RETRO EXPRESS: WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 (SEPTEMBER 15TH 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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Here we go again with WCW’s annual Fall Brawl PPV with the main-event dedicated to War Games! Only this time, the stakes were even higher with the threat of the New World Order. The nWo were going to step into the War Games structure against WCW represented by the likes of Lex Luger, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair.

The big mystery up in the air was the man called Sting. “Sting” appeared to have betrayed WCW and sided with nWo on Nitro and with a mystery fourth man on each team, where did the Stinger’s loyalties actually lie? Scott Hall promised a war when he first arrived in May 1996 and finally at last, the nWo and WCW were going to war!

 

Date: September 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Attendance: 11,300

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

The show started with a sweet video package hyping up the entire nWo storyline and anarchy that has transpired ever since Scott Hall arrived. This also included an angle on WCW Saturday Night as the Outsiders, Giant and Ted DiBiase smashed up Lex Luger’s car. The second nWo-related incident related to Lex Luger and cars! Remember when the nWo kicked Sting’s ass when they were at Luger’s car?

 

DDP vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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I think this was a decent match. I would not say this was a good match. There were too many botchy looking spots that took me out of the game a little bit. The match psychology was messed up too as Chavo did a 1000 moves during this match and got no reaction but DDP did very little in the match and got more over with every move he hit. Traditionally, the heel would get all the moves in during the “heat” of the match and the babyface would fire back whenever they could with big moves as the fans get more and more into them. This would then lead to the finish. Chavo did not strike me as a good babyface in peril. He just wanted to get in as many moves as he can and none of it go over with these fans.

Chavo ran wild early with some dropkicks and then a planacha to the outside. Chavo paid DDP back for when DDP whipped him with a belt on Nitro, by whipping him back with somebody’s belt… I have no idea where he got it from! Nick Patrick certainly wasn’t out there this time!

Chavo got a 2 count from a crossbody. Chavo worked on the arm. The main attraction of this match was two guys dressed as Razor Ramon and Ric Flair posing and coming down these steps right in the view of the hard camera. These fans were having a ball on their own despite all of Chavo’s efforts.

It was Chavo getting the better of DDP for a long time. Then DDP got stuck within the ropes, Chavo tried a dropkick but DDP somehow moved and Chavo was sent crashing through the ropes and to the floor.

DDP did one top rope clothesline for a gigantic pop. Like I mentioned, Chavo did move after move after move… to barely any reaction at all. DDP hit one big move and the place went nuts! This is because sometimes less is more. Every time DDP hit a big move, it got over with the crowd. Chavo just did a bunch of moves on after another and it was as effective as a sleeper hold in terms of getting the crowd into this match.

There was one move I loved where DDP got Chavo up for a back suplex and then just threw Chavo to the mat. He got him in the back drop position and because he was so tall compared to Chavo, pushed him and launched him across the mat to a big pop. It was more of a back throw than a back suplex!

DDP got Chavo’s head and Chavo was on his knees and, this is not mincing any words, DDP thrusted into Chavo’s head and yelled BANG, BANG, BANG as the crowd roared with laughter. There’s no ambiguity about what that was supposed to suggest. DDP had control of Chavo and just made him out to be a complete joke!

Chavo did a springboard crossbody as he finally got back into the match after DDP got the heat. Chavo did a top rope dropkick for a 2 count. Chavo barely did a head scissors from the top rope for another 2 count. DDP cut him off with an elbow and he got his feet on the rope but Chavo still kicked out.

DDP threw Chavo over the top rope into the second ring which caused ambiguity with the rules. If you threw a man over the top rope in WCW, that was traditionally a disqualification. However, this referee just continued the match because they were still technically in a ring. DDP was barely able to pull off a sidewalk slam with Chavo. Chavo tried a roll-up for a 2 count.

DDP hit a tremendous gutwrench powerbomb that was so great that it should have been the finish but Chavo kicked out which was a clear sign that they needed to take the match home. DDP got this memo and slammed Chavo with a Diamond Cutter for the victory. It’s so crazy how over DDP was here.

Match Rating: **3/4. Dave Meltzer gave this 3 and a half stars at the time for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter but I can’t got that high. Too many near-blown spots to award that high of a rating. However, this was still a decent match.

 

Harlem Heat, Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri were at the CompuServe centre with some geek as WCW plugged their CompuServe hotline thingy.

Mean Gene recapped the entire nWo storyline from Scott Hall’s first appearance and nearly every appearance since then. If you happened to not be watching WCW in the last few months, this was a tremendous summary of the entire story building up to this point and Mean Gene recapped it very well.

 

Scott Norton vs Ice Train w/Teddy Long in a submission match

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This match was “on like tree trunks” as Dusty put it. The referee had a microphone so this was like an I quit match or an “I respect you match” (please read this Superbrawl 1996 review to get this reference!).

Ice Train did a front slam to start off the match. Ice Train missed big splash and then Scott Norton planted him with a DDT. Norton struggled but was able to pull of a back suplex on the big man Ice Train. Ice Train hit a powerslam. Ice Train tried a camel clutch but it was transitioned somehow into a rest hold

Ice Train hit a big splash in the corner but Norton bounced back with a clothesline. Norton did an “code red” armbar similar to Teddy Long’s other client Sgt. Pittman. Teddy did have a towel and was considering throwing it in for his main man Ice Train but I guess the referee said only the man in the ring could give up. Therefore, towel throwing was I guess useless in this match.

Norton had this hold in for about a minute or so. It was on for a long time but Ice Train survived so Norton tried something else. Norton dropped Ice Train with a neckbreaker. Ice Train hit a scoop slam and tried his own Fujiwara Armbar like how Norton beat him at Hog Wild.

Ice Train tried a running senton but he ended up just flat out sitting on Norton for the impact!. It wasn’t like his back connected with Norton’s mid-section or shoulders. There’s no gentle way to put it but Ice Train’s arse connected with Norton’s mid-section. That can’t have been fun for Norton with this 315lbs man sitting on him.

Ice Train tried a splash but Norton got the knees up. Norton hit a big powerbomb and tried a Boston crab as Ice Train screamed with agony but refused to give. Norton gave up on this move too and tried the Fujiwara Armbar but Teddy got on the apron so he let go of the hold.

Norton then tried a submission where he stood over Ice Train and I guess put all of his weight on Ice Train. I don’t know what it was supposed to be. Norton finally got his hands on Teddy who got into the ring. Ice Train got Norton locked in a Full Nelson and lifted Norton up in the air and then he grounded him, with Norton tapping out… What was the point of the referee having a microphone if Norton just tapped out? That microphone didn’t play into the finish at all.

I thought this was a fine little battle and with the good guys finally getting the win over his dick of an old partner. Now Ice Train and his ex-partner can move onto different feuds. This was fine and a decent conclusion to the Ice Train vs Scott Norton storyline… assuming this is the end of the feud. I’ve been wrong before!

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Konnan © w/Jimmy Hart vs Juventud Guerrera for the Mexican Heavyweight Championship a.ka. AAA Americas Heavyweight Championship

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So I was able to answer my own question as to whether the Mexican Heavyweight Championship was a valid WCW Championship or not. It turns it was actually the AAA Americas Heavyweight Championship but I guess WCW was either too lazy or too possessive to call it that on television. It’s weird because WCW did do business with places like NJPW and AAA and mentioned them frequently and Mike Tenay joined the commentary team for this match, referring to AAA. However, they wouldn’t acknowledge this as an actual AAA title.

This match really turned things around, at least in my eyes, for Konnan. He was brought in as a traditional happy-go-lucky babyface and trying to be blue collar wrestler. He had some good matches but whenever he tried to be a high flyer it didn’t work and when trying to be a likeable babyface it didn’t work. So WCW brought in some new Mexican cruiserweights and so they turned Konnan into a gangsta heel. He showed a bit of character and charisma on the last episode of Nitro and here… it was like he was a totally different wrestler.

This was the best Konnan’s looked in a WCW ring so far and it was Konnan playing to his strengths as a powerhouse among the luchadors. He hit a lot of big moves that Juventud sold like crazy for and he came off as a legitimate star for what seems like the first time in his WCW career. However this was not the best night for Juventud Guerrera…

Juventud arrived on WCW and infamously cut one of the worst promos ever for his debut Monday Nitro promo where he couldn’t speak any English. Things didn’t start off well. Then he came down the isle for this title match. I’m watching Juvi come down to the ring. He was bouncing around as Mike Tenay was putting over this match. He talked about if a great little man can beat a great big man in Konnan. Juvi is all fired up, he turned around to point and pose to the camera while walking back. He turned back around and falls over the steel steps. I was reduced to tears. I had actually tears coming out of my eyes as I had to pause the show to control myself. This was unintentional comedy gold from WCW.

Not to mention, What a rib on Mike Tenay. This was his chance of glory in the announce booth to put over great intentional talent and Juvi screws it up by making himself look like a complete geek!

BOTCH RATING: *****

Then the match started, Juvi then tried to bump fists with the heel Konnan and Konnan kneed him in the gut, working him over with knees and punches. Could Juventud come off as a bigger geek than he did with his entrance and the opening fist bump attempt?

Konnan sent Juvi hurling over his shoulders with a complete flip off a German Suplex. Then this great big man Konnan picked up Juvi like he was a child and threw his arse over the top rope. We’d not seen stuff like this from Konnan before and he pulled it off on PPV and it blew people away in the crowd.

Juvi redeemed himself as he did a great triple jump into a “spin kick” for a 2 count. It was incredibly well done by the luchador. Juvi does a suicide dive to Konnan. Juvi dove off the steel guard rail and Konnan caught him and slammed him to the floor with a powerslam as he taunted with the crowd. When I say Konnan taunted with the crowd, he danced and celebrate like what a dude would do when Maury would say the words “you are not the father” as he clapped with the crowd and cheered. It was remarkable to see in 1996.

Konnan locked on an abdominal stretch on the ground to wear down the quicker man. Juvi tried a springboard but fell through the ropes and into the other ring. Juvi tried this headscissor spot into the ring again like he did with Joe Gomez. This spot increased by about 10% more with Konnan than with Joe Gomez but it didn’t really look good here.

Konnan did a throwing powerbomb from in between the rings into one of the other rings. Konnan did a heel hook of some kind for a long time. Juvi did an inadvertent springboard pele kick that appeared to be a moonsault attempt. Konnan did a big powerbomb to a big pop. Konnan did two rolling German Suplexs. Juvi then got up and just walked around the ring… doesn’t even sell these suplexes as he just walked around. It was a weird for about 90 seconds or so as I guess Juvi was trying to figure out what to do next for spots or was just upset by something in the match.

Juvi’s idea for a spot was that he started working on Konnan in the corner, he did a flip to his feet and Konnan just dropped him with a front dropkick…why did Juvi even bother with this flip? If the spot was gonna end with Konnan dropkicking him, why bother doing a cool flip if it didn’t even lead to anything?

They traded roll-ups for a number of 2 counts.  Juvi did a springboard corkscrew wheel kick for a 2 count. Konnan did one of the best looking wheel barrow suplexes I’ve ever seen. Konnan tried a cover near the ropes and the referee Nick Patrick refused to count the pin.

Juventud did a flip leg drop for a cover but Konnan this time was on the ropes so Juvi just kicked at him. Juvi did a 450 splash and looked like he landed right on the face of Konnan for the 2 count.

Juvi did a ballerina spin knee drop for a 2 count which is the best way to describe this spot. Konnan hit an alabama slam and a bridge for a near fall. Konnan did a nasty looking muscle buster for a 2 count. Konnan finally put Juvi away with a power drop for the clean victory.

A lot of the spots look really great. It was very sloppy but the right kind of sloppy. This was the best Konnan has looked. Some of this was the worst stuff of Juvi’s career but overall this was fun PPV match.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit

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Another excellent match. If you look at three of the last four matches Chris Benoit has had on PPV, they’ve all been excellent matches. He had the legendary falls count anywhere match with Taskmaster, he had an excellent match with Dean Malenko at Hog Wild and him and Jericho had a great battle here. This felt like a NJPW-style match where they worked a fight more than they worked a performance. Jericho was fighting for his life against the rabid wolverine and it produced some excellent wrestling.

Benoit got the heat at the start of the match and ironically did a Liontamer to Chris Jericho as Jericho wailed in agony. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Jericho reversed it and it led up to a Jericho wheel kick. Jericho caught the leg and did a dragon screw leg whip. Jericho did a springboard dropkick to floor Benoit.

Jericho tried a springboard senton similar to Darby Allin’s “coffin drop” and came so close to just crashing on the apron. I hope Jericho never tried that spot again as it was so silly and could have really screwed up his back if he landed awkwardly.

Jericho smashed Benoit with a naughty powerbomb for a 2 count. Jericho did a tiger suplex but Benoit’s feet landed on the ropes. Benoit and Jericho unloaded with chops and elbows at each other as the fans got more and more into the close-up brawling from both competitors. Benoit took a page out of DDP’s book when he did a back suplex with Jericho inside of the ring and he lifted him over the top and dropped him to the floor just like DDP did with Chavo earlier.

Benoit hit Jericho with the kitchen sink. Benoit and Jericho chopped at each other again and Jericho unloaded with some ridiculously hard slaps to the chest oFF Benoit. Stiff does not even begins to describe the hits being dished out by these Canadians.

Benoit locked onan abdominal stretch but Jericho got out of it with an arm drag. Benoit did a diving headbutt. Benoit tried a German suplex but Jericho clutched onto the ropes to avoid it. Jericho did a Northern Lights suplex himself.

Jericho and Benoit traded fists and slaps and this really felt like a fight. Benoit tried a tombstone but Jericho reversed it into one of his own in what has become such an overused spot in WCW, particularly with Benoit matches. Jericho did not got for the pin as he went for the Lionsault, but Benoit got out of it so Jericho smashed him with a clothesline.

Dusty said Jericho would be a big star in WCW. Bobby made an astonishing comment where he said: “if the right man got a hold of him, he would make him something”…. that man would turn out not to be WCW President ERIC BISCHOFF. Benoit eventually hit one final back suplex for the clean victory.

This was an awesome match. This really made Jericho out to be a big star, even in defeat, and they both laid it in and really showcased the type of wrestling that should be featured more in American wrestling. AEW has matches with big spots and fast-paced action, NXT and WWE have near falls and put on performances but we need to see more FIGHTS in American wrestling. These two put on a believable fight but were also able to put on wrestling clinics when given the tools to do so. This match is worthy watching back if you can.

Match Rating: ****

 

Rey Mysteiro Jr © vs Super Calo for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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If you want Lucha Libre and a bunch of cool looking Lucha Libre spots, this was the match for you. Not a lot of psychology but some of the bigger move were really well executed for this match.

Calo did a rolling Braun Strowman powerslam and some fan yelled “boring” early on in the match. Calo worked on the arm. Rey wrestled rings around Calo in the early stages and did a feint 619 to throw Calo off his game.

Calo hit a powerbomb bouncing off the top rope and then into the mat. I wrote a bunch of notes which all started with off “Calo did a…” as literally a lot of what Calo did was just move after move after move. There was little effort to slow the match down or add psychology. If you’re into that type of thing and just wanted to see the spots, I guess this was the stuff for you. I’m just gonna list off my next 8 notes of my review:

  • Calo did a top rope shoulder tackle
  • Calo did a top rope dropkick from the top rope
  • Calo did a scoop slam on the floor
  • Calo did a flip senton to the outside
  • Calo did a frankensteiner for a 2 count from a “deep cover”
  • Calo did a flying clothesline which Rey got turned inside out for
  • Calo locked on the abdominal stretch
  • Calo did a surfboard submission

Rey did a crossbody which I think was supposed to send Calo over the top rope. Rey was a little man so Calo did not go over so Rey grabbed him by his shirt and dragged Calo over the rope to complete the spot and then did a dive to the outside. At times, this match was really awkward.

They just did moves forever and nobody cared and soon as I wrote that in my notes, Rey did a springboard hurricanrana to the floor which got a big pop from the crowd. At the very least, Rey Mysterio WCW matches do an excellent job in making the really big moves count and get over more with the crowd which is what wrestling is all about.

Rey did a sunset flip for a 2 count. Rey did a springboard corkscrew and then tried another move but Calo dropped him with an electric chair drop. Rey did a Frankensteiner roll-up for a 2 count. Calo tried a front dropkick but landed right on his head. Rey did a fabulous spot where he did a double bounce springboard frankensteiner roll-up for the win. That spot was so sublime and I don’t want it say it saved the match, because the match was decent enough, but it really elevated it in my eyes.

That bumped this match up to a ***1/4 rating if anything.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

 

“Harlem Heat” Stevie Ray © and Booker T (c) w/Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I have not been enamoured with the Nasty Boys since the WCW review series started but this match, which I was not looking forward to going in, turned out to be a good tag team match. How many sloppy hardcore matches have we seen the Nasty Boys compete in during the last year of WCW television? This match saw them in there with Harlem Heat and it was the best wrestling match they’ve pulled out so far in the Nitro series. It was a legitimately sound wrestling match put together on pay-per-view. THAT’S ALL I COULD ASK FOR!

Stevie started with Sags and punched away with some horrible punches to Sags. Nasty Boys ran wild with clubbering blows as Dusty called them the master of clubbering. Knobbs laid in some fantastic forearms as he beat up Booker as he showed such ferocity. A weird spot saw Knobbs have one of the Harlem Heat members held in position for like 30 seconds before Sherri I guess remembered her spot and broke up whatever spot the Nasty Boys were going for.

Stevie hit an awesome look crane kick to Knobbs. Booker just got into the match without a tag when the referee’s back was turned… it’s funny because this was the new referee that only debuted two weeks ago! Sherri slapped Knobbs to which Knobbs raised his hands and growled like he was like Frankenstein’s monster chasing her! Then Booker cut him off with a double axe handle as her knight in shining armour! I don’t know why but I loved that spot!

Harlem Heat got the heat. Booker tried the Harlem Side Kick but Knobbs evaded as he landed on the ropes. Sags got the hot tag as he beat down Harlem Heat. Sags threw Sherri into the ring. Sags did a roll up over the body of Sherri in the ring on Booker for a 2 count which the fans bough as the actual finish. Sags hit a piledriver but Ray broke it up. Parker tripped Sags from the top rope but Stevie cut him off and “obliterated” Sags on the outside.

Booker hit a scissor kick as Sags rolled to the outside with Sherri getting kicks and slaps in alongside Parker. Sags sold this punishment like he was dead. His body was motionless as he lounged about on the apron. Sags floored both members of the Heat. Sags crawled over Booker to make the tag to Knobbs as he was itching to get back in the match.

Knobbs ran wild on Harlem Heat. Knobbs did a “Nasty Splash” but it was broken up. Booker and Knobbs were the legal men as Knobbs hit the splash and got the cover but as the referee was distracted. Sherri hit Knobbs with the cane as Harlem Heat capitalised and got the pinfall to retain the titles.

This was a a good match all things considered. The best Nasty Boys match I’ve seen so far in WCW.

Match Rating: **3/4… I’m feeling generous. It had more psychology than DDP vs Chavo so I thought about bumping it up to 3 stars but with some blown spots didn’t warrant the full 3 stars for me.

 

Mike Tenay interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Savage said he was gonna turn the universe upside down. Savage said he was evil necessity of WCW. Savage said he was gonna rip the out the black heart out from Hogan’s chest. Savage said he was gonna walk down that isle and he was gonna send a message to the nWo that the Macho Man would not be denied.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs The Giant in a grudge match

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In a weird twist, Giant came down to the Dungeon of Doom theme song initially and then it changed to the nWo theme song. Giant tried to enter the ring but Savage held the fort in the squared circle, kinda like what the nWo did to WCW 2 weeks ago when Giant turned on WCW.

Savage tried a scoop slam on the outside but Giant was too big. Giant slammed Savage into the ring. Giant clobbered Savage with a big clothesline. Giant got Savage up HIGH for a side walk slam but slammed him down on the knee for the backbreaker.

The fans stopped paying attention as they looked to the crowd. Bobby Heenan picked up on this but they are not sure what to make of this. Then the fans turned away so I’m guessing a fight broke out or something in the crowd. No nWo involvement… at this point.

Giant did a Boston crab and then followed that up with a bear hug. This match got boring for a long time. Savage tried what appeared to be a double axe handle but Giant caught him and slammed him down.

Giant went for a knee drop but Savage moved away from it and then Savage tried to chop him down by stomping on the wounded knee. He actually got Giant down with a top rope bulldog and went for the cover but Giant threw Savage in the air off of him for the kick out. Flashbacks to the ending of the 1993 Royal Rumble began for me!

After all of these months of Savage trying to scoop slam The Giant but The Giant being too big for him to do it, Savage finally hit a scoop slam to a thunderous pop. Savage is rocking and rolling but who should come out but Hollywood Hogan to distract Savage. Savage hit the elbow drop before turning his attention to Hogan and stalking him up the ramp.

Scott Hall tried to get a punch in that Savage ducked but Kevin Nash ended up hitting Savage with a chair. The nWo did a big beat down as Nick Patrick talked to The Giant for about a minute as the nWo do their thing and drag him back to the ring. Conveniently as soon as Savage is back into the ring, Patrick goes down to count the pin for Giant.

This was a pretty standard pay-per-view Giant match but it worked big time with the crowd. Savage losing to The Giant to build up Savage to fight Hollywood Hogan for the title at Halloween Havoc seemed like a really weird call. It is possible that Savage could find some way to beat Giant before he fights Hogan at Halloween Havoc. I wouldn’t have had Savage lose to Giaant as it’s not like Savage got his revenge at the end of the night either. Savage didn’t really seem like a strong contender when the smoke cleared after Fall Brawl.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mike Tenay interviewed “Team WCW” in Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Lex Luger. Flair yelled that the Horsemen was gonna kick ass. Arn said if you want something right do it yourself. During the promo, Sting interrupted. Luger claimed he’s been waiting 6 days for this confrontation with Sting… didn’t Luger say on Nitro he was gonna go to Sting’s house to kick his ass? He said he knew where Sting was so what exactly took Lex Luger so long to get to Sting in Venice Beach? To be fair to the storyline, at least the nWo destroying Luger’s car may explain how Luger was not able to drive to Venice Beach to proceed with kicking Sting’s ass!

Sting claimed it was not him on Monday that jumped Lex but Luger was sure it was him. He said he looked into Sting’s eyes on Nitro and knew it was him. Sting shrugged this off and said whether they believe him or not, he’ll see them out there. Flair called Luger a lean mean wrestling machine as they cut to the ring.

 

“Team WCW” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger and ????? vs “nWo” Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and ????? w/Ted DiBiase in a War Games match

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I’m going to start off the review with lines used from my Fall Brawl 1995 review a few years ago. War Games is such a simple concept that you can’t mess up. In 1996, it was Michael Buffer that explained the rules. One guy from each team starts the match and wrestles for five minutes. For every 2 minutes, another wrestler jumps in until all eight men were in the double cage and then the match cannot stop until someone submits or surrenders. EASY.

It is such a tragedy when you think that WCW was the company that created War Games and this was the company that was put out of business. How much money do you think WCW would have made each year if they were still in existence if these War Games continued as annual tradition year-after-year? TNA did their Lethal Lockdown but they never did it right. NXT has War Games but to me, it’s too spot-driven for me to really get invested in them like I do watching this old WCW War Games.

These matches were such a simple concept and had easy storylines for WCW to tell and this one, with the New World Order, it was elevated by the men in the ring and yes with the mystery of where Sting’s allegiances were. Everything that the New World Order did with “picking their spots” as Arn Anderson put it, Hollywood Hogan turning his back on everyone, Sting who had allegedly turned his back on everyone, the Four Horsemen who were in the first War Games 10 years before this, Lex Luger fighting for WCW and even Nick Patrick as the referee after all the shenanigans he’s put the entrie company through since Hog Wild. It all built to this where all of those storylines paid off.

I’m actually astonished that Nick Patrick was the senior referee if you look at the storyline. This is a match where WCW’s future is in jeopardy because of the nWo and the WCW Board of Directors or whoever was in charge assigned the referee who has had the storyline of being an incompetent referee. It is ridiculous that Patrick, in storyline, was able to referee this match but this was like his true testing ground as a referee as to where he stood during this conflict.

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Starting off the match for the nWo was Scott Hall and starting off for WCW was Arn Anderson. I’ve never ever mentioned this on the blog but Scott Hall delivered some of the greatest punches in the business and he delivered some excellent punches as he punched away at Arn. Arn fired back as Dusty cheered on and the announcers were in full support of WCW during this war. Bobby commanded Arn to “kick him like a dog”.

Arn chopped down Scott Hall and worked on the leg which made sense because Scott Hall was actually a tall dude, especially compared to Arn, so why not chop him down to size? I don’t remember what the spot was but Nick Patrick told Arn during the match that he could ring the bell right now, to which Dusty Rhodes, who invented War Games, screamed “no you can’t!”

Arn did a sleeper hold and wore down the big man. Arn hit a spinebuster to a big pop with less than one minute left as the nWo were revealed  by the announcers to have won the coin toss for the man advantage. The fans, of course, had no idea who won the coin toss so when Kevin Nash JOLTS down to the ring, the fans start to boo with dread. Jolt does not do Kevin Nash justice here. This was the fastest I’ve ever seen Nash move. I am prone to hyperbole and that line is somewhat cliche but Kevin Nash moved as fast as Usain Bolt coming down to save Scott Hall!

Arn ran wild on Nash but Hall simply held Arn as Nash laid in a big boot to lay the man out and get the heat. DONE. That was all Nash needed to do as the Outsiders beat down Arn for the next two minutes. This was the right type of match for guys like Hall and Nash where all they needed to do was deliver punches and brawl as this was war games. They didn’t need to out-wrestle Arn, they just beat up Arn for the next two minutes of the match. Arn got tossed into the cage as the Outsiders got the heat.

Lex Luger ran down early and ran in with 10 seconds left to spare on the clock. The announcers were OK as this was WAR! The nWo had jumped on WCW guys and “picked their spots” for months so now it was Lex’s turn! Luger ran wild on the Outsiders. He delivered a big forearm. Luger literally carried Hall around and drove him head first into the cage wall. Arn eventually recovered as all four men battled in a fair fight.

Hollywood Hogan ran down as the next nWo entrant to make things 3 for 2 as the fans boo and have dread as now the Hulkster is in. Then, in one of the greatest hope spots in wrestling history,  Luger and Arn immediately beat away at Hogan in the corner to a huge pop! They get the jump on Hogan and Hogan is briefly overwhelmed by the babyfaces but the Outsiders save his arse as we’re back to WCW being on the back-foot.

Hogan worked on Arn in one ring as the Outsiders beat up Luger in the other ring. The fans chant “WE WANT FLAIR” as Flair delivered with his entrance into the match. Ric hauled his arse down to the ring with the fans going crazy. Flair goes crazy himself as he called the nWo out to the second ring where it was just Flair on his own. Hogan took the bait as Hogan and Flair had a showdown. Hogan fired away but Flair fired back with punches. Flair whipped out the brass knuckles as hit Nash with a low blow and he kicks Hall down below as the fans roar with support. This is WAR GAMES! Do whatever you can to survive!

Flair locked Hogan in the Figure Four Leg Lock as Hogan is crying with agony. He has Hogan in this hold for a long time. Then it is time for the fourth man of the New World Order to come down to the cage… and it’s Sting. The announcers are devastated as there is no question now that Sting is with the nWo.

This Sting is not shown to be the excited Sting we all know and love as he is dressed exactly like Sting. However, “Sting” beat away at Luger and Arn in the cage and he actually wrestled like Sting. He did the bulldog like Sting. He did punches like Sting. “Sting” did the roar like him. It was at the point where he did the King Kong roar beating his chest which I think gave him away as the fans then chanted “WE WANT STING”.

Then the timer comes up for WCW’s final man. Hogan hits a big leg drop on Flair as the nWo took over with 30 seconds left. “Sting” does the Stinger Splashes to the WCW guys. The timer goes down to zero and the man who comes down for WCW… IS STING.

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The fans goes CRAZY as a second Sting appears in the ring to fight for WCW! Sting goes face to face with the nWo’s Sting as this impostor Sting froze as he is face to face with the real deal. The real Sting ran wild and cleaned house on the nWo. He beat their arse on his on. Sting does his own Stinger Splashes to everyone. Everyone in WCW just stops and watched and that is the key. The rest of WCW are doing nothing as Sting takes care of WCW on his own. Flair started to woo as the fans look in shock but then Sting just stops.

He leaves one cage. Sting walked up to Lex Luger and yells “is that good enough for you there? Is that proof?”. He tells Luger to stick it, calling back on Hogan’s big line from Bash at the Beach, and then he walked out on Team WCW.

This storyline is so brilliant and this was such a fabulous pay-off to what honestly feels like a year of story-telling, at least with Lex Luger and Sting. I’m gonna talk about the Nitro after Fall Brawl with the next post, where Sting talked about Lex. Sting brought up up that everybody had questioned Lex Luger over the past year but Sting trusted him because he was his friend. That is all true. I complained over and over about how much time they dedicated to this Sting/Luger angle from whenLuger arrived on the first episode Nitro. Even when Luger turned heel and joined the Dungeon of Doom, Sting was still his friend. That storyline mattered and was relevant to this storyline.

Sting mentioned that everyone doubted Lex except for Sting. In the one time where Sting’s name was dragged in the mud, Lex questioned him? He believed that Sting had betrayed WCW and Lex had apparently “looked into his eyes” and saw it was Sting? All Sting could think to say was “stick it” and that he should have trusted him. We’ll get more into that promo when we actually cover it for the blog. But anyway, it was so perfect and it made it even better that Sting was not the third man of the nWo as originally intended.

Bobby pleaded with Sting that he was sorry and WCW were sorry and begged him to please come back but Sting had left the building. nWo’s Sting locked on a scorpion deathlock on Luger as Hogan had a front face lock on to Luger. Nick Patrick said he gave up and called for the bell. Luger quit on WCW, his allies and the nWo had won. Because yes, if WCW had trusted Sting, they would have won War Games. This was because Sting was kicking their arses for about 1-2 minutes on his lonesome as the WCW guys just stood there. Without him and without trusting him, WCW had doomed themselves to failure.

I love how Patrick tried to raise the nWo’s hands but ended up raising both his own hands in celebration!

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Tony talked about if everyone trusted Sting, they would have won. The nWo continued the beat down as they stood tall. Luger crawled to the back as he yells STINGER! He continued to crawl as continued to yell STINGER as Hogan then delivered some shots to the back and punched away at the head. People nowadays would call this corny but to me, it was perfect. Luger was such a tremendous character in all of this. He made a mistake in not trusting Sting and he was begging for Sting to come back… but the Stinger did not.

Arn and Ric tried to make the save and Flair actually kicks arse for a while. Savage ran down and threw Hogan to the ring and had Hogan at his mercy. Hogan rolled back to the second ring and begged again like he had before. Then The Giant marched down and the nWo take control of Savage in the ring. Giant hit a big chokeslam.

Miss Elizabeth ran down to the ring as she pleads with Hogan as Hogan berates her. Elizabeth covers Savage to save him. Hogan does not care as he raised the spray-paint can and sprays painted Elizabeth’s back. Hogan yelled as Elizabeth and Giant barked at her. This was somewhat uncomfortable . Hogan yelled that these two losers and low lives made a sacred oath. He said they made an oath as until death does them part. He said the nWo would make that happen as he spat at Elizabeth. The nWo pose together in the ring. As a means to make you hate the nWo, this did the job tremendously.

Giant spray-painted something on Savage’s back. Giant calling himself a Michelangelo or Da Vinci which was kinda funny. He and Hogan said whether you like it or you don’t like it, it’s the best thing going today as Hogan spits at the camera. Giant goes “thanks for that movie role.” The nWo take over the booth as Hogan holds up a “nWo country” sign. Ted DiBiase talked about making demands and wanting them. They all posed as the show goes off the air.

Match Rating: ***

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EDITOR’S NOTE: It was not until finding the pictures for this blog where I noticed Nick Patrick’s facial expressions when the two Stings have a showdown!

I could talk about that War Games match all day and you’d think that would make this PPV essentially a one-match show? Well think again. This entire show was great throughout. We had awesome matches with the cruiserweights, Benoit vs Jericho, Konnan being great, we had great tag team action, decent submission matches and a decent opener. This really was one of the stronger WCW PPVs I’ve seen so far. This gets an easy two thumbs up and the story told during the War Games was one of the best stories ever told during a wrestling match. If anything, watch that War Games match.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #52 (SEPTEMBER 9TH 1996) – A MAN CALLED STING BETRAYS WCW AND JOINS THE NWO

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 numbers increased for the New World Order as two new members were revealed during last week’s episode of WCW Monday Nitro. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase was shown entering the nWo limousine as Sting and Lex Luger chased crooked referee Nick Patrick out of the building. Sting’s appropriate response would be to steal a police car and chase the nWo limo as it took off!

As Ted DiBiase left, the rest of the nWo arrived in Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. They beat up the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen until The Giant arrived and teased making the save. However, The Giant betrayed WCW and the Dungeon of Doom as he chokeslammed the Faces of Fear and joined up with the nWo. The Giant cut a promo at the end of the show saying that Ted DiBiase and the Hulkster offered him everything he ever wanted and Hogan bragged about how this was the best thing going today.

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We have now arrived at the go-home show for WCW Fall Brawl 1996. The main-event of that would be WCW vs nWo in a War Games match, in what would end up being a famous War Games match connected to what took place on this show.

A new trend is starting to form on WCW Monday Nitro which would set a bad precedent for future wrestling shows. The nWo storyline was done really, really well at this stage and everything that was a part of that storyline was obviously well-thought and executed. Eric Bischoff had his teeth tucked into this storyline featuring his main man Hollywood Hogan and the nWo. Just look at the number of nWo t-shirt commercials that aired during this Nitro for example.

The big angle coming from this show played into this storyline and it worked out, and it’s a good thing it did. Because without that storyline, this was one of the most bland wrestling shows you’ll ever see. We got a bunch of nothing matches across the board and non-finishes in the matches featuring the biggest stars. They showed hundreds of video packages to show us what happened last week and what happened DURING THIS SHOW and a whole bunch of interviews. All of this felt like filler that could have been used for something far more productive.

 

Date: September 9th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Columbus, Georgia

Rating: 3.7

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zybszko opened up the show as usual. Tony goes out of his way to make it clear that although The Giant joined the nWo last week, the fourth man for the nWo in the War Games match was still not yet known as The Giant was already booked to face “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Fall Brawl. So the storyline is being played up as to who the mystery man is. It feels like every Nitro since Scott Hall showed up has included a “who is the mystery man” storyline of some kind. Whether it was Hall’s “big surprise”, or who the third man was, orthe fourth man or the fifth man. Now it’s who will be the fourth man at War Games!

 

Pat Tanaka vs Super Calo

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One of the advantages of having a massive roster like WCW had was that after a few weeks of using the same guys on Nitro, random wrestlers would burst back onto the scene and would come off as so fresh to the crowd. Here, the opening match was PAT TANAKA VS SUPER CALO and it came off as so random to me! It’s not like it didn’t belong either, because Super Calo was challenging Rey Mysterio Jr. for the Cruiserweight title at Fall Brawl. I appreciate the company going out of its way to be different. Some times it’s good different, some times it’s bad different but they get an A for effort regardless!

What also took me off guard was Pat Tanaka’s music, which would end up becoming the theme song of one Bill Goldberg. I was about to call out the WWE Network for editing in Goldberg’s theme song for some reason but apparently, that’s what he came out to. It’s weird hearing that song without “GOLDBERG” chants accompanying it.

The match itself wasn’t particularly spectacular but it was certainly unique with its layout. You had two guys with complete different styles and they just did a bunch of cool spots, really trying to make the most out of their few minutes of fame they had on this episode of Nitro.

Tanaka took down Calo with a “reverse back kick”. Calo does a flying crossbody off the top rope and then a top rope shoulder tackle to follow that up. Calo took out Tanaka with a dive. They show “youngsters” outside in nWo shirts with packs of printed paper coming into the arena.

Tanaka does the Bray Wyatt crossbody to take out Calo for a 2 count. Calo tried a hurricanrana but Tanaka cut him off with a big powerbomb as the fans went “oooo” as even they felt the impact of this powerbomb. The finish saw Tanaka try a gutwrench suplex from the top rope but what happened was Calo somehow reversed it into a crossbody for the win without actually doing anything! It was weird but it weirdly worked where Calo and Tanaka just crashed down to the floor and Calo covered him. Again, I admire WCW trying out a new finish! This finish gets a thumbs up!

 

Rick Steiner was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund in a great segment. One of the things people remember about Rick’s brother Scott Steiner was Scott’s crazy promos and interviews that he’d do where he’d just went absolutely crazy. Rick didn’t quite hit what would be peak Scott Steiner when he was in TNA but Rick was out of his mind for this promo!

Last week, there was a tag team match where Lex Luger and Rick wrestled but they tumbled into referee Nick Patrick who called for the bell. This was at the very start of the match for those of you who don’t remember. During this interview, Rick yelled and claimed that he had Luger beat last week! He claimed to have Luger beat after the FIRST MOVE OF THE MATCH! Luger came in to interrupt Rick’s wild rantings! Luger put over Rick but Lex said he was focused and he was gonna be the Total Package. Rick squealed again about how he could beat Lex and I died. Squealed is actually the best way to describe this noise Rick Steiner was making. He sounded exactly like Scott when he was talking really fast during this promo and I just loved the delusion Rick had that he could beat Luger after they wrestled for roughly 10 seconds last week! This also gets a thumbs up!

 

They showed the first of a number of nWo announcements as they promoted the famous nWo shirts. Kevin Nash added that all proceeds would got to the Ric Flair retirement fund. These shirts never got old, ever. This look was such a classic and it looked so cool compared to what everyone else was doing at the time. If you look at a lot of WWE t-shirts nowadays or even AEW shirts, there’s a lot of effort being put into producing these shirts. WCW did it right with these shirts and eventually the Wolfpac shirts. It was a black shirt with the white nWo logo and it looked cool. I even own an nWo shirt myself and even a Bullet Club shirt which follows the same pattern. If you make it simple and stand out, anyone will want to buy it and it would look stylish. These shirts they had just aged really well.

 

WE HAVE BREAKING NEWS as GLACIER FINALLY DEBUTED AT WCW PRO! After 5 MONTHS of building up Glacier to bring Armageddon or whatever to WCW, Glacier arrived on the third or fourth ranked WCW show. He didn’t even show up on WCW Saturday Night. He showed up on WCW Pro, which I didn’t even know existed until I started watching these shows! His debut was that he did a bunch of “martial arts moves” but it honestly look like he was doing a dance in front of this live audience. He was doomed when it took him five months to arrive on WCW television but this debut was a serious let-down. I can only imagine what they’re gonna try to do with him in the next few months!

 

 

“The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rougeau and Carl Oulette vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags

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This was the WCW Monday Nitro debut of the Quebecers, Jacques Rougeau and future ROH World Heavyweight Champion Carl Oulette. To get over just how foreign this team was, The Amazing French Canadians started singing the Canadian national anthem as the Nasty Boys proceeded to kick their arses. 

Then the heels turned things around and then beat the Nasty Boys’ arses for the rest of the match and all the way until the finish. It was like a “Macho Man” Randy Savage WCW match, where Sags and Knobbs sold and sold until the finish when they won.

Jacques hit Sags with the Canadian flag to get the heat I guess. We broke away from this action to show Larry throwing away the flyers the nWo youngsters in the crowd were handing out with the flyers saying: “you haven’t seen bad… but it’s coming”.

Jacques scoop slammed the big man Carl onto Sags. The Amazing French Canadians did a sweet double team senton. Jacques held Carl on the top rope and then Carl did a flip and delivered the senton. The finish saw Knobbs grab the Canadian flag and hit Roulette and Sags got the pin. This match was so backward-assed booked. It was the weirdest heel/face dynamic from the Nasty Boys. They got their asses kicked clean in the middle against the Canadians and then used literally a “foreign weapon” and cheated to win… and they were babyfaces.

I may start to play a game each week for these reviews. Are the Nasty Boys babyfaces or heels on this show? This week, my vote is that they are babyfaces. They were going up against the foreigners who sang their own national anthem, they beat them and the fans cheered and then cut a promo about how they were not with the nWo. They cheated to win the match but the fans cheered when they did it. Nothing like American pride to get someone over as a babyface. Also in the Nasty Boys’ defence, the Amazing French Canadians used the flag as a weapon first so I guess that was just revenge!

ARE THE NASTY BOYS FACES OR HEELS?: FACES

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Nasty Boys. They discussed the Nasty Boys beating down Harlem Heat last week. Fans chanted for the NASTYS. Sags said everybody was pointing the finger at the Nasty Boys. Nasty Boys said the WCW tag team titles are all that concern the Nasty Boys which is with WCW. They only care about Harlem Heat and the tag titles. Brian said they couldn’t give two hells what the nWo does. He said they were WCW and they were coming to take the titles SUCKA. A decent promo to hype up Fall Brawl.

 

St Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long vs Scott Norton in a Hold vs. Hold match

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The loudest bell in the world sounded to kick off this match. This was effectively a submission match but they called it a “hold vs hold” match where I guess the man with the best hold won! This was to build up Ice Train vs Scott Norton in a SUBMISSION match at Fall Brawl. Teddy Long was also managing Ice Train alongside Pittman. 

Pittman ran wild for a while with a few head butts to the gut. Norton cut him off with a rake to the eyes and the arm breaker. Pittman Irish-Whipped Norton into the steel guard rail. Norton threw Pittman into the steel steps

Norton locked on the armbar as Teddy was I guess questioning whether Pittman wanted to give up. I was so confused by what was going on here. I think Pittman didn’t want to give up but Teddy was arguing with rferee Nick Patrick of all people to stop the match because of what Norton was doing. I mean there was nothing Patrick was doing wrong since Pittman hadn’t given up but I guess Teddy wanted Patrick to call off the match as Pittman was not going to give up.

The opportunity was taken out of their hands as Ice Train came down. More crooked than the refereeing by Nick Patrick was the fashion on display by Ice Train. as he seemingly came right out of a YMCA video. He had a fanny pack, black leather cap and a denim jacket. It’s actually amazing but if you put Ice Train against the outfits of Bobby Heenan or Tony Schiavonie from Hog Wild, Ice Train would probably lose against both men in the battle of who wore it better! Dusty Rhodes was another plane of bad but this was not a good look for Ice Train. 

Ice Train came down and threw in the towel for Pittman to save him. Norton and Ice Train went nose to nose as Pittman got hot at Ice Train… ironically. I do love how they showed the replay as part of the “Pepboys Power Pin of the Week” and the POWER PIN of the week was Norton’s submission hold that won him this match! The irony was running wild on this episode of Nitro!

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Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair. Flair asked Luger where Sting was. Luger said he knew what it was like to be a horsemen but he had no idea where Sting was. Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Chris Benoit showed up and they questioned Sting, saying that the “rat” has jumped the ship. Luger just said Stinger was not there for the interview but he would still be there.

I love how Sting not showing up for an interview was evidence enough for the Horsemen that Sting was not on their side! It’d be like when Conor McGregor would be late for a weigh-in show for example and whoever he was fighting then started claiming that he’d jump ship to Bellator or something! Like you’re that paranoid? He’s not there for an interview but there’s dozens of interviews on Nitro. Mean Gene talked to everybody during these shows INCLUDING THE RFEEREES! 

Actually, now that I think about it, remember when a few months ago Ric Flair was supposed to team with the Horsemen in the main-event against Sting, Luger and Savage and he no-showed the match? That was a show-long storyline that went nowhere too. Flair was randomly accused during that episode and now Flair is questioning Sting because he missed an interview! Ric Flair missed THE MAIN-EVENT OF NITRO on that show!

Luger confirmed Sting would be there. Arn said he expected to get hurt at War Games. Arn said Hogan lit the fire now it us gonna burn the nWo all to the ground. A very energetic promo from Team WCW heading into War Games.

 

Joe Gomez vs Juventud Guerrera

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I haven’t read the source of these rumours but supposedly this match got Joe Gomez put in the “doghouse” of WCW because of how it went down. I’m not sure if I can put the blame solely on Joe Gomez for this but this was such disastrous match which all fell apart at one spot near the end where they tried the dumbest spot imaginable which was even worse in execution. 

Juvi I guess was getting a Mexican title shot at Fall Brawl which Konnan currently held. I’m not even sure if it wa an official title because they’ve barely had Konnan come out with it on WCW television. Juvi did a springboard 450 Liger kick which is the best way I can think to describe this springboard kick. 

There was actually some decent spots during the match but this spot I’m about to talk about was so abysmal. Let me cut to the case. Juvi and Gomez are both standing on the apron on different sides of the ring. The planned spot was Juvi was going to springboard diagonally over to Gomez and do a hurricanrana to send him flying into the ring. This to me is a stupid spot although I get what they were going for. Maybe if they had two legitimate luchadors, this could have worked. However, they tried to do this spot with Juvi and non-luchador Joe Gomez and it didn’t work.

Juvi springboarded over to Gomez and tried a hurricanrana but he just crashed down to mat and Gomez tumbled over the rope to try and sell the move. It looked horrible. I blame this spot on Juvi personally because Juvi tried in one motion to flip Gomez over the top rope and expected Gomez to go over in time. Gomez was still trying to get himself in position for the spot and Juvi just flies away and hoped the spot was going to work out. Juvi appeared to be a wrestler that just worked at his own pace and if you couldn’t keep up with him, the match would just fall apart. That’s what happened here. 

Juvi did a springboard corkscrew apparently called the “hiro con plancha” for the win. Sloppy spots during the match really hurt this match and it didn’t really do favours for either wrestler. 

 

Mean Gene interviewed Nick Patrick yet again. We’ve had surely at least four weeks in a row of Mean Gene interviewing Nick Patrick after matches. Mean Gene asked about the DQ from the tag team match last week. Patrick claimed Luger deliberately hit him and he claimed this happening because of the lies Mean Gene has been spreading. Patrick claimed Sting and Luger should have been suspended. Mean Gene claimed there was too many incidents to suggest this is just a coincidence from Patrick. Patrick claimed to be WCW all of the way. Mean Gene talked about the cars and the new Rolex watches Patrick had and Patrick retorted about Gene being Mr Mercedes Benz. I like some of the banter between these two but I am over this storyline with Nick Patrick and I’m fairly certain that it is far from over….

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I talked about some of the angles from last week’s angles being absurd. Nothing on that show last week would have been as absurd as this. The nWo are in full force outside of the arena. This is not WCW’s fault obviously but it was raining outside for this episode of Nitro. We can’t control whatever weather God throws us at us. Fine.

However, Hollywood Hogan, The Giant, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall are all outside putting out flyers on the cars all decked out in nWo gear. The rain was POURING DOWN as they were doing all of this in tank tops, t-shirts and caps! There was no nWo branded jackets apparrently that they were wearing or there weren’t any coats they had. Ted DiBiase had a blue umbrella outside of the limo as he talked to some inside the limo and everyone else was outside in the miserable pouring rain putting flyers on the cars parked outside of the arena.

There’s so many things that is ridiculous about this scenario. Firstly, Ted DiBiase was revealed as a member of the nWo and it’s mentioned on this show that he is bankrolling the nWo. He’s bringing in all of this money for limos and time to promote their shirts and nWo announcements and yet the nWo felt the need to go outside in the rain to put these flyers on cars? Even if they felt it so strongly that this needed to happen to spread the word, it was already shown that they have “youngsters” that are handing out flyers IN THE ARENA FOR THEM but the nWo THEMSELVES are the ones outside in the wind and rain dishing out these flyers? 

Finally, let’s think about this. It’s pouring down with rain and it is windy. Your plan as a wrestling stable is to put pieces of papers on the cars and hope they don’t fly away because of the wind? Why the heck did you guys even bother? This was at the same time hilariously great and hilariously stupid at the same time! This is something that was straight out of Hulk Hogan’s MO so I don’t find it hard to believe that he thought this was gonna look cool for the nWo to do! It just looked ridiculous. 

 

Rick Steiner vs Lex Luger

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It was not Nick Patrick this time refereeing the match with Luger and Steiner. It was Randy Anderson.

There were a lot of headlocks, mat-based wrestling as Rick kept wrestling Luger down to the ground. Then for like 30 seconds, Rick stalked down Luger as Luger stayed grounded as Rick didn’t even touch him. I have no idea what was going on. It was like Rick was trying to wrestle himself while Luger stayed on the mat. There were no holds so Lex just kept laying on the ground.

For the time before the fireworks went off for the second hour, it was the most boring match in the world. Then the fireworks went off and Luger suddenly fired up and Luger did a flying forearm. All of a sudden, the match burst into life for the second hour! It felt like we had just turned the channel to an alternate reality of WCW Monday Nitro where the match was exciting!

Rick dropped Luger with a big belly to belly suplex for a 2 count as the fans started getting into the match. Luger eventually fired back and hit a “perfectly executed” powerslam to Rick. Luger went for the Torture Rack as Nick Patrick ran down to interrupt the match. Luger ran to the back with Patrick as Luger was then counted out. This was the second match of the show where a man went down to the ring to basically stop the match. Ice Train stopped Pittman’s match by throwing in the towel and Patrick did it here to grab Luger’s attention.

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Ted DiBiase was shown talking to who appeared to be Sting who was supposedly in the limo.  Lex Luger came out to confront DiBiase but then a man called Sting popped out of the limo and attacked Luger as he and the nWo jump Luger in the rain.

I don’t think I can properly describe this angle without revealing a Fall Brawl 1996 spoiler so if you want to watch that PPV without “spoilers” it may be best to watch that PPV and then come back to this review. You have been warned….

….this is a fake Sting. However, he proper looked like the real Sting. He was decked out to look exactly like Sting and in the Sting gear and it was almost like a complete double of Sting. Eric Bischoff screamed “nooooo” as the nWo and even Ted DiBiase got in a few shots. Luger eventually fired back and threw away the chauffer. There was two limousines out there as the nWo appeared to have vanished.

Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight and the technology we have in 2020, it would be easy for us nowadays to tell this was a fake Sting. This was 1996 where such technology did not exist. The fans could not prove to each other in heated debates whether this was the real Sting. They were people that were sure this was not the real Sting but there was always doubt and that’s the beauty of this angle. Any opportunity you have to “work the fans” and keep them guessing as to whether this was real or fake is an opportunity to take.

By the way, it can’t have been fun for Luger to get jumped IN HIS GEAR in the pouring rain as he’s rolling around in all of this water. 

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Now I mentioned that a lot of fans did figure out that this was not the real Sting but in the eyes of the WCW announcers and the WCW wrestlers, there was no question that Sting had betrayed them. Eric Bischoff was gobsmacked as he told Sting to stick it (a callback to when Hogan and Sting both used that line on each other), Heenan was in near tears as he shakes and the announcers were clearly shaken by the betrayal of the one constant in WCW in Sting.

Say what you will about WCW but they played this up as a legitimate turn. There was no questioning what Sting did. Sting was with the nWo in WCW’s eyes and there was no question as to whether this was a “fake” or what the deal was.

It’s funny, the fans were not shown anything of what happened backstage so 15 minutes of nothing happened for the live crowd as the last thing they saw was Luger walking out of a match! A lot of nothing happened on this show and the fans were booing throughout this show as Bischoff tried to play up the sombre atmosphere of Sting betraying them. A bunch of the wrestlers go outside to check one of the limos. 

 

Rey Mysterio Jr © vs Billy Kidman for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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One uncomfortable moment was where Mike Tenay called out WCW for not having leadership and Bischoff berated him for being a newcomer and calling out WCW for leadership! 

Rey sent Kidman over the top rope with a hurricanrana. Rey got cut off by a high dropkick from Kidman. Kidman did a Shawn Michaels-like top rope body splash for a 2 count.

Rey did a springboard flip senton to retain the cruiserweight title. This match was exactly 100 seconds long. I don’t have much of a review of it and that’s a shame considering this was Mysterio vs Kidman for the Cruiserweight title.

Bischoff sounded so defeated as he called this match

 

“The Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian w/Jimmy Hart vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock

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Dear god, the timing for matches on this show was all over the place. As discussed, Kidman and Mysterio got 100 seconds. Every other match except Luger vs Rick got about 3 minutes of time. Luger vs Rick Steiner got about 6-7 minutes before Luger walked out of a boring match. Then they gave 10 minutes to PUBLIC ENEMY VS THE FACES OF FEAR. What?

They all brawled as Barbarian and Rocco screwed up a moonsault spot in the ring. THE LEPRECHAUN ran down as chased way Jimmy Hart.

THEY CUT AWAY FROM THE MATCH to do an interview with Lex Luger, Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. This was not like a inset promo during a match. This covered up the whole screen as the babyfaces cry about Sting. Arn said he’s not disturbed that Luger lost a friend or that he himself lost ally. Arn said the only thing you could count on was Sting, even when WCW was previously bought out. Arn said he’s speechless but he wanted an answer. Luger talked about his best friend having stabbed him in the back. Luger yelled that he knew where Sting was and he knows where he lives and he’s gonna go find him. That actually tied into Giant’s betrayal last week. Remember when the Dungeon of Doom attacked Giant after the big turn to immediately get revenge? Luger’s friend Sting turned his back on him in his mind so Luger was going to find Sting where he lives and get his revenge!

Ric yelled that they were gonna go to war. Flair was literally losing his voice as he was yelling at about War Games. 

All of a sudden, the tag match turned into a crazy fight. Patrick was turning his attention to Grunge and Jimmy Hart yelling backstage and missed the cover initially from Meng. He did the count and it was 2 and a half so if Patrick was available at the scene, the Faces of Fear could have won the match right there. So again, they are playing into the Nick Patrick storyline… 

Grunge got the hot tag and tried to headbutt the Faces of Fear but it didn’t work as they no-sold it and roared. Bischoff quietly told Sting to stick it. I love how Bischoff was trying to play the tough guy but he told Sting to “stick it” like in a quiet tone because he was actually petrified of the guy.

Barbarian tried a big splash onto Rocco through the table but Rocco moved as Barbarian crashed through the table on his own. Another table was brought into the ring as Nick Patrick sternly warned him not to use it. Rocco did a top rope moonsault.

Rocco went for the cover but Meng sat up like he was the Undertaker and proceeded to beat Rocco’s arse from that position. He did the Tongan Death Grip turned into a four way brawl and then it was ruled a no contest. It honestly looked like they were legitimately fighting at one point! Patrick then awarded the match to Faces of Fear as he begged them off.

Someone called Meng “Haku” by mistake and Bischoff went on this big tirade apologising and saying he is no longer with the WWF and all that jazz. He was deathly afraid of a WWF lawsuits at this time.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the remnants of the Dungeon of Doom. Jimmy Hart yelled about everybody being in his face about him creating The Giant. Bubba called out Glacier again. All of a sudden, Konnan is now with the Dungeon of Doom. Konnan has transformed his gimmick into a gangsta-like character and he’s with the DUNGEON OF DOOM of all stables fighting alongside guys like Hugh Morrus and The Leprechaun.

Speaking of which, Konnan said he’s seen the best gang wars and led the best gang wars. He’s sick of them paying for nWo announcements and he said the toughest men are in the ring right now. Kevin Sullivan said for Savage, all he needed to do was take care of Tenta tonight and Giant at the PPV and the debt would be considered paid for the Dungeon of Doom as the Dungeon helped Savage to the back last week.

 

We got a nWo announcement. Ted DiBiase is now cutting promos alongside Nash, Hall and Hogan. I love how Ted was cutting a promo into a nWo exclusive microphone. Hall talked about it being nWo 4 life and they all laughed. Usual nWo shenanigans.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs John Tenta

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This was every Savage WCW match ever. Savage sold forever, he hit a double axe handle, and he would usually hit an elbow drop and win… this one had a bit of a twist.

Savage hit Tenta in the head with a chair and smacked him in the back with a chair with the DQ not being called for any of this. He did one last chair shot as he hit a double axe handle and hit an elbow drop and went for one more as Teddy Long came out to urge Savage to exit the ring.  Savage therefore did a big jump out of the ring as Teddy warned that “they’re back”.

Tenta is left in the ring as the referee throws the match out. Savage leaves just as the limo leaves. WCW guys are searching the limo. They find yellow paint like the used on Savage last week. They spray pain the limo in yellow.

 

Arn Anderson makes his way to the announce both. Arn yelled that the world was in shock and outraged but no one was hotter than the Horsemen. He said the whole thing started 10 years ago and we paved the way for Hogan. He said Hogan wanted to be a Horsemen but he just didn’t know how to. Arn said Hogan surrounded himself with thugs. Arn vowed to take Sting’s head off if he was the fourth man. Ric Flair took a headset and he said they were going to War Games and yelled at Hogan that he was not gonna leave War Games alive.

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I did not like this episode. The Sting stuff was good but besides from that, a whole bunch of nothing matches took place on this show. There were moments where all we got was segment after segment after segments and when were were down with all the segments, we had matches which were either squashes or had some shenanigans leading to the finish. Rey Mysterio vs Billy Kidman went 100 seconds. This was not an easy episode to watch and it wasn’t that exciting to me. Therefore, it’s gets a thumbs down. It’s saving grace is that it did get me excited to see what would happen in the main-event of WCW Fall Brawl.

 

We will be reviewing WCW Fall Brawl 1996 for our next Armbar Express blog post. As always, be sure to stay safe and follow the blog for further updates and further WCW Monday Nitro reviews as part of the Armbar Express’ Retro Express series!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #50 (AUGUST 26TH 1996) – TED DIBIASE AND CHRIS JERICHO DEBUT IN THE WACKIEST EPISODE OF NITRO SO FAR

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

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Last week saw the main-event of WCW Fall Brawl 1996 officially put together, where Sting and Lex Luger asked to team alongside Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to fight the New World Order in a war games match. Fellow Four Horsemen members Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael stepped aside to let Sting and Luger fight alongside Flair and Arn. The Giant and Randy Savage got into a heated brawl in the main-event of the show where Savage left to fight another day while Giant chased him.

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This was such a fun and wacky episode of WCW Nitro. This episode was by no means the greatest episode of WCW Nitro ever. However, this is what people think of when people think of WCW. There was a lot of good action which was interrupted by outsiders (literally), there were some all-time horrible wrestling finishes, a disqualification finish in the main-event, trash being thrown into the ring, horrible promos, Ric Flair going crazy during a promo, Nick Patrick’s heel tactics, overbooked finishes to protect everyone and goofy angles up and down the show. The weirdest thing was… I loved it.

The show was far from perfect but it felt like a fun show where they tried out things and there was a lot of new types of angles they tried. Some of it worked for me, some of it missed the mark but it all came off so interesting that I could not turn away. It’s the type of a train-wreck where you can’t help but stick around and continue to watch. This show was not necessarily a train-wreck but it was all kinds of wacky. I like things to be unpredictable and, with the exception of the main-event finish, this was unpredictable.

This was also a huge success in terms of ratings and it was the highest rated episode of WCW Monday Nitro up until this point. They had no competition from RAW this week but WCW really took advantage of being the only show around for the next two Monday nights.

 

Date: August 26th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Palmetto, Florida

Rating: 4.2

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

Billy Kidman vs Juventud Guerrera

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There were multiple notable debuts on this episode of WCW Monday Nitro and we kicked things off with the debut of Juventud Guerrera. This man would become a mainstay in WCW for the rest of their existance. However, they put Juventud in there with Kidman for a 3 minute match and it was a fun three minute match.

Kidman hit a pretty sweet looking powerslam at the start of the match and then ate a NASTY powerbomb from the apron onto the floor. This was a hard, HARD landing for such a small man at the time in Kidman.

If you’re a fan of springboard moves and dives, this match was the match for you. Juventud did a springboard leg drop to the floor. Juventud did a slick looking springboard corkscrew for a 2 count. Juventud was caught by Kidman for a powerbomb for a 2 count which got a good pop. I like that the springboards were eventually backfiring on this luchador. He was a great luchador and the early parts of the match showed that but he was wrestling in the US where the style had changed. Therefore, he had to adapt if he wanted to win.

Kidman did a springboard leg drop. Kidman reversed a suplex for a 2 count. Kidman set himself up on the top rope and the fans know a big move is coming as he goes up and hit a shooting star press. He hits this move and it gets a two count. It didn’t come off like a near fall. He just hit the move and Juventud kicked out like Kidman had just hit a scoop slam.

Juventud did a “victory roll reverse hurricanrana” for the victory as Tony described it. That was a sweet cruiserweight match. Every big move looked very slick and Kidman and Juventud were just as quick as each other so the chemistry was there. I very much enjoyed this. Fans booed the finish but the right man won I think. This gets a thumbs up.

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Juventud was then interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund. I tore into Konnan a few weeks ago for a promo he cut where he was a babyface and a heel at the same time, and I deemed it as a “Kalisto-like” promo (a reference to the infamous promo Kalisto cut in 2016 during the WWE draft). Compared to this promo, I was not giving Konnan enough credit for his mic skills. Juventud Guerrera, through no fault of his own, cut one of the worst promos I’ve ever heard on his debut for WCW.

I’m a huge fan of Mean Gene Okerlund and I have a Funko Pop Vinyl sitting at my desk at work. I’ve admired his work on Nitro so far but he had a horrible night at the office tonight. I don’t know if this was just Mean Gene being a character or what the deal was but he did not help Juventud out at all. Gene mentioned that he “no comprande” Spanish and Juventud does not speak English well at all but he was going to let Juventud try to cut a promo in English anyway. This was a recipe for disaster.

Mean Gene mentioned an injury of Psychosis that we apparently all knew about the injury of Pyschosis. I have no idea about it. This is the first time I’m hearing about it and it’s not like the announcers mentioned Psychosis’ injury on commentary. What was this all about? Guerrera then tried a promo in English but then roared in Mexican as the fans started to boo as they could not understand him.

One should not really boo a man for speaking a different language than them but why WCW even let Guerrera near a microphone at this time blew my mind. The man could barely speak English as Mean Gene said and he was not going to get himself over by just speaking in Spanish and then randomly yelling I’M THE GREATEST WRESTLER IN MEXICA.” The fans booed the hell out of this man. If it was Asuka yelling in Japanese in an intense manner for example, maybe it would work. But no, he just starts talking in Spanish and the American fans aren’t able to engage with him.

Juventud kept trying and trying and Mean Gene let this all happen until he just gave up and they cut to a break. A bigger train wreck than that Konnan promo from 2 weeks ago which I’m amazed was even possible. Konnan was Ric Flair compared to this promo by Juventud Guerrera which is a shame for Juvi.

 

“Powerful Males” Marcus Bagwell and Jim Powers w/Teddy Long vs “Dungeon of Doom” Taskmaster and Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart

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They mentioned Scotty Riggs was injured. I mean he wrestled a week ago so I find it hard to believe that was a work so Riggs was out and Jim Powers became a part of the American Males for one night at least!

They put over the Taskmaster as “one of the most dangerous men we’ve seen in this sport” according to Tony as they show a video package of Taskmaster doing the running knee to an opponent in a tree of woe, teasing the possibility that we may see it again. Well wouldn’t you know it, he did that move during this match!

Taskmaster and Powers fight with Larry commentating that Powers was FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE. A four way brawl broke out in the ring. The babyfaces somehow gain control. Bagwell’s offence is literally dropkicks and punches. Calling him a wrestler at this point is a bit of a stretch and I know we’ve discussed this before with Bagwell but there doesn’t appear to be any signs of improvement yet.

Bubba caught Bagwell and slammed him with a spinebuster-like drop. Bubba hooked Bagwell in the tree of woe and Taskmaster smashed into Bagwell with the running knee. Bubba hit the laziest looking shoulder tackle ever. It was like accidentally bumping into someone in the street and Bagwell sold this!

Powers got the tag and ran wild. He smashed all the heels with turnbuckle smashes including Jimmy Hart and the fans were going nuts for Powers as he takes it to the Dungeon of Doom. The dude was getting over. Powers hit a crossbody and got the pin and the fans actually went crazy for this huge upset! I was stunned and I figured this is a great way to get a guy over. It was a clean win and they got such a big pop for the babyfaces. Jim Powers can now slowly build a rapport with the crowd and maybe they can do something with the guy. But of course, this was WCW and they couldn’t even let Jim have this….

Referee NICK PATRICK restarted the match claiming that Bubba got the shoulder up, which was preposterous when they showed the replay of it. It was as clean of a pin as any! So Patrick decided that the match must go on. The heels takeover and Bubba hits a spinning side slam and gets the pin.

This was a big opportunity to get over some lower-card guys that was squandered and sacrificed for this stupid Nick Patrick storyline. Did WCW really have to go out of their way to protect Big Bubba during this tag team match? For one night, they could have got Jim Powers over and given him a big win but they took it away. Last week, Chavo actually got a clean win but DDP laid him out and a referee made the save. Why can’t the babyfaces have anything nice on this show?

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Mean Gene interviewed the Dungeon of Doom after the match. Bubba said he should be getting the title shots and the main-events and he was not gonna be looked over any more after tonight. Bubba then called out Glacier! Yeah, Glacier was this big character they were building up that was becoming a joke because he hadn’t even arrived yet and Bubba was calling him out! We had to protect Bubba so he could go onto feud with GLACIER.

Jimmy mentioned Glacier saying blood runs cold but when he arrived, the only one running would be him. Taskmaster questioned that Mean Gene was apparently spotted around Hogan’s place. Mean Gene said “did the man have hair” and Taskmaster responded: “yeah, he had bald hair!” I loved that exchange! Taskmaster talks about the nWo and Gene questioned him about greasing the pole with Patrick or something weird like that. Basically he was implying that Nick Patrick is just “the heel referee” of WCW now, not necessarily with the nWo but an ally to the heels in general.

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Mean Gene interviewed Sting and Luger backstage. I guess Mean Gene TELEPORTED to the backstage area to do this promo. I was watching WCW Nitro on the WWE Network so we didn’t get any adverts. Therefore, we cut from one Mean Gene interview in the ring to an interview backstage! Mean Gene was all over this show.

Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael had called out Luger and Sting for a tag team match for their spots in the War Games match. Luger said he accepted Mongo and Benoit’s challenge. Luger said they’re in the right frame of mind to kick some behind. Sting claimed the Horsemen wanted to “test” them which suggested that the Horsemen didn’t trust Luger and Sting and they were making a mistake.

Last week, Benoit and Mongo stepped aside to let Sting and Luger fight with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson but I guess they had a change of heart this week. This feels like a really sudden change in attitude from last week.

 

 

Mike Enos vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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Having looked back in my notes, I still can’t believe they did this match. You could tell that there was no competition from RAW in the first hour because in the middle of this Monday Night Wars, they did Mike Enos vs Chavo Guerrero Jr! What a star-studded match with a noteworthy finish!

They already had Hollywood Hogan booked to defend the WCW title at Halloween Havoc in October against “Macho Man” Randy Savage. That is some serious long-term booking right there with Fall Brawl already a few weeks away.

Enos caught Chavo coming from the top rope and hit a fallaway slam. This was basically Mike Enos playing the big-man role like DDP last week. Enos was basically The Giant as he carried Chavo in like a powerslam position and threw him back into the ring.

Enos did a backbreaker and Chavo was slipping off like he was slipping down a greasy pole. He barely had him in position as he was sliding all over the place while draped over his knee. It didn’t look like Enos was applying a hold at all. Konnan was in the audience and looked SOUND ASLEEP as he was wearing sunglasses and appeared to be in a lawn chair or something.

Enos hit a powerslam, Enos hit a northern light suplex. Enos was just doing moves forever on Chavo and nobody cared. He tried a powerbomb and Chavo just fell down on him and landed on Enos’ ankle. Chavo locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock but Randy Anderson gog knocked down.

What happened next has to be a contender or the leading contender to being the dumbest finish to a match in the history of WCW matches. The referee was down and Dirty Dick Slater, who is in a towel and has his head covered in this towel, his an elbow drop and broke up the Figure Four Leg Lock. Dick threw Enos to the outside. I want to stress to everybody that Dick had a full head of long hair and Enos has a short haircut. KEEP THAT IN MIND when I explain what the spot was they attempted.

Dick put the towel over Enos’ head and Dick went back in the ring as Dick started wrestling with Chavo. Yes… Rough and Ready’s Dick Slater and Mike Enos tried “twin magic” on WCW Monday Nitro. The signature move that would become the trademark spot for the Bella Twins, who is ironically being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year if they still do it, which those girls could pull off BECAUSE THEY LOOKED ALIKE. Slater and Enos looked nothing alike during this match!

Dick hit the swinging neckbreaker and he goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock and Chavo reversed it for a roll-up and the ref counted the pin. Dick popped up with this full bush of hair right in front of the referee and the decision just stood as Rough and Ready are frustrated in the ring.

Tony then talked about the team were gonna complain that the wrong man was in the ring which they had every right to do… THE WRONG MAN WAS IN THE RING. We just saw a referee restart a match for the hell of it so Randy Anderson could have noticed the wrong man was in the ring and restarted the match. That is apparently in his powers as a WCW referee and he stood there and did nothing. He could have called for a disqualification at least but… this is the dumbest finish I’ve ever seen.

They tried the twin magic spot with two men who clearly looked NOTHING LIKE EACH OTHER and it backfired to such a monstrous proportion. This was a HUGE THUMBS DOWN.

Mean Gene interviewed Chavo where Chavo just yelled rapidly about DDP. Chavo cut a promo about DDP not accepting losing to Eddie and someone had to teach him how to lose with respect. He said when someone messes with one Guerrero, they mess with all of us as the fans boo. The format was talk really fast, yell and talk about the Guerrero family. Welcome to what would be the template for every Chavo Guerrero promo for the next 20 years of his career.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs J.L. for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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I don’t know how this was possible but they brought out the WCW Cruiserweight Champion for a title match on Nitro and they found away to turn it into the slowest match of the show. They did give them a lot of it but a lot of it didn’t really matter when we see what happened during it.

Tony claimed J.L. was very mysterious but he could confirm he was not from Mexico! I mean he can’t have been that mysterious can he if Tony has already deduced that he was at least not from Mexico!

I do kinda like the spot of J.L. trying to bounce off the ropes with the headlock but Rey just let his body collapse to the mat to stopping JL’s momentum. It’s like if you’re trying to get your toddler up from the floor but he collapses to the floor because he doesn’t wanna stand up! It’s great because trying to move someone who doesn’t wanna move is difficult! This made sense

THEN THEY CUT TO nWo shenanigans…

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Hollywood Hogan is with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. They take a cameraperson to the video production truck where they spray paint nWo 4 LIFE on the side of this truck. Hogan asked if they thought “they” would get the message. I love how one of the Outsiders have spray paint that wasn’t particularly any good. The reason I say this is because someone wrote nWo in black and it looked like it was going to fade. Just to be sure that it could be seen, because the spray paint wasn’t that strong, Hogan does spray paint over spray paint over the faded-looking nWo spray paint. I wrote down that it was Nash that did the weak spray paint but I don’t remember if that’s right. Hogan bragged that this was gonna wake them up. Rey did a camel clutch as they cut to a break.

Obviously, the nWo was such a popular act at the time but this was another silly angle where they really did not come off as cool at all. You cut away from this title match to show a bunch of GROWN ASS ADULTS acting like teenagers as they did graffiti on the side of a production truck? This was lame.

It worked in getting the nWo HEAT, at least from me!, because they came off as such dorks to me and they interrupted the cruiserweights in action but they ended up coming off as the coolest things on the show for a lot of people. It’s surreal.

Dean Malenko came down to watch the match and emotionless doesn’t do Malenko’s expression justice. This is the closest one man can look to being sleep if that man was stood up and his eyes were open.

J.L. and Rey did weird spots where they each got on all fours and waited for the other man to do a move. J.L. did it and went down on all fours, and Rey grapples him on the ground! Rey then goes on all fours… and J.L. just kicks him! These were the stupidest spots! Why were both men going down to allow the other man to do a move on them? This was void of logic.

J.L. hit a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count. Mysterio reversed an attempt at a second one with a roll-up for a 2 count. The commentators even compared Hogan and the nWo to a bunch of kids. J.L. locked on a Boston crab and Rey sold this by flat out saying “ow my back”. J.L. just got the heat forever and it sucked the life out of this match. I mean they were interrupted by the nWo so maybe they just half-arsed it because they knew the nWo and fireworks would interrupt them.

Speaking of which, the fireworks literally just went off in the middle of the match. Rey did a sweet diving hurricanrana from the steel steps. Rey then almost spiked himself with a West Coast Pop and picked up the win. Rey called out Dean for a match right now and then celebrated with the crowd.

The match wasn’t bad but if you look at the the first three matches of the show. We got three short matches which were 3-4 minutes each. You put the cruiserweights out there and have them wrestle for 15 minutes as J.L. is slowing it down, the people are just gonna zone out. If it was the opening match on the show and if the nWo didn’t show up, maybe it could have been a good way to open the show. Here, the placement of this type of match was not right after three short matches.

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Mean Gene did ANOTHER INTERVIEW this time with Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael who were accompanied by Elizabeth, Woman and Debra McMichael. Mongo said he’s here for the match they demanded. They wanted to prove to WCW and the good guys they were ready for War Games. Benoit said they didn’t relinquish their spot as it was a decision made by the Horsemen. I know they were heels so it doesn’t really matter but Ric Flair flat out said it’s up to Benoit and Mongo about whether they would give up the spots last week! He had that much faith in the Horsemen that he left it to Mongo and Benoit to decide whether they would abdicate the spots or not. As mentioned earlier, this felt like a completely random 180 by Mongo and Benoit. Benoit said tonight was about security but it was not about security for the Horsemen but for WCW.

They recapped Hogan’s chair shot to “Macho Man” Randy Savage from 2 weeks ago and then Savage’s promo from last week. By the way I did not exaggerate this last week, Savage did say he had 15,000 stitches in his head last week when he was cutting his promo on Hogan! They also showed Savage and Giant’s fight from last week. I still can’t get over that big leap over the top rope from the Giant last week. He jumped CLEAN over the top rope in such a fabulous manner for a big man!

Mean Gene interviewed Savage. Savage said it’s for all the marbles. Savage said he’s only got one marble in his head but it’ll be the scariest match in history at Halloween Havoc against Hogan. Savage said he’s in the zone as he was shown to be super intense with this promo. He was a man of little words as he said he was gonna kick Hogan and Giant’s asses and then he stormed off.

 

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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Duggan walked right through fireworks for his entrance which seemed rather dangerous! It’s funny Bischoff said The Giant could be the man who decides the balance of power, which is a very interesting choice of words when you see where this nWo storyline goes…

Jimmy grabbed the leg of Duggan. Duggan chased him and Duggan threw Jimmy’s jacket at Giant and fired away with punches.

God bless The Giant but he did a running charge into the ring post. He didn’t just run into this ring post and kinda control the impact a little bit better. He ran and shoulder barged into it and smashes his arm right into the post! That looked so nasty and I hope The Giant learned to never do that again. It looked nasty, even for The Giant.

Giant did a bear hug as Eric Bischoff hyped up the debut of Chris Jericho. Speaking of debuts but who should come down to ringside but THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN TED DIBIASE. Bischoff even reminded us and mentioned that: “we’ve seen this before” in reference to Scott Hall’s WCW debut. He just mades his way to the front row dressed in black.

Duggan used the tape to no affect and he even wound up the taped fist punch and nailed Giant and he still was not able knock him down. What a way to kill off Duggan’s tape gimmick. They played it up like it was such a deadly thing to be hit with the taped fist and The Giant just takes two of them and no-sold them! Way to go Duggan…

Duggan and Hart wrestled over the 2×4. Giant then goes for the chokeslam and Duggan can barely get up. Some guys like Benoit, as discussed last week, will jump high into the air for The Giant to slam him down. Duggan didn’t jump at all as he clearly didn’t wanna take the bump. He tried to go up only barely and it almost led to Giant dropping him. However, this was THE GIANT, and he was able to hold him in place and got Duggan high in the air as if to say “you’re going up for this chokeslam whether you like it or not!” Giant controlled Duggan, he got him up and he slammed Duggan and got the pin. Duggan had an expression on his face like his life flash before his eyes after taking that bump! It was inadvertently the best struggle of the entire show!

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Ted DiBiase then put up a four horsemen sign to the camera then raised his thumb as a fan yells “next week 5” and the announcers play this up as if Ted DiBiase could be the fifth horsemen or that he could be the fourth or fifth member of the nWo….

The Giant was interviewed by Mean Gene. Giant yelled that Savage talked about Giant letting the WCW down and he rightfully questioned where Savage was for “us” during the match match at Hog Wild. Giant mentioned he will be there at Fall Brawl and mentioned Savage doesn’t deserve a shot at the title.

He yelled right at the camera and saliva and sweat landed right on the camera lens which was like a great comic book effect! Mean Gene, like a pro, whips out a handkerchief from his pocket, wipes the camera lens as he complained that these guys are very messy! I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of Mean Gene earlier on but this was a great moment! He was literally the Alfred to these WCW wrestlers, cleaning up after their messes as a true ally to the wrestlers! I thought that was a nice touch.

 

“The Four Horsemen” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson w/Woman and Elizabeth vs “Rock and Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson

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I don’t have many notes about this match as it is exactly the type of match you’d think Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs the Rock and Roll Express would be on Nitro in 1996 with these guys. The heels got the heat, the heel women take cheap shots at ringside, they get the heat on Robert Gibson, Ricky Morton gets the hot tag, the heels cheat and win. That’s all you need to know and it wasn’t bad but somewhat predictable.

The finish itself was rather something. Bischoff cut a big promo about referee Randy Anderson being in control of things during this match unlike Nick Patrick. Then Randy Anderson’s back is turned to chew out Gibson. As the referee is distracted, Flair dropped Morton crotch first with an atomic drop and Arn hit a DDT to streal the win. SUCH CONTROL demonstrated from this senior official!

Ric Flair yelled at the camera to Hogan mentioning that he heard Hogan quit, referring to their Clash of the Champions match.

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen minus Benoit and Mongo. Arn yelled about the nWo picking their spots but when they step into the cage and this will be the one and last War Games for the Outsiders. Arn said if you’re gonna be a man you gotta jump a man eye to eye, nose to nose. Ric yelled about the Clash match and claimed that Hogan said, and this is a quote, “OH GREAT NATURE BOY, I GIVE UP. IIIII QUIT. YOU’RE TOO MUCH MAN TODAY!” I love how elaborate and detailed Ric was with what he claimed Hogan said during their Clash of the Champions match! When I imagined Hogan saying that in my head, I died!

Ric told the nWo to get ready as they’re in North Carolina, the home of the Horsemen, for War Games. Elizabeth was laughing her arse off as she just watches Flair lose this mind. It must be like the most surreal thing in the world to just be standing right next to Flair in front of a live crowd as he cuts this crazy promo and is being Ric Flair. I would either be just constantly getting goosebumps or just in hysterics like Elizabeth!

 

Chris Jericho vs Alex Wright

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At last, THE DEBUT OF CHRIS JERICHO! As I watched this in 2020, Chris Jericho in 2020 currently has his Fozzy song “Judas” as his entrance for AEW and when he wrestled in NJPW too. That song got so over that every crowd for Dynamite was singing that song as Jericho was coming out as it’s revered as one of the best theme songs in the business today. In 1996, Jericho came out with one of my favourite WCW theme songs ever!

The song was “All The Days” by Mammoth and it was such a fabulous song and I popped like crazy when I heard it again for this episode of Nitro. It’s glorious…

The cruiserweights shake hands and Jericho looked so short compared to Alex Wright. The last cruiserweight Jericho needed to be in the ring was to DWARF him in the ring was Alex Wright. Wright was so tall compared to Jericho, it was like a 10 year old wrestling with his 20 year old brother!

They wrestle for a bit and Jericho’s busting out moves that would become vintage Jericho spots like the wheel kick and springboard drop kick to the floor. Jericho suplexed Wright back into the ring. Wright did a huge dropkick to Jericho coming off the top rope. The German got some major air time on this dropkick. Say what you will about Alex Wright but this was an athletic man at this time.

Then Wright’s athleticism becomes his downfall as he tries a springboard crossbody and smashes right into the face of Jericho in a horribly executed spot. Jericho does a running clothesline and he does WILHELM SCREAM as he runs right into Wright. It was one of the funniest voices I’ve heard Jericho do during his entire career. I’ve watched him since I started watching wrestling in 2003 so think of the ground that covers for me!

Wright crashed into the steel guard rail and then Jericho went to the referee and said he didn’t wanna win like this so this match was ruled a no contest as Jericho tended to Wright. The announcer officially declared that Chris Jericho does not wanna win this way so it is a no contest. That’s a new one!

Mean Gene interviewed Jericho. Jericho mentioned that he wanted to fight to the best of his ability. He said to accept that win would not have been to the best of their abilities. Jericho trash-talked the nWo and of course he gets booed, because the nWo came off as so much cooler than WCW. I mentioned that the nWo came off as dorks but if you look at the promos that the likes of Konnan, Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho and even NICK PATRICK have all cut about the nWo, they all come off as such geeks in comparison to these edgy heels. Wright goes to talk and Mean Gene said: “we’re out of time!” and completely cut off the German and denied him the chance to talk. What a cock Gene was being on this show!

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “The Blue Bloods” Dave Taylor and Earl Robert Eaton

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The Blue Bloods argued about who start the match because it was established last week that there was issues within the Blue Bloods. Rick bonked their heads together to get the match going.

Then Taylor tried to tag himself in and Eaton pushed him off. Rick ran wild on the Blue Bloods by himself and then Scott just entered the ring fresh as a daisy and posed with Rick! I dunno why but I found that hilarious that they did the Steiner pose when Rick did all the work by himself! Rick was kicking their arses 2 on 1 during this match!

Scott tagged himself in. Taylor commanded that Rick is tagged back in so RICK IS TAGGED IN. I’m pretty sure Rick Steiner did about 99% of the work during this match for the Steiners!

There was miscommunication from the Blue Bloods. Taylor recovered as The Blue Bloods tried a crossbody Doomsday Device but Rick reversed this and got the pin. Scott’s contributions to this entire match was he did one eblow smash and shoulder blocked Taylor at the very end to stop him from breaking up the pin! What a contribution and a great win for Rick Steiner and thank you to Scott Steiner for his 1% contribution to the win for the Steiners!

Taylor eventually attacked Eaton and the Blue Bloods got into a brawl in the ring after the match, which was actually a decent brawl. The Steiners urge them on as Rick stirred the poop as the Blue Bloods brawl some more! The Steiners were basically kids watching a school fight and egging them on! The Steiners yelled at Harlem Heat as they’re wrestling AGAIN at Fall Brawl. I am sick of this Steiners vs Harlem Heat feud…

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Woman, Debra McMichael and Elizabeth

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Let’s talk about the opening sequence of this match. So the match descended into a big brawl in the ring between all four men. I don’t know who put this match together but they pair up Sting and Benoit together to fight and they pair LEX LUGER AND MONGO TOGETHER FOR A FIGHT. Who came up with that decision and figured all was gonna end well at all?

It didn’t end well and to say chemistry was not there for Mongo and Luger is an understatement. They just bumbled around this ring while Benoit and Sting actually had a good looking fight.

Benoit got in the ring to increase the match quality with Luger. Benoit and Luger dropped each other with a clothesline. I don’t know why I thought about this during this match but seeing Lex Luger, Elizabeth, Woman and Chris Benoit all out there in some capacity made this somewhat uncomfortable to watch when you considered how those respective relationships ended up in real life.

Sting got the hot tag as the fans don’t pay attention and they all look at something that has happened in the crowd. I figured at first that a fight had broken out in the crowd. It turned out to be Hollywood Hogan coming through the crowd!

Mongo threw Luger into the ring post. Sting missed a dive. Benoit missed a diving headbutt. Then out came the Hulkster as he made his way down to the ring with a can of spray pain in his hand. He comes across Mongo and then Hogan backed away from Mongo! I don’t think that match ever happened but them teasing babyface Mongo versus Hollywood Hogan for a big match is unbelievable to think about!

Of course, the Outsiders fly in before anything happened. Scott Hall literally flew in as him and Nash beat up Mongo. They spray paint the back of Mongo. Hall dropped Benoit with what would be called the Outsiders Edge and Nash does the Jackknife powerbomb to Sting. They spray paint the nWo letters on Sting and Benoit’s backs. Ric and Arn run wild on the Outsiders for a brief period, kick their arses for a while but Hogan sprayed the face of Flair and actually spray painted Flair’s hair black which I’m sure Flair was thrilled about.

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The nWo celebrate as trash is thrown into the ring. There was water thrown into the ring and all kinds of stuff, so I wonder what the production team or whoever was taking down the rings must have thought when they saw all of this trash being thrown into the ring. That can’t have been fun to deal with.

Hogan actually spray-painted Nash’s white shirt. I didn’t understand what the significance of that was. Hogan raised his arms in victory as nWo have literally laid waste to the ring!

For the first time ever, the nWo take over the announce booth. Nash and Hall take over the announcers’ headsets as Hogan spray painted the WCW Nitro logo. I actually thought this was a hot segment to end the show as the nWo demonstrate that WCW needed to be united. The nWo were united and kicked WCW’s arse as WCW were literally fighting from within. I thought this was a great end to a wacky episode of Nitro. Not all of it bad wacky but some stupid stuff alongside some quality stuff. Wacky is probably the appropriate word for it.

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We hope you enjoyed that review from the Armbar Express. The Armbar Express currently does not have a social media presence but please feel free to spread the word about this series and follow the blog on WordPress to get notifications of future posts from this blog!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Date: August 19th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Huntsville, Alabama

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

VK Wallstreet vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman and Elizabeth vs Earl Robert Eaton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Disco Inferno vs Scott Norton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not the best promo from Ice Train.

 

 Lord Steven Regal vs Dean Malenko

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

GLACIER IS STILL COMING TO WCW

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #47 (AUGUST 5TH 1996) – BAD BOOKING CAUSES BUMP ON THE ROAD TO HOG WILD

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

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Last week’s episode saw the New World Order lay waste to four men as part of a well-done viscous attack that disrupted WCW Monday Nitro. They beat down Arn Anderson and Marcus Bagwell with baseball bats as well as taking out Scotty Riggs and throwing Rey Mysterio like a dart into a trailer. They left the arena in a limo, which “Macho Man” Randy Savage chased by literally jumping on top of the moving vehicle! Good guys and bad guys put their differences aside to attend to their fallen comrades during an historic episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

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The episode we’re reviewing today is the go-home show for WCW Hog Wild. This is the card for the Hog Wild show for those of you that need a reminder:

  • Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs Ultimo Dragon for the WCW Cruiserweight title
  • Ice Train vs Scott Norton
  • Madusa vs Bull Nakano with the winner destroying the loser’s motorcycle
  • Dean Malenko vs Chris Benoit
  • Harlem Heat (c) vs The Steiner Brothers for the WCW Tag Team titles
  • Ric Flair (c) vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW US title
  • Lex Luger and Sting vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall
  • The Giant (c) vs Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World title

As for building up this card, WCW have done an excellent job with the matches involving the nWo. Lex Luger and Sting are at the forefront of this big invasion angle and the Outsiders have been destroying people left and right so obviously Sting and Luger want revenge. The Giant has been smashing guys every single week leading to his title defence against the traitor to WCW Hollywood Hogan. They’ve done such a great job building up those two matches in particular. Since they are the money matches anyway, I guess you can consider the build to this PPV good.

As far as the rest of the card, there’s a lot we need to talk about. I’ll mention them again during the review but these storylines are modelled in the same way as a lot of the WWE storylines are nowadays leading into a PPV. Traditionally, wrestling pay-per-views would have the very best wrestlers on those shows because the biggest matches possible would be taking place. The Giant has beaten challengers each week going into Hog Wild to fight the biggest star in the world Hollywood Hogan for example.

This episode of Nitro made caring for these individuals really difficult. Let’s start with Ice Train and Scott Norton. They have this big break-up angle where partner miscommunication led to them losing to the Steiner Brothers on Nitro. They accuse each other of being the weak link and then a week later, we have them both in separate singles matches. What happens? They both lose by disqualification. Why should I care about two losers that were already losing as a tag team now facing each other in a singles match at Hog Wild?

This plays into what happened this week. How many times have I talked about the way Madusa has been booked since she arrived in WCW. She arrived as the WWF Women’s Champion which caused WWF to actually sue WCW in real life. They go through all of that effort to bring her into the company and she’s away from Monday Nitro for MONTHS after a little feud with Sister Sherri. She came back a few weeks ago to have a good match with Malia Hosaka. They do the rematch on this episode of Nitro and what happens? Hosaka got the win. Why? Why is Madusa constantly losing on Nitro to set up such things as a big match with her and Bull Nakano at Hog Wild?

Eddie Guerrero. While Eddie Guerrero has been winning matches on Nitro since Bash at the Beach, I’ll give WCW props for that, I was still mad with the way he was presented him last week in his match with Big Bubba. Big Bubba beat him up for about 21 hours and Eddie got a fluke win to, in theory, set up Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair for the WCW US title. This week, they showed Eddie Guerrero saving Chavo Guerrero from Ric Flair during an episode at Saturday Night. Eddie turned around and Ric Flair attacked him from behind and made him look like a geek.

Would it not have been better to see Eddie face and beat all the members of the Four Horsemen leading to him vs Ric Flair at the PPV, so at the very least he is presented as someone as being on Ric Flair’s level? No. He’s presented as so vastly inferior to Ric Flair. I understand this is Ric Flair we’re talking about but they did a poor job in building up Eddie for Ric in the last few weeks.

Speaking of the Four Horsemen, then there’s Chris Benoit. They were getting Benoit over so big in his feud with Kevin Sullivan. He was the young lion of the Four Horsemen and he was putting on great performances every week. Since Bash at the Beach, I don’t think he’s won a single match on Nitro once. The Horsemen didn’t win any of the matches with Luger, Sting and Savage in the last few weeks, he lost to Eddie Guerrero about 3 weeks ago. Then on this episode of Nitro, what happens? He got distracted by Dean Malenko, he went out and attacked him and he supposedly lost by count-out to Alex Wright? ALEX WRIGHT. God forbid that we have Chris Benoit beat Alex Wright clean to build up Benoit vs Malenko.

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I realise the stuff I’m ranting about is not really that important, and with wrestling being fake, it really doesn’t matter who wins and loses. However, possibly due to the WCW backstage politicking at the time, they over-booked everybody on the mid-card on the exact same level to the point where they all stay in the same position as a means to keep to keep everyone happy. I guess nobody wanted to do the job so the lengths they had to go to in order to protect everyone is mind-blowing.

Their saving grace, at this time, was that the talent was so excellent that the ring-work made up for it. I’m sure Malenko vs Benoit at Hog Wild was a great match and I believe Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair ended up being a good match at Hog Wild.

….I don’t mean to start this episode review with a rant! If you see the way these wrestlers were treated as I go through this review, thank god WCW did have the New World Order at least at the start! Even with this episode though, the nWo didn’t really do anything spectacular or anything at the level of last week. I’ll get to that when I talk about the nWo’s “involvement” with this episode of Nitro.

 

Date: August 5th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

 

The show started with Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko talking about what happened last week. Larry Zybsko kept trying to coin phrase “New World Odor” like he did this last week. They actually mentioned that they were four empty chairs in the front row which was apparently where the FOUR members of the nWo were expected to sit. Big Bubba, Scott Norton, Meng and The Barbarian all come out to act as security for the show.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) w/Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker vs “The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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It was so weird as in the middle of all this nWo madness, the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS were randomly challenging for the tag team titles on Nitro! However, we got big HEAT chants before the bell rang and Harlem Heat were very much over with this crowd.

Both teams were wearing red. Booker and Ricky started off the match. Larry pointed out the teams had their “speed men” in the ring to start the match. Booker took over early. The Express took Booker down with a double elbow smash and a double clothesline

Tony then declared that the security team had worked… TEN MINUTES INTO THE SHOW! We still had approximately 110 minutes left of the show but apparently the security was a success in the eyes of Tony Schiavonie!

The fans were into Harlem Heat as they got the heat on Ricky Morton. The Heat got distracted with the managers and almost got rolled up by Ricky. Booker yelled at Col. Rober Parker on the outside. Sherri whined about her anxiety being out here and Booker was not happy about it.

Booker did the Harlem Side Kick. Booker missed a top rope splash and Ricky literally rolled into a Robert Gibson hot tag. Gibson ran wild and hit an enziguri on Ray.

Robert went for the cover but Sherri kissed Robert or at least tried to. Gibson pushed her off the apron. Col Robert Parker got mad and took off his jacket. He riled himself up and was ready for a fight but he got punched in the face. Harlem Heat took advantage for the win with Ray hitting a big boot as Booker prevented Morton from breaking up the pin. Average Nitro tag team match to me. It was OK but was nothing particularly memorable.

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Nasty Boys. Brian Knobbs said they were getting a lot of heat just because Hogan is a friend of theirs. They make it clear that Hogan did what he wanted to do and the Nasty Boys did what they wanted to do. They expressed it’s a free country when Sting and Lex Luger interrupted. Sting wanted to know where they stood. Remember when Sting was constantly being questioned about where is loyalties lied when Lex Luger was allied with the Dungeon of Doom? Now he’s doing it to the Nasty Boys!

Sags said they stood in Nastyville. Knobbs yelled they don’t condone what Hogan did but didn’t see anything wrong with it here. Knobbs brought up a good point that WCW wanted them to step up but WCW’s guys weren’t willing to help them during their tag team matches so why should they help WCW? That is a… solid point. This was to build up the main-event of this Nitro episode of Sting and Lex Luger vs The Nasty Boys.

GLACIER is still coming. I’ve read a similar review online saying it’d been 15 weeks since the original Glacier videos started.

 

Malia Hosaka w/Sonny Onoo vs Madusa

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Apparently this women’s division consists of three women because this is a rematch from 3 weeks ago and we’ve not seen any other women wrestle on Nitro since.

Madusa did a sunset flip for a 2 count. Hosaka levelled Madusa with some kicks and with a hair-assisted snapmare. Madusa hit a spinning heel kick.

Hosaka got the leg and stood there for like 20 seconds either forgetting her spot or not making her mind up about what she wanted to do. She eventually did the Figure Four Leg Lock to literally no reaction. Even in small promotions where someone would do the figure four leg lock and at least one or two fans would go “woooooo.” Here, Hosaka does the move and nobody cared. The fans chanted “USA” to cheer on Madusa.

Then Hosaka went back to work on the knee of Madusa as they cut away from the action to show a black limo. Madusa struggled to do a gutwrench suplex. Hosaka did a sunset flip but Madusa got the ropes at one.

Madusa did a superplex . Madusa did a front drop kick to Sonny on the apron and then Madusa fell down on her back. Hosaka covered her as soon as Madusa fell down and Sonny grabbed Hosaka for leverage for the win. I already talked about the booking of this match during my introduction. But again, this is to build… MADUSA VS BULL NAKANO for the PPV. This was a pretty poor match compared to their last match.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night that was meant to act as a pre-show for Hog Wild. This Hog Wild, that was intended to promote the PPV, included JOHN TENTA VS BIG BUBBA as well as Hugh Morrus in action! What a show to get me excited for Hog Wild!

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs Alex Wright

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The two men locked up and then Benoit took advantage by raking the eyes and then firing away with punches. Wright fired back with his own punches and kicks. Wright then ran wild with “headscissor dropkicks” and then worked on the arm.

It’s funny Meng was out there for security when he and Benoit got into a screaming match during the nWo angle last week. I guess they buried the hatchet or they just forgot about whatever it was there were screaming about!

There was young kid in the front row that appeared to be crossing his fingers when Benoit covered Wright. This kid was clutching to his dad appearing to cheer on Alex Wright! That’s what wrestling is missing nowadays is kids crossing their fingers and rooting for their heroes. With John Cena not on the scene anymore, you don’t really get this type of reactions from young kids anymore! It’s mostly just adults upset that Goldberg beat The Fiend for example…

Wright reversed a kitchen sink into a roll up for a near fall. Benoit locked on a camel clutch. Jimmy Hart came down to talk to the girls. He yelled that Woman was wasting her time with Elizabeth as “she is useless”. Jimmy yelled that there was someone backstage she was driving crazy and she pointed to a sock with Kevin Sullivan’s face in. For those of you that are somehow unaware of this but Woman (a.k.a Nancy Sullivan) was the wife to the “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan.

Dean Malenko ran down to take Woman backstage by force. Benoit dove on the outside and beat the crap out of Dean Malenko which I wrote down had led to the no contest. Benoit isn’t focused on the match anymore, a new fight had broken out… whatever. A no contest was fine. Then Tony called it a “count out” victory for Alex Wright. WHAT?

There was no actual count from the referee and Dean was attacking Benoit or was trying to screw Benoit out of the match. If anything, if it was not a no contest as I figured previously then shouldn’t this finish have been a disqualification victory for Benoit since Malenko was attacking him as they fought to the back.?It also sucked because this was a good match up until that point. Wright held his own and kept up with Benoit and they were making something out of this match.  

Really though, Alex Wright did not need to win this match. He’s not on the PPV. Benoit has a big match with Dean Malenko who destroyed Billy Kidman and Chavo Guerrero in recent weeks. If Benoit beat this cruiserweight, it would set up perfectly for a big cruiserweight match for the PPV. Bad booking in my eyes.

 

Lord Steven Regal w/Jeeves vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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OK, I’m assuming that all of the last 5 episodes of Nitro were taped because it was all bright for the two earlier matches and it was pitch black for this match. So I’m kinda assuming they taped several matches from each day in one big bunch and then just picked and chose matches for each show.  I haven’t checked to see if this was the case but that’s the only thing I can assume.

It was also weird because Malenko and Benoit brawled to the back after Benoit’s match and then for Ric Flair’s match later on in the show, Benoit was back out there and we never saw Malenko again. It was almost like nothing had happened before.

There was some in-match banter when Regal warned Savage “you better watch it or I’ll slap you” and Savage put his hands up and went “ooooh”. This was great. Simple things like that were awesome in at least showing some personality for these characters. It’s simple but effective.

It was very scrappy stuff but in a good way where Savage would choke away at Regal and Regal would try to out-wrestle Savage. It’s pretty much exactly how you’d think Regal vs Savage would go on an episode of Nitro! Regal wore down Savage and the fans chanted “Macho”.

Apparently Bobby and Eric weren’t ready yet for the second hour and Larry somehow didn’t realise that nobody was there as the fireworks went off for hour two! Great awareness from the Living Legend! In case you were wondering, Tony and Larry called the full two hours on this episode of Nitro.

Regal fired away with some great forearms as Sting and Luger came down to the ring. Sting and Luger sat at two of the four vacant seats meant for the nWo. Savage back-dropped Regal and started brawling with the Englishman on the outside. He smashed Regal into one of the chairs Sting and Luger were sat at (Luger and Sting had fortunately moved out of the way!).

Savage hit the elbow drop and got the win as Regal got up and walked away beat red with tears in his eyes! A short but decent match from Regal and Savage.

Sting and Luger went to the black limo parked near the ring and opened the door but found a bouquet saying “condolences on the death of WCW.”

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Mean Gene interviewed Randy Savage. Savage said he would be facing Giant or Hogan  after Hog Wild for the WCW World title… which actually kinda makes sense since I don’t think Savage has lost a match since Bash at the Beach. This booking made sense!

Savage said he cut a deal. Savage said The Giant would get a bigger piece of Hogan than Hogan thinks and if Giant left a little bit for Savage, Savage will finish the job. Now, this kind of plays into what I mentioned earlier but this was building up for a program, likely on Nitro, where either Hogan or Giant would face Savage. Savage wasn’t even on Hog Wild and he’s already looking past that PPV. A weird way for a PPV go-home show to play out.

Sting and Luger showed up in the ring. There was no Outsiders but they got the bouquet. Sting admired the pretty flowers but had a problem with the line saying “WCW was dead” when “WCW was alive and well”…less than five years later dude.

Savage threw down the flowers. Sting held down the bouquet and Savage booted it out of the ring. I was begging for Sting to swipe the bouquet at the last minute like Charlie Brown! That I wanted to see! This was a fun segment nevertheless.

 

Ric Flair w/Miss Elizabeth, Debra McMichael and Woman vs The Booty Man w/Booty Babe

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I do believe this will end up being the end of the Booty Man. The Horsemen beat up Booty Man after this match and it appeared to be an injury angle to write him off of television. This is a bit of a spoiler but Booty Man does not come back as the Booty Man as they repackaged him with a new gimmick. It’s sad seeing the end of the Booty era here on WCW Monday Nitro!

Booty Babe said everyone was looking “bootyful” which I’m 99% sure if I used that line when chatting to a woman it would backfire. Arn Anderson came out with a chair and his arm taped up. Now… one of the problems I had with this show is that Arn Anderson took such a vicious beating last week and here he is with a bunch of bandages like it was nothing. They showed Rey Mysterio being at WCW Saturday Night too but… I felt this was a deal they should have played out for at least another week. They should have had Arn, Rey and the American Males off of television until at least after the PPV. I was not a fan of seeing Arn this early after how big the nWo angle last week was built up.

Heck, they had Eric Bischoff away from television for 2 week after Nash powerbombed him at The Great American Bash so why not have Arn off of television for a month?

Ric Flair beat up Booty and hammered away at Booty with punches to the head. Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael guarded the entrance way. Ric gouged the eyes of Booty Man. Bobby Heenan came down and yelled about making it to the show himself but Bischoff was not there. He said Bischoff doesn’t miss things so he questioned where he was. Heenan left again as again, they’re questioning where Bischoff is during all of this carnage which does have a pay off in the upcoming months…

Booty and Ric continued fighting. Booty missed a high knee and went knee first into the corner. Ric got the Figure Four Leg Lock and then Benoit and Mongo attacked Booty as Ric continued to grabbed the ropes. This match got thrown out.

The referee also got thrown out to the outside as the security did nothing about this. Keep in mind the security was there to keep away the Outsiders but did nothing as Booty Man was being obliterated by the Four Horsemen. This was such a beat down by the Horsemen as well. They didn’t hold back and even Arn was getting involved with a chair shot to the leg!

Mean Gene gets in the ring to do an interview and yelled at the Horsemen to stop it. Arn starts cutting a promo and said his life flashed before his eyeslast week. As Arn was cutting this promo, Ric was still taking cheap shots at Booty Man right behind Arn. Arn said the good book said when the New World Order is put into place it is the end of times. Arn said there’s one rule of gang fighting that is if they send one of theirs to the hospital, they must send one of theirs to the morgue.

Benoit yelled about seeing fury and vengeance unleashed. Mongo yelled that the Outsiders needed to get it together as they’re coming after them. Ric yelled at Hogan to watch this as he continued to kick away at Booty. Ric yelled at Booty to tell Hogan to send a message. Ric yelled that Hogan wanted their attention and now he’s got it. Ric said Arn was his best friend and Hogan crossed the line and now he was gonna paid the price. He yelled: “That was your best friend, come and get him big boy.” Because obviously, Booty Man was an ally to Hogan against the Dungeon of Doom…

My impression from what happened last week is that the good guys and the bad guys were all on the same page and fighting against the nWo, which would make the Horsemen the babyfaces when they go up against the nWo themselves. Here, they do a four on one beat down on Booty Man like complete arseholes. At least the nWo beat the four men last week in a fair fight. There were apparently four members of the nWo last week beating up the WCW dudes. Here, four men are beating up one and the security are doing nothing about this!

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There was another nWo announcement. Apparently they lured Luger in for the beating on Sting on WCW Saturday Night 2 weeks ago with an emergency phone call. They said Hogan would become the nWo champion. They sung happy birthday to Hogan and I loved that. You could tell Hogan was having so much fun as a heel! Nash said we’re not talking about taking over, it’s about extermination now. The video just stopped as Sting and Lex apparently ordered the production team to stop this footage.

Sting and Luger are backstage and literally bullied and intimidated the production crew into stopping the footage. They’re supposed to be good guys and they’re threatening and imposing their will on the production team. Explain to me how they are any better than the Outsiders when they did this two weeks ago? Again, they came off arseholes like the Four Horsemen! No wonder the fans started to cheer the nWo and boo WCW during this feud!

Sting and Luger accused the staff of putting the videos on the air for the money. Sting decreed no trash should go on the air. Sting cracked the joke about pork pie and mountain dew that Nash did two weeks ago and then they left.

 

The Giant (c) w/Jimmy Hart vs Sgt. Pittman w/Teddy Long for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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The Giant then no-sold two diving headbutts and then Pittman ran into a chokeslam for a pinfall victory. Pretty much the same as 90% of Giant’s match on Nitro since he arrived. However, I still love Jimmy Hart running around Giant after the match like he’d just beat Hogan clean or just won the Oscars! No matter who is in the ring, Jimmy will always celebrate like it’s the biggest win of Giant’s career! That was great. Teddy Long stopped a further beat down on Pittman but he himself ate a chokeslam from The Giant as the fans chanted “one more time.”

Think about this for a minute. We have the Four Horsemen, Sting, Lex Luger and The Giant all fighting for WCW against the New World Order. The Horsemen attacked someone four on one during this show, Sting and Luger bullied the production crew and The Giant is chokeslamming the manager Teddy Long like a complete dick! This man is the babyface champion going into the match with Hogan at the PPV! You have WCW wrestlers acting like arseholes while the nWo are coming off as cool to the fans!

I love how Larry was concerned that Teddy was going to have a heart attack and during a SmackDown! storyline more than 10 years later, Teddy Long had a on-screen heart attack during a wedding! Larry planting the seeds for a storyline 10 years later for a different wrestling company!

 

Mean Gene interviewed Giant and Jimmy Hart. Mean Gene berated Giant and called Teddy Long just a guy off the street. Hart said everyone always told Hogan what he wanted to hear. The black limo had returned as Jimmy was cutting this promo. Hart yelled Giant would be ready for Hogan. Giant said he sent a message to the world as the fans chanted for Hogan. Giant said he had one job and that was to be the champion since he was a kid. Giant said he doesn’t feel sorry for anyone that stepped in his way. He said Hogan talked his trash about how he’d take over WCW. He said Hogan’s 15 minutes were up and he dared him to show up at Hog Wild.

They showed a clip of Mongo and Debra re-gaining the money in the briefcsae from Randy Savage. Dear god, because this storyline must keep going. In case you didn’t read my review from two weeks ago, Savage regained his money that Elizabeth had gotten from him as part of their divorce. They had been flaunting it around like it was a trophy. Savage got the money back to a big pop and now the heels have the money again! You’d think Savage would have put his money in the bank by now since getting his money back! It’s ridiculous.

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Nasty Boys” Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs

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The Steiner Brothers came down to ringside with a chair. Luger ran wild on the Nasty Boys for a bit. The Nasty Boys got the heat. Knobbs did a splash in the corner and an elbow drop for a 2 count.

Knobbs got the heat for a while but then Sting got his foot up as Knobbs went for the splash. Luger literally jumped into the match for a hot tag. He ran wild with clotheslines and hit a powerslam. Luger tried a torture rack but Sags broke it up. Sags tried to hit Luger but hit Rick Steiner by accident and then Rick hit Sags with a clothesline.

Sting somehow got the tag as Sags tapped out for the win. WHEN DID STING GET THE TAG? Luger went to the outside and brawled with Knobbs I think and was outside the entire time before Sting got back in the ring. At what point did Sting get the tag back into the ring?…. did I miss something? Please leave the comment if you know when Sting got a tag back in the ring during all of this match.

This was an OK match but…. with the Nasty Boys in the main-event I was begging to see what was on the other show. I wasn’t not particularly thrilled about the possibility of this match

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They show two kids in the ring flexing with the babyfaces. Mean Gene said they must be working at the “main event fitness centre”. Mean Gene mentioned the limo was back. Sting suggested they go check out the limo. Luger thought it was another gag gift but Sting and Luger went down anyway as Mean Gene wanted to go along with them. Scott Norton also walked down alongside the rest of security.

Sting opened the door and a bag was thrown as them with a TURNER logo on the front, suggesting Turner Broadcasting was somehow involved and possibly funding this operation.

They showed an “after show” exclusive that the WWE Network had access to. They had a piece of paper inside the bag with the nWo saying they’d see them at Hog Wild.

 

This episode was a massive thumbs down for me. If you look at the quality of Nitros as of late, this really didn’t hit the mark. As the follow up to the big nWo angle it didn’t deliver, as a go-home show for Hog Wild it didn’t deliver and as a wrestling show it didn’t deliver. There was only one good match on the show in Benoit vs Wright but it had a horrible finish. The other matches were short matches, boring matches or average matches at best.

I think Hog Wild will be good based on the card I mentioned earlier on in the review. This show in particular didn’t sell me on this pay-per-view and… I’d like to think it’s going to pick up after Hog Wild. We will be reviewing WCW Hog Wild as part of the blog and I’m looking to post that on the blog at some point this week.

Stay safe everybody and follow the blog to be update on future reviews or posts we put up on the Armbar Express.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #44 (JULY 15TH 1996) – “HOLLYWOOD” HOGAN RETURNS AFTER BASH AT THE BEACH

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 New World Order had finally arrived in WCW, with Hulk Hogan revealing his true colours at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996. The Outsiders appeared onthe night after the PPV, revealing Hulk Hogan would be appearing on Nitro the week after. Sting vowed revenge after the PPV, Randy Savage vowed revenge after the PPV, Arn Anderson was disappointed in Hogan, Taskmaster was upset at not killing Hulkamania himself, Ric Flair didn’t care and Rey Mysterio Jr won the WCW Cruiserweight title during a very solemn-like episode ofWCW Monday Nitro

 

We’re back with WCW Nitro reviews. This felt like a really mixed edition of Nitro, this July 15th 1996 edition. There weren’t many things about this that came off as plain and formulaistic. Last week saw multiple cruiserweight matches hat were both good but similar to each other in the form. Accompanying this was just a bunch of nothing matches that were interchangeable. This episode was different.

We got big men throwing each other around in the opening match, we got a cruiserweight match where Dean Malenko destroyed Billy Kidman, we got Benoit vs Guerrero again, we got women’s wrestling of all things on this episode and we got Arn Anderson vs Meng which was such a weird concept if you think about it. There were very few things on this episode that were similar to each other. Even the nWo business was unique in how it was presented but we’ll get to that. It wasn’t just Hall and Nash showing up this week either. No, they had company…

 

Date: July 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3.4

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

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

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As much as I was looking forward to this match again, two Scotts in this match always makes note-taking HARD for me! I ended up writing things like Scott did (blank) to Scott for example and it’s hard to transcribe the action when they’re not that different from each other in size and certain things they did in the ring. Maybe if it was Scott Steiner vs Scotty 2 Hotty I could at least assume it was most likely Steiner that did a belly-to-belly suplex for example!

As much as I was looking forward to this match again, this match didn’t quite have the “fire” if you will of past Fire and Ice vs Steiners matches. I said there wasn’t really a set formula with these matches on this episode but there felt more of a pattern to the Steiners vs Fire and Ice matches than there was initially. This was the first time where it felt like they were just doing stuff until they got to the finish. I wasn’t a fan.

Sting, The Giant, Ric Flair and Randy Savage apparently were not here on this episode of Nitro. They claimed they were wrestling in Japan. The only one that had felt the nWo’s wrath, according to the announcers, that was there on this show was Lex Luger. The announcers talking about “friction” within Fire and Ice and I had no idea what they were on about. I guess this was part of a WCW Saturday Night storyline.

Norton beat up Scott Steiner for a while. Scott Steiner eventually fired back and hit a big belly-to-belly on Norton, sending him to the outside. Not a lot happened prior to the first break. Teddy Long came down to ringside.

Things picked up a little as Ice Train hit a big powerslam. Rick dropped Ice Train RIGHT on his head with a belly to belly. It looked nasty. Rick hit a reverse DDT for a 2 count. The Scotts both got tagged back in but Norton threw Steiner’s arse to the floor and delivered a double axe handle.

Norton hit a middle top clothesline and tried a fist drop but Scott Steiner got the foot up. Rick got the hot tag and caught Norton and slammed him down but Ice Train broke up the pin.

Ice Train ended up hitting a big splash to his own partner as Rick hits a German suplex with a bridge. Ice Train’s foot was as clear as day under the bottom rope and referee Nick Patrick just did the three count. A very clunky match.

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Dungeon of Doom. Taskmaster talked about living for the death of Hulkamania. Jimmy said some stuff. Big Bubba cut a promo as the Faces of Fear came out. Fire and Ice walked past the Dungeon and to the back bickering with each other. Taskmaster said Benoit got a little too personal with him at the PPV.

Then Mean Gene was with Fire and Ice. Scott Norton yelled that they were getting the best teams beat but Ice Train kept screwing it up. Teddy Long cut them off and said he didn’t wanna see them break up. Norton pushed down Teddy Long. Ice Train and Norton threatened to kick each other’s arse as Teddy laid MOTIONLESS on the ground at the sheer push of Scott Norton! This Teddy Long was quite a pro with putting over these big monsters!

 

Dean Malenko vs Billy Kidman

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Remember when I said the cruiserweight matches fromlast week were very similar to each other? This cruiserweight match was totally different to both of those matches and ironically, it included a guy in Dean Malenko who was in one of those matches last week!

Dean Malenko, if you’ll recall, lost the Cruiserweight title last week. Dean’s response to losing this championship he held so dear was to destroy poor Billy Kidman! The match happened and went along at a smooth pace and then Dean decided to decimate him with an incredible finishing sequence! This was not a match where they did a whole bunch of near falls and then Dean hit one last move and pinned Kidman. The match was fairly even and then Dean proved to be the better man by making an example out of this Kidman. Last week, he took Rey Mysterio Jr. lightly and lost the title. Here, Dean did not take Kidman lightly!

Dean tried a piledriver on the outside but Kidman reversed it. Kidman did a top rope dropkick for a 2 count. Kidman dropped Malenko with a German Suplex. Dean took over and locked on a knee bar. Dean worked on the knee.

Kidman fought back but Malenko cut him off with a big powerslam. Dean got the heat. Dean hit an Alabama Slam. The two men reversed roll-ups. Kidman did a Dudley Dog like bulldog. Kidman missed a shooting star press and then Dean Malenko made this poor young buck pay for missing this high spot.

Dean dropped him with a brainbuster and then smashed him with a powerbomb and then hit a tiger powerbomb and then did a Texas Clover Leaf for the submission win. In one big sequence, he massacred Kidman and the fans went going nuts for every move he followed up with until the match was over. Dean smashing Kidman with this finish was quite great to see. Kidman was the sacrificial lamb in Malenko’s eyes!

A decent match with an tremendous finish!

 

Mean Gene was with Kevin Greene. The last time we saw Kevin Greene was at The Great American Bash when Steve “Mongo” McMichael turned on him during their tag match. Greene proceeded to cut a very good babyface promo. He showed passion as he talked about “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. Greene talked about growing up on eating vitamins and saying prayers only to find out that Hogan didn’t even believe what he was preaching. Greene talked about Hogan being a hero and then Hogan stabbed everybody in the back. Greene called out Mongo as he’s got 2 hours before his plane leaves. I thought Kevin Greene cut a great promo on Hogan and Mongo!

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Sister Sherri vs “Rough and Ready” Mike Enos and Dick Slater w/Col. Robert Parker for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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Of course a tag team called “Rough and Ready” had to feature two men known as Dick and Enos in WCW. Vince Russo isn’t even here yet and the innuendos are running wild on WCW Nitro.

Rough and Ready rough up Harlem Heat. Stevie wrapped his hands around Dick for the bear hug. The fans chanted for Harlem Heat as Stevie and Enos did the test of strength.

Enos fought his way out with headbutts. Stevie beat up on Enos for a while. Booker did a side kick that looked like it completely missed. Dick threw Booker out of the ring. Dick and Enos double-teamed Booker as Enos hit a scoop slam on Booker. Booker cut off Dick with a low blow.

Stevie looked gassed on the apron as Booker was in the ring. Booker hit a side kick which connected and then he followed up with a Scissors Kick. Stevie choked on Enos.

Then the match broke into a four way brawl and it just completely fell apart. It’s very sloppy stuff as I had no idea who the good guys and bad guys were. Booker missed a corner dropkick and fell on his shoulders. Dick pounded away at Booker. Enos sent Booker flying with a fallaway slam.

Stevie got the hot tag and it just completely fell apart again as referee Nick Patrick claimed Stevie never got the tag. Parker got on the apron and then, Sherri kissed Dick. Booker then rolled up Dick for the win.

Jokes aside, that match was a complete mess to me.

 

Kevin Greene was talking with Mean Gene again as Greene still wanted Mongo to come out. Greene was begging for Mongo as he took his shirt off. He eventually he gave up as he had to catch his plane. He promised to come back after the NFL season was over!

 

Madusa vs Malia Hosaka

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I thought this was a very enjoyable women’s match. Madusa hit a Northern Lights Suplex. Osaka smashed Madusa with a spinning kick Osaka tried to pin Madusa with just her knee. Larry Zybsko, of course, had to talk about women needing to be in the kitchen rather than being in the ring. At this point, I was begging for Eric Bischoff to come and get Larry out of the announce booth.

Osaka got the heat. Osaka did hair-assisted snapmares and went for the headlock. Madusa retaliated as she fired away with kicks and did her own hair snapmares. Madusa tried a powerbomb but Osaka tripped the leg and did a Boston Crab. Madusa got out of it. Osaka hit the swinging neckbreaker and then missed what was basically a coffin drop that Darby Allin does nowadays. Madusa does a top rope senton but she missed. Osaka missed a crossbody and Madusa hit a german suplex for the pin.

In short, the finish of this match was the girls trying and failing every dive they attempted until Madusa eventually tried something else… and won! That was the finish! A fun women’s match in my eyes with an interesting finish.

 

The fireworks went off for the second hour and who should show up but Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. I guess the letters W C W were up there. In response, Nash and Hall covered up the letters with sheets or blankets or something and spray-painted the letters N W O. This really did come off as really stupid. I understand that the nWo are heels and are not supposed to be liked, but this came off as the dorkiest thing ever.

As established last week when Kevin Nash and Scott Hall arrived in a limo, the nWo has money. You mean to tell me that Hall and Nash’s big idea was to go grab three blankets from like the local supermarket and spray-paint on them? This came off so bad.

 

 

Meng w/Jimmy Hart vs Arn Anderson

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Was this just like a contest to see if Arn could have a more boring match each and every week? Last week, him and Sting just had a nothing match that nobody cared about. Here, he’s wrestling Meng so there’s no heat as there is two heels fighting each other. The match was just there and then Arn got beat in the middle like it was nothing. Remember like a few months ago when Arn beat Hulk Hogan two weeks in a row? Now, the Four Horsemen are becoming the whipping boys the Dungeon of Doom to I guess set up The Giant for Hogan. A weird way to book since The Giant was not involved in this match!

Meng backed Arn into the corner with Meng trying to trade fists with him. Arn and Meng eventually got into a bit of a wrestling match. From a massive whistle going off in the crowd and fireworks CONTINUING to go off in the background, it took a lot away from the match. These fireworks went off for like 5 minutes and were very difficult to ignore. Meng got the heat and Meng choked away at Arn. Arn work on the big legs of Meng by wrapping his legs around the corner of the ring.

The Barbarian came down and I wanted Barbarian or Meng to go down and eat this person that kept blowing this whistle during the match. If there was one thing more annoying than the fireworks was this guy or girl blowing this whistle constantly. This was a pretty boring match to be fair and I’d hate to say about Arn Anderson and Meng.

Jimmy got some kicks in on the outside, mocking the Four Horsemen symbol. Meng jumped from the apron and did a diving karate chop to the head. Arn went back to working on the legs. Barbarian got up on the apron and interfered, and Meng followed this up with a super kick, walked around for a while and got the pin.

A pointless match.

 

 

Mean Gene interviewed Steve “Mongo” Michael and his wife Debra. I love how Mean Gene immediately stated that it was funny Mongo came out right after Kevin Greene had left. Mongo started to get all cocky and then Mean Gene alerted him that they had Greene right there ready for him. Then Mongo is all spooked out and turned around. Mean Gene then butted in and goes: “well I guess he’s already left.” This was such classic chickenshit heel stuff from Mongo! He was all tough when he knew Greene wasn’t there but at the first mention that Greene might be here, he turned back into a coward! Mongo avoided Kevin Greene all night and acted all tough. The slightest whiff that Greene might be in the building and Mongo is scared. Mean Gene basically called him on his bluff!

Mongo, without a beat, got all cocky again. He called out Greene. Debra, in my opinion, cut a bad promo about all the stuff Mongo did in the NFL… on a WRESTLING SHOW. As an outsider who doesn’t watch NFL, I had no idea why their NFL careers were relevant as part of the programme with Mongo and Greene. Yeah, they were both NFL players. However, the key is Mongo sold out on his friend for money. I’m not a fan of doing an angle based on another sport for a wrestling angle.

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

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The best part about seeing Benoit vs Guerrero again is that this is not like we see this match every week. It’s been months since we’ve seen Benoit vs Guerrero on a Nitro which is a big key. They may have been wrestling 10,000 times on WCW Saturday Night or WCW Pro or whatever. However, the eyeballs were on the biggest show they’ve got which is WCW Nitro. Therefore, when they show this match after months of it not being featured on Nitro, it came off fresh and exciting to the viewers who possibly only have time to watch Nitro. It’s great because it doesn’t burn out Benoit and Guerrero to the viewers either.

Benoit wanted the referee to check Eddie and then Benoit took advantage with a cheap shot. Benoit beat down Eddie. Eddie tried a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but Benoit landed on his feet. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Eddie did an arm drag out of it. Eddie did a dive to the outside.

Eddie did a rolling senton into the ring. Eddie was running wild and finally hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker after a few attempts. Benoit did a back suplex. Nash and Hall eventually left. Benoit locked on a camel clutch. Eddie hit a beautiful belly to back suplex.

Benoit did a liontamer-like boston crab. Benoit hit a big powerbomb for a 2 count. Benoit got the heat for a while. Benoit eventually went up to the top rope but Eddie cut him off and hit a superplex which the fans popped for. Eric Bischoff even said “this crowd is lit”… in 1996.

Eddie punched away at Benoit in the corner and then they traded punches, chops and slaps to the chest in this true fight. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Eddie launched himself and Benoit over the top with a headscissors. All of a sudden, Dean Malenko ran out and threw Benoit into the ring post. Apparently Jimmy Hart was talking to Dean earlier, and I guess paid him off to take out Benoit.

Eddie beat the 10 count into the ring but Benoit did not as Eddie picked up the count out victory. Say what you will but a count out victory did come off as a finish that was different and new. With the exception of like double count-outs, we have rarely seen this kind of a count-out victory in a singles match, even if it’s from shenanigans by Malenko.

This was a fun Benoit vs Guerrero match as always.

 

 

Lex Luger © vs Big Bubba for the WCW Television Championship

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Bubba punched away at Luger and went to work but Luger cut Bubba off from the top rope. Luger sent Bubba to the outside. Luger wrenched Bubba’s arm but Bubba cut him off with an eye poke.

Luger hit a forearm for a 2 count. Bubba hit a ugly looking facebuster on Luger. Bubba got the heat. The black limo showed up with Nash and Hall watching on. Bubba whipped out an enziguri for a 2 count. Luger fired back up and they hit a double clothesline to knock each other down. Not a lot happened in this main-event. It honestly didn’t matter because Nash and Hall eventually made their way down to the ring for the disqualification.

Nash and Hall jumped Luger in the ring and pummelled him. It’s funny because I didn’t write down a finish! Therefore I just assume the match was thrown out and Bubba was disqualified! Yeah, god forbid that Lex Luger beats Big Bubba clean in the main-event of Nitro.

Eventually, in walked HOLLYWOOD Hulk Hogan all in black for the first time since “Evil” Hulk Hogan wrestled Sting. Nash hit the Jacknife powerbomb. Hogan slapped away at a floored Luger and shook Bubba’s hands. It turned out to be a ruse as Nash and Hall jumped Bubba as well. The fans booed unmercifully as the nWo egged on the fans to boo them even more. They really did have the fans at Disney World at the palm of their hands as they incited even more hatred! They were the baddest of the bad… and then a bunch of fans chanted “Diesel”!

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Mean Gene interviewed the nWo. Hogan said he wished he did this 2 years ago. Hogan said he was bigger than the whole world of professional wrestling. Hogan said they would rule the wrestling world. Mean Gene asked “well what about the children?” Hogan said these people had the gall to boo Hulk Hogan after he tried to lead the children down the right path? He once again told the fans to stick it. Hogan talked about Sting being a little body builder. Hogan said Macho Man blamed his divorce on Hogan. One bottle from the crowd was thrown and hit Nash right in the face and he completely no-sold it. It’s actually unbelievable. They’re in DISNEY WORLD and all these fans are pelting garbage in the ring! This isn’t even like ECW at the Hammerstein Ballroom or like the hardcorest of fans at Madison Square Garden, these were tourists and just families pelting crap in the ring at the heels! It was surreal.

Hogan said the New World Order will rule the wrestling world. Hogan said the Outsiders were the foundation and Hogan said as he will build his empire, Hogan teased some of the wrestlers and more outsiders possibly joining the group. Hogan said he’s done with the kids. He talked trash about “skinny” Macho Man and “crybaby” Sting. Hogan called The Giant out for Hog Wild and they were gonna take the WCW title and rename it the nWo title. Hogan vowed to beat up the whole of WCW right now as Hogan and the Outsiders were all fired up.

This was a money promo to say the least. If you weren’t excited about this storyline before, then you sure as hell were now. They were a group looking to take over the company and Hogan was not gonna let the kids or let anyone get in his way anymore. They have a match for Hog Wild in The Giant vs Hollywood Hogan for the title and the fans were hanging onto every word he said as a heel. It was tremendous work from the Hulkster.

Then the Steiners and the Faces of Fear came down along with Arn Anderson as they surrounded the nWo. The nWo armed themselves with weapons. They ended the show as the fight was about to start.

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I though this was a fun episode. There were some good matches. The show dragged at places but I think the ending was a fun way to continue this storyline. We have a direction for Hog Wild and this show gets a thumbs up from me!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #41 (JUNE 24TH 1996) – STING AND LEX LUGER VS HARLEM HEAT VS THE STEINER BROTHERS FOR THE WCW TAG TEAM TITLES

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

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We are racing towards Bash at the Beach 1996. The six-man tag team match between the Outsiders and Team WCW was set, with a few questions up in the air. Who was going to represent Team WCW and who was the third man that would team with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. We got an answer to one of those questionslast week on WCW Monday Nitro. After a randomised drawing out of the top 6 names of WCW, Sting, Lex Luger and Macho Man Randy Savage were the ones picked to fight for Team WCW.

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There actually were only three episodes of Nitro between The Great American Bash and the upcoming pay-per-view Bash at the Beach, so we are not far away from the big reveal of who the third man was alongside Hall and Nash. Last week’s episode I thought was good. This week’s episode for June 24th 1996… was alright.

There wasn’t much to this episode. The matches were OK in general and it didn’t feel like a massive drag to watch it all. It was a wrestling show and there was a bunch of matches. We’ve got some matches for the pay-per-view announced but not a lot of work done to hype up those matches with the exception of the main-event angle which we’ll get to.

 

Date: June 24th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Charlotte, North Carolina

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Bobby Heenan

 

Eric Bischoff was still hospitalised from The Great American Bash beat down he got from the Outsiders. It’s remarkable the amount of commitment they made to this angle. If this was WWE for example, Eric Bischoff would have been back the next week. I actually remember when Brock Lesnar F5’d Michael Cole in 2015, Cole was back two weeks later like nothing happened. Not here. Bischoff was off the show again and that makes sense.

They actually showed the entire clip from The Great American Bash in full this week. I would have to assume that WCW got some complaints from the fans that the powerbomb was not shown last week when they said they would show it, so this was a kind of a course correction to show the viewer what happened. It wasn’t like they could promote the replay of the PPV again so why not?

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Lex Luger, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Sting who all had face paint like Sting to show unity. Savage said WCW was their country, united by the face paint of the Stinger. He said divide and conquer is what they’ve gotta do. He high-fived Luger so it looked like buried the hatchet after feuding for months in the early days of Nitro. It is interesting that this wasn’t mentioned previously as the last time Savage and Luger were in the ring together it was theDoomsday Cage match.

Sting said he doesn’t mind anyone making a statement but a grown man does not make a statement by attacking a commentator. Sting asked why not pick on a wrestler? Sting said every time the Outsiders promise three guys, they only provide two. Luger said we’re united as a team and stand tall and stand strong. Luger said they were unified because they are the very best. Sting said this is where the big boys play when The Steiners interrupted. Scott Steiner yelled at Sting and Luger. and then Harlem Heat talked trash to both teams. All three of these teams were in a triangle tag team match for the tag titles in the main-event. They all yelled and started shoving each other as Mean Gene yelled at them to knock it off.

 

“The Blue Bloods” Lord Steven Regal and Squire Dave Taylor w/Jeeves and Earl Robert Eaton vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock

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Apparently some of the music WCW used here was copyrighted as Public Enemy were muted during their promo. They were showing a pre-match promo as they were coming down to the ring live. One of the things I was able to hear them yell was something about the Nasty Boys because lord knows, we need to see that tag match again.

Suffice to say that this was a much better match than the last Nasty Boys/Public Enemy match! A large part was thanks to the dance moves of Lord Steven Regal. I reviewed the SummerSlam 2007 pay-per-view where he danced with Cryme Tyme and the same thing from that goes here. Even when he was dancing, Regal went all out. He did the Public Enemy wave dance in such a rectangular manner! Regal busted out some more moves but then received a dropkick to the face to his utter disgust! How Regal was never the world champion in either WWE or WCW blows the mind.

Rocco did the Daniel Bryan flip off the corner and then Rocco and David Taylor messed up a school boy roll up where it somehow tumbled them into the corner. It did not look pretty. There was one little spot where Rocco had Regal in a full nelson and then Regal lifted his knee up, grabbed it to free himself from the hold. I thought that was really clever.

Rocco missed a springboard moonsault and all I can think is that if I were part of a big boy tag team capable of doing big dives and athletic spots like a moonsault, I’d save those moves for like the big points of the match. Rocco does it casually to lead to the Blue Bloods getting the heat. Therefore, whenever he does it in the ring from now on it is just gonna seem as no big deal as he didn’t hype it up as a big deal.

Rocco and Regal took each other out with a double clothesline. Grunge got the hot tag and it eventually broke into a four way brawl. Eaton tripped Grunge. Regal then stomped the living daylights out of Rocco outside of the ring but as Regal was distracted, Grunge then hit Taylor with a cast for the pinfall victory. Sloppy in parts but it was fine in general. I think the wrong team won here and it is a real shame that in the space of 8 days, Regal went from wrestling Sting at the PPV to losing to Public Enemy. It sucked to be Lord Steven Regal at this time.

 

The Taskmaster w/Jimmy Hart vs Kip Abee

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This was such a bizarre segment. I’ve seen great Kevin Sullivan squash matches during this series so far but this one was just completely random. Taskmaster power-walked to the ring and took this Kip Abee dude over the guard rail. He beat his arse up the steps and tried to throw the dude into the ladies bathroom. Taskmaster beat him up all over the place and then left him laying amongst the fans. This all happened in the space of like two minutes. This was also a massive arena so Taskmaster goes all the way up the steps and beats up Kip and gets back into the ring in the space of a few minutes. Tony revealed Taskmaster got disqualified. by the way

Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy and Taskmaster. Jimmy said they came to the home of the Four Horsemen and they’re walking in and walking out alive. Taskmaster yelled that he was here in Horsemen town and now the Horsemen are coming out to where Taskmaster lived at Bash at the Beach. The fans chanted “WE WANT FLAIR” and they were thunderous. Jimmy said if Ric talked about taking a woman to space mountain one more time he was gonna choke himself to death.

This was to set up The Giant and Taskmaster vs Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit at Bash at the Beach. If the Four Horsemen won, then any member of the Horsemen would get a shot at The Giant’s WCW World title.

Kip Abee died in 2017 by the way. This was his one and only WCW Nitro appearance.

 

Hardwork Bobby Walker vs Dean Malenko

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This was the ultimate case of “be careful what you wish for” when it comes to the cruiserweights. I talked about wanting to see more of the cruiserweights on Nitro when I reviewed The Great American Bash. After the Malenko vs Mysterio Jr. rematch last week, here we have Hardwork Bobby Walker vs Dean Malenko.

Let’s be fair. Bobby Walker didn’t really do anything wrong in this match but he wasn’t impressive in the slightest. It’s easy to have a decent match when your opponent is Dean Malenko. However, then it is revealed that Dean Malenko would defend the WCW Cruiserweight title at Bash at the Beach against Disco Inferno.

Last week, Disco Inferno lost to JOE GOMEZ in a match where Disco didn’t care that he lost and was more concerned with his hair. Disco’s reward, in storyline, for this lack of interest in wrestling is a WCW Cruiserweight Championship match at the pay-per-view? Are you kidding me? Why would I want to see Disco Inferno wrestling in a pay-per-view match for the title? This is completely ridiculous.

Walker did a horrible Japanese Arm Drag. Dean did a snap suplex and locked on a crucifix submission, wrapping the legs of Walker (the same hold thatKonnan did to Gato at the pay-per-view). Dean transitioned this into a Camel Clutch

Dean powerbombed Walker and did the Texas Cloverleaf but let go as the Disco Infero came out with a framed record as one young fan flipped him off in the front row. His music was playing as Walker got back into the match and fired back. Dean was mostly beating the crap out of Walker up until this point.

Disco went into the ring to dance as Disco Fever played. Dean and Walker continued to wrestle. Walker landed on his feet off a Monkey Flip and then just looked at Disco. He just stared at this man dancing… in the middle of a wrestling match. Dean took advantage and bonked Walker into the Disco and hit the Northern Lights Suplex for the pinfall victory.

Every one in this match came off like a geek. Disco Inferno was the geek who fell to the outside of the ring. Dean Malenko was a geek who got distracted by Disco Inferno. Hardwork Bobby Walker was the geek who just stood their watching Disco which led to him getting suplexed and pin. There was no way anyone got more over with this segment. A MASSIVE THUMBS DOWN.

 

Gene interviewed Dean. Dean said he wasn’t gonna stand for it as Disco threatened to hit him with his record. Disco talked about how his record just went gold. Disco said Dean and Walker were not having a good night and it was a perfect time for him to do a dance, make a little love and get down tonight. He flat out told the viewer that these two were no-good geeks and they needed a “star” like Disco Inferno. Why do wrestling companies do this?

Disco said Dean maybe the man of 1000 holds but he’s just sold a million CDs or whatever. Dean said he’s the man of 1000 holds but it’ll only take one to win at Bash at the Beach. This segment died a 1000 deaths and it sucked. Dean’s promo to Disco wasn’t particular good either.

 

 

The Barbarian vs Eddie Guerrero

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A unique match but I don’t agree with the finish of it as we’ll get to. It’s The Barbarian, who I remind you is tall and scary, versus the tiny Eddie Guerrero. Please keep Eddie in mind when I tell you how this match went down.

Barbarian choked Eddie in the corner. Eddie hit a big dropkick for a 2 count.  Barbarian caught Eddie off a springboard and slammed him into the corner.

The Barbarbian then proceeds to destroy Eddie Guerrero. Barbarian SMASHED Eddie with a powerbomb to a big pop from the crowd but Eddie got the shoulder up. Barbarian hit a pump handle slam and the fans loved him even more. The fans loved every power move the Barbarian hit, just like the Faces of Fear’s squash match from a few weeks ago.

Eddie tried to a reverse a powerbomb into a roll up but it got royally screwed up. Eddie hit a back suplex but Barbarian took control of the match again and hit a massive belly to bell suplex from the top rope as the fans rose to their feet. Eddie got rolled all the way out of the ring. Barbarian tried a superplex but Eddie reversed it into a crossbody for the win.

I would not have done this if the objective was to get Eddie over, which seemed to be the intention when we review his post-match promo. The Barbrarian was getting more over and over during the match and was beating the crap out of Eddie but Eddie got a fluke win over the monster that was destroying him. I would have just called an audible and went with Barbarian getting the clean win. I love Eddie but he really didn’t get over when this match was over. In fact, I’d argue it’d have the opposite effect.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Eddie after the match. They explained that Eddie had been away in Japan wrestling in NJPW I guess. Mean Gene asked Eddie about the finish to the Konnan/Eddie match at Uncensored where Eddie got low-blowed. Eddie said he thinks he should deserve a title shot and the fans booed him for this opinion! They’d just watched Eddie get his arses kicked for 75% of the last match so of course they booed Eddie!

Eddie said The Outsiders had a lack of respect and wished his name was among the list of people to fight the Outsiders. This promo did Eddie no-good when all said and done.

 

Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson w/Steve “Mongo” McMichael vs “The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson

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I enjoyed this match. It was basically the Ric and Arn vs Rock N Roll Express match from a month ago. Rock and Roll Express came out to boos in Charlotte. These fans LOVED the Horsemen. It was sensational how over the Horsemen were here and keep that in mind when we get to Ric Flair. They were going crazy for everything Arn did in that ring. They loved Arn, they respected Benoit and they did pop for Steve “Mongo” McMichael too!

I got the message saying this would be played in the best presentation possible suggesting there would be technical difficulties. If I missed anything important, please let me know but it didn’t really feel like a chunk of the match was missing or anything.

Ricky reversed a powerbomb into an arm drag. The Rock N Roll Express took over for a while. Robert got a 2 count off a sunset flip. Arn got a tag and got a hell of a applause from Charlotte. Everything Arn did got a pop and that is not an exaggeration.

Robert elbowed Arn coming off the top rope. Benoit jumped Ricky on the outside and stomped at Ricky in the ring. Robert got the hot tag as the fans were very mild. They didn’t react to the Express and it was all about the Horsemen.

Robert tried a backslide but Mongo ran down, cracked Ricky in the head with his briefcase and Benoit got the pin.

Joe Gomez attacked the Horsemen and Mongo hit him with the briefcase to a big pop. Mongo slapped around Gomez but then Randy Savage and Kevin Greene chased off the Horsemen as the fans booed. I think Kevin Greene was actually playing for the Carolina Panthers too but that didn’t matter when it came to the Horsemen!

I thought this was a good match and interesting crowd reactions!

 

Mean Gene interviewed Ric Flair backstage with Miss Elizabeth, Woman and Debra McMichael. Ric Flair said the Horsemen took charge and the hat is off to Mongo. Ric said the Horsemen were mixing business with pleasure as the rest of the Horsemen showed up. Mongo yelled that nobody could stop them and Ric yelled at Konnan so I guess he’s got a shot at the US title at Bash at the Beach. The fans delivered thunderous WE WANT FLAIR chant as they cut to the announcers. These poor fans would be let down as yes, that interview was Ric Flair’s only contribution to Nitro!

NOTE: Ric Flair did wrestle Randy Savage in a dark match after the show, so it wasn’t like the fans didn’t get Flair out there at all.

 

 

DDP vs Alex Wright for the Lord of the Ring

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DDP taunted the fans as Wright charged at DDP for roll up. Finally, after my WWE Network had no problems for the first hour of this show, the buffering problems started. It stopped completely and when I tried to rewind. it crashed the app for me. I went back in and it stopped every 5 seconds. It did sort itself out so it wasn’t like I had to turn the Playstation 4 off this time.

DDP beat on Wright. Wright tried a suplex and DDP reversed it into a face buster. DDP did a big backbreaker gutbuster. DDP went for a punt but slipped in a comical manner.

Wright hit a side kick and fired away with punches to a floored Page. Wright did a double axe handle and hit a springboard dropkick sending DDP flying to the outside.  Wright did a dive and tried to follow this up with a springboard splash in the ring but DDP got the knees up. DDP hit the Diamond Cutter and got the pin.

As much as I like DDP, and it’s great to see him picking up a number of victories since his big Slamboree win, these matches he’s having as of late are nothing special. They just had a match and the fans were just bored waiting for the Diamond Cutter. That alone speaks volumes to how over the Cutter was but everything else just seems like pointless filler.

 

Mean Gene interviewed DDP. So as I have just talked about not wanting to see DDP in nothing matches, it’s revealed that it’s DDP vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan for the Lord of the Ring in a taped fist match at the Bash at the Beach. I do not look forward to that match in the slightest.

Mean Gene said that the taped fist match was Duggan’s speciality. DDP goes sarcastically, at the moment of me thinking it, “yeah right.” In what way was this a speciality for Hacksaw Jim Duggan? DDP said that if he put the Diamond Cutter on anyone, they would have the life expectancy of a house fly. DDP said everyone is trying to hold him down. DDP said if Duggan’s gotta tape his own fist, go ahead. He said he was the Lord of the Ring and this was a solid promo in my eyes.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Kevin Greene on the ramp. They showed Mongo turning on Greene at the pay-per-view. Greene had a go at Mongo for selling out for a bit of extra money. Greene said for the Carolina Panthers, he was gonna kick some ass for the rest of the NFL season. Greene said he was gonna remember Mongo’s slimey back-stabbing face. Greene said when the season is over, he, Macho Man and two WCW superstars were gonna get some revenge. I have no idea if this led anywhere as I would assume the Outsiders deal would reset a lot of stories.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage w/Kevin Greene vs VK Wallstreet

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Greene was at ringside in the corner of Savage as the Macho Man beat up Wallstreet. The fans chanted WE WANT FLAIR. Imagine if you are Rand Savage doing an angle where Flair has ruined your life for months, taken your ex-wife and then, if you’re Randy Savage, coming to an arena where the fans chant WE WANT FLAIR. That is… insane to think about.

Savage clawed and punched away at Walstreet during the match as Greene cheered him on. Savage hit a suplex. Wallstreet got the heat. Savage went for the elbow drop but Wallstreet moved out of the way. Wallstreet tried to punch Greene but Greene punched Wallstreet and threw him into the ringpost. Savage hit the elbow drop for the pinfall and the victory

I love how Bobby Heenan spent the entire match bashing Savage and calling him a hindrance to Team WCW and then when Savage wins this match, Heenan changed his tune and goes “YEAH SAVAGE! BRING ON HOSTILE TAKEOVER!” Heenan was the best heel commentator of all time! He was an absolute tremendous character! Keep in mind, Savage chased Bobby Heenan out of the ring last week! He was a great performer!

 

Sting © and Lex Luger © vs “Harlem Heat” Stevie Ray and Booker T vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner in a triangle tag team match for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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Not a lot happened in this match and it was pretty boring until the finish. Booker and Scott started off the ring. Booker beat on Scott for a while and Scott eventually hit a tiger powerbomb but Luger broke up the pin right away.

Rick slammed Stevie Ray with one of the safest German suplexes possible, a week after nearly killing Ray with a suplex! Scott tagged Sting into the ring. Harlem Heat got the heat on Sting for a while and Booker got hung up to dry on the top rope and Sting straddled him.

Stevie got low-blowed and Booker missed a top rope splash as Luger got the hot tag. Luger hit a powerslam as who should come down to the ring but Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. They came down to the ring with baseball bats and security hauled arse down to the ring as the Steiners and Sting stand their ground. There’s about 20 security guards with GUNS in the ring. When security is in the middle of the ring about to go for theier weapons, that should stop the match right? Well Booker then rolled up Luger, with Luger all up in the ropes, and referee NICK PATRICK counts to three as Harlem Heat win the tag titles. Hall and Nash were threatening the competitors’ livelihoods with baseball bats, there was a possibility of the security shooting Hall and Nash but Patrick still must count the pin for Booker T.

I thought that was ridiculous.

Luger gets back up and stood with the babyfaces like nothing happened. The replay conveniently didn’t show the roll-up itself as just panned away to the faces standing up to the Outsiders.

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That was Nitro. Overall, not a lot happened but there wasn’t much wrong with the show. It was a show I didn’t have problem with at the time but when I stopped to review it and think about it, the show doesn’t really have a lot of positives to talk about. There were some bad finishes although the closing segment was fine with the exception of roll-up finish. It was a Nitro that was there but it was tolerable at the very least.

Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly and updates whenever Retro Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too! I appreciate you taking the time to read this review and we hope you enjoy more of the content from the Armbar Express.

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #35 (MAY 13TH 1996) – THE GIANT VS LEX LUGER FOR THE WCW WORLD TITLE

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

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We’re heading into Slamboree 1996, with The Giant defending the WCW World title against Sting. Both men picked up victories last week but the show ended in a brawl where Sting was able to get The Giant in the Scorpion Death Lock briefly but this was interrupted by Jimmy Hart. Lex Luger, who was supposed to get a WCW title shot last week, arrived late to the show with the Stinger once again questioning Lex Luger’s actions.

 

This review was the go-home show for Slamboree 1996. It didn’t really do much for me other than the angle to close the show to set-up or get me excited for Slamboree. I think this was officially the show where the good-show streak ended. This wasn’t bad but this was the first Nitro I’ve watched in a while where it felt like it was just…. there. It just existed and there wasn’t lot there for me to further my interest in a number of storylines. This episode just didn’t do it for me.

We’re also two weeks away from Nitro going two hours long. Next week’s episode I’ve already found out is more than an hour long because of a weird overrun. So this will be the last episode which took me less than an hour to watch on the Network. The Network listed this as 42 minutes long.

 

Date: May 13th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Nashville, Tennesee

Rating: 2.3 (Better than last week but still lost to WWF RAW)

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

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Let’s start this review with the review of the opening segment with Lex Luger. The storyline has been that Lex Luger was claiming that he missed flights or whatever which has led to him missing two opportunities to face The Giant for the WCW title. This week, he had a plan. Lex Luger literally CAMPED in Nashville outside of the arena. He didn’t go to a hotel or anything. No, he was outside camping as if he were waiting for the midnight screenings of Star Wars or something.

I paused it because, this set up Lex Luger had included two bottles of water, three bananas, an orange, an apple all on top of a box which may have been like a cooler or something. He had a flashlight, duvet and pillow as he then proceeded to swat away at a fly with a fly-swatter thing he random whiped out! He then proceeds to whip out a newspaper too.

I have a few questions. Firstly, why Luger couldn’t just stay at a nearby hotel is perplexing to me! Secondly, Luger isn’t shown training or anything for his big world title match. He sits there reading the newspaper! This whole plan of Luger’s seemed to have a lot of flaws but you know what, this at least proved that Luger was willing to go the extra mile to be here for this match with Giant. So I liked it… it was goofy but it was the right kind of goofy.

 

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

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The announcers said that Randy Savage was barred from ringside and fined $50,000 twice, after last week where he beat up two referees and choked Hugh Morrus out with his own jacket.

This tag match started with Scott hitting gorilla press and throwing Grunge I think at Rocco, which is quite a feat of strength as neither of those guys were small dudes. It may have been the other way around but that’s what was written on my notes so I’m gonna go with that order.

Rick did a great catching belly-to-belly suplex on Grunge. Scott followed up with a big belly-to-belly suplex of his own. The teams brawled on the outside. Rocco accidentally hits Grunge and this led to… nothing. It led to nothing as Rocco just started beating up Rick.

Eric Bischoff talked about Scott Norton and Ice Train a.k.a Fire and Ice looking very powerful as of late … the last time they were on Nitro, the Steiners beat them in about 3 minutes if I recall correctly.

Rick crotched Rocco and did a suplex from the top rope. This wasn’t like a superplex or anything. Rocco was sat on the top turnbuckle and Rick lifted him from that position which was quite impressive. Scott hit this fantastic tilt-a-whirl sit-out slam, Scott went for the Franksteiner but Grunge dropped him with an electric chair as Rick was distracted with the referee.

Rocco did an assisted springboard senton from the top rope for a 2 count. Public Enemy did a double elbow smash. Rocco missed a senton which led to Rick Steiner running wild with clotheslines off the hot tag.

Public Enemy eventually overpowered Rick on the outside. Rocco tried a flip senton over the top rope but hit Grunge by mistake. Scott did a Frankesteiner in the ring, pumped his hands up in the air and went for the cover for the win.

This was a decent tag match at best. I’ve seen Public Enemy have way worst tag team matches than this and this at least gave the Steiners a lot of shine. The right team won and this was OK in my books.

 

Chris Benoit vs Squire Dave Taylor w/Jeeves

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I don’t have a lot of notes for this match but this was another decent match in its own right. It’s just that not a lot happened between these two and there wasn’t a lot of heat from the fans for this one.

The announcers revealed Lord Steven Regal is teaming with Dave Taylor at Slamboree as I guess Belfast Bruiser was out of the tournament. They also mentioned DDP was also in the Lethal Lottery now, replacing Hardwork Bobby Walker. This isn’t quite WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge from 2018 where they changed up the teams DURING the tournament but this was very hard to keep up with heading into the PPV.

Benoit and Taylor grappled around the ring for a bit as there was some crackling with the audio. They wrestled for a bit and then Benoit just delivers some closed fist punches to bring some intensity into the match.

He delivered a catapult and then some chops to Taylor and Dave Taylor mostly just responded with European Uppercuts. Dave Taylor slammed Benoit to the ground with an electric chair drop. Dave hit an awesome fallaway slam which was the highlight of the match.

Dave missed a dive from the top rope and Benoit hit a Dragon Suplex for the pin. Not a lot to discuss about this one but this was another decent match.

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Mean Gene Okerlund was talking to Randy Savage outside of the arena. Savage is trying to get in when Steve “Mongo” McMichael came outside to meet with Savage. Mongo then proceeds to cut a promo on Ric Flair and tells Savage to chill out as he has a plan.

Mean Gene turns around and tells Savage that he’s lost it. Savage said Gene hadn’t seen crazy yet and he was gonna turn WCW upside down. Savage said he doesn’t care about the money and fines. He warned Gene to not tell him where he’s going because he didn’t know where he’d been, which I actually thought was a solid line. Savage said he’s gonna win the Lethal Lottery even if it meant carrying around a dead partner in Ric Flair. Savage dropped a line something along the lines of a psychiatrist said he’s OCD which stands for “One Cool Dude.” I chuckled at that.

 

Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs VK Wallstreet

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This was a weird match to see with the heel VK Wallstreet working as the babyface against Ric Flair in a match designed to see the fans cheer for Wallstreet over RIC FLAIR. Shockingly, the fans were getting behind VK Wallstreet during this match, so it wasn’t like this didn’t accomplish what it set out to do.

I love Miss Elizabeth having this big smile on her face as Flair danced around with her on the ramp. Even though she’s supposed to be a heel and she’s with the dastardly Ric Flair, Ric danced with her and she had this big smile on her face!

Wallstreet out-wrestled Flair briefly at the start of the match. Flair then dropped him with a drop toe-hold and Wallstreet reversed it into a wrist lock.

Wallstreet ran wild for a little bit and Flair retreated to the outside. I love how Ric bounced off the rope and the moment he bounced off, Wallstreet pounced and hit a drop toe-hold, going to work on the legs. It’s actually amazing how much Wallstreet got on Ric Flair in this match.

Ric Flair sold and sold for VK WALLSTREET of all people. Wallstreet went for a cover but Flair got his foot on the rope and Woman still took the time to adjust his foot on the rope a little bit anyway! No matter if he got his foot on the rope or not, his team will always try to bend the rules for the Dirtiest Player in the game!

Wallstreet tried a high knee on the outside but jumped knee first into the ring post. Flair worked on the legs and locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Woman grabbed the arms of Flair to get extra twerk and to emphasise this, Flair thrusted vigorously in the air to demonstrate the amount of pressure he was applying! Flair tapped him out for the win.

This was the weakest match of the show so far but this was an OK match in its own right.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Flair. Flair talked about Dolly Parton riding Space Mountain which I wouldn’t even wanna attempt to imagine. Ric talked about Savage saying he would drag a dead man to the ring. Ric then danced around with Elizabeth and asked if he looked dead to you. Ric Flair said ass during this promo and Mean Gene was appalled by this! I love how ASS was a word that was appalling and frowned upon in the eyes of the WCW announcers!  Ric Flair talked about Mongo. Flair talked about hitting touchdowns and he grabbed the women and said look at the wide receivers. I was gob-smacked by that line. The Attitude Era and Crash TV hadn’t totally arrived in WCW yet but this was not subtle language in the slightest by Flair!

 

The Giant © vs Lex Luger for the WCW title

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So they’re setting up this big angle of Lex Luger possibly showing up for his title match, with the announcers speculating whether he was going to show up or not. They come back from a break and Lex Luger is just in the ring with The Giant ready for the match. No entrances or anything for either man in this match. They didn’t even try when they come back to play up the possibility that Luger may no-show.

Luger tried shoulder blocks but Giant was too big. Luger tried a scoop slam but got thrown to the outside. Luger got out of a suplex and tried to dive on Giant but Giant caught him and slammed him into the corners. Luger tried a diving forearm but Giant was still standing. Luger was thrown outside of the ring.

Luger tried to get The Giant off the apron but The Giant held onto the rope for a long time, refusing to go but Luger eventually knocked him down with a big forearm.

Giant went over to Flair, who was sitting watching this match with his women also sitting at a table. The Giant cleared the table as Flair screamed NO, as Woman also screamed. Giant then chokeslammed Luger through the table for the DQ.

Jimmy Hart literally jumped on Giant’s back to stop him from doing anything more as Sting came out to the aid of his friend as Giant was led to the back. I guess Luger being chokeslammed through the table was enough to prove to the announcers that Lex Luger was a true babyface now. Mean Gene tried an interview but Sting told him to get out of here.

I do like that this did add a bit of weight to the Sting vs The Giant title match for Slamboree. When they did this feud, literally out of nowhere, they just randomly announced the match for Slamboree. Now it’s for the title and now The Giant has made things personal, going after Sting’s friend. Now it feels more than just a random title match as the animosity between the two is at a boiling point heading into the PPV.

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This episode was the weakest episode we’ve seen in a while on Nitro I think. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t particular good either. There were some matches that were above average and that was about it. I guess by those standards, I should consider it a good show but it really struggled in building up anticipation for the PPV. It was just a random Nitro to me that didn’t really accomplish much for a show that happened to be the go-home show for Slamboree.

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Speaking of WCW Slamboree 1996, that is the next review for the blog. We’re gonna have the Lethal Lottery tournament, a few title matches and Sting vs The Giant for the WCW title. Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly an update whenever Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too!

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #34 (MAY 6TH 1996) – THE GIANT AND STING BUILD MOMENTUM HEADING INTO SLAMBOREE

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

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We have a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion heading into May 1996, a month which ends with the start of an angle which would have a major impact on the wrestling business. The Giant defeated Ric Flair last week in convincing fashion in one of the closest things to a squash world title match you’ll ever see. The Giant ended the night by cutting a promo challenging the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Sting to step up and get knocked down by the new champion himself.

Date: May 6th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Daytona Beach, Florida

Rating: 1.9

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

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Before we get into this review, I wanna break down some of the ratings for this week’s show. WWF RAW beat WCW Monday Nitro 4.1 to 1.9 in the ratings which I believe is the largest gap between the two so far in the Monday Night Wars.

I was absolutely stunned when I saw that rating. Honestly, I looked at this episode of Nitro and I actually thought it was another good show. It’s been 4 weeks on the bounce where WCW Nitro has actually been good and felt like a really good show. Yet despite this, WCW Nitro had not beaten WWF RAW in the ratings since March 25th 1996. Funnily enough, that was the episode after Uncensored and that Doomsday Cage match which was the pinnacle of god awful wrestling.

Eric did mention on commentary that there was NBA gamer on so RAW and Nitro weren’t directly head-to-head this week. The main-event of the RAW show was Undertaker vs Owen Hart which actually sounds like a really good match but when compared this show, RAW didn’t even compared to Nitro in my eyes on paper.

Their matches included the Bodydonnas vs Techno Team 2000, Marc Mero (previously Johnny B Badd) vs 1-2-3 Kid which actually sounds like a good match and Davey Boy Smith vs Fatu. I actually may watch that show just to see how it compares. That show pulling a 4.1 rating sounds an incredible feat but maybe I’ll watch it to see what it was that brought the viewers in.

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Now, I’m going to throw up a theory which may annoy some people. However, I mentioned that the last week of the ratings wars Nitro won was the March 25th 1996 show after Uncensored. Now granted, Hulk Hogan was not on that Nitro. However, that episode followed a PPV based on a plot to end Hulkamania. Since then, there’s been little to no Hulk Hogan and RAW has been smashing them in the ratings. Hulk Hogan not being there probably did do a number on Nitro. The WCW shows are better without him but it’s not pulling in that big of an audience any more even if the likes of Ric Flair, Randy Savage and Sting are all there. We will see where it goes from here.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Hugh Morrus

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I am officially over this storyline with Randy Savage. The storyline, really since Elizabeth turned on Savage in February, is that Savage is too crazy to be allowed in a wrestling ring and the WCW officials are concerned for his well-being. This week we had pretty much the same Randy Savage stuff with the opponent mocking Savage, Savage going nuts and then continuing with a post-match beatdown which is eventually stopped.

That’s pretty much what happened here. Hugh Morrus beat Savage up, Hugh Morrus put on Savage’s gear and mocked him and Savage went crazy. Savage choked Morrus over the top rope with his own jacket and wouldn’t let go, so the referee called for the bell. That’s pretty much what happened in this match.

I was mostly just distracted as they came down to the ring by Dana Brooke and Batista tweeting back-and-forth with each other on Twitter! This is tremendous stuff if you’re able to find on Twitter!

Savage punched down the referee after the match. Another referee ran down to which Savage scoop-slammed the second referee. Bischoff called him a psychopath as Savage hit the referee with an elbow drop from the top rope.

The most memorable part of this whole angle though is that while Savage is going crazy after the bell rings, the time keeper rung the bell over and over and over again as geeks eventually come down to stop Savage in security and local law enforcement. This time-keeper would not stop ringing this damn bell. I wouldn’t be surprised if the time keeper is still ringing this bell to this das! For literally 2 minutes straight, this bell-ringing kept going and I was just completely driven mad by it! No time-keeper should ring a bell as much as this guy did.

Savage’s response to the geeks trying to calm him down was to taunt to the fans! Heenan then call Savage a danger to society but despite this “psychopath” Savage going nuts, Savage was still allowed by law enforcement to high five the fans at ringside as he leaves!

I was actually doing a bit of research for another article but I saw that WWE posted up a YouTube video with an interview with Lana. In that interview, Lana called Rusev a “danger to society” as part of that storyline. The pararels between Nitro 1996 and wrestling in 2019 are just surreal and boy, is there more to come from this episode of Nitro…

They had a little tribute to Ray “The Crippler” Stevens who had past away that week. They had a donations screen up and Bischoff sounded very choked up about the passing of The Crippler.

Dean Malenko vs Jushin Liger w/Sonny Onoo

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We had a great cruiserweight match next but I do wanna touch on something before we get into the match. Right away, the announcers discuss that Shinjiro Otani is the new WCW Cruiserweight champion as he won the title in Japan. From what I understand about this though was that the tapings for all of the WCW shows were all over the place at this time. They were taping episodes of Saturday Night and Worldwide etc. to take place after this episode of Nitro.

Apparently though, the news about Otani was very much-outdated in real-time. In actuality, the WCW Cruiserweight Champion at this time was Dean Malenko. He beat Otani in an episode of Saturday Night or something and had won the title but he came out for this Nitro without the championship and he pretended to NOT BE the champion! Could you imagine if you happened to have attended one of those tapings and then came to a live Nitro with Dean Malenko not as the champion?

They did say that Otani was making his WCW debut in May 18th on an episode of Worldwide, despite already being the cruiserweight champion according to the announcers. They also said he was scheduled to defend the title at Slamboree.

Jushin forced Dean down with a wrist lock, continued to work on the wrist as they got to their feet. They traded cruiserweight spots which led to an incredible sell from Dean off an enziguri by Liger. Ric Flair in a tuxedo appeared to watch the match with his women. Usually they’d do an angle where a wrestler would come out to “watch” a match and big storyline is made out of it which makes the match seem secondary. Not tonight. They barely focused on Flair as the match was going on… which was great. They were able to tackle the Flair stuff after the match. This was fine,

Liger hit a beautiful brainbuster for a near fall. They went to the ads as Liger locked on an abdominal stretch. Flair is shown wining and dining with champagne and big candles apparently with Savage’s money I guess. Dean went for a knee bar as Liger fought out of it and grabbed the rope.

Dean worked on the injured knee with just simple knee shots to the knee of Liger. Liger, after his knee was worked on for a few minutes, suddenly whips out a perfect cartwheel elbow smash with no signs of wear to his knee!

Liger followed this up with a Liger Kick. Liger dropkicked Dean to the outside and Liger did a big dive to the outside. This was all after Dean was working on Liger’s knee for a few minutes!

Liger went for a cartwheel springboard but Dean caught him as they traded roll ups. Dean went for the top rope gutbuster, hit it and Bischoff said “never seen it before.” I don’t know if this was an insider reference from Bischoff or whatever but this was not the first time I’d seen Malenko do this. He beat Mr JL with this move if I recall correctly.

Dean went for an Alley Oop but Liger reversed into a roll-up attempt for a near fall which was a spot I thought was so great it should have been the finish. However, it wasn’t as Dean hit a sit-out powerbomb for the win. A solid match and the fans were into this one. This match worked big time.

I’m going to get my one gripe with this match out of the way. Far be it from me to critique Jushin “Thunder” Liger’s wrestling work but for a match where his knee was worked on for a long time, him doing these amazing cartwheels and these Liger Kicks during his comeback really took away from the match just a little. It was almost like they did the heat for the sake of just doing the heat and then Liger is back to normal with seemingly no sign of issues with his knees. That bothered me a little bit.

Mean Gene was with Ric Flair, Woman and Miss Elizabeth. Ric Flair said when you’re on top of your own personal world, you do what you ever you want. He said they checked into the big hotels and got on the first-class planes. Ric said a lot of people were saying Ric should be unhappy that he lost to The Giantbut he said his time was coming. Ric talked about Slamboree. Ric warned Arn not to make the wrong choice in life again as he was facing Arn Anderson in a tag team match. Ric Flair talked about the blonde in the front row, obviously Mongo’s wife. He offered her a drink and she poured it out in rejection. Flair said when it’s all over, she’s gonna learn why he’s an all-around cowboy which was a strange pick-up line. Elizabeth told Ric don’t worry as they have all of Savage’s money and Flair laughed away.

How I didn’t realise until this point that Mongo’s wife was actually Debra, the future Mrs Stone Cold Steve Austin, was beyond me. I had totally forgotten Debra and Mongo were married. Now I do believe they split up around 1998 and she goes with Austin after that but it took me a while to figure out that this was actually Debra of all women to be in this angle!

Sting vs Lord Steven Regal w/Jeeves

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This match I truly believe was the best match of the show. It told the simplest story and it was worked in such a simple manner but it worked so effectively to get both guys over. If you had watched the Parking Lot Brawl from last week, you were gifted with the knowledge for why Regal had his face all bandaged and why he was selling more than usual. Regal still struggled through the pain as he battled Sting because of how brutal that match was from last week.

This match also showed a certain sign from the crowd. As I watched this episode of Nitro 1996 in 2019 amidst the rise of AEW Dynamite on TNT, a fan on Nitro had a sign which said: “TNT is Dynamite.” AEW demonstrated their tremendous time-travelling capabilities with this sign way back in May 1996! An unbelievable sign to have been discovered during this episode of Nitro!

Sting took control early on and went for the Scorpion Death Lock but Regal got the ropes and left the ring holding his back. I love how Sting got out of an arm wrench of all moves and the fans went nuts for Sting as Regal was writhing in pain! There were a lot of a female Sting fans and these fans were going nuts for literally EVERYTHING Sting did! We need more fans like this in 2019!

Regal brought down Sting and wrenched the wrist while scraping Sting’s face with his boot. Sting got out of it and did a standing crossface, crossing both arms across Regal’s face. Regal returned the favour to which Sting powered out as Regal begged for mercy. Regal legitimately walked around like an old man selling his match from last week but it was believable. If you’re back is hurting, no matter if you’re a professional wrestler or just lifting something heavy for someone, you can’t really move that well because of the pressure on your back so yes this came off as believable that Regal acted this way.

Sting took control with Japanese Arm Drags and clotheslines as Regal begged for his life! Sting missed a Stinger Splash. The finish was awesome in this match. Regal went for a Tiger Suplex but Sting reversed it with a back drop and a bridge pinfall for the win! A simple move to win the match but I loved it. Sting out-wrestled Regal for the victory and was the better man. Not to mention, Regal was selling his back during the match so yes, it played into the finish. Even Mongo sold this like “how did he do that?” so this match was a big success. Two big thumbs up from me for this match!

The Giant © vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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The match set to be the main-event was The Giant versus Lex Luger for the title. Before this, there was a clash of music with Sting’s music and Lex Luger’s music. It sounded like the WWE Network edited Sting’s music over Luger’s real music. It makes more sense than WCW screwing up the music. The storyline was that they were expecting Luger but Hacksaw Jim Duggan wounded up taking his spot. Sting’s music being here doesn’t make sense but then again, why would they put Sting’s music over Luger’s on the Network? I’ve heard Luger’s theme song all the time on the Network. I was incredibly confused.

As I just mentioned Lex Luger was expected to come out but apparently Hacksaw Jim Duggan stepped up and wanted to take his spot. The announcers revealed Luger hadn’t arrived yet.

Duggan punched away at The Giant as Giant tried to get over the top rope into the ring. The Giant eventually pushed him away and posed the belt and Duggan jumped Giant again. Hacksaw Jim Duggan came off as the biggest cheater during these episodes of Nitros! He jumped The Giant over and over when The Giant was just minding his business!

Duggan tried to fight but Giant clobbered at him. Giant repeated the arse spot he did with Sting during that one tag match and thrusted back with his hips as Bobby Heenan talks about friction.

Duggan tried to slam The Giant but he couldn’t do it. Giant choked away at Duggan for a while which suspiciously reminded me of the likes of Ze Gangsta during this match. Sometimes it was easy to forget that The Giant was less than a year into the business by this point in his career so there were signs of him being green during this match.

Duggan tried the loaded tape he always goes for but Giant got Duggan up and slammed him down with the chokeslam for the win to the retain the title. The Giant then hits this massive chokeslam, where he gets him up, takes a step back and drives himself and Duggan down to the ground. These were the awesome chokeslams Giant/Big Show used to do back in his prime where they’d both crash to the ground. I loved it.

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Cobra of all people tried to make the save and Giant DRIVES him to the ground with a chokeslam too, twisted him in the air and slammed him. The Giant beats up the Cuban Assassin and Alex Wright before Ric Flair makes his way down to the ring. He grabbed a chair, takes off his blazer and clonks Giant in the head with the chair to a big pop. However The Giant no-sold this and cornered him.

Sting came down and attacked Giant to chop The Giant down with chop blocks. He punched out Jimmy Hart. Fans were losing their minds as Sting tried to punch Giant down and he winds up for a big punch, pokes the eye and hits a big double axe handle which knocks the big man down.
He tries a Scorpion Death Lock but The Giant is so big that he struggles to get him over. He eventually got him over but the moment he turned him over, Jimmy clobbers Sting with the megaphone. Lex Luger comes down with a suitcase and the worst fashion sense possible but then The Giant is backed away by Jimmy. I loved this segment. The fans were into every moment.

Then after this, Sting got up in Luger’s business as Mean Gene tried an interview. Sting cut him off and Sting asked where Luger was. I guess Luger missed an opportunity to fight for the title before and Sting was calling him out on it and Luger was saying he missed a flight. They argue and they end the show.

This was another storyline I was sort of sick of. I know I’ve complained about this before with this storyline but we saw the whole friction storyline dropped with Sting and Lex Luger weeks ago. Lex Luger was finally a full-blown babyface and he was a good guy and now all of a sudden, him and Sting are fighting again. I’m hoping they just move past this “can Sting trust Luger” storyline as it’s kinda getting old now.

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I thought this was a good show in general. There are some storylines that I’m hoping they’ll close the book on for good. The Randy Savage storyline is getting repetitive, the Sting/Luger storyline is getting repetitive but this felt like an easy show to watch. There were good matches in the cruiserweight match and the Sting vs Regal match and the show flowed together really well. I thought this was a thumbs up show.

I have a plan of a few blog posts in the pipeline. I was going to do the next episode of Nitro next, which would be appropriate, but I do want to watch that RAW episode from May 6th 1996. I thought this was a good show so I’m still wondering whether or not that RAW held up to justify the 4.1 rating it got. This was also the time where the WWF were struggling financially and in popularity so I’m stunned what it was that got this good a rating, at least by 2019 standards. RAW nowadays doesn’t even come close to that number. It’s been years and years since they got that big of a number.

Therefore, I think the plan is to watch the WWF Monday Night RAW episode from May 6th 1996. I did mentioned that I was doing research for an post regarding the Rusev/Lashley/Lana storyline right now which I still intend on doing. I have a few other ideas in place and of course, I will review the next episode of Nitro which is the go-home show for Slamboree.

The upcoming blog post list is below so stay tuned:

  • Review of WWF Monday Night RAW from May 6th 1996
  • Post about the Rusev/Lashley/Lana storyline
  • Review of WWF Monday Nitro from May 13th 1996
  • WCW Slamboree 1996… eventually!
  • And a few more pet projects that I’m looking to work on when I get the time!

Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly an update whenever Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too! I will be back with my review of Episode #35 of Nitro from May 1996.

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #32 (APRIL 22ND 1996) – LEX LUGER AND STING VS THE GIANT AND RIC FLAIR FOR ALL OF THE BELTS

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

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We’ve officially hit the period of WCW Nitro where things just don’t add up and make sense anymore. These last few episodes have closely resembled WWE 2019 now more than ever, where it is very clear “plans change” as things are completely turned on their heads. Yes, I did copy those words from my last review of Episode #31 of Nitro.

The Booty Man was pulled from his tag match with Hulk Hogan against Taskmaster and Arn Anderson. Hulk Hogan went at it alone and overcome the threat of six heels who all tried to destroy the Hulkster. Hogan won a handicap match against Arn and Taskmaster, he got his hands on Woman, Miss Elizabeth and Jimmy Hart after the match and then he overpowered The Giant and sent him packing.

In the main-event, The Giant teamed up with Ric Flair to challenge the WCW World Tag Team Champions Sting and Ric Flair. The match-ended in a disqualification when Sting got coffee thrown at him and the heels kicked the arses of the champions at the end of the show.

 

Before we get into the review, Episode #32 of Nitro was a massive improvement on recent Nitros. I don’t even think this episode was actually that much better than previous weeks but it felt completely different. There was more room for things taking place to hype up the PPV in May, we had different wrestlers on the show and different matches on the show. It felt fresh and different and it was also a show without Hulk Hogan. It’s not necessarily a good thing that Hogan was away from TV but in this instance, it’s a much needed break from his usual shenanigans.

Eventually, there’s gonna be a more permanent break from his usually shenanigans when the New World Order comes around but now I appreciate the change to the system. Just to see the show change up a bit is better than the show become repetitive and stale. This gets my endorsement for now.

 

Date: April 22nd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Albany, Georgia

Rating: 2.7 (Down from last week)

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

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With the show changing up itself, we also got the return of Eric Bischoff’s WWF RAW results reveals during the show. To kick off the show, he mentions that the World Whining Federation had “the transvestite” Goldust beating Savio Vega, Makind beating Aldo Montoya and Vader beating Fatu. To all of this, Bischoff just goes “oh boy” in a sarcastic manner.

To be fair to Bischoff, that sounded like a god awful episode of RAW! I looked up that episode of RAW and I’m not sure if Bischoff mentioned this but there was also a match between the Godwins and the tag team of Yoshihiro Tajiri and Ken Patterson! That’s a bizarre match to say the least!

 

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

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I was unsure how I felt about this match. The tag match itself did nothing for me as the American Males’ tag team matches were very formulastic by nature. All they’ve been shown to be able to do is dropkicks and punches. All Public Enemy were shown to be capable of doing is hardcore stuff. You got a very basic match by those standards here but… this beats Public Enemy’s match from last week against the Nasty Boys!

The heels Public Enemy jumped the males before the match. They beat on Riggs in the corner. Bagwell takes out Public Enemy with a double top rope clothesline which didn’t actually looked too bad. I thought it looked pretty decent in execution actually.

Bagwell did a dive to the outside as the Males did some clapping with the fans. Bischoff wished Pillman well after a car accident. There were dropkicks by the Males to Grunge and Rocco. Riggs went for a cover and Nick Patrick was busy chewing out Bagwell for god knows what reason. This completely disrupted the flow of the match.

For months during these Nitro reviews, I’ve been watching Nick Patrick and he looked horrible as a referee. He had a few matches where he was out of position or he called a rope break when he shouldn’t have called for a rope break. I was mostly trying to figure out what it was about Patrick that made him such a bad referee in my eyes. I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts related to these Nitros where the podcasters buried Nick Patrick and I’ve heard people bash Patrick in the past.

It really hit me during this match what the problem was with Patrick. AEW’s Aubrey Edwards is so great as a referee because she only plays a part in the match where it is necessary to do so. He will get in Chris Jericho or Pentagon Jr’s face to get heat on the heels or to actually show rules being enforced. She never does anything that takes me out of the match as it just flows as normal.

Nick Patrick went out of his way to chat to Bagwell as Riggs made the cover so he was not available to make the cover. I don’t see this as Patrick just doing a spot to get the heat on the heels because I’ve seen Patrick do this so many times before and it sucks. Pay attention to the match but don’t bring attention to yourself if you don’t need to. I’ve heard someone mention this before in an interview or something but the best referees in the business are the ones where you don’t even notice them. They don’t stick out like a sore thumb and Nick Patrick stuck out like a sore thumb during this match.

Public Enemy take over. Rocco pulled off a moonsault during this heat which seems rare nowadays. He doesn’t just punch the guys in the ring or go for a long chin-lock. He does a moonsault! They get the heat on Bagwell for a long time.. Rocco goes for a big senton bomb but completely missed which led to the hot tag which the fans went nuts for.

Riggs fired away with punches and dropkicks. Bagwell goes to save Riggs from the interfering Rocco Rock but he gets tossed over the top rope to the outside. The Public Enemy then throw Riggs over the top rope and it’s a disqualification. It was such a weird sight that of all the things to lead to a disqualification, it’s a rule about throwing people over the top rope which they mentioned once in a while since Nitro began. Seeing it in practice is so weird when it’s PUBLIC ENEMY of all the teams getting DQ’d for this. They didn’t use a weapon to get DQ’d. They threw a guy over the top rope!

Public Enemy did the same table spot they did last week to take out Riggs. So again, Public Enemy put a guy threw a table and there’s no repercussions for them from the Board of Directors or whoever is running the show in storyline. Keep that in mind when we get to Randy Savage later.

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Mean Gene Okerlund is with two women as they have the first round drawings for the WCW Slamboree Lethal Lottery. So after my big rant from the last episode where they never mentioned the Lethal Lottery once, it is suddenly all over this episode of Nitro as they did drawings for the tournament!

They introduce Emily and Cherry who were the women by Mean Gene’s side. I’m pretty sure when they came out again later, Mean Gene called Cherry “Terri” later on!

The rules of this lottery was that there would be names in a hat being pulled out and wrestlers would have to team together in the first round and then the winners of the tag matches would go into a battle royal later on in the night for a future title match. Those are the rules of this tournament anyway.

Mean Gene explained that they did some drawings before they came out. The first two matches certainly lived up to the expectation of these matches being “random!” The first two matches drawn beforehand were  the “weird combination” of Hugh Morrus and Meng facing The Barbarian and Hardwork Bobby Walker! Of course, there’s the “irony” of the Faces of Fear facing each other in a tag team match so that’s one thing. Then they announce Stevie Ray and Big Bubba vs Scott Norton and Ice Train. What a random tag team match for a possible shot at the WCW World Heavyweight title!

Emily does a horrible job in shuffling the cards up for Mean Gene as they actually pick names out of a hat. In this totally random drawing, the match is revealed to be Ric Flair and Randy Savage TEAMING UP to take on Arn Anderson and Eddie Guerrero!

Not only is it RANDOMLY decided that mortal enemies Savage and Flair are teaming up for this tournament, the WCW World champion is in a tournament where a WCW title shot is on the line!

It is possible that Ric Flair could lose the WCW World title before this tournament takes place but I love the idea that Ric Flair could have won this whole tournament and then face himself for the WCW World title!

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

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This was one of the breaths of fresh air I was talking about earlier. We’ve not seen the likes of Chris Benoit on Nitro for months and now we’ve got Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero on Nitro once again and it seems fresh. This is a pairing we’ve seen before on Nitro but this felt so different to what we’ve been getting with Hogan and the Booty Man in the last few weeks.

Benoit and Eddie start the match by playing a game of one-upmanship as they wrestle into the corner gently and then slap each other. Eddie ran wild with arm drags. Benoit won the first bit of chain wrestling. He then takes over with an eye rake OVER the referee. Benoit hits a back suplex.

Benoit goes for a chinlock and Eddie responds by doing some tremendous headscissor takedowns. Benoit hits a beautiful German suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. They reveal Savage is doing an interview after this match as Benoit throws Eddie to the floor. Eddie did a hurricanrana off the top rope but Benoit had his legs own tangled in the rope as Eddie went for the cover.

Benoit reversed a sunset flip and grabbed the ropes for the win. A decent match but I have two nit-picks which doesn’t even have anything to do with the match itself. It’s to do with WCW.

  1. I went back and checked the times for the matches for this episode of Nitro. Benoit vs Guerrero and Public Enemy vs American Males got the same amount of time. However, there was a commercial during the Benoit vs Guerrero match instead of the Public Enemy vs American Males match from earlier? From those two matches, the one match we had to see in full was Public Enemy vs The American Males? Why you’d cut from a 7 minute Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit match is mind-blowing in its own right but the timing on this show was just weird.
  2. Chris Benoit defeated Eddie Guerrero but Chris Benoit himself is revealed later to NOT be in the Lethal Lottery. Eddie Guerrero was but yet Chris Benoit just beat him on Nitro. How is Chris Benoit NOT in Lethal Lottery after this? I mean… it’s possible that he’ll be added to the tournament later but as of now he’s not in the tournament.

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Mean Gene is with Vice President of WCW Rob Garner when “Macho Man” Randy Savage interrupted them. Mean Gene said Savage has been out of control. WCW in storyline were concerned about the mental well-being of Savage and that he’s out of the control, but are OK with the likes of Public Enemy putting geeks through tables? They were OK with Woman throwing hot coffee in the eyes of the wrestlers during matches? They were OK with The Giant running wild in WCW? They were cool with all of that and yet RANDY SAVAGE is the one on their radar here? Yeah, this storyline has some plot holes in it!

Garner said they were concerned with Savage’s actions. He said they understood his circumstances with Ric Flair but if the actions didn’t cease immediately, the ramifications would be severe. Savage responded that ramifications was such a sophisticated word for a man in a tie! Savage said he was the partner from the hell. Savage said he was gonna do what he wanted and he even got in Garner’s face. Garner responded that if Savage could not control his behaviour, he needed professional help. Savage said Garner needed a psychiatrist for being a stupid little man! Savage’s comebacks were so petty and sounded so pathetic but he delivered it so well that I laughed my head off!

I actually liked that he stands over Garner who, despite Savage’s comments, must have be quaking in his boots when facing an angry Savage cutting an angry promo. Savage was a tall, big guy and when he was looking down at Garner, it must be the most terrifying thing for this lad in a suit. This worked in making it clear why the WCW executives are so afraid of Savage. They brought out the Vice President of WCW and Savage towered over them and is about to explode. That I loved.

Mean Gene yelled at Savage. Savage said he’s gonna electrify WCW and walks off after teasing an open-hand slap to Garner. I actually thought this was a great segment.

 

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Meng

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Another match where it just felt different to me. We haven’t seen Hacksaw Jim Duggan wrestle on Nitro in so long. Meng we haven’t seen much of in recent months either. In this match, they had a fight that was just different to everything else on the show. It was a welcome change at the very least.

Meng had an awesome robe on as he marched down the ring. It was very colourful with Hawaiian colours. This was the best Meng has looked in the series so far! Hacksaw beat up Meng as Meng got into the ring.

Hacksaw pounced on Meng as Meng got into the ring and stomped him away. Hacksaw was beating up Meng when Meng was trying to get into the ring so the babyface Hacksaw wouldn’t allow for a fair fight which was weird!

Bischoff explained Hogan was “travelling” and he would back on Nitro soon so I guess Hogan is gone for a while, maybe until Bash At The Beach. Meng and Hacksaw got into a fight with headbutts and chops. This was ugly brawl between an old-school patriot and an Samoan savage! Hacksaw smacked Meng’s head into the turnbuckle and then Meng bounced his own head into the turnbuckle to show it had no effect. Hacksaw went for a heatbutt which Meng no-sold to get the heat! Hacksaw was the cause of his own downfall!

Meng tried a nerve hold. Hacksaw tried to fight back but Meng knocked him down again. Meng and Hacksaw traded missed elbow drops. Hacksaw did an atomic drop and a big scoop slam to get back into the match. Hacksaw ran at Meng but smacked his own head off the turnbuckle. Meng batters at Duggan relentlessly and after pushing the ref away twice,  Hacksaw tried to use his 2×4 but Meng booted him in the face! Hacksaw got the foot on the rope at two when Meng went for the cover.

Hacksaw then used the loaded tape, hit Meng and pinned Meng! I felt Hacksaw Jim Duggan was a strange babyface constantly trying to do whatever it took to win, including cheating, but there was something admirable about the fact that Duggan did whatever it took to win! Meng is a savage but Hacksaw must do all that he can to win this match which was important to him and to America! I actually thought this match wasn’t too bad. This was something different at the very least and that’s all I ask!

 

Mean Gene was back out with the girls for more match drawings. Mean Gene asked if the girls had any plans for this evening and they responded: “Yes with you Mean Gene!” Mean Gene couldn’t help but mention that had a little money if they get a little short! This all happened during an official WCW lottery draw to determine the teams for this important tournament! Mean Gene just flirts outrageously with the girls as he’s presenting this lottery!

They revealed the other matches in the lottery to be Alex Wright and Disco Inferno vs Earl Robert Eaton and Dick Slater along with Steven Regal and The Belfast Bruiser vs VK Wallstreet and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Yes, future tag team and fellow dancers Wright and Inferno were randomly teamed together and rivals Regal and Belfast Bruiser were teamed together!

 

 

Sting © and Lex Luger © vs The Giant and Ric Flair © for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, WCW TV Championship and WCW Tag Team Championship

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I feel that maybe I’ve dropped a ball a little with not mentioning this match earlier on. It is the title of this blog post but they actually mentioned this match throughout the episode on Nitro. They discussed it at the start of the show, they threw around all of these scenarios about what could happen and it was so complicated. In the end, all of this speculation by the announcers led to nothing which we’ll get to.

The match was Sting and Lex Luger facing The Giant and Ric Flair in a rematch from last week. Sting and Lex Luger were defending the WCW Tag Team titles, Lex Luger was defending the WCW TV title and Ric Flair was defending the WCW World title. The stipulation I guess was all the titles were on the line with Arquette Rules in place although David Arquette didn’t appear in WCW until years later which is kind of ironic.

If Luger was pinned or submitted, he’d lose the WCW TV title. If Flair was pinned or submitted, he’d lose the WCW World title. I guess if Sting or Luger was pinned or submit, they’d lose the WCW tag titles to Flair and Giant. However, the announcers also mentioned the possibility of The Giant pinning Ric Flair to win the WCW title or Ric Flair holding all of the titles. I was so confused that I just to had to pack all of this in for this match review at the very end of the episode review! There’s a lot of ground to cover!

Flair hits on Mongo’s wife yet again and kisses her on the hand this week. Again, Mongo on commentary does nothing and just threatens Flair again. This isn’t exactly on the level of the Rusev/Bobby Lashley/Lana stuff on RAW in 2019 but Mongo watching RIC FLAIR kissing the hand of his wife and flirting with her every week on Nitro was somewhat distributing.

Savage appeared out of nowhere and goes after Flair again before the match. However, the POLICE handcuffed Savage as Flair then proceeded to stomp away at Savage as he is being arrested. HOW did Ric Flair not get arrested himself for assaulting a handcuffed man? Savage was defenseless after he was handcuffed and Flair got a few shots in, with no repercussions! I will give them credit that it came off as realistic like when the wrestlers would probably stomp away at a fan if the fans did the same thing. A general rule among wrestlers is that if a fan enters the ring, the wrestlers can proceed to kick their ass when they get in the ring. So Flair attacking Savage as he was handcuffed… it felt somewhat like it was a shoot so I liked it.

The Giant got Sting in the corner to start the match and Giant then just rested his ass on Sting’s cock and just stood there until the referee broke it up. I swear on a stack of bibles that is exactly what happened. I’m not trying to be lewd or anything. Everything I just explained went down exactly as written down! Don’t look at me.

Sting tried a few dropkicks and clotheslines to little effect. Luger and Sting worked together to clothesline Giant over the top rope to a roar of approval by the fans. Sting Gorilla Pressed Flair which will never not be able to get over with a WCW crowd. Sting and Flair somehow screwed up a clothesline over the top rope. It took Sting twice to do it.

Flair got pissed off in the corner. Flair chopped Luger to no effect. Luger beat up Flair and a Sting Mongolian Chop from apron sent Flair crashing face-first into the mat!

They then randomly announce Sting vs The Giant for Slamboree. It felt like this program with Sting and The Giant just came out of nowhere. They had a weird angle to kick off Nitro a few weeks ago and now they’re having a match at the PPV.

Sting hit a big superplex which sent Flair crawling on the floor on the outside as he was in that much of dire straits. Sting went for a Stinger Splash into the guardrail but Flair moved and Sting crashed and burnt. Luger rushed onto the scene to the aid of his friend on the floor. Woman clawed at Sting on the outside. The Giant stood on Sting, piling of his weight into the gut of Sting which caused Luger to be irate on the apron.

Flair did a vertical suplex to no affect. Woman had the cup of coffee in her hand again as Luger ran wild on Flair. Luger went for the cover on Flair but but then Luger got up to taunt and flex. I assume Luger forgot a spot somehow as he had Flair covered for a pin but then he just taunted. I guess possibly The Giant was out of position maybe to break up the pinfall. Either way, something got screwed.

Giant goes for a chokeslam but Sting tries to break it up by going for two top rope chop blocks to drop Giant to one knee. Sting tries to punch Giant off of Luger and finally Giant is floored to a massive pop from the crowd. I actually loved this spot where Sting and Luger tried for a solid 30 seconds to get Giant off of his feet and when The Giant finally fell down, the fans lost their minds as the good guys overcame The Giant!

Jimmy Hart got floored and Luger and Sting cornered Flair. Flair was given the coffee but he accidentally threw it at The Giant… and it’s another disqualification main-event finish on Nitro.

What happens after this is possibly my favourite moment in the Nitro series so far. Ric Flair realises that he just threw hot coffee at a seven foot Giant and so Flair runs for his life! He moved so fast to get up that ramp as Giant is near tears in the ring initially! Then he looked incensed and outraged as Flair eventually gets back in the ring.

Flair has this big bi-polar frenzy where he begged off Giant and then he switches from getting in Giant’s face and then dropping to his knees again begging for forgiveness! He  switched on and off like a switch trying to assert himself and then being reduced to his knees and being a coward!

Flair left again! Mean Gene interviewed Giant. The Giant was NOT HAPPY. He bellowed that “THE COFFEE BURNED BUT IT LIT A FIRE IN MY SOUL!” He vowed to win the WCW World title next week. Flair grabbed the mic and said he tried to apologise but now he was mad! He also added that he didn’t like how Giant’s been looking at the women anyway. Flair said Giant had until the end of the night or next week to apologise. Otherwise, Flair said he was gonna kick his big ass! I damn near choked on a drink I was drinking at the time as Flair threatened to kick his “big ass!” The delivery was tremendous and then Flair ran for his life again as Giant left the ring to chase after him. Flair literally ran at the speed of The Flash to get away from this angry Giant. This segment ruled!

I cannot wait for next week where The Giant, one week removed from Ric Flair throwing coffee on him, is going to get his hands on Flair after Flair also said he was gonna kick his big ass! There’s some strange great dynamic between The Giant and the dastardly Ric Flair characters and it is great.

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This was the best Nitro I’ve seen in a while. This was not the best Nitro I’ve seen yet I don’t think but it was so different to Nitros in the past few months and I loved it. Things were different on this show and sometimes, things being changed up is just what the doctor ordered.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Episode #32 of the Nitro series. Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly an update whenever Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too! I will be back with my review of Episode #33 of Nitro from April 29th 1996.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order