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.
Last week, the Outsiders returned to interfere in the WCW tag team title match with Sting and Lex Luger defending the straps against Harlem Heat and the Steiner Brothers. The match stopped as 20 security guards enter the ring and blocked off 75% of the ring but somehow, Booker T as able to roll-up Lex Luger to win the tag titles for Harlem Heat. The Outsiders have now added a little fuel to the fire of their six man tag team match against Sting, Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Bash at the Beach. We also still have no idea who the third man is who will fight alongside Scott Hall and Kevin Nash
This Nitro I’m about to review really wasn’t anything special, although it had Nash and Hall involved in what was seemingly a big go-home angle for the PPV. We’ll get to that but I have more pressing matters when it comes to this WWE Network.
Let me explain what happened in the weekend I watched this episode of Nitro. I watched Nitro on the Saturday Night and NXT UK: TakeOver Blackpool II on the Sunday. One of these shows was a pre-recorded event from 23 years ago and the other one was a live stream. Let’s establish that as I explain what happened.
I sit down to watch Nitro and literally 10 minutes into the show, buffering problems galore started. It was stopping every 5 seconds and I even went to the trouble of pausing it for a long period of time. This was 10 MINUTES into a 1 hour and 30 minute wrestling show. I restart the opening match and at the moment where Rick Steiner is about to get a hot tag, the video stopped ALL together.
I got so mad. I shut the PS4 off. It worked with minimal issues for the next 20 minutes or so. Then it stopped all together with Randy Savage vs Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and I simply stopped again and walked away. I gave up and I had no way around this. I walked away for a couple of hours, went for a walk, I did other things and then I came back to watch the rest of this episode many hours later.
I eventually finished the episode but this episode stopped and started OVER AND OVER AND OVER again from here on out. I just sucked it up and dealt with it. I seriously came so close to skipping this episode completely. If it weren’t for the Outsiders being involved in the main-event angle, I would have just stopped it as soon as Flair got the pin in that Horsemen main-event. This was unbearable and almost unwatchable.
Now the day after, I watched NXT UK: TakeOver Blackpool II. I was concerned because I booked time off from work to watch the Royal Rumble live as I always do this. I’m concerned because if these problems continued for this live NXT UK show, I won’t be able to watch the Royal Rumble. Low and behold, I watched this live stream of NXT UK: TakeOver Blackpool on the WWE Network and it worked PERFECTLY.
For 90 minutes or whatever, Nitro was horrible with buffering and then for 2 and a half hours, I had zero buffering problems when watching NXT UK THE NEXT DAY. I am sure this is a concentrated WWE conspiracy against WCW, even after all of this time after WCW died. This has to be a plan to stick it to WCW by making all of the WCW content unwatchable. Every one of the last three episodes of Nitro I’ve watched had problems and yet NXT UK worked FINE LIVE.
If it’s not that, than it is a concentrated WWE conspiracy against me! YOU BE THE JUDGE.
…..let’s review Nitro.
Date: July 1st 1996
City: Landover, Maryland
Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko
Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan
DDP interrupted Tony and Larry at commentary. DDP cut them off saying the Lord of the Ring was stolen and demanded everyone got strip-searched, vowing to get to the bottom of it. He said everyone was jealous and then left.
They recapped the main-event angle from last week and Larry Zybsko cut this big promo on the Outsiders about how if he were still wrestling, the Outsiders would be no problem. Larry was really not impressive on commentary at all and honestly, had a terrible night as a commentator for the hour he was on. Larry did actually drop the line of “There will be a New World Order this Sunday” which was a sign of things to come…
“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner for the WCW Tag Team Championship
I love how Sting and Lex Luger got screwed last week out of the tag team titles. When 20 security guards were in the ring facing down the Outsiders, Booker got a roll-up and pin to win the tag titles with Stevie even holding Luger’s foot down. Sitng and Luger got royally shafted and this week, the STEINER BROTHERS get the tag title match against Harlem Heat. The Steiner Brothers weren’t even involved with the finish, but here they were getting a tag team title match before Sting and Lex Luger.
This match started with Scott showing some lovely amateur wrestling. Scott took over Booker with a fireman’s carry slam and hit a sweet belly to belly suplex. Booker got sent to the outside with a clothesline by Scott, followed up with Rick taking out Stevie. Security was literally sat outside of the ring at ringside anticipating the Outsiders.
The Four Horsemen were shown wining and dining, watching this match. Stevie took control of Rick in the ring. Rick hit a solid German Suplex right on the shoulders of Stevie. Scott tried a backslide and eventually got the big man over for a 2 count. Stevie nearly got dropped right on the head with a over-head belly-to-belly suplex. Col Robert Parker came down to ringside.
Booker tried a leapfrog and despite landing awkwardly on Rick, Rick caught him and slammed him down. It was a tremendous jump by Booker to jump that high and good work from Rick to catch him and slam him.
Booker turned Rick inside out with a side kick. Booker hit a crossbody from the top rope for a 2 count. Rick kept getting called the dog-faced gremlin by the commentators for some reason. Rick hit a belly to belly from the top rope and Scott hit a tiger powerbomb for a 2 count.
Ray hit a kick to the back of Scott and Booker hit a super kick to take control to get the heat for Harlem Heat. Booker hit a big splash and hit the face of Scott There was a double clothesline which led to Rick getting the hot tag. Rick hit a powerslam. Scott hit the Frankesnteiner on Booker but Scott was not the legal man. Rick hits a bulldog and Steiners tried the Steinerizer but Parker took out Rick on the apron. Booker pinned Rick for the win.
It was a decent match but totally forgettable on Nitro. Col. Robert Parker suddenly with Harlem Heat seemed very weird, especially considering I think Parker was the reason they lost Sensational Sherri as a manager. Parker and Sherri got hitched and she left Harlem Heat as their manager. A very weird combination of a tag team and manager.
Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen, Woman, Elizabeth and Debra McMichael. There were seven people gathered together for the heels and they all got a chance to talk, including the women. They showed the Joe Gomez beat-down from a month ago and Mongo interfering last week. Debra put over her husband, talking about making more money here than in the NFL. Elizabeth talked about having a great time and having Randy Savage’s money. Woman talked about having a full-time driver. Arn says they run the professional wrestling world. Benoit said he was the crippler who was “silent but violent.” Mongo said money makes the monkey dance. Ric dares Savage to comes after them and woos. That’s pretty much what each of them said. A surprisingly bland promo from the Four Horsemen.
Disco Inferno vs Kurasawa
This week for Disco Inferno, there was a disco ball shining bright over the ring as they revealed Eric Bischoff was back for the second hour. He’d missed the last two weeks due to the Kevin Nash powerbomb from The Great American Bash.
Disco cut a promo, asking the fans if they wanted him to dance. He said to hit his music and so of course, Kurasawa’s music hit. I will give credit to Larry Zybsko for telling Disco Inferno to disco to this! This Kurasawa song was not for dancing!
Kurasawa kicked Disco in the head and chopped him down. He beat down Disco Inferno during the match and keep in mind, Disco Inferno is challenging for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship at Bash at the Beach!
Disco pulled off fake martial arts and the fans laughed. Kurasawa delivered kicks to the leg and smashed into Disco with a running elbow smash in the corner. I did love the comedy of Disco kicking the steel steps in frustration and then tending to his foot.
Kurasawa hit a Samoan Drop and then the Disco Fever song played in the middle of the match. Kurasawa is all distracted by the music and then a man appears on the entrance ramp dressed like Disco and dancing. The Disco Ball from above the ring is lowered down. I don’t know what was in this Disco Ball but Disco Inferno used the levitating Disco Ball and smashes it at Kurasawa, and Kurasawa sold this like he was hit with a wrecking ball. Disco threw a simple disco ball and got the pinfall. This was to build up Disco Inferno challenging for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
By the way, this referee didn’t see a disco ball levitating down to the ring as the Disco Fever song played? Was he that mesmerised of this random dancing dude on the ramp?
This sucked. 95% of this sucked. 5% was acceptable because at least some of Disco’s comedy was actually funny.
Scotty Riggs vs DDP
DDP questioned some of the camera crew and and someone who Larry referred to as “some other geek.” DDP questioned the fans and the other staff about his ring that he’d been unable to find. Hacksaw cut an inset promo on DDP denying taking the ring.
DDP hit a back suplex. DDP locked on an abdominal stretch, grabbing the ropes whenever he could for leverage. I love how Nick Patrick doesn’t react at all when DDP bounces vigorously up and down to assert his leverage on the ropes. Then DDP stopped all together and only then does Patrick waddle over to DDP to check his hands on the rope. If not already established last week, Nick Patrick is a really bad referee.
DDP hit a big clothesline after almost being rolled up by Riggs. DDP hit a pumphandle backbreaker. DDP goes for the pumphandle slam but Riggs reverses it into a school boy for a near fall. Riggs hits a springboard splash to the outside. Riggs did a crossbody headbutt but DDP put his foot on the rope off the cover. DDP reversed a scoop slam into the Diamond Cutter and got the pin, to which Larry called a “nice block” by DDP.
This was another absolute nothing DDP match on Nitro where the only thing that gets a pop is the Diamond Cutter, which is getting more and more over each week.
Mean Gene interviewed DDP. DDP said everyone was jealous. DDP told Duggan to meet him at the Bash but he doesn’t care as he wanted the ring. DDP searched Mean Gene himself for the ring.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
The only really noteworthy thing about this match was the finish. I know the Nitro debut of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine should be a talking point but we have to talk about the finish as yes, it did play into the fireworks for the second hour of Nitro.
Greg hit a back suplex and both men were down. Greg was in control of a couple of minutes and the referee yelled at them to take it home, because the dynamite timer started at the bottom of the TV screen for the viewers. Apparently they had already set it to go off at a particular moment, so they had to get the end of the match done before the fireworks go off.
Almost as if it was voodoo or as if nothing had happened, Savage gets himself up. He rose up like the Undertaker as if he was invulnerable. He runs up to the top rope and hits the elbow drop and gets the pin conveniently before the big fireworks go off for the second hour!
It was also noteworthy that Tony and Larry were talking about who the third man was and Larry Zybsko speculates that it was funny Greg “The Hammer” Valentine came into WCW as they were speculating who the third man was. I mean never mind Sting or Lex Luger or Bret Hart or all the other names that were considered for the third man role. No, Larry thought it would end up being Greg “The Hollywood” Valentine instead!
Eric Bischoff was shown on screen for the second hour and he talked about how he’s glad to be back. Bischoff said Nash didn’t scare anybody so who were they trying to impress? He said Savage, Sting and Luger aren’t afraid of you. He said we’re all gonna be there on Sunday and he kinda quieted down to the point where we could barely hear anything from him!
Bischoff talked about how WCW was not gonna back down when the fans popped for Scott Hall and Kevin Nash coming down the steps with popcorn and drinks. Bischoff said they’re not scaring anybody, which was PROVEN correct as the fans were cheering for the Outsiders and giving them high fives! They loved the Outsiders in the building!
The security told them to get out here. They revealed they bought tickets as Nash exclaimed “we came to see the big boys.” They offered them popcorn which made me laugh. There’s more of Nash in particular to come which we’ll get to….
The Giant © w/Jimmy Hart vs John Tenta for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Could you imagine if you’re Kevin Nash and Scott Hal waltzing into Nitro to watch the “big boys” and the first match is THE GIANT VS JOHN TENTA?
The Giant headbutted and chopped Tenta. Tenta fired away with clobbering punches. Giant floored him with a big clothesline and did some stomps in the corner. The Giant scoop slammed Tenta with ease and Heenan even said he did it easily.
Giant did a nerve hold which looked like he was messaging his neck rather than actually applying a hold. Giant beat on him for a while and rammed his backside into the gut of Tenta.
Giant tried a big splash but Tenta cut him off with a big boot. Tenta tried a middle rope clothesline and dropped Giant with a dropkick. Yeah, JOHN TENTA was the house of fire near the end of this title match! He whipped out dropkicks and middle rope flying clotheslines like it was nothing!
Of course there’s shenanigans as Taskmaster, Jimmy Hart and Big Bubba run down. Tenta overcame them all but The Giant chokeslamed Tenta for the win. Say what you will but I felt a weird joy in seeing John Tenta getting the chance to run wild on the Dungeon of Doom! John Tenta of all people in WCW getting a big chance to be Hulk Hogan for a minute or so!
Bubba shaved half of Tenta’s beard. This Giant vs Tenta was better thantheir last match on Nitro together.
Mean Gene interviewed the Dungeon of Doom. Jimmy said that was an example of what was gonna happen to the Horsemen at Bash at the Beach. . Bubba said he was gonna hurt Tenta at Bash at the Beach. The Giant said Tenta’s first major mistake was leaving the Dungeon of Doom as the chokeslam is the price you’ll have to pay and Bubba was gonna shave the rest of his body, which was a weird threat!
The Giant said he’ll always have the title. Taskmaster started to talk and then he appeared to be looking at the Outsiders. Giant took over and said the fire burning in Taskmaster’s soul is something you should fear or something. To me this was decent delivery of nothing dialogue for The Giant. This really didn’t get me invested in the Dungeon vs Horsemen tag team match at all.
They showed a video package of Rey Mysterio Jr featuring exclusively the two matches he’s had with Dean Malenko! Quite the highlight reel for Rey Mysterio, showing the two matches that he lost while with WCW! They stopped it as they showed a woman running from the announce booth.
They showed the Outsiders walking through the crowd and grabbing the mic. They bust through the guard rail as security surrounded them. Team WCW came out as all of them were held back. Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage were all there. The Steiners were there too. Even a lot of heels were there as The Giant, DDP, Big Bubba and Taskmaster were all there defending WCW too. The fans chanted DIESEL as the Outsiders eventually left.
Mean Gene interviewed Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Duggan talked about going on the toilet and relieving himself, which was a weird way of putting it! He found DDP’s ring in the bathroom and called it a feminine ring. Duggan was talking trash about this ring when HE WAS IN THE TOURNAMENT FIGHTING FOR IT at Slamboree. Hacksaw said DDP was not thinking right as DDP bust into the locker room. Duggan dropped the ring on the floor and as DDP went to pick it up, Hacksaw hit him with the loaded taped fist like a complete dick. Hacksaw Jim Duggan is a horrible babyface in my eyes! This poor man DDP is looking for this ring, which he earned fair and square, and Duggan is being a complete dick about it.
“The Rock N Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, Joe Gomez and The Renegade vs “The Four Horsemen” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael
A bit of a boring match with a really sloppy finish. I love where Arn got punched in the corner from every babyface being bounced around like a ping pong ball! Watching Arn sell like crazy for the babyfaces is always fun to me!
It broke out into an eight man brawl at the start of the match that the babyfaces won. Ric and Ricky locked up. Ricky did a hurricanrana as the Rock N Roll Express did a double dropkick to Flair. Ric literally collapsed to tag in Arn!
Arn got turned inside out with a Gibson enziguiri. Benoit got a big pop when he got tagged in. Benoit chopped away at Renegade. Renegade ran wild with clotheslines and then Joe sent Flair to the outside with a punch. Gomez actually won on Flair for a while with a back drop among other moves.
Flair got back into the match with a vintage thumb to the eye. Benoit yelled at Joe “do you know who you’re missing with” as he beat on Gomez, who was the one getting beat down for the heat.
Mongo finally got tagged in and he was not too bad. He was not particularly good but he took his time. He did very little but very basic moves. Mongo smashed Joe with a clobbering blow to which Heenan laughed his head off at!
He slapped away at Joe. Arn hit the spinebuster which Eric called a side-walk slam which was broken up. Benoit eventually got fired up and punched at Gomez with fury.
Mongo wrestled for a bit. Gomez was in the ring for a long time/ Renegade didn’t look like he was tagged in but I guess he was as he started beating up the heels and running wild. The Rock N Roll Express ran in as well as the babyfaces took over.
I have no idea what happened with this finish. The Renegade is working way too fast as he usually did. Even Dolph Ziggler was telling this guy to slow down! He goes for a dive off the top rope and some kind of miscommunication happened, where either Mongo was supposed to hit Renegade in mid-air with a briefcase or Renegade was not supposed to jump and so Mongo improvised. What actually happened was Renegade went off the top rope when Mongo threw a briefcase at him while he’s in mid-flight. Mongo missed with this throw and think of the irony of that. The NFL player was unable to hit a moving target when throwing a briefcase. So Mongo missed the throw but Renegade still smashed head-first into the mat to sell for it. He didn’t fall down on his back or even on his front. He landed right on his neck as he tried to sell this briefcase shot, which didn’t even hit him. This was one of the worst screwed up finishes in the Nitro series so far.
Flair locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock for the pinfall I victory I believe.
Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen again. I have no idea why Mean Gene felt the need to talk to these guys again. Mongo yelled about not caring about Chicago and that the Horsemen was his team and he would do whatever it took for the Horsemen to win. Benoit said the gold was coming back to where it belonged. Arn said they’re gonna get the pinfall and the Horsemen are hand-picked and hand-selected. Ric yelled at Konnan saying he was gonna be the US Champion. Ric said the party would go all night long. I do love the running gag of Woman seducing Mean Gene Okerlund during these interviewed! Mean Gene will always try to be professional but he can’t help but be smitten with Woman!
The show ended with Eric leaveing the booth as the Outsiders showed up backstage. Nash offered to buy security all a donut which I laughed out-loud at. Nash bragged about his car being worth more than what they earn in a year or something. They drove off into a car and the show ended.
If nothing else, this show was a lot more eventful than last week. All kinds of stuff happened when you sit down and think about. There wasn’t many bright spots but there was some funny humor with Kevin Nash. I think the angle they did with the Outsiders was a great final tease before they go to war at Bash at the Beach and the rest of the show was just filler again, with some unintentionally funny moments here and there.
Next up is the review of the famous Bash at the Beach show at last! We’ll be reviewing the show in full and as well as the main-event of Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage facing Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and a mystery third man…
WCW Nitro Reading Order