cartwheel and the spot of him doing a cartwheel as Dean kipped up was really well executed by both men.

Dean eventually pulled off a hip toss after a struggle. Regal did a headscissors submission and Dean wiggled his way into the ropes. I love Regal grabbing the back of Dean’s head like in a MMA fight and doing the double knee strikes to the face! Regal locked on full nelson as Regal forced Dean down to the mat.

Dean did a springboard dropkick to the back of Regal’s head. Dean launched Regal with a big German suplex and did a second one with a bridge for the near fall. Regal hit a butterfly suplex for 2 count with Regal trying over and over again with repeated pinfall attempts. They traded roll-ups with Dean trying one last cradle to get the pin fall victory. The fans loved the match, I loved the match… this was a true technical battle and great television. This gets two thumbs up!

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen. Arn Anderson said he never needed anyone to like him as the Horsemen always backed him up. He said he never needed a weapon in his back pocket to feel tough. Ric Flair was acting like he was on vibrate as bounced up and down as Arn cut this promo! Ric then cut his own a big promo while the fireworks went off! Ric was just yelling over the top of the fireworks! Ric said between Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan and Hollywood Hogan, Ric’s got more playing time than all of them! Ric Flair was an excited man!

 

“The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock

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I was about to lose my mind when I saw that there were doing this match again. I’ve never ever seen a Public Enemy vs Nasty Boys match I’ve liked and I’ve seen a lot of them during this WCW series. I couldn’t believe this they were doing this again. However, this match ended up being a decent match. It wasn’t as messy as it was before. It was short and a lot of the stuff and brawling they did actually looked good so I had no problem with it this time.

Eric Bischoff mentioned WWF initiated a lawsuit against WCW which I’m not even sure what lawsuit that referred to. I know there were hundreds of lawsuits being thrown around left, right and centre in that Monday Night Wars. There was the Madusa lawsuit whenshe arrived and threw the WWF Women’s title in the trash can but this may have been about Hall and Nash. It’s hard to say at this point. There was probably 5 different lawsuits between these two companies and that’s not even mentioning the Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon stuff in the WWF.

The tag teams in this match did some wild brawling to kick off the match. Knobbs did a dive to Grunge on the outside. Eric Bischoff advised me not to get out my textbook and make notes as we’re not gonna get a technical wrestling match! We did not get a technical wrestling match… but I still took notes about this match. The next thing I wrote down actually was “Knobbs yelled BASTARD in the middle of all of this.” Insightful wrestling analysis from the Armbar Express!

Sags did a clothesline to send himself and Rocco to the outside. Knobbs did a facebuster and an elbow drop. Grunge missed an elbow drop from the apron to the floor. Public Enemy hurled Knobbs’ arse into the steel steps. Sags did a double clothesline to a big pop from the crowd.

Public Enemy did an elevated senton from the apron and then went for their finish, where they would both hurl themselves through the apron onto their opponent and through the table. However, Sags moved and both members of Public Enemy went crashing through the table. Knobbs did AN ELBOW DROP of all moves and got the pin. This was one of the better Public Enemy vs Nasty Boys matches so this gets a generous thumbs up.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Nasty Boys. Sags said everyone entering Nastyville will leave Nastyville just like the Public Enemy did. They claimed they were as nasty as they wanna be. Knobbs said Hogan was once a friend and always a friend. Knobbs said Hogan does what he does and Knobbs does what he wants. Nasty Boys called out the tag team champions. Mean Gene’s closing thoughts are “clearly these men hit the buffet early.” Insightful wrestling analysis from Mean Gene Okerlund!

 

Eric Bischoff made some comment before the next match claiming all the WCW babyfaces weren’t paranoid and claimed RANDY SAVAGE was not paranoid at ll, after 9 months of Savage being paranoid about the Lex Luger, Sting and Dungeon of Doom! I thought that line was ridiculous!

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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They showed Clash of the Champions where Eddie Guerrero beat DDP for the lord of the ring that DDP won at Slamboree. DDP shook Eddie’s hand and then DDP hit a Diamond Cutter, throwing out the ref and choking at Eddie. DDP hit another Diamond Cutter when Chavo Guerrero Jr. ran down. DDP pushed him outta the way and then DDP hit a top rope Diamond Cutter. What a geek this Chavo turned out to be!

Chavo had his chance for revenge against DDP in this match. DDP still had the ring even know he technically lost it to Eddie. Bobby claimed possession was nine-tenths of the law as DDP still had this ring.

DDP played the big man role in his match against the much smaller Chavo. Chavo is another one where he really beefed up over the years. Chavo was tiny and as quick as Rey Mysterio but when he got older, his body got really buffed up. That’s not an accusation or anything against Chavo, but it was astonishing how big he got over time.

Chavo ran wild on DDP with DDP continuing to throw Chavo off of him in the corner. DDP hit a sit-out powerbomb but didn’t go for the cover as he hit a belly to belly suplex but again, he didn’t go for the cover. Eric then yelled at Patrick to disqualify DDP, I guess because DDP didn’t wanna end the match yet.

Chavo got a bridge roll-up on a cocky DDP and pinned him for an upset victory. I actually wrote down that DDP kicked out so I went back and checked and Chavo did actually pin him. It didn’t really matter because DDP hit a Diamond Cutter to a big pop and then proceed to whip Chavo. Chavo didn’t really get anything from this “huge victory” over DDP.

DDP whipped Chavo with Patrick’s belt as he whipped the living daylights out of poor Chavo. Now, having seen what happened at Clash of the Champions, you’d think Eddie would now come out and save his nephew Chavo. Chavo helped him so now Eddie can return the favour. Who should come out to MAKE THE SAVE but REFEREE Randy Anderson as he intercepted the belt! Can you imagine that?

Not Eddie Guerrero… but RANDY ANDERSON was Chavo’s knight in shining armour. Randy yelled at Nick Patrick for not doing anything about what happened to Chavo. Like I mentioned, the attention was spent on the referees over this angle with the wrestlers in DDP and Eddie. They’ve got to write a storyline about Nick Patrick so he’s the one at the centre of all of this. Not DDP for whipping Chavo, not Eddie who could have made the save, not Chavo for WINNING THE MATCH or even Randy Anderson who MADE THE SAVE. The storyline is about Nick Patrick standing there and not doing anything about DDP. AND THEN…

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Mean Gene interviewed Nick Patrick after the match. This would be like if you had Conor McGregor winning a fight in the UFC and Joe Rogan just went a did an interview with the referee! It’s so ridiculous that referee was getting air-time to cut a promo!

Mean Gene called out Patrick on his bullshit and that’s the best way to describe it. I apologise for swearing but for this storyline, bullshit seems like a perfect way to describe this. Then NICK PATRICK cut a promo live on Nitro! He compared himself to a police officer where if there was a shoot-out, would he go in there alone or would he wait for back-up? Patrick claimed the media was blowing everything up as Bischoff called Patrick a snake. Patrick claimed WCW was not sticking together anymore. SO YES. KONNAN AND NOW NICK PATRICK are both supposedly heels but simultaneously calling for WCW to be united against the nWo. This is an amazing show on so many levels, and not always for the right reasons.

I do like how Mean Gene claimed he couldn’t help but notice the big beautiful home Patrick has bought recently. Nick Patrick left before he could respond to Mean Gene.

 

Harlem Heat © w/Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker vs American Males for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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They showed American Males vs Harlem Heat from the September 18th 1995 edition of Nitro where the Males beat Harlem Heat in an upset to win the tag team titles. Nine months later, they get another shot on Nitro for the WCW Tag Team titles.

Nick Patrick was back referring, right after a match where Patrick was supposedly not doing his job in stopping DDP. Patrick is under scrutiny over his credentials and he’s refereeing what felt like half the matches on the show. He’s refereeing AGAIN in this WCW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH. It’d be one thing if this was Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs VK Wallstreet in a nothing match. This was for the WCW Tag Team titles. The last time he referred a WCW tag team title match was at Clash of the Champions where he threw out the match because a couple of dudes came down to the ring and did nothing. From a storyline standpoint, WCW are the dumbest company in the world for not pulling Nick Patrick from officiating matches! Here, he’s referring all the matches! This storyline… boggles the mind.

As Patrick hoisted up the titles, Harlem Heat got the jump on American Males. Booker did the missed elbow drop/spinaroonie spot. Stevie did a standing side kick which Bischoff called out as being “slow”. Stevie Ray was never particularly a good wrestler but ERIC BISCHOFF calling out a wrestler on being slow in the ring and critiquing his in-ring work was rather hilarious.

Stevie did a suplex and Sherri argued with Patrick for about 30 seconds. Riggs cut off Booker with a dropkick. Bagwell ran wild on Harlem Heat. Ray tried a pumphandle slam but Bagwell reversed it in déjà vu from their first match but Booker broke it up this time. Booker pushed Bagwell off the top rope and Ray caught him with a powerslam for the win.

Harlem Heat won a match clean, which I was astonished by! When was the last time Harlem Heat won a match on Nitro clean! I don’t even think they beat Rough and Ready clean! The WCW Tag Team Champions actually won a match fair and square. What a concept. The match was… OK.

 

GLACIER IS STILL COMING TO WCW

 

“Four Horsemen” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs Sitng and Lex Luger

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What was supposed to be a match turned out to be like a board meeting between the babyfaces and the heels. Sting and Lex Luger came out and called out the rest of the Four Horsemen as they did a in-ring interview with Mean Gene Okerlund. In case you were really wanting to see this match, they never even delivered it. However, I would agree that what they delivered would have been better than if they actually went through with a match on Nitro. This was an exceptional angle.

Mean Gene did an interview with everyone in the ring and took his jacket off for this. Sting said they should all recognise there is a major problem with WCW. Sting said they can’t trust the Horsemen and they will never trust them but he also knows that all of their blood and sweat has been sweat in WCW. Sting talked about War Games and mentioned that only Luger, Sting, Flair and Arn have been in War Games in the past and wanted to team with them at War Games against the New World Order.

Arn talked and said he doesn’t like Sting and Lex Luger. Arn said Lex can’t bring these jiggling pecks and muscles to war games as they won’t help him but if Luger brought that passion and hard work into making that body, they could get somewhere. Luger asked Ric and Arn to answer the question if Luger and Sting have ever given up when they stepped in the ring with them. Speaking of Flair, this was like a polar opposite energy Flair had here than what he was like in his earlier promo. Flair was all excited earlier and now Flair was all calm and quiet as he actually listened and paid attention to what everyone said.

Arn said to survive War Games, they can’t do the right thing and they had to do something so violent and so painful that a man quits in the ring. Sting said WCW has not been a cakewalk for anyone but he has lived the life of WCW. Sting said if Mongo and Benoit would step aside, he would fight alongside Ric and Arn at War Games against the Outsiders. However Ric would leave it to Benoit and Mongo to decide if they wanna step aside.

Benoit said he’s always wanted to be a horsemen and Ric has never betrayed him so he will stand by his decision. Mongo yelled about making a sacrifice but if Sting and Luger doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, what the nWo does will be nothing compared to what the Horsemen was going to do to them.

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I actually thought this was a pretty great segment. This storyline makes the motivations of everyone involved make sense. Lex Luger and Sting had strong motivations where they realise they can’t fight the nWo alone and so they needed to swallow their pride and fight with the Horsemen. Arn questioned whether Luger and Sting was big and bad enough to fight in War Games and do violent things but he respected them. Ric Flair was great. Benoit and Mongo stood aside and had good reasons for doing so and they were making a sacrifice for the Horsemen. This was awesome. This gets two thumbs up and did a fabulous job in building up WCW vs nWo in War Games. This was great stuff.

 

There was a nWo announcement. They were in black and white as they mumbled and flexed in front of the camera. Nash referred to themselves as modern day gladiators while laying down and lounging around for this promo! They called Sting and Luger pathetic and Hall said don’t call us, we’ll call you. Typical nWo shenanigans were they goofed around and made fun of the babyfaces.

 

 

The Giant w/Jimmy Hart vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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This was another one where they advertised Savage vs Giant for the main-event of WCW Nitro and didn’t deliver but what they did was actually way better than what an actual match would have looked like.

Savage attacked Giant with a chair before the bell as he smashed away at the head and the back of the big man. Giant took control as threw Savage into the ring post. Giant Gorilla Pressed Savage into the ring. Randy Anderson then found a clue and threw the match out. TAKE NOTES WWE! I saw this ELIAS VS KING CORBIN match from WrestleMania 36 where Elias hit Corbin with a guitar before their match and Michael Cole declared it was not a DQ until the match started. Here, the referee called it off because it was out of control and Savage had used an illegal weapon before the match. THIS MATCH SENSE.

Giant tried a chokeslam but Savage got out of it. I guess Savage booted Giant down below. Jimmy tried to use the chair but Savage stopped him. Savage attacked Hugh Morrus and Big Bubba with the chair. Savage smacked Barbarian and Meng as well and then fled when the numbers became too much for him. At least Savage came off as a clever babyface here where he tried to fight them off at first but when he realised the odds were too much so he left to fight another day.

Then The Giant got pissed and he RAN DOWN TO THE BACK AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT. Saying that he “ran down” is actually not doing this justice. This is worth re-watching this spot everybody. Giant got mad and roared and he VAULTED out of the ring. He jumped clean over the top rope and ran down as if he were The Hulk looking to eat someone. Think of this spot like the scene from the Avengers film in 2012 where The Hulk chased Black Widow down a hallway. Giant thundered down this ramp to get his revenge on Savage as Eric warned Giant would eat him!

I loved this. I love how much of a freak Giant was at this time. He was not physically like Brock Lesnar for example but for a tall man, Giant was ridiculously athletic at this time. I mentioned him whipping out a dropkick to Benoit but if you look at how he charged down the ramp and how moved in the ring at this time, it was astonishing. Giant does not get enough credit to how athletic he was at this time.

Eric confirmed at the end of the show that the War Games match was officially and I like that Bobby wrote it down and took notes. I don’t know why but when was the last time in wresting where an announcer is shown on screen writing down notes? I thought that was pretty clever.

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I was ready to tear this show apart but honestly when I look back, it was a pretty solid show! The Nick Patrick stuff drove me crazy but everything else was really well done. The last two big segments of the shows were slam dunks, we had clean finishes up and down the show and we got solid wrestling with Dean Malenko vs Lord Steven Regal. This show gets two thumbs up from me. I enjoyed it!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Date: July 8th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Psychosis vs Eddie Guerrero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Chris Benoit vs Sgt Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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

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

 

Sting vs Arn Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 (JULY 7TH 1996)

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

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After all of this time reviewing WCW Nitro episodes, we have finally arrived at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996. A historic event which culminated with one of the most memorable moments in wrestling history. Although WCW Monday Nitro had recently begun their 83 week streak of beating WWF Monday Night RAW in the ratings, this was really the true event that turned the tide in the Monday Night Wars.

The biggest moment from the show was in fact the main-event, so I’m guessing a lot of you may be asking me if it was worth watching the 2 hours and 30 minutes or so before that building up to the main-event. The response to that question is yes. This show featured a lot of good matches up and down the show as well as a match which may have been the best match I’ve reviewed in the history of the Armbar Express.

However, the biggest thing I loved about this show was the anticipation it built in me around 24 years after the original air date of this pay-per-view. As a wrestling show, even though I knew ahead of time who the third man that would end up teaming with the Outsiders, I was giddy and the main-event was built as a genuine historical event. Then it was the time for the main-event and the fans were buzzing for this huge six man tag team match with Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage facing Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and the third man. This entire pay-per-view is worth watching to relive the buzz the entire show created for this main-event.

 

Date: July 7th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Daytona Beach, Florida

Attendance: 8,300

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

Psychosis vs Rey Mysterio Jr.

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I understand that people may have busy schedules or may not have the time to sit through and watch this entire wrestling pay-per-view from 24 years ago. However, for any wrestling fan out there, I command that you watch this opening match between Psychosis and Rey Mysterio Jr. This was wrestling at its very finest.

I also understand that the business has I guess “evolved” to the point where it would seem to a modern fan that what Psychosis and Rey did here wasn’t particular special compared to guys like Kenny Omega, Adam Cole and the Young Bucks. In places like NXT, PWG and AEW, it is a much more fast-paced environment where you almost have to have hundreds of spots during the match in a super choreographed manner to keep the fans hooked and engaged.

I’ve gotten annoyed at matches like that Halftime Heat match on NXT last year and the Adam Cole vs Matt Riddle match from NXT in October because those matches were in essence move after move after move after move with seemingly no space for the fans to sit back and appreciate the individual moves. Those matches moved at such a fast-pace and they hit so many big moves one after another that it felt somewhat unauthentic to me.

This Rey Mysterio vs Psychosis was a true wrestling match. These were two luchadors so of course there was a lot of high spots. However, a huge portion of the match was focused on a wrestling battle and every big spot they hit truly felt like a big spot that you would remember. People would remember them because it stood out from the wrestling. They didn’t over-do certain moves because sometimes, less is more. Few matches told the story of less is more quite like this one.

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Mike Tenay joined the commentators for this match. Sometimes, I really don’t give Mike Tenay the credit he deserves. Mike Tenay was so awesome as the professor in this match and was a great voice for putting over Japanese and Mexican talent. When you have Tony as a basic play-by-play commentator accompanied with two characters in Dusty and Bobby, having Mike as a wrestling historian basically is a great asset on the booth. As much as Bobby and Dusty were entertaining, Tenay’s contributions of educating us on lucha libre tradition played into the layout of the match. I thought he was brilliant during this match.

Rey shot for the leg and locked on a single leg boston crab. Psychosis got out of it and went for a surfboard submission.. Rey did the armbar. Psychosis delivered a unique arm scissors as both men showcased some tremendous lucha libre.

Psychosis did a big Undertaker dive over the rope and smashed his head right on the guard rail. It was a nasty landing spot for poor Psychosis. Psychosis took control with a big leg drop for which he got a 2 count and yelled at the referee. They said on commentary Rey and Pyschosis wrestled each other in Mexico the night before! That’s amazing when you think about it!

Psychosis did a guillotine leg drop from the top rope. Rey sold a clothesline like it was death as he completely flipped on his head. It was tremendous looking. Pscyhosis locked on the head scissors. Rey pushed Psychosis into the ring with his legs and followed up with a hurricanrana from the apron. It looked very slick. Rey hit a west coast pop for the near fall.

Rey dropkicked the knee then took Psychosis down and trapped the leg. Dusty kept calling Mike “Iron Mike” which was proven to be correct at how well Tenay was calling this match. Psychosis tried a headscissors and initially grabbed the ropes for leverage. Psychosis threw Rey over his shoulders and launched him into the ropes, with Rey hitting hard and bouncing off the ropes. He dropped Rey onto the guard rails.

Psychosis did an absolute crazy Senton. What it looked like to me was that he tried a leg drop but missed his target so it looked like a senton. However, I did re-watch that spot and I think he did lean his back a bit when coming crashing down and Tenay called it as a Senton. By the way, I would not recommend any wrestler take a bump like this onto the floor. Psychosis fell right on his arse after falling from 10 feet in the air. That could have really wrecked his hip if he wasn’t careful.

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Psychosis was feeling his back and he was proper banged up following that spot.  Psychosis dig an enziguiri for the 2 count. Bobby asked Tony where he got these names for the moves and Tony simply said “if you don’t know it, make it up.” At least on this night, he was accompanied for one match by a man in Tenay who did know all the names of the moves!

Psychosis did a camel clutch. Rey did an awesome cartwheel hurricanrana and the fans popped like crazy. It was fabulous in execution and they probably did the exact same spot from the night before but the fans were blown away by this on American soil.

Rey did a triangle dropkick. Rey hit a top rope hurricanrana to Pyschosis from the apron all the way down to the floor.. Rey hit a springboard moonsault for a near fall. Rey did a springboard dropkick sending Psychosis through the bottom rope. It was all Rey as they were headed towards the finish.

Rey did a springboard corkscrew dive to Psychosis on the outside. Tenay called it an Asai moonsault and Bobby was flummoxed by this as he yelled “an Asai hammer lock?” Rey tried to do a West Coast Pop but Psychosis counted into an awesome powerbomb. Psychosis tried a crucifix powerbomb but Rey somehow hit a tremendous Frankensteiner from the top rope for the pin fall win. That was absolutely tremendous spot in the finish and if you re=watch this match, the way this finish was pulled was out of this world.

This was easily the best WCW match I’ve reviewed so far in the series. Rey and Psychosis put on a wrestling clinic. The fans were into everything for this match. Everything looked fabulous in execution and I loved the finish. This… was glorious

Match Rating: ****3/4

 

Mean Gene interviewed WCW US Heavyweight Champion Konnan. Konnan explained the finish of the Psychosis/Rey Mysterio in case you didn’t just watch the finish of that match a few minutes before this interview! Konnan was defending the title against Ric Flair tonight. Konnan said maybe Ric has the right to be confident but Konnan is cautious. Konnan threatened to clothesline his women, chop block Mongo and cripple the manager. He made good on at least one of those threats which we’ll get to.

 

Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart vs John Tenta in a sack of silver dollars on a pole match

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Tenta chased Bubba out of the ring. Tenta beat Bubba’s arse for while. Tenta tried to get the silver dollars but Bubba cut him off. Tenta did the same to Bubba. Tenta tried again but Bubba cut him off and dropped him with a back suplex to which Dusty called a load. Bubba tried to get the sack but he was too short and drops on the top rope and gets crotched. Speaking of which…

Talk about just booking yourself into the corner with this match. This wasn’t even a match booked by Vince Russo either. WCW booked a match between John Tenta and Big Bubba where one of them must grab the sack of silver dollars from the top of the pole. They booked this match and then I guess realised a few days later that none of these two big men could actually CLIMB up this pole to go get this sack.

Tenta was too big to get up that pole, it was established that Bubba was too big and too short to get up that pole… as crazy and contradictory as that sounds! Figure that one out! Not only did they book this match realising these two men were just too big, I swear they put up the biggest pole they could find and stacked the sack right on top of it.

This sack is on top of the largest pole they could have find so neither man could have reached it even if they tried. They might as well as put this sack up on the moon it was that high in the sky! Tenta realised this so he tried to unhook the pole itself from the ring post. Bubba choked Tenta with the belt from behind. I don’t remember if he was talking about Bubba or Tenta but Dusty even said “I don’t even think he can get up there.”

Bubba tied Tenta to the ropes with tape. He beats him up with a belt. Bubba gets the scissors that he had previously used to cut Tenta’s hair and beard. He goes to cut the rest of Tenta’s hair but Tenta does a low blow to Bubba.

Bubba hit a spinebuster. Bubba instructed Jimmy to get the sack as Bubba realised he can’t get it. Jimmy Hart, who is not a professional wrestler, scaled up this big pole so fast. Jimmy climbed up this pole and grabbed the sack but Tenta powerslammed Bubba as Hart was grabbing the sack. Hart slid down the pole and when he turns around he sees Tenta waiting for him. Tenta took the sack and knocked Hart down. Tenta smashed Bubba in the head with the sack and got the pin.

As absurd as the concept of this match was, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was the right shade of so bad it’s good. It’s stupid that they did a match where Bubba and Tenta had no way of getting the sack without Hart being involved. However, I enjoyed the comedy of it all. I enjoyed Tenta getting a big babyface win after months of being humiliated by the Dungeon of the Doom and he overcame the odds.

Match Rating: ** 

 

Mean Gene interviewed “Team WCW” in Lex Luger, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Sting. Savage said he didn’t care who the third man was but they’re gonna get hurt and they were gonna take the heels down with them. Luger said these outsiders have made a lot of noise and he and Team WCW would represent WCW to the best of our ability. Luger certainly did not live up to his own hype if you see what they did WITH him in this main event!

Luger said actions speak louder than words. Sting said the unknown gave him chills up and down his spine and goosebumps and it did the same to Savage and Luger. He said they’re a team and they were ready. They were all excited and all ready for Hostile Takeover. A very fired up promo by the good guys. The announcers noteD that there was no sign of Eric Bischoff at Bash at the Beach.

 

DDP vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a taped fist match for the Lord of the Ring

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Calling this a “taped fist” match was pure false advertising. There was not one taped fist actually used DURING the match and this was the most basic bland match you could think of.

Duggan did the USA chants as DDP freaked out. Duggan shoulder-blocked DDP to the outside as DDP was agitated by USA chants. DDP spat at Duggan and dropped him with a jaw breaker on the top rope.

DDP taped Duggan’s feet on the ring post. DDP punched away at Duggan while he was stuck. Keep in mind, this was the only spot in the match where the tape was actually involved. DDP’s used the tape to tie up Duggan because per the stipulations of the match, you can use the tape. The referee Nick Patrick, the worst referee in the history of the world, then proceeded to free Hacksaw Jim Duggan from this tape…. IN A TAPED FIST MATCH. The ONE SPOT they had involving tape and Patrick ignores it and helped Duggan out of this predicament. Could Patrick do anything right?

Duggan did punches where DDP was stuck in the middle of the ropes and teeter-totted as Duggan repeatedly punched him with DDP selling like crazy. Duggan threw him into the guard rail.. Duggan suplexed DDP into the ring

DDP dropped with him an arm breaker. DDP went up to the top rope but Duggan dropped him on the top rope crotching him. Duggan bounced DDP’s head all over each turnbuckle. Duggan, like a dick, yelled at a cameraman to “get out of my way.” DDP hit the Diamond Cuter for the clean win…what was the point of the taped fist match stipulation?

I guess the point of the stipulation was that Duggan then hit DDP with the taped fist anyway after the match and after he lost FAIR AND SQUARE. Bobby Heenan even called it a cheap shot… AND HE’S RIGHT.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mean Gene brought in “the little twerp” Jimmy Hart, The Giant and Taskmaster for an interview. Taskmaster and Giant were wrestling Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson of the Four Horsemen on this show. Taskmaster said they can bring all four horsemen out but there was something burning in his heart. The Giant said he’d never consider the Taskmaster the weak link as Taskmaster brought The Giant into WCW. The Giant said again about the horsemen saying they were the elite but he’s the champion. The Giant said he was gonna have horse stew.

Lee Marshall interviewed Benoit and Arn on the ramp. Arn briefly talked about the Outsiders and says they’re gonna find Sting, Luger and Savage rougher or something like that. Arn talked about Taskmaster. Benoit said the Horsemen had tolerated the Dungeon for far too long. He said they were gonna finish off what they started. Benoit eerily said he was gonna leave Taskmaster for dead.

 

“Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags in a four man dog collar match

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I don’t know if this is the first time I’ve noticed it but The Nasty Boys had a shocking WCW theme song. If you want to listen to it on YouTube, it’s called “We’re The Boys” and it is rough! Pun not intended, despite this being a dog collar match!

This PPV was just on a streak of horrible match stipulations. Following the sack of silver dollars on a pole match and a taped fist match that wasn’t even a taped fist match, we had Public Enemy and Nasty Boys in dog collar match. Since this is a Nasty Boys vs Public Enemy match, it went exactly like every other match they’ve had together.

Dog collars were hooked around the necks of each wrestler so two opposing team members would be tied up. This match in the middle of a blood feud where all these teams want to do is fight each other ended up staring with all four men just STARING at each other. It was at least 30 seconds after the bell rang before they actually started to fight.

Of course, they get trash cans. Knobbs and Grunge brawled on the set which was made up like a beach. Sags hit Grunge with a rubber shark which I did laugh at. All four men fight up the stage. Sags used the surf board as a weapon (an actual surf board. Not the surfboard submission hold!)

Of course, Knobbs smashed Grunge in the head with a chair. Completely ugly weapon shots. The brawling wasn’t that bad but I’ve seen this so often from these teams in this series. If you see one match between the Public Enemy and Nasty Boys, you’ve seen all of them.

Rocco did a dive from the top of the lifeguard chair with a big senton. The brawl certainly wasn’t that bad but all of this brawling took place on the entrance ramp away from the fans! So the fans could barely see what was going on.  Rocco got thrown off the top of the lifeguard chair as the structure fell down with him.

Grunge whipped Knobbs with the chain that were linked to each other. A table was thrown at Rocco by someone. It was hard to tell with the camera angle. It could have been Grunge for all I know that threw the table at Rocco!

Sags did a piledriver on the ramp. Rocco did a dive off the guard rail, smashing into Sags and going through a table. This was all shown in a split-screen format and it was all an unpleasant viewing experience, which is putting it mildly.

Dusty said “it’s ain’t over as they don’t want it to be over” as all four men kept going for pin falls! This was not Benoit/Taskmaster in their falls count anywhere match from The Great American Bash where there was one pin fall in the entire match. They all wanted to fight each other so bad that there was constant pin fall attempts!

Grunge sent Knobbs crashing face first into the table. As Grunge choked Knobbs, Rocco went up to the top rope  but Sags used the chain to yank him off the top rope and back into the table. However, he did not crash through the table as initially. Rocco BOUNCED OFF THE TABLE. This proved to be one of the most unbreakable tables I’ve ever seen!

Saggs tried to do a double axe handle on Rocco through the table but they still weren’t able to break the table. Knobbs hung Grunge out to dry over the top rope with the chain. Sags Irish Whipped Rocco into the chain, and Rocco smashed into it as the Nasty Boys got the pin.

OF COURSE, Public Enemy beat their arses after the match to complete no-sell the affects of this match. Sags got put through a table and this whole thing sucked.

Match Rating: ¾*

There was 1% of this match that was good and it was actually after the match was over. Of course Tony asked again who the third man was for the main-event and Bobby recommended that the third man should be the table!

 

Mean Gene talked about Hostile Takeover as he was surrounded by security. In every segment involving this Hostile Takeover, there were dozens of security staff patrolling the arena!

 

Dean Malenko © vs Disco Inferno for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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I criminally was not looking forward to this match when I realised Disco Inferno was fighting for the title. As the opening match showcased, you have all of these cruiserweights in your arsenal and the most green cruiserweight possible is the dude fighting Dean Malenko? Say what you will about Disco Inferno, but this match put the dude over like a million bucks.

Disco got the mic and said everyone was welcome to his disco dance party. Malenko punched Disco and threw his arse out of the ring, He beat his arse and bounced him off the ring post. Dean hit a brainbuster but Disco kicked out.

Dean did the headscissors and kicked away at him. Dean hit a back suplex. Remember when Sgt Pittman locked Disco in the Code Red a month ago and he tapped out right away? Well here, Dean did a knee bar (the exact same hold) and Disco refused to give up. Disco was locked in this hold for about a minute and the dancer refused to give, even against the cruiserweight champion. He took this seriously and was determined to see this fight to the end.

Dean worked on the leg and locked on a STF. Dean tried a sunset flip but Disco kicked out. By this point, Disco had not done one move… he may have thrown a punch or a kick here and there but mostly, Dean beat the crap out of him. This was essentially an elongated squash match for a while until Disco finally fought back into the match and punched away at Dean.

Disco flapjacked Dean on the top rope. Disco hit a sloppy facebuster for a 2 count. This was a facebuster which was like the Skull Crushing Finale. Dean locked on a long submission.

Disco hit a neckbreaker and goes for the cover but Dean gets his foot on the rope. Disco tried a back drop and Disco hits another neckbreaker. He went to dance but realised what he was doing and went for the cover but Dean kicks out. He started to dance but then realised that winning this title was more important than dancing and cut out the cockiness to try to win.

Dean hit springboard dropkick. Disco tried a small package but was unable to get the win. Dean takes Disco’s head off with a clothesline. Dean then hit a tiger powerbomb and then locked on the Texas Clover Leaf for the win.

This was boring for a long time but it ended up being a really good match. They booked a very simple but effective story of Dean Malenko beating the daylights of Disco with the dancer refusing to give up. There are very few people in WCW at this point that can get the heat on someone better than Dean Malenko and who better to deliver this beating on Disco than Dean? Disco demonstrated that was he was able withstand this beating and made Dean work to retain his title. Honestly this was the best match Disco Inferno has had so far and it’s the most he’s looked as an actual star. This gets a thumbs up!

Match Rating: ***

 

Joe Gomez vs Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Debra McMichael

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This match DOES NOT get a thumbs up! I’d watched Mongo in two matches before this one since he started wrestling in WCW. Mongo’s had this reputation for years as one of the worst wrestlers of all time and having watched those two matches at The Great American Bash and Nitro, I didn’t particularly see what was so terrible about him. He seemed as good as a man with two matches in the bag would be. He was in tag matches and he did OK in the matches that he was in. This was his first singles match in WCW… and this honestly should have been his last.

Mongo was pretty bad in this match but it was mostly down to whenever he had to sell for Joe Gomez. When he was chopping away at Joe and he was “getting the heat”, he wasn’t too bad. He wasn’t any good but he wasn’t like embarrassing or anything. Mongo barely could sell a thing or simply just didn’t wanna sell anything for poor Joe Gomez.

The best thing about this new heel Mongo character though is that previously, Mongo had a little chihuahua with him at commentary. Now, it has been noted that he’s upgraded to a poodle! It’s a small thing but I loved that.

Mongo barely sold. Gomez did a crossbody for a 2 count. Mongo went from barely selling to not-selling at all at points. The only time he did so I guess was when Gomez forced him to take the crossbody! Gomez does the head-smashing and Mongo just “mule kicked” him in the balls.

Mongo did a camel clutch and had this big grin on his face. Mongo did a sleeper hold to which Gomez got out of with a jawbreaker. Mongo sold this comically by feeling his face and then falling down as if he was just a ironing board falling over. The one time he tried to actually sell and he over-did it!

Mongo hit the reverse neckbreaker. Mongo tried a Figure Four but Gomez reversed it into a small package roll-up. Mongo did a scoop slam. Mongo tried a piledriver and Gomez reversed it by thrusting Mongo over his shoulders. However, Mongo went over too early and Gomez really had to heave and deep down to get Mongo off of him and over his shoulders. Sometimes you forget that Mongo was a massive former American Football Player. Asking Joe Gomez to hurl Mongo off his shoulders was a tall order.

Gomez did some karate chops and dropkicks but Mongo kept getting up. Gomez went for a sunset flip but Mongo fell down, tried to improvise by hooking the legs and then just went over. Mongo hit a tombstone piledriver for the win.

Match Rating: -1/4*

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This next segment had to be the best Mean Gene Okerlund interview segment so far in the Nitro series. I wouldn’t say of all time as we’ve got a moment a few years in the future also involving Ric Flair that will surely be the best! Mean Gene interviewed Ric Flair, Miss Elizabeth and Woman. Mean Gene gazed into Woman’s eyes and was lost at the train of thought. I love this mini-storyline of Mean Gene falling in love with Woman. Mean Gene had a go at Woman for distracting him from doing his job. Mean Gene blamed her for him not being professional! This is the great irony of this! I’ve really turned the corner on Woman during these shows as well. She played this heel seductive manager role very well here with Ric. Her dynamic with the Horsemen was pretty great.

Ric Flair said the Horsemen were going four and four tonight. Ric Flair was dancing and yelling and he was on fire with this promo. He did the la cucaracha. He said Konnan was the man with a 1000 holds but he was facing a man with unlimited knowledge of this business. It was somewhat confusing that he talked about Konnan being the man of 1000 holds, right after a Dean Malenko match!

Elizabeth talked about a great big party. Woman had Mean Gene stuttering as he was saying “at a p…pp… private party.” Ric told Savage to keep looking at the TV as Elizabeth will never be with him again. This was a great Ric Flair promo. Mean Gene admitted he found Woman attractive but he didn’t approve of who she hung around with in a line which didn’t age well with the benefit of hindsight. Woman called him out on it saying he wanted her bad and he didn’t care about who she hung around with. Mean Gene then nearly dropped the mic. This is the BEST! Woman, through seduction and seeming Jedi mind tricks, was able to stop Mean Gene dead in his tracks as he dropped the mic. This was… superb television!

 

Konnan © vs Ric Flair w/Miss Elizabeth and Woman for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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Konnan wrestled Ric to the ground to kick off the match. Ric gave Konnan a little shove to the chest and then Konnan slapped him and Ric fell down, stunned at the audacity of this man! Konnan and Ric had a good old wrestle as they grappled down to the mat exchanging holds. Konnan did a woo and a few people booed.

Konnan locked a half-surfboard on Flair, putting his foot in Flair’s back. Ric going all the way up would have been a sight to see but we only got the half-surfboard submission! Konnan was able to Gorilla Press Ric over his shoulders, which is quite impressive since Konnan is not particularly tall but he did possess a broad body at this time.

Konnan hit powerful chops and hit another Gorilla Press slam. Konnan somehow felt the need to do the clothesline over the top rope and send himself and Ric over the top. To I guess prove himself right from his promo earlier, Konnan did a clothesline to Flair from the apron and knocked down Elizabeth in the process! Say what you will about his actions, but at least Konnan followed up on a promise to hurt the women!

Woman somehow shook the bottom rope to send Konnan flying off the top rope. Ric and Konnan battled with chops and punches. Ric distracted the referee and Woman booted Konnan right in the balls and EVERYBODY LOST THEIR MINDS. The fans were going crazy for Woman booting Konnan down below and this was RIGHT AFTER Konnan sent Elizabeth crashing to the floor. To this crowd, Konnan was a complete heel getting his comeuppance by another woman!

Woman clawed at Konnan on the outside as Ric Flair went to kiss Elizabeth on the hand. Ric suplexed Konnan and after four attempts was still unable to put him away with a pin fall. Konnan fired back with chops to the point where even Bobby said that Konnan was showing him something. Konnan did a springboard dropkick to Ric. Konnan tried a sunset flip but Flair punched him down.

Flair tried a Figure Four Leg Lock which led to a Konnan doing a small package for a near fall. Konnan tried his own Figure Four Leg Lock as the fans started to buzz. Konnan did a bulldog for a 2 count. Konnan did a roll-up clothesline for another 2 count. Konnan reversed a hip toss into an abdominal stretch like cradle which I actually think was unique.

Elizabeth went up to the apron to distract referee Nick Patrick. I think Elizabeth jumped the gun a little bit because Woman then got up on the apron and the fans started to buzz again. Elizabeth argued with the referee for about 30 seconds as the dudes just continue wrestling. They don’t notice or react to what the referee, Woman and Elizabeth were all doing which was weird. Konnan continued to work in the ring and Woman was standing there with no attempt by Ric and Konnan to make their way to Woman. Finally Flair went to talk to the referee and THEN Woman made her move and hit Konnan with her shoe. I think Elizabeth was the one that screwed up for jumping her cue so I don’t put this on Nick Patrick, Konnan or anyone else but it just seemed like a complete mess.

Ric got the pin and even had to get his foot on the TOP ROPE for leverage, even after a shoe shot! The fans cheered.

Match Rating: ***1/4 This was close to 3 and a half stars but the finish and certain spots brought it down.

 

Mean Gene was shown ears-dropping on the Outsiders. He claimed he heard the 3rd man. He said he sounded familiar but it muffled! He said it was somebody that we’ve seen and heard before but it was distorted. Mean Gene recognised the voice but couldn’t put the pieces together. When it is revealed later who it is, it’s actually preposterous that Mean Gene wasn’t able to recognise this guy’s voice! This man had a distinguishable voice, which surely MEAN GENE OKERLUND of all people could immediately recognise!

 

Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit representing the Four Horsemen vs The Giant and Taskmaster representing the Dungeon of Doom. If the Four Horsemen won, one of them would get a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match on WCW Nitro

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This was such a well booked tag team match. WCW really went out of their way to put The Giant over. He was the WCW World Heavyweight Champion so he obviously need to be put over big. Well this match in particular did wonders for The Giant as building him up as a big, powerful giant.

The Dungeon jumped the Horsemen before the bell. Taskmaster clocked Anderson with the table. Mongo ran down and smacked Giant with the briefcase but Giant chased him off. The Horsemen used this to their advantage and isolated Taskmaster at ringside. Benoit and Taskmaster fought in the ring as Giant makes his way back to the ring.

I do like that they played Taskmaster up as the supposed weak link but the Horsemen felt the need to double team him before the bell as they did actually him as a threat all along! Subtle but a good way to put over Taskmaster. It’s almost like he booked it! 😉

The Horsemen beat down Taskmaster near and around their corner. The Horsemen did frequent tags to each other to stay fresh and keep Taskmaster occupied. The Giant saved Taskmaster from a DDT with an apron clothesline which the fans popped for. The Giant made his way into the ring illegally. Benoit dove into him and Giant just caught him and threw him at Arn to a thunderous pop. These fans loved The Giant wrecking havoc and destroying the Horsemen!

The Horsemen continued and continued to get the heat on Taskmaster as Giant was just begging to make the tag. The fans are begging for The Giant to make the hot tag. The Giant was such a babyface in this match. Taskmaster got in a low blow as the fans start to buzz and buzz even more at the thought of the hot tag and then Benoit like a dick just cut Taskmaster off!

Taskmaster catapulted Arn into Benoit and finally The Giant got the hot tag. The fans erupted like Eyjafjallajökull this tag was so hot. Benoit and Taskmaster fled the ring as Arn was then left alone with Giant as he was running wild. Benoit and Taskmaster brawled up the ramp and up to the announce table. Giant was suplexing and beating up Arn and eventually, Giant chokeslammed Arn and pinned him as the fans went nuts.

The booking of The Giant was perfect for this match. He was booked as a complete babyface, despite being a heel, and he was charismatic enough that he could pull it off.

I was thinking about this right before I started writing down this review but The Giant in 1996 was exactly like Braun Strowman about 20 years later when he was getting his big singles push. Both of them were shown to be destroyers of men and were basically unbeatable. They got over with the fans and the people were into them and with The Giant, WCW made that count. The Giant was booked as an actual Giant. With Braun though, they turned Braun babyface and I think Vince McMahon and WWE feel the need to book Braun not as the WCW’s Giant but more like WWE’s Big Show.

If Vince spent a bit of time re-watching what WCW did right with The Giant when they first brought him in, he could see matches like this where The Giant just being an all-conquering Giant worked on TV and worked with this crowd. The stuff they’re doing with Braun right now is really tame compared to what he could be capable of doing. I know it’s weird to talk about Braun Strowman during a WCW review but it really struck my mind. This series is also to learn about what worked in the past and see how it could be transitioned into modern wrestling so I think the comparison is justified!

Taskmaster emerged from the fight backstage I guess but then Benoit flew off a structure out of nowhere to attack Taskmaster. The Giant just left as Benoit was kicking Sullivan’s arse. Benoit dropped Taskmaster with a reverse suplex.

Suddenly, Woman came down to stop Benoit as she pleads with Benoit to stop. Woman was uncharacteristically distraught and then The Giant came back down. Benoit grabbed the hand of Woman and left with her as Arn was still laid out in the ring when all of this was going down. I think he may actually have been hurt by this match as he was down for a really long time. Giant literally carried Taskmaster to the back as the fans applauded The Giant.

This worked to get The Giant over and yes, this is the start of the infamous Chris Benoit/Woman/Kevin Sullivan love triangle angle.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Sting, Randy Savage and Lex Luger vs Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and the third man in a hostile takeover six man tag team match

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Here we go. The hostile takeover match which, to WCW’s credit, they built it up as an historic event. They had this awesome recap video of the whole program featuring the Outsiders from when Scott Hall arrived all up to this point. What was awesome is that the third man is just built up as… a third man. He’s not revealed as the leader or he’s not supposed to be a higher power or whatever. He was just another outsider in this storyline at this point.

This video package was so awesome as the Outsiders music played really hyping this up as a history making event. Michael Buffer did the ring introductions. These Outsiders looked so cool in this gear. There was only two of them in Kevin Nash and Scott Hall without the third man as Buffer apologised as they were only two of them. The fans are going nuts for the Outsiders by the way.

Sting’s music suddenly played as Mean Gene Okerlund came down to ringside. Mean Gene talked to Buffer and then grabbed the mic. He wanted to talk to the Outsiders and confront them as he doesn’t see the third man. Scott said that “Scheme Gene” knew too much already and all he needed to know was that the third man was here and he was ready. Nash confirmed this and claimed they’ve got enough to handle it right now. Mean Gene was ushered to the back. The WCW commentators are taken back at the audacity of these Outsiders! This was all great!

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Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage all come out to represent WCW. There’s a WWE Mattel set with these three in this gear from Bash at the Beach. I’m gonna try to find it as I love the idea of all of three of them in matching face paint. They weren’t just three dudes fighting for WCW. They were three true allies that painted their faces to prove it!

Bobby denied being the third guy himself with the though of Bobby “The Hollywood” Heenan rushing through my brain! Hall threw the tooth pick and Luger slapped Hall to get things going.

Luger hit a running forearm and knocked down Nash. Savage and Sting stopped a 2 on 1 assault on Luger. Luger was somehow knocked out as his head was crushed in a Kevin Nash/Stinger splash sandwich. They even bring out a stretcher for Luger as Hall tried to get at Luger. Luger was already out of the match. As a viewer at the time, you would surely be wondering if this is some big swerve by Luger so he can beat up on Sting and Savage later. Is he working for the Outsiders as if you recall, Luger only returned to WCW from the WWF less than a year ago.

It’s a clever way to hype up Luger as the third man. Spoiler alert… the third man was not Luger. With the benefit of hindsight, Luger was really buried with the way this match was booked! He was knocked out in about two minutes of the main-event after claiming that we were going to get the very best of him!

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Hall suckered Sting into the ring. Sting tackled Hall and beat him up on the ground as the fans goes nuts. Sting hits the atomic drop and bulldog. Savage tried a double axe handle but got cut off. Kevin Nash did the snake eyes drop on the top turnbuckle. DUSTY REPEATS RAPIDLY “WHO BE BAD NOW” at the time where Nash was beating up Savage which was strange since Dusty was supposed to be Team WCW!

It’s insane how much the announcers were into this though. Tony, Dusty and Bobby were super pumped, cheering for WCW and calling the biggest match in WCW history! There was one screwed up spot where Nash tried an elbow drop but Savage tried to move but was not fast enough or didn’t know if he was supposed to move because Nash landed right on Savage’s head with this elbow drop.

Sting tried a sunset flip but Nash powered out and choke-lifted him up and slammed him down. Scott did a fallaway slam. Nash hit a big boot as he smashed away at Sting with straight up punches. Sting dropped him with a low dropkick to the knee as Nash mentioned on Nitrohe had “bad knees”. Yeah even in 1996, Kevin Nash had problems with his knees.

Sting tried a small package but only got a 1 count. Hall did the abdominal stretch, and grabbed Nash for the leverage spot. At least this referee Randy Anderson reacted whenever Hall exerted himself to show off the leverage, unlike Nick Patrick during that DDP match on the go-home Nitro.

Sting almost got the tag but Hall cut him off. Savage went nuts and grabbed a chair to use but the referee tried to restrain him and calm him down. Sting sold this beating like he was on the verge of death! He was wobbling, in a drunken-like state, gassed and this beating was executed really well. Sting was such a good seller.

Sting hit a big boot and fired away at Nash. He delivered lefts and rights to Nash. He knocks down Hall and he jumped over seven foot tall Kevin Nash and got to tag in Savage at last! Savage beat up the Outsiders. He fired at Nash and delivered a double axe handle to Hall on the outside. He was going super fast as Savage just exploded onto the scene.

Savage hit a double axe handle but Nash cut him off with a low blow. And then…

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Who should come out but the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan. Hogan had been away from WCW since shortly after the Doomsday Cage match. He walked down to the ring and the announcers were all excited about this. Bobby Heenan then dared to ask the question of which side Hogan was on!

People talk about that line from Bobby Heenan as people believed it spoiled what happened next. The more I think about this, the more it made complete sense for the character of Bobby Heenan to say this. He’s been feuding with Hulk Hogan for what must have been a decade now since the WWF. He never trusted Hogan so when he walked down that ring, he can’t help but question Hogan’s loyalties since he hated him.

Hogan ripped off the shirt as the Outsiders fled to the outside of the ring. They had faces of fear and cowardice at the sight of Hogan fighting for the sake of WCW. Then Hogan walked towards the top left corner (at the least the top left corner in the view of the hard cam) and he put his arms on the ropes. Hogan took a deep breath, and Hulk Hogan hit the Leg Drop on Randy Savage. Hogan stood up with this big smile on his face. The announcers and the fans all realised that Hulk Hogan… was the third man.

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Obviously, I knew everything that was going to happen so I didn’t watch much of what Hogan did as I just watched everyone else and their reactions. The fans, the referee putting his hands up in disbelief and Sting watching on. Hogan delivered a few more Leg Drops and Sting was floored with a punch by Scott Hall. Hogan made “the cover” and Hall did the count as Tony refused to even acknowledge it.

In what seems like minutes after it all happens, Sting was shown concerned for a decimated Savage as he carried him out of the ring, Savage is unmoving after these leg drops of doom as Sting and the referee helped him

The fans threw garbage at the ring as Hogan just smirked. One beer can came inches from hitting Hogan right in the head. It came so close as the trash continued to pour into the ring the fans were that appalled.

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Mean Gene came down and asked what in the world was Hogan thinking. Everything about the promo Hulk Hogan cut here was surreal to hear in all honesty. When I was watching WWE, WCW had been gone for years and Hulk Hogan was always a babyface. I’d heard this promo before but listening to it after months of campy Hulk Hogan babyface promos seem incredible.

Hogan said the first thing Mean Gene needed to do was tell the people to shut up if he wanted to hear what Hogan had to say and the fans boo more. Mean Gene said this made him sick to his stomach. Hogan said that this is the future of wrestling. He said you can call this the New World Order of wrestling. He said these two men (Nash and Hall) came from a great company up North and everyone was thinking who the third man was. Hogan said who knows more about that organisation up North than him!

He said he made people rich up there and when it all came down to pass, the name Hogan got bigger than the whole organisation. He said “Billionaire Ted” wanted to talk Turkey and he promised him millions of dollars, world calibre matches and movies. He said he was bored and the Outsiders are what he wanted as his friends. He said these two men are the new blood.

Hogan said not only were they gonna take over, they would destroy everything in their power. Hogan said all of this crap (the trash) in the ring represented the fans. He said for two years he held his head high and did everything for the charities, the kids and he finally told the fans to stick it. He said if it weren’t for Hulk Hogan, they wouldn’t be here and Eric would still be selling meat from Minneapolis. Hogan said watcha gonna do when the nWo runs wild on you. Hogan mocked the fans with the Hogan ear thing. Tony told Hogan to go straight to hell and that was the end of the show.

Segment Rating: *****

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There’s SO much I could say about all of this. With the way this was executed and the way the stars were aligned for this big reveal to go down, this was a perfect angle. I mean it is possible Sting could have been an interesting third man and there were other names like Bret Hart, Lex Luger… Mabel apparently. However, Hulk Hogan fit the bill better than anybody.

Hulk Hogan desperately needed to turn and he was the perfect man to make this angle work. The problem down the road is that this angle worked TOO well but of course, that’s a story for another time.

This to me was the greatest heel turn of all time on the grounds of the impact of it, the execution, the build towards it and really the historic nature of it. WCW and Eric Bischoff took a MASSIVE risk in turning Hulk Hogan. Vince McMahon was never going to turn Hulk in the WWF but for WCW, they had enough big stars and Hogan was at the perfect time in his career that a heel turn made all of the sense in the world.

Hulk Hogan realised it, Eric Bischoff realised it and like I said, it worked really well. The promo Hogan cut here was really well done for the initial New World Order promo and talking about how he did everything for the kids and he wanted millions of dollars. Hogan now had years with a lot more ammunition as aheel and as a fan, you would have really wanted to know what Hogan had to say after all of this time as the good guy. It was a massive coup for WCW in the ratings and a big move to turn him heel.

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Finally, we are at the nWo era of WCW if you will. It took us a long time but we’ve got a new direction for WCW and a unique changing of the way the show was booked, for better or for worse. Of course, the Retro Express will be continuing with the reviews of WCW Nitro as we get into the meat of this new big angle with the nWo. We hope you continue to join us on this big ride… to Hog Wild. XD

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #39 (JUNE 10TH 1996) – KEVIN NASH DEBUTS IN WCW AS SCOTT HALL’S BIG SURPRISE

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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Scott Hall had arrived in WCW 2 weeks ago but returned for a little bit more fun in the closing segments oflast week’s show. He appeared to confront Eric Bischoff once more when Sting got up in Hall’s face. Sting challenged Hall to a match but Hall responded that no-one told him what to do. Hall threw a tooth pick at Sting and Sting slapped Hall in response. The police separated both men with Scott Hall promising to bring a “big surprise” with him next time…

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This show went from being consistently good for months to suddenly just being inconsistent with the quality. When the first two hour show aired, it was pretty awful. Last week’s episode was fabulous as I worded it when I reviewed it. This week, it was back to just being awful in my opinion. Maybe that’s harsh but this show dragged and dragged and filled with lots of gutter.

The two constant good aspects of the show are Ric Flair matches and the invasion angle which we’ll get to. Everything seemed all over the place to me when watching this episode.

With that all being said, this was the go-home show for The Great American Bash 1996 and it worked as a go-home show. You know why? Because I got excited for this upcoming PPV following this show. There was a stellar card that was being put together and the big angles were being pushed very well. By that standard, this was a good show. As a regular Nitro episode, this was not a good one.

 

Date: June 10th 1996

Brand: WCW

City:Wheeling, West Virginia

Rating: 2.6

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

 

Booker T vs Scott Steiner

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Booker threw Steiner around with his long hair which angered Steiner… just a reminder that Steiner had ridiculously long hair at this time before he became Big Poppa Pump. Booker was using it against Steiner and Steiner was mad about it.

Booker and Steiner battled for the backslide pin attempt. Steiner tried suplex after suplex on Booker to which Booker evaded/avoided every attempt. I love that the battle in this match was about Scott hitting a suplex on Booker which ordinarily would mean nothing, but this was Scott Steiner from the Steiner Brothers. It’s an important part of his arsenal which we’ll get onto later with the finish.

Eventually, after ducking a side kick, Steiner hit a tiger powerbomb. Steiner dropped Booker with atomic drop and clotheslined him over the top rope. Booker hit a scissors kick for a two count and it’s still weird seeing the scissors kick as just a move and not a finisher from Booker as it would become in WWE.

Booker grounded Steiner with a front face lock. Yeah Booker briefly out-wrestled college amateur wrestler SCOTT STEINER! Booker did a top rope crossbody for the two count.

Booker tried a suplex but Steiner slipped behind and hit the Scorpion Death Drop, just like Sting did to Scott himself in the last two weeks. It is actually ridiculous the detail in these matches. If you had watched the last two episodes of Nitro and seen Sting reverse a suplex into a Scorpion Deathlock twice now, for Scott to utilise that himself showed that the man learned from previous mistakes.

Steiner got back into the match and hit a belly-to-belly suplex at last. He then called for a frankensteiner but Booker evaded it. Booker followed that up with the wheel kick but Steiner kicked out. Booker missed a top rope body splash and Scott hit a belly-to-belly suplex for the win.

A good opener and told a simple and basic storyline. The suplex winning the match for Steiner was weird to see but again, more than one way to beat someone is great. The suplex battle was actually cleverly well done. After all of this time trying to hit a suplex, Scott finally hit one at the end of the match and he picked up the win. This gets a thumbs up.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Scott Steiner. He started to cut a promo when Debra McMichael cut him off. Scott gave Debra the floor and left. She was worried about her husband Steve “Mongo” McMichael. She’s worried he’s gonna hurt someone permanently. She thought it was her fault but Mean Gene assured her that it wasn’t her fault. She wanted to ask if he could set up a meeting with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to call off the tag team match at the PPV. Mean Gene went to see what he could do.

 

DDP vs Jim Powers where apparently the Lord of the Ring was on the line according to Tony Schiavonie

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The DDP character is pretty great at the moment in terms of how is story has been told in the last 6 months or whatever. DDP has been booked as a cocky, arrogant fella that always gets his comeuppance in the eyes of the fans. Let’s take one of the first things that happenED in this match. DDP argued with a fan and almost got rolled up for the win by JIM POWERS of all people.

How many times has DDP went to mock the fans or whatever and that led to his doom or almost his doom? He’s too cocky for his own good and that makes him such a good heel. However, if you watch how he’s been booked since Slamboree, they’ve clearly demonstrated that DDP can actually be a good wrestler when he has to be.

When DDP was in that Slamboree battle bowl battle royal, he took it to everyone and was kicking out of everything The Barbarian was throwing at him near the end of that mtch. He eventually fought back and got a big babyface win. Let’s be honest about this. DDP finally won in the end and the fans actually popped.

So the story is that DDP’s own ego is getting in the way of his own success. This isn’t like Disco Inferno’s character who thinks he is better than he actually is. DDP’s ego is getting in the way of him unlocking his full potential. So when he turns babyface, this could be something he can overcome to make him more likeable to the fans.

The match itself wasn’t much of a match. Jim Powers ran wild for a bit as DDP sold and sold for the babyface, then DDP did a back elbow and dropped Powers with the Diamond Cutter to a polite applause for the pin. It gives DDP another win and this slow build push for DDP I bet will have a massive pay-off when we get to him becoming a babyface.

 

They recapped the Taskmaster/Chris Benoit feud again. Benoit vs Taskmaster was now a falls count anywhere match for The Great American Bash. Mean Gene interviewed WCW US Champion Konnan who was defending the title against El Gato at the PPV.

 

Meng vs Sting

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I feel this is the appropriate time to bring this up based on a comment made by Larry Zybszko. Larry made some misogynist comments about blonde women when talking about Debra. It was the typical “the woman should stay at home” spiel and nothing anyone could possibly get away with saying in 2019. I bring it up because in December 2019, Lana recently accused CM Punk of making misogynist comment. I guess CM Punk called her “chica” when talking about her storyline with Rusev and Lashley on WWE Backstage show and she responded with the following:

“I know you’ve been away from WWE for several years. Perhaps moving forward, you will favor WWE and FS1 by refraining from misogynistic comments like ‘chica.’ Thank you.”

I’m not going to argue whether what Punk said was worse than what Larry said because I personally think it’s down to the individual what they actually perceive as offensive.  With that being said, I’m stunned. If what Punk said was considered “misogyny” by Lana, then I wonder what her thoughts would be on this stuff from Larry SPECIFICALLY AIMED AT BLONDE WOMEN at the start of this match.

Speaking of the match, Meng beat on Sting for a while. Sting hit a hard-hitting crossbody for a 2 count which the fans popped for. Meng tried a small package. Meng dropped Sting with a shoulder breaker. Sting cut off Meng with the Tongan going to the top rope. Sting locked on the Scorpion Deathlock and tapped out Meng for the win.

Not much of a match but for what it was, it was fun.

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Mean Gene was with Debra and Bobby Heenan, with the latter managing Ric Flair and Arn Anderson at the PPV. First of, Bobby claimed Debra had been talking to Flair all week. Debra corrected him insisting that she’d been not been talking to him all NIIIIIIGHT. She said “night” in such a way to hint that she hadn’t spoken to him all night but she had been speaking to him all day!

There was something about the way she said “night” where it didn’t come off as believable. Her tone of voice indicated that she was hiding something! Maybe I’m looking too much into this and this is not an accusation of any kind but she technically didn’t say she didn’t talk to him all week. She just said she hadn’t talked to him all night. If you watch the episode and listen to the tone of her voice, it didn’t seem sincere at all to me!

Debra walked into Flair’s locker room. Bobby slammed the door which led to Debra screaming and running out. Ric Flair jumped Joe Gomez and The Renegade, their opponents for that show, as Flair locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock on Gomez as Anderson put in the boots to him.

 

Squire Dave Taylor vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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Hacksaw ran wild with clothesline while Taylor sold like crazy. I’m over this Hacksaw Jim Duggan push that WCW have seemingly been up to. I’m not even sure if it’s a push because he doesn’t win a lot of matches on Nitro. However, there seems to be a strong intention to protect Duggan as much as they can. If you watched Slamboree, he beat three men by himself to single-handedly win a tag team match. Last week, he lost to Lord Steven Regal after being overcome by four men. Here, Duggan is back to getting his revenge of the New Bloods.

The finish was Duggan got the tape he’d been using in his matches and punched Taylor in the face with it and got the pin. Now, every time Duggan does this, he gets the tape when the referee isn’t looking like he’s cheating. He whips it out whenever the referee’s back is turned or there is some distraction. However, he uses it and wins his matches. For this match, the referee raised his hands with tape hanging out of Duggan’s hand to suggest that there is not problem with the tape as the referee didn’t question it. This begs the question, why bother trying to hide the tape from the ref if after the match if you’re just going to throw the tape up right in the view of the referee? This tape gimmick for Hacksaw Jim Duggan SUCKED.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Big Bubba and Jimmy Hart. I think it was Jimmy that said Shark didn’t pull his weight, so he’s not part of the Dungeon of Doom. Big Bubba said he proved to the whole world that The Shark was nothing but half a man. Basically Bubba said he was gonna sweep him into the sea or something. Bubba talked at an even faster pace than Jimmy Hart if you find that hard to believe.

 

The Giant © vs “The Flash” Scott Norton for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Didn’t I say last week that the dynamite clock/firework thing for the second hour was going to annoy me? Well this week really rubbed me the wrong way. They have this dynamite clock that was counting down for a minute until the second hour started and the fireworks go off. For a solid minute, Norton is in the ring with his music playing as they’re waiting for this clock to tick down and the fireworks to go. A FULL MINUTE of Norton just in the ring STANDING THERE before the fireworks go off.

I had to sit there as a viewer to watch ONE MINUTE of NOTHING going on as we’re waiting for the bloody countdown. It’s not even like the fireworks could have went off during The Giant’s entrance. No, the fireworks go off after a minute for about 20 seconds and then The Giant slowly saunters down to the ring and we’ve got to wait for The Giant to get in the ring. This was wasting time to an absurd degree.

So what happened after all of this pomp and circumstance? Norton tried some forearms but Giant ran wild, doing a powerslam of all moves. Norton fired back with a few clotheslines in the corner. Giant cut him off with a big boot. Norton ran into the ring post. The Giant chokeslammed Norton on the floor and then pinned him. This entire match lasted 1 minute and 42 seconds. Norton waited longer than the time of the match to wait for a countdown, fireworks to go off and The Giant coming down ot the ring. Scott Norton had to have been so furious when he saw that on the script for this episode of Nitro!

Giant tried a further beat down. Luger tried to make the save but got thrown out of the ring. Giant delivered a big super kick which sent Luger flying. Giant tried a chokeslam through the table but Luger punted him in the balls to get out of it. Luger beat up The Giant with weapons as Hugh and Taskmaster come to Giant’s aid. Giant cried with agony and then cried with rage! Luger cut a promo at the announce booth. He said he’d proven the Giant can feel pain and he’d see The Giant at Great American Bash. Lex Luger was challenging The Giant for the title at the PPV. This was a decent go-home show angle for The Great American Bash although there was more to come.

 

Billy Kidman vs Lord Steven Regal

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I understand that this match got less than a minute of time, but Billy Kidman worked at a ridiculously fast paced to get a whole bunch of spots in. This was for a match lasting LESS THAN ONE MINUTE. This was his first WCW Nitro appearance so I understand wanting to stand-out but he worked at 500 miles an hour. He did 5000 moves and I was begging for him to slow down. This put Dolph Ziggler to shame in terms of going too fast. He actually physically looked like his future tag team partner Paul London. He looked so tiny for this match that Regal actually looked massive in comparison.

Kidman dropkicked Regal in the back of the head. Kidman missed a 450 splash I think and landed on his knees. Regal locked on a Liontamer-like Boston Crab for the win. The fact that this match got a minute was actually appalling to me knowing how much time Scott Norton wasted waiting for a countdown clock and fireworks. There’s also a match that got too much time which we’ll get to.

Sting came out for the save and slapped Regal in response to the slap of doom from a few weeks ago on WCW Main Event.

 

“The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock

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These four geeks are lucky that the Hardwork Bobby Walker vs Brad Armstrong match from a few weeks ago existed. If that didn’t happen, this would have easily been the worst match in Nitro history. I’m done these two teams wrestling each other over an over again. Calling this wrestling is even stretching it. I’m done with the blatant and uncalled for weapon shots to the head. I’m doing with the pointless brawling. I’m done with the lack of psychology. I am done with this second-hand garbage wrestling.

At least if this was ECW, this “garbage” wrestling or hardcore wrestling would have been more entertaining. This was not entertaining in the slightest. This sucked. They all brawled with each other as the bell didn’t even ring.

In the previous 20 minutes of the show or whatever, they tried to pack in so many things in the space of a few minutes for each match/segment. There was a run-in after The Giant match and there was a run-in after the Regal match. They gave these two tag teams about 15 minutes when you take into consideration the entrances and the post-match stuff and they did… nothing. They did nothing compelling. They did nothing but brawl with each other and I just started to think that this show sucked.

They fought. Nothing eventful happened. Rocco and Sags had an absolutely shocking brawl on the outside. Knobbs hit a middle rope clothesline which never really looked pretty, although I appreciate the effort from Knobbs. Knobbs seemed to be a wrestler who actually tried to get something out of nothing although he was never quite able to do it. Fair play to him for trying but even he couldn’t save this match.

The Nasty Boys beat up Grunge in the corner. I had no idea who the babyfaces or who the heels were in this rivalry. Sags did a double clothesline to Public Enemy. This put AEW to shame in terms of having wrestlers illegally being in the ring during a tag match but at least AEW had rules that allowed for a bit more time in the ring to do certain spots. These teams are just in the ring doing whatever and the referee did nothing about it.

Knobbs and Rocco tumbled to the floor. Bischoff called this tag match “no pretty” which had to have been the understatement of 1996.  Rocco brought out a trash can but Knobbs cut him off. Sags did a pumphandle drop.

Rocco went for a move from the top but Sags used the trash can and the referee called for the bell to finally end this match. Before we could all move on, I must talk about Knobbs again. I have no idea why he did this but Knobbs took the time after the match to launch a trash can lid at Rocco right on the top of the head SO HARD. Rocco’s back was turned and Knobbs threw this lid at his head so he didn’t know what was coming. This was not light. He threw it so hard and with such a force that I can’t imagine this being done other than to hurt Rocco legitimately. Other than that, why else did Knobbs think that was necessary?

The second worst match in Nitro history up until this point. It’s not even like the fans were going nuts for this as they booed the finish.

 

We got more Mongo and Kevin Greene stuff as “Macho Man” Randy Savage came down to wherever they were training to coach them. RANDY SAVAGE told Kevin Greene not to be too intense. Of all of the people in WCW to tell Kevin Greene not to be too intense, it’s the Macho Man? The guy who was too crazy that he was banned at the time from wrestling because he went crazy! I found that line hilarious.

 

Lex Luger and Sting vs Ric Flair and Arn Anderson

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Luger and Sting were replacing Gomez and Renegade. Apparently this was for the tag titles as the referee showed them off to the camera like he usually did. I thought Sting and Luger were just replacing Gomez and Renegade. When did it become a title match?

Ric chopped at Luger but Luger fired back and did a big Gorilla Press slam. Luger sent Ric and Arn packing. Sting and Luger beat up Ric all over the place. I love how Arn stopped himself from crashing into the corner. After this he then pointed to his brain and bragged about how smart he was, and then Sting just punched him in the face! I love that spot! Again, Arn is too cocky for his good just like DDP was earlier.

Arn and Ric sold and sold for the babyfaces all over the place. If you take every Sting vs Ric Flair match and added Lex Luger acting like Sting and Arn Anderson acting like Ric Flair, that’s what you got here. Two Stings vs Two Ric Flairs in a tag team match!

Arn called for a time-out as the heels re-grouped. This match was also very similar to every Arn and Ric tag match in the last 3 weeks. There’s not a lot to say about this other than it went exactly as you’d figure Sting and Luger vs Arn and Ric would go down.

Arn wore down Sting and Sting sold and sold for a long time. I love that Bobby tried to bribe Bischoff with $50 to go down to the ring to help Arn and Ric! Luger got the hot tag and ran wild. The Giant came down and Luger fought him as the ref rang for the bell.

Scott Steiner ran down and beat up Giant with a chair, It was three on one again with Sting, Luger and Scott battling the monster as The Giant still wanted some more but Jimmy called him off. Giant screamed on the mic that Luger was a dead man and promised Luger was going out on a stretcher at the PPV.

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Bobby yelled at Savage at the end of the show but got cut off and ran way from Scott Hall, who made his way over to Bischoff again. Eric grabbed the mic and said he didn’t want any trouble. Eric then eventually changed his tune. He gets a little confident and said Hall came out last week and said he had a big surprise so where was it? He said he heard a lot of talk but where was the walk?

So as Eric attempted to call Hall’s “bluff”, the big surprise appears from behind Eric Bischoff. The big surprise is revealed as Kevin Nash, formerly Diesel in the WWF. Nash cut a promo on Bischoff saying that Eric had been sitting out for six months running his mouth. Kevin Nash then said the following: “This is where the big boys play huh? Look at the adjective, play. We ain’t here to play.” Not the adverb play… THE ADJECTIVE play!

Nash said Hall was gonna bring someone out here and he’s here. He said WCW still doesn’t have their 3 people because they’re all afraid to face them. Nash suggested that they get a couple of palaeontologists to clean up these “fossils”. He asked: “WHERE’S HOGAN? Doing Blunder in Paradise?” Out all of the people he could have called out first, he called out Hogan? That is very interesting when you say where this storyline goes.

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Eric said he didn’t have the authority but he’ll be at WCW Headquarters in Atlanta to try and arrange something. Nash said the measuring stick just got changed around here and they were looking at it. Nash and Hall then left.

Other than the infamous adjective line, Kevin Nash cut a hell of a promo. Nash basically told Eric that we’re not playing around and things are changing around here in WCW. He cut a way better promo than Hall cut a few weeks ago. They said they were gonna be at the Great American Bash so again, more reason to watch the PPV.

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This was a bad Nitro to me. This was not as bad as the Nitro from two weeks ago but I was done with this show as soon as they got to the Public Enemy vs Nasty Boys match. The time management was spot on last week but it was all over the place this week. Why did Public Enemy and Nasty Boys get more time than anybody? Why did Regal vs Kidman get a minute? Why did Scott Norton stand in the ring for about two minutes to have a match that lasted less than two minutes.

I will say that this month they did a better job in building up the upcoming PPV which is the next show in the series. They had a stacked card for The Great American Bash:

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I’ve actually been told that this is actually a great PPV so I am very much looking forward to watching this PPV. There will be a full review of the Great American Bash 1996 here on the Armbar Express. Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly and updates whenever Retro Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too! I appreciate you taking the time to read this review and we hope you enjoy more of the content from the Armbar Express.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #37 (MAY 27TH 1996) – “THE OUTSIDER” SCOTT HALL INVADES WCW NITRO

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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It is entirely possible that the episode of WCW Nitro I’m about to review could be the most famous episode of WCW Nitro ever. It was easily one of the most historically significant episodes in wrestling history. It was the first two-hour episode of Monday Nitro which is significant in its own right. Along with that, we had one of the most game-changing angles in not only the Monday Night Wars but in the history of wrestling. In the first hour, we saw the debut of a wrestler that started a “war” and it just felt like a switch was turned in my brain about this show.

We’ve reviewed episodes of Nitro where The Dungeon of Doom tried to destroy Hulkamania, The Giant was cutting goofy promos about eating people and it was just as much as corny as the “golden age” of the WWF. That’s not to say that the last 36 episodes have been terrible or makes wrestling embarrassing to watch, but it felt like a completely different ball-game compared to what’s going to be in store for us. As soon as a certain angle took place, it just felt like a different show.

With that being said… this was such a horrible wrestling show. A lot of the one hour episodes of Nitro have been at least decent and obviously only watching one hour is an advantage. We got another hour of wrestling but even still, this show had some of the most dirt worst wrestling you’ve ever seen. We got three matches in a row which felt like the worst back-to-back combination of matches in a wrestling show throughout the ages. Everything else felt like it was just there… with the obvious exception of a certain angle.

While we’re on the subject of that angle, even that angle didn’t age well in terms of the quality. It seemed to just come out of nowhere and if it weren’t for the significance of it and who was involved at the time, this segment would not be revered as legendary as it has been over the years.

Let’s get to this review…

 

Date: May 27th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Macon, Georgia

Rating: 2.8

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

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Yes, you read that correctly. We are in the era of multiple announcers across one episode of wrestling. Tony Schiavonie called the first hour with Larry Zbyszko and the usual commentary team of Bischoff and Heenan called the second hour.

As convoluted as this may sounds, this was a more practical use of certain announcers. If you watch RAW or even certain pay-per-views, the announcers are calling three hour or even five hours of wrestling without any breaks in-between. Therefore, they get exhausted throughout the show and the fire is just not there for the big main-event matches later on.

The four announcers here for Nitro were all excitable for the hour they had to call and they had a lot more life to them. At least this, for now, prevented the tiring of announcers over the course of the show.

 

“American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs vs Ric Flair and Arn Anderson w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth

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A very basic but effective little tag team match. However, this was not quite as effective as Miss Elizabeth was at blowing me away with her green dress as she came down with Ric Flair. She looked absolutely stunning walking down to the ring with the Nature Boy.

Larry Zybsko buried NFL players on commentary for some reason, which is a weird way to promote two NFL players battling Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in a big tag team match at the next pay-per-view. We’ll get to that later.

This was very much a battle between quick youngsters versus methodical, dirty veterans. Ric and Arn double-teamed Riggs on the outside. Ric and Arn punched them, chopped them and poked at them all over the place. The American Males took over. Bagwell ran wild on Flair as it broke into a four way. American Males clapped with the crowd as the faces had the heels on the rope.

Ric grabbed a champagne bottle from his table but eventually got back into the ring. Arn missed a clothesline and hit the ring post a.ka. “the pole” according to Larry. Bagwell punched his way out of the heels’ corner.

Flair caught Riggs’ legs on the apron and Arn took advantage. Tony and Larry enjoyed champagne I guess Flair poured out for them. The heels got the heat as Bagwell desperately wanted to interject himself into the match.

Riggs hit an enziguri to Arn, sending him outside. Riggs crawled to Bagwell as Ric and the referee had one of the all-time great shoving matches! Ric sold like crazy for referees pushing him down which was excellent to see.

Bagwell got the hot tag and ran wild. Bagwell did a small package but Arn turned the small package over but then Riggs turned it over again on Flair. Bagwell hit a fisherman suplex. Bagwell covered Flair but Woman gauged his eyes. Arn hit the DDT and Ric rolled himself into the cover for the win, literally just resting his arm on Bagwell!

I thought this was… OK. It was very basic and they did everything right and the fans were definitely into it. The American Males I still found to be very limited to what they can do and Flair and Arn did all they could to get a good match out of these two. Maybe I was hoping for something a little bit better. Regardless, I can still see that the four men worked hard out there so this gets a thumbs up.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the heels after the match. Arn told Kevin Greene and Steve “Mongo” McMichael that he never met a football player that he couldn’t walk over. He didn’t respect anyone that had to wear protective gear. He said in this sport it was man to man and hand to hand. Ric said while they were playing football, he’d been making up lost time with Debra (Mongo’s wife). Ric called Miss Elizabeth their sugar mommy with Savage’s money.

They showed Greene and Mongo working out and preparing for The Great American Bash. I hope I never wear what these two were wearing to the gym. Despite their fashion sense, they were still looking jacked and bulky. Not gonna like. A heads up, Ric Flair and Arn Anderson were set to face Kevin Greene and Steve “Mongo” McMichael at The Great American Bash. At least, that’s the billed match at the moment.

 

Scott Hall Debuts In WCW

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As soon as I saw The Mauler and Steve Doll come down for “a match”, I figured this was “the match” that would lead to the big angle previously alluded to earlier. Even if it wasn’t, WCW were in the middle of a wrestling war and they had these two guys out there for a wrestling match in the first hour?

The announcers said Randy Savage had been banned from any WCW televised event. I wrote a bunch of spots these two did but really, none of it mattered. During the match, the fans started to buzz and turn around. A tall dude in a sleeveless blue denim jacket walked around near the seats, which is hard to miss in its own right. In the midst of this crowd, a big dude made is way down to the ring. Of course, walking across the fans and over the guard rail is in fact… Razor Ramon.

It was like time had stood still. This was the WWF’s “Razor Ramon” in the eyes of the fans at the time. He didn’t say he was Razor Ramon but the people knew who he was. They only knew of this guy as Razor Ramon and so him appearing at a WCW show and asking for a mic it was mind-blowing to see for them. He grabbed the microphone as the action just stops. There was no finish to the match

I’ve just found a transcript of the entire promo this guy cut on a Fox Sports article. I did try to take down as much as I could about the promo but here it is in full:

“You people, you know who I am. But you don’t know why I’m here. Where is billionaire Ted? Where is the Nacho Man? That punk can’t even get in the building. Me? I go where ever I want, whenever I want. And where oh where is Scheme Gene? Cause I got a scoop for you. When that Ken doll look-a-like, when that weather man wannabe comes out here later tonight, I got a challenge for him, for billionaire Ted, for the Nacho Man and for anybody else in WCW. You want to go to war? You want a war? You’re gonna get one.”

This man leaves with security and… I will talk more about the premise of this entire angle later on in the review. Suffice to say, “Razor Ramon” a.k.a Scott Hall showing up on Nitro was a pretty damn big deal at the time. With that being said, if we’re being honest… this felt so underwhelming watching it 23 years later or so!

This dude just came through past security and he just cut a below-average promo at best and let. He just interrupted a random match and cut a weird promo, where he mumbled all over the place and even repeated the line about wanting a war. He took a long time getting to the point that he was bringing a war.

With that being said as well, even though it was hard for Hall to get to the point, this worked as a means of keeping the fans guessing. He never mentioned the WWF although that was the premise of the angle. It was actually really clever with the way they had a “WWF” invasion angle without actually having the WWF. Hall was just a guy coming over the barricade, known to be coming from the WWF, invading WCW and being an “outsider” and it was effective in making people question what was going on. It blurred the lines between reality and fiction for a lot of fans in a way that hadn’t been done effectively for years by either the WWF or WCW.

Bischoff tried to do “insider” references during these Nitros and he tried the Brian Pillman angle from Uncensored but Hall coming down and declaring a war while the announcers are not referencing him at all was effective at the time. Say what you will about the promo but it did work in getting people talking.

I do love that after this big angle with Scott Hall, Tony Schiavonie can’t help but ask what happened to the match!

 

Sgt, Pittman w/Teddy Long vs Diamond Dallas Page

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Remember when DDP was the #1  contender for the WCW World Heavyweight a week ago? He won the Slamboree battle bowl battle royal, he overcame 31 other wrestlers to earn this shot and the title shot was stripped away from him, unfairly if you think about it. After all of this, on this episode, he was just breezy. To be fair to DDP, The Shark randomly got a WCW title match this week on the grounds that The Giant chokeslammed him previously so I guess title matches weren’t that hard to come by.

DDP did the worst push-ups in the world… which actually fit his gimmick! Pittman showed him up with a one armed push up. DDP knocked himself loopy with a headbutt and fell out of the ring. DDP was tied up in the television cable again. DDP hit a jawbreaker on the rope to take control of the match.

Then we got the geek of the week moment from the w/c May 27th 1996. Pittman went for Code Red armbar “upside down.” DDP grabbed Pittman’s manager Teddy Long on the outside and just grabbed him, which led to no harm to Teddy Long. Pittman looked at Long, and DDP took advantage with a Diamond Cutter for the pin. Pittman came off like a complete geek with this finish. There’s nothing like a distraction finish to bury a babyface any worse.

GEEK OF THE WEEK – Sgt. Craig Pittman for distracting himself by looking at his manager after nothing happened to him.

 

They showed a highlight video package of the Randy Savage going crazy storyline.

 

Mean Gene interviewed The Shark. Mean Gene mentioned he’s no longer with the Dungeon of Doom. I guess The Giant chokeslammed Shark during a previous angle on Saturday Night and he got kicked out of the group, which actually led to a Giant vs Shark WCW title match later on which we’ll get to it.

Shark cut a promo about he almost ended Hulkamania and he was gonna hurt Taskmaster by winning the WCW title.

 

They showed another video package of Hulk Hogan hanging around with celebrities like George Foreman, Shaq, Dennis Rodman and Kevin Greene. They talked about Hogan raising money for charity with Sugar Ray Leonard too.

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That was the end of the first hour. If you looked at just the first hour of the show, this show wouldn’t seem so bad. Then we got the second hour which had to be the worst hour of wrestling I’ve ever seen. We got five more matches and the next three matches were some of the dirt-worst wrestling in the history of wrestling. This felt like the longest hour of my life.

 

The Giant © w/Jimmy Hart vs The Shark for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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I love how Eric Bischoff jumped on commentary and he talked about how they weren’t going to dignify Scott Hall’s appearance but then proceeded to spend the entire second hour of the show constantly bringing it up. Bischoff even told Hall to come down at the end of the second hour, basically promoting another appearance at the end of the show.

I had a weird desire to watch this match but this was an absolute nothing match. I’m pretty sure that The Giant vs Loch Ness had to have been better than this match. Maybe I’m over exaggerating, but this was such a dull monster battle. At least the Loch Ness match was shorter.

Shark jumped Giant but Giant fired back with a big headbutt. The Shark tried to knock down Giant but Giant wouldn’t budge. Giant hit a big clothesline. Giant forced all of his weight on the stomach on Shark by standing on him. Shark punched away at Giant but was unable to lift the big man. Giant scoop slammed Shark.

Shark gouged at the eyes of Giant. Shark pulled off a clothesline from the middle rope, just barely. Shark got his hands on Jimmy which led to Giant taking advantage and chokeslamming Shark for the pin. Previously, The Giant’s title matches were somewhat interesting and in some cases good but this one was just boring. A boring big man match that just set the tone for the second hour.

Big Bubba came down to cut Shark’s hair.

 

 

Lex Luger © vs Maxx for the WCW Television Championship

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Maxx, previously Max Muscle, was back on Nitro. The announcers talk about Maxx’s haircut. Eric goes: “nice haircut Max” and Bobby, without missing a beat, said: “yeah, if you’re going to the chair.” In their defence, that was a bad haircut Maxx was sporting. It was some weird Mohawk he had going on which thankful never caught on.

Thankfully, these types of matches never caught on in wrestling either.

Luger ran wild with clotheslines and Maxx cut him off with a powerslam. Maxx got the heat. If you liked clotheslines, then this match was the match for you. These guys could do absolutely nothing. Clotheslines, forearms, punches, powerslams. It was pretty much four or five moves on repeat and this just kept going on and on and on. A wrestling website I found listed this match as going 5 minutes and 45 seconds. I felt for sure this was 5 hours long. Luger got Maxx up but eventually locked on the Torture Rack for the win and the fans went nuts.

Speaking of which, when was the last time we saw a torture rack on Nitro? It feels like forever since Luger has just been in tag team matches with Sting.

Either way, this match was god awful and went longer than it had any right to be. Luger should have hit a few clotheslines, locked on the Torture Rack and won. Instead, we got 5 minutes of god awful wrestling and then Luger struggled to get Maxx up on his shoulders for the finish. A HUGE THUMBS DOWN.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger. Luger said he didn’t make the matches but nobody wanted The Giant more than the Total Package. They showed The Giant chokeslam from 2 weeks ago. He talked about how Giant didn’t try to win a match, as he just wanted to take Luger out but he was still standing. He wanted every big man WCW had before he got The Giant. If these matches were anything like the Maxx match, I’d rather they didn’t give Lex these matches!

 

Hardwork Bobby Walker vs Brad Amrstrrong

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The quality of the last two matches were pretty bad. In the defence of those matches, you could at least expect a below par match out of the likes of the still-green Giant and Lex Luger. This next match was even worse and sad part was that it had nothing to do with Brad Armstrong.

This Hardwork Bobby Walker was so atrocious during this match. Literally every “spot” he attempted during this match was screwed up and every single time, it was his fault. Brad did an monkey flip and Bobby was meant to land on his feet but he stumbled. Hardwork tried a crossbody from the top but lost his footing. When they realised Hardwork could not be trusted to do any actual moves, they wrestled on the floor for about 10 hours. Walker tried a small package and a backslide for near falls.

Walker couldn’t do a lucha libe crossbody without losing his footing. It was like a Rey Fenix-like spot where he would jump from the middle rope to the top rope and then do a dive but he screwed that up. Then Walker hit a crappy looking blockbuster for the win. I wrote that “this was shit” and that is being generous. This was the second worst match I’ve seen so far in this WCW Nitro series. This was a -3 star match worse than the horrific tag team match from Slamboree I gave -2.5 stars. Remember when I reviewed Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair last week and it was better than anything on WCW SlamboreeWCW Slamboree? Well this match was WORSE than everything on WCW Slamboree and think of the ground that covers.

I’m going to mention this very briefly as this is a sensitive topic to a lot of people. Hardwork Bobby Walker was part of a lawsuit where he and a bunch of other wrestlers filed a lawsuit against WCW for racial discrimination. Walker claimed that his Caucasian opponents were told to make him look bad and that he’d never win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Apparently these wrestlers were set to make African American wrestlers look “loud, obnoxious, pompous and shiftless.”

I’m not going to discuss racial discrimination as I’m not qualified to speak about it on so many levels. With that being said, clearly Walker did not watch this match before saying all of this. He mentioned that his “opponents” were out to make him look bad. He was in there with Brad Armstrong, who is Caucasian, and Brad was not responsible in any way for the spots screwed up in his match. That’s not even my opinion, that is pure fact. A lot of the spots where Walker coming off the top rope or doing something acrobatic, and it was down to HIM to make the spot look good. He messed it up. It wasn’t like Brad Armstrong used the force to make Walker slip. He was nowhere near these spots Walker was messing up.

I’m not going to say wrestlers were or weren’t acting discriminatory against Walker, but the idea that he believed other people were making him look bad is laughable if you watch this match. He made himself look bad in this match. As far as racial discrimination, that’s not for me to talk about.

Apparently when the WWF bought out WCW they came to a settlement with Walker and co. but my verdict on this match was Walker was guilty of crimes against wrestling in this match. He was so horrible. Minus 3 stars but this was honestly the worst match in WCW Nitro history so far. Not quite on the level of the Doomsday Cage match.

 

 

Lord Steven Regal vs Alex Wright

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This match wasn’t particular good but it felt like Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada compared to the last three matches. Wright took over for a bit. Wright did a dive to the outside as they cut to a break. Regal locked in a headlock and wore down Wright. Wright slammed Regal down for a belly-to-belly suplex.

Wright and Regal kicked and uppercut each other throughout the match, smashing away at each other. Not much to talk about with this match but eventually Regal dropped Wright on his head from the top turnbuckle. Regal pinned him with a bridge for the win.

Mean Gene interviewed Regal. Regal talked about Giant and Savage. He talked about taking out Belfast Bruiser. Regal said he’s not going anywhere and he should have his say around here. Regal made a challenge to the franchise Sting and if he won, he wanted a shot at the champion.. He said he wanted a shot at that “face painted clown.”

 

Sting vs His Good Buddy Scott Steiner

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The announcers constantly mentioned that Sting was facing “his good buddy” Scott Steiner in the main-event. Steiner took Sting down with an arm drag. Sting responded with a big hip toss. Scott did a big Gorilla Press to Sting. Sting went up high in the air as he delivered a big dropkick to Steiner.

Scott hit a tiger powerbomb and a belly to belly suplex. Scott hit a double axe handle from the top rope. Sting gave Scott a big boot as Bobby Heenan howled with laughter! Scott slammed him with a belly to belly suplex. Scott locked on the STF and an armbar onto the Stinger.

I loved the spot where Scott went for a suplex but Sting reversed into a Scorpion Death Drop. It went down smoothly as Sting turned things around. Sting fired back with a Stinger splash but when he went for another one, he missed. Scott dropped Sting with a dragon suplex.

Lex Luger came down to cheer for Sting and Rick Steiner, in the worst shorts known to man, came out to cheer on Scott. Rick was out in a big, extra-large tie dye shirt and grey cap and striped shorts, which could have actually been his ring attire underneath now that I think about it. Either way, it was not a good look for Rick. 

Scott hit an high-angle slam from the top rope. Sting locked on the Scorpion Deathlock but Scott got the rope. Sting reversed a tombstone piledriver into one of his own for a near fall. Sting went for a big splash in the ring but Scott got the knees up.

Sting suplexed Scott over the top rope but Scott landed on his feet, went for his own suplex on the floor but Luger broke that up. Rick went after Luger. A big brawl broke out between the tag teams and the match was thrown out. The babyface wrestlers tried to break everybody up.

This match was not bad and it parts was actually decent, but it was a victim of the rest of the matches on this show. Vince Russo has a theory that people don’t want to watch long wrestling matches on a television show. If you watch a lot of WWF Attitude Era stuff, a lot of the matches are short as in his eyes, crash TV angles were all the rage at the time. I don’t necessarily believe that theory but if you watch the way the show went down, we got a bunch of boring nothing matches that nobody cared about. After that, we get a long main-event MATCH at the end of a two-hour wrestling show and it just did nothing for me as a viewer. It was just a match and it ended in a typical disqualification.

Maybe in my brain, I think I conditioned myself to except a shorter match than they delivered. If you remember last week’s main-event, The Giant vs Arn Anderson, that lasted about four minutes or so.

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Scott Hall came back out and interrupted Eric Bischoff with a microphone. He said Bischoff had a big mouth and “we’re” sick of it. Bischoff constantly asked “whose we?” during this segment. Hall said: “This is where the big boys play? What a joke. Tell billionaire Ted and get three of his very best.” He named-dropped the Nacho Man or the Stinger. He told Bischoff to get anybody they want because they are taking over. He repeated the war line from earlier and they wanted to war it out in the ring where it mattered. Not on mircophones, newspapers, dirtsheets, he said let’s do it in the ring where it matters. He said they were taking over as Bischoff and Bobby looked flustered to end the show.

The closing promo I think was a little better, as at least it gave his ramblings a little direction. He mentioned a six-man tag team match, which you all know where this ended up going but the fans were still in the dark about who Hall’s two other men were in that trio. They just saw it as possibly WCW vs WWF in a match, which was big enough for them. It was left up for speculation and they had about 6-8 weeks to promote the big six man tag team match and build anticipation for “war” in WCW.

I do want to give credit to Eric Bischoff credit here. Every single week on Nitro, Bischoff had been taking shots at the WWF. I, obviously knowing the outcome of the Monday Night Wars, have questioned every single time he took shots at the WWF. It would eventually backfire on him many years later which we’ll get to when we make it to 1999 in this series. However, his shots had a storyline purpose because of this promo.

Scott Hall from the big bad WWF, after hearing all of Bischoff’s jokes and digs at the WWF, basically told him we’re sick of it. Bischoff had put his foot in his mouth as it was put-up or shut-up. This was blurring lines in reality again and when a “WWF” guy decided to take action, Bischoff’s suddenly all shaken up by it at the end of the show. I loved that aspect of this storyline.

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That was the show. It was without a doubt the worst Nitro we’ve seen so far. It feels a bit unfair to dub the first two hour Nitro the worst Nitro but it wasn’t like either hour was particularly great. It started with a decent tag team match but was filled with such horrible matches up and down the card. Even the historic angles weren’t that interesting to watch upon a rewatch many years later.

Either way, it is a completely new direction for the company in the storyline and it very much shakes up the business going forward.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #31 (APRIL 15TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN’S REIGN OF TERROR CONTINUES AS HE CONQUERS SIX HEELS BY HIMSELF

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 officially hit the period of WCW Nitro were things just don’t add up and make sense anymore. These last few episodes have closely resembled WWE 2019 now more than ever where it is very clear “plans change” as things are completely turned on their heads. The Giant’s big babyface turn two weeks ago was completely pushed to one side as he’s back to fighting the good guys again. Lex Luger’s slow transition from heel to face sharply ended when he was just randomly an overwhelming good guy fighting by Sting’s side.

Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter always used to get this stick about when WWE, TNA or any company does a big swerve, he’d go “plans change” and people think Dave is covering his ass. If you don’t think that WWE nowadays don’t change their minds on a daily basis, think again. If you don’t think that WCW changed their minds over and over, these last two episodes demonstrated that clearly they did.

WCW have generally been good since this series started with promoting a match for the next week’s Nitro and then delivering that match. Last week, they promoted Hulk Hogan, The Booty Man and The Booty Man’s “big plan for satisfaction” going against The Taskmaster and Arn Anderson. They didn’t specifically mention what match it was but it was something where Booty Man had a plan against the heels.

This week, the Booty Man was off the show as he had “an injury” which I’m not entirely sure whether it was a work or a shoot. He’s off the show. So not only did they not deliver on Booty Man and his weird promo about getting satisfaction if you know what I mean. They did not come up with a replacement tag team partner for Hogan either. No, Hulk Hogan went at it alone with Arn Anderson and Taskmaster.

I’m going to tie this intro into this opening match where it was…

 

Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson and Taskmaster w/Jimmy Hart, Woman and Miss Elizabeth

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They do this match where it’s your typical Hulk Hogan vs bad guys match. Arn and Taskmaster jump him before the bell. Hogan fights them off. Hulk Hogan pulls off one of the worst Figure Four Leg Locks of all time followed by the definitive worst Figure Four Leg Lock of all time on Arn Anderson. He got Arn’s leg and was a deer in the highlights. He had no clue how to put on this move and Hogan is a guy who had been a wrestling main-eventer for at least a decade by now, maybe for 15 years by this point. Literally if you picked two random kids outside of your house, showed them the Figure Four Leg Lock on a video and told them to go do it, it would have been a 1000 times better than what Hulk Hogan did here. He didn’t know what leg to put over. He was trying to tie up the legs himself and it was a disaster.

Hogan no-sold a chair shot and ran wild until the heels somehow got the heat and everyone, including Jimmy Hart, got kicks in on the outside. Booty Babe in an exceptional outfit yet again came out to support Hogan. Hogan bonks Arn and Taskmaster into each other and hits the Leg Drop for the pin. So yes, Hulk Hogan overcame Arn Anderson and Taskmaster clean in a handicap match. It’s stupid for one man to beat two men on his own but FINE… it’s Hulk Hogan. You put your top babyfaces over so him destroying two babyfaces was tolerable to me. BUT THEN…

Hogan grabbed both of the girls at ringside in Miss Elizabeth and Woman. He dragged them both into the ring, lurked over them like he’s going to attack these women and amped up the crowd for this beating against the women. This was so uncomfortable by this point to see Hogan manhandling these women and wanting to beat him up. Yeah, this was also the same Hulk Hogan who tried to punch the ref last week. What a complete arsehole this character is!

Then he changed his mind and went after Jimmy Hart. Hart begged for his life but Hogan kicked his ass and ripped his shirt off. The Giant came down for “the save” but it had minimal affect. He chokeslammed Hogan but Hogan no-sold this chokeslam and got right back up. Hogan fought back and hit a scoop slam and sent The Giant packing.

He then cut a promo about going after the title and he actually nearly scoop slammed Mean Gene Okerlund and that was that.

So to recap, Hulk Hogan overcame the odds from having to go up against six heels. Now granted, I understand three of those people were managers. I understand to an extent that Arn Anderson and Taskmaster are beaten up all the time by Hogan so what does it matter if they get beat up again. The Giant? He had to get beaten and sent packing here?

The Giant hadn’t even been involved with Hogan since I think the lumberjack match before Uncensored and before then, the last time they crossed paths was SuperBrawl I think. The Giant went out here just to be slain by Hogan and shown to be a complete geek. This was the same Giant who Hogan was terrified off at Halloween Havoc and was fighting on par with Hogan at SuperBrawl. On this show, he was just another guy.

I figured that maybe the “Hoganisms” that caused Hulk Hogan to go over all of these heels were purged from his system at the Doomsday Cage match. Nope, he still had a bit more typical Hogan conquering left to do. The Giant paid the price here and it really indirectly buried Sting and Lex Luger later on in the show but we’ll get to that.

There was no way any of this was planned last week so whether it was Hogan changing his mind or Bischoff changing his mind, this angle did more harm than good and A HUGE THUMBS DOWN for this opening match.

Despite all of that, the fans were still going nuts for Hulk Hogan throughout this whole segment!

Now onto the rest of the show…

 

Date: April 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Charleston, West Virginia

Rating: 2.8

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

 

I do love after this match, the announcers have some banter. Mongo makes a comment about how the fans love him and Bobby Heenan, without missing a beat, responds saying: “yeah they love me.” Mongo talked about his dog wearing camouflage and that the dog didn’t wanna get hit by a stray bullet to which Heenan looked at the camera with a face of just total disgust! Heenan’s reactions to some of Mongo’s comments are some of the highlights on Nitro every week!

 

“Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags in a street fight

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If you simply watched their SuperBrawl match instead of this match on this episode of Nitro, you’d find it hard to tell the difference between that match and the match that was on this Nitro. This was garbage wrestling to its very core and if you love several minutes of guys clobbering each other with trash cans and anything they could find, then you liked this match.

I wasn’t much of a fan as literally a lot of my notes were just XXXXX hit XXXXX with XXXX and for a while I just stopped taking notes. When I stopped taking notes, I look up and Johnny Grunge walloped Brian Knobs with trash can shots RIGHT to the head with purely blatant smacks to the head. He did this at least three times in the row to the head and Grunge was clearly aiming for the head as he moved his position to get a better hit of the head. DUDE. Was it really necessary to smack Knobs in the head over and over?

There was on spot earlier on in the match I liked where Knobs put the trash can on Grunge and while he then hits Grunge with like a trash can lid or something, Sags is on the other side of Grunge PUNCHING the trash can! I don’t know why but I loved that. “I’m gonna punch this trash which is shielding you and maybe I’ll connect with you inside the trash can!”

They got a table and Mongo said: “here comes the wood.” They didn’t even build up to the big table spot later. 30 seconds later after finding this table, someone is randomly thrown into the table. No big move through the table or anything no, someone is randomly thrown through the thing.

A cameraman fell over something on the outside. Rocco did a bulldog on Knobs into a chair. The big finish was there was another table and Grunge missed a top rope leg drop and went through the table. He went crashing through the table and Knobs got the pin. I remember a spot very similar to this from SuperBrawl to lead to the finish. Just like the finish to that match, there was also post-match brawl between the two tag teams!

They all still continue to the fight after the bell. Rocco did a cannonball off the top rope and hit Grunge on the apron to send him, Grunge and Sags crashing through the table. This sucked. The match was a waste of time to me and really, it accomplished nothing when these big weapon shots are shown to be ineffective after the match because they’re all still fighting with each. They all still continued fighting… so why did I bother watching this tag match if they were gonna fight afterwards anyway?

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Earl Robert Eaton w/Geaves

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An alright match which didn’t get a lot of time and the announcers completely didn’t care about. Savage starts the match on fire and then Eaton just… gets the heat somehow! I looked down for 20 seconds to write up a note and I look up and Eaton is getting the heat on Randy Savage! I had no clue and they didn’t mentioned what the move was that changed the tide in this match!

Savage tried to fight back but Eaton raked at him over and over. Eaton did a Ric Flair impersonation and then did a Figure Four Leg Lock which was 20,000 times better than Hulk Hogan’s Figure Four Leg Lock from earlier… and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Eaton somehow got a Four Horsemen t-shirt in the ring and showed it at Randy to fire him up. I did like the storyline that Eaton was doing everything he could to piss off Savage as Savage was in a feud with Ric Flair who was with Miss Elizabeth.

Eaton was doing Flair’s move and showing off Flair’s merchandise.  Savage then turns it around and then just straight up starts choking Eaton! Savage then beat up Geaves who ran for his life. Savage did a back drop on the outside to Eaton.  Savage hit the scoop slam in the ring, hit the elbow drop and got the pin.

Then Savage threw the referee down and then goes for another elbow drop. Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Alex Wright and a few other babyfaces try to beg him off but Savage did the elbow drop anyway. The faces then hold Savage down as they handcuff the Macho Man.

To recap, nothing happened to Public Enemy when they beat up The Nasty Boys and put them through a table. Here, Randy Savage goes for another Elbow Drop and the babyfaces run to the ring begging Savage to rethink this. Savage hits the move and HE’S the one in handcuffs? You think they’ll be any follow up to Public Enemy beating up the Nasty Boys after the match? Of course not. This made no sense.

 

WCW Nitro showed a poster for I believe a movie called “The Great White Hype” and this poster showed Samuel L Jackson with a turban on and a great big cigar in his mouth.

 

Sting (c) and Lex Luger (c) vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth and The Giant for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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What a bizarre match to put on for your main-event. The parallels between the AEW shows in 2019 to the WCW shows in 1996 are absolutely remarkable. The day after AEW Full Gear, they announce that AEW World Champion Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara are challenging the SCU for the AEW Tag Team titles. In April 1996, the WCW World Champion Ric Flair is challenging for the WCW tag team titles on the Nitro episode I’m watching the day they announce that AEW show in 2019! It’s amazing the coincidences that fall into place when reviewing these shows!

Ric Flair goes to Mongo’s wife again and Mongo just SITS THERE and threatens Flair.  Lex Luger was still the WCW TV Champion, in case you’re wondering. Sting runs wild early on and even dropkicks Giant off the apron.

Sting throws Flair into Giant, Giant catches Fliar and threw him back in the ring. Flair goes: “what are you doing” and tears into The Giant, and then turns around into Lex Luger flexing and gets frightened off!

Flair gets thrown out into Giant again and Giant throws Flair back into the ring. Flair loses his mind, runs outside and chops Giant! Then Giant chases Flair up the ring as they cut to the ads. I loved this big man/little man dynamic with the heel tag team where they don’t get a long but The Giant is just mean and scary and doesn’t need to do a lot to get Flair to back off!

The Giant finally got the tag and kicked away at Luger in the ring. Ric Flair is back on the apron and after everything that happened early in on the match, he starts thrusting at the crowd and starts enjoying himself!

Woman raked at Luger while Luger was down on the outside. Flair drops a beautiful knee drop which I don’t remember seeing much from him during this Nitro series. Giant does two big Irish Whips to Luger into the corners and reduces Luger to screams of agony!

Flair does the Figure Four on Luger for a long time. Flair and referee Nick Patrick starts pushing each other. Luger finally fires away and the fans go nuts. Luger throws Flair off the top rope. Sting finally got the hot tag and ran wild on Flair as The Giant just stood there.

This hot tag included a quickfire superplex! They moved so fast to get this superplex spot over and done with during this hot tag of Sting running wild! Sting goes for a Scorpion Death Lock as Luger batters The Giant to hold him off. Woman threw the coffee at Luger again this week but Luger ducked and Sting ended up with coffee on him. This caused the ref to call for the bell.

The Giant chokeslammed the babyfaces. Flair went for a “pin” on Sting and Luger, tried to punch the ref and celebrated over the prone bodies in the ring.

This was exactly what I was mentioning earlier. Hulk Hogan ate a chokeslam after his match from The Giant, who was fresh mind you, and was totally fine but Sting and Lex Luger ate a chokeslam after their match and they were down for the count? It made Sting and Luger look so inferior to Hulk Hogan. It made The Giant looked so inferior to Hulk Hogan. The Giant overcame two men with a partner where as Hogan overcame six people earlier on in the show.

Speaking of Hulk Hogan, where was he for this beating? His friends (at least Sting was his friend anyway) were getting beat up by the heels and he’s nowhere to be seen. Do you guys remember at World War III where Hogan said Sting was his “best friend forever?” He left his friend at the mercy of The Giant KNOWING that he could kick The Giant’s ass easy as he watched him do it EARLIER ON THAT NIGHT. What a friend.

 

Bischoff managed to get Heenan handcuffed somehow as Heenan tried to wrestled himself out of it. He bit it as the headset went across his face and was having a horrible time with these handcuffs as Nitro went off the air.

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This show was horrible this week. Maybe I’m being a little harsh but I was not a fan of this episode. There was not much to enjoy throughout. The Hulk Hogan angle at the start of the show really set the tone where there’s no longer like a well though-out story-telling process. A few months ago, I could see there was a detailed plan with certain storylines, especially with Luger and Sting. They even stopped that last week and after all of that, they get their asses kicked by the heels at the end of this show.

Now the show mostly consists of just a bunch of stuff happening. They never mentioned once the May PPV or the Lethal Lottery they’re doing in May. They’ve not mentioned a thing and as a WCW fan, this must have been infuriating. They never even mentioned the WCW Cruiserweight Tournament which a few weeks ago, they could help but mention throughout that episode. This week’s episode was the worst Nitro I’ve seen so far but it is right up there.

 

I hope you enjoyed my review of Episode #31 of the Nitro series. Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly an update whenever Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too! I will be back with my review of Episode #32 of Nitro from April 22nd 1996.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW UNCENSORED 1996 (MARCH 24TH 1996)

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

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Wrestling history is something that I feel any true wrestling fan should be willing to relive and go through. If you’re a younger wrestling fan or if you’ve just started watching wrestling, utilise the WWE Network and explore the huge collection of wrestling history from the old days of the WWF, ECW, NWA, WCCW, along with many other promotions and yes, WCW. It teaches of the things that have worked before in wrestling that can work as a concept for traditional wrestling booking. WWE, AEW, MLW, Impact Wrestling, AAA, NJPW, ROH and so many other wrestling promotions out there can learn from the past. You can find out what worked and what didn’t work, using this knowledge to your advantage when booking for the future. This show was an example of what didn’t work…

I cannot even begin as I usually do with these PPV reviews. I’d usually start with a brief summary of the storylines going in and trying to hype up the review. As good in places as the PPV was, the thing I will always remember when thinking about this PPV is the main-event. The Doomsday Cage match with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage battling Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, The Barbarian, Meng, Lex Luger, The Taskmaster, Z-Gangsta and The Ultimate Solution… this match was the worst wrestling match I’ve ever seen.

I thought back to legendary horrible matches of the past like Jenna vs Sharmell from TNA Victory Road 2009, Sting vs Jeff Hardy from TNA Victory Road 2011 or even that one match with Kaitlyn and Maxine from NXT which was ungodly terrible in its own right. None of those matches can come close to this match on the grounds that at least those matches were short… this Doomsday Cage match was an illogical, clunky disaster of a main-event which went on for 25 minutes.

What’s most amazing about that was that this match wasn’t even in the longest match on this show! The Road Warriors faced Sting and Booker T in a 30 minute tag team match right before this. That match itself was also memorable but it pales in comparison to how much this Doomsday Cage match will be remembered for infamy.

It’s a shame because the first three matches on this show were fine. I enjoyed the first three matches so I figured this was just a good show that was ruined by a bad main-event. No. They followed up the first three matches with a slow boring match, a two minute monster match, an even longer slow boring match and then ended with a horrific main-event.

I have a grander rant planned for the main-event of this show and this review but I will review the show in full, as I believe in giving credit when credit is due. So let’s get going….

 

Date: March 24th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Tupelo, Mississippi

Attendance: 9,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

Speaking of giving credit where credit is due… the commentary team was fantastic during this PPV. With the exception of the main-event where I think they just didn’t care, they called a blinder of a wrestling show. Tony Schiavonie, who I’ve been a little harsh with as of late (with these reviews especially. He’s fine with AEW at the moment), was on top of his game for this wrestling PPV. Dusty Rhodes was great with his input and Bobby Heenan was great at being Bobby Heenan. They showed a legitimate passion for the product and interest, providing insight that the average wrestling fan won’t be able to pick up on. They put the talent over when they could and they cared about what was going. They were brilliant on this show all things considered.

 

Konnan © vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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The announcers point out that this was the first and only title match of the evening for this pay-per-view. I understand it is the United States Championship but the idea that the one title match booked for a pay-per-view is on first is laughable to me. You want me to care about this championship match and your plan is to put it on first? This would be like if the UFC put on all of the title matches at the start of the show. It would kill interest in those titles if they are presented as after-thoughts.

With that being said, this was a huge improvement on the US title match from Superbrawl. Eddie worked hard here and it does help when you’ve got a guy like Eddie Guerrero in there with Konnan.

With that being said, having Konnan and Eddie Guerrero go 18 minutes was a terrible idea. Konnan had this big reputation of not being able to do long matches and this did not help that reputation. His conditioning was just not there to keep up with Guerrero and so we got stalling, clumsy spots and I feel the crowd got killed by the end of this match. The fans were hot for the start of it but dead by the end which would suggest this match was a failure.

They do some crisp matt wrestling from the get-go though. I enjoyed it initially and this was followed with Eddie doing a lovely arm drag, flying high in the air and coming down to Earth and sending Konnan flying.

Eddie put pressure on the legs of Konnan by doing like a handstand, putting all of his body weight on the legs as Tony puts it. I loved it because it was not a deliberate attempt by Guerrero to show off as it was just a move to get more from a basic wrestling hold. This wasn’t even a hold too… he did a handstand!

Konnan rolled in for something but he and Eddie weren’t on the same page and he kinda rolled into the ropes. They traded roll-ups and Konnan got a heel hook locked in on the mat. Konnan actually twisted the foot of Eddie for some twerk which I thought looked good. Konnan did a Boston Crab but it didn’t look good. It looked like it did nothing as Dusty even told him to put some of his back into the move for pressure.

Konnan and Eddie did some pretty great lucha libre, fast-paced action and it fired them both up as the fans chanted for Eddie. You could tell that the announcers were really into this match. The wrestlers went to the corners to pump up the crowd which was OK… at this point.

Eddie applied a camel clutch which looked a little awkward as Eddie was very small at this time and Konnan had a wide chest. Eddie eventually found a way to ground him and put some twerk on the camel clutch. There was some obvious stalling apparent here as they went to work the crowd so I wondered at this point if I was in for a long match.

Konnan had some great arm drags being displayed in this match. They traded head locks and arm locks in the ring as the camera crew apparently got bored, and cut to a shot to the stage.

Eddie fought out of an arm lock with a quick arm drag. Konnan walked around on the floor for the while as the fans start to get restless and boo. At this point, the fans just wanted some action and clearly this was a spot to suggest that Konnan couldn’t deliver this action.

Konnan did a monkey flip and Eddie Guerrero did the most majestic landing on his feet from a monkey flip I’ve ever seen. It was beautiful if you can go back to watch this match. I think it is in the second half of the match and Eddie just went high in the air and landed with such finesse.

Eddie suddenly ran wild with a headscissors and a gorgeous dive to the outside. They wrestled on the mat again. Konnan did a weird submission where he was on his back grabbing the legs of Eddie but wrapped his own legs on Eddie’s head. The difference in wrestling ability between Konnan and Eddie was very apparent. Eddie was too fast and Konnan wasn’t able to keep up but he was still trying to keep up with Eddie.

Konnan hit a sit-out powerbomb for the near fall. Eddie got pushed off the top rope by Konnan. Konnan barely connected with a dive. Eddie hit a big superplex

It was clear to me that Konnan just struggled with long matches while Eddie was totally at home. Eddie paced himself well where he could go in there with anyone for 20 minutes and look great. Eddie went for a hurricanrana but I guess Eddie landed on Konnan’s head crotch first and got low-blowed, as Konnan just covered him for the win.

Eddie refused a handshake and this was a bad finish to an otherwise decent match. This wasn’t a blow-away match or anything and as an opener, this really didn’t work in getting the crowd pumped up. If anything, it did the opposite because the fans weren’t into this match by the end.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Col. Robert Parker and Dick Slater. Col Parker thanked Dick for training as he was set to face Madusa tonight. Parker said he’s doing this for his family, for Mean Gene and Mississippi. He said he was gonna get that girl and “rub her face in it really good” which was a weird way of putting it. He called the male fans cowards. Dick said when the colonel whips Madusa, it was gonna be great. Col Parker said he’s gonna teach Madusa what a man stands for. I love Col Robert Parker’s heel mean promo where you’d really want Madusa to kick his ass. ON PAPER… this was a fine way to make you hate Parker and make you want Madusa to kick his ass. Keep that in mind.

 

Steven Regal vs The Belfast Bruiser

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This match was a thing of beauty and by a thing of a beauty, I mean one of the stiffest matches I’ve ever seen! Remember when the Belfast Bruiser (a.k.a. Fit Finlay) debuted and he called out Regal? I mentioned that I could not wait for that match. I finally got my match and it was… glorious. This was the best thing on the entire show. It was a glorious… FIGHT between Regal and Bruiser. Two heel tough guys who beat each other up for 17 minutes and the commentators were into it and loved it. I loved it and the fans started to love it by the end. Then we got a crap finish which we’ll get to.

NOTE: If you’re new to the blog, I’m calling Belfast Bruiser just Finlay for the simplicity of writing this review. He was officially billed as the Belfast Bruiser but I’m just going with Finlay for these reviews.

Finlay threw his jacket at Regal to kick things off. Regal hit an absolutely fantastic hip toss as they got into a fight. A beautiful fight with uppercuts and knee lifts. Finlay was as ugly and tough as they come. He hit a beautiful clothesline which floored Regal and when I say he hit a beautiful clothesline, he SMACKED Regal across the chest and forced him to go down. This was not Regal needing to fall down in time. Finlay clobbered him and Regal went down as he was supposed to! This was great!

Regal locked a front face lock as Finlay and Regal growled during the hold! Regal locked on an abdominal stretch and Finlay’s response was a simple knee to the face! Finlay worked on the arm of Regal, ramming it into the ring post and then stomping on the arm,

Finlay had an arm wrench locked in but Regal fought his way up to his feet with strikes. Regal hit a fantastic dropkick on Finlay who was bouncing off the corner!

There was not one guy getting heat during this match. This was not a case of my turn, your turn. They WRESTLED for control throughout this match. They were both heels as far as I could tell and they were both two mean guys who were doing anything to get an advantage and it was great. This was not a routine face vs heel where a heel gets the heat and the face makes a comeback. This was refreshing to watch.

Finlay hit a big senton to a floored Regal.  They punched and threw elbows at each other. Finlay exploded out of the corner with another beautiful clothesline. Finlay had some of the best clotheslines I’ve ever seen. He slammed Regal’s face on the mat. Regal booted Finlay right in the face! I loved just how ugly this match was! This was not pretty and it was not a performance. This was a fight!

They battled for the suplex off the apron and Regal won. Regal even pulled off an elbow drop from the apron. Some fans then started booing this match. I’m not going to advocate violence but if anyone would care to lend me a time machine, I’ll have no problem travelling back in time to sort out these fans! How could you possibly boo this match?

Dusty pointed out that “pain was being dished out by these guys.” EXACTLY. They were looking to HURT each other and that’s the name of the game. As Dusty said that, Finlay booted Regal right in the back! I loved every minute of this match.

Regal instructed the referee to move out of the way and Regal used this chance to boot Finlay right in the balls! Regal did a wrist lock but Finlay got his leg on the rope. Finlay pulled out pokes to the eyes like there was no tomorrow to get the upper-hand.

Finlay drove Regal’s face into the mat with his knee. Regal applied another wrist lock while pressing his knee into the back of the head of Finlay. Finlay then just literally threw Regal over his shoulders! This wasn’t a back drop. He grabbed Regal’s legs and launched him over his shoulders and threw his arse in the air! It was so great.

Regal started mouthing off and Finlay responded with a closed fist punched to the face and the announcers just started howling with laughter! They loved this. I loved this. Dusty is losing his mind at commentary over just the straight closed fist to the face of Regal!

Then we got the finish… The Blue Bloods came down and attacked the Belfast Bruiser for the DQ.  They got up the Belfast Bruiser and Regal Slapped Belfast Bruiser right in the face. Finlay then hauled his arse up that ramp to beat up some of the Blue Bloods.

WHY… would you do a DQ finish? You have a match that the fans are getting into, the commentators are getting into it so much that you know is good watching and you’re just gonna do a DQ finish? Keep in mind, they promoted this entire PPV telling you the fans beforehand that every match was going to have no disqualifications. Yet in the second match and the best match, there’s a disqualification? Give me a break.

Match Rating: ***1/2 (It was a beautiful match minus a horrible finish)

 

I was reading a review of this show before I started writing my own and the dude who did this review (and I don’t have a link sorry) flat-out said there was not one good finish on this PPV. Other than the DDP vs Booty Man match where I could possible argue they had a good finish, he was pretty much spot on. There was some awful finishes on this show.

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Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart and The Giant. Jimmy said nobody gets their hand on Jimmy Hart and gets away with it so I guess Loch Ness beat up Jimmy or something during one of the WCW Saturday Night shows. The Giant said to Loch Ness: “I’m gonna smoke you like bacon on a grill.” He told Mean Gene to tell Ric Flair he’s gonna tear him limb from limb. The Giant says the title was his and that’s all that’s got to be said. Simple but effective. The winner of The Giant vs Loch Ness match on this show got a title shot on Nitro. Mean Gene called Bobby the weasel to which Bobby just yells “BALDY” in such a bitter fashion! Bobby Heenan being Bobby Heenan was wondrous!

Mean Gene followed this up with an interview Loch Ness. He was billed as nearly 700lbs and I don’t remember if that was true or not. Loch Ness said that weasel face Hart got him from across the ocean. Loch Ness said Jimmy promised him a shot of Hogan in the Doomsday match but he got pulled out of the match. Tonight, he said he would take it out on his man The Giant. He said when he drops 700lbs, The Giant won’t get up. That he guaranteed. Mean Gene, standing right next to a 700lb monster, then tells Loch Ness that he’s got introduce him to a guy who is a dentist… and Loch Ness stares a hole into Mean Genes’ soul like he’s going to eat him!

Mean Gene demonstrated the biggest balls in the world, in kayfabe, with that line! Mean Gene casually cuts away to something else as Loch Ness stares him down. I thought this was great! I liked Loch Ness’ promo. It was concise and it was effective and sounded believable. You could believe that when Loch Ness drops all of his weight on The Giant, The Giant ain’t coming back up. You’ll have to stick around and see if he actually gets up from an elbow drop. I thought this was good

 

Madusa vs Col Robert Parker w/Dick Slater

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There was a big female pop for Madusa actually. Madusa was relatively over with this crowd so the Col. Robert Parker promo was effective in getting this crowd to get behind Madusa!

Col Robert Parker was suited and booted as he does an intentionally horrible job at bouncing off the rope before the bell sounded. Parker locked up with Madusa and powered her into the turnbuckle. Yes, Parker was winning on the former WWF women’s champion with a lock-up. My mind was blown as the whole story should be that the manager is the coward picking a fight with a woman but yet he cleanly wins the initial lock-up!

Madusa powered Parker into the corner herself and sent him flying with an arm drag to which Dusty sniggered at. The snigger was exactly like a friend of mine from work! Dusty was loving it!

Parker got Madusa for an aeroplane spin but then she reversed this into a sunset flip. She slammed Parker and Parker sold this like he was a fish outta water. The fans were proper into this match. Dick came out and encouraged Parker to go back in the ring…. again, there were issues with phrasing during this review!

Parker choked Madusa and slammed her down. Yes, he was OVERPOWERING MADUSA all on his own by this point. This was not like Madusa was mostly destroying Parker and he got a few lucky shots in. He was wrestling on par with supposedly the best female wrestler in WCW! Amazing.

Parker missed an elbow drop. Madusa did a standard dropkick and then did a front dropkick from the second rope. Madusa did a dive but Parker caught her and then they just fell down.

Madusa somehow pulled off a German Suplex but Dick Slater broke it up. This was the finish… Parker covered Madusa and pinned her. That’s it. He laid on top of her and pinned her. He didn’t hit a move. He didn’t do anything to her. He laid over, put all of his weight on Madusa and pinned her. Maybe Dick did something to Madusa but there was no clear sign of interference. Col Robert Parker pinned Madusa clean.

If you think to all of the trouble WCW went too when getting Alundra Blayze from the WWF. They had her drop the WWF women’s title in a trash can on national television, which was followed by a lawsuit. What have they done with her since that time? She lost clean in her first Nitro match against SISTER SHERRI and she lost her first pay-per-view to Col. Robert Parker. These two were both managers and they both beat Madusa CLEAN.

They had such a golden ticket in their lap with Alundra Blayze of all people. You could have developed a legitimate women’s division which is something the WWF didn’t really have anymore. You had girls coming in from AJPW who were brilliant in WCW, you could have brought in other good wrestlers for that division and you could have made Alundra a star in her own right at WCW. This was such an opportunity and they have shown to blow it a couple of months in. It’s remarkable.

Match Rating: **

 

Lee Marshall interviewed The Road Warriors. Animal said they wanna kick everyone’s butt. He said Sting and Booker T are gonna find out why they’re called the Chicago Big Bullies. Hawk said they’re gonna remove their brain stems which was a sick burn I guess in 1996. They said they get the job done when they say they will. They said it’ll be an all-out blitz and nobody cares, except for the Road Warriors. A weird promo and Lee Marshall didn’t really help with his introduction before this promo. He didn’t come off as a legitimate interviewer as he just came off as a character with a dramatic introduction about the tag team division. It was just very weird and it didn’t work at all.

The announcers at the booth did explain Booker T is siding with Sting for this tag team match because Harlem Heat want a shot at the tag titles.

 

The Booty Man w/The Booty Girl vs Diamond Dallas Page in an I Quit Wrestling match. If DDP wins, he gets his money back and the Booty Girl. If DDP loses, he quits WCW

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DDP came out in scruffy clothes as they explained that DDP was down on his luck and had no money.  DDP yelled at the fans. DDP kept refusing to get in the ring and kept yelling at the fans. One guys actually flexed in front of him, getting into the show themselves!

DDP and Booty went to the turnbuckles for cheers and boos and the fans were into this fun at least. DDP did an incredible sell early on, falling on his head as Booty Man did a shoulder tackle to him.

Dusty’s commentary included a line where he said: “Booty’s always got a good game plan.” Interesting choice of words! DDP yelled “shut up you fat pig” at a fan while Booty had him locked in a hold. Booty started strutting his stuff. DDP charged him to which Booty punched him and sends DDP flying out of the ring over the top rope.

DDP wanted to leave but Booty Man went after him and pulled him back into the ring. So… the story of the match is that if DDP walked out, DDP would quit wrestling right? Then why would Booty Man bring him back into the ring? Let DDP walk out of the ring and walk out on the company. Why would he bring him back into the ring?

Booty smacked DDP’s face into the three turnbuckles as he rolled onto the floor… PHRASING! Kimberley a.k.a. The Booty Girl came out in this ballerina dress. JEEZ LOUISE. The announcers were blown away by her and for good reason. She looked stupendous in this outfit. She was an absolute treat on WCW.

DDP and Booty did some criss-cross stuff. Booty Man did an Irish Whip. What resulted was that DDP fell down and Booty Man keeled over to which Tony just asked: “what was that?” I they were doing an arm drag spot (at least DDP was) but maybe Booty was going for a shoulder tackle and the communication got lost somewhere, maybe in the Jersey Shore.

DDP slammed him with a back suplex and taunted and even fellow heel Bobby Heenan is telling him to not waste time.  DDP had a sleeper hold. Booty fought out of it but DDP knocked him down with the knee as Booty Girl said twice “he’s so cute.”

DDP then grabbed Booty Girl and kissed her to which Booty Girl slapped him, Booty followed this up by hitting the High Knee and won. The finish came out of nowhere. We had 15 minutes or so of non-action. They rushed to the finish and Booty Man won but I woud argue that maybe it was a decent finish, because at least the heel who was a prick to his girlfriend got what he deserved by the babyface couple. Booty Girl got a slap in and then Booty Man pinned him and won.

However, this match was such a snooze fest. Remember when DDP and Johnny B Badd some of the best matches on the PPVs? Now DDP was in one of the worst matches of the PPV and that’s really sad.

Booty Man gave Booty Girl a kiss and Booty Girl was literally blown away by it.

Match Rating: * and that’s been generous. This was long And boring but a satisfying ending

 

Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart. Jimmy said this would be his last night with Lex Luger. Jimmy left distraught as I figured maybe Luger didn’t want Jimmy around him as he tried to win favour with Sting his tag team partner. Luger said the Doomsday Cage match was the most dangerous match he’ll ever be in. If he’s referring to it being dangerous to his career, he may have a point! After all, two of the men in this match had their last ever wrestling match in this Doomsday Cage match! Luger said he had to watch his partner in action and he admitted it broke his heart for him not to be teaming with Sting. He said he had his back and being the competitor he is, he’ll step in the Doomsday Cage match. This was a fine promo and the Lex Luger character in the last month has been very solid.

 

The Giant w/Jimmy Hart vs Loch Ness in a number one contendership match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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When I saw this match was going to happen on this pay-per-view, I could only speculate about how bad this match was going to be. The Giant, 5 or 6 months into the business, vs Loch Ness who could barely move. I figured this would be as big of a disaster as the Doomsday Cage match… this match ended up being fine.

It was not good but it was not a disaster. It was exactly as you’d figure this match would be. It went 2 and a half minutes and did not need to go a minute longer. This was the only match on this show that had the appropriate amount of time given to it! Time management on this show was horrible. Konnan got too long of a match, Booty Man got too long of a match, the Chicago Street Fight go 20 minutes too many and the Doomsday Cage match got 25 minutes too many. This one, in terms of the time, went as long as it needed to be.

The two monsters stared each other down. They locked up and The Giant ran wild with knees and like 5 chops. The Giant pushed his leg into the throat of Loch Ness.

Loch Ness fought back with some big big blows. The Giant threw some sloppy kicks again like he did against Hacksaw Jim Duggan a couple of weeks ago. The Giant goes for a big Stinger Splash and The Giant flies over the top rope and onto the floor. The Giant was going all out for this spot, which I assume was the only time he ever attempted this. This was Triple H going over the top rope from a catapult, except this was THE GIANT! He was too big to do a spot like that!

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Loch Ness hit a big elbow drop but instead of going for the cover, he went for one more but this time, The Giant moved. The Giant hit a clothesline and hit a super kick. The Giant did a horrible leg drop and won. The Giant yelled about Ric Flair after the match.

Match Rating: ½* mostly because of that bump to the outside. I give credit where credit is due and I appreciate the effort.

 

Lee Marshall interviewed Sting and Booker T. Booker mentioned that he and Sting talked about what was at stake. Booker talked some trash. Sting yelled at Booker saying that he needed him fired up and shoved him to get him hyped. He told Booker to knock out the Road Warriors. Sting said they were coming for them. Booker said it was gonna be nothing but a thing like a chicken wing. They were both pumped for this big match. This was a fine promo.

 

Sting and Booker T vs “The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk in a Chicago Street Fight

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In my treasured notes, I’ve written 155 words for this match! These notes mostly consisted of the words “they brawled” as these two tag teams had a 29 minute match which had no right going any longer than ten minutes. The concept of the match and the concept of this being a war between these two tag teams was something I had no problem with. As a match though, they just kept brawling and brawling and brawling and it was so uneventful.

I’m not going to go through a play-by-play of everything that happened in this match because if I did, I’d still be writing this review for the next 10 years.  The crooks of this match were that there was so much “muscle groin” offense as Mongo called it last week. Animal got attacked in the balls at least three times. Hawk got crotched, Booker got crotched, Sting got crotched I think. It was legitimately dick-based offense throughout this entire match!

There was so much choking and chair shots and casual chops and punches being thrown that although it’s crap in execution, it’s good in theory in the sense that they represented that this was a FIGHT. The only problem is that was all they did. It was good for a lot of it but I don’t remember any other moves they did to each other. There was certainly not a tag team move and here’s the thing. As a review on this link points out, the storyline of Booker and Sting having to “work together” is negated by a tornado tag team match when they are both off having their own brawls with other guys. They never needed to work together.

A couple of things to point is that Animal got crotched by Booker. Booker got a cover and Animal put his leg on the rope and the referee NICK PATRICK calls for a rope break in a CHICAGO STREET FIGHT. To everyone complaining about a recent AEW match a few weeks ago where they called for a rope break during a No DQ match, Nick Patrick did this throughout this match about 23 years ago. That’s the first thing.

The second thing was that Booker T was in mid spinaroonie and one of the Road Warriors laying around on the floor got in his way, which just tells you how clunky this match was. People were just in each other’s way and it did the match no favours.

Something else I want to point out as I’ll give credit where credit is due is that Animal choked at Booker and Booker hit a low blow in response. Booker pulled out a heel tactic but it was totally justified in this match as it was no disqualification and the Road Warriors were using dirty tricks for the last couple of weeks on Nitro. This spot I liked.

The weird thing is… the crowd and the commentators were into it. The announcers were trying their best to put this over and the crowd was into Sting as normal. It worked with the audience.

I’ll jump to the finish. Booker seemingly walked out on Sting as he waved off the match but Animal went after him. It was down to Hawk and Sting in the ring. Animal was shown backstage looking for Booker. They brawled backstage. Luger backstage accidentally got attacked by Animal so he and Stevie Ray and Jimmy Hart jumped Animal. They taped up Animal to a post as Luger continued to stomp away at Animal.

Sting tried a Stinger Splash on the outside but missed and hits the barricade. Booker came back and hit a side slam. Booker missed the Harlem Hangover. Stevie Ray came out and hit Hawk with a chair and Booker got the pin to FINALLY, FINALLY end the match.

Match Rating: ** (I didn’t totally hate it because it came off as a legitimate war. It was like a legitimate street fight. This was a true street fight in its nature and it worked out to a degree. It was longer than it had any right to be but what the hell, it worked with the crowd and the commentators were into it. It worked but it was WAY TOO LONG.)

 

Let’s all remember what Tony Schiavonie would say next, building up the Doomsday Cage match main-event.

Tony said: “The rules I understand are very simple.”

The rules were supposedly that Hogan and Savage must clear every stage of the Doomsday Cage and pin the opponents to move onto the next stage. I don’t think they even mentioned how to win the match. However, keep those “rules” in mind.

 

“The Mega Powers” Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs “The Alliance To End Hulkamania” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Taskmaster, Lex Luger, Z-Gangasta, The Ultimate Solution, Meng and The Barbarian in a Doomsday Cage match

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I didn’t write down all of Michael Buffer’s ring introductions although there’s a few lines I have to note before we get into the match. Buffer starts with the following introductions: “Welcome to an event like no other.” Writing this review, all I could think was that he was spot on! Nobody had or will ever do a match like this ever again. Maybe WCW did it in 2000 but that’s the closest anyone will ever come!

Notable introductions for the heels included “From some unknown part of the planet” for Meng and “From Hulk Hogan’s past” for Z-Gangsta. All the heels had ridiculous ring-introductions from Buffer but those two were noteworthy.

I don’t even know how to describe the structure of this Doomsday cage. There were at least 3 cages stacked on top of each other with scaffold holding the whole thing together. The only problem was that the actual cage with a ring to wrestle in was at the bottom. In this match, Hogan and Savage STARTED from the top and had to fight their way down. So therefore, all of the heels in the cage had to walk around menacingly on the metal floor which looked so unsafe. Most of the time, the heels were just clinging to the side of the cage for dear life. They did not trust that cage floor enough to take bumps.

It started with Hogan and Savage vs Arn and Ric on the top cage. Out of the eight men that made up the Alliance to End Hulkamania, the first two you’re going to feed to Savage and Hogan are ARN ANDERSON AND WCW WORLD CHAMPION RIC FLAIR? The two best workers of that team would be the FIRST OBSTACLE for the Mega Powers and would be eliminated first. It’s not like they left them for the final showdown at the end. They were gonna be beaten up first!

They fought on the top of the cage. They did not want to do a single wrestling move on that scaffold cage. I think I saw Arn try one bump. I did love Hogan grabbing Arn or Ric and yelling “get him Macho” as Savage laid in punches!

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There was some miscommunication where Savage did the same thing, grabbing Arn for Hogan to punch him and he had him held there for legitimately 30 seconds. I assume Hogan was so into his own stuff with Flair that he just totally forgot about Macho Man. Hogan started no-selling the chops of Ric, as Savage choked Arn. Bobby declared that “this is great television history” which was surpassing the Super Bowl. This is… factually incorrect. I don’t even consider that an opinion! They’re still doing Super Bowls! They’ve never done a Doomsday Cage match again since this match!

Arn did a slow Figure Four Leg Lock on Hogan while Ric did his own on Savage. At almost the exact same time, Savage and Hogan turned the tide on their opponents so at least their spot co-ordination was on point for this one. This would be an even greater spot, if the wrestlers weren’t so high up and the fans could’t see a thing. The fans could not see a single thing. They had no idea what was going on so there’s was little reaction to this spot or anything they did in that cage.

Ric passed something down below to Taskmaster. I think Ric dropped it to the floor as Taskmaster is shown looking down when they cut to a wide shot. Even Ric passing a weapon down to Taskmaster got screwed up. This whole match was falling apart.

Hogan and Savage whipped out white powder, threw it at Arn and Ric and escaped to the next floor. Then Tony just revealed that Ric Flair and Arn Anderson were eliminated. What? Hogan and Savage escaped the top cage after 5 minutes of brawling and Ric and Arn were just eliminated? It’s not even like they pinned Arn or Ric as the rules earlier said you had to pin a guy to move onto the next stage. The faces just got up and left, and so Ric and Arn were done! There was NO REACTION because the fans had no clue what the rules were and what was going on. I only know Ric and Arn were eliminated because Tony told me. The fans couldn’t hear the announcers so they didn’t know what was going on!

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Jimmy passed something to Taskmaster, which I think was whatever Ric dropped earlier. In the end, I don’t even remember what the weapon was. I just know Taskmaster and the referee ended up fighting over it which we’ll get to.

They move onto the next stage as The Faces of Fear work on Savage, while Taskmaster and Luger beat up Hogan. Hogan locked the Faces of Fear in one of the cages and left Taskmaster alone with Hogan and Savage. Taskmaster and the referee in the middle of this, wrestle over some weapon Taskmaster wanted to use in the middle of this. On a show where it was promoted as no disqualification and in the middle of a no disqualification cage match, the referee stops Taskmaster from using a weapon! This is not even the referee calling for a DQ in a Hell in a Cell match. The referee is screwing the heels by not letting them use a weapon which they are ENTITLED to use. In the Chicago Street Fight, Bobby Heenan flat out said you could get away with murder! This was an unbelievable logical catastrophe.

Hogan and Taskmaster battled on the scaffold as Dungeon of Doom and Arn tried to get to Taskmaster. Yes, the eliminated Arn Anderson tried to get at Hogan. Hogan tried kicking Taskmaster off the scaffold and Taskmaster hit a low blow to save his own life. Taskmaster tried to dump Hogan off the scaffold in revenge… all of this attempted murder is going on and nobody cared. This is right after the referee stopped Taskmaster from using a weapon.

Luger battled Savage as Hogan and Taskmaster just escape the cage and brawl outside of the cage. That’s dumb enough but then Savage and Luger both just escape the cage from another side to brawl with Hogan and Taskmaster on the ramp. So after being in the dangerous Doomsday Cage, four guys are just fighting on the ramp.

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The rules were just… there were no rules. There was no structure to this match. I’m 90% certain they just made it up as they went along because Hogan and Savage have escaped the cage but are still fighting with Luger and Taskmaster. I guess the Faces of Fear were just eliminated. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson suddenly vanished. Hogan and Taskmaster run down to the ring. Hogan takes Buffer’s mic and batters Taskmaster. It’s suddenly a tornado tag team match outside of the cage. What was going on? None of this made any sense… and then it just gets worse.

Hogan hits the big boot. He beats up Taskmaster in the ring. Then Hogan beats him up outside of the ring. Hogan fought back at the cage. Hogan then SNEAKED UP and attacked Luger to save Savage. Yeah, 6’8 HULK HOGAN sneaked up on someone like a dastardly villain!

All I could think was where was the Faces of Fear and Arn? If Luger and Taskmaster could just escape, where the hell were they so they could beat up Hogan and Savage? Tony even asked: “where was Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution?”

The fans finally cheered as they could see Hogan and Luger fighting in the ring. Tony just declares that everyone else is gone and eliminated. Taskmaster low-blowed Hogan in the ring. Hogan hit Luger with a chair a couple of times. Luger and Taskmaster turned things around. Savage chokes away at Taskmaster, which is apparently all these two could do together because every time I see Savage and Taskmaster that’s all I see them do is choking and punches to each other. Hogan and Savage did stereo punches to Luger and Taskmaster. At this point,  Jimmy Hart led Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution down to the ring.

In case you were wondering, Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution weren’t even in the cage to begin with. Why they weren’t in the cage to begin with, if they were such big threats to Hogan, is a question that I’m sure only someone like Eric Bischoff could explain. The monsters brought Hogan and Savage back to the cage. They brought him back into the actual cage including the ring. The fans chanted for Hogan as Hogan, Savage, Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution squared off.

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Hogan kept getting pushed back by Ultimate Solution. Then all of a sudden… weird blue and red lights surround the ring so if the fans could see anything before in this cage, they couldn’t anymore because of this stupid lighting. It was like the Seth Rollins/Fiend Hell in a Cell match from a couple of weeks ago where the red lighting meant the fans could barely see anything. The parallels between 2019 WWE and 1996 WCW is astonishing,

Savage got Z-Gangsta wobbly with a double axe handle. No mention of the fact that Savage teamed with Z-Gangasta a.k.a. Zeus to battle Hogan before. Z-Gangsta did a dreaded bear hug. Hogan punched Z-Gangsta but Z-Gangsta no sold it as Hogan showed concern. Z-Gangsta started choking Hogan down. Hogan is literally down for a three count during this choke with his shoulders on the mat and the referee just stands there and watched Hogan and Z-Gangasta. He does not count or anything. This referee screwed the heels at least twice to my knowledge!

Ultimate Solution catches Savage in mid-air with a bearhug. THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN ARN ANDERSON AND RIC FLAIR are suddenly back in the cage and beat up Hogan and Savage! This was the most miserably plot-hole filled match in wrestling history. By this logic, the heels should have gotten every heel they could find back in that cage. Lex Luger had just disappeared. The Faces of Fear disappeared. For god’s sake, THE GIANT is with the group at this point right? THIS MAKES NO SENSE. Ric and Arn are just back out there like nothing happened as if they were not eliminated earlier. Keep this in mind by the way. I know I’ve said this like 5 times during this PPV review but this is the most important one. Seriously, let’s remember that Ric Flair and Arn Anderson were eliminated earlier.

Jimmy Hart cackles like a mad man. The two monsters just stand there as Arn and Ric do the actual wrestling. Z-Gangsta does these clobbering blows to Hogan. He does them like the Triple H poses in the corner and goes aaaaarrgggh (like he’s gonna sneeze) and then threw his arms down like he’s closing the boot off the car! One of the funniest punches ever thrown in a wrestling ring!

Hogan then runs wild with FRYING PANS! I kid you not. The Booty Man comes down, gives out frying pans to Hogan and Savage and then I don’t even remember seeing Booty Man again! He’s out there for his friends and could have helped them in a 2 on 8 situation but no, he gives them the weapons and fled like a coward. What an ally that Booty Man turned out to be!

Luger comes down and runs wild with these frying pans on the babyfaces. Tony Schiavone then said: “LEX LUGER IS OBVIOUSLY THE FRESH MAN, HE’S NOT BEEN HIT WITH THE FRYING PAN.”

At this moment, I had to pause the show. My brain could not take any more of this. I didn’t go for a walk but I needed to refocus my scrambled brain. At this point, I just concluded this was one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen. With the finish that followed, I soon concluded that this WAS the worst match I’ve ever seen.

I restarted the show. Luger gets a weighted coal-miners glove. Luger throws a punch at Savage but Savage ducked, Luger could see that Savage ducked and then Luger hits Flair with one of the most deliberate fake punches you’ve ever saw. I assume this is Luger turning babyface but it was hard to tell with what was going on. Lex Luger spent the entire match beating up Hogan and Savage. He was clearly a heel earlier on in the show against the Road Warriors. All of a sudden, he lays out Flair.

THEN, HULK HOGAN KICKS LEX LUGER’S ARSE. FOR NO REASON! Lex Luger was on his side and Hulk Hogan just beats his arse because Hulk Hogan’s character in WCW is that he’s the biggest dick in all of the land. Then Hogan tries to escape the cage to I guess win the match which again, we’ve just watched them brawling for 10 minutes outside of the cage. Why would Hogan try to escape the cage? Savage picks up on this and figures he needs to pin someone and so Savage pins Flair to WIN THE MATCH.

Ric Flair was eliminated earlier on in the match and then Savage out of nowhere is able to pin him to win the match all together? WHAT? Not to mention. I have no idea what the original plan was for the finish but the idea that out of all of the geeks in that heel stable, you had to pin the WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair? You couldn’t pin THE BARBARIAN, MENG or one of these geeks monsters we’ll never seen again? JEEZ LOUISE, this is the worst match I’ve ever seen.

Dusty finishes the show saying: “This PPV will go down as something never before seen.” My notes finish with the following line – This was an utter piece of shit.

Match Rating: -***** (MINUS FIVE STARS)

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I do believe this is the first time in the history of this blog I’ve ever given out a -5 star rating. When I give out this -5 star rating, it takes everything into consideration. The rating represents the build-up to the match, the weeks of convoluted tag team matches and so much more. This was everything that led to this debacle and the match itself which beggars belief. This represents everything a lot of wrestling fans look at when they see WCW. The absolute dirt-worst before the nWo arrive and although I figured this Doomsday Cage match would be bad, I had no idea.

With everything that was wrong with this though, I will briefly play the role of Mr Positive. This match felt like a necessary evil for WCW. I think this was likely the trigger for Hulk Hogan to finally figure out that it was time for a change. People did cheer Hogan during this match but this sort of old-school Hulk Hogan versus monsters booking just wasn’t working anymore. There’s a certain charm to it but ultimately, the audience was never gonna totally accept this rubbish for much longer especially when they’re in the middle of a wrestling war with the WWF. Hogan got one last babyface match to get this out of his system and then it was time to change up his character.

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As a wrestling show, this was half a decent show and half a disaster. That’s the best way I could put it. I figure if you just watch the first three matches, it’d be OK. If you just watch the last match, it’d be the worst pay-per-view ever. If you look at the finishes of the matches, it was a horrible pay-per-view up and down. If you look at the historical significance and how it inadvertently changed the way WCW booked its product, it was a necessary evil. Shortly afterwards, a new necessary evil would emerge in WCW and the wrestling industry would never be the same again.

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #28 (MATCH 18TH 1996) – THE ALLIANCE TO END HULKAMANIA RECRUITS ZEUS FROM NO HOLDS BARRED

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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Last week saw the rivalry between the Mega Powers and the Dungeon of Doom continue, with a six man tag team double strap lumberjack match. Confusing on paper and even worse in execution, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and The Booty Man defeated Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster once again to get more momentum going into a big Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored.

This week, we’ve got the go-home show for Uncensored 1996. It turned out to be a rather infamous event but this show was a horrible preview of things to come. I thought last week’s show was pretty bad but this was worse. I will make it perfectly clear that the main-event from last week was worse than anything on this week’s episode of Nitro. However, at least last week had some redeeming qualities about it. I liked The Steiner Brothers’ big return and The Giant vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan. There were hardly any redeeming qualities on this show. Nothing worth going back to watch and the closing segment was just… it felt really flat to me. As a closing segment to hype up Uncensored, this didn’t do it for me.

Anyway, let’s run-down the show…

 

Date: March 18th 1996

Brand: WCW

City:Chattanooga, Tennessee

Rating: 3.6

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

 

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The show does not start with WCW cutting the announcers as they usually. It cut to Loch Ness and The Giant having a “brawl” and when I say a brawl, it was the equivalent to Godzilla slowly beating up a building. Loch Ness can barely moved and he is just leaning and grabbing the handrail as The Giant threw kicks and punches (better than his kicks from last week). Jimmy Hart, the smallest guy imaginable in this scenario, tried to get between them. The Giant threw knees as Lex Luger comes out. Lex Luger walks by as Giant continues to kick Loch Ness’ arse. It turned out that Lex Luger was actually supposed to be defending the WCW TV title against Loch Ness!

 

Lex Luger © vs Loch Ness for the WCW TV title.

Loch Ness is exhausted leaning on the handrail as the referee starts counting him out. Lex Luger implores the referee to count him out and Loch Ness is unable to move at all, so he gets counted out and Lex Luger retained the title!

This led to an awesome Lex Luger moment! Lex Luger has been pretty great in the last few weeks. He starts celebrating like he just won a gold medal. Then Jimmy Hart jumps into the ring and is all excited, RIGHT AFTER two of his guys have had this massive brawl! I don’t know why, but I found that hilarious. He managed every heel so even though two of these monsters are killing each other, he’ll go celebrate with Luger when he retains his title!

Luger backs Jimmy Hart away again. Luger comes to the booth and cuts a great promo. Luger grabs a mic and says he’s on a roll! Lex Luger says he’s ready and he’s peaking at the right time, calling out Hulk Hogan. I thought Luger had a great little moment here.

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Eric Bischoff then reveals they have a stand-by match. I love the idea that they even had a stand-by match because this implies that in storyline, they expected LEX LUGER and LOCH NESS to go like 10 minutes or something! Loch Ness I don’t even think has wrestled 10 minutes in his combined WCW career yet by this point!

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage are being interviewed by Tony Schiavonie. Hogan said this place was on fire. Hogan predicted the same momentum as the last few weeks. Savage and Hogan said they’re gonna go to the top together and they’re gonna go to dust together. Savage cuts a crazy promo himself. Hogan said there’s no titles on the line at Uncensored as they’ll wreck havoc wherever they go. Hogan said he heard what Taskmaster said… they never during the promo what Taskmaster actually said. I had no idea what Hogan was on about. Hogan says bring all of your horses, bring all of your men and the Mega Powers will kick your ass again. I actually loved that line to close the promo and Hogan and Savage had tremendous tag team promo chemistry. They were both so crazy with their delivery that they played off each other very well.

 

“Public Enemy” Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner

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The closest thing to an average match on the entire show. Public Enemy does this stupid wave dance as they make their entrance… and it’s over with the crowd. The fans in the building are all doing this wave and going nuts for Public Enemy. It’s almost astonishing what was considered cool in 1996!

With that being said, I was at an England Rugby match against Italy right before the Rugby World Cup this year. I think it may have been the match before the World Cup for England and there’s 50,000 people there for this match. In the middle of it, a wave breaks out. This wave breaks out and it does a complete lap of the crowd four times it went on so long. Maybe it’s a crowd thing that they just felt the need to entertain themselves!

Public Enemy grabbed tables. Rocco did a beautiful arm drag reversal from a tilt-a-whirl which I actually thought was pulled off well. Scott was about to put Rocco through a table with an elbow drop but Rocco moved out of the way. Rick Steiner did a suplex as Bischoff breaks the news that NBA star Dennis Rodman has been suspended for 6 games… whoop de doo.

Grunge did a bulldog to Rick Steiner onto a chair which was not a disqualification. There are bigger fishes to fry with this later on in the show but, why not try to enforce the rules a little bit?

Booker T is revealed as Sting’s partner against the Road Warriors for their match at Uncensored. Rocco did a DDT. Rocco flew off the top rope and Rick BARELY caught him with a powerslam. Rocco pulled off a springboard moonsault.

Scott hit a big belly-to-belly suplex and made the tag to Rick Steiner. Rick and Rocco brawled to the floor. Scott does the punches in the corner. Rocco goes for a dive through the table but Rick moves and Rocco goes right through the table as Scott and Rick hit their finish the Steinerizer for the win.

Now, I get Public Enemy are the hardcore tag team in WCW… but when are tables allowed in a match? I understand they didn’t hit the Steiners with tables and chairs but they used them to their advantage when it is against the rules in a tag match to use them. No matter if you hit them with it or you just use it, it is against the rules of a regular tag match to use a weapon to your advantage. END OF STORY.

Rick and Scott yelled at the Road Warriors as Bischoff refers to WCW Nitro as “the hottest show on the planet”… incorrect. Unless the standards of television were really bad in 1996, I find this very hard to believe.

 

Arn Anderson w/Woman vs The Booty Man w/The Booty Girl

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Arn Anderson tried so hard to get a good match out of the Booty Man. He tried his hardest to sell for the guy but it was hard to care. The Booty Man didn’t do a thing for me as a babyface. He was very bang average as a wrestler. I found it hard to get into him. This was the second closest thing to an average match on the show.

I will say that I loved that Arn went to throw a punch during the match but then he just collapsed to the mat Flair-style. Arn was trying really hard to get this guy over. Kimberley is with The Booty Man as… THE BOOTY GIRL. I’ve said this a few times but what a strange time the 1990s was for professional wrestling. The edgy content hasn’t even arrived for the WWF or WCW yet and they’re just casually dropping the name BOOTY GIRL as a name for Kimberley.

Arn got the heat. Arn worked on the arm of Booty. Booty runs wild as some fans actually boo.

I’m going to recap the finish but I’m going to leave in the notes as exactly as I wrote them. After I wrote what happened next, I could not believe my eyes as to what I wrote. As a wrestling blogger for about 7 years now, this was one of my crowning moments for the Armbar Express.

Booty throws punches when the Booty Girl arrives. Woman grabs the shoe and goes towards Booty. Booty gets in between them as Arn flies in with a double axe handle. Booty hits the high knee for the win.

In these notes, I would often refer to Booty Man as Booty for short. Writing THE BOOTY MAN over and over is just hard to do fast. So yeah, I just call him booty. Just that it led to the sentence “Woman grabs the shoe and goes towards Booty” is just remarkable. The only problem is that those notes are completely accurate. That’s what happened!

 

They broke down the Uncensored card during this match by the way. Booty Man is facing DDP at Uncensored. Eddie Guerrero is facing Konnan for the US title. Sting and Booker T are facing the Road Warriors. Madusa is facing Col Robert Parker. The Giant is battling Loch Ness. The main-event, of course, is the Doomsday Cage match.

 

“The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags

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I’m 90% certain this was the worst match on the show. After the Road Warriors have their best tag team match in a long time against the Steiner Brothers last week, they had a tag team match that completely fell apart against the Nasty Boys. The tag teams brawled from the get-go. Knobbs goes for a double axe handle to Animal on the floor and just falls down. The least elegant double axe handle I’ve ever seen and that set the tone for this match in many ways.

Bsichoff advised that the Nasty Boys were FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES against the Road Warriors… IN A REGULAR TAG MATCH? I mean this was not a regular tag match. They were brawling but I don’t even know why they were brawling. It was very sloppy stuff as they just brawled. Knobbs goes to the top rope but Hawk pushes him off. Knobbs bumped all over the place and bumped into the guard rail. It looked like it really hurt Knobbs as he was grabbing his gut during the match. The tag teams smack each other with those chairs again as Nick Patrick tries to get in between them.

It was here where I started to question whether every match on this episode of Nitro was No DQ because the refs aren’t doing a thing about any of this. They use weapons and there are no disqualifications at all… at least in the first two tag team matches.

They eventually get into the ring and start to wrestle for a change! There is some huge miscommunication between Knobbs and Hawk in the ring. I don’t think they had a clue what to do or Knobbs was hugely injured from the guard rail spot from earlier so they had to think of stuff on the fly.

They mentioned on commentary that Mean Gene Okerlund was off with a flu. Hawk kicked Knobbs I think in the groin or what Mongo called them: the groin muscles. Again, this was not a disqualification. Animal hits a powerslam. Animal goes for a big splash but Knobbs gets the knees up. Saggs gets the tag and this leads to nothing.  They all brawl in the ring. Knobbs looked like he could barely move.

The Steiners come out to brawl with both tag teams I think… RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REFEREE. The ref doesn’t even call for the bell. They all fight each other and in the middle of this melee, Animal hits  Knobbs with the spike shoulder pads while the ref gets distracted. The ref then comes over and counts for three. Again… a massive mess of a match.

I have a few problems with this match other then how bad it was. Firstly, The Road Warriors couldn’t beat The Nasty Boys clean going into the tag team match with Sting and Booker T? It was so important to protect the Nasty Boys here? Why bother doing a run in during this match?

Secondly, WCW were promoting Uncensored to be no disqualification all over the PPV. To build to a PPV where there are “no rules”, they had a number of matches where the wrestlers did what they wanted and the referees didn’t care. Why would people want to watch the PPV when they could watch No DQ matches all the time on free WCW television? This sucked.

 

 

 

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Taskmaster in a tornado tag team match

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I hadn’t even got to the main-event and this review was hard to write. This show was just so draining to talk about and then we got this main-event.  If you take the messy and sloppy aspects of the six man tag team matches as of late with these two factions and made it into a tag team match, you basically got this match. Not a lot of wrestling and hard to keep track of what everyone was doing. As shown later, the announcers couldn’t even keep track of what everyone was doing.

The match started. Hogan and Savage take over as Hogan chased Flair to the outside. Flair cuts him off with the eye poke. Hogan grabbed a big green hat, pulls it over Flair’s head and smashes Flair’s head into the turnbuckle.

For like 90% of the match, they only showed Flair and Hogan on television while Taskmaster and Savage are just brawling elsewhere. Hogan and Flair brawl. Hogan pushes Flair off the top rope as Savage and Taskmaster brawl on the outside. Savage eventually holds Taskmaster up in the ring and Hogan delivers a big right hand to knock him down.

Hogan chokes Taskmaster with some wire as Woman rakes the eyes of Savage as they had a split screen on the go. Hogan ran wild on Taskmaster and Flair. Savage then floors Flair with a clothesline. Savage punches away at the Nature Boy. Tornado tag matches are fine to do but these guys really aren’t having a tag match. There’s just a bunch of stuff happening as they all took turns brawling with each other. To borrow Arn’s line from last week, this match did not resemble professional wrestling at all.

Flair goes for the Figure Four on Savage as Hogan doesn’t even try to save Savage. Hogan just goes for his own Figure Four Leg Lock on Taskmaster as the battle of the Figure Four Leg Locks begin! Eventually Savage reverses Flair’s Figure Four and gets out of harm. Flair pushes the ref and the ref pushes back which is a spot only Ric Flair can pull off this well.

Savage goes to choke Taskmaster’s neck but he ends up grabbing his shoulders so it looked like he was given him a back massage instead! Flair does a back suplex but Hogan no-sold this. Hogan sends Flair over the top with an Irish Whip. Then Flair hits Hogan with a low blow while they were fighting on the outside. and of course, the announcers miss this. Not one of the three announcers were able to see Ric doing this.

I was begging for this match to be over as this was no good. Hogan fired back. Taskmaster gets knocked into Flair. Flair hit Hogan with Woman’s shoe again. This time Hogan kicks out and powers up!

Hogan Hulks up on Ric Flair as Savage and Taskmaster are just in the way. Then Arn Anderson comes down. Hogan hits the big boot. Arn trips Hogan. Then BRIAN PILLMAN runs in and attacks Hogan and Savage as the ref calls for the bell. After everything we saw in the earlier tag team matches, we got a disqualification in the Nitro main-event.

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I understand it just becomes like the gimmick of WCW Nitro where all the main-events ended in a disqualification. However, we had a show where all the tag teams did whatever they wanted with chairs and tables and it was no disqualification. In fact, the Steiner Brothers did a run in and it wasn’t a disqualification. Brian Pillman runs in and suddenly it’s a disqualification.

You know what. I’m going to establish this now… this was the worst episode of Nitro I’ve seen so far. There was no sense in the finishes, there was no consistency and the talent was just not there to pull this off. You have guys like Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit on the payroll but first, we gotta make sure that The Booty Man is in there instead. This show needed some serious change.

I will say that Savage and Pillman go on to have a hell of a brawl where they just claw at each other, which I think ended up busting up Savage a little bit. Speaking of The Booty Man, he runs down. Who should make the save for the heels but ZEUS and some other big guy. This was Zeus from the No Holds Barred movie with Hulk Hogan and he was back in professional wrestling with the Dungeon of Doom.

The babyfaces then leave the ring. Rather than staying and fighting, these three cowards walk out at the mere presence Zeus and this other guy, which we’ll get to. I loved Zeus’ face which… you could not take seriously but it was cartoon-like and it fit right in! The babyfaces FLED from the ring as Flair calls out Hogan but Savage backs Hogan off as they leave.

Tony Schavione interviews the group of heels. Taskmaster said they’ve upped the ante. Jimmy Hart said Hogan and Savage were Dumb and Dumber. All the heels said some stuff and rambled on. Arn had some statement where he said he was undefeated on Nitro before The Booty Man beat him. I call B.S. on that one based on the fact that Hogan pinned him 3 weeks ago. Now granted, Arn is a heel so his lies would make a bit more sense when you consider that he’s a heel that’s supposed to be delusional. That at least makes sense to me!

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OK, so as for the new two recruits to the heels’ stable. This stable I believe was officially called the Alliance to End Hulkamania. The two guys introduced here were set to face Hogan and Savage at Uncensored. I’ve lost track of all the guys that Hogan and Savage were meant to be fighting at Uncensored. Apparently, Brian Pillman was supposed to be in that match as well but he ends up not showing up. Anyway, the thing with these two are that these would be wrestling their final wrestling matches in their careers on this show.

Believe it or not, Zeus was going by Z-Gangsta in WCW! He wrestled exactly five times in his wrestling career. He wrestled in tag matches against Hulk Hogan for WWF as part of the No Holds Barred movie build. He wrestled this match in WCW. Believe it or not, he wrestled ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER IN 1990. In WWC Puerto Rico, they had a match. This match is on YouTube so I do plan on watching this match! I am a glutton for punishment but I must see this match! Zeus in his prime I guess!

The other guy’s name was Jeep Swenson. As unbelievable as some of you may find this to believe, he was initially called the Final Solution. This was actually the name of Adolf Hitler’s plan in World War 2 to destroy the Jews so, as you could imagine, this caused some complaints so they ended up changing the name. He then became the Ultimate Solution for this match.

Swenson actually passed away a year later with heart failure. He actually had a role as Bane in the also infamous Batman and Robin movie too. These guys were right up Hogan’s street in terms of big, mean dudes for Hogan to conquer. I think this doomsday cage match could turn out to be one of the worst matches I ever watch. If this show is anything to go by or if any of the previous six man tag team matches in recent weeks are anything to guy, this will be nothing short of a disaster. Keep in mind that those matches that came beforehand did not include Z-Gangsta, Ultimate Solution and Lex Luger who would also be in this match.

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The plan is to watch WCW Uncensored in full although I did consider watching just the main-event. However, I am going to watch the PPV and try to stick to watching every PPV as I’ve done before. The real attraction will be this Doomsday Cage match main-event. I will see you with my review of WCW Uncensored 1996.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #27 (MATCH 11TH 1996) – THE STEINER BROTHERS DEBUT ON NITRO AND MAIN-EVENT IS A MASSIVE TRAIN WRECK

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

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In the last episode of WCW Nitro, we got our big six man tag team match with Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and THE BOOTY MAN battling Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster. After weeks of Arn Anderson getting the best of the Hulkster, Hogan finally scored a big pinfall victory over the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson. The celebrations were short-lived as with literally 30 seconds of television to spare, Miss Elizabeth “handcuffed” Hogan to the corner as Ric Flair whipped the Hulkster to end the show.

 

 

Date: March 11th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Winston-Salem, NC

Rating: 3.2

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

 

There’s been two weeks since the last episode of WCW Nitro. There was no Nitro for March 4th 1996 so RAW was left unopposed. However, Nitro was back and it was back with a rematch from two weeks ago. Hogan, Savage and Booty Man would face Flair, Anderson and Taskmaster again but this time was different… in so many ways. They would be “wrestling” in a six man tag team double strap lumberjack match. Quite the mouthful. It was complex in writing and even more complex in execution. What a disaster this main-event would be. I think this was a pretty poor episode of Nitro accompanied by a disastrous main-event. Anyway, let’s delve into the show and see why I thought it was so bad.

 

As Eric Bischoff dubbed WCW Nitro as the “war zone”, which was ironic considering RAW would go onto call their ring “the war zone” themselves, they reveal that there is a new WCW Television Champion apparently crowned in the 2 weeks since the last episode. The new champion was in action later which we’ll get to later…

 

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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I’ve listened to reviews of this match and read reviews online and I maybe the only person who actually thought this match was alright. Obviously, it’s HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN VS THE GIANT. I wasn’t expecting like a Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega classic or something. You’ve got Hacksaw Jim Duggan and you’ve got a still green Giant in there against each other. However, I think this was the best match you could have done with these two given the circumstances. The Giant I think is shown to very cautious in his matches, which is a great trait to have as a wrestler. Hacksaw got a very basic but effective match out of the guy, which worked with the crowd.

Hacksaw fired away at Giant to little effect but by god he was trying his hardest and then The Giant just hit two big gut punches to Hacksaw!

Hacksaw tried a double axe handle off the apron but Giant caught him and drove him back-first into the ring post. There was a Brian Pillman sign shown as Brian Pillman himself was in the crowd apparently. Bischoff left the booth to attend to this so, regardless of what happens with Pillman in the future as we’ve discussed before, Bischoff looked to still be pushing this angle hard with Brian Pillman.

Giant did a bearhug as Pillman was shown being dragged away by security. Bischoff gets back to the booth and said: “back to the match.” Hacksaw bit Giant to escape the bearhug. Giant did a big charge and then delivered sloppy kicks to a grounded Hacksaw. The Giant’s kicks didn’t really look like kicks. He just stuck his leg out but his leg didn’t bend at all and it stayed straight as he kicked Duggan. Giant was still rather green with 5 or so months of experience under his belt but mostly I can see just bits and bobs he needs to work on in his game. Spoiler alert, but he eventually becomes a better wrestler!

Giant did a big stinger splash to the corner but Hacksaw moved. Hacksaw actually clotheslined Giant over the top rope but Giant was still standing as the fans popped a bit. The Giant did another bearhug.

In case anyone was wondering or you did not read my Hell in a Cell review last week, I did watch NXT and AEW last week. In fact, I watched NXT, AEW and SmackDown!’s debut on FOX on the Saturday after and then I watched this episode of WCW Nitro on the Sunday. What a change of pace to go from the likes of Adam Cole vs Matt Riddle to The Giant vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

The Giant then lifted and placed the referee out of the way but then Hacksaw knocked Giant down with three shots to the head. Jimmy Hart got in the ring and Hacksaw punched him down to a big pop. The Giant then out of nowhere chokeslammed Duggan and pinned him for the win.

I liked this match. Hacksaw was such a great babyface even against the almighty Giant. It had some bumps in the road but it was effective with this crowd so if you judge matches by crowd reactions this was a THUMBS UP.

 

Scheduled next was The Nasty Boys vs The Road Warriors but instead, we hear motorcycle engines and no Nasty Boys. Driving down the ramp in motorcycles were in fact THE STEINER BROTHERS. The Steiner Brothers made their big WCW return as the fans went nuts with dog barks. I have to say that this was a welcome change. The tag team division for WCW has been rather lacklustre since we started reviewing WCW Nitros…. so seeing the Steiners back with WCW was a much needed shot of adrenaline to this tag team division.

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk

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As luck would have it, the Steiner Brothers come back and they have a good match with the Road Warriors! It was like they showed up and the tag team division was miles better right away. The Road Warriors have had some average to below average matches since returning to WCW but they had a good match here. They sold for the Steiners’ suplexes and they worked their asses of in this match, including Hawk of all people.

Hawk chopped away at Scott Steiner and Scott Steiner sold like crazy. Like Hawk would hit a chop and Steiner would thrust his entire body back to sell the impact of this move. It was great.

Scott hit a big belly-to-belly suplex and the fans went nuts. Steiner hit a pumphandle drop, and the fans popped again. Hawk hit a big clothesline off the top rope and the fans popped again. The fans were really into this match and the Steiners especially. The fans wanted to see this match and every move was seen as a big move to them.

Hawk hit a big boot and a neckbreaker. Scott hit a big Tiger Powerbomb. Rick got tagged in as the fans barked in response! Animal got tagged in. Animal hit a powerslam and a scoop slam. Rick knocked down Animal with two clotheslines and Rick hit a huge German suplex to return the favour.

Rick actually hit a belly to belly off the top rope. Scott again delivers with another belly to belly suplex. The tag teams continued to battle. Steiner locked on the Steiner Recliner. Hawk broke this up but then Scott just went right back to work with the Steiner Recliner!

It’s a nit-picky thing with wrestling but I don’t like the part in a tag match where the partner in trouble would get hit with a big move. The tag team partner jumps in to break up the pin and then the tag team that’s winning the match would just go try something different. Like if this was WWE in 2019, after the Steiner Recliner would be broken up then the Steiners would try something different because that’s how the match would be put together.

In reality, in this match anyway in 1996, Scott knows this move is effective as Hawk broke up the submission. Hawk was concerned Animal might tap out. What does Scott do in response? He goes back to the devastating Steiner Recliner. I don’t get the need that once a move is broken, the tag team cannot possibly go for the move again. Why not try again with the Steiner Recliner? It’s a weird thing but it’s effective when a match can demonstrating wrestlers being smart in the ring.

Animal and Scott did a double clothesline and both went down. Hawk vaults into the ring off the hot tag and runs wilds on the Steiners! Yeah Hawk, who could barely do anything in the past couple of weeks, vaults into the ring and starts whooping ass!

Hawk hits a powerslam as the Road Warriors continue to run wild. They hit the doomsday device and Scott breaks up the pin. Scott sends Animal crashing into the guard rail. Rick hits a German suplex and the Steiners went for the Doomsday Device themselves but Animal broke it up.

Scott hit a top rope clothesline and so Animal followed up with his own top rope clothesline. The two tag teams continue to battle as Scott hit a Frankensteiner.  The Steiners hit a Doomsday Device bulldog, which I believe is also called the Steinerizer, but then Animal hit Rick with the spikes off their shoulder pad which led to Hawk getting the pin.

A great match with a bit of a crap finish. The Road Warriors are supposed to be babyfaces and the main-event of the show would confirm that they’re supposed to be babyfaces but yet they cheated to win here. Mixed messages but an otherwise good match.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Steiners after the match. Scott said they’ve been hunting the Road Warriors for 4 years and they left the US for 4 years for the Road Warriors to come to them!  I was going to laugh at the idea that the Steiners have been hunting the Road Warriors for 4 years but if you think about it, the Road Warriors only arrived in WCW a couple of months ago. Therefore, the Steiners’ story adds up where you could believe “oh there they are. Let’s go to where the big boys play and face the Road Warriors!” That I least give credit for.

Scott said the way the Road Warriors won was disgraceful. Mean Gene asked about the Nasty Boys and Scott said they came where the competition was and the Road Warriors hadn’t seen the last of them. Rick complained about the cheap shot and yelled that this wasn’t the end.

 

Lex Luger (c) vs Alex Wright for the WCW Television Championship

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Yes, Lex Luger is the new WCW Television Champion. Apparently he beat Johnny B Badd for the title who is now for real out of the promotion. Apparently Johnny B Badd “didn’t feel up for it” according to Bischoff so Alex Wright is facing Luger tonight. This match happens which I’m pretty sure was just an excuse for Eric Bischoff to bury Johnny B Badd for 5 minutes. He made comment after comment about Johnny B Badd during this match.

They plugged an advertisement for the WCW hotline where Bobby Heenan and Mean Gene were creeping up on other wrestlers trying to find the scoops which came off as so creepy to me. If it was just Bobby Heenan, the advertisement would make sense as Bobby is “the weasel” according to everyone in the company. Mean Gene doing it to promote a hot line? I dunno. It kinda came off bad to me… pardon the pun.

Bischoff buried Badd for not being “up for it” as Wright does a big dive to Luger on the outside. Apparently Luger was out of the tag team title match with Sting at Uncensored so this means that Sting is without a partner for the Road Warriors match. With that being said, Sting and Luger are still the tag champs.

Wright fired up at the start of the match but Luger took control of the match after a couple of minutes. Luger gorilla pressed Wright and slammed him down.

Wright did a springboard crossbody but Luger caught him during the second attempt and dropped him on the top turnbuckle.

Luger then mocked Wright for trying again and even started bullying him, getting really angry as he did it. Wright eventually kicks away at Luger and fires back with punches and European Uppercuts to get back into the match.

Jimmy Hart ran in with the interference and Wright pushed Hart off the apron. Luger dropped Wright on the top rope for the pinfall victory. That was the finish! Luger didn’t lock on the Torture Rack. He pushed him off the top rope, got the pin and won! Your average Lex Luger vs little man wrestling match to me. Nothing special.

Luger then yelled at Jimmy as he didn’t want Jimmy out there.

 

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Booty Man vs Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster in six man tag team double strap match with lumberjacks with straps at ringside

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This match was such a train wreck. On paper it sounded convoluted and over-the-top and in execution it was even worse. You got six men out there for a “double” strap match with lumberjacks on the outside also with the straps. This felt harder to keep track of than the 60 man battle royal at World War III and this was just a six man tag team match. The six men in the ring are brawling, the men on the outside are brawling with each other, Kimberley came out randomly yet again and keep in mind, they couldn’t even keep last week’s six man tag team match straight about who the legal men were. In this match, it was tornado rules and everyone got in each other’s way constantly.

I do love that the lumberjacks were actually dressed like lumberjacks including Meng of all people! I think if any wrestling promotion is going to put on a lumberjack, it should be a requirement that they are dressed as lumberjacks. Seeing Meng as a lumberjack with a big grin on his face and ready for this match was such a sight to see. For god’s sake, have some fun with the lumberjack match gimmick!

The six men in the ring all brawl to kick things off and The Giant then grabbed Hogan. Then The Giant and Loch Ness start to fight over who gets Hogan and they have a great big brawl to the back! It was an ugly brawl which did not really look good but I got so excited for like 5 seconds! Then things just completely fell apart.

There’s brawling everywhere. The six men in the match brawl and the lumberjacks are all attacking each other with straps on the outside. KIMBERLY appears again, looking like she’s smitten. Ric tried to flee but Road Warrior Animal brought him back to the lumberjacks. I got so confused as it appeared that they turned heel for cheating against the Steiners but apparently they were on Hogan’s side against the heels. WHAT?

So much stuff happened that I couldn’t keep track.  They just all fought in the ring. Again, lumberjacks brawl on the outside. Why were the lumberjacks just BRAWLING with each other on the outside? I understand it’s faces and heels on the outside so maybe they don’t like each other but their job is to throw guys back in the ring if they leave the ring and they were too busy fighting each other not to do that.

The heel lumberjacks gang up on Hogan and tried to choke them out. Kimberly is shown still standing there on the entrance ramp. Regal, Meng, DDP and Malenko all whip at Hogan and then Hogan makes his own comeback on the heels.

I’m sure Hogan whipped Savage by accident during all of this as again, everyone was just in each other’s way. The lumberjacks brawl AGAIN. Even if you’re going to do a spot where the lumberjacks brawl with each other, isn’t it best to leave that until the end of the match and build up to it? Maybe you could build tension between the two factions of lumberjacks and then after a while, they start to the brawl.

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PERFECT EXAMPLE: They did a Roman Reigns vs Erick Rowan lumberjack match on SmackDown! last week where it went as normal, they all brawled and then Roman took them all out with a big dive to take them all out and turn the attention to the ring. FINE. That’s perfectly fine in a lumberjack match where the brawling on the outside is an important part of the match. In this lumberjack match, the lumberjacks brawl for no reason and it doesn’t play into the match at all.

Hogan ties up Flair with the straps and throws Flair across the ring but Flair pokes Hogan in the eye for get out of it. Savage kicks at Steven Regal for no reason. Hogan whips at Flair. Hogan then hits a big boot and leg drop out of nowhere and pins Ric Flair as Hawk no-sells the Faces of Fear whipping him in the chest. I guess the heel lumberjacks and heel tag teams all flee. Then Flair suddenly is up on his feet on running away right after Hogan’s Leg Drop! Flair doesn’t even sell the Leg Drop of Doom and just runs away… and then he comes back to cut a promo. This was… a disaster.

 

As mentioned, Ric Flair along with Arn and Taskmaster cut a promo on the babyfaces. Taskmaster cuts a promo on Hogan. He said Hogan will have to go through 4 cages for I believe the Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored. He mentioned Hogan has to go through Arn, Taskmaster, Luger and Flair. I was so confused because they said earlier that Lex Luger was not able to team with Sting, I assumed it was because he’s the TV Champion now. But no, he can’t team with Sting because he’s in the Doomsday Cage match! Keep in mind, Lex Luger wrestled in multiple matches at Starrcade. All of a sudden, he can’t wrestle more than once at Uncensored?

Arn Anderson flat-out said: “what happened tonight doesn’t resemble professional wrestling.” That’s what he said and that’s the quote. You can quote me on the quote. Arn flat out just said that the Nitro main-event didn’t resemble wrestling… AND HE’S RIGHT.

Ric Flair warned the babyfaces not to touch Elizabeth and Woman. Flair calls out Hogan and Savage saying: “look what I got” and grabs Elizabeth. Flair sings “whole world in my hands” again. Flair yells at the announcers and Flair goes crazy as they go off the air.

 

Having finished this review, this show wasn’t actually that bad. I think if you just watched the first two matches, it was a fine show. That main-event was such a disaster that it just brought the whole show down. My interest in this Uncensored show is rapidly declining. Jesus, that main-event was atrocious. I’m not sure if it rivals the WCW tag team match from Fall Brawl as at least this match was shorter. However, this was worse in terms of the fact that this was WCW’s biggest program right now. 3 months or so until the nWo arrive but we do have the Steiner Brothers at least! It’s gonna be tough for a couple of months I think!

We will see you with our review of Episode #28 of WCW Nitro.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order