RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #26 (FEBRUARY 26TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN, RANDY SAVAGE AND THE BOOTY MAN VS RIC FLAIR, ARN ANDERSON AND TASKMASTER

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 Booty Man arrived on the scene at WCW…. and I think that’s all that needs to be said! He sided with Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan in the battle against Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and the Taskmaster and “kicked the can” at the end of the show. Despite overwhelming odds against the heels, Hogan and Savage have a new ally in… THE BOOTY MAN.

 

Date: February 26th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Knoxville, Tennessee

Rating: 3.2

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

 

Sting vs Big Bubba

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I thought this was a good match. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t really seen a lot of him or whatever the deal is but I’ve never really associated Big Bubba a.k.a. The Big Boss Man as being a good worker. I had nothing against him but he didn’t really strike out to me as someone that would be any good but he’s had some really good matches on this series. I realise he was in the ring with Sting in this match but he had in-ring instincts and mannerisms that adds a little bit more to everything that he was doing. This was a good opener.

By the way, he was not Big Bubba Rogers on this show. He was merely billed as Big Bubba. Eric Bischoff mumbled through the RAW results as Big Bubba made his way down to the ring and took a shot Bob Holly saying “he’s still around?” This was actual mumbling. Last week, I wrote that he was calling the match so fast. This week, he responded by mumbling through the RAW results. This was probably by design to disregard the WWF as nothing but it didn’t make him look good as an announcer at all.

Big Bubba actually wins on Sting for a while at the start of this match. Big Bubba wasn’t really cheating. He was just overpowering and out-wrestling Sting for a long time and I actually like an opponent giving Sting a run for his money. This was not Sting just beating on someone. Big Bubba looked good as he was getting the heat on Sting.

Sting tried to fire back but Big Bubba caught Sting with a spinebuster for multiple two counts. Big Bubba worked on Sting despite Sting doing everything he can to fight back. Big Bubba argued with an old woman in the front row and Sting pops up with a right hand to a big reaction from those in the front row!

Sting hit a naughty looking reverse tombstone piledriver, with Bubba landing on top of his head. It was like a Styles Clash Piledriver. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a wrestler have complete faith with Sting in the ring delivering a piledriver! This could have went really bad but Big Bubba was literally leaving his life in Sting’s hands with this move!

Sting and Bubba go blow for blow. Sting tried a Vader Splash but Big Bubba got the knees up. Big Bubba tried a dive to the outside but Sting dropped him on the top turnbuckle and Sting hit a top rope crossbody for the win. I liked this match. It felt like a big win for Sting even if it was against Big Bubba as they showed Big Bubba was a legitimate threat to Sting. Sting had to dig deep to win. This has been shown a few times but Sting had another way to win a match with a crossbody which shows that Sting isn’t a one-trick pony with this arsenal. He’s a got a lot of moves that can get the job done. This gets a THUMBS UP!

 

Lex Luger, of all people, then started to steal the show! Sting and Lex Luger are about to be interviewed by Mean Gene before the Road Warriors interrupt. The Road Warriors asked where Sting’s head is at. The Road Warriors start cutting a promo on Luger and Sting, the WCW tag team champs by the way. They’ve been away from TV for a while but they were both back tonight. Animal said they were the masters of every match and Luger responded by saying they’ll wrestle the Road Warriors any time and any match as he poises with both belts! Luger is getting real confident now that he is a WCW tag team champion.

They start arguing about whether Lex Luger is from Chicago or not! Luger then leans on Sting and said: “tell them I’m from Chicago!” and they have this banter! Hawk said Luger reminded them of a washing machine as they really agitated them! What? In 16 years of being a wrestling fan, I’ve never seen a wrestler call another wrestler a “washing machine” before! That’s what Seth Rollins, babyface Universal Champion (as of me writing this), is missing nowadays! That’ll get him over!

I guess the Road Warriors challenged Sting and Luger to a Chicago Street Fight for the belts and Luger agreed to the match. Then, as soon as the Road Warriors leave, Luger turned to Sting and asked: “what’s a Chicago Street fight?” I laughed and I laughed and I laughed! Sting responded by saying: “why don’t you use your head and think about it?”

Lex Luger’s character was fabulous on this show. Luger is trying to be a tough guy for his best friend Sting and so he accepts any challenge that the Road Warriors dish out without even knowing what the match was! Luger’s a dumb heel trying to be a babyface and it was wonderful! And then, it got better!

 

Lex Luger vs The Renegade

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This was way better than you’d think. The Renegade, who is still with the company, was up against Lex Luger. This wasn’t particular good but this wasn’t really bad either. It was just there… but it wasn’t like a big calamity.

They show a WCW Magazine which included Madusa slamming Sherri’s head into the mat last month. These two wrestle for while. It’s nothing really special except that Renegade just no sells a couple of spots vintage Warrior style I guess. Renegade misses a crossbody and slams into the ropes as Luger goes to work. Luger gets a two count from a back suplex. The Renegade does a sunset flip but Luger kicks out and then comes back out with a clothesline.

Renegade does the pin power-up spot, like he lifts up Luger with the power off this kick out,… and then Luger just goes back onto him with a chin lock! All of that power… led to Luger locking on a chin lock!

Some fan in the front row had like a Bart Simpson mask on at the front which didn’t seem to fit his body at all! Bart has like a small neck since he’s a child but this big man stands up to cheer and he’s just a regular dude in a big coat!

Jimmy Hart comes down and pushes Renegade off the top rope. Luger does the torture rack for the submission win. Jimmy runs around the ring and jumps into the arms of Luger, who bounces his pecks up and down! Sting comes down to confront Jimmy and Luger and Luger covers up his pecs!.. like he’s just been caught in bed with another man! I loved that. He was out there half-naked anyway but Sting comes out to confront him and Luger feels the need to cover up like he’s just been up to no good. I LOVED IT! And then Luger goes after Jimmy!

Sting asked, not on the mic by the way, what Jimmy is doing out there but Luger insists he doesn’t know why he’s out there. He raises Renegades hand and tries to be babyface. Sting gets in Luger’s face and berates him for being with Jimmy Hart. I loved this segment.

Everything with Sting and Luger in on this show was great. We got two weeks without the Sting and Luger storyline and after two weeks, they’re back and there’s a big development in their storyline where Sting now is like “it’s him or me.” They don’t over-expose these two like they did before. Now, everything these two do should matter as part of the storyline where Luger and Sting are having friendship difficulties. You don’t over-do it but now it’s the time to flesh out the characters a little bit more. This was great.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray vs “Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk

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This was just a boring tag team match to me. Nothing really special. The teams get in each others’ faces as Nick Patrick gets between them to break it up.

Booker beats up Hawk for a while to get things going and talks trash as he does this. Hawk does a dropkick to send Booker to the floor. Hawk does a neckbreaker and follows up with a fist drop for a two count.

Animal and Stevie Ray get tagged in.  Not gonna lie: Stevie looked rather tall against Animal and as soon as I thought that, the announcers talk about the upper body of Stevie Ray!

Stevie does the release powerbomb to Hawk which I pray he stopped doing especially when he damn near killed Luger with one at Superbrawl. Booker hit an axe kick which Hawk just kicks out of… very weird to see Hawk just kick out of a move that would go on to become Booker’s finisher as a singles competitor!

Harlem Heat continues to get the heat on Hawk. Hawk tries to fight back but Hawk goes crashing into the ring post. Apparently the winners will get a shot at the tag titles according to Bischoff, right after an angle where Road Warriors and Sting and Luger agree to a Chicago Street Fight.

Animal runs wild. Animal pulls off doing a back flip off a double back suplex and does a double clothesline to a big pop! Booker breaks it up as things just quiet down all of a sudden. I got no idea what happened. Booker hits a Houston Hangover but the referee is distracted with Stevie Ray. Animal kicks a distracted Booker in the face. Hawk covers Booker as Stevie just stands there in front of it on the outside and lets it happen. Hawk pins Booker. Apparently something went awry because Stevie just stood there and didn’t even try to break it up. No storyline or anything. It was like they hit pause on Stevie Ray and he was just motionless. A sloppy finish to an otherwise boring match.

 

 

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Booty Man vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster

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We had our big six man tag team match main-event. The six men brawled in the ring to kick things off. Eventually Booty Man and Arn are the two legal men in the ring.

Kimberley Page comes down onto the entrance ramp with roses. This came off as rather random so I would have to imagine that Johnny B Badd is out of the company. Either way, this led to nothing on this show.

Booty Man shook his booty as Savage suddenly enters the ring, tells Booty something and then leaves. I wonder if Booty Man forgot a spot because again, it just came off as so out of the blue…

Booty hits a “high knee”. I guess they ousted Zodiac as the Booty Man who was infiltrating the Dungeon of Doom on commentary. The Booty Man ran wild on the heels. I legit lost track of who was the legal man was as the announcers even lost track of who the legal man was. Everyone just kept coming into the ring and doing spots. Flair and Booty Man suddenly start wrestling.

Booty Man and Ric Flair wrestle for the upper hand in the test of strength. Savage rips his shirt after getting tagged in and throws it at Elizabeth I think… or Woman possibly. Savages fights all of the heels as they all enter the ring again but Savage stands his ground.

Ric posed as Hulk Hogan is tagged in. Hogan ran wild on Flair. Hogan overcame Arn and Taskmaster, sending them both over the top rope with a clothesline. Bobby was still confused about who the legal man was and Mongo said: “it doesn’t matter who the legal man is.” Yes Mongo… it does.

Booty Man tagged in and again, all the heels jump in the ring and Booty Man fights them off. Hard to keep track about the heel was that was the legal man as Booty Man ran wild. This was getting ridiculous.

Savage grabbed the hair of Woman and Elizabeth to ridiculous cheers which leads to the heels getting the heat on Savage. WWE could not get away with this in 2019! The 90s was just a weird time for wrestling when putting on your hands on women was endorsed by the fans!

Flair goes to wok on Savage on the outside. Taskmaster and Savage both tumble into each other and this gives Savage the chance to tag in the Booty Man yet again. Booty Man runs wild with a minute left on the show which got me concerned. This has also got me concerned when writing this review as I’ve felt I’ve written “The Booty Man runs wild” so often during this review! I’d hate to keep repeating myself but that’s what happened! Anyway… minute left – Booty Man gets the hot tag.

Booty Man throws all three heels into Hogan’s boot. Hogan got tagged in and Hogan suddenly hits the leg drop on Arn and finally pins Arn Anderson to a huge pop from the crowd! I thought… great. Hogan finally got his victory over Arn after weeks of Arn sneaking his way into victories over the Hulkster. Hogan finally beat the man and pinned him. He got a big victory. This was all fine… but then the show kept going with about 30 seconds left on the show.

The heels then take over after the bell. Elizabeth takes forever to handcuff Hogan to the corner to the point where I think Hogan just flat-out handcuffed himself to the ring post! The camera just solely focuses on this as this is going on by the way. Ric Flair whips Hogan with something as the show goes off the air.

Why couldn’t you have just ended the show with the babyfaces celebrating after a big win? Was it really necessary for the heels to get their heat back? Ric Flair didn’t even get pinned and he gets Hogan handcuffed and beaten with like 30 seconds left on the show. Why was it so important with so little time left to do that spot, not executed well at all by the way?

There was a massive issue with timing on this show, especially with the finish. The show was fine as a whole but I think the main-event was very much a train wreck to me. Too much was going on with the constant switches and tags. It was very hard to keep track of it all and then they had to rush to a quick finish and a goofy angle with 30 seconds left. The finish to the show left a bad taste in my mouth. I think the Lex Luger and Sting stuff was really the highlights of the show.

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A heads up for the next episode. There was no episode of Nitro for the week after this episode. I don’t remember what the reason was but they did mention it at some point. I think we’ll be at episode March 11th or something and with 2 weeks or so left before the Uncensored PPV.

I will see you with the review of the next edition of Nitro! If you read this review, thanks for reading and please tweet @ArmbarExpress with your thoughts!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #25 (FEBRUARY 19TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN VS ARN ANDERSON II AND A RIC FLAIR VS RANDY SAVAGE REMATCH FOR THE TITLE

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

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WCW were coming off Superbrawl VI, with Ric Flair being the WCW World Heavyweight Champion once again and the battle between the Mega Powers, the Four Horsemen (well three horsemen for now) and the Dungeon of Doom raged on. Savage knocked off Hugh Morrus and set his sights on getting revenge on Ric Flair and the recently turned Miss Elizabeth. Hulk Hogan battled Arn Anderson in the main-event with Anderson picking up a shock pinfall victory following interference from Flair, Elizabeth and Woman.

This week’s Nitro episode will see the Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson rematch and the Randy Savage vs Ric Flair title rematch from Superbrawl.

 

Date: February 19th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Salisbury, Maryland

Rating: 2.9

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

 

I thought this episode was a vast improvement of the last month or so of Nitros. I don’t know what it was that made me like it. There were stuff you’d normally expect but these things were sharper this week. Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson was very similar to last week and it worked. Loch Ness’ squash match this week was a sharper version of his last match from last week and it worked in making Loch Ness look like a monster. I saw a good match with Fit Finlay a.k.a. The Belfast Bruiser facing Brad Armstrong. I saw a good match with Randy Savage and Ric Flair as always. There wasn’t much wrong with it and it was an easy watch.

In no way did this feel like a chore and that’s exactly what you want for a wrestling show.

 

Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson w/Woman

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The screen went black somehow as Hogan ran down to the ring for this one. I have no idea what the technical difficulty was with the show here. The match started with Hogan beating up Arn before he can even take off his jacket and Steve “Mongo” McMichael, babyface announcer and the voice of the good guys, said: “Hogan is doing the right thing here.” Hogan attacked a man who couldn’t even defend himself and he’s “doing the right thing” Mongo?

Bischoff’s said Hogan’s eyes were hurt “due to attacks by heels”… ha ha. Very clever Eric. Hogan caught Arn off the top rope with a clothesline which actually looked better then you’d expect it to be with Hogan and Arn Anderson of all people. Hogan choked away at Arn and raked the eyes.

Bischoff took a shot at Vader and mentioned some altercation with Paul Orndorff. I believe they had a fight before Vader was fired or whatever. I think I talked about this on the series before near the start of it.

Hogan choked Arn with a fan’s scarf right in front of Nick Patrick… NOT A DQ. He choked Arn with an illegal weapon and Nick Patrick just stood there watching it. They plugged Uncensored in March where apparently all the matches are No DQ so I guess that spot was a teaser for that PPV!

Hogan was all over Arn as the fans chanted “Hogan sucks” until Arn finally got a polish hammer in. Hogan even struggled to sell that… possibly by design. Hogan caught Arn’s foot as Arn attempted a stomp and proceeded to push Arn over the top rope.

Arn did an Irish Whip and Hogan runs, stops, waves his arms in the air and then bumps into the corner. The weirdest run off an Irish Whip I’ve ever seen by the Hulkster.

Hogan did a Figure Four Leg Lock as Arn grabbed the referee. Savage prevented a Taskmaster run-in and then the ref called for the bell. Hogan thought he won. The match awarded the match to… Arn Anderson. For what? Because Savage attacked Taskmaster who was not in the match? In fact, NEITHER MAN involved in that run-in touched Anderson or Hogan!

Arn Anderson now holds two wins in a row over Hulk Hogan but I was really confused by that finish. Savage and Taskmaster didn’t even touch Arn Anderson or anyone. They just went in the ring and did a spot together. Somehow Hogan was disqualified for this.

Again, Hogan mostly beat the crap out of Arn and Arn escaped with the victory. At the very least, in storyline, this may build up to Hulk Hogan finally getting a big win over Arn Anderson and it’s rare moment of Hogan with his back against the corner. The heels are outsmarting him left and right. Flair beat him before Superbrawl and now Arn has two victories over him after Superbrawl. Hopefully this will lead to Hogan finally scoring that big win over Arn and getting a big win leading to a match with Flair down the road. So I like this and the storytelling in these matches with Hogan and Arn. This gets a thumbs up for now!

 

Loch Ness vs Alex Wright

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A massive improvement from their last match featuring a massive man in Loch Ness. I did love though that Eric Bischoff talks about bringing you the best every single week as there’s suddenly technical difficulties as the screen goes green and fizzles a little! I found it rather hilarious!

Loch Ness could barely move as Wright tried some dropkicks. Wright tries to choke out Loch Ness and they showed a close up the ugly looking Loch Ness with teeth missing! He was a mean ugly heel as every heel should be! Loch Ness did a bear hug and Alex Wright somehow got out of it!

Loch Ness did hardly anything and was sweating buckets. He got blown up from walking, never-mind when he was doing spots. Wright came flying in and Loch Ness booted him out of the sky. Loch Ness did a massive elbow drop as the ring shook. The fans went ooooh and the announcers really sold the impact of this elbow drop. Loch Ness did a slam and they acted like it was death to the German Alex Wright! Loch Ness won a slightly better match then from last week. Loch Ness wanted Hogan… turns out he doesn’t get Hogan but we’ll get to that at another time!

 

The Belfast Bruiser vs Brad Armstrong

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We finally got the Monday Nitro debut of FIT FINLAY. Billed as The Belfast Bruiser in this match, Finlay was so great in this match and I’d forgotten just how good this guy was in the ring. As made clear at the start of the series, I never watched WCW back when it was on air. I was 1 year old when this episode aired. My only memory of Finlay was his WWE run in 2006. To get to watch Finlay in WCW is such a treat and Finlay had a fine performance against Brad Armstrong.

NOTE: Not that I’d say this to his face but Finlay was sporting a naughty looking moustache and mullet combination! Then again it was the 90s so who am I to judge?

The fans chanted USA. I’m just gonna call him Finlay as I do the review of this match. Calling him “the Belfast Bruiser” while accurate would be very hard to stick to! Finlay worked on the arm of Armstrong funnily enough. Of course if you work on an Armstrong, you work on the arm of an Armstrong! The clue is in the name!

He wrenched on the arm and then gouged the face, following up with the elbow to the face! I loved the combination of picking apart body parts of the opponent and then getting some cheap shots in once in a while!

Finlay did a standing surfboard-like arm wrench. Armstrong tries to fight back and Finlay just clobbers him down to regain the heat! It was pretty great! Armstrong finally gets back in the match with some headlock takedowns.

Armstrong kicks Finlay over the top rope and Finlay responds by taking out the legs! Finlay thinks at this point: “he thinks he can kick me? I’ll wrap his leg around the post and make sure he doesn’t kick me anymore!” Finlay was the man!

Finlay locks on a calf crusher but Armstrong refused to give up and then does a big elbow to the face to get back into the match. Armstrong and Finlay go flying over the top rope with a crossbody. Armstrong did a big face slam and hit a big back suplex as the fans start to go nuts from BRAD ARMSTRONG! If you think of all of the wrestlers in 2019 that struggle to get a reaction for the comeback and yet BRAD ARMSTRONG is being rooted on and cheered by the crowd in a match with the Belfast Bruiser!

Finlay hits a big gutwrench suplex for the pin. I thought this was a great match as the Belfast Bruiser calls out Regal. I cannot wait to watch that match as well!

 

Ric Flair (c) w/Elizabeth and Woman vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Again, you’re rarely ever gonna find a bad Randy Savage vs Ric Flair match and this was a great world title match. Also great on this show was Elizabeth’s outfit… she came out in a skirt and jacket and she looked marvellous!

Flair grabs Woman and Elizabeth, puts his arms over them before the match and sings “I got the whole world in my hands” giving us Bray Wyatt’s inspiration for when he started using that phrase!

Nick Patrick grabs the title and hoists it up at the cameraman in the corner. When I first looked at it, all I could see was “man” on the name plate. I thought “what the?”so I rewound it and it said MACHO MAN! I looked at it and thought, did they just spoil the finish? Bischoff covers it up by saying Ric Flair kept Savage’s nameplate on the title. I have no idea if they just left it on by mistake because I find it hard to believe that this was part of a storyline that RIC FLAIR would leave another man’s nameplate on his own world title belt.

Bischoff called segments of this match like he was a auctioneer, speaking at a ridiculous pace! “Savage going for the Irish whip, he hits the Irish Whip. Flair hits an elbow” he’d say for example and he said all of that in the space of like 5 seconds without catching his breath! “Nature Boy Ric Flair. The Nature Boy takes Randy Savage on the outside…” he’d say that at the speed of light to which I yelled at the TV “SLOW DOWN!” Eric Bischoff, if you’re reading this review, could have killed ya to talk a little bit slower on commentary? This put Jimmy Hart to shame in terms of fast-paced talkers!

Savage got distracted with Woman and Flair takes advantage. Woman raked the eyes of Savage as the referee was distracted with either Elizabeth or Flair. Savage fought back but Flair cut him off with an elbow and then collapses to the ground!

Savage goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock. I love that the storyline they’re trying to tell is that Flair has everything Savage holds dear and yet Savage responds by taking Ric’s own finisher and using it on Flair! “You think you can take my things Flair? I’ll take your finisher!”

Flair begged Savage off but Savage is no fool and stomps him anyway! Savage locked on a sleeper hold but Flair reversed it with a back suplex. Flair does a suplex and then grabs his head and screams “OH GOD” which I think he was just selling his head as he wouldn’t go “OH GOD” if he was legitimately hurt I don’t think.

Flair locked on his own Figure Four Leg Lock and after a while, Savage reversed the figure four to get out of it. Savage gets a near fall with a backslide, to which Mongo goes “that was a slow count.” Flair bounces off the corner with a running chop and Savage sold this like he got shot in the chest with a sniper! Tremendous selling!

Flair and Savage threw chops and punches. Savage spits at Flair and Flair doesn’t get mad and fired up like most wrestlers… he gets on his knees and begs him off! That is a spot that only Ric Flair (and I guess Eddie Guerrero) could pull off so well!

Savage did the double axe handle off the top and then Elizabeth distracted him. Woman throws her heel to Flair but Savage intercepted it and hit Flair with it.

Taskmaster and Hogan both ran down. I think Woman hit Savage in the face to break up a pin attempt or Flair kicked out. Nick Patrick goes to make the count and I don’t think that was supposed to happen. Maybe Woman thought that Patrick would turn his attention to Hogan and Taskmaster first, which he eventually did and that would allow her to break it up. No, Patrick goes for the count and I think Woman feels she has to do something to break it up and I also think Ric may have thought he needed to kick out. Either way, this particular part of the finish got screwed up.

Arn then comes out an hit a DDT on Savaeg as the referee is somehow distracted and Flair covered Savage for the pinfall win. Good match but a hugely over-complicated and over-booked finish. You had like 5 people, other than the referee, Randy Savage and Ric Flair involved in this finish:

  1. MISS ELIZABETH distracted Macho Man.
  2. WOMAN threw the shoe to Ric Flair but it was intercepted by Savage.
  3. TASKMASTER runs down.
  4. HULK HOGAN runs down after Taskmaster.
  5. ARN ANDERSON comes out and hits a DDT on Savage.

You couldn’t have just done a ref bump and then Arn comes out and DDTs Savage and then Flair gets the pin? You had to get four other people involved?

The heels gang up on Savage and Hogan and some dude makes the save! The announcers don’t say who he is but even a millennial wrestling fan like me, who has never seen Nitro before, recognises that it is BRUTUS BEEFCAKE aka THE BOOTY MAN! Yet Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan had no idea who this guy was! BOBBY HEENAN, of all people, didn’t know who it was that came out.

The Booty Man runs them off as Elizabeth tumbles off the ramp! Poor Elizabeth. The heels commandeer the announce booth as Flair cuts a promo but the babyfaces force them to flea. Hogan and Savage goes nuts on Bischoff for some reason and Hogan finally declares “Did you see him run from the Booty Man?” Yeah, this is the moment where Hogan declares this “mystery” third man to be THE BOOTY MAN.

Hogan said: “This is the Booty Booty Man. If he can’t kick the can, nobody can.” That has to be one of the worst catchphrases in wrestling history! Hogan is cutting this big promo for the BOOTY MAN and all I can think is that his name is the Booty Man! He was The Zodiac as a member of the Dungeon of Doom but now he’s THE BOOTY MAN?

Mean Gene clarifies that there’s gonna be a six man tag team match next week as Hogan, Savage and Booty takes on Flair, Taskmaster and Arn. Booty Man shakes his ass a lot on television as Bischoff agrees to get this match done so I guess Bischoff is acknowledged as the dude running the show now? Then again, he’s always listed as an Executive Producer or something for the PPVs so I guess it was always implied to the audience anyway.

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That was Nitro. It was not boring. As a matter of fact, it was kind of fun. Finlay was a breath of fresh air. Savage vs Flair matches always work for me. They worked the kinks out for Loch Ness and I like the B plot story they’re telling with Hogan and Arn. This show gets a THUMBS UP! The first good Nitro in a long time for me!

We will see you with our review of Episode #26 of WCW Monday Nitro!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #24 (FEBRUARY 12TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN VS ARN ANDERSON

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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A double main-event at Superbrawl with two cage matches was overshadowed by an infamous angle, which saw Brian Pillman “battle” The Taskmaster a.k.a. Kevin Sullivan in a “I Respect You” match. The match ended in less than a minute when Brian Pillman grabbed the mic and said “I respect you booker man” before leaving the ring and winding up leaving the company as a result.

The two cage matches saw Hulk Hogan topple The Giant in a cage match and the rest of the Dungeon of Doom while he was at it. However, the Mega Powers took a big loss as well as Ric Flair defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW World title with Elizabeth turning heel and siding with the Nature Boy against her ex-husband.

 

Date: February 12th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Tampa, Florida

Rating: 3.7 (Nitro’s biggest number since it first aired but they were left unopposed this week)

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

 

They recapped the events of Superbrawl, including the Brian Pillman angle. If you’d like to read the full review of Superbrawl, please click on this link where it’ll break it all down.

At least they went through the effort of breaking down who the champions were right then after that event, so it alerted us of who are the top guys right now and this is a plus. If this was WWE in 2019, I’d be scratching my head remembering who the champions were. But on Nitro, they broke it down for the viewer before the show started.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Hugh Morrus

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They announced a Savage vs Flair title rematch for next week. I do love that Randy Savage makes his entrance and it is dead serious. Savage came out without the “pomp and circumstance” as the announcers put it. He wasn’t all flashy with his gear and had an intense look in his face. He was a man pissed off at losing the title, being betrayed by a former loved one and he was looking to take all that aggression out on Hugh Morrus.

Hugh Morrus had a bad night here I think. The chemistry was not there at all for a lot of spots. Savage was fast while Morrus was too slow to keep up. They brawled and brawled. There wasn’t a lot of noteworthy stuff. Hugh goes for a moonsault but Savage moves. Savage scoop slams Morrus and hits the elbow drop as the fans cheer. Savage goes for a second elbow drop for the win which was serious overkill from an angry Savage!

Savage then goes back up for another one as the fans continue to cheer but Hugh rolls out of the ring. Savage cut a promo, wanting Ric Flair, and VAULTED out of the ring. When I say vaulted out of the ring. He leapt high in the air over the top rope landing on the floor. Randy Savage was the best here. He went up the entrance ramp and started angrily giving out high fives to the crowd! I loved that little detail.

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Steve Grissom, who was WCW’s driver I believe in the Daytona 500.

 

Loch Ness w/Jimmy hart VS Scotty Riggs

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Loch Ness looked ginormous and not in a good way. This was his WCW wrestling debut and they put him up against Scotty Riggs of the American Males.

Riggs fired away with no effect at all to Loch Ness. THE VERY FIRST PHYSICAL thing Loch Ness does is that Riggs goes for a top rope crossbody and Loch Ness fails to catch him as Riggs splats on the floor. That was literally the first thing Loch Ness did because in the first 30 seconds of the match, Riggs is throwing dropkicks and punches and Loch Ness just lurches on forward.

Loch Ness did a big elbow drop and struggled to get back up his feet. He was on his knees after doing THAT elbow drop and had to get the ropes to lift himself back up.

Loch Ness hit a second elbow drop and got the pin. I felt kinda bad watching this because Loch Ness does not last long… both in the wrestling ring and in life. He died 2 years later and he really wasn’t not looking in a good way.

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Mean Gene is with Woman and Miss Elizabeth who both rolled out a hospital bed. Elizabeth said that Savage promised someone was leaving on a “gurney” at Superbrawl which I have zero memory of. Elizabeth said it took us all night but Ric Flair is  a man of his word. Flair pops out of the bed like a mad man!

Flair said it’s not easy being Ric Flair. Ric bragged about how he’s got Woman, he’s got Elizabeth and he’s got the 13th world title as he danced in celebration. Flair said that sometimes only a woman can say things as elegantly as they need to be heard and gives Elizabeth the floor. This really was a mistake from Flair as Elizabeth then cut a really bad promo!

God bless Elizabeth but giving her the microphone for promos was a terrible mistake, especially when RIC FLAIR hypes up her promo beforehand! Elizabeth said that for 7 years she had to walk behind Randy and was never allowed to opened her mouth, to which Mean Gene is appalled by this! Elizabeth said she took half of the properties and last night she took it all. Elizabeth then touches her stomach and I was thinking: “is she alluding to the fact that she’s pregnant?” I looked at my computer to write down the note of her touching her stomach and I look up and Flair is all giddy and the fans are making a reaction. I had to rewind it but no, I think Elizabeth just wanted to touch her stomach.

Elizabeth said she knows the title is the most important thing to Savage and her delivery… was SO FLAT. I legitimately had no clue half of the time what she was on about. Flair took both women away and left.

 

Konnan vs Dangerous Devon Storm

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Dave Meltzer gave this a three star rating at the time. I’m still trying to figure out the logic behind that. It was Konnan and Dangerous Devon Storm going through the motions and doing spots…. and nobody cared.

Konnan’s gear is getting worse every time I see him. This week it was pink with a blue cape which said KONNAN and a weird looking mask. Devon dropkicked Konnan to the floor and Devon did a chair assisted dive to the outside as he ran wild on Konnan.

The problem with Devon is that he did all of his moves, and didn’t react with the crowd. He didn’t show emotion, he just did all of his spots as fast as he could without prompting any emotion from the crowd. I talked about Randy Savage who did the elbow drops earlier. Savage scoop slammed Hugh Morrus and looked at the crowd as if to ask “do you want me to go up top” to which the crowd cheered and he delivered and hit the elbow drop as the place went nuts. Every time he went up the top rope, he’d look out to the crowd to communicate with them without saying anything and they cheered every time.

Devon did all of these moves like it was a routine. They had all of these choreographed spots put together and the fans just weren’t paying attention. Too many over-complicated spots. Devon tried running up the steel steps and doing a senton to a literally seated Konnan but Konnan catches him and slams him hard on the floor with a powerbomb…  he had barely any grip.

Konnan ran wild. They start doing lucha libre stuff in the ring and Konnan whacked Devon with a wheelbarrow suplex. Konnan did a weird submission as they cut too George Steinbrenner from the New York Yankees.

Devon gives Konnan’s foot a massage which barely looked like a submission. These looked like lazy submission attempts from both guys which begs the question of why would you bother? They went from doing super emotionless spots to suddenly going to the ground and doing submissions… which neither man was able to do well in this match.

Devon did a springboard side kick. Devon went for a sunset flip powerbomb to the outside and Konnan reversed it into a hurricanrana, and nobody in the crowd gave a shit. Think about that. Such an elaborate sequence and nobody in the Nitro crowd cared because super crazy spots are only as impactful as your ability to sell them as impactful to the crowd. These guys didn’t do that.

Devon tried a frankenseinter but Konnan reversed it into a powerbomb for the win. I thought this match was pretty bad.

 

Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson w/Woman

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Of course, the WWE Network starts buffering right before the main-event. No problems at all during everything else on this episode but of course, it’s Hogan vs Anderson, and the service just freezes up on me over and over. I clicked away and got it back and finally watched the match.

Hogan fired away at Arn and did punches in the corner. This match really was Hogan beating the crap out of Arn and Arn selling like crazy for the Hulkster which actually made sense when you looked at the finish.

Hogan goes to work with clotheslines. Hogan chases Arn but Arn backs away. Hogan reverses a piledriver into a catapult into the ring post. Hogan strangled Arn with tape and choked away at Arn as Woman screams.

Hogan did a back suplex. Hogan just does moves forever on Arn. It was like the heel getting the heat on the babyface instead Hogan just dominates Arn for the first 5 minutes of the match! This was like the Hogan vs Giant match from the night before but in reverse!

Bischoff said: “Arn, this man can fight” at the moment where Hogan is kicking Arn’s arse and is shown beating him up on screen. Hogan tried to push Arn off the top rope but Arn somehow landed on the top rope and got crotched

Arn works over Hogan as Ric and Elizabeth went down to the ring. I started to ask where Savage was, who wanted revenge on Ric Flair.

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I never appreciated until after the show was over how clever this match was. Arn barely did anything to Hogan during the match and Flair didn’t come down until Arn finally hit a move and got the “heat” if you will. Arn’s whole “heat” lasted a minute maybe? Arn hits a spinebuster and Hogan kicks out as Arn flies in the air as Hogan “pushes” Arn off of him then Hogan Hulks up. Hogan hits the big boot and then goes for the Figure Four as Flair takes off his jacket and goes crazy. Flair goes into the ring and Hogan rolls Flair up with a small package as Arn is still in the hold! What was this all about? To show that Hogan could pin Flair? Maybe that was what they were building too because Hogan wanted a title shot a few weeks ago if I recall correctly.

Ref pulls Flair off. Woman gets the white powder and throws it in Hogan’s face. Arn gets Elizabeth’s heel and smacks Hogan in the face as ARN ANDERSON pins and defeated Hulk Hogan. Arn Anderson got a minute’s worth of heat on Hogan and then only won the match off of shenanigans. What they demonstrated was that Hogan was the better man by a country mile, they demonstrated that Arn could only win with help and they demonstrated that Hogan is a legitimate contender to Ric Flair despite losing here. You kept Hulk Hogan strong and you gave Arn Anderson a special pinfall victory over Hogan. Think about all of the wrestlers that have beaten both Hogan AND Ric Flair in singles matches for example. Stone Cold Steve Austin never did that, Shawn Michaels never did that, The Rock never did that and so many others never did that. Arn Anderson can say that he pinned Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair in the space of just under 6 months in separate singles matches. That was a big deal.

Hogan then got up and kicked Ric and Arn’s arse afterwards! So it wasn’t all glorious for Arn and Flair as Savage comes down and they all brawled. Savage hit Flair with a chair as the heels fled as the fans cheered for the babyfaces.

Flair grabs the headset from the announce table. Flair makes fun of Hogan getting his ass kicked again. Arn grabs the mic. He said he just beat Hulk Hogan but Hogan and Savage chase the heels off as Flair yells. Hogan yells for Flair to get his ass back there. I guess somewhere in here, Arn challenged Hogan to the rematch and Hogan accepted. Savage says they’re gonna take the heels to school. I’m pretty sure Hogan told Savage at one point to just take all of his stuff back that he lost to Elizabeth! I really found it hard to figure out what Hogan was trying to say!

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This was not a particular good episode of Nitro. There wasn’t really a good match across the board although there were moments I liked and I did like the psychology of the Arn Anderson vs Hulk Hogan match and that’s gonna build towards a rematch to see who the better man really is after Arn scored a tainted victory.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW SUPERBRAWL VI (FEBRUARY 11TH 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 first WCW pay-per-view of what will prove to be an eventful year for WCW. Two steel cage matches were promoted as double main-events in the middle of the conflict between The Mega Powers, The Four Horsemen and The Dungeon of Doom. Ric Flair and Randy Savage have traded the WCW World title back and forth, but Superbrawl would hopefully prove once and for all who the better man is. Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan’s battles with The Giant would continue as the two “immortals” of WCW face off inside of a steel cage. How will the forces of good and the forces of evil fair at WCW Superbrawl VI?

 

Date: February 11th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: St Petersburg, Florida

Attendance: 7,200

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan

 

This show felt really underwhelming for the most part. I’m not sure where this show ranks when compared to the other WCW PPVs I’ve watched so far. I think the difference between those PPVs and this one was that the stakes didn’t seem as high on this show. It didn’t feel like the intensity and build to the top programs were so grand that I felt a mass surge to watch it. Two steel cage matches back-to-back didn’t seem very special, especially knowing TNA would do entire PPVs with steel cage matches about a decade later!

I guess the double steel cage match thing was a bigger deal in WCW 1996. With that being said though, I don’t know if the action was really pay-per-view level of action. The Savage vs Flair match was very good and I thought the TV title match was good but everything else was, below part at best. There was some matches that were boring beyond boring and then there were matches were I had no idea what was going on and I just could not believe that it made PPV. There was one really infamous angle on this show which was pretty much the talking point and the biggest takeaway from this show. It’s funny because one of the guys involved would end up wrestling their final WCW match on this show!

I do love that the show starts and they cut to the announce team of Tony Schiavonie, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan. Tony would be talking while positioned in the middle of this motley crew and Bobby and Dusty are on either side of him just started staring at each other around Tony! Dusty had this big smile on his face as he does it as he and Bobby have a stare down!

 

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

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We start of with a match which, without the Brian Pillman vs Taskmaster stuff, would have really stood out from the crowd. This was not a wrestling match at heart as it was a fight… a brawl. This may sound like I’m stating the obvious… but that’s EXACTLY THE POINT of a street fight. They start brawling right away and these guys batter away at each other with every weapon they could find. I usually am not enthralled with hardcore wrestling like this but I liked this match to an extent.

Public Enemy clear the ring as they brawled on the outside. Rocco Rock grabs a GINORMOUS TABLE. It’s insane how big this table looked on TV with a black cloth on top of it! Maybe it was forced perspective making me believe it was big but I just saw Rocco with this giant looking table over his head! Rocco runs into Sags with it but Sags no-sells this table charge and smashes Rocco with the table! There was barely any selling to these weapon shots but I didn’t seem to mind.

Grunge and Sags have brilliantly screwed up double clothesline spot. They do the clothesline and Grunge goes down but Sags kinda wobbles, loses his footing and then falls down! It was a way funnier version of the Barbarian/Animal double clothesline botch from a few weeks ago!

Sags brings in a trash can and smacks Grunge in the head with the lid. Sags went for a piledriver on the trash can and I figured at first that the WWE Network didn’t wanna show this because there was a random cut to Sags suddenly going for the cover and the trash can was all bent. Of all the stuff you can see on the Network, including Madusa’s German Suplex on Sherri from a weeks ago, this is the one they wanted to censor? They did end up showing this on the replay so I have no idea what happened here with the Network.

Grunge doesn’t even sell this and batters Sags with the trash can lid to the back. Knobs suplexes Rocco through the table. Knobs smack Rocco with a chair. Knobs goes for the cover but the referee was out of position, like really out of position. Grunge looked like he proper grazed Knobs with the trash can lid to the face. Grunge did a bulldog on Sags to the trash can.

They brawled, and brawled, and brawled, and brawled. Sags found another table and backdropped it onto Rocco. I think Rocco did a Diamond Cutter of some kind but I could barely see it with the lighting! Grunge looked like he proper smashed Knobs on the head with a trash can. Rocco went for a Swanton Bomb like he did on their debut but he missed the table. Rocco landed ass first on the floor. It looked like it hurt as he thudded onto the floor. Knobs picked up the win with a pin and then they continued to brawl after the match.

On paper, all of that would sound like a horrible match but in execution, it actually turned out alright. It wasn’t like these guys really hurt each other, with the exception of a few spots. There were light hits with shots to the head (the lightest you could think of anyway) and this was a match where the two tag teams just wanted to fight. They weren’t interested in winning and it was a street fight, so everything they did was to inflict punishment and it fit the styles of the tag team and the story of the match.

It wasn’t particularly a technical brilliant match but there was a charm where it was a street fight by it’s very nature. They hit each other and it wasn’t just insane hardcore stuff where they were killing each other, other than the Rocco Rock spot at the end. It wasn’t like they were all going for Bradshaw like chair shots to the head. As safe of a hardcore tag match as they could have possibly done.

Match Rating: **

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Konnan the WCW US and Mexican champion. Konnan said that he thanked all of the Latins and that he wasn’t gonna let them down. Konnan said he’d be smarter and he would leave as US champion as he was supposed to face the One Man Gang. As much as I have a go after the WCW title picture in the last few months, this US title has went from being held by Sting, to Kensuke Sasaki, to One Man Gang and now to Konnan in the space of a couple of months!

Mean Gene pointed out that One Man Gang has a lot of mass but Konnan said he’ll deal with it as he’s dealt with it before.

 

Johnny B Badd © w/Diamond Doll vs DDP for the WCW TV title, Johnny B Badd’s Diamond Doll and DDP’s $6.6million (which I guess DDP stole from Diamond Doll)

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I’ve actually been a fan of this program since I saw the first match at Halloween Havoc I believe. This has told a very basic story of the Diamond Doll initially being with DDP and eventually going with Johnny B Badd who respected her while her former man DDP simply wanted her as property. Johnny B Badd was fighting for her honour and so far, had DDP’s number in the big matches. There hasn’t been one time so far, to my knowledge, where Badd came off as a bad babyface. Here, this is the blow-off match and I’ll explain why at the end of this review…

The referee holds a cheque of the $6.6million which is on the line and it’s just a big blue cheque which says in big letters, CA$H! It didn’t include like a name of the bank, sort code or anything. It was a big blue piece of cardboard with CA$H on it and the referee hoisted it up like he was holding up the WCW World title!

DDP came out with roses in his mouth and in his hands, and then DDP eventually grabs Diamond Doll’s arms. Badd makes the save to kick things off. DDP, in this segment, represented the perfect heel. I have to hear all the time on Twitter about Baron Corbin being such a great heel. Apparently, we all hate Baron Corbin and that’s what makes him such a good heel that he’s hated. I guess Baron Corbin fans have got it into their heads that it’s all about getting the negative reaction and if you get the negative reaction, you’re automatically a good heel.

DDP was such a good heel in this program because I don’t hate DDP in this program because he’s a bad wrestler or he’s boring or whatever. He’s not a bad wrestler and he’s not boring. I don’t care about any of that. I care about how this is a sleazebag millionaire, in storyline, that wants it all and wants to own Diamond Doll as property. Baron Corbin, from a storyline, gives me no motivation to wanna care about his character. What is there to care about? He’s a tall guy who is below par in the ring and is booed because of the way he is pushed and promoted. That’s not the same as getting heat because of something your character does.

You need to be a good enough heel where I wanna see a babyface come in and kick your ass. Here, as a fan, I wanted Johnny B Badd to come in and kick DDP’s ass because I like the Diamond Doll and DDP is being a dick to her. I don’t wanna see a babyface come in a kick Corbin’s ass because simply put, I don’t wanna see Baron Corbin because he’s not any good. The RAW ratings in 2018 hit record-low numbers because people didn’t wanna see Corbin. That’s not productive television giving him such a prime position on RAW. DDP, as a mid-card talent as of early 1996, does right what RAW main-eventers in 2019 cannot or are unable to do.

Badd snapmared DDP over the top rope and then did a double axe handle. The commentators argued about the rules as I guess a rule in WCW wrestling was that throwing someone over the top rope was illegal. Badd did a nice float-over arm drag as the two men battled for the backslide pin. The men traded leapfrogs but then DDP dropped Badd on the top rope with a stun gun.

There was another random cut in this match so I guess there was issues with redeveloping this PPV on the WWE Network as I wound up getting it all over the show. DDP did a gutbuster. DDP did an Irish Whip but Badd just tumbled into the ground. Either this was really good selling by Badd or he got injured somehow.

Badd then went for a sunset flip but DDP simply punches him to knock him down. DDP taunts but then Badd almost gets him again with the sunset flip but DDP punches him. Then DDP sits on Badd out of cockiness but then Badd finally flips over DDP for the near fall! I dunno why but I loved that. DDP’s cockiness got the better of him and Badd, the babyface, never gave up with getting this roll-up! It was awesome!

DDP hits a beautiful DDT and deservingly runs around the ring to celebrate! DDP went to Diamond Doll for a rating, that Diamond Doll use to give him back when she was managing him, and Diamond Doll decided to give him a 0 this time. DDP got mad, fell over Badd liked he slipped on a banana peel, got rolled up but almost got pinned!

Badd fires back but DDP forces Badd down on the mat with a sleeper hold. DDP gets his foot on the rope, Diamond Doll goes “ref, look”, the referee turns around to see her and then DDP gets his feet off the rope like a smart heel! You know what this was. This was every pantomime where the bad guys sneaks up on the good guy, and the audience yells “he’s behind you!” That was Diamond Doll’s role in this little spot!

Badd almost catches DDP with a roll up for a near fall. Badd makes a comeback with punches, playing into his background as a boxer. Badd does a big double axe handle as Diamond Doll throws up the 10 board for Johnny B Badd! Badd does a big sunset flip off the top rope for a near fall. Badd does a big sit-out powerbomb. Badd went for so many roll-ups in this match! DDP goes for the feet on the ropes cover but Badd kicks out anyway.

DDP does the tombstone slam for a near fall. DDP goes a sleeper hold in the middle of a ring as Badd is passing out. Badd does a stunner to get out of it. Badd does his own sleeper hold getting on the back of DDP. Badd then reverses a tombstone slam from DDP into his own tombstone piledriver for the win.

I really liked this match as Badd gives Diamond Doll the money as we got a happy ending. I’ve really liked this storyline with DDP, Badd and the Diamond Doll. A simple story and the babyfaces looked good in the process. I think this was the strongest PPV match between the two in the series as things felt a little crisper between the two in the ring and thank god for that as this was the blow-off match! That the last match was the best match made for a good ending to the storyline.

This may be spoilers for future Nitros but about a month later, Johnny B Badd leaves the company. Badd apparently protested against the angle with Diamond Doll, who was actually DDP’s real-life wife Kimberley Page. Therefore, he left the company and joined the WWF as Marc Mero. Where they go with DDP and Kimberley after this angle remains to be seen but I imagine they reunite somehow on TV in the future.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Harlem Heat were interviewed by Mean Gene. Stevie says that Lex Luger committed grand larceny when Lex Luger and Sting won the WCW tag team titles and tonight, they were gonna get him. They said Sting was on the hit list too. Booker said: “they were pulling on us when were supposed to be pulling on them!” A bad sentence out of context! He told the champs to watch their back and watch their back hard as they refused to walk out without the titles. Harlem Heat said they were taking the tag team title picture into the future. They also mention that the Road Warriors would be facing the winners on the same night.

 

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

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There’s not a lot I can say about this match other than what I’m about to say. Out of Sting and Lex Luger, Sting should have always been the guy taking the heat as Lex Luger is waiting for the hot tag. Lex Luger, in case you weren’t aware, wasn’t very good. The idea is that if he’s not good, you don’t want to expose him and make the audience aware of this. You protect him by having him only be active when it’s the most important time for him to be active and show him to be a star. Him having to sell for Harlem Heat for seemingly the entirety of this match was unbearable.

Booker and Sting wrestled for a while. Luger gets tagged in but Ray and Booker knock him to the outside with a double back elbow. Luger initially doesn’t wanna get back into the ring until Sting talks him into it. Luger then immediately tags Sting into the ring. See, even Lex Luger didn’t wanna get tagged in and get beat on!

Sting hits a big bulldog on Booker and tags Luger back in. Booker then misses an elbow drop, but somehow transitions this into the spinaroonie and then hits a side kick! I thought that was pretty impressive actually to do all of that in one motion! Harlem Heat get the heat… which is a pun I swear was not intentional when I wrote the first draft of this review! Luger clotheslined Booker on the chest in a poorly mistimed clothsline on the part of both men.

Stevie damn near killed Luger with a Powerbomb where he got him up for position and then just let go and dropped him. Way to go Stevie. Stevie went for a nerve hold on Lex Luger and at this point in the show, I wanted a nap. Sting finally got the hot tag but the referee didn’t see it. Sting said “screw it” and started beating up Booker and Stevie anyway! As the referee is dealing with Sting I believe, The Road Warriors come out and hit Stevie in the ring with a lead pipe and Luger covers Stevie for the win. This was a really bad match which ever way you slice it. I pray that I never get to see this match again as these two tag teams can’t seem to do it right, even with Sting and Booker T on hand to idiot-proof the match. I don’t know who was booking these matches… I guess I actually got an answer later on in the show when we get to the Brian Pillman match!

The funny thing about this… this wasn’t even Sting and Lex Luger’s worst match on this show.

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Match Rating: ½*

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sting and Luger. Luger cuts a promo and said that he had held up his end of the bargain. Sting said he didn’t know what happen but he celebrated that they won the match.

 

Konnan © vs One Man Gang for the WCW United States Championship

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Apparently, I watched a totally different match to seemingly everyone else on the internet. I’ve seen a few reviews of the match calling it a dud. Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded this -2 stars at the time. I saw a match where Konnan and One Man Gang tried their best for a match that nobody cared about. I didn’t think it was any good, but this was nowhere near as bad as the Sting/Luger vs Road Warriors match which we’ll get to.

I love how when they showed the name plate for One Man Gang, the name plate fades away starting from the middle towards the outside and One Man Gang throws a kick in the middle to show the affect that he kicked it in two! That I liked!

It’s weird seeing Konnan without a gangster-like gimmick! Here, he was kinda dressed like Kalisto with his mask on for his entrance. One Man Gang clobbered at Konnan and drove his foot into Konnan’s face. Konnan tried to chop the big man down with dropkicks to the knee and then does a big wheel kick.

Konnan does a crossbody that sends them both to the floor. One Man Gang does a leg drop. Dusty gave the following advice: “fist him in the head.” One Man Gang gouged at Konnan’s face. The first few minutes of this match was exciting but then it just dragged and dragged as One Man Gang got the heat. Konnan fired back and somehow did a hurricanrana to One Man Gang. One Man Gang missed a big splash. Konnan does a diving cannonball onto One Man Gang for the win.

I’m still trying to figure out what people saw in this match that made it so hated. It felt a little bit of a styles crash but it didn’t seem like they were totally on different pages or anything. One Man Gang was slow but it just seemed like a slow heatless match but there was nothing really they messed up that made me think: “oh my god why am I watching this?” Maybe if you were so offended by the crossbody spot where they both tumbled to the outside which was kinda sloppy but I’ve seen way worse executions of that spot. I dunno. Maybe I’m being generous.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Road Warriors. Animal yelled that everyone saw what Luger did on Nitro, where Luger cheated to win. Luger brought this upon himself and Sting is making a big mistake of believing Luger. They faked an apology to Harlem Heat and then they walked off. Nothing really noteworthy about this promo. They were very loud and very rude to the heels.

 

“The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan w/Jimmy Hart vs Brian Pillman in an I Respect You match

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“Here we go” which is what I said to myself as they played Taskmaster’s theme song. I heard about what happened before I sat down to watch this PPV and it’s been mentioned to me before, but watching this in execution was kinda surreal. I’m not entirely sure where the reality began and ended with this whole angle and what followed. All I know is that we had another alternate reality moment where all of a sudden, we leapt into the Quantum Realm and landed into WCW 2000. The year of the ultimate insider references and “shoots” in wrestling and that type of writing was evident in this particular angle at the very least.

The rules of this match was basically that it was an I Quit match but they had to make their opponent say “I respect you” for it to end.

Taskmaster does his entrance. Brian Pillman runs down to the ring as Taskmaster and Pillman brawl to start the match. Pillman then whips Taskmaster on the back and they sounded like they hurt. I guess this was Pillman’s revenge for a few weeks ago, when Taskmaster whipped him over and over while he grabbed onto the apron. If this was a “shoot” or whatever this was, this was Pillman’s way of getting revenge. They brawl to the floor as Pillman whips Tasmaster. Taskmaster tries to shoot and take him down with shoot amateur wrestling. It felt like a real fight where they were both sloppy in trying to take each other down.

Taskmaster punches him in the face. Then we get the big moment. Pillman flies into the referee, who was holding the microphone. Pillman grabs the mic and Pillman said: “I respect you booker man” and he walked out. Pillman races out of the ring, as Taskmaster is left dumbfounded by what has happened as Pillman walked out. After 30 seconds or show of showing the ring, they cut to Pillman who is flipping off the crowd as he exits!

On many levels, this was one of the most unbelievable angles I’ve ever seen. It didn’t strike me as a brilliant angle or anything, it was just unbelievable where I could not believe it happened. If you look at the rest of the show, with the exceptions of Eric Bischoff’s constant shots at the WWF, this was a storyline driven show. There were insider references but there was never “worked shoots” at least in the early days of WCW. All of a sudden, Pillman walks out of the match and ousts Sullivan as the booker.

The story about this angle was that it was apparently all a work that only two people knew about in Eric Bischoff and Brian Pillman. If you look at the execution of the angle, Jimmy Hart had no clue what was going on. The referee had no idea what was going on as I don’t even recall him calling for the bell after Pillman said the line. Arn Anderson certainly didn’t know as we’ll get to in the next match. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even think Kevin Sullivan knew either. Pillman says the line and Sullivan stood there for an uncomfortably long time not knowing what to do which is funny because, as the “booker man” of WCW, you figured in storyline that he’d know what was going on! So I bet he had no clue either.

The idea was that Brian Pillman had been slowly transforming into the Loose Cannon as was evident by his actions since joining the Four Horsemen. Pillman I guess was trying to work everybody, including Eric Bischoff, with this gimmick. The brawl from the Nitro go-home show seemed like Pillman was just doing what he wanted. Apparently, this whole angle was just an angle to “fool the boys” into thinking that Pillman had really gone against the script. Reportedly, Pillman and Bischoff had an argument where Pillman was “fired” by Bischoff which was apparently a work to get him to ECW. The plan apparently was for Pillman to go to ECW, which he did, and then come back as a bigger star in WCW down the road.

That didn’t happen as Pillman decided to sign with the WWF instead! So effectively, this was Brian Pillman’s last ever appearance on WCW television/pay-per-view. From a storyline perspective though, what was the idea?

You’re going to have Pillman, if Bischoff was in on it, go out there and say “I respect you booker man” but what was this going to accomplish? Who in the audience, except the boys, are going to even understand what it is that Pillman was on about? This is not like 2019 where all the news and gossip is available online for these fans. A handful of people in that building were probably aware of what a “booker man” was. Everyone else in the crowd just probably thought Pillman was referencing Booker T!

This is my biggest problem with insider references where, to a hardcore audience it’s fine but, it comes off as complete random and pointless to the main-stream audience. After all of this, there was no-pay off in the end for WCW! In hindsight, this was a really stupid angle.

 

Taskmaster vs Arn Anderson

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Now let’s pick from when that last segment left of. Kevin Sullivan is standing in the ring wondering what to do. Then Arn Anderson comes out. I believe the moment Pillman said what he said, somebody, possibly Bischoff, said to Arn backstage: “right buddy, we need you out there to wrestle Kevin instead.” Arn responded: “what do you mean? I’m working Sullivan?” They told him that the fans wanted a I Respect You match so they’re gonna throw him out there and Ric Flair will break it up after 3 minutes. They told him just to go out in what he was wearing. I say this because if you look at what he was wearing, Arn Anderson did not know this was coming and was not prepared to come out.

Arn Anderson was dressed in a big shirt and PURPLE SHORTS as he comes down to the ring. I’m pretty certain on my worst day, I never dressed this badly in my life! This was a man not prepared to wrestle! Taskmaster then starts whipping Arn and then Arn takes off the shirt and prepares to fight.

They both grab the strap in the ring. Arn gets control and whips away at Taskmaster. Arn tries choking him with the strap. Taskmaster straddles Arn with the strap, which I’m sure Arn was thrilled about. Taskmaster whips away at Arn and yells at him to “say it” as he beat on him. Arn low blows Taskmaster to get his revenge for the straddling him!

Arn chokes Taskmaster on the ropes and hangs him with the strap but Taskmaster says “hell no” refusing to submit. I was so confused as all of this went down. Taskmaster whips at Arn again to which my notes read: “What was this match?”

Finally Ric Flair jogs down to the ring. He puts an end to like three minutes of Arn and Taskmaster whipping each other with this strap. Ric tries to break it up and play peacemaker telling them to snap out of it. At the same time as he’s trying to play peacemaker, Flair goes off on a fan and says: “hey if I wanted to talk to you, I’ll take your wife and make a woman out of her!” I couldn’t believe my eyes and my ears. Clearly Ric Flair was not ready for this angle either! Ric goes crazy, vowing to destroy Hulkamania and take the belt and Liz. Arn and Taskmaster eventually shake hands as they make peace. Ric goes off on a fan some more and that’s how the match ended.

Nobody said “I respect you” as they shake hands and move on. There was no finish. This was the most bizarre 5 minutes or so I’ve seen on the WCW series so far. Like, even Hulk Hogan cutting a promo with a sword was not this bizarre!

I had to go for a walk somewhere after this angle went down so I was away from the PPV for an hour and came back. It then just felt like a completely different show!

 

Mean Gene did an interview with Jimmy Hart and The Giant. Jimmy said that Hogan has one eye and time is ticking on him before Hulkamania dies forever. The Giant said that today will be a day of reckoning. He had looked into the souls of men where maggots crawl. All that is bad and evil is inside him is like a volcano that is gonna erupt all over the arena and all over Hulk Hogan. The last thing that is going to go through Hogan’s mind is his fist. He said Hulkamania is done forever as The Giant roared and ran off.

What a promo! Even The Rock or Ric Flair could not make this promo work but The Giant in 1996 was so awesome with promo delivery. There are some things only The Big Show/The Giant could say and pull off and this was one of them. He cuts a promo about looking into the souls of men where maggots crawl and a volcano erupting all over Hulk Hogan and he is dead serious and menacing with his delivery! This made me excited about seeing The Giant later! The match however, did not!

 

Sting © and Lex Luger © vs “The Road Warriors”Animal and Hawk for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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This is going to sound like the biggest contradiction in this review, but I mentioned that it would have been better for Sting to get beat on for the heat and Lex Luger to get the hot tag to run wild, rather than Luger being the one being beat on. This match was determined to prove me wrong. This match was so terrible, that it is right up there with the infamously bad WCW tag title match at Fall Brawl.

We start with Lex Luger backing away from the Road Warriors as Sting tries to convince him to get down to the ring. They teased him walking out and then coming back into the match and… for like 3 minutes! This went on for 3 minutes before the match even started where Luger wouldn’t get into the ring and Sting had to tell him to get his ass on the apron. Now granted, it is possible that the Brian Pillman angle affected this match too so I will give them the benefit of the doubt. However, you couldn’t think of anything else to do with 3 minutes to kill?

The bell finally rings. Early on, Sting and Hawk screw up a neckbreaker. Hawk goes for a chin lock. Time passes as I grow older and older. Eventually Sting finally tags in Luger but Luger is hesitant but eventually gets into the ring. Luger and Animal eventually fight. Animal does a funny big boot where he doesn’t stand up and raise a boot – he raises it and falls down himself! It was like the Rocket Kick that Karl Anderson does!

Animal does a powerslam. Tony then decides now is the time to tell us that we are watching WCW at its best… incorrect! Luger and Hawk continue to fight. Sting does a back elbow but Sting inadvertently falls into Animal’s crotch for an accidental low blow. How this was not a DQ, even if unintentional, blows my mind. Especially I’m confused why this was not a disqualification, after they talked about throwing somebody over the top rope being a disqualification earlier! That is illegal but headbutting somebody in the groin is OK?

Luger made the tag but before he gets into the ring, Hawk goes over to the corner and beats his ass. Sting and Animal both get tagged back in and LOCK UP… 10 minutes into the match. After so much of the match of the Road Warriors getting the heat on Sting, they tag Luger and then Luger tagged Sting back into the match… and it’s BACK to the lock up!

Sting locks on the Scorpion Deathlock but Hawk flies in and doesn’t do a clothesline to break it up, no, he just clobbers Sting in the head to break it up.

As I was thinking that this was a boring match, Animal decides works on Sting with a chin lock! Luger stomps away at Animal.

The finish made me really hate this show for a while, especially after the Pillman stuff. Hawk attack Luger. Sting hits a suplex but Animal no-sells and then Sting no sells Animal’s suplex. After 10+ minutes of selling, they all decide not to sell as it breaks into a fatal four way brawl. Then the match is thrown out and the match ends in a count out. After this long boring match, it ended in a count out.

Remember on Nitro where they did this match and Luger and Sting actually won the match? They decided after that finish to do a rematch at the PPV, citing that the Road Warriors got screwed. They do this match and it ends without a finish as a brawl breaks out. Keep in mind, we watched about 10 minutes of long chin locks and the Road Warriors getting the heat on Sting. All of a sudden, they all get up and start brawling as if to tell you that what you just watched was a complete waste of time.

This is right up there with the WCW tag team title match at Fall Brawl. Why would you do a rematch that just ends in a count out? Surely the story should have been told in reverse. They have their match on Nitro and a brawl breaks out for whatever reason. Then, the Road Warriors are given a rematch at the PPV because they were never beaten and there was no finish. Road Warriors screw Harlem Heat because they hate Sting and Luger and want to prove they can beat them. Then at the PPV, Luger screws the Road Warriors and Luger and Sting get the victory. What was the point of the Nitro match if you’re just going to do a DQ at the PPV?

Furthermore, this did absolute noting for these tag team titles. You know, when I saw Sting and Luger winning the belts I was totally on board. I’ve watched for 23 episodes and 5 PPVs now where the titles are treat with such disregard. Taking the titles off Harlem Heat and Stevie Ray was a start. It played into the Sting and Luger storyline so I was on board. However, these tag team matches since that title change have been so horrible that I’m just begging for some team to beat them for the tag titles. Now more than ever do WCW need the Steiner Brothers back in the fold!

Match Rating: -*3/4

 

Ric Flair and Woman do an interview with Mean Gene. Woman says what Woman wants, Woman gets. Flair says Hogan’s master plot failed again. Flair said the plan to turn Anderson and Taskmaster against each other failed. Flair promises blood, sweat, tears and a title change. Mean Gene Okerlund, professional wrestling announcer, proceeds to asks Ric Flair if he wins, will there be a little ride on space mountain? My jaw dropped to the floor! Could you imagine the hysteria in 2019 if like some geek announcer asked a wrestler: “hey, are you planning to fuck someone after the match?” That’s basically what Mean Gene asked Ric Flair! Don’t look at me like that!

And of course Ric Flair, not known for subtlety, responds: “I’ll have Woman on my left and Elizabeth on my right, but who knows who I’ll end up with tonight!” I was blown away by the content from this exchange! Evil horror music plays as the cage comes down for the WCW World title match.

Mean Gene then interviews Miss Elizabeth. She looked NERVOUS as hell during this interview. Thankfully Randy Savage interrupts to make the save and cuts a promo. He talks about the Mega Powers reuniting. Savage said that it’s going to be mental insanity. He says the Mega Powers are cool and tight. Savage says he’s gonna beat up the Nature Boy right now!

They cut back to the announcers and I love Bobby Heenan’s gimmick of not facing the hard cam when it comes to the announcers and then Bobby trying to swivel his way around to the hard cam! Ever the showman!

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage © w/Miss Elizabeth vs Ric Flair w/Woman in a steel cage match for the WCW World Heayvweight Championship

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EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, I apologise for this picture. Very much the best picture I could find on Google!

I forgot to mention this earlier but Woman looked pretty great here too in matching purple gear to Flair. Both ladies going down to the ring looked gorgeous on this show. There was also some gorgeous wrestling here with this match. It was an old-school, classic fight inside of a steel cage for the world title. These men did everything they could and it was easily the best match on the show.

Ric grabs the mic before the match and said before he hurt Savage real bad, he’s gonna give Elizabeth one last chance to kiss a real man. Elizabeth can’t stop smiling out here while Ric is hitting on her by the way! Obviously, she was nervous and Elizabeth really just was not able to keep a straight face. However, when you read what happened in the finish of the match it made perfect sense for her to smile at Flair. She was supposed to be nervous as if she was hiding something, so she was perfect! Bobby said Elizabeth’s got so much lipstick on she looks like Ronald McDonald.

Savage rakes away and gouges at Flair to kick off the match. Savage goes for the cover and the ref is nowhere to be seen as he is closing the door. Flair drops the knee. Flair then punches out the referee and stomps at him as Savage fires back! Savage goes for a backslide but again, the referee is nowhere to be seen as he was knocked down by Flair. Savage does a backdrop.

Savage hits one of his clotheslines I think and goes for the cover. Ric kicks out as the referee, who mind you was punched in the face by Flair earlier in the match, does a normal count for Flair. As the referee still continues to be a professional after being attack, Bobby jokes: “come on ref. that was a fast count!” Bobby Heenan had a great night on this show! Everything about this little segment was perfect!

Flair goes to work with some chops and smashing Savage into the cage walls. Savage goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock but Flair continues to fight as Woman screams to urge Flair on. Flair grabs the ropes but the referee kicks the hand away. I also loved this too because grabbing the ropes did absolutely nothing in a steel cage match so the referee is abiding by the rules but also simultaneously sticking it to Flair for the punch from earlier!

This was a battle and a true fight inside of the steel cage. This had a big match feel and it felt like a world title match, like this was really important.

Savage goes to the TOP OF THE CAGE for the double axe handle but Flair punches him in mid-air. Surely a double axe handle from the TOP OF THE CAGE would be a very risky move if you were coming down on your legs. But somehow, Savage got up and was completely fine! Savage was SO lucky as an awkward landing could have easily ended his career. If he landed the wrong way, he could have broken his leg with that much pressure coming onto the mat but that didn’t stop the Macho Man!

Flair tried many many pinfalls after a suplex in a desperate attempt to win the match. Flair throws Savage into the cage wall and he landed motionless right on top of the top rope. It was rather funny how he landed!

I love how Flair puts on the Figure Four and now he goes to grab the rope leverage in a STEEL CAGE MATCH of all things! He tried to escape the Figure Four from Savage earlier by going for the ropes but was thwarted. Here, he locks on the hold and he does it again to his advantage!

Flair tries it again but Savage goes for a small package to counter this. Savage eventually gets back into the match, slamming Flair’s head into the cage wall and then grating his face into the cage wall. Tony even points out that Elizabeth is all quiet at ringside and Woman screaming her head off!

Savage keeps going with the steel cage slams as Woman screams as if King Kong grabbed a hold off her and climbed up to the top of the Empire State Building! Woman did some screaming during this match!

Flair goes to escape but Savage ends up pulling Flair’s trunks down to throw him off and then Flair gets crotched on the top rope. Flair’s bare arse gets crotched on the top rope which is even worse the more I think about it! Savage goes for the cover and Flair kicks out with a damn NEAR FALL off this spot! The time keeper even rang the bell thinking it was a 3 count!

Flair eventually gets back into it and tries again and Savage shows the crowd the full moon of Flair as all I could see was Ric Flair’s naked arse on my television! Savage throws Flair into the cage wall and like instinct, Flair gets his arse up the cage to try to escape! In one motion, he gets thrown into the cage and then immediately tries to escape!

Flair and Savage then goes blow for blow, scraping at each other as they cut to the wide shot. Flair sends Savage back into the cage off a back drop. Woman tries to throw powder into Savage’s face but Savage dodges.

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Then we get the finish. Miss Elizabeth goes for one of her shoes and she GIVES IT TO FLAIR! Savage goes for the roll up and then Flair clobbers Savage with the heel of the shoe as Flair wins his 13th WCW world title. Miss Elizabeth turned heel and sided with Ric Flair to help him win the title!

I thought this was really clever the way they pulled this heel turn off. First of all, yes they used Elizabeth’s heel as a weapon to win Ric the title! The insider reference is strong with that bit of irony. Poetically, a heel has to be what helps Ric beat Savage! I loved the nervous energy of Elizabeth, whether intentional or not, which played into the fact that she knew more than what she was letting on. Finally, I loved the match. Flair vs Savage has that Sting vs Flair feel where most times, you’re going to get great stuff from these two. I think the Starrcade match was the only bad match that we’ve seen from the pair so far!

Hulk Hogan chases off the heels after the match.

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

Then Hulk Hogan decided to scare the living daylights out of me during his interview with Mean Gene. The sound for this promo was so strange, probably by design, where Mean Gene’s mic is turned all the way down and Hogan’s mic was turned all the way. Mean Gene would just be very quiet and Hogan yells at the top of his lungs: “WELL YOU KNOW SOMETHING BROTHER?” It felt like a demon had possessed my TV! I’m prone to hyperbole but I could have sworn I saw the sound speaker proper vibrate! Hogan was so LOUD during this promo! Hogan was pissed at Miss Elizabeth as he hyped up his match with The Giant.

 

Hulk Hogan vs The Giant in a steel cage match

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Michael Buffer did the ring introductions for the two steel cage matches. For this match, he called The Giant, and I quote: “the dynamic dominator of the Dungeon of Doom!” He also billed that The Giant is the man who literally returned from the dead, which is factually correct in storyline! Michael then billed Hulk Hogan as THE KING OF HULKAMANIA! Michael Buffer… did not take this seriously at all with his ring introductions!

Hogan goes over the cage, rips off his shirt, with an eye patch over his injured eye and is ready to fight this nasty, smelly giant! Hogan fires away at The Giant and bites at him. He strangles The Giant with his tape as he doing everything he can to beat this evil Giant. The Giant works on Hogan, stomping on his hands and then powering him down with the test of strength.

The Giant raked at Hogan’s eyes as Bobby recommended Hogan keep an eye out for the Giant. Hogan tries to slam The Giant but The Giant was too big. The Giant chokes away at Hogan’s throat in the ring with his foot. The Giant tried to escape through the door but Hogan stopped him. The Giant does a big backbreaker.

The Giant does a bearhug and they cut to a close up shot of Giant grinning and vibrating as he locks on the bear hug! To say this looked suggestive is putting it mildly. Not quite at the level of the Yeti dry-humping Hulk Hogan but still did not look pretty which ever way you slice it. Then Hogan vibrates his body to try and fight out of the hold as Hogan finally punches his way out of it! All of that I just said during this paragraph happened!

The Giant does a sloppy chokeslam to put down Hogan and then Hogan fires up to his feet and no-sells this as Hogan hulks up! Hogan throws The Giant into the cage walls repeatedly. Hogan hyped up the crowd and then scoop slammed The Giant and did three leg drops in a row and sought to escape out of the cage. But then GIANT no sells the leg drops of doom and chases after Hogan! This put Ric Flair’s kick out from a few weeks ago to shame in terms of surviving Hulk Hogan’s leg drop.

They engage in a chop battle while scaling the cage. Hogan finally delivers one big punch and Giant falls to the mat, and Hogan climbs out of the cage to win. As a match, this was every Hulk Hogan vs Monster Heel type of match but it told a simple story. The Giant looked a little gassed and he worked very slowly but he didn’t look too out of his depth in there. He did the only match Hulk Hogan knows what to do and it was effective with this audience. This gets a thumbs up!

Taskmaster immediately hits Hogan in the back with a chair and then Hogan no-sells it and chases Taskmaster with the chair. He traps Taskmaster in the cage as Taskmaster and The Giant initially beg him off but then the heels figure out that it is two on one and get confident. Then that confidence immediately disappears…

The Faces of Fear, Shark, Hugh Morrus, One Man Gang and Zodiac all come out and Hogan slays them all with the chair and runs wild. As far as destroying a group’s credibility, Hulk Hogan did a number on the Dungeon of Doom. It wasn’t like Randy Savage, Sting or even the American Males were there with Hogan. Hulk Hogan, with a bad eye and after a gruelling match, destroyed all of the Dungeon of Doom members by himself!

Then coming down to the ring was… THE LOCH NESS MONSTER. This man was actually British wrestling legend Giant Haystacks, who actually did not stay in the wrestling for too long after this angle due to health problems and died a couple of years later after battling cancer. I did look it up and we will see the Loch Ness Monster in three Nitro matches and a PPV match but I will keep those matches to myself for now for the purposes for spoiling any of the storylines right now.

WCW, at this time, was clearly setting him up as Hogan’s next big opponent… literally. 

He tries to comes down to go after Hogan but the Dungeon hold back the Loch Ness Monster.

Match Rating: *

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That was the show. This review was 8000+ words long which feels like an all-time record. I’ll have to go through some of the other PPV matches to see which one was the longest but this was a hard one to find the time to write up. There was so much to talk about with the tag team matches, DDP vs Badd, Brian Pillman, the world title match and of course the main-event. There was some good stuff on this PPV but also accompanied by a fair amount of bad stuff and this felt like the first WCW PPV where it felt like a chore to watch it. With that being said though, the Randy Savage vs Ric Flair and the TV title match was worth watching this PPV for and I’d highly recommend those two matches if you’re looking to watch any matches from this PPV!

Back to Nitro reviews now where we have a new WCW World Champion once again. This is a spoiler but there’s a pretty infamous main-event set for the next PPV if a recall correctly so seeing the build for that will be something! We will see you with the Retro Express review of WCW Nitro Episode #24!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #22 (JANUARY 29TH 1996) – CRASH TV TAKES OVER, INCLUDING BOTCHES, “SHOOTING” AND RIC FLAIR BEATING HULK HOGAN

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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Three new champions were crowned on the last episode of WCW Nitro. Lex Luger and Sting, whose friendship with each other had been tested in the last few weeks, were able to capture the WCW Tag Team titles from Harlem Heat. Lex Luger took advantage of the fistful of dollars from Jimmy Hart and scored the tag titles for his team. Sting had no idea Luger cheated to win but was still happy that they were able to become tag team champions.

Randy Savage also won the increasingly hot-shot WCW World Heavyweight title. Arn Anderson’s interference backfired as Savage beat Ric Flair to regain the title Flair beat him for it at Starrcade. Hulk Hogan jumped in declaring his intentions to earn himself the number one contendership and his quest continued with a win over US Champion The One Man Gang in the main-event.

 

For 21 episodes and three PPVs, at its core, this was and has felt like an old-school rasslin’ show. We had old school personalities, a 1990s atmosphere, old-school wrestling abilities, larger than life personalities and everything you’d associate with when watching old school 1980s or 1990s wrestling. This was the episode where, all of a sudden, it felt like we slipped into an alternate reality.

It felt I was watching a completely different show to last week. Last week, I was disappointed with because it felt anti-climactic and uneventful. This week’s edition was certainly eventful and yet I doubt many people even remember what happened. It was the “crash tv” of professional wrestling at least 6 months before the New World Order bursts onto the scene. It wasn’t like there was any title changes but seemingly every match was noteworthy for varying reasons.

 

Date: January 29th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Canton, Ohio

Rating: 2.8

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

 

Eric Bischoff promoted this as the show started as “one of the biggest and most exciting Nitros in history.” Now in hindsight, this show didn’t have that affect but it felt like a show I’ll be remembering and referencing to for the next 6 months of this review. It was certainly a memorable show!

 

Hulk Hogan w/Elizabeth vs Ric Flair w/Jimmy Hart

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So after WEEKS of Hulk Hogan main-eventing Nitros with the likes of Meng and One Man Gang, suddenly he is in the opener with Ric Flair of all people? Ric Flair was the WCW World Heavyweight Champion a week ago and now he’s opening the show with Hogan.

Now granted, Flair was also in the opener of last week’s show defending the title but it just seemed like some weird trendy thing for WCW to try to put on the biggest match first. I know that’s kinda degrading Randy Savage, who was defending his world title later on against The Giant. But in terms of the scale of grandeur, a Giant vs Savage doesn’t compare to a Flair vs Hogan match.

The girls with Savage last week, as well as… MISS ELIZABETH, is with Hulk Hogan this week. I will say, the announcers had more energy and excitement about them for this match then all of WWE’s announcers combined in 2019.

Hulk Hogan pushes away Flair a few times from lock-up positions. Hogan no-sold the chops as Flair starts to wobble on his feet like me on a night out! Hogan runs wild and sends Flair to the outside with a clothesline over the top rope.

Hogan gets distracted with the referee Nick Patrick and Flair takes advantage with a chop block. Hogan doesn’t really sell the chop blocks as he wants to stay on his feet but instead, he just limps like he’s a 60 year old man with arthritis. Not a good look for supposedly the top superstar of WCW.

Hogan pushes Jimmy Hart into the barricade. Hogan punches away at Ric and even bites him. Hogan clotheslines Flair who lands on the apron. WWE always talked about the apron being the hardest part of the ring but yet Flair took bumps on the apron on a weekly basis on Nitro! Ric is kinda no-selling the gimmick brother!

Hogan pushes Flair off the top rope which I always loved. In Kayfabe, Ric Flair always believed that he will be totally OK when he goes up to the top rope. Even though he gets pushed off the top rope a million times, he must try it again at the one million and first attempt! He believes that he will always come off with a double axe handle or something but he is thwarted by the hero! Ric Flair was the best!

Jimmy chokes Hogan with something on the apron. I think it may have been Hogan’s bandana. Jimmy puts the boots to Hogan. Flair locks on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Hogan turns it over. Hogan reverses a suplex attempt into a suplex of his own. Flair did a backdrop. This match had an old-school feel to it and I actually liked the chemistry here between Hogan and Flair. Hulk Hogan was great at being Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair was great at being Ric Flair.

Hogan eventually Hulks Up and hits the Leg Drop. Jimmy Hart gets on the apron and gets knocked down. Arn Anderson gets down to the ring suited and booted and Hogan punches him down. Hogan goes for a cover. The referee Nick Patrick is out of position so he runs around the wrestlers to get to a cover where he can’t see the heels behind Flair. He runs around like he’s the Road Runner or something.

Arn and Jimmy abduct Elizabeth and take such a long time to take off her heels. They take her heels off and passes it to Flair but before this happens, Patrick does the count anyway off the Leg Drop as Hogan goes for the cover and then this forces Flair to kick out of the leg drop! I was absolutely god-smacked! I know like a bit time had passed from Hogan initially hitting the Leg Drop to Flair kicking out due to interference but Hogan’s Leg Drop was almost unbeatable back in the day. Flair kicking out was just insane to see.

Ric Flair hits Hogan with the heel and, even more mind-blowingly, Ric Flair pins Hulk Hogan. Ric Flair defeated Hulk Hogan. This had to have been a big deal at the time. Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan were like two polar opposites in terms of wins and losses. Flair had his moments but in general, as he was the heel, he was willing to put over just about any babyface. He even lost a few weeks in a row to Kenny Dykstra in 2007 for god’s sake. Hulk Hogan, on the other hand, barely lost to anyone. Even if he did lose to someone, the expectation was that he’d get his win back. Here, Flair just pinned Hogan like it was nothing!

 

WCW Saturday Night promoted Lex Luger vs Eddie Guerrero which I have a weird desire to watch! Eddie Guerrero would be cemented as one of the true all-time greats if he could get a good match out of Luger! I may have to watch this match to see if I am right!

 

“Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian vs “Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk

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With this match, I guess this means two things for Meng and The Barbarian. Number one, I guess this means that Meng is out of the Dungeon of Doom. Then again, I’m pretty sure he came out at the end of the show so who knows what’s going on. Unless The Barbarian is part of the Dungeon of Doom now as well, that might explain it. Also, I assume The Warlord is out of the company too as he was the Super Assassin with The Barbarian.

Fans are chanting LOD. Huge buffering problems at the start of this match for me but I powered on through. Speaking of powering on through. Animal runs wild and he did look good in this match. Animal hit some brilliant powerslams back in the day and he hit a good one here. Way better than Hawk’s who we’ll get to.

Hawk gets in the ring off the tag and Meng starts to beat the ever living crap out Hawk. Like it was such a huge gap in terms of the competencies between Meng and Hawk when they were in the ring together. Hawk also look like he was me on a night out but then all of a sudden fired up on Meng.

Bischoff, at this point, wants to talk about bringing in way more new talent than the competition. He wants to talk about this when I’m watching the Road Warriors in action! Can you imagine?

The Faces Of Fear get the heat on the Road Warriors, stomping away on Animal and then as the ref is distracted, Barbarian Irish-Whipped Animal into the barricade and rammed him into the ring post. Barbarian slammed Animal with a powerbomb which was rather dangerous but it looked like it went off without a hitch.

Botchery then ensues. The Barbarian goes for a top rope shoulder tackle and I think one of the lads shouted for a clothesline spot. This appeared to be lost in translation as Animal’s counter to Barbarian’s clothesline is to do his own clothesline! My belief is that somebody called for the clothesline, possibly Barbarian, and then Animal thought that maybe he wanted Animal to deliver the clothesline! He just walks into Barbarian and they both go down. Mongo said “it was like two rhinoceroses running into each other.” which was exactly the analogy I needed!

Hawk gets the hot tag. He runs wild. It’s very sloppy stuff but the fans were going nuts for the Road Warriors. Animal gets Barbarian in position for a Doomsday Device and I feared for Barbarian’s life! It looked legit like Barbarian was gonna fall on his head backwards. Thankfully Meng broke it up and Hawk was pushed face first into the mat.

Barbarian does a piledriver and then Barbarian tries another one! I think this was also screwed up because as Barbarian goes for the second one, Hawk flies in with a flying clothesline to break it up and get the win. So maybe they were waiting for Hawk during the first time so Barbarian said “screw it” and just did the piledriver!

Bischoff said: “I wonder what Lex Luger is thinking right now!” That actually is a great question if he watched this match! Very sloppy stuff from the Road Warriors and the Faces of Fear.

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So then things really got crazy. Mean Gene Okerlund does an interview with the “Dungeon of Doom” members Taskmaster and Hugh Morrus. Taskmaster said he made a pact with the Four Horseman and he thought Arn was a man of his word. Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman ran down to interrupt this. Taskmaster said he intends on Arn to deal with the “loose cannon” in Pilman. Arn said he would take care of Pillman. Arn lays into Pillman for not being around for Flair’s match. Arn said he’s a horsemen and if Pillman’s gonna act like a child, there’s a thing called tough love. In this case, it’ll hurt him more than it’s gonna hurt Arn. So as Arn gives Pillman this browbeating, he takes off his belt as Pillman gets to his knees begging for forgiveness! Arn Anderson was gonna whip this man with his belt as punishment for I guess not being at ringside to watch Flair win. He was gonna give this young lad a lashing which is kinda extreme!

Before he could do so, Taskmaster and Hugh Morrus jumped Arn. Pardon my French but then Taskmaster whipped the living shit out of Pillman with Arn’s belt while Pillman grabs the ring apron. This was Tommy Dreamer kendo stick levels of insane stuff right here, when Tommy asked for more kendo stick shots to the back. Pillman grabbed the apron and just allowed Taskmaster to whip him over and over.

Arn eventually hits a spinebuster on Morrus and saves Pillman. Arn says he now understands what Brian said. Arn said if we have a problem, we take care of it. Arn said he knows somebody from the executive committee is back there and unless they want a bloodbath in the locker room, they’ll give him Taskmaster! A bloodbath? What kind of show has this turned to where Arn is prepared to whip Brian Pillman and then raise hell backstage and bloody people up? Pillman said he knew he got Arn into it and he’ll get them out of it. Absolute crazy segment with these two teams. The Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom just completely imploded!

 

Madusa vs Sister Sherri

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If you thought that was bonkers, we’re just getting started. Sister Sherri is in the ring with Mean Gene, geared up for a match. They show Madusa and Sister Sherri brawling at Clash of Champions before Sherri’s big wedding with Col. Robert Parker. Mean Gene said he cannot believe the actions of this young lady Madusa but before he can go on any further, Gene looks up at Madusa on the top rope behind Sherri and says: “you know what forget about it!” Mean Gene flees for his life!

Madusa jumps on Sherri as the bell rings. Madusa kicks away at Sherri. Madusa Irish Whips Sherri over the steel steps. This was just a straight up brawl between these two women. Madusa suplexes Sherri. Sherri gets up right away and delivers a gut punch. Now was this some kinda shoot at this point? Sherri eats the suplex but then gets up and starts beating the crap out of Madusa. What was going on?

Madusa kicks away at the chest of Sherri and plants one on the top of her head. Sherri does the Jeff Hardy leg drop move to the crotch area of Madusa. Madusa throws Sherri off the top and Sherri reverses it into a small package for the win…the former WWF Women’s Champion Madusa is pinned in her first match on WCW Nitro.

Before we get into the post-match, there’s some explanation into this finish. Supposedly Dave Meltzer reported this story back in the day. Sister Sherri was apparently on thin ice with WCW. There was heat on her so Sherri got to the building for this show and decided not to lose to Madusa. You’d think having Madusa lose to Sherri this early into her WCW run would be crazy considering how she got into the promotion. Apparently Madusa was happy with this but wanted something to get her heat back. Sherri apparently was not expecting or ready for what was coming afterwards.

Madusa then proceeds to kick Sherri’s backside after the match. She destroys Sister Sherri with a German suplex. Sherri landed right on her head as Madusa hoisted her up in the air for this “shoot” German suplex. Madusa punches away at Sherri repeatedly, which Sherri is unable to sell as yes, the German Suplex knocked her out. She was knocked out by the German Suplex, she’s unmoving on the mat and then Madusa slams her head over and over and over and over and over and over again on the mat. Sherri was out cold and Madusa smacks her head into the mat. I was shrieking watching this go down. I shrieked at the German Suplex and I was covering my face as Madusa slammed her unconscious head into the mat.

The referees finally break this up. After what feels like a minute of Madusa beating up an unconscious Sherri they finally break it up. This was absolutely crazy. As a means to promote women’s wrestling in WCW, this barely did a thing other than knock out Sherri. It didn’t get Madusa over as she lost clean to SISTER SHERRI of all people. A complete mess and if Sherri is still in the company after this, like if she can even stomach working with this company after Madusa basically shot on her, I’d be stunned.

At this point, I realised I was not ready for this episode of Nitro.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) w/Miss Elizabeth and a group of other women vs The Giant for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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There was no match here as Savage attacked Giant with the belt before the match and then Savage tried to choke out Giant. Flair goes to ringside as the ref calls for the bell. Flair attacks Savage with a chair. Flair chops at Savage like a madman. This was a Ric Flair who was pissed off and angry at Randy Savage for beating him for the title. A real showcase of emotion from a man who lost a championship whereas nowadays in WWE, you’re not allowed to show any emotion after losing a championship in WWE.

Giant grabs Savage and suplexes him into the ring. Flair punches away at Savage. Giant hits big multiple backbreakers. Flair directs traffic and tells him to do a chokeslam and Giant obliges, delivering a chokeslam. Ref got bumped as well. Hulk Hogan, all bandaged up, finally makes the save. He smacks Giant with the chair twice and then delivers big chair shots to the heads of Morrus, Meng, One Man Gang as the fans goes nuts. The Giant is still on his feet as Zodiac begs Giant off.

Flair grabs a mic and joins the announce booth. Flair said that he beat Hogan twice, which he had done in the last month of WCW television., The Giant said he’s gonna take Hogan’s bones and take his breath, body and soul! He said: “they’re mine forever” and then cackled! Flair talks about his cage match with Savage I believe at SuperBrawl. He talks about two cage matches. It was hard to figure out what he was trying to say.  He goes absolute crazy at the booth. Heenan puts him over as Flair just goes absolute bonkers. And by bonkers, I mean going bonkers times 1000. This was Ric Flair going from Ric Flair mode to Ric Flair times 1000!

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Man, this was a crazy episode to say the least! We’ve went from old-school rasslin’ to crash TV within a blink of an eye. All of a sudden we just saw an increasing in shooting and botching and blading apparently and beatdowns. It was like a completely different wrestling show. I don’t think it was a particular good show. The tag match was a botch-fest and the women’s match was a giant mess that could have caused some serious injuries Hogan vs Flair was fine with a strange finish compared to your average Hulk Hogan match. We got some crazy stuff with the Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom and all I can think is that we’re gonna get all of this on a weekly basis in just under a year!

Anyway, we are on the road to SuperBrawl! Our next episode will be the first Nitro of February. I will also be reviewing two bonus matches from WCW Saturday Night believe it or not. I’ve tracked down the Lex Luger vs Eddie Guerrero match they’ve advertised and I’ve found One Man Gang vs Super Giant Ninja from Saturday Night early in January 1996. Super Giant Ninja was the former Yeti if you’ll recall and he worked One Man Gang. I must watch these matches!

Anyway, that’s the plan for the next review and I will see you all with bonus matches and my review of Episode #23 of WCW Nitro!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #21 (JANUARY 22ND 1996) – TWO TITLE CHANGES BUT HULK HOGAN IS STILL THE MAIN-EVENT

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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Attentions are turned to the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Ric Flair currently holds the gold but defended it last week against The Man Called Sting. The encounter ended when Lex Luger got himself involved in the match and “inadvertently” cost Sting the title so Ric Flair retained. Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were both eyeing up the title as well, with the Macho Man set to challenge for the World Title on Episode #21. However, Hogan felt that he should have had the title shot instead with evidence in Macho Man LOSING clean to Lex Luger last week. Savage still wanted to take his shot but despite being at odds, Savage still helped Hogan beat Meng in the main-event of Nitro.

 

Date: January 22nd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Las Vegas, Nevada

Rating: 2.7

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

 

The shows starts with Konnan who is, and I quote, the “Mexican Heavyweight Champion” interrupting the announcers. He cuts a promo on Psicosis, who he is facing at Clash of Champions. This was literally over in like 30 seconds. It also didn’t seem to matter considering Alundra Blayze did this exact same promo a month ago and this has so far led to nothing. I mean Konnan ends up becoming a main-stay in WCW but still… there’s little reason for me to care about the Mexican Heavyweight Champion being on Nitro.

 

Ric Flair (c) w/Jimmy Hart vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/a bunch of women for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Believe it or not, this match OPENED WCW Nitro. This match was like Savage and Flair’s title match the week before Starrcade as it was very good brawling on the most part. I think, in its self, that was a big part of the problem that it felt like a repeat. However, I think the finish played off really well here but had its underlining problems which we’ll get to later.

There was a massive line of beautiful women that came down to the ring before Macho Man came down to the ring. Funnily enough, supposedly one these girls was Linda Hogan and another one was in fact Woman… a.k.a Nancy Sullivan at the time I believe. In fact, during the match, Flair went up to Woman and tried to woo her but Woman slapped him and Flair has a tremendous sell as he crashes down to the floor!

Before Savage can make his entrance, Mean Gene Okerlund and Hulk Hogan cuts him off! All I can think is of all the times this journalist and friend can go up to Savage to ask this question, they both decide to do it RIGHT BEFORE his WCW World title match? I found that kinda hilarious.

Hogan wanted to wish Savage luck tonight but still wanted the first shot at the title. Yeah, Hulk Hogan is bargaining and asking for the first shot at a championship that Randy Savage hasn’t even won yet! Savage tells his lady friends to get down to the squared circle and let’s strip Flair of his belt.

Before we get into the match itself, they revealed a lot of big returns coming at Clash of Champions. They revealed that Miss Elizabeth would be accompanying Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan down to the ring for their match with Ric Flair and the Giant at Clash of Champions and the Road Warriors would be returning for a tag team match.

It’s actually astonishing how many old stars WCW were plugging and promoting for this Clash of Champions show. For a company that were bragging and boasting about how they were bringing in fresh new talent and they were the hottest wrestling promotion in the world. The reason I find that funny is because for a promotion so determined to boast about how great they are, they come off as panicky with this “plucking” of stars. Not from WWF, but just from old stars of the past. But hell, why would they have any reason to panic?

Savage and Ric brawl on the outside and then Savage hits a clothesline with his good arm and goes to work. His injured arm was still taped up. Flair cuts him off with a back elbow. Flair goes to work on the bad arm. Both men brawl on the outside which leads to Savage doing a back drop on the floor. Bischoff said they’re gonna go to a commercial break to which Savage gets on the top rope for the double axe handle. Bischoff goes “oh don’t do it!” and then Savage just misses, hits the metal barricade and then they go to commercial!

WCW promotes WCW Magazine during this commercial.

Savages does the punches in the corner. This was just a whole bunch of brawling and Flair and Savage were really good in that department so not a lot of complaints. This was a very old school scrappy match like the Savage vs Flair match from a month ago. Savage battles for the backslide.

Flair locks on the Figure Four Leg Lock and Savage screams in agony as Flair grabs the ropes for leverage. Eventually the referee Randy Anderson does the 5 count after he catches Flair in the act. Randy literally drags Flair off of Savage and pushes him backwards and he was not putting up with Flair’s shenanigans! This was great stuff from Randy and from Flair of course.

Savage delivers two double axe handles and goes for the elbow drop but Jimmy Hart gets on the apron. Arn gets on the apron too and he tries to use the brass knuckles but accidentally hits Flair. Hogan knocks down Arn. Savage hits the elbow drop for the win as the fans go CRAZY for this finish, absolute crazy, as the title changes hands. Randy Savage is once again the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

Hogan celebrates with Savage which was both poetic and really undermined Savage as the champion. There’s two reasons from a storyline point though why this title change was great.

  1. Arn has been cutting all of these promos in the last month about how keeping the title on Flair was the most important thing for the Four Horsemen and he buries the new guys for starting fires they don’t want. Yet in this scenario, HE’S the one responsible for costing Flair the title.
  2. At World War III, when Savage won the title, Hogan cut off his celebration and kicked off about the finish of that battle royal. Here, he’s all happy for his friend, despite feeling he should be the champion. He was happy for his friend Macho Man for winning the title and bringing home the gold to the good guys.

Then Savage got the mic and said “STOP THE MUSIC.” Mean Gene got in the ring. Savage said Hogan is celebrating like he won the title himself. Savage reminded Hogan that he won it and he is the WCW World Champion. Hogan congratulates Savage but reminds Savage that he Hulk Hogan helped him out, his best friend helped him out. Hogan said he’s coming for that belt. Hogan said he would do whatever it took for the Hulkamaniacs to him get to that position as fans boo Hogan! Savage said if Hogan beats him, Savage said he’s gonna shake his hands. Savage said when he beats Hogan, Hogan better shake his hands. They shook hands on it and celebrated after taking care of the world title business. Both of them were going OOOOOH YEEAAH and going crazy. A nice celebration.

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As good as a feel-good moment this title change was, I must discuss something. I’ve talked for years and years and years about hot-shotting titles. They are one of my most biggest wrestling pet-peeves, the lack of care taken to these titles that are supposed to be the cornerstone of these promotions. So many title changes which would further the title’s reputation. WWE does this ALL the time will literally all of their titles except for the top two titles. Every month, there’s a new United States Champion it seems or new RAW Tag Team Champions.

If this was WWE 2019, I’d be rightfully laying into them if they booked the world title like this. Here, for WCW 1996, I must do the same. When I started this series, I started from September 1995:

  1. Hulk Hogan was the original champion.
  2. The Giant “won” that title after winning a match via disqualification at Halloween Havoc in October because Jimmy Hart screwed with the contract.
  3. The title was vacated after this controversy on an episode of Nitro.
  4. Randy Savage won the title at World War III in a match where Hulk Hogan was never officially eliminated.
  5. Ric Flair won the title at Starrcade after shenanigans and interference from the Four Horsemen
  6. Randy Savage regained the title on this episode of Nitro after shenanigans and interference from Hulk Hogan, Arn Anderson and Jimmy Hart.

In every one of these episodes following Starrcade, they’ve promoted SuperBrawl and they try to promote how everybody wants to be the WCW Champion. If this title changes hands so frequently, nobody is gonna gain anything from holding this supposedly prestigious belt.

What did The Giant gain from winning this title? Other than having “the rub” of beating Hulk Hogan, did this get The Giant any more over? Not really. Did winning the title get Randy Savage more over, especially after 3 DQ finishes on Nitro episodes? Not really. Did winning the title get Ric Flair over? No. He’s at the exact same position as a main-eventer.

I understand sometimes backstage politics does influence all of this and, from what I’ve heard, this affected these title changes. Supposedly, Flair didn’t wanna drop the title clean to Hogan so they put the belt on Savage. However, none of that matters and has no real long term gain for anyone of these guys in the long term. Maybe you could argue that The Giant gained something long term but again, he’s still an afterthought after so many guys now.

Like, will this really do anything more for Savage for the time being? Not really. At least I don’t think so. I mean this hot-shot problem will eventually sort itself out shortly as spoiler… Hulk Hogan will win the WCW title. However, Hulk Hogan was already the biggest star on the show anyway. If the title is presented as anything less important than one particular individual, why should I care about who the champion is?

 

Dean Malenko vs Brian Pillman

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I hated not liking this match but at the very core, this was an OK cruiserweight match that really didn’t do anything for either of these men and it had a somewhat botched finish.

Dean Malenko tried early Texas Cloverleaf but Brian Pillman avoided it and escaped under the ropes. Pillman goes “I’m the shooter because I have a Full Metal Jacket”… that I loved considering the story of that film in particular with a guy going crazy while training for the army. Had some oddly fitting parallels to Pillman!

Pillman gets the heat early on but Malenko hits some big moves such as a brainbuster to get back into the match. Pillman hits a beautifully controlled tornado DDT but doesn’t go for the cover and gets cocky. Pillman chops away at Malenko but Malenko hits a Tiger Powerbomb for a 2 count. Pillman tries another Tornado DDT but Malenko pushes him off.

Malenko hits a great gutbuster and locks on the rolling kneebar but Pillman got the ropes. Malenko’s foot gets trapped in the ropes, Pillman covers Malenko and even with one of Malenko’s shoulders up, referee Nick Patrick still counts the pin. Patrick could easily see the foot but still counted the pin anyway.

 

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

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I’m pretty sure we had a situation like this before but of all the people to start of this match, it was Stevie Ray and Lex Luger? Sting and Booker could have put some good work in there to bring life into the match from the get-go but we had to see Stevie Ray and Lex Luger squaring off in this tag team title match?

As expected, both men were horrible. Stevie has some horrible clobbering blows to which Luger demonstrates some horrible selling to. Luger does a double clothesline and soon makes the hot tag to Sting. Sting runs wild with Stinger Splashes. Sting locks on the Scorpion Death Lock but the ref stops Luger from getting into the ring for some reason as Booker does a scissors kick to break it up as the ref is distracted. This axe kick bonks Sting right in the head for the heat.

The heat was not tremendous in the slightest but the heels getting the heat on Sting while Luger waits for the hot tag would at least be better than getting the heat on Luger while Sting waits for the hot tag. Booker got in the ring and delivered an arm lock, putting pressure on the Stinger. Sting fires away and breaks free but Booker drops Sting with a top rope face smash. Luger breaks up the pin.

Sting eventually finds a second wind but while the ref talks to Stevie for some reason, Booker drops Sting with a jawbreaker on the rope.

Fans go “LETS GO STING” as Stevie goes a bloody nerve hold and he couldn’t even do this move and sell the fact that it hurt. He just got on top of him and put his hand on his shoulder in a lazily fashion.

Sting gets his arm up at three when the referee checks out Sting. In fact, Sting actually sold this as if he was gassed and out of it so kudos to Sting with how he sold and he was a good seller in his own right. Harlem Heat does a poorly coordinated double gourdbuster.

Booker misses the Harlem Hangover. Sting eventually makes the tag to Luger. This was rather confusing. Luger goes to work. Then Jimmy Hart got on the apron, gave something to Luger and ran out like at the speed of the Flash. It’s weird because Luger gets back on the apron and all of the sudden, Sting is back in the ring! He’s in there as if the hot tag never happened! I wonder if Jimmy missed his queue so maybe Luger was like, “I gotta make the tag” and do something while Jimmy goes down to the ring. Because Luger is weirdly on the apron again and then Sting tags him back in.

Luger got the tag, used a fistful of dollars, knocked out the Harlem Heat member to score the pin and win the tag team titles. I can’t remember who Luger KO’d but either way, a second title change on the same night.

Luger celebrates like crazy as Sting doesn’t know at first whats going on. Luger goes “we won! “but Sting then just goes “yeah alright” and kinda doesn’t question it as they’re the tag team champions as the two celebrates. Very similar to the TV title rematch the night after World War III, where Kimberley and Johnny B Badd does something very similar to this. Either way, Lex Luger and Sting are the new WCW Tag Team Champions.

 

Hulk Hogan vs WCW United States Champion One Man Gang

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So to recap, Luger and Sting are contenders to the WCW tag team titles. Randy Savage is a contender to the WCW title. However, Hulk Hogan is not considered a title contender for the WCW US Championship despite having a match with him? Odd.

Hogan and One Man Gang start the match basically ballroom dancing around the ring with a lock up. It really didn’t look aggressive in the slightest. Hogan fights dirty in this match with pokes in the eye and biting at the One Man Gang. Hogan no sells a big body splash from the One Man Gang.

Hogan does three Irish Whips, big boots which doesn’t knock him down, slams him like he did with Andre and nobody cared, Hogan then did a leg drop and won. Basically that was the match.

I will say that Hogan decided on his own to test One Man Gang’s speed during this match, with Irish Whip after Irish Whip and One Man Gang ran and ran and by the end of the match he was goosed! I don’t know if Hogan was on a quest to expose the One Man Gang but he looks miles behind Hogan in terms of fitness which is a pretty bad thing!

Zodiac, Chris Benoit, Arn Anderson, Randy Savage, Pillman all come out. They all brawl. Zodiac backs away The Giant yet again as I guess Flair is trying to stop the Horsemen while Pillman tries to egg The Giant on.

Hogan says afterwards he’s gonna do everything he can to get to that #1 contender spot. Hogan talks about the secret weapon again which I guess was KEVIN GREENE who will also be there at Clash of Champions. I guess that’s who they were referencing to a few weeks ago when they talked about the secret weapon. Hogan talks about Miss Elizabeth. Savage simply said that Giant and Ric Flair were MEAT! I loved Hogan’s and Savage’s facial expressions as they both cut promos. I just love the larger than life aspects of these characters where they were just allowed to go absolute bonkers with their promos!

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There were moments I liked about this show but the whole show in general was just uneventful to me. Obviously, the two title changes were newsworthy! But I feel it would have felt more so if they weren’t so seemingly unimportant with Hulk Hogan’s position on the card. Luger and Sting winning the tag titles obviously advances that story but Hulk Hogan beating One Man Gang in a random match just seemed anti-climatic when Savage winning the title would be more climatic. Even if Sting and Luger won the titles as the main-event, the fans would go off the air wondering what is Sting going to think after that finish.

This show just didn’t do it for me this week. I will not be watching Clash of Champions so the next Nitro review will be for the show after Clash of Champions. If enough people do wish for me to review Clash of Champions I will consider it. Really the only noteworthy match for that show will be Hogan and Savage vs Flair and Giant. Looking at that card for that show, it doesn’t look like a show I’ll regret missing.

I will see you all again with the review of episode #22 of WCW Monday Nitro!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #20 (JANUARY 15TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN VS MENG MAIN EVENTS OVER A WCW WORLD TITLE MATCH

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 12th world title reign of Ric Flair is underway, with the Four Horsemen looking to keep the title on the Nature Boy as their top priority. Flair and Arn Anderson teamed up to face recent former champions Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in the tag team match main-event. Hogan and Savage picked up the win but the Four Horsemen’s planned post-match beatdown was cut-off by the Dungeon of Doom. The Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen, because of past comments by Brian Pillman, were now at odds at the end of the show as they brawled to close the show

 

Date: January 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Miami, Florida

Rating: 3.5

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

 

The show starts with the commentators running down the card as usual and they reveal that Ric Flair will defend the WCW World title against Sting tonight and then the winner would go on to defend the title against “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Keep that in mind when you read about what went down in the first match of the evening.

 

Lex Luger vs Randy Savage

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Nothing about this match really differed it from any other Lex Luger vs Randy Savage match we’ve seen in this series so far. The announcers even point out that Luger had apparently won 3 matches in a row against Savage so he’s got his number, as Luger has been saying in a number of promos against Savage. I remember Luger beating Savage at World War III and Savage’s title defence a month ago on Nitro, but I can’t remember the third match. Unless, it was a Saturday Night show which I haven’t watched. Either way, they make it clear that Luger has been getting the better of Savage.

Luger tried to bring a chair into the ring at the start of the match. He threw it to Savage but the ref intercepted him from Savage and then Luger went to work following Savage’s tussle with the referee. A dastardly move to gain the upper-hand.

Savage battered away at Luger, smacking Luger’s head on the steps. Savage dropped a double axe handle. Some fans were actually chanting “Luger”. I have no idea why but Luger was over on this episode.

Savage choked away at Luger. Luger dropped a few elbows at about 1% of the speed of Dolph Ziggler… which to be fair, isn’t a bad thing. When Ziggler throws 10 super fast elbow drops repeatedly, it makes everyone of those elbow drops seem so useless when the guy just kicks at one or two or whatever. Luger does a few big elbow drops and, because his arms are massive as he’s Lex Luger, they hurt the ribs of the Macho Man.

Savage eventually went for the Elbow drop and when I mean he went for the elbow drop, Macho got some freaking HEIGHT on this elbow. He jumped high in the air with like 3 seconds of hang-time before coming crashing down onto this target. But in this instance, Savage crashed onto the mat and then Luger locked on the Torture Rack and beat Randy Savage CLEAN with a submission.…. WOW.

So going into a WCW World title match next week, Savage gets beat clean in the middle by Luger. Of all of the people that WCW tried to protect with DQ finishes, the one time they have a clean finish is when the #1 contender for the world title loses clean to Luger the heel. Amazing.

As my notes read… Why should Savage get a title shot after this? This is actually a relevant note going into Savage’s promo with Hulk Hogan later on.

I will say, this clean victory did come off as a legitimate big victory for Lex Luger. At the very least, it benefited someone.

 

The Taskmaster and Hugh Morrus vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

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The match originally scheduled for this show was The Four Horsemen’s Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman facing off with The Dungeon of Doom’s Taskmaster and Hugh Morrus. Before anything went down though, the entirety of the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen came down together to the ring.

Bischoff said it was like something that came out of a Godfather movie. In the middle of all of this, I notice the One Man Gang is holding up the US title. Somehow, the title got switched from Kensuke Sasaki to the One Man Gang. At the very least, they put the title on a guy who is part of a big stable so at least it gives the Dungeon of Doom some credit. Mean Gene Okerlund got between the groups and interviewed them both. I loved this segment that followed.

Arn Anderson said that he and Taskmaster had a meeting of the minds. Arn reiterates that Ric Flair keeping the world title is the first order of business for the Horsemen. He said anything that gets in the way of business, they don’t want any part of it. Arn said there’s no winners and no financial gain, there’s only survivors from feuding with the Dungeon. Basically, he wants water under the bridge with the Dungeon.

Taskmaster, in response, puts over Flair as the 12 time world champion. He says no sports team can match that legacy. Apparently, Taskmaster agreed that the Horsemen will borrow “The Big Man” The Giant at Clash of Champions. It’s gonna be Hogan and Savage vs Giant and Ric Flair. Taskmaster agrees that there’s no winners and losers but Pillman, “this punk” as he called him, has gotta learn respect. Arn reminds the Taskmaster that they respect the Dungeon but they’re not afraid of them. Pillman starts to mouth off but Arn literally slaps the taste out of him.

Arn says “I TOLD YOU TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.” Arn said it’s treat like a business and it’ll always be about the business as fellow Horsemen Chris Benoit stares a whole at Arn Anderson. I love this storyline… the young guns acting on emotion and not on business and Arn is trying to straighten him and Benoit out before they starts fires they don’t want. He really is the enforcer and out of the everybody in the ring, Arn came off as the coolest guy in the ring that also included Ric Flair. I loved it.

 

 

“Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock vs “The American Males” Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Scotty Riggs

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This was the debut of ECW Alumni Public Enemy in a WCW ring. I never really watched the “real” ECW if you will from the 1990s. It might be something to do once this series is over. I never watched Public Enemy in ECW so maybe they were actually really good in an extreme environment. But in the confides of a wrestling match, they looked completely lost in this match.

The American Males run wild on Public Enemy from the get-go. Riggs tried a clothesline on one of the members of Public Enemy but the Public Enemy member struggled to get over the top rope to take this clothesline.

Bagwell does a diving crossbody and smacked one of the Public Enemy members right on the face. The announcers never went through the trouble of identifying which member was which so I was trying to guess which one was which during this match.

The fans chant “ECW” of course. Riggs did a sunset flip on Grunge for a 2 count. Bagwell run wilds in the ring for the hot tag. Bagwell runs wild on both members of Public Enemy as the fans boo. Grunge got the victory. It’s just the match where the American Males win on the Public Enemy for the entire match and then Public Enemy just got the win out of nowhere. I totally forgot to write down what the finish was, I do apologise. It didn’t matter anyway as this was a nothing, mess or a match to me. The important stuff came after the match.

Rocco kicks Bagwell’s ass after the match as the Enemy get the table and even stacks the tables on top of each other. Bagwell is put on top of the tables as Rocco did a swanton bomb to a huge reaction as Riggs is also down on the floor. The fans liked Public Enemy here but this was a mess of a match to me. It just looked so out of the blue in the middle of this wrestling show to see hardcore action, like with Sabu at around the start of this series. Remember when Sabu would just win a match and then beat up the loser afterwards for no reason?

 

Ric Flair (c) w/Jimmy Hart vs Sting for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Sting runs wild on Flair just like in any Flair vs Sting match. Sting hit Flair with a big suplerplex to which Flair acted like a fish out of water selling this move! It was pretty great.

Sting then tries a big splash to the floor, he gets high in the air, arms out, everything, and Flair just gets the knees up. You could tell these two men loved wrestling each other and they were so into their match with this energy and charisma they were they were demonstrating. It didn’t just come off like a routine thing.

Sting tries to attack Flair with a crossbody bouncing off the ropes but he crashed into the ropes. Sting locked on the sleeper but Ric reversed it into a back suplex. Sting fired back into the match with punches and eventually sent Flair crashing into the floor with Flair doing a vintage Flair flop.

Flair tried a Figure Four Leg Lock but Sting rolled it up for a near fall. Sting almost got Flair with a backslide. Sting tries a sunset slip but pulls down the trunks of Flair accidentally. What’s weird about doing this spot is that in 2017, Ric’s daughter aka Charlotte Flair did this exact same spot with Lana on an episode of SmackDown! Like the same spot where Lana accidentally pulls Charlotte’s gear down off when doing the same spot?

Jimmy Hart is yelling at Flair saying that he’s the man and all of that but yet didn’t warn Flair not to go to the top rope as he got pushed off by Sting!

Jimmy got on the apron as Luger came down to the ring. Luger got at Jimmy on the apron but Luger “accidentally” bumped Jimmy’s megaphone into Sting. Flair capitalised and locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock to retain the title. Hogan and Savage came down and cleared the ring Of Flair and Luger. Hogan and Savage tended to Sting in the ring.

 

Mean Gene talks to Hogan, Sting and Savage in the ring. Hogan talks about Luger and said that hopefully the sense has been knocked into Sting. Savage said from day one that you couldn’t trust Luger and he tells Sting to wake up. Hogan yells that Luger is the reason Sting lost that match. Sting said he didn’t remember what happened as he was knocked loopy so he went backstage to talk to Luger about it. Then Hogan and Savage start talking. Hogan brings up some legitimate good points that Savage lost to Luger tonight and Hogan said he should get a title shot… and he’s right. Hogan said he should be the champion which, if you look at the storyline, makes total sense. He didn’t even lose the title clean… The Giant screwed him out of the title with a disqualification at Halloween Havoc.

He was mad that Savage got a title shot for next week. Savage tells Hogan to back off and that he deserved the title shot. Savage says he’s gonna take that shot. Hogan said he’s on a roll… what chance does Savage have? Savage walks out and Hogan says “you can’t walk out on me like that brother, we’re friends.” I actually loved that. They’re friends at this point and Hogan saw Savage as a friend but this is about the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The biggest prize in WCW. That I liked.

 

 

Hulk Hogan vs Meng w/Taskmaster

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In case you were wondering, yes Hulk Hogan vs Meng main-evented this show over Sting vs Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Say what you will about Hulk Hogan being the biggest star but a regular Hulk Hogan vs Meng match main-eventing over a Sting vs Flair world title match is ridiculous.

Meng and Taskmaster both go to work on Hogan, with Taskmaster chopping at Hogan on the outside as Meng worked on him in the ring. Meng chokes at Hogan and yells like a wild beast… like a wild Samoan if you will!

Meng locks on the nerve hold as Hogan screams in agony! Meng misses a diving headbutt. Hogan fires hay-makers at Meng, punching away  at Meng. Hogan Hulks Up, hits the Big Boot and hits the Leg Drop. Savage stops Taskmaster from interfering, Hogan punches Taskmaster and then pins Meng.

That’s pretty much what happened in a lacklustre Nitro main-event.

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A disappointing Nitro this week. I really wasn’t enthralled by this at all with the exception of the Four Horsemen/Dungeon of Doom segment. A lot of questionable booking decisions such as beating Savage clean before his world title match next week, Meng vs Hulk Hogan main-eventing over a WCW World title match and Public Enemy getting beaten up for the entire match before winning out of nowhere in their debut match. I just wasn’t into this week.

I have no plans to watch the Clash of Champions show, which I believe is after next week’s Nitro. I may watch Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair and The Giant just for storyline purposes as that’s the big storyline right now. I’ll see how I feel.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed that review and stay tuned for my Episode #21 review featuring Randy Savage challenging Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order