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.
Previously on the Retro Express…
WCW Halloween Havoc took place. We got short matches, we got long matches, we got monster trucks, we got betrayal after betrayal after betrayal… and we may have a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
The title match between The Giant and Hulk Hogan ended with a disqualification when Jimmy Hart attacked the referee. Hart turned on Hulk Hogan and this was quickly followed by Lex Luger double-crossing Randy Savage as the Dungeon of Doom welcomed two new members into the fold. With The Giant holding the title like he’d won it and Michael Buffer insisting The Giant wasn’t the champion, questions were raised about who the champion was…
…this episode of WCW Nitro didn’t do a particularly good job in explaining it either!
Date: October 30th 1995
City: Dayton, Ohio
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby Heenan
Funnily enough, this week’s rating was down from last week. Usually, the ratings go up following a PPV but not here. Interesting stat.
Craig Pittman vs Eddie Guerrero
I’ll explain the storyline to this one because there were a few dark matches on WCW Halloween Havoc that were shown on Main Event instead. One of them was Craig Pittman vs VK Wallstreet and I was able to watch it. The announcers explained that the winner would face Randy Savage on this episode of Nitro. Pittman won but Savage ended up getting taken out at the end of the PPV. Therefore, Eddie replaced Savage in the match. This type of storyline does make it seem that wrestling on Nitro was worth fighting for. I guess that’s a good way to put the show over.
Bobby Heenan said Halloween Havoc changed the course of professional wrestling. I’m not sure I’d go that far as I don’t believe The Yeti and The Giant humping Hogan changed the course of professional wrestling. I mean Viscera humped wrestlers in the ring but nowadays, not many people do.
Eddie tried to take down Pittman at the start of the match but Pittman was simply too big for the cruiserweight Eddie. Eddie was actually able to take Pittman down as it started off as a very much shoot-style grappling match. Pittman soon turned it into a brawl.
Bischoff claimed President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary were watching Halloween Havoc… I’m about 99% certain that didn’t happen. Pittman hit a belly-to-belly suplex. Eddie hit a beautiful springboard crossbody. After Eddie found some fire, some Latino Heat if you will, Pittman went back to hitting belly-to-belly suplexes! Pittman hit a powerbomb. There was actually a smooth finish were Eddie reversed a hip toss into a victory roll for the pin. A fine little opener for Nitro.
Scott Norton vs The Shark
Bobby Heenan left the announce booth and was later showed to be eating sushi with Sonny Onoo. This blood feud between The Shark and Scott Norton starts with a lock-up, which could be explained away as these two were part of a stable after all. There’s just cracks in the Dungeon of Doom. They’re still allies at the end of the day.
Nevertheless, this ended up being a hard-hitting fight. The Shark hit a belly-to-belly and then hit a big elbow drop. Scott tried to get Shark down with clotheslines but the Shark would not go down. Even with a diving shoulder tackle, Scott could not take down the Shark. Then out of nowhere, Scott just hoisted him up for a scoop slam and slammed him! After all of that effort, he just slams him! The fans did pop for that.
Scott and Shark took each other out with a clothesline. They brawled on the outside and it ended in a double count-out. They brawled to the back and Norton rammed Shark into the WCW logo on the ramp. Bischoff claimed it was solid steel which I find hard to believe as the logo was light enough to be moved by the apparent sheer force of Shark and Scott Norton! If it was steel, it wouldn’t have moved so easily!
I will give WCW credit in the sense that they did a double count-out but the brawling itself did make you want to see more of these two beating the crap out of each other. Therefore, this gets my endorsement for now.
Tony Schiavonie makes a rare Nitro appearance as they showed photos from WCW Magazine of what happened with Ric and Sting vs Anderson and Pillman at the PPV.
So out comes the newly re-united Horsemen with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Yes, Flair turned on Sting at Halloween Havoc. Pillman called it a thing of beauty as Flair cut Sting’s throat. The group said the incident saw them one step closer to excellence. Pillman really was having the time of his life out there.
Arn gave Sting props for taking the beating. Flair styled and profiled and stated that the Horsemen were back. Whether you like it or you don’t like it, learn to love it because it’s the best thing going today. Those were words straight out of his WWF title victory speech from Royal Rumble 1992. Flair said that on next week’s Nitro, the Horsemen were ready to go to work as Flair went nuts in the ring.
This really was great stuff to get you amped up for a Four Horsemen reunion.
So they then run down the WCW Saturday Night card as usual. Chris Benoit vs Alex Wright was supposed to take place. They announced RIC FLAIR AND ARN ANDERSON VS THE RENEGADE AND COBRA. What a vast difference in skill in these tag teams! They then announced Harlem Heat would defend the WCW tag team titles against the Blue Bloods.
Now… on Episode #3, the American Males won the WCW tag team titles. The American Males… have done nothing since then. Then, on Nitro, they randomly mention that Harlem Heat are defending the tag team titles on Saturday Night. It turns out that the title change only took place in late October anyway (taped in September) but this really does devalue the tag titles when this is the first time the Nitro audience had heard about the titles changing hands.
Sabu vs Disco Inferno
The more I think about it, the more I’m amazed that this match took place. The crazed Sabu vs the Disco Inferno on Nitro. Sabu went for a takedown but Disco was just jumping over him and dancing. Sabu eventually just smacked Disco in the mouth. Sabu did his usual spiel including a springboard front dropkick.
Both men traded blows in the ring and then Sabu hit a springboard flip leg drop for the pin. The most noteworthy thing about this was the aftermath. Sabu continues his gimmick of jumping wrestlers after the match after he’s beaten them. Sabu did a dive to the outside where he landed on Disco’s shoulders which can’t have been good for Disco.
Sabu threw a table at Disco. Sabu then tried a dive through the table with Disco laid on top but Disco moved out of the way. Sabu lands right on the table that didn’t break and he probably felt way worse than Disco did in the earlier dive spot. He landed right on an unbreakable table and after this happened, a young kid in the front row is laughing tremendously for a solid minute as Sabu was having a temper tantrum. This was pointless, other than that one fan howling with laughter at this idiot Sabu for this failure of a beatdown on Disco.
Lex Luger and Meng w/Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster vs “The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs
How bad was the WCW tag team division at this time? Let’s think about this for a second. Last week, Harlem Heat were beaten by Sting and Lex Luger in the main-event. Harlem Heat then won the WCW tag team titles. The former champions American Males are now in the main-event and were squashed by the newly turned Lex Luger and Meng. Mere fodders for the main-event talent of WCW.
I love how a running gag during this show is that WCW are promising to show us what happened at Halloween Havoc with exclusive footage. They’ve not mentioned explicitly what happened with the Dungeon of Doom but promised to show us later on in the show. And yet, before that point, Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart are already shown to have been aligned with the Dungeon of Doom!
Eric Bischoff actually implied that Luger, Meng and the Dungeon of Doom had been in cahoots all along. If you look at the storyline, that statement makes no sense. Meng hit Luger with a golden spike at least twice up until this point and they had the second-longest match at Halloween Havoc. However, we’re supposed to believe that they were working together all along?
Lex Luger could not even take a backdrop from Scotty Riggs. This was so poorly executed from these two men. The referee was somehow distracted as Luger and Meng hit a double move on Riggs I believe. Bischoff claimed the fans were chanting for Hogan. I could barely hear any chants for Hogan. Maybe the equipment just couldn’t pick it up but no Hogan chants were picked up on TV anyway.
Bagwell got the hot tag and ran wild. He went VERY, VERY FAST in this match. He was at least fast compared to everybody else in the match. Bagwell was at least able to get Luger up for the back drop. Bagwell had Luger pinned but the referee was distracted. Meng hit a kick to the back of the head as Luger locked on the torture rack for the victory.
A usual main-event that did the American Males no favour and did very little for Lex Luger and Meng.
The announcers goofed around as Mongo sprayed silly spray at Bobby Hennan, who did not look happy about this. They FINALLY showed the Halloween Havoc footage where Jimmy Hart and Lex Luger joined the Dungeon of Doom and The Yeti humped Hulk Hogan.
Tony Schiavonie interviewed The Dungeon of Doom with The Giant having the WCW World title. Jimmy Hart explained he would give his explanation for why he turned on Hogan next week. Jimmy did say that the evil that was in Hulk Hogan was in fact Jimmy all along.
This was such a perplexing segment. Tony starts of by insisting that The Giant is not the WCW World Champion. Then The Giant is talking about how nobody would knock him off the hill and then says he’ll defend the WCW title on Nitro, vowing never to lose it. Tony then says… alright, he’s defending the title next week.
It’s one thing if you want to tell me that The Giant is just delusional in declaring himself the WCW World champion. That would be fine, except that Tony then just declares that The Giant is defending the title next week so the announcers are going along with the delusions of this Giant. As of right now, my understanding is that Hulk Hogan is still the champion.
I’m really hoping we get some clarity about this for next week’s show. This thing with the WCW World title just confuses me. I think they may not have figured out the actual explanation for why The Giant is “the champion” right now, so they can’t just say that he’s the champion. Rather confusing times.
When I first watched it, I really was not high on this Nitro. However, I’ve somewhat had a change of heart about how bad it was. The show was actually not bad if you just look at the first half of the show. The Dungeon of Doom stuff here was a real let-down on this show. In short, half an OK show and half a bad show. That’s the best way I can describe it.
I have two bonus matches to quickly review. As I mentioned earlier, Halloween Havoc had four dark matches used for WCW Main Event I believe. WCW Main Event is not on the WWE Network but I was able to find two of them on YouTube and DailyMotion and I did watch them. So here’s some bonus match reviews to wrap up this edition of the Retro Express.
Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs “Blue Bloods” Lord Steven Regal and Earl Robert Eaton
It’s actually almost shocking that Lex Luger and Meng got such a long match for the PPV and yet this match wasn’t even on the PPV. This match was great. Benoit, Malenko and Regal were all exceptional wrestlers. Eaton was a little slow in this match but he was able to work well with these great workers.
The announcers actually mentioned that Lord Steven Regal had a knee injury and was sporting a knee brace. Benoit and Regal showcased a lovely bit of chain wrestling as Regal was forced outside of the ring.
I started watching wrestling in 2003 so seeing a much faster Benoit in 1995 was almost surreal to me. I’d hate to make a comment like this considering the circumstances of Benoit’s death but he almost seemed like a completely different wrestler compared to the type of wrestler he was 10 years later. Here, Benoit was flying around all over the place like a cruiserweight. 10 years later or so, he’s much more slower and methodical.
There’s a lot that contributed to Benoit working at a slower pace down the road but I’ll just say that it was really weird in the change of wrestling styles in the space of 10 years. John Cena, for example, has not changed at all from the wrestler he was 10 years ago other than being a little slower nowadays. Benoit in 1995 was totally different to Benoit in 2005.
Eaton was a little slow to breaking up a pin following a Northern Lights Suplex. Dean hit a somewhat missed-time bulldog. Eaton then hit a gorilla press into a backbreaker which looked sweet.
They then go to do a spot. I believe the spot was Benoit was going to get Eaton up for a powerbomb and then Dean was going to clothesline Eaton from that position. Even with Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko on the scene, this spot was so horrendously screwed up and I sort of put the blame on Eaton. Benoit tried to lift this guy up and Eaton just could not get himself up. I believe either Eaton dead-weighted Benoit or Eaton just couldn’t lift himself up because Benoit was ridiculously strong back then. He usually did not have much issues with slamming big men so that leads me to believe that it was Eaton’s fault.
As great as Benoit and Regal were together in the ring, Dean and Regal were tremendous in the ring too. They did a spot where Dean had a submission locked in and Regal tried to lift Dean up for a Rampage Jackson like slam using one arm. However, Regal is still having to use one arm so it is a struggle for Regal to get Dean up! It was brilliant.
Regal went for a Regal Stretch but Benoit broke it up by booting Regal in the face. Regal tried a tombstone but Benoit reversed it for his own tombstone in a beautiful transition. Benoit hit a diving head-butt but Eaton broke up the pin. Dean sent Eaton to the outside with a crossbody. Regal hit a double-underhook suplex for near-falls, a move that Eric Bischoff proclaimed to be a double-armbar suplex.
I liked the finish of the match. Eaton broke up a pin but as the referee is dealing with Eaton, Benoit and Dean pull off a dropkick into a Dragon Suplex combo on Regal. Eaton is forced onto the apron and is fixing his attire when the referee starts to count the pin on the Regal. The light-bulb then suddenly switched on for Eaton as he was sprung into action. But before he could act, Benoit had his partner pinned.
I liked this match but in hindsight, knowing that the Blue Bloods are getting a future WCW tag team title shot, why did they get beat here by Benoit and Dean? With Eddie beating Pittman on Nitro, the goal was to get the cruiserweights over for the new division. With that being said, why were the number one contenders for the WCW tag titles sacrificed for them?
Match Rating: ***
Craig Pittman vs VK Wallstreet for the right to face Macho Man Randy Savage on the 30th October 1995 edition of WCW Nitro (In a match that ended up not happening anyway since Randy Savage was taken out at the end of Halloween Havoc!)
I’m reviewing these matches in the order in which I watched them. Therefore, it does pain me to end this blog post on such a sour note. This was a complete waste of my life with the exception of one spot.
To give people some context, I was eating some porridge for my breakfast when watching this match. Pittman’s offense was mostly big standing head-butts when he leaps at a guy. Wallstreet is in the corner. Pittman goes for the move and smashes himself into the middle rope. I laughed so hard that I almost choked! I had to rewind it. Seeing this guy going face first into the turnbuckle of this failed headbutt! Definitely rewind worthy.
Yes, that was what led to VK Wallstreet getting the heat.
They do a bunch of moves when Big Bubba Rogers runs out with his hands taped. He punched Pittman in the face and fled. Then Hacksaw Jim Duggan, with his hands taped, comes down and punches Wallstreet in the face. Pittman rolls over onto Wallstreet and gets the win.
WHAT WAS THAT FINISH? Two men, who weren’t in the match, punches the two men in the match in their faces. Despite those two doing all of the work, Pittman gets the pin and the opportunity to be on Nitro. What a clown show of a match this was.
Match Rating: -*
That’s about it from us at the Armbar Express. Next time on WCW Nitro Episode #10, The Giant will supposedly defend the WCW title despite not technically being the champion! Be sure to check out for that next episode review and be sure to read up on up to two months worth of reviews regarding WCW Nitros and WCW PPVS!
- #1 – September 4th 1995
- #2 – September 11th 1995
- WCW War Games 1995 – September 17th 1995
- #3 – September 18th 1995
- #4 – September 25th 1995
- #5 – October 2nd 1995
- #6 – October 9th 1995
- #7 – October 16th 1995
- #8 – October 23rd 1995
- WCW Halloween Havoc 1995 – October 29th 1995