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 UNCENSORED 1996 (MARCH 24TH 1996)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Date: March 24th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Tupelo, Mississippi

Attendance: 9,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **3/4

 

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

 

Steven Regal vs The Belfast Bruiser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Madusa vs Col Robert Parker w/Dick Slater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

WWE’s Brock Lesnar To Fight Mark Hunt At UFC 200

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express with some big news coming from the world of professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. It was confirmed at UFC 199 that Brock Lesnar would be competing at UFC 200, as part of an historic event including three world title fights. It was confirmed on Monday that Brock’s opponent in this heavyweight bout would be accomplished fighter Mark Hunt. To say this is ground-breaking news would be an understatement.

A collaboration by WWE and UFC in this capacity is certainly unheard of. The nearest to this was probably Ronda Rousey being allowed to do her angle with The Rock, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H at WrestleMania 31. Even proposed plans for a Rousey vs Stephanie match fell through, due to the UFC not allowing Rousey to do more than the original one-off deal. Rousey showing up in a non-wrestling role is one thing. Brock Lesnar actually fighting in the UFC is on a completely different level.

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The WWE, for years, had been against the idea of collaborations with outside wrestling companies. With recent projects involving EVOLVE and other independent companies as part of their Cruiserweight Tournament, they are certainly turning a corner in that regard. This deal with their supposed rivals UFC is pretty big. The story is supposedly that Brock Lesnar was able to secure an agreement when negotiating his WWE contract in early 2015, with the option of one UFC fight being open to him. Chael Sonnen explained to Jonathan Coachman on ESPN that the door was always open for Brock to come to UFC, with Dana White not even having to call Vince McMahon in order to secure this fight with Brock.

With those details, it may not seem as much of a collabaration anymore. However, WWE is still promoting this news heavily on theory social media accounts. WWE released a press release about the news, as well as the news of Brock’s opponent being Mark Hunt. According to Wrestling Observer, it is also likely that Brock will be promoting this fight on WWE broadcasts as well. It’s almost as if WWE are still trying to turn this into more of a WWE deal than a UFC deal, by having Brock with Paul Heyman on RAW to hype up  the fight.

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I personally believe that there’s probably a lot more to the story and that WWE is probably getting something in return. Whether that’s the big Ronda Rousey fight at WrestleMania or not is left open for debate. However, I’d be very surprised if WWE aren’t getting anything out of letting Brock fight. The reason I say this is because I believe, from a business perspective, that WWE have a lot more to lose from this than UFC.

However, UFC have hardly any trouble at all in building up stars as opposed to WWE. If Brock beats Mark Hunt and leaves, it’s not that much of a business tragedy. On the other hand, WWE have not generated a legitimate wrestling superstar in nearly ten years. They’ve never been able to develop a hugely socially-relevant larger-than-life WWE superstar since John Cena a decade ago. If Brock Lesnar loses this fight, it’s going to be very difficult for WWE to promote Brock for future programs. If Brock Lesnar loses this fight, Paul Heyman has to sell on the microphone that Brock is still an unbeatable badass when he just lost a legitimate fight. If Brock Lesnar loses this fight, the WWE are going to look so inferior in comparison to UFC.

Even though he officially called it a day on his UFC career in March 2015, Brock still thought that the issues with his health really did prevent Brock from achieving his full potential in the octagon. Brock said: “I felt robbed by diverticulitis. I felt robbed by being sick. I was feeling good and it took me a couple years to start feeling good. I’m at home, I’m working out, my life is great, everything’s in tune, my contract’s coming to an end with WWE, hey it’s been a great time but something’s missing.”

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For UFC, you get another big fight as part of the UFC 200 event that they’ve been building towards in the last few years. They tried to get every big fighter they could for this huge event, similarly to their UFC 100 event which, ironically, featured Brock Lesnar in the main event. Whether Brock Lesnar wins or loses, UFC get the box-office draw of Brock Lesnar. He was the biggest MMA draw when he was last with the UFC. Even in WWE, he has been the biggest draw on the WWE Network with his Network-Exclusive events gaining a lot of interest. Not only are UFC getting this dude, but the ball’s in their court whether Brock wins the fight or not. In their mind, it doesn’t matter if Brock wins the fight or not. Unless UFC have it in the back of their mind to do another fight with Brock down the road, they’ve got nothing to lose with this situation.

Now if Brock beats a top UFC star like Mark Hunt, maybe it’s detrimental in the sense that you’ve just fed a star or maybe the next big thing against… the next big thing. If Brock wins and leaves, there’s no way for that fighter to get his win back and a lot of work would need to be done in order to re-build his reputation.

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The news was actually broken by MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, who was quickly banned for life from attending future UFC events as a certified media member for leaking the news about Brock. UFC lifted the ban on Monday, by releasing this statement.

“Following a conversation with the editorial team at SB Nation, UFC will not prevent MMAFighting.com from receiving media credentials to cover live UFC events. We respect the role the media plays in our sport and beyond, including MMAFighting’s ability to report news. However, in our opinion, we believe the recurring tactics used by its lead reporter extended beyond the purpose of journalism. We feel confident our position has now been adequately communicated to the SB Nation editorial team.

“UFC’s goal as the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion is to cultivate interest in its world-class athletes and events, and deliver for the fans. We will continue to introduce this sport and its athletes to new fans across the world, and we will do so by working alongside media across all platforms.”

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That about covers everything that we know at the moment about Brock. I’m sure in the next month that a lot more will come out of this. What do you guys think? Do you think Brock will win? Do you think this will be the first of many fights from Brock? Tweet the @ArmbarExpress Twitter account or leave a comment to share your thoughts.

#CancelWWENetwork Trends After Fastlane 2016 – Thoughts and Reactions

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NOTE: The following post was written before the Monday Night RAW after Fastlane.
How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with an initial post-Fastlane reaction to #CancelWWENetwork trending on Twitter following the main event of the show. For those of you that want to know what happened, Roman Reigns won the triple threat match to earn a WWE World title shot at Wrestlemania 32 against Triple H. This caused major upset among the WWE universe as the #CancelWWENetwork hashtag trended.
This is not the first time that the hashtag has trended on Twitter. If you’ll recall, last year’s Royal Rumble ended with Roman Reigns going over and the hashtag causing the subscription cancellation page for the network to crash. I don’t think the hashtag will cause a backlash of that degree in this case. It did cause WWE to change plans for the finish of Wrestlemania 31 before, but I don’t think it’ll make a bit of difference this year. As it turned out, the amount of people that actually went through with unsubscribing to the network was very small. On Twitter, people have been posting pictures of themselves actually cancelling their subscriptions. However, I don’t think the amount will actually make a lot of difference to WWE as the subscription numbers will rise for Wrestlemania anyway.
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I’ll admit that I haven’t watched Fastlane yet and I probably won’t until later on in the week. The thing about Fastlane was that it’s gotten very mixed reviews. On Twitter, I’ve seen a lot of negativity about the pay-per-view. However, I’ve spoken to a lot of fans that have said the pay-per-view was actually “solid” and that the main event was actually great until the finish.
Again, I haven’t seen the pay-per-view yet. The thing is if the pay-per-view was bad and then they went with the finish they did with Roman going over, I could understand the frustrations of the fans. They want to see a good product and if they don’t get it, they’re not going to let their frustrations build inside of them. I remember being furious at WWE for the 2015 Royal Rumble, mostly because of how it was booked. That’s one of those moments where I truly believe that the backlash received was justified because of how bad the show was. For Fastlane though, it seems that the backlash is mostly because of Roman going over and the finish which I think is a bit extreme.
If the main event was good, AJ vs Jericho was good and the rest of the pay-per-view was fine, to call the pay-per-view bad because of who won the main event seems a bit much. It seems a bit much because what exactly did you think was going to happen at Fastlane? Did anyone honestly think that Brock Lesnar was going to win last night? No. Brock Lesnar vs Triple H for the title at Mania was just not going to happen. There’s a lot of people who were probably thinking that Dean might win the match, but I didn’t think so. Brock Lesnar laid him out over and over again on RAW and SmackDown! and Dean dropped the Intercontinental title on RAW. Dean was nowhere near booked well enough for a Wrestlemania main-event push. The expectation was that Dean was going to be the one that got pinned or submitted to protect Roman and Brock, and that’s exactly what happened. Did anyone really think that the finish of the Fastlane main event WASN’T going to be Roman Reigns pinning Dean Ambrose to win the match?
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WWE being predictable is not my cup of tea. However, the company also has a clear vision of what they want the main event of Wrestlemania to look like. It was always going to be Roman Reigns vs Triple H. If they have a plan, it’s better that they stick with it and promote that match to the best of their ability rather than come up with a new plan at the last minute. If they put Dean in there with little personal animosity with Triple H beforehand, it wouldn’t make any sense when taking every other storyline in the last year into account. If you start it off with Roman Reigns, you might as well end it with Roman Reigns.
The issue last year with Roman is that the guy wasn’t over to the level of his push. This year, he is nearly over to that level. He is not in Stone Cold Steve Austin territory or anything crazy like that. However, he’s at least making a lot more progress than last year. That tells you something. It has not been that great for Roman since this year’s Royal Rumble but that’s the problem with booking Roman against two of the most popular wrestlers on the roster for a title match at Wrestlemania.
I’ve written about this for SLTD Wrestling a few times now. I was disapproving of the main event of Fastlane because of the reason mentioned earlier. I was disapproving of the main event of Triple H vs Roman Reigns for Wrestlemania because I didn’t think it should have been for the WWE World title. However, I at least admire WWE’s attempts of having a plan and sticking to it. It was better than throwing Dean Ambrose into the mix all of a sudden or throwing Brock Lesnar into the mix. I wish they had went a different way for a main event of Wrestlemania. For what they’re doing though, they’re not doing a too terrible job at promoting up the match.
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I just don’t see what the fans were expecting from Fastlane. They gave you a seemingly good show but it’s still deemed a failure over how the main event played out?
It’s an interesting situation. I don’t see any plans for Wrestlemania changing because of this but it is bad news for Roman in terms of how he’s perceived by the fans. It’ll be interesting to see how WWE will try to turn this around.

WWE Summerslam 2015 Review – Sheamus vs Randy Orton

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Hello everybody! Welcome to a bit of a preview of my Summerslam 2015 Review. Unfortunatley, I won’t have the full review ready in time for RAW. However, I do have a bit of review of the opening match to Summerslam. It’s something I’ve already gotten written up. It’s Randy Orton vs Sheamus, the rematch to their match at Battleground. Their match at Battleground was actually pretty good but could the Irishman and the Viper do even better at Summerslam?

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Orton almost scored an RKO right away but Sheamus moved out of the way. We got “You Look Stupid” chants to which Sheamus got on the mic, replying with “I don’t look stupid”. Sheamus saying stuff like this on the mic takes away the seriousness of this lad. And that’s not good, considering that Sheamus has the Money In The Bank briefcase. Considering he’s probably going to be our next WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus looked a bit of a joke. However, it could have been a lot worse.

To be honest, after he said it, I thought as soon as he returned to the ring, Randy was gonna drop Sheamus with a successful RKO to win the match. That didn’t happen and the match went on. However, the fans interest in this match began to disappear at the start. Among the chants we got was a very loud “Ole” chant! However, the match did pick up shortly afterward, which got the fans into it again. Randy delivered a T-Bone Suplex to Sheamus over the top rope which I thought looked pretty cool. Sheamus put on a modified Clover Leaf and kept saying “ASK HIM!” as heels normally do when they’ve got a submission locked on. Chris Jericho use to do it quite a bit. What I realized though, when Sheamus had it on, was that the referee’s rarely ever actually go on ask the wrestlers if they quick! They usually just stand over them!

There was a great little spot where Sheamus lifted himself up up onto the top turnbuckle but Randy countered it into a DDT. Randy hit Sheamus with a RKO when Sheamus catapulted in him which looked awesome. Sheamus beat Orton CLEAN with two Brogue Kicks in a row. This is exactly the type of win that Sheamus needed after losing to Orton clean at Battleground. I thought this match was really good. At the start it looked a bit slow-paced but then it picked up in a big way.It was a great opener. I think this would have been better than their Battleground, had it been given a bit more time. However, considering the card, you could see why the time of this match was cut down a little.

This match seemed to go to the finishing spots rather quickly. It’s almost as if they cut a huge section of the match and then just went to the closing moments. However, despite that, it was still a good match and a great way to open the show. If there’s a rubber match at Night of Champions, Sheamus has to go over I think. However, if this is the end of the feud, at least Sheamus goes out with a win.

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: WCW 1998 PART 6 – SPRING STAMPEDE

Previously on WCW EWR…

We wrapped up a number of feuds at Uncensored as the new WCW World Champion Raven retained against Sting due to interference by Eddie Guerrero in a Last Man Standing match! Chris Jericho also won his feud with Bret Hart while the Outsiders retained against Booker T and The Giant.

Many feuds ended and changed by the time Spring Showdown so let me just outline all the feuds…

  • Exiles Leader and WCW World Champion started feuding with Bret Hart. Even though Bret Hart had lost the TV title feud to Jericho, he was still 100 over. So him and Raven was put in place for the WCW Title…
  • The Ric Flair vs Hollywood Hogan feud was still going on with Flair having just been removed from power as WCW President. The rematch between the two would take place at Spring Stampede. If Flair won, he got his power back. If Flair lost, he would never appear in WCW again!
  • Sting turned his attentions to the extremely-over Eddie Guerrrero after Eddie cost him the WCW Title match at Uncensored.
  • Here’s the biggest change of them all… WCW Television Champion Chris Jericho turned FACE to fight the Outsiders alongside Chris Benoit! I really wanted another top babyface and Jericho was the perfect candidate. Him and US Champion Chris Benoit would face the Tag Champions the Outsiders, with all the belts on the line. So if Nash and Hall won, Nash would win the US and Hall the TV. But if Benoit and Jericho (who already had the name Canadian Violence) won, they’d win the tag titles.
  • Scott Steiner broke off from Rick Steiner to feud with Booker T. The team never neccesarily broke up in some dramatic fashion. I just had the two of them doing separate things. I may have them reform, but it depends on how Steiner does here. The gimmick was that Booker had kept on beating Steiner on Nitro and this was pissing Scott off. This led to a number one contendership match for the US Championship at Spring Stampede…
  • Keiji Mutoh and Rob Van Dam had been requesting matches with each other for so long, so I decided to have them feud after they wrapped up their last feuds. This would be a kind-of respect story where RVD was trying to get the respect of Mutoh. It’s like the Cesaro/Sami Zayn storyline from NXT.
  • The idea of Rey Mysterio and Jushin Thunder Liger as a tag team was appealing so I had them team up to take on the nWo’s Bam Bam Bigelow and Curt Hennig.
  • DDP was continuing his feud with Randy Savage that began just after Uncensored.
  • ECW also went out of business in my game! So Paul Heyman became available and I signed him up! At the end of the post, I will announce who’s the newest Paul Heyman guy…

So let’s get to it. Spring Stampede!
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Pre-Show – Ultimo Dragon (c) defeated Chavo Guerrero and Dean Malenko in a triple threat elimination match to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

These three were the hottest three cruiserweights, so I stuck them in a three way dance for the cruiserweight belt. Chavo went out first and then Ultimo Dragon defeated his friend and tag team partner Dean Malenko to retain the cruiserweight title!

 

Match 1 – Diamond Dallas Page def. Randy Savage

A rematch from Uncensored. DDP did win the match at Uncensored but I wanted him to win again because Savage was going over at the end of the feud. He won off a botched interference from Savage’s manager Sable. Despite him eventually losing the feud to Savage, DDP looked strong off two PPV wins over Savage.

 

Match 2 – Rey Mysterio and Jushin Thunder Liger def. Bam Bam Bigelow and Curt Hennig

So yeah. These two teams never had that high overness rating but I felt these two could have a good tag team feud. I liked the idea of a Liger/Mysterio team and Bam Bam and Hennig were the secondary tag team of the nWo (behind the Outsiders). So it seemed a decent pairing of tag teams. Mysterio and Liger got the win in the first PPV match between these two as they needed a bit of momentum. This would lead to a manager coming up to Hennig and Bam Bam saying, “Hey listen. You guys need me on your side to beat these guys,” leading to the reintroduction of a manager I forgot I had on the roster!

 

Match 3 – Keiji Mutoh def. Rob Van Dam

This match didn’t perform as much as I would have hoped considering they’ve been requesting to do a program together for ages. They’ve had good matches on TV before but here it struggled to get ratings. It’s like the Jericho/Wyatt feud… good on paper, not as great in reality. Mutoh wins because I like the thought of RVD trying to earn the legend’s respect by beating him. He struggles at the start but he will eventually get there.

 

Match 4 – Booker T def. Scott Steiner

Scott Steiner had risen to amazing overness heights following a number of huge tag team feuds with his brother Rick and Booker T came off the feud with the Outsiders very well. Solution? Feud them! I decided to do a storyline where Booker T would beat Scott all the time and Scott would keep getting pissed off. I think Booker won like two matches before this match. He won again, which led to Steiner attacking Booker. I do like the ratings this feud is getting me.

 

Match 5 – “Canadian Violence” Chris Benoit (c) and Chris Jericho (c) def. “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to win the WCW Tag Team Championship. Benoit’s United States Championship and Jericho’s Television Championship were also on the line

I had been planning this for a while. I wanted the Outsiders to lose the tag titles but I needed two strong faces to beat them. Benoit and Jericho were already a tag team and they were on par with the Outsiders as far as overness. So I had them do a titles for titles match at Spring Stampede. The Outsiders would put the tag titles on the line against US Champ Benoit and TV Champ Jericho (a.k.a. Canadian Violence), who were putting their belts on the line as well (by the way, if the Outsiders had won, Nash would have won US/Hall would have won TV). Benoit and Jericho won the titles, giving us new tag team champions for the first time since Starrcade!

 

Match 6 – Sting def. Eddie Guerrero

After Eddie jumping him over and over, Sting got his revenge in their first one-on-one encounter. Sting defeated Eddie after botched interference from Chavo Guerrero. Despite losing, Eddie looked strong and gained overness! Good news!

 

Match 7 – Ric Flair def. Hollywood Hogan (If Ric Flair won, he regains power as WCW President. If Hogan won, Ric Flair would never appear in WCW again)

Flair getting revenge for Hogan beating him at Uncensored and regaining control of WCW. Botched interference by Eric Bischoff led to Flair getting the win.

 

Match 8 – Raven def. Bret Hart to retain the WCW Championship

Highest overall rating of the show. Raven retained after cheating – hitting Bret with the chair after the ref was knocked down.

 

2013 NoDQ.com Awards – My Vote For… The Worst Of The Worst

I do believe these are the last three awards in the NoDQ.com awards for 2013. Let’s have them all in one post! To check out the rest of these posts click on the link below!

https://thearmbarexpress.wordpress.com/category/nodq-com/

WORST WRESTLER OF THE YEAR

Nominees

  • Joseph Park
  • Eva Marie
  • The Great Khali
  • Garrett Bischoff
  • Wes Brisco
  • Ryback

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I’m not going to give this award to Joseph Park, because quite honestly all he’s doing is playing a gimmick. As Abyss, he’s a really good wrestler so for me to give him “Worst Wrestler Of The Year” award wouldn’t be right. I’m not going to give it to Garrett either because he is slowly improving and he seems to really want to improve which I kind of like. Also Ryback has been improving himself. Yeah, he’s not exactly the greatest worker in the world but he’s had some pretty good matches with the likes of Chris Jericho and even John himself in the Last Man Standing match. A lot of people forget how good that match was. Despite the wrestling world’s HATRED of Eva Marie, due to the fact that she’s only  months into her wrestling career I’m going to save her the dishonour of “worst wrestler of the year”. And the reason for this is because the worst wrestler of the year award belongs to the UNDISPUTED WORST WRESTLER OF ALL TIME…. THE GREAT KHALI!

WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR

  • Mark Henry vs. Ryback (Wrestlemania 29)
  • John Cena vs. The Rock (Wrestlemania 29)
  • Santino Marella and The Great Khali vs 3MB (9/27/13 Smackdown)
  • CM Punk vs. Ryback/Paul Heyman (Hell in a Cell)
  • Divas elimination match (Survivor Series)
  • Big Show vs. Randy Orton (Survivor Series)

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You know all these matches are all worthy contenders of being the shittest match of the year… AND NO SURPRISE ALL OF THEM CAME FROM WWE!

The divas match was going to be my pick, but I figured I’d save it the indignity of the award because they tried to redeem themselves the next night and improved it by 0.1%. Not trying to sound sexist or anything, but the fans did not care about the match so there was no-one being let down at Survivor Series by their shambolic display and the horrible botch with Natalya being the sole survivor.

My award goes to the match that shouldn’t have ever being booked – Big Show vs Randy Orton. The fact that Big Show found himself in the main event of a PPV like Survivor Series is ridiculous. Not to mention that he was put up against the life-zapping viper Randy Orton, who is like the worst opponent for Big Show to have. Yeah they had a good match at Extreme Rules, but this was just pure shocking for the fans to endure. 11 minutes of absolute garbage. The WWE should be ashamed that a PPV like that with a lot of eyes and attention towards it had to deal with these two in the main event. It was disgraceful to watch and this match is the worthiest contender of them all for WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR!

Winner: Big Show vs Randy Orton at Survivor Series

WORST OF PPV OF THE YEAR

  • Genesis
  • Night Of Champions
  • Battleground
  • Bound For Glory
  • Hell In A Cell
  • Survivor Series

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I really wish TLC was an option, so I could vote for that as the worst PPV of the year. The reason they’re not on is because NoDQ.com take the time from TLC 2012-Survivor Series 2013 into account, because no one could really nominate TLC for the award before they could even see it! There were so many things wrong with that PPV. I might actually do a blog post or something on that PPV, since I can’t vote for it for Worst PPV Of The Year.

Also, why are Genesis and Bound For Glory on this poll? Both of them PPVs were good. Bound For Glory under-performed but on its own it was better than WWE’s two PPVs in October combined. Genesis was a good one as well. A lot of people forget how good that PPV was. Here’s my blog post about it from January. I think the worst PPV from TNA was Lockdown but none of these PPVs are worthy of Worst PPV Of The Year.

I’m going to give it to Night Of Champions because that show was so uneventful. I mean the other WWE PPVs actually had some good matches. That’s why I never voted them…

  • Battleground had the hardcore match between RVD and Alberto Del Rio, and the tag match between Shield and The Rhodes
  • Hell In A Cell had the triple threat tag team match and Orton/Bryan was a slight improvement from previous matches
  • Survivor Series had the Survivor Series match and Roman Reigns being an absolute tank!

Night Of Champions was shocking. Just have a look at this review to see why it was the worst PPV of the year.

Winner: Night Of Champions