RETRO EXPRESS: WCW SLIM JIM’S HALLOWEEN HAVOC 1996 (OCTOBER 27TH 1996)

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

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The threat of the New World Order has grown larger and larger as the members of the group have grown larger and larger. In the last two months, The Giant, Ted DiBiase, Syxx, Vincent and a fake Sting have joined Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall’s conquest to take over the world. This included NASCAR racing and movie sets as shown in the last few months on Nitro.

A surprising new addition to the group was Miss Elizabeth, who it was revealed signed with the nWo which also messed with the psyche of “Macho Man” Randy Savage. In the week before Halloween Havoc and his title match against Hogan, Savage talked about life being fragile with an ominous threat heading into the big title match.

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Yes, we have made it to Halloween Havoc 1996. We’ve entered the unstoppable reign of New World Order at the top and that was not made any more clearer than this pay-per-view. We’ve had Nitros where the nWo took over the show and we’ve had the nWo win impossibly handicapped situations but this was the big one where the nWo DOMINATED.

It wasn’t even just the New World Order that dominated to show either. If you look at WWE booking in 2020, all WWE cares about is getting heat for the heels. There are so many few babyfaces that get organically over as main-eventers in that company because the mindset is constantly to beat the good guys I guess because they did that to Daniel Bryan and he got unintentionally over.

However, I think I have found a source of inspiration for modern day writers of WWE television. This was a WCW PPV where there were no happy endings whatsoever. None. Every heel on the show was victorious in this PPV except Lex Luger. Even when Lex Luger beat Arn Anderson later on in the show, he refused to let go of the hold (which is a heel move) and the heel got a sympathetic stretcher angle. So there was no happy endings during this show at all.

However, if you’re not really obsessed about the booking of the show, this was a good pay-per-view. The opening match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship was awesome. The match was worth the price of admission and it wasn’t even the only good match on the show. We had some good matches across the board as well as the historic debut of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at the end of the show. A notable and enjoyable pay-per-view.

 

Date: October 27th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Las Vegas, Nevada

Attendance: 10,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

One of the first things I heard was a massive beep which scared the death out of me as the show started. I had to pause the WWE Network because I thought it was something else but no, it was some horrible in-show sound as the show started. It was some kind of horrible beeping.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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For those who need a recap, Rey won this title from Malenko on the Nitro after Bash at the Beach. Malenko then beat up Rey and took his mask from him, carrying it down to the ring with him as a trophy. Here, we had the big rematch with the championship on the line. Rey had been the champion for 111 days heading into this match. Mike Tenay was on commentary for this one as is the case for seemingly every cruiserweight title match on WCW PPVs.

Dean attacked Rey before the bell and slammed him right on his shoulders with a back suplex. Dean hit a hard spinebuster and tried a Texas Cloverleaf but Rey spun out of it. There was about 90 seconds of awesome spots with some moves I wasn’t able to take down in my notes as it all happened at such a high pace. Dean did a snapmare but Rey landed on his feet. Rey did a springboard moonsault and Dean CAUGHT HIM in mid-air in a powerslam position. The fans were in bewilderment over these spots and words do not give it justice. If you go back and watch the first two minutes of this match, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking.

Malenko grabbed the mask he stole from Rey but Rey dropkicked him off the apron. Rey did a dive and then took off his own mask and replaced it with the mask Malenko stole from them and worked the match with a new mask on. I actually think that’s a cool concept that plays into the stolen mask storyline. Rey at least got some level of revenge.

Rey tried a headscissors but Malenko did a side-walk slam in a clever spot. Dean stopped him in mid-momentum and just dropped him with a slam. It looked sublime. There was one dangerous spot where Malenko got Mysterio in a suplex position but he threw him at the ropes. However Rey landed legs first on the ropes and he looked close to crashing head-first into the mat. It’s the curse of being so small that guys are able to throw you all over the place as Dean launched this man through the air and it nearly backfired in an ugly way.

Dean locked on a half-crab like submission. Malenko pulled on the leg and arm of Rey while putting his foot into the back of Rey for a further submission as Rey yelled about his back. Dean hit a back suplex from the top rope for a two count.

Dean locked on a neck scissors submission and it was clever because it didn’t look like he was squeezing Rey’s throat. Dean had his knees on either side of Rey’s head and looked he was squeezing his head with his knees like a vice grip. There was a different way to apply the hold other than just choking him with his legs. I liked that.

Dean missed a punch and Rey almost got the pin with a small package but Dean kicked ou.. Dean went back to work and did a backbreaker submission. Dean transitioned this into a camel clutch. Vintage fabulous submission wrestling from Dean Malenko being displayed. Dean did a slick looking tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Dean drove Rey’s back into the ring apron and threw him back into the ring after the match spilled out of the ring. Dean locked on a rear naked choke. Dean followed this up with a standing sleeper hold.

Rey fought back to his feet but Dean knocked him right back down with a kitchen sink. Dean did the quickest looking Northern Light suplex I’ve ever seen. It was a quick flip for Rey as he slammed down to the mat hard. Rey fired back to his feet. They battled on the top rope and knocked each other down to the floor.

I love how Rey got on Dean’s back and then he clobbered Dean’s face with big forearms to the face of the challenger. It looked great. Rey fired back with a springboard summersault senton.

Rey did a springboard corkscrew to Dean which Dean appeared to almost not be ready for as he briefly walked away from the ring. However, he was able to recover the spot. Rey did a West Coast Pop but Dean kicked out as the announcers noted no-one had ever kicked out of that move. Rey tried it a second time but Dean but him off with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall which the fans bought as the finish. I bought this as the finish to be honest. A great near fall. Dean eventually got the victory with a gutwrench powerbomb from the top rope. That was an awesome match.

It was a great because…. THE BETTER MAN WON. It was not like they went back and forth or Rey was dominating him but Dean got a cheap win. Dean beat him outright clean and it was tremendous work. Go out of your way everybody to watch that match.

Match Rating: ****1/4 (Same rating as Wrestling Observer Newsletter and I totally agree)

 

Lee Marshall interviewed Jeff Jarrett. Jeff said the nWo didn’t impress him with monster trucks and jumping Flair. He said they haven’t done anything in the ring and he vowed Giant wouldn’t chokeslam him. Ric Flair walked in. Flair was on vibrate as he cut this promo about Savage and Jarrett taking out the nWo “all night long”.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs DDP in a battle for the ring

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Nick Patrick was the referee for this match. This match revolved around the lord of the ring title, which Eddie defeated DDP for at Clash of the Champions. Eddie never actually had the ring as DDP stole it and walked away despite not actually being the lord of the ring anymore. Now, DDP was claiming he didn’t know where the ring was. However, the ring was still on the line for this match. I hope that catches everybody up if you’ve not been reading the WCW Nitro series for this blog and you happened to find this review on its own.

Things were heated as DDP spat at Eddie and Eddie punched away at DDP on the floor. They wrestled for a bit. Eddie took over DDP with a headlock takeover. DDP did a front face lock. DDP got stuck in the middle of the ropes and despite Patrick’s warning, Eddie pushed Patrick away and kicked DDP down to a big pop.

Eddie did a springboard senton. Eddie chopped DDP with sweat hitting the camera which is a trope with television and wrestling I’ve always enjoyed! The action was so intense that sweat was thrusted into the camera lens!

DDP tried a pin with his feet on the ropes but Patrick stopped him. DDP threw Eddie into the air and Eddie came right back down on his stomach with a “nose dive”. DDP did a waist-lock gutbuster. DDP did an abdominal stretch but Eddie got out it. DDP did a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.

DDP actually pushed Patrick and Patrick pushed back to a ridiculously huge pop and Eddie tried a pin but got a two count. That was crazy to me that Patrick was monstrously hated during these WCW shows as of late but following one tease of a babyface turn, the fans lost their minds! These fans had hope for Nick Patrick!

Patrick chewed out DDP as DDP begged him off. Page shuck Patrick’s hand as he and Guerrero traded punches. DDP and Eddie traded roll ups. DDP missed a lariat as Eddie dodged but then DDP came back across with another lariat which the fans popped for. DDP did the slip-on-a-banana peel spot and almost landed right on his neck with even DDP feeling his head afterwards.

Eddie did the 10 punches in the corner and an uppercut to floor Page. Eddie did a top rope crossbody to the outside. DDP did the “flapjack” Styles Clash facebuster for a 2 count. DDP hit a spinning sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count.

Some fan I think yelled that DDP was nothing and DDP responded: “your mother’s nothing”. DDP hit the Diamond Cutter and Tony said that Eddie may have blocked it with his hands coming down, because I guess Tony believed Eddie was going to kick out and so he was covering DDP’s tracks. But then, DDP got the pin anyway! That was an awkward call from Tony! Eddie somehow blocked a DDP and got pinned in Tony’s eyes!

Patrick then went into his pocket to get the ring, gave the ring to DDP as he regained the ring. It turned out Nick Patrick had the ring all along.

This was a fine match. I’ve kinda changed my mind on the rating of this match a few times. A part of me thought it was great and another part of me thought it was a nothing match. It felt that the match didn’t really have a structure a lot of the time but there was some good drama near the end of the match. I liked the Nick Patrick hope spot and a lot of the moves were done really well. Therefore, I will give this three stars out of five. Not an exceptional match, but a decent enough match to watch in my eyes. Feel free to disagree but I didn’t see a lot of problems with this match.

Match Rating: ***

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THIS WAS SOMETHING ELSE. Mike Tenay interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage to reveal the winner of the Slim Jim Sweepstakes for Halloween Havoc. The last time we saw “Macho Man” Randy Savage on WCW Nitro, he alluded to wanting to end the life of Hollywood Hogan at Halloween Havoc. He said life was precious,  he was all disturbed, very not Macho Man like and he was dressed in black. He was a changed man heading into this match.

Now we’re here at the PPV, with the main-event of the show centred around a blood feud and, because they have a Slim Jim advertisement deal, Savage started acting like typical Randy Savage. He’s all amped up and goofing around, 6 days after being morose and threatening to kill Hulk Hogan! This was quite a change of tone for the Macho Man. It’s funny what money will do to a man!

He was goofing around as he pulled out a name from this paper mache.  Joan McChellick was apparently the winner. Savage wanted to go on a date with the winner of the monster truck! It’s crazy that he’s making his moves on random women he’s never met before after like 2 months of this angle where Savage was obsessed with Elizabeth! I get you’ve got to do promotions with the sponsors like Slim Jim but give me a break. They sacrificed two months worth of storylines just so Savage can promote Slim Jim and give away a monster truck! This… was bullshit. 

 

We got a whole bunch of time-wasting angles between the DDP vs Eddie match and the next match. They plugged the WCW website and Chris Jericho doing CompuServe. I will be honest, I totally forgot that Jericho was wrestling on this show at this point. I say this because Jericho was in his ring gear doing the CompuServe thing and my notes read: “I’m assuming Jericho worked a pre-show because he was in his ring gear!” This was already promoted to me last week but he was wrestling Syxx on this show! I apologise to Chris Jericho from 23 years ago but surely Jericho would have a shirt on at least before his big match or when coming down to do CompuServe. He didn’t need to do this CompuServe thing topless!

Mike Tenay interviewed Dean Malenko after his big victory. Malenko mentioned that he said he was gonna be more focused than ever and he was not gonna leave this building without the title. He was a man of his word and Malenko said this is what he wanted, this is what he got and this is what he’s gonna keep. He said he was gonna take on all comers. This was a solid promo. I know Malenko has this reputation of not having a personality but he did a fine interview here. He got straight to the point as he told everyone to bring it on! A great way to hype up the new Cruiserweight title reign for the Man of 1000 Holds!

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Ted DiBiase cut a promo with The Giant from the crowd. He cut a promo about Jeff Jarrett as The Giant was posing with the WCW United States Championship despite not officially being the champion. The Giant said he was gonna stick Jarrett to the wall, the ceiling, the floor and he was gonna chokeslam him right in the middle. He said when it’s all over, they’ll be no Jeff Jarrett or Horsemen. I wrote down “Everyone was gonna go to the glue factory” but I have no idea who said that line!

Remember a few months ago when The Giant was the WCW World Heayvweight Champion and he was cutting all of these great promos? He had such personality, he roared and he came off as a big deal. He’s now with the nWo and he’s cutting bland promo after bland promo and it’s not really The Giant’s fault. He’s the big man backing up Hogan but he has no direction or not character other than being Hogan’s bodyguard. He couldn’t do his Dungeon of Doom material and he couldn’t do “shoot” promos or clever promos like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Now he’s in a position where he can’t showcase his charisma which we knew for a fact he had based on those promos from before. This was a let down of a promo.

 

The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett w/Ric Flair

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Going into this match, I didn’t expect much and the match very much met my expectations. You have Jarrett who is new to the company versus a green Giant. It’s the same Giant match we always see whenever he has to work a long match with a decent-enough worker. This did not need to go 10 minutes and Jarrett was not going to get a good 10 minute match out of the guy. It was also not gonna even lead up to a clean victory either way so what’s the point?

Tony explained his disgust in Nick Patrick for holding up the United States title that Giant was carrying to which Bobby responded that if The Giant told Tony to raise the belt, Tony would raise it. This was a solid point.

Ric Flair came out and they cut to the entrance ramp, and the first gravestone shown on camera as Flair comes out is a gravestone is called “Rick”. You cannot tell me that wasn’t just an elaborate rib on Ric! The FIRST GRAVESTONE they show and it’s Rick! I couldn’t tell you what the significance of these graves were as part of the Halloween Havoc set and I didn’t spot a pattern.

One of the commentary highlights of this show was Bobby explaining something and Dusty Rhodes yelled “I just said that” and Bobby responded, “yes but I’m doing it in English”. I love the chemistry between Dusty and Bobby during their exchanges. The fact these two only did PPVs together for WCW is a crime! Tony actually chime in saying: “That’s a good thing about your guys working together – it’s in stereo.” Bobby responded: “One in English and one in Cowpasture.” Tremendous banter.

Ric Flair was going crazy on the entrance ramp as Jarrett was out-manoeuvring Giant. Jarrett tried a head lock and then Giant lifted him high in the air threw him across the ring! Giant got some distance with this throw too and it looked very effective. Tony questioned why Jarrett would try a headlock on The Giant.

Giant threw Jarrett across the ring. Jarrett tried a sleeper hold on Giant’s back and Giant was struggling to get Jarrett off his back but he eventually crashed into the turnbuckle to get Jarrett off of him. There were big nWo chants. Giant was wobbly because of Jarrett but he eventually cut Jarrett off with a big boot to a big pop. It was a pretty decent looking big boot from The Giant too.

Ric Flair got in the ring and attempted to get a chair in the ring but was thwarted. Giant did a headbutt to the groin of Jarrett but referee Nick Patrick did not call it. Giant did a backbreaker submission.

Ric Flair grabbed a mic and commanded Jarrett to kick his nWo ass. Giant caught Jarrett in mid-air and did two backbreakers while staring right at Flair. This was a pretty boring match to be honest. Giant tried a bearhug, which was the moment where this was confirmed to be a boring match!

Jarrett tried a scoop slam but Giant was too big. Jarrett was able to floor Giant with a top rope crossbody but Giant threw Jarrett off of him when he went for the cover. Jarrett tried a Figure Four Leg Lock but Giant kicked Jeff out of the ring.

Giant tried to charge at Jarrett but Jarrett moved and as Jarrett moved out of the way, Giant crashed into the ring post. Jarrett did a Figure Four Leg Lock on the outside but Giant reached across to Jeff with a hand for the chokeslam but before he could deliver, Flair took off his jacket and did a low blow for the disqualification.

I hate this type of booking. WCW threw in two guys they were trying to protect but because of this, they didn’t want anyone to lose. Therefore, they did a disqualification despite it being clear that The Giant was the better man. If you have such a problem with picking a winner and a loser, why bother doing the match? This did nobody any favours. What the heck did Jarrett get from this match? Giant kicked his ass for ten minutes and he was saved by Ric Flair, who is INJURED! Why couldn’t you have just let The Giant get the win?

And if that wasn’t bad enough, The Four Horsemen ran down afterwards to help Flair and Jarrett from The Giant. Jarrett and Ric had a two-on-one advantage against The Giant and then more men came out to help those two guys. Keep in mind, Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett were supposed to be the babyfaces. Jarrett came off like such a dork and The Giant came off as a monster babyface beating everybody up! Then Tony had the temerity to berate Giant for running away… from an unfair fight! The nWo, despite being heels, were booked as so superior to these WCW geeks.

HUGE THUMBS DOWN for everything about this match. On the bright side, at least both men tried and worked hard to try and get something out of nothing. Therefore, I will give them that credit.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Ted DiBiase was with Syxx and Vincent. DiBiase said the Horsemen knew the post-match save was the only way Jarrett was gonna get out of that ring. He admitted Jericho was a great athlete but he was a great athlete at the wrong time. He was in there with the best cruiserweight in Syxx tonight. Syxx said Jericho would be crucified for the sins of WCW which is straight out of Stephanie McMahon’s vocabulary. He yelled the nWo is 4 life. I was not a fan of Syxx’s verbiage but Ted DiBiase cut a hell of a promo here.

 

Syxx vs Chris Jericho

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Bobby Heenan talked about Syxx making his wrestling debut and I swear Syxx wrestled on that nWo take over show a month ago.

Syxx and Jericho wrestled for a bit fighting speed with speed. If you have two quick guys in there and if they can keep up with each other, you’re very likely going to have a good match and this was a good match when the smoke cleared. Konnan, Taskmaster and Big Bubba were at ringside. Jericho ran wild with a monkey flip and arm drags for a while. Syxx dropkicked Jericho off the top rope and onto the floor.

Jericho tried again to get in the ring but Syxx dropkicked him off the apron and then did a dive to the outside. Syxx stomped at Jericho in the ring and did some kicks in the corner. Syxx did a rest-hold. Syxx tried a spin kick but Jericho caught it, so Syxx kicked him with the other leg which I actually think was really well executed.

Syxx did an elbow drop from the top rope onto Jericho, who was draped on the apron. Syxx missed a dropkick in the corner. Jericho ran wild for a bit to some boos from the crowd as they loved the nWo.

Jericho did a top rope crossbody to the outside. Jericho did a top rope back elbow for a two count. Jericho caught Syxx off the top rope with a dropkick. Jericho went for a cover and Patrick ran around for like 5 seconds before eventually went down to count the pinfall.

Jericho did a lionsault and a bridge pinfall and got a one count which the fans and the announcers disputed as a slow count. When they showed the replays of the slow counts, the slow counts didn’t even look that slow which is a problem with this storyline. If you are told to do a slow count, make sure the count is slow. Don’t do a regular count as it flies in the face of the storyline you’re trying to tell. Just wait for Starrcade 1997 as Nick Patrick’s will get a big moment when it comes to the speed of his counts!

Jericho did a springboard moonsault and again Patrick did what was supposedly a slow count. Syxx did a side kick and Patrick counted down the pinfall as normal for the win. Jericho chased Patrick out of the ring as Patrick carried Syxx to the back. A good cruiserweight match with not a lot to complain about. Jericho and Syxx worked pretty well together in this match.

Match Rating: ***

 

Lex Luger was interviewed by Mike Tenay. Luger said it didn’t need to come down to this but Arn pointed the finger at Luger for WCW’s loss at Fall Brawl. Luger said he accepted the blame but Arn wouldn’t accept that. He said Arn questioned his fortitude but now he’s gonna see a torture rack you’ve never seen before. He’s sick and tired of everyone running each other down in WCW. Luger said he’s gonna beat Arn, rack him and take him out and hurt him.

 

Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson

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This was a match that was saved mostly by the finish because this was a boring match. Arn tried all he could and it didn’t work but they did deliver a poetic finish in the confides of the story and it turned the heel shenanigans against the Four Horsemen.

Tony talked about Luger losing but not quitting at Fall Brawl when I seem to recall Luger tapping out after Hogan and Sting locked on a double submission in the War Games match. How that is not considered quitting, I don’t know.

They fight for a bit. Luger powered up Anderson and dropped him with a Gorilla Press. They followed up with a double axe handle from the apron. The Dungeon of Doom was cheering Luger to rack him which was an interesting dynamic. Luger used to be a Dungeon of Doom member but the Dungeon hated Arn and they were feuding with the Four Horsemen in Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael.

That’s actually a great aspect of WCW’s use of stables at this time. The Dungeon and Horsemen had been feuding since Brian Pillman feuded with Taskmaster back in February and after all of this time, they still hate each other and there’s still feuds going on between the groups. That’s great for the members of those groups and there’s a lot of layers to the program.

Arn got hung upside down and the fans are going crazy as Luger had him in peril. Just imagine what Luger was gonna do now that Arn was defenseless. Instead, Luger just throws a few slow punches and then after, the buzz just went away from this match. A better worker would have gotten so much more from this spot and that is frustrating.

Arn hit a spinebuster. Arn beats on Luger for a while. This was a boring match and some fans start to boo because nothing was happening for a long time. Arn tried a DDT but Luger grabbed the ropes to keep himself standing.

Luger started fighting back. Arn shoved Luger into the referee to knock him down. Arn grabbed a chair and tried to use it but Luger dodged. Arn tried a piledriver but Luger catapulted Arn into the ringpost. Luger suplexed Arn on the floor.

The referee Mark Curtis was still dazed. Luger then hit Arn in the back with a chair multiple times as the referee was still unable to see it. Arn was limp as Luger called for his finisher and Luger secured the submission victory with the Torture Rack. Luger refused to let go of the hold as the referee tried to break the hold.

So yes, after Arn yelled at Luger for giving up at Fall Brawl, Arn was the one that gave up from the Torture Rack himself. This was retribution for the babyface and when you’re able to make a heel eat his words, that’s a thumbs up in my eyes. One of the stronger finishes of the show to an otherwise boring match. However, this match did not need to be 12 minutes long.

Match Rating: **

 

Arn was being attended to as Jarrett and Flair both came out. They actually brought out the stretcher. Arn grabbed the arm and “rib cage” as he was being taken out.

 

Lee Marshall played Mean Gene and hyped up the WCW Hotline to apparently have the scoop about Sting. He interviewed Harlem Heat, Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker. Parker talked about how the Outsiders needed reprimanded. He said they were riding on the coattails of the greatest tag team in WCW. Sherri said this is what the Harlem Heat lives and breathes for. Booker said the nWo were a couple of wannabe thugs and they were gonna jump them Harlem Style.

 

“The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart vs Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Debra McMichael and Woman

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I will start of this review by talking about our main man Steve “Mongo” McMichael, I’ve really liked his character as part of the Four Horsemen. I don’t rate him as a wrestler but there were times where he at least knew how to carry himself as a star. The example I will provide was from the Four Horsemen’s ring entrance. Benoit came out with Woman by his side and Mongo came out with his wife Debra by his side. They both get on the apron, Debra and Mongo both took off their jackets off and a random woman was outside catching these massive jackets and coats almost effortless. I loved that!

Meng tried a kick but Mongo evaded it by cowering the corner. They locked up but smashed into a each with shoulder tackles. There was a great spot where they Meng and Mongo both roared crashed into each and Mongo did a tremendous shoulder tackle to floor him and send him flying. He jumped high in the air and Meng went flying in the air backwards to sell the pure force of Mongo. It was so cartoonish but I loved it. It was as ridiculously and over-the-top as it needed to be!

Benoit and Barbarian got tagged in and fought. Benoit hit a northern lights suplex for a 2 count. Benoit tried a headbutt but this was a mistake as Barbarian no-sold it and took him down!

In another great spot involving Mongo was when Meng challenged Mongo to a sumo match. Mongo obliged and then they had a full-on sumo wrestling battle slapping each other! They slapped at each other and they wrestled with Meng winning! Think of it as E. Honda from Street Fighter, who did these slaps to palm away his opponent! This was a better sumo match than the WrestleMania 21 match between Akebono and Big Show which included a LEGITIMATE champion sumo wrestler!

Mongo then took out the Faces of Fear with chop blocks for a while but then Meng cut him off. This was Mongo playing to his strengths, acting like an American football player to take down the monsters. I like that.

They did a double headbutt and Mongo just fell to the ground. It was a pretty funny bad sell where he just fell to the ground like this was a trust exercise! Barbarian did a scoop slam to Mongo. Mongo did a dropkick and did it a second time but Meng just moved out of the way and continued with the beat down on Meng.

Meng tried a senton but Mongo moved out of the way. Benoit got the tag. Meng and Barbarian did the back drop/powerbomb combination to a big pop. This was even better than when they did it against the Fantastics. How does no one in wrestling nowadays try that spot? Surely the War Raiders or Authors of Pain should be able to do it?

There was one awkward spot where Meng chopped Benoit and Benoit stood his ground as if to no-sell it and then crashed to the floor after like a delayed reaction. Communication seemed to be off for that spot.

Barbarian did a top rope belly to belly suplex and Benoit got throw HIGH and LONG to the other side of the ring. How a suplex can be so high and so far away is mind-boggling to me. They did really well with that spot.

Faces of Fear did the double headbutt but Mongo broke up the pin. Barbarian did a suplex into a Meng top rope splash but Mongo got involved to break it up. He pulled out Benoit and hit Meng in the face with the briefcase. Benoit hit the top rope headbutt and got the pinfall.

I actually did not see much in this match from watching it but upon writing this review, I realised this match was actually quite great! I think I would have shaved off a few minutes to make it a bit crisper but man, there were some fabulous spots ranging from comedy to full on serious. This match, in a weird way, had a bit of everything. For god’s sake, Mongo had a sumo wrestling match with Meng and it fit right in!

But of course, there were no happy endings on this show. The defacto babyfaces of this feud, the Four Horsemen, were beat up after the match. The Faces of Fear beat up Mongo and Benoit as Benoit made a comeback. Dungeon grabbed Women but Benoit made the save. Benoit however was being fed to the wolves as Mongo was laid out with a piledriver earlier on in the brawl. Benoit fought off everyone by himself briefly but Meng cut hims off with a superkick. Taskmaster beats up Mongo with a briefcase. Barbarian hit Benoit with a big boot. Bubba hit a spinebuster.

Arn was injured and Flair was with Arn and he was injured too so there was nobody to help these guys. Taskmaster went up to Woman. He took off his shirt. Taskmaster said Benoit wasn’t the man, he’s the man. The beatdown itself was actually a solid beatdown. However, in the middle of a show where all the heels were winning and there so much misery, all I wanted was to see was a babyface win a battle. Was that too much to ask, even in the nWo era?

Match Rating: ***

 

Ted DiBiase came out. He says its 2-0 to the nWo. The next match was for the WCW tag team titles but they were soon to be the nWo tag team titles. He said ever since they’ve come in, they had not failed to deliver anything they had set out to do. Ted said they don’t need a second time as they can get it done the first time. Ted DiBiase was a very solid hype man for the New World Order in this role. There was a part of me that felt Ted DiBiase would soon feel out of place for but now, he’s very solid in his role as a hype man. How long that lasts remains to be seen.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray © w/Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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MASSIVE NWO CHANTS broke out during this match. To fan the flames a little bit, Tony said: “there’s a lot of punks in the world and there’s also a lot of WCW fans” when the announcers were talking about the fans in nWo fans. What a way to convince the nWo fans that the nWo is evil by calling those fans punks. Quite encouraging Tony.

Before a title match, it is common tradition where the referee will show the titles to the competitors and hold the titles in the air for the fans to see. When showing the titles to the Outsiders, the Outsiders grabbed the belts to pose with to massive cheers. It’s funny because (SPOILERS) the Outsiders won the titles anyway, so this really accomplished nothing other than get a cheap pop. Once upon a time it was a big deal to hold the titles for the first time. Here, the Outsiders already grabbed the titles literally minutes before winning them!

The fans looked to one side where I guess there was a fight in the crowd. You have to wonder how many fights broke out in the crowd during this period because this isn’t the first time where I see the fans in WCW look to the crowd for seemingly no reason. Some times I see this happen on Nitro because I expect nWo but no, it turned out it was a fan fight. I wonder if the WCW vs nWo storyline legitimately caused fights among fans.

Hall worked on Booker in the ring but Booker reversed the pressure and did a side kick as the fans paid little attention to the first few minutes of the match. Booker tried a leapfrog but Hall evaded it and did a straight up punch to a big pop.

Booker did a hip toss over the top rope which was not a disqualification as “the momentum took him” over the top rope according to Dusty. That it such bad logic. So if I did a powerbomb to someone over the top rope in WCW, that wouldn’t be a disqualification because his momentum took him over the top rope? I just dropped him but gravity brought him to the floor. If you’re going to do the rule at all, at least abide to it or tell your wrestlers to not do over the top rope spots.

A hoss fight began as Kevin Nash and Stevie Ray were tagged in to BIG DIESEL CHANTS. Nash overpowered Ray initially with punches and knees to the gut and in the corner. Ray shoulder-tackled Nash down and then spat at Hall. Ray kicked away at Nash with garbage being thrown in. Sherri raked the eyes of Nash. Booker did a scissors kick. Nash took over and did a side-walk slam to massive cheers, even from some women in the crowd. Hall did a sloppy looking bulldog where Hall didn’t even grab his head coming down.

Booker did a rest hold. Nash took a cheap shot at Booker from the apron to massive cheers as Outsiders gain the advantage. The fans were quite approving of this blatant cheating! Nash did a snake eyes and Hall followed up with a clothesline while the referee was distracted. Razor did a chokeslam with Ray breaking up the pin. Booker tried a crossbody and Hall caught him with ease and did a fallaway slam. It was a very well done spot from both men. Scott Hall had arguably his best performance in a WCW ring so far during this match.

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As I review this show a few weeks after the #SpeakingOut Twitter campaign centred around abuse towards women in the wrestling business, they do a spot in 1996 where Sherri slapped Scott and Scott grabbed her to thunderous cheers and then kissed her for the biggest pop off the night. This would not play well in the year 2020. This big, jacked-up man physically grabbed this woman, imposed his welll and forced himself upon this woman to get a kiss. These fans were very much approving of this at Halloween Havoc. In storyline, Scott Hall sexually assaulted Sister Sherri. If you do not wish to see anymore of this in wrestling, I would recommend probably not watching WCW, ECW or WWF programming from 1996 to about 2009 on the WWE Network! This is just one spot among decades of on-screen abuse towards women.

This does not get any better on-screen in wrestling and when Vince Russo comes along in WCW, you’re really not gonna like this. It’s disgusting enough on the screen and it’s even worse that these wrestlers bring it home with them. No, I am not suggesting Scott Hall also did this but heck this was established as the norm in wresting for years from this point. I’m sure a lot of young wrestlers watched all of this and the Attitude Era and just assumed it was OK, which IT’S NOT.

Right after this, there’s an understated spot where Sherri came off the apron with a double axe handle to Parker as she kicked off about what happened and him not doing anything about it! That was awesome!

Hall dropped Booker crotch-first on the top rope and Dusty goes: “you’re nuts if you think that doesn’t hurt.” Good form Dusty.  Stevie got the tag and ran wild with punches and clotheslines. Ray grabbed Hall of a Gorilla Press and threw him into Nash which I’m actually surprised they were able and willing to do. They put over Ray pretty well here. Nash got clotheslined to the outside. Booker hit the Harlem Hangover.

This was poetically the best possible finish for this match. I’ve ranted and raved for about a year now about these over-booked finishes for Harlem Heat involving managers and all kinds of shenanigans. It happened all the time. This time, the nWo turned the tables on them as they secured the win by cheating for a change. As the referee is distracted I believe, Parker tried to hit Nash with a cane. Nash intercepted him so basically Parker let him have the cane without a fight and then Ray got laid out with the cane and Hall got the pin to win the tag titles to a thunderous reaction.

With Harlem Heat as the babyfaces and the Outsiders as the heels and the Outsiders being cheered throughout, there was some screwed up psychology. However, this finish was perfect in the sense that Harlem Heat got a dose of karma. They got a dose of karma, they were “out-cheated” and now WCW have lost the tag titles too! This was unintentionally great!

Booker’s facial expressions were awesome as he was in shock, mouth agape in awe as he checked for his brother’s breathing as the Outsiders celebrate as they say: “the takeover is just about complete”.

I very much enjoyed this match with the exception of one uncomfortable spot.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Hollywood Hogan did his pre-match promo with Giant behind him. Hogan had the worst haircut of his life and think of the ground that covered although the truth would be revealed later on in the match. However this Bart Simpson look did not look any good. He mentioned he’s just done with 3 Ninjas and a new film is coming up with Santa with Muscles. Hogan called Savage a long lost love-sick puppy. He said this was nWo rules and it’s time for Hollywood.

 

Hollywood Hogan © wTed DiBiase  vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Now I will first address before this reviewing this match that there was a lot usual WCW backstage politics that led to this finish. If you’ve watched everything Hogan did to Savage in the last 6 weeks or so, he almost had to win this match. Hogan had tortured Elizabeth, put her through hell and now this was his time to kill him. There were contracts and a lot of stuff that happened which led to this finish but let’s review this match in a vaccum.

I say that because every other WCW at this time was watching this match in a vaccum. They had to watch it based what had been presented to them in the last three months or so and they had to watch this conclusion to such a deep storyline with Hogan, Savage and Elizabeth.

Michael Buffer did the ring introductions Savage’s theme song cut off Buffer’s ring introductions but then the production team wised up and shut it off as Buffer finished Hogan’s ring introduction.

Savage brought out a “Macho Man” monster truck which actually did look pretty sweet. One of the better looking monster trucks WCW has trudged out in front of the fans. Savage grabbed the mic to tell Hogan to get his “goons” out of here so he can kick his ass. The referee obliged and I guess threw Giant out. Hogan whispered into Giant’s ears as Giant walked out as I guess he told Giant not to fight it.

Hogan still had his sunglasses on in early parts of the match. Savage is just standing there in the ring as Hogan just walked around… RIGHT AFTER an episode of Nitro where he implied killing Hogan. Hogan is doing his thing and Savage is just… STANDING THERE.

Just like The Giant match where Hogan tried to hide and run from Giant, this match startED the same way. They mentioned that the monster truck was the one given away then correct themselves saying they were given a road legal one… in other words a less cool one was given to the winner.

A whole bunch of nothing happened for like 5 minutes. So I’ve seen a whole bunch of matches with Ric Flair and Savage where he and Flair fought and tried to kill each other. They scratched, clawed and chopped the hell out of each other because they hated each other’s guts. Here Hogan hid and run away and Savage did nothing. He just stopped and stalled in a match against a supposedly. crazy Randy Savage.

Hogan beat up Savage for a while talking trash and saying Savage was nothing. Savage fought back and did punches and a double axe handle. He then grabbed Hogan’s sunglasses. Hogan begged Savage off. Savage grabbed Hogan’s hair and pulled the wig off of Hogan and puts it on. Hogan looks around all panicked at the loss of his wig with some incredibly facial expressions! This was quite great.

Hogan headed to the back. Savage cut him off and fed his wig back to Hogan! Savage beat him u[. Savage grabbed and hit Hogan with a chair on the outside. It was established that you can use weapons on the outside because it’s there’s no disqualification on the outside but yet when Savage used it a second time, the referee cuts him off and Hogan blindsided him. Anything can happen on the outside but yet the referee wouldn’t allow Savage to use the chair a second time? Seems like flawed logic to me.

Hogan then used a chair. As Ted DiBiase distracted the ref, Hogan used the chair again. Maybe there’s some one chair shot rule I’m not aware of. Hogan beat him up on the outside. Then Elizabeth, not in black, came out in a fancy colourful dress. Hogan choked away at Savage. Hogan yelled at Elizabeth but Savage gets a roll up for a near fall. Hogan’s turnks are pulled down by Savage therefore showing his bare ass! He has finished his transformation to a slightly more diabolic Ric Flair now!

I love Hogan’s mood changing. He was all about making jokes and cocky at the start of the match but when he got embarrassed, he gets pissed off and frustrated. Great heel characterisation! It’s all jokes and games until the heel doesn’t get what he wants and therefore, the heels pouts like a child! Savage clotheslined Hogan to the outside.

Hogan grabbed Elizabeth on the outside as a human shield. Savage did a scoop slam and knocked Hogan to the floor Hogan again grabbed Liz as boos from the fans rain down. Hogan threw her and takes advantage with a clothesline. Hogan did a big boot but then Elizabeth entered the ring to boos. Hogan went for the Leg Drop but Elizbaeht threw herself on top of Savage.

Hogan grabbed her. Hogan goes for a Leg Drop again but he missesd. Hogan got a weapon from DiBiase, Elizabeth intercepted it from Hogan, the refereee gets taken down with a clothesline. Nick Patrick and Mark Curtis come down. Savage did a clothesline and Savage did the elbow drop. Nick Patrick did the 2 count but then his neck gave out. Savage pushed Patrick and took off the neck brace. Hogan tried to use “the object” but Savage blocked it. He used it. DiBiase stops Savage from doing the elbow drop. The Giant saved DiBiase from Savage. Giant did the chokeslam on the floor. With The Giant clearly in the ring, Nick Patrick strolled over and did the 3 count as Hogan retained the title.

Tony flat out said: “we’ve been ripped off”. 

Match Rating: *

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There was a lot of shenanigans in this match and it was an incredibly over-booked, storyline finish. However, this was one of the better ones where it came off like Savage was fighting to the bitter end. It wasn’t just like a bunch of things happening leading to the finish. The nWo were doing everything in their power to win and Savage and Liz were doing everything could to stop Hogan. In the end, the heel advantage was just too great and Savage was defeated.

I will now talk about the backstage stuff. I read the Wrestling Observer Newsletter from November 1996 I believe. There were a lot of contract negotiations being thrown around at this time. Long story short, Bret Hart had just re-signed with the WWF for a 20 year deal or whatever the situation was in one of the biggest contracts of all time. The WWF wanted to capitalise on this. They supposedly made big offers to Hogan and Savage, so they could continue their feud in the WWF. Savage’s contract was coming up and I think Hogan’s contract may have been expiring as well. WWF probably would not have had the money to attempt to buy Hogan out of a big deal he had with WCW so that’s more likely. The WWF were close to going out of business at this time.

Hogan re-signed with WCW but Savage had yet to re-sign at this time. Therefore, his contract was in limbo and so therefore they took the precautions of having Hogan beat him. Savage was not under contract, although he did work a few commitments after this show including house shows. Acting fast, with no new babyfaces to feud with Hogan, WCW went ahead and signed up a new superstar to feud with Hogan heading into Starrcade. Speaking of which…

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Giant brought down a big jug of ice that he was careful carrying when walking towards the ring. He got to the ring and KNOCKED IT OVER! Poor Giant! He was doing so well not to spill it! He came in the ring and threw ice on Hogan to wake him up as the nWo celebrate. I guess Hogan was knocked out which was why he did that.

Hogan said he’s the king of Hollywood. Hogan is tired of Ted Turner, he’s taking over WCW and anyone who got in the ring with the nWo or Hulk Hogan was going down. Then bagpipes play as Giant prepared to fight. Hogan doesn’t know what’s going on and out comes ROWDY RODDY PIPER!

Hogan rubbed his face with a shocked looked as he’s freaking out as Tony called him a chicken! Piper grabbed a mic. I’m a huge fan of Piper promos, especially watching them back now years after his death. However, what on earth was going here?

My only explanation was that Piper, because he’s Piper, just said whatever he wanted and HOGAN OF ALL PEOPLE had to get him back on track because they were running short on PPV time. Piper rambled on and on about how he’s a millionaire, he made Hulk Hogan and told Hogan to admit he was here because of all these people. Hogan shook his hand and said he and Piper were “neck and neck” and then he made a crack about Piper wearing a kilt. They yell and yell about god know’s what and the PPV cuts them half way through!

This was to build up a world title match between Hollywood Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper! It wasn’t even that Piper was a bad talker during this promo. He wasn’t. He had a lot of fire and passion and that was about it. He just went on about all sorts of things that had nothing to do with the New World Order. Then he and Hogan just argued like they were on The Real Housewives or god know’s what. Just a mess of an exchange to end this pay-per-view.

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To sum up this pay-per-view as whole, they had a lot of good matches and an incredible opening match. No happy endings to be found, with good guys going over, and a bad ending to the show with Piper and Hogan rambling about…. I don’t even know what they were talking about! I would say that the only two matches you should really go out of your way to watch is Malenko vs Rey and Faces of Fear vs Benoit and Mongo because of how wacky it was. Everything else was really passable and even the nWo shenanigans were not that exciting to me. I will give this PPV a thumbs up on the grounds that although there was nothing exceptional, there were some good matches up and down the show which is really I could ask for… and possibly a Slim Jim.

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #43 (JULY 8TH 1996) – THE NIGHT AFTER BASH AT THE BEACH 1996

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

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The big main-event going into WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 was the “Hostile Takeover” match with Team WCW in Lex Luger, “Macho” Man Randy Savage and Sting battling “The Outsiders” Scott Hall and Kevin Nash and a mystery third man. The mystery man did not come out initially and the Outsiders claimed that they would be fine with just the two of them. Lex Luger got knocked out which turned this into a tag team match with Sting and Savage battling the Outsiders. As the Outsiders got the upper-hand, Hulk Hogan made his return to WCW to seemingly help Team WCW. However, Hogan betrayed WCW as it was revealed that he was the third man all along as the New World Order was officially formed.

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I was excited when getting ready to watch this episode of WCW Nitro. I was thinking that this was the first Nitro since Hulk Hogan turned heel and the nWo is now officially up and running. Imagine all of the things they could do with this and I felt this was going to feel like a completely different show.

I was half-right… it was a completely different show. However, it was a completely different show for the wrong reasons. Firstly, Hulk Hogan was not even there. They revealed later that Hogan would be here next week with the big follow up to the PPV. Hogan turning heel was the big reveal from Bash at the Beach and WCW didn’t even properly follow up on it for another week, therefore making this show essentially a filler episode.

Secondly, although Hogan was not there he was still the centre of attention. In literally every match, Hogan was mentioned as there was a sombre tone from the wrestlers and the commentators. Jimmy Hart was all quiet, Sting was all quiet (at first) and Rey Mysterio is cutting these promos about how the Mexican people were let down by Hulk Hogan.

This is going to be a bad analogy, but it felt like somebody had died this show was so bleak. The feeling watching this show was exactly like (well not exactly like for many reasons) I felt at the time when watching the Monday Night RAW after Eddie Guerrero died in 2005. That is a horrible comparison for many reasons because Eddie dying was a legitimate tragedy. However, there was a reason why people were not as upbeat sounding on that show. A wrestler had died. In 1996, Hulk Hogan had turned on the fans and they are treating this as literally the death of Hulk Hogan or Hulkamania.

The death of “Hulkamania”, which Kevin Sullivan did mention later, is not a bad idea on paper. However, the ENTIRE SHOW was dedicated to this. It was mostly the commentators that bothered me with the way they called the show. There was a number of good matches on this show amidst this funeral-like episode of WCW Monday Nitro. It was… depressing

 

Date: July 8th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

Dean Malenko © vs Rey Mysterio Jr. for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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A great opener to kick off the show, because obviously you need excitement to hype up the crowd during a show where the theme is the greatest hero in wrestling had turned his back on the fans. This title match made sense as Dean and Rey both won matches at Bash at the Beach, leading to this match for the Cruiserweight title.

Dean wrestled Rey to the ground and tried to keep him down but Rey was able to hold his own. Rey came back with some sweet arm drags and teased the 619. Rey ran wild with his speed with the match displaying some great chemistry between himself and Malenko.

Dean eventually cut him off with a backbreaker and went to work on the mat as they cut to a break. Dean threw Rey high in the air as Rey splattered into the ground. Dean locked on the camel clutch. Dean tried a kitchen sink but Rey reversed it into a school boy roll up for the near fall which was very smooth and very well done.

Dean launched Rey into the ropes with a suplex throw. Dean went for the chin lock. Dean then hit a big brainbuster on Rey on the floor. I’ve seen reviews saying Rey should have sold a bit more for this brainbuster but this isn’t really the first time where I’ve seen a brainbuster just casually busted out during one of these cruiserweight matches. Therefore, it didn’t seem that big of a deal to me although it probably should have.

Dean hit a scoop slam and when I say he hit a scoop slam, he got Rey up and literally threw this little man to the mat. Rey Mysterio Jr, as small as he was, demonstrated an incredible pain threshold during this match. This was even before he beefed up a little while working for WWE. This Rey Mysterio was so tiny and thrown around like a rag doll. He’s was thrown around like Enzo Amore for example.

Dean went for a pumphandle slam but Rey reversed it into a crossbody for a 2 count. Rey sent Dean over the top with a hurricanrana and Rey did a springboard moonsault to the outside. However, he complete missed Dean and went smacking into the concrete floor. It did not look pretty.

Rey hit a top rope hurricanrana for a  2 count which the fans popped big for. Dean hit the top rope gutbuster but Dean pulled Rey off the mat after the cover which Larry scolded him for, as he had the man beat.  Dean threw Rey with a belly-to-belly suplex and, again, pulled Rey’s own shoulder up from the mat when he went to cover him. This confidence and cockiness would backfire as Rey pulled off a west coast pop of nowhere to win the title to a huge reaction!

A good opener but I can’t help but feel Rey’s win just seemed to come out nowhere. I also don’t particular approve of Dean pulling Rey’s shoulders up when he had the man beat. I understand the story but let’s pretend it was Hornswoggle, Disco Inferno or some comedy act that was gonna beat Dean Malenko. In those scenarios, Dean being cocky and then getting beating would be even better as Dean allowed himself to lose to a complete underdog.

I wouldn’t consider Rey to be a complete underdog, especially considered he earned his title shot against Psychosis the night before. If Dean could have beat Rey easily and was just shown playing with him, I think it made Rey look like a weak contender. Other than that, I thought this was a good opener and a shot of adrenaline to an otherwise sterile show.

 

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Nasty Boys and The Steiners, as they had a number one contendership match for the WCW tag titles later on in the show. Scott Steiner yelled about Harlem Heat for a while. Scott called Brian a fatso but he did respect the Nasty Boys’ ability. Scott said we would find out who the better team was. Jerry Sags said they only care about who won the match. Rick Steiner yelled that he smelled the heat and he was coming for them. He told the Nasty Boys that if they get in the way, it’s not gonna be personal what happens to them. Brian Knobbs yelled that they both respected each other. An aggressive way for both teams to say they respect each other!

In case anyone has wondered, a Glacier promo aired just like they’d done each and every week for what feels like 10 years.

 

“The Dungeon of Doom” Big Bubba and Hugh Morrus w/Jimmy Hart vs “The Blue Bloods” Lord Steven Regal and Squire David Taylor

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A complete waste of time. All you need to know is that John Tenta ran down and attacked Bubba which led to the finish of Regal and Taylor double-backdropping Hugh in the ring to score a pin fall win. Because lord knows we must continue to see this John Tenta vs Big Bubba feud even after Tenta has beaten him clean twice on PPV. The worst part is that it its Tenta initiating the continuation of this feud which makes zero sense. You’ve gotten your revenge. Why are you pursuing this pointless feud? Anyway, absolute nothingness.

 

Psychosis vs Eddie Guerrero

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Prior to this match was my most hated moment of the show. The previous tag team match was the biggest waste of time but this inset promo with Rey Mysterio after winning the Cruiserweight title (although it is possible they pre-taped this interview) completely undermined and took away from his big title win from about TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE. By the way, 20 minutes is seriously low-balling it. I was probably 10 minutes. Anyway so Mysterio just won the title and all over a sudden. he cut this promo about being disappointed in who the third man was at the Bash at the Beach. He cut a very sad promo as if someone had died. He was almost in mourning over this Hulk Hogan deal while completely no-selling his cruiserweight title win. There was not ONE MENTION OF IT by Rey… I was furious. Again, this could have been a pre-tape, but couldn’t they have shown this Rey promo before he won the title?

It completely undercut and rip to shreds the value of the big title at the start of the show all in the name of putting over this Hulk Hogan storyline. Of course, commentator Larry Zybsko threatened Rey from the announce booth.

There was tremendous stuff from Eddie and Pyschosis in this match. Eddie and Pyschosis wrestled for the headlock for a long time as Pyschosis tried his best to get out of the headlock of all moves. As talked about in this blog multiple times, it made the simplest hold seem so important in this match and I approve that kind of psychology.

Psychosis smacked into Eddie with a whisper in the wind corkscrew to the outside. Psychosis worked on the arm, doing things like wrenching the arm and then smashing it into the corner. Psychosis locked on an armbar and then draped the arm over the top rope

They revealed Hogan will be on Nitro live next week to talk about Bash at the Beach. Eddie did a frankensteiner for a near fall. Eddie turned a double axe handle from Pyschosis into an atomic drop. Eddie smashed into the ring post and Psychosis took advantage with a top rope Frankensteiner for a near fall.

Pyschosis went for a moonsault but Eddie cut him off for an electric chair drop which Pyschosis turned into a sit-out powerbomb. Pyschosis and Eddie suddenly started working really fast all of a sudden. I figured the second hour dynamite clock was about to go off but no, they just for some reason had to rush to the finish. I say this because all of a sudden Eddie then hit a superplex and a frog splash for the win out of nowhere.

A good match but they seemed determined to rush the last few minutes of the match so I wonder if they realised they didn’t have much time left and had to take it home. If only they cut out the previous tag team match and they probably would have been fine for time in this match.

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Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart, Taskmaster and WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant. Jimmy said this is the first time he’s lost for words and had no comment, even after all of these years of managing and having a business relationship with the Hulkster.

Taskmaster said he lived for the destruction and demise of Hulkamania for a year and a half an all the evil came back upon him as Hogan ended up destroying Hulkamania himself. Taskmaster said he was denied the chance to destroy Hogan himself and all of that work led to nothing. The Giant told the managers not to worry about it because as long as he had the WCW title, nothing in WCW can go wrong. The Giant reminded them that he took the title from Hogan at Havoc. The Giant bragged about beating the Four Horsemen and not having to work tonight.

Uproxx.com has a WCW Nitro series similar to mine called The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro. It was written years ago and it’s worth checking out their series alongside mine. The link to their review of this particular show can be clicked on here. Anyway, they make a solid point about one the best aspects of Dungeon of Doom feud being the lengths that the Dungeon of Doom went to in order to destroy Hulkamania. From summoning immortal giants, yetis, sharks and so much more, now they just have to live with Hogan killing off Hulkamania on his own!

Brandon Stroud, the writer of the piece, said: “That’s one of the hilarious, unspoken aspects of the Hogan heel turn … these enormous group of comical wrestling heels banded together to finally end this guy, going so far as to empower the son of Andre the Giant in a mystical, cold-water cave and unearth a buttf*cking Himalayan ice mummy from the north face of Mount Kilimanjaro, to orchestrate rooftop monster-truck sumo battles with explosives and triple-decker cage matches in near darkness, and all they had to do was point him in the direction of some young guys and say, “hey, those guys are gonna take your spot if you don’t pretend you’re their friend.” That’s all you needed to do. The secret to destroying Hulkamania was convincing it Hulkamania was almost over.”

 

 

“The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags vs “The Steiners Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner in a number one contendership match for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I’m just over these Nasty Boys matches and even with the Steiners involved, this match did absolutely nothing for me.

Scott and Jerry started. Jerry smashed away with back elbows and the Nasty Boys punched away at Scott in their corner. They smashed Scott with a double shoulder block.

Scott hit a tiger powerbomb and Rick cut off Brian as the Steiners took control of the ring. Knobbs smashed into Rick with a stinger splash in the corner. Rick slammed Brian around for a while. Scott hit a big T-Bone suplex. Sags waffled Scott with a chair on the outside, which was not a DQ as the fireworks went off for hour two.

I love how the fireworks went off and Bishcoff introduced the SECOND HOUR, with a FULL MINUTE of the cameras panning away from the “action” to show the fans and these fireworks. Never mind that there’s a match going on – look at all these beautiful fireworks! It was ridiculous.

Scott hit suplexes left and right as they showed Col Parker with Sister Sherri coming down to the ring. Parker then hit Knobbs with the cane as Scott picked up the win. I am now so lost with this Col Robert Parker thing. Last week, he helped Harlem Heat beat the Steiners to retain the tag titles. This week, with his beloved Sister Sherri back, he helped the Steiners. I have no idea of the kayfabe reasoning for why they helped The Steiners.

Not to mention, there’s been no mention of Madusa in months after she was involved in ruining Sherri and Parker’s wedding. This whole storyline has went from oddly interesting to complete nonsense in a matter of months.

 

Eric Bischoff shrugged off answering Bobby Heenan’s question of where Bischoff was for the main-event. The Nasty Boys were being interviewed by Mean Gene in the ring. Jerry yelled about wrestling being about attitude and there were always nasty. He said the big man along with the cane just sent a lighting bolt through his head with a big message that said “change was inevitable.” Sags said they needed to change and it’ll be a cold day in hell before what happened against the Steiners happens again to Nasty Boys. Knobbs yelled that they didn’t condone what Hogan did but he saw nothing wrong with what he did either. Knobbs yelled that the nWo do whatever they wanted just like the Nasty Boys did. So yeah, the Nasty Boys were randomly heels again. To be honest, I thought they were already heels. It’s hard to tell with these two.

 

Ric Flair © w/Woman, Miss Elizabeth and Debra McMichael vs Jim Powers for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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Fireworks were going off like crazy at Disneyland as Flair was coming out. Bischoff is all quiet on commentary as he talks about Hogan. Bischoff said Powers was not anxious after Powers was shown to be so anxious, he ran down to the ring for his entrance and did a quick headlock takeover!

Woman raked the eyes of Powers. Powers tried a sunset flip but Ric cut him off with a punch to the face. Jim chopped away at Flair. Jim didn’t really seem to be any good in this match and I was begging for him to slow down. You’re in the ring with RIC FLAIR for god’s sake. He was trying to go super fast and didn’t look good in the process and he seemed more blown up than energised.

Ric did a knee drop to Powers’ legs and yanked at the leg before he finally locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Powers verbally submitted as Ric Flair retained the title. This was… a bland match.

They revealed Kevin Greene will be on the show next week.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen and the women without Chris Benoit for some reason. Arn said there were highs and lows for the Horsemen at Bash at the Beach. Arn said what happened at the end of the night made him wanna puke. Arn said Hogan was supposed to stand for something and not leave and let people’s hearts be stomped on. Arn claimed that the Horsemen never claimed to be role models but Hogan let people believe that he was a role model, which was where he drew the line. Arn actually cut a great promo laying into Hogan.

So as all the heels are all banded together in being disgusted in Hogan, Ric Flair does not care one bit as he is just VINTAGE Ric Flair if you will. He put over Arn and Mongo and talked about driving little girls out of their heads. Ric talked about going all night long. I love Ric Flair promos but he was all over the place with this promo! He started making a point… and then just move onto his next point! This was not one of the better Ric Flair promos he’s ever cut. He was on another planet tonight!

 

Chris Benoit vs Sgt Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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I feel a bit bad for not liking this match more. It was the type of match you’d get if you did Chris Benoit vs Scott Steiner for example. However, Sgt. Craig Pittman was in there. He doesn’t really do anything for me when watching these WCW shows. He got blown up here with Benoit, who seemed determined to blow Pittman up in this match.

Pittman slammed Benoit to the ground and hit a big belly to belly suplex with Benoit bouncing off the ropes to start off the match. He dropped Benoit on the head with a german suplex. Benoit worked on Pittman’s knees and stomped to the head. Pittman was shown panting and breathing heavy as he gassed. Benoit locked on the crossface and Teddy told the referee to ring the bell as Pittman refused to give up. To me, this was another waste of time. It’s Chris Benoit of the Four Horsemen. Just let him have the clean pin.

 

Sting vs Arn Anderson

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With the tone of the show and the cruiserweights predominantly in the first hour, they eventually hit the atmosphere of a real life funeral with this main-event. It was Sting vs Arn Anderson and nobody cared. Sting was shown to visibly not care as he was mostly spaced out during his entrance. Arn offered the handshake to Sting but Sting refused with Sting very quiet, not roaring the crowd or anything. He looked like a man defeated after one of his allies turned to the side of evil.

Obviously, Arn was upset at the actions of Hogan from the night before. I guess the story was that both men were going at half speed. I say this because it felt so quiet and it felt like a nothing match.

Arn and Sting traded hammerlocks. Arn tried a piledriver on the floor but Sting turned Arn over. Sting tried to leap frog Arn but Arn caught him and slammed him with a spinebuster which I actually think was the one cool spot they did.

Arn choked away at Sting. Arn locked on the abdominal stretch. Sting got out of it with a hip toss. Arn locked on the Boston crab. They show a black limo that Bischoff had referred to earlier on in the match. Sting caught Arn coming off the top rope with his own clothesline.

They fought and fought for a while until Kevin Nash and Scott Hall came out of the limo, coming down to the ring.  Sting hit a top rope clothesline. Security cut off the Outsiders as Arn and Sting stopped wrestling. Even Randy Savage came down to the ring. Arn took advantage and tried a DDT on Sting but the Stinger reversed into a scorpion death lock to get the win.

Savage went for the Outsiders through security. A very quiet main-event and a really disappointing use of the Outsiders for this show on the night after Hogan turned heel.

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Mean Gene interviewed Sting after the match. After Sting was seemingly defeated and zombified by what Hogan did the night before, he proceeded to cut what was the possibly the greatest promo he’s ever cut. I always considered Sting to be a good promo so this promo was right up there with some of my favourite promos in wrestling history.

Sting said he’s not surprised about what was coming from the Outsiders. He was surprised by Hogan but he should have known this was coming for Hogan, as Hogan wanted to travel down to town with a big fat limo. Sting mentioned that Hogan was too busy walking on the dark side, making movies and calling Savage, Luger and Sting “3 little dogs.” I actually think I remember Hogan saying something about those three on Nitro so it was a great bit of continuity.

Sting said he made a big mistake in trusting Hogan but Hogan made an even bigger mistake. Sting yelled at Hogan for telling the fans to believe in themselves but now they now know not the believe in Hogan. He said Hogan told the fans to stick it but Sting said “Hogan, you can stick it.” This was emotional, passionate and had a sense of realism that Sting was giving the fans “the inside scoop” on what Hogan was really like. He made Hogan out to be the worst of the worst for letting down the fans and Sting was not having that. It was a glorious promo.

Savage said he’s got a message for “Hollywood” Hogan and said what he wants to do he can’t say on television and in Disney World of all places! He told Hogan to take the worst thing he can think of and times it by 9 million and then multiply it by infinity beyond because it is scary what he’s gonna do to do. Savage’s promo was not particularly good. It obviously didn’t help with Sting’s fabulous promo right before it but even without that, it was really hard for me to figure what Savage was on about at times.

You know what this was like? Remember when Seth Rollins turned on The Shield in 2014. The night after, Dean Ambrose cut this absolutely phenomenal promo about what he’s gonna do to Seth Rollins. He gave the mic to Roman and Roman was completely flat with his promo. Again, Roman was following up DEAN AMBROSE who sounded like he wanted to murder Seth! Sting and Savage in 1996 had this same dynamic.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Nash said that WCW took a beating and the fans took a beating as Hogan told them exactly what it was. Nash promised Hogan would be at Nitro next week and asked what the big boys were gonna put up against them. Scott Hall said that this portion of WCW was brought to you by the Outsiders and Hulk Hogan. Hall said they delivered and they kicked WCW’s butts. Hall said they should be begging them to come through the door. Hall said Mean Gene’s got the job for the New World Order as people kept telling Mean Gene all night that he may no longer have a job because of the nWo! Nash said Hogan was on a movie set as Hall accused Savage of being jealous and Luger of fainting during their match.

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There were certainly bright spots of this show and I can’t call this a bad show. I was more annoyed of the sad focus of the show which brought my enjoyment of the show down, despite a lot of things to appreciate. We got two cruiserweight matches in the opening hour and then the show just died in the arena along with me watching. Even Sting vs Arn Anderson was not enough to excite the fans for the main-event.

Hulk Hogan coming back next week will definitely help I think as the nWo are going to be back in full force for the next episode of WCW Monday Nitro

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #38 (JUNE 3RD 1996) – RIC FLAIR AND ARN ANDERSON VS THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS

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

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Last week we finally got the debut of the “outsider” himself Scott Hall to WCW television, as he interrupted the exhilarating Steve Doll vs Mauler match to declare war on WCW and “Billionaire Ted.” He re-appeared later on in the show to challenge WCW to a three on three six man tag team match, leaving the fans in the dark about who his allies are and leaving Eric Bischoff flustered and in disarray.

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In the follow-up episode of the famous Scott Hall invasion angle, I think WCW upped their game. Last week was miserable with some of worst matches we’ve seen in the entire series and an underwhelming vibe minus the Scott Hall segment. This week, it was a massive improvement.

It felt like there was more of a point to a lot of the matches they put on, we had some funny segments, some compelling television and we got a big cliffhanger at the end of the show which tied into last week’s big angle.

Mostly, it felt like they got the pacing way better this week with the two hour wrestling show. It was way better than last week’s two hour wrestling show. It felt less of a chore to watch it and the show went by quicker than it did last week.

 

Date: June 3rd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Asheville, North Carolina

Rating: 3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

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This show got off to a flyer in my eyes! This opening promo from The Shark fit right into the “so bad it’s good” category of wrestling. Mean Gene was interviewing The Shark right before a match with Big Bubba, who cut Shark’s hair last week. Shark told the production team to cut the music which Mean Gene Okerlund dubbed the order of Shark! Big Bubba was shown in the ring and still kept the hair with him that he cut off The Shark last week.

Then the Shark cut this promo. He said he’s not shaving the other half of his hair and mentioned that he was embarrassed of the failure by his neighbours and other people making fun of him. He was embarrassed but despite this, he still kept his hair in the state that it was anyway? That seemed like weird motivation for the babyface.

The Shark yells the following: “I’M NOT THE SHARK, I’M NOT A FISH, I’M NOT AN AVALANCHE, I’M A MAN” as he declares himself JOHN TENTA! He rid himself of the Shark gimmick by declaring himself a man! This was very much the WCW version of Pinocchio! Tenta promised he would shave the hair of The Giant and he would feel what Tenta felt last week.

 

John Tenta vs Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart

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I went through the trouble of making notes for this match but really, it does no justice to the level of incompetence of this match. It was one of the most bizarre refereeing in the history of wrestling refereeing. John Tenta runs wild on Bubba and hits a big powerbomb. Tenta then grabs a pair of scissors and charges Bubba with the scissors. First of all, he made a great mistake in running with scissors. Secondly, Tenta is threatening someone with scissors and referee Nick Patrick does absolutely nothing about this. HE JUST STANDS THERE. Larry Zbyszko is rightfully saying that Tenta should be DQ’d and he has a go at Nick Patrick.

Big Bubba runs to the outside of the ring and won’t get back in because this mad man John Tenta is in the ring with scissors and coming for him. NICK PATRICK then starts counting out BIG BUBBA. He doesn’t DQ Tenta for having a weapon, he doesn’t even yell at Tenta or try to get the scissors out of his hand. He counts out his opponent, who is fearing for his life, and awards the match to John Tenta. WHAT?

This was some of the worst officiating in a wrestling match I’ve seen in a long time. What happened at the Doomsday Cage match, that didn’t have any established rules in the first place so I wouldn’t really consider that. Nick Patrick condemned Big Bubba for running away from a big guy with a grudge and scissors and awarded the match to Tenta. This would be like if Tenta had brought a gun into the ring and aimed at Bubba. Would Patrick still be counting out Bubba in that scenario? Jeez Louise!

 

 

“High Voltage” Ruckus and Kaos vs “Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian

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This was a fantastic squash match. They bring in High Voltage from the WCW Power Plant and effectively fed them to the Faces of Fear. The Faces of Fear were heels but they were beloved by the fans as they beat the tar out of these two geeks. This was a fabulous squash match.

They lock up and Barbarian smashes away at Kaos.  High Voltage take over briefly with a double hip toss and shoulder tackle. Then the Faces of Fear proceed to beat High Voltage’s collective arses for the rest of this match.

Barbarian hit a powerbomb and the fans went NUTS for this powerbomb. The more this team of savages murderws High Voltage, the louder and louder the fans got for the Faces of Fear. The fans loved Faces of Fear as they took control against the babyfaces. Barbarian drops Ruckus with a pumphandle drop

Barbarian sent Ruckus crashing to the floor with his top rope belly to belly suplex and the fans were in full appreciation. He went up for the move and the fans start to buzz, he delivered the move and the fans went crazy. It was amazing to witness. The heels deliver a double headbutt. Meng throws Kaos’ arse out of the ring as Meng hits the Mafia Kick for the win.

This was an awesome squash. High Voltage were so unimpressive but the Faces of Fear looked so awesome and they were over with the crowd. This gets a HUGE thumbs up. This was fun to watch!

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Mean Gene interviewed Sting and Lex Luger. Luger said things got out of hand last week as the Scott Steiner vs Sting match resulted in a big brawl for the DQ. You see, things got out of hand so the referee threw the match out. Unlike Nick Patrick, who apparently thought running around with scissors was OK.

Luger claimed the Steiners attacked him two on one. He said he’s always painted as the bad guy but hopefully cooler heads would prevail. Sting correctly mentioned the suplex that Luger broke up last week which he knew would be the Steiners’ defence. Luger said we’re all very competitive but insisted he was being a friend.

The Steiners interrupted the interview. Rick was mad that Luger took a cheap shot at Scott but Luger was mad that Scott was trying to hurt Sting on the floor with a suplex. Rick yells “he was trying to win!” and Luger responded “on the floor?” It was such a great argument!

Scott Steiner gets involved and pointed at Luger. They warn him not to stick his nose in. Scott was cutting this promo and all I heard was the future Big Poppa Pump. I realise Scott Steiner and Big Poppa Pump were the same person, but this promo felt more like one of his promos that he would be cutting in the later years as a heel and with TNA. It was surreal to listen to. Scott was all yelling and angry at the other guys.

Sting admitted that if his friend was in the same spot he may have had to intervene. Luger pushed Scott I believe which led to a big shoving match between the teams as Mean Gene lost it and threatened to not interview them anymore! I thought this was a legitimately compelling segment. The intensity was there, all four guys, even Luger, made valid points. They were all compelling and it made you wanna watch these teams go at it later. This is how you build up to a main-event tag team match. This gets two thumbs up!

 

Disco Inferno vs Sgt. Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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I may have to take away one of those thumbs up for this match. This match was no-good and as soon as Disco failed do an arm drag, you knew there was trouble. That was the first move of the match and it looked sloppy as hell.

Pittman manhandled Disco, throwing him arse all over the place and slamming him with a powerbomb. Disco’s punch to the face was no-sold by Pittman. Pittman then went for Code Red Armbar but Disco gave up up before the move was applied. Disco explained he wouldn’t be able to dance if Pittman broke his arm so he quit. Nothing like a wrestler who cares little about actually wrestling and more about dancing. Way to go Disco Inferno….

This sucked.

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It is now time for me to talk about a segment that didn’t actually take place on Nitro but they showed replays of it during the show. It’s actually available on YouTube to see. Remember when Steven Regal challenged Sting last week? Well on WCW Main Event, they did a press conference. I watched this segment like 2-3 weeks ago and I thought it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. They showed it again twice during this show and I laughed each time!

Regal ended the contract signing saying something like he’s gonna make an example of Sting so WCW doesn’t overlook him anymore. He turned his back to Sting and Sting goes to grab him. He pushes him in the back. So Regal takes one lunge forward and delivers the greatest backhand slap I’ve ever seen. He slapped Sting right in the face and the sound was so loud in the confides of this small room that they’re having this contract signing in.

This slap must have hurt so hard they not only did they bleep what Sting said afterwards, they blurred his face too! I rewatched this about 50 times when I first saw it. I found the GIF and sent it to everyone I could find. It was the most brilliant slap you’ll ever see. People like Bully Ray and Pentagon Jr do these big slaps all of the time but I’ve seen few people in the world of wrestling do a slap like this right across the face. When I saw it again, I loved it.

That slap alone was perfect build for their match at The Great American Bash. Regal slapped Sting during this contract signing and it was so hard, Sting swore so much that it blurred his face! Sting was all kinds of pissed off about this slap. I cannot wait to watch their match at The Great American Bash.

I watched it again on YouTube and someone commented that Sting deserved the slap as he didn’t wear a shirt and a tie to a contract signing! I laughed at that.

 

Lord Steven Regal vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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The fans went nuts with USA chants as Hacksaw Jim Duggan egged them off and Regal was disgusted by this act of patriotism! I love how Larry claimed Regal backing away from Duggan was psychological warfare… after weeks of listening to Bobby Heenan finding 1001 ways to call Jim Duggan stupid on commentary! We’ll get to Bobby later.

Hacksaw ran wild on Regal and Regal had a good snap in the selling of the clotheslines Hacksaw delivered. Hacksaw ran wild with punches in bunches. Regal booted Duggan right in the face to take control, with Regal’s face showing such displeasure in the USA chants!

Regal went for a rolling senton but Duggan avoided it. Duggan ran wild as the Blue Bloods try to get involved. Dave Taylor intercepted the 2×4 and Regal rolled up Duggan off the distraction for the win.

The right man won here but again, they did everything in their power to protect Hacksaw Jim Duggan. This was exactly like Slamboree when they felt the need to have Duggan overcome three men by himself! If you’ll recall, one of those men was Steven Regal! Here, he lost to Regal as he should have done, but he was fighting off four men before Regal eventually beat him. Just have Regal kick his arse and send him packing as yes, Regal’s got a big match with Sting at the pay-per-view.

The match was OK but the booking infuriated me!

 

Mean Gene interviewed Regal and the Blue Bloods. Regal said he got a fine for the slap of doom which was a fine more than the peasants in the arena would make in a year. He paid double in fine so he’s in credit! They showed the clip again from WCW Main Event. Regal called out Sting for not loving anyone except himself. He said he wanted the Stinger at his best. He wanted Sting to be mean, nasty and rude. He wanted to beat Sting in the ring which Regal himself called his home. This was a solid Regal promo and an excellent way to hype up him vs Sting. He wanted the very best of Sting and he slapped him as he wanted Sting to be the meanest, nastiest and rudest he’s ever been so he could beat Sting at his best. This was superb promotion for a wrestling match.

 

They showed clips from WCW Saturday Night in the last month where Chris Benoit and “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan kept arguing, with Benoit questioning Arn Anderson’s trust in Sullivan. Kevin Sullivan vowed to squash the serpent Benoit at Great American Bash as he figured Benoit wanted to be the enforcer of the Horseman instead of Arn. I do like that with the extra hour, they found the time to air important clips from these other shows as a means to advance my interest in those programs and storylines.

 

“The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan w/Jimmy Hart vs Prince Iaukea

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Again, this was another simple squash  match. Taskmaster went in there and beat the ever-living daylights out of the newcomer Prince Iaukea. He slammed him on the guard rail, he slapped the hell out of him as the prince got no offense at all to my knowledge. Taskmaster hit a double foot stomp and got the pin with a move I totally forgot was his finisher!

I love that this show had a lot more squash matches than we’d previously seen. Remember last week where I got so mad at the Lex Luger vs Maxx match where I said they should have just had Luger hit a bunch of clotheslines and lock on the Torture Rack to beat the guy. Taskmaster was shown here to not be playing around. He went in there, beat the Prince’s arse and won. Give me guys beating other guys to build them up strong for other matches! I realise this is a foreign concept to a lot of companies in 2019 but look at how well it did for Faces of Fear earlier on in the night.

Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster. Jimmy asked Taskmaster why they have to associate themselves with the Horsemen? After all, they’ve got The Giant and the WCW World title so Jimmy’s asking why they should need them. Taskmaster said two wars are going on in WCW as Hulkamania is not dead. He warned Hogan would be coming back for The Giant, Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster. Taskmaster said the only two people he respected in the wrestling business were Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. He mentioned that he told Arn about Brian Pillman. He called Pilman a quitter. He said he knows serpents and the way you get rid of the serpent is to crush the egg. He said he’s gonna get rid of Benoit in order for the Dungeon to get rid of Hogan.

 

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs “The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson

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They mentioned earlier on in the show that Flair and Anderson were going to be facing the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express and I initially thought Tony Schiavonie had just fluffed up his words a little and they meant… the American Males or some other tag team. Well as it turned out, it was RIC FLAIR AND ARN ANDERSON VS RICKY MORTON AND ROBERT GIBSON on an episode of Nitro. During the year where the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express are making their big return in NJPW and AEW, I watched a Nitro from 1996 with these guys wrestling Flair and Anderson.

They then proceed to have a solid 18 minute tag team match. I understand this was not the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express in their prime but they had a damn decent showing in there with Flair and Anderson. Flair and Arn came out in NFL tops to mock Kevin Greene and Steve “Mongo” McMichael ahead of their match at The Great American Bash. Oh we’ll get to that later.

There was a dynamite timer on the clock as things were gonna literally explode as they were about to go into the second hour. They begin to wrestle. Conveniently at the moment they stop doing anything in the ring, fireworks went off like crazy to mark the beginning of the second hour. These fireworks were massive for celebrating THE SECOND HOUR OF A WRESTLING SHOW of all things! You could tell this company had a lot of money to blow at this point in their existence. This is gonna annoy the hell out of me in the new few weeks isn’t it?

Ric and Ricky started going nuts, throwing hands back and forth as they battled. It was like the battles of The Rock and Stone Cold when they threw these wild punches at each other. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express took control as Woman and Miss Elizabeth drunk champagne by Ric’s fancy table set-up.

Robert locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock to thunderous applause from the fans. Then Ricky got Arn on the Figure Four Leg Lock of his own and the fans lost their minds at the sight of the double Figure Four Leg Lock by the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express. It’s insane how crazy these fans got for this spot. Even when Hogan would do his horrific Figure Four Leg Locks, the fans wouldn’t go NEARLY as batshit insane as they did here.

The ref pushed Ric around and Ric lost his mind as he and Arn re-grouped on the entrance ramp.  Ricky ran wild on Arn for a bit. I love how Ric voluntarily tagged himself into the match and then begged of Ricky Morton right away! He wanted to tag himself into the match but he wanted no business with Ricky Morton!

Ric took control with an eye poke. Ricky turned things around for a while but Ric quickly turned it back around in his favour by evading a charge into the corner and chopping Morton down. Arn worked on the arm of Ricky, utilising under-handed tactics by grabbing Flair’s arm at any opportunity he could. As the ref would turn around to try and catch them, Ric would just start strutting on the apron! This was great stuff from Flair!

Arn hit a great spinebuster on Ricky but Gibson broke it up. Ric did a suplex and hurt himself in the process… which was weird to me. Arn slowed it down by wrenching on the head of Ricky. Ricky worked his way to his feet and got a sleeper hold locked in out of nowhere, to which Arn turned that into a back suplex. Ric went for a Figure Four Leg Lock but Ricky reversed it into a small package. Ricky and Ric battled for a sunset flip spot.

Arn went for a front face lock and the fans expected the DDT from the Enforcer. Bobby Heenan left the booth and talked to the girls, as the announcers talked about Heenan possibly managing the heels at the PPV. Arn and Ricky bonked into each other as Bobby walked away with a smile on his face.

Ricky went through the legs of Arn and got the tag to Robert. Robert Gibson ran wild. The fans were surprisingly quiet for this which I’m wondering had something to do with the heat segment. I think the heels got the heat for possibly too long as the fans started zoning out possibly. After all, this was an 18 minute match on Nitro, which they weren’t used as discussed last week.

They did a double drop kick on Flair and Arn but then Woman raked the eyes of Robert as the referee was distracted. Arn hit the DDT for the win.

Slow in parts but a good tag match. I very much enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express as they held their own with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in this match. In the end, the heels had to cheat to win and this was fun to watch. This gets a thumbs up too!

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Mean Gene interviewed the heels. Arn said he was too big and thick to play football as earlier on in the show, he couldn’t get his jersey off over his head! That I laughed at. Arn said they’re tougher and they’re way too big. Ric talked about Mongo’s wife Debra again and claimed the jerseys were from her. Ric said they were bigger, faster, sleeker and they were all night long as Ric smooched all over Woman. The Coup de grace, as Ric put it, was Bobby Heenan as Bobby came back on screen. Mean Gene suggested chicanery.

Bobby said everyone had asked him to be a manager again, which was actually shown to be true if you remember the Sgt. Pittman angle from months ago when Pittman asked Heenan to be his manager. However, Heenan said he was never gonna be manager again and was going to stay true to his word. Ric was devastated as Ric went: “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GIRLS?” I was overcome with laughter!

Bobby then grabbed an All-Madden trophy which he got as he was listed as a coach. He said he’d never manage but he didn’t say anything about being a coach. He agreed to coach the heels. Heenan said he’d show the NFL players what coaching means. He said The Brain was back coaching and the fans popped for this. They all celebrated with champagne. I thought this was a great segment.

What was spectacular about this was Heenan cut this great promo about the NFL and he was coming back to show up these NFL players in the confides of a wrestling ring. Arn, Ric and Bobby are all talking about how wrestlers were tougher and better all around and the fans are loving all of this, even from these heels that have been hated for years by the majority of fans! They were defending wrestling, in front  a wrestling crowd, and the fans ate it up! Bobby essentially cut a babyface promo in their eyes!

Bobby reiterated when he got back to the announce booth that this was a one-time thing and planned to teach the NFL that you can’t walk over wrestling.

 

There was another Hulk Hogan video package of him whooping arse to his own theme song. I’m pretty sure there was two Hogan video packages during this episode. They showed us how he was all about the red, white and blue and he was portrayed as such a hero to his fans. I’m wondering what the point of this was, other than to remind us that they still have Hulk Hogan. I figured there was no point to these video packages. It turned out there was a point as we’ll get to The Giant’s promo later.

 

The Giant (c) vs Ice Train for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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The Giant had another title defence on Nitro, this time with Ice Train. I don’t remember ever seeing Ice Train win on Nitro yet but here he is in a title match. Anyway, I was still excited to see him as he and The Giant had this big staredown before the bell rang.

This match went 29 seconds as Ice Train got tripped by Jimmy Hart and pinned by The Giant off a chokeslam. Those were the two things that happened in this match. Ice Train came off as the biggest geek this week.

Then Ice Train’s partner Scott Norton got in the ring. He got mad at The Giant and then he got chokeslammed twice and laid out like a geek too. They mentioned that Fire and Ice are facing The Steiner Brothers at The Great American Bash. You built that match up by having The Giant destroy one of those teams by himself? Jeez Louise.

The Giant then cut a promo on Hulk Hogan. He was sick of Hulk Hogan’s video packages as mentioned earlier. He was sick of him as Hogan was not here. Giant said Luger almost got between him and Jimmy but not quite. He told Luger to come get some as Lex Luger was challenging The Giant for the title at The Great American Bash.

 

Scott Norton vs Hugh Morrus

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Norton is still laid out on the mat after Giant chokeslammed him twice and is being attended to. The announcers explained Norton was supposed to face Hugh Morrus next. Hugh came down and dropped a leg drop on him.

The bell didn’t even ring. There was no effort to stop this by referee Nick Patrick. As far as I could tell, there was no bell so there was no official start to the match! Morrus put his finger on Norton and the referee makes the 2 count. Hugh does three elbow drops. Then the referee suddenly doesn’t wanna do the count… WHAT? It wasn’t like Nick was prompted or threatened by Hugh Morrus to do the count the first time. Now all of a sudden, he doesn’t want to make the count? This is ridiculous.

So this “match” goes on. Hugh Morrus goes for a moonsault. Norton gets up. He was supposed to catch Morrus, but he’s unable to do so. Morrus falls to the ground, Norton punches him a few times and picks up a weird win in a match, that wasn’t even a match. This was a horrific mess.

Hugh Morrus came off as a massive geek too after this match was over. Scott Norton was FLAT ON HIS BACK when this match started. Morrus does a few elbow drops and after a botched moonsault spot, he gets punched in the face a few times and pinned.

Hugh Morrus was at least was a heel, so him being cocky and losing a match he should have had no problem winning was not that big of a deal. It’s fine, in most cases, for a heel to be a geek. On the other hand, Ice Train was a babyface set to have a big match at the pay-per-view and he was tripped and pinned in less than 30 seconds.

However, in the space of about 10 minutes, they buried 3 guys. They buried Ice Train for getting tripped and pinned like a loser, they buried Scott Norton for getting laid out by The Giant and then Hugh Morrus got buried for losing a match to a man who started the match on his back!

GEEK OF THE WEEK – Ice Train for getting tripped, chokeslammed and pinned in 30 seconds

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Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Kevin Greene were shown training. This was my personal favourite moment this week. The Regal slap will be an all-time favourite moment of mine but technically that happened on a different show. This video package of the NFL players training for their match with Flair and Anderson was so bad and goofy, it was tremendous. The NFL players took bumps in the ring, bragging about how tough they were while also whining about the ropes!

They cut to scene where they have a whiteboard and talk about the game plan. Greene’s plan was to treat this match as they were American Football players wanting Mongo to come in with a crossbody block! Greene has basically got a ring drawn up as it’s like the NFL play sheet or whatever. He mentioned something about wanting Mongo to penetrate the area or something and I figured maybe I misheard him saying penetrate. It was clear by the end that I didn’t mishear anything!

Greene is eating beef jerky during this as Mongo explained that thi iss wrestling not American football. Mongo said he should want to rip their head of as he ripped up a can, which I missed the first time watching it. I did watch this segment more than once by the way! Mongo talked about their finishers and avoiding them which was a great plan. In a wrestling match, you should avoid wrestler’s hitting their finishers. No shit?

Greene fired back and insisted that they’ve gotta penetrate them, they’ve gotta penetrate them. He was so excited to say penetrate as loud as he could. I laughed out loud big time. I was hysterical listening to Greene get all excited about penetrating Flair and Anderson. I’ve never cracked up many times watching a WCW but I was in bits during this segment. Greene is bouncing up and down on the chair and everything! He’s so into this wrestling business!

They both decide that there’s going to be a difference in opinion so they wanted to get Randy Savage as a coach since Savage can’t wrestle anymore. They got excited as they went to find him. This was so goofy but I found it hilarious.

If you have the WWE Network, find this segment on the Network and watch it. It was goofy and stupid but it was magnificent in execution. I was hoping the next segment next week would be them looking for Randy Savage, getting him to coach them. I was hoping for like a Empire Strikes Back/Crocodile Dundee mash-up where they’re looking for him! It appears we won’t get that due to the later segment of Savage ringing up on Nitro, which we’ll get to.

 

Sting © and Lex Luger © vs The Steiner Brothers for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I was still trying to recover from that previous segment as the tag teams came down for this match.

As mentioned, the announcers were able to get “Macho Man” Randy Savage on the phone. Macho Man said he can’t wrestle on TV or PPV but he said he’s able to coach and agreed to be the NFL players’ coach. Scott did an awesome titlt-a-whirl slam as Savage cut this promo on Heenan.

Sting slammed Scott with a big bulldog as Heenan begged for his life on the phone! Savage said they’re gonna eat them all up and there’s nothing they can do that. Heenan got so flustered that he was shown hitting himself in the face with the headset!

Rick worked on the arm of Luger as they came back from the break. Sting ran wild, hit a Stinger Splash and locked on the Scorpion Death Lock but Scott cut him off with a Steinerline clothesline. Luger and Scott pushed each other away. Scott hit a big belly-to-belly suplex. Scott sent Sting flying with a Frankensteiner. Luger broke it up and punched away at Scott.

Sting reversed a suplex into a Scorpion Death Drop on Scott Steiner just like last week. Luger got the tag and hit a powerslam. He went for the Torture Rack but Rick broke it up. Luger raked the eyes and HE tried to suplex Scott on the outside this week but Rick broke it up. So of all of Luger’s talk this week about what a under-handed thing it was for Scott to try the suplex on the outside, Luger himself tried it this time! I do love certain storyline aspects of this show!

Sting eventually brawled with Rick, as it broke into a four way brawl. Sting tried to piledrive Rick on the floor but Rick reversed. The Giant came down and hit the worst chokeslam in the world where he reared back and got Rick in the air, getting his knee up for the slam. He came down, lost his footing and they both just fell down.

Giant went for Luger as the referee called for the bell. Luger punched away at The Giant and fired away as the fans went nuts. Scott, Sting and Luger then all went after Giant in the ring as they tripled-teamed the big man as the fans went bonkers for all of this. Giant got mad and threw a chair into the ring. I actually really liked this. A big good feel moment and the fans were really into this post-match segment.

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Bobby physically begged to Savage for him to show mercy and even offered dinner when Scott Hall came back this week. Hall pushed Bischoff back down to his chair. Hall got the mic. Hall said he had such a good time last week that he came back for more. Hall said Bischoff started it and he said again, they started it but “we’re” gonna finish it. Sting stepped up to Hall. I love that although Sting is feuding with the likes of the Steiner Brothers, Lord Steven Regal, Ric Flair and The Giant all at once, he still stepped up to Scott Hall when he was confronting Bischoff! A true hero!

Bischoff told Sting not the dignify Hall. Sting said Hall said really horrible things about WCW… did he though? I mean Hall made fun of some wrestlers but he just said that Bischoff was talking trash about the competition so they were bringing a war. He says Hall’s in the jungle. Sting mentioned that Hall wanted three of the best but all Sting saw was Hall so HE challenged him to a match. Hall said nobody told him what to do and when to do it. He threw a tooth pick at Sting and Sting slapped him. Hall said he had a big surprise for him next week as the police separated him.

What I loved about this segment was they were careful not to overexposure Hall. He came out and talked to Bischoff and they built up tension between him and Sting. He wasn’t all over the show and showed up at the very end, to tease a “big surprise” for the next show, encouraging the fans to tune in and see what it was.

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This was fabulous episode of Nitro in my eyes. It wasn’t a technically good show with the wrestling, minus the tag team match with the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express. They did some awesome squash matches, they did great angles up and down the show, they built up the pay-per-view superbly well in general. This really got me excited to see what was to come. Obviously, we all know what the big surprise was next week. If by chance you don’t know, I won’t spoil it. However, this was fun to watch and I enjoyed myself watching it.

Next week, we get Scott Hall’s “big surprise” and the Armbar Express will be back with more reviews of WCW Nitro. Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly and updates whenever Retro Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too! I appriciate you taking the time to read this review and we hope you enjoy more of the content from the Armbar Express.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #7 (OCTOBER 16TH 1995) – RIC’S PARTNER STINGS ANDERSON AND PILLMAN, CHRIS BENOIT DEBUTS

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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On the last episode of WCW Nitro, we entered CHAPTER THREE of the feud between Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Arn won at Fall Brawl and Ric won in Episode #5. We were at 1-1 heading into a steel cage match in Chicago. Flair had things under control when Arn beat Ric at his own game. Arn smacked Ric with the brass knuckles to the face and won. An ENRAGED Ric Flair challenged Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman to a match for Episode #7 and Flair was more than happy to go at it alone if he couldn’t find a partner. One way or another, Flair was gonna get his hands on Anderson and Pillman.

We had Hulk Hogan vowing to beat The Giant at Halloween Havoc, more matches added to the Halloween Havoc card. Lex Luger and Randy Savage will face each other, as long as they get past Meng and Kamala respectively earlier in the PPV. Sting also defended the US title successfully against The Shark, Disco Inferno danced and Sabu beat up Mr JL.

So now, it’s a big week for WCW Nitro. We have Ric getting his hands on Anderson and Pillman, Johnny B Badd challenging DDP for the WCW TV title and the DEBUT of Chris Benoit as he faces Eddie Guerrero. Let’s get to it…

 

Date: October 16th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Albany, Georgia

Rating: 2.2

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

 

From the get-go, we suffer from the disadvantages of watching only WCW Nitro and nothing else. Because from the start of the show, they already announce that Sting will be the one to team up with Ric Flair against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. On an episode of WCW Pro, Flair asked Sting to be his partner. Sting agreed but vowed to leave Flair for dead if he turned on him. The commentators were still speculating as to whether Sting and Flair can team up together against Anderson and Pillman. Sting and Flair had not teamed together in years since Flair turned on him many years prior to this.

The commentators were having some banter as Bobby Heenan called Mongo’s dog a “tarantula”. Heenan asks Mongo to turn the dog around and goes “oh, there’s the batteries.”

 

DDP (c) w/Diamond Doll vs Johnny B Badd for the WCW Television Championship

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My extra research from Episode #5 appears to have finally paid off. Allow me to break down what has happened with Mr Johnny B Badd. Johnny B Badd became the number one contender for the WCW United States Championship at Fall Brawl. We watched a 29 minute match where Johnny B Badd grabbed the victory. On the Nitro following this, “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff squashed this guy in a matter of minutes. I asked the question of whether he would get his title shot or not. They announced he was still getting his US title shot in a Saturday Night match with Sting.

I decided to watch this match and see what happens but what happened was Johnny B Badd NEVER got his US title match. He no-showed but it appears the explanation was that somebody had slashed his tires and he broke down. In a Saturday Night segment, WCW Television Champion DDP said something about all of Badd’s tyres being slashed. Badd asked DDP how he knew all four of his tyres were slashed when he only said one of them got slashed. Badd punched DDP and that’s how we’ve got the former US title number one contender now challenging for the WCW TV title on Nitro. GOT ALL THAT?

To put a cherry on top of the whole thing, Eric announced that Badd and DDP would wrestle each other at Halloween Havoc anyway… so what was the point of this match, even if it was for the WCW TV title? If they’re doing the TV title match at the PPV, why bother doing this match?

In the end, it didn’t even matter. What happened was DDP SMACKED Badd with the belt before the match started and Badd was out cold on the floor. DDP started attacking him some more as Diamond Doll looked on in awe and disgust. DDP did his own count but the referee disqualified him anyway.

It’s always been one of the great inconsistencies of professional wrestling with disqualifications and what warrants disqualifications in matches. The simple answer is that it’s wrestling and the rules can change at any moment to fit a narrative. It was widely accepted by a lot of fans that nothing you do before a match counts before the bell rings. Brock Lesnar hit Big Show with dozens of chair shows before their Royal Rumble 2014 match before the bell rang and they had a two minute match. Here, DDP hit Badd with the belt before the match and was DQ’d for it.

NOTE: Johnny B Badd had hurt his ribs before the match, which is why they never did the match properly on this edition of Nitro.

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

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I’m going to give this disclaimer right now about Chris Benoit, as I don’t want any of my comments about Benoit’s work to be misinterpreted. Every comment about Chris Benoit is directed solely on his abilities as a worker. I don’t have any intention to discuss the nature of his personality and character as well as anything related to the tragedies that happened to Benoit’s family in 2007.

With that being said… I could watch Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero wrestle each other over and over again. Considering the circumstances of the deaths of the two wrestlers, it is somewhat sad to watch a match like this. However, Benoit and Guerrero were just two wrestlers who were masters of the craft. Every time they wrestled, it was quality. It was the type of matches that every wrestler should aspire to emulate. Look at the psychology of what Eddie did in the ring but especially look at the psychology of what Benoit did. I understand everything in professional wrestling is considered entertainment but everything in this match felt real for some reason.

Everything Benoit did in this match had a purpose and a goal. He was not just hitting move after move after move on Eddie Guerrero just because he could. They all mattered and Benoit would do things in the middle of the match that would play into the finish. Lance Storm has this philosophy about wrestling where he doesn’t like how matches nowadays are about the last few minutes and based on those final moments of the match, fans go on about how great these matches are. To an extent, he’s got a point and this match shows that. Benoit worked on the hand, over and over again, and it eventually led to the finish. But I’ll get onto that later…

Benoit and Guerrero traded hurricanranas earlier on. Eddie did a big dive to the outside to “Eddie” chants by the fans. Benoit tried a back suplex but Eddie reversed it, which sent them both tumbling to the floor. It looked really crisp and really well done. Eddie sent Benoit into the ring post but then Eddie went crashing into the ring post in order for Benoit to get the heat. Benoit worked over Eddie, including hitting a beautiful hammerlock suplex. He worked on Eddie’s hand, which is important when considering the finish.

The key to all of this “getting heat” on Guerrero was that it was never boring. That was the great thing about Benoit wrestling as a heel. It was never boring. Nothing ever came off as repetitive as every move mattered. It was not a 10 minute Randy Orton headlock or a Kevin Owens chin lock. However, it was also methodical… which is great.

In one motion Eddie reversed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, bounced off the rope and hit a springboard DDT. It was pretty. Benoit chopped at Eddie as Mongo ranted about the NFL players being pussies or something. God bless Mongo and, to an extent, I feel there is a need for some creativity from the commentators. However, Mongo going on about the NFL over and over just takes away attention from the wrestling and is somewhat irrelevant as the match is going on.

There was somewhat a screwed up botch when Eddie attempted a 619 but I think that was about the only spot they screwed up in this match.

Eddie went for the Frog Splash but Benoit got the knees up. Benoit slammed Eddie, and I mean SLAMMED Eddie, with an absolutely tremendous powerbomb. Benoit went for another powerbomb but Eddie reversed it. Eddie then tried to punch Benoit, but because Benoit worked the hand over, Eddie’s hand was hurting a lot. This allowed Benoit to capitalise with a Dragon Suplex to win the match via pinfall.

This was a great match… possibly the best Nitro match we’ve seen so far. Tremendous psychology. The WCW cruiserweight division was announced by Bischoff following the match and this was a great match as a means to promote it. Benoit, I don’t think, was a cruiserweight at this time but with the likes of Eddie and Dean Malenko… suffice to say we’re in for a lot of fun.

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Bischoff revealed that The Giant was here, much to the delight of Heenan as he cackled away!

Mean Gene is in the ring and we’ve got another plug of the WCW hotline. Mean Gene revealed that a top WWF executive was gone and a WWF guy got into a fight with a fan and lost. Gene said he couldn’t talk about it on Nitro but if you called the hotline for $1.49 per minute you could find out the answer. In case you were wondering, the executive that was fired was Bill Watts. I’m not particular sure who Mean Gene was on about when they mentioned the wrestler who lost a fight to a fan.

The Giant came down with the Taskmaster for a promo with Mean Gene. Taskmaster brought up that Hogan was dressed in black on the last episode and Hogan called Taskmaster evil. From the day he was born, Taskmaster said he knew he was the personification of evil. Evil, evil evil.

Taskmaster said when they shaved Hogan’s moustache, it took away his identity. He said Hogan gave up his colours but the fans had followed Hulkster for all of these years because he was a winner. After Detroit at Halloween Havoc, the fans would become followers of the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant said he was gonna push Hogan off the roof using his monster truck and then gave Mean Gene a close up of the hand that was gonna destroy Hogan by facepalming Mean Gene. Gene was shocked as The Giant cackled, vowing to destroy Hulk Hogan.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night, including Michael Wallstreet vs Jim Duggan, Disco Inferno vs Alex Wright, Hulk Hogan being there and Randy Savage vs Scott Norton in a rematch from Episode #2. So after Bischoff said he wasn’t on the roster last week, Disco Inferno is booked to face Alex Wright on WCW Saturday Night. I guess either he’s hired in storyline or they forgot he’s supposed to be a free agent.

 

Meng vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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Eric called this match a “barnburner” and although I would not go that far to describe the match, the match was very fun if you wanted to see two big dudes clobbering each other for a minute.

But before all of that, the aforementioned Disco Inferno arrived in all white gear. Before Disco could really get his groove on, like he did during Hawk vs Big Bubba, Meng’s music hit and Disco knew well enough to get out of town.

Meng jumped Duggan before the bell. Hacksaw fought back in a battle where they just punched away at each other. Hacksaw got back into it with a couple of dodges as well as getting the hell away from a massive Meng top rope dive. Hacksaw fired away at Meng and even hit a scoop slam. But Meng quickly regained control with a superkick that caused Hacksaw’s body to go limp as he crashed to the floor. Meng locked on the Tongan Death Grip and won. A very basic match of brawling with not a lot of actual wrestling and somehow that’s OK with me.

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Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart did a promo. They said that everyone now knows the evil in Hogan is real and Taskmaster was right when he mentioned that there was evil in Hogan. Hogan said the evil was here to protect the prayers and vitamins of the fans. Hogan said something strange like The Giant doesn’t realise that Hogan can make promoters fall to their knees in tears as Hogan is stronger than their entire promotions. These digs at WWF are just getting weirder and weirder!

Hogan said the “big stinky Giant” wants to burn down all of the trees to the ground. Jimmy is worried about what Hogan was gonna do to the Taskmaster and Giant. Hogan wanted to prove that Hulkamania was the strongest force in the world. He vowed to bury The Giant in the Motor Ciy right next to his father. He asked what The Giant was gonna do when the evil of Hogan ran wild on him. A crazy Hogan promo as usual.

 

Ric Flair and Sting vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

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There was no Sting for the opening bell of this match so this meant Flair had to go at alone by himself against Arn and Brian. It’s funny because while he was on his own, Flair was an ass-kicking machine! I think this was possibly the greatest performance of a one-on-two handicap match from a guy with the disadvantage. It was amazingly great.

He appeared to have no difficulty in absolutely obliterating Arn and Brian as he chopped away at both men throughout this match. He chopped Pillman so hard that the referee was forced back by the force of the chop. It was truly sublime.

Pillman would try getting in some chops but Flair would just chop him harder! Flair beat both of their asses and was running wild on his former buddies. I love how during the match where Flair is in control, Bischoff talks about how he had to pay the price as Sting didn’t trust him… WHEN FLAIR WAS DOMINATING ARN AND BRIAN BY HIMSELF!

The fans chanted “We Want Sting” during a match that also included Heenan comparing Hulk Hogan to Darth Vader. Flair went for the Figure Four Leg Lock on Arn but Pillman went to break it up. He tried to break it up but Flair somehow evaded Pillman from the position of having Arn in the Figure Four! It was awesome!

Flair tried a Figure Four on Pillman but that was broken up. Flair is still running wild as the ass-kicking Ric Flair was putting on a damn amazing performance. He was destroying both of these men but he was entertaining and believable at it. Flair was a believable crazy, wild mad man who you believed could smash Arn and Pillman so easily. It was awesome.

Arn hit a spinebuster and at this point, when the heels were in control… HERE COMES STING!

These fans went BONKERS for Sting has he came down to the aid of Flair. Eric went on about how Flair may have possibly earned Sting’s respect which is actually a believable statement if you saw Ric’s performance up until when Sting showed up. He wasn’t a geek that was getting beat on for 10 minutes. He was a fighter and Sting recognised that.

Sting was egging Flair to make the hot tag as the fans were going nuts and Sting eventually got the hot tag. He ran wild and even Sting running wild forced the referee to bump on every part of the mat! Sting hit Stinger Splashes all over the place and he was FIRED UP. THIS WAS A HOT TAG as the fans went crazy.

Sting was dominant and then all of a sudden, it was determined that Arn and Pillman were counted out. I never really heard a count by the referee but Sting and Flair won by count out and this did make you want to see the rematch at Halloween Havoc. Yeah, we’re getting a rematch at Halloween Havoc and I can’t wait!

Sting and Flair cut a post-match promo. Sting said there wasn’t a soul in the world that thought that he was gonna trust Flair. Sting was watching and said that Flair had a lot of guts and a lot of heart. Because Flair showed he had guts and heart, he’d earned Sting’s help. Sting and Flair did a high-five and started going nuts in the ring! This was an awesome exciting little post-match promo!

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That was Episode #7 of WCW Nitro. A huge improvement on last week. We saw a tremendous Ric Flair and Sting performance in the main-event, we had an awesome Benoit vs Guerrero match and this show did a lot in getting me hyped up for WCW Halloween Havoc coming up shortly.  This one gets a thumbs up!

Advertised for next week is Sting and Lex Luger vs Harlem Heat, Benoit and Dean Malenko vs Eddie and Alex Wright and Hogan will also be appearing on Nitro next week.

That’s it from the Armbar Express. We will see you with Episode #8.

WCW Nitro Episode List

WWE 2K16: Joey Styles Announces That Will Be In The Game

“And now thanks to the magic of live television I’m gonna show the whole world, why for seven years in ECW I was the unscripted, uncensored, loose cannon of commentary.” – Joey Styles

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A bit of news surrounding WWE 2K16. Joey Styles has tweeted out about the WWE 2K16 game and confirmed that he will be apart of the game, commentating in the Austin 3:16 showcase mode during Steve Austin’s brief run at ECW.

Here’s the tweet below…

Mikey Whipwreck along with the ECW arena were already confirmed for the game and to add that bit of authenticity, the Voice of ECW himself Joey Styles has seemingly been added to the game.

Joey Styles is an awesome addition to the game. WWE 2K15 only featured Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler on commentary, even throughout the showcase modes.

It’s already been announced that JBL will join Cole and Lawler on commentary, and Jim Ross will be providing Attitude Era commentary for Austin’s Showcase mode. So Joey Styles also getting his shot at commentary is also pretty awesome to see. Five commentators being used throughout to mix things up a bit.

Joey Styles has been working for WWE on their digital media output since leaving the commentary booth in 2008. This showcase mode provides an opportunity for Joey to return to commentary and I do like WWE Games’ insistence on staying as true to the source material as possible. If that’s the case, then there’s always the possibility that PAUL HEYMAN might be featured on commentary if they feature some of Austin’s appearances in 2001 as part of the Alliance.

That might be pushing it a bit, but seeing Joey is a great bit of news for me. I’m a huge fan of Joey.

TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM WWE RAW (21/09/15)

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Night of Champions was an eventful night indeed. We saw Seth Rollins put in two incredible performances in one night against John Cena and Sting. Sting suffered a “significant” injury and Kane returned to get revenge on Seth and prevent Sheamus from cashing in Money In The Bank. RAW had a lot to develop on. Considering that the next PPV main event is the Hell in a Cell grudge match between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, the pressure was on for RAW to succeed. Here are my top five moments from the show…

1. John Cena vs Seth Rollins

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If you’re in any doubt about who has been the best wrestler of the year up until this point, these last two nights should have squashed those doubts for good. Seth Rollins, as far as I’m concerned, should be WWE’s Employee of the Year with everything he’s done in the past year! I thought Kevin Owens working three nights in a row in Brooklyn, including a ladder match with Finn Balor, was special. I believe this has slightly topped that. Seth Rollins worked two matches in one night a few weeks ago on RAW. After working two top matches in one night again with John Cena and Sting at Night of Champions, Seth worked ANOTHER main event match with John Cena on RAW!

Three great matches in the space of two days. That’s astonishing to me. Let’s recap. At Night of Champions, Seth first worked a match with Cena. In that match, he took three Attitude Adjustments, including one on the floor, and went 17 minutes. He then worked a 14 minute match with Sting, which was challenging due to a number of circumstances including Sting’s injury. He then took a Brogue Kick, a chokeslam and a TOMBSTONE to cap off that night. On RAW, he worked another big match with Cena and delivered once again. That’s quite something.

It could be argued that Seth is being over-exposed in television, having been featured so many times during this show in particular. However, Seth’s handling the pressure and thoroughly deserves his position right now.

2. Kane’s Identity Crisis

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I know a lot of people are a bit annoyed that Kane’s involved in a main event program in 2015. Considering that Seth’s coming off great work with Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Sting, it might seem as a step down for Rollins. However, I think their delivery in this program as been good so far.

We’re a few days into this storyline and things could easily fall apart. However, Kane came out in a blaze of glory at Night of Champions and he was awesome on RAW. His delivery with his backstage promos as “Corporate Kane” were really good and at times, he was very funny. Out of all the identity crisis storylines we’ve had over the years, at least Kane’s has been one of the strongest with regards to the actual portrayal of someone with a dual personality. He was funny in the suit and was menacing as the demon.

I like this storyline so far and to be honest, working Kane will be the easiest thing in the world for Seth. Many people have stated in interviews that Kane is very easy worker to work with and that’s great for Seth considering the amount of work he’s done in the past few months. I’m all for this feud.

3. Paige’s #PaigeBomb

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One of the biggest things coming off RAW is Paige’s “PaigeBomb” which she cut when she turned heel during Charlotte’s Divas Title celebration. I won’t talk about it a great deal since I am planning to do a separate article on Paige later on in the week. However, I will say this promo was magical. It’s definitely what was needed to salvage this Divas Revolution which has really sunk in the past few months. I had my issues with Charlotte winning the title initially but I think Paige will help things along tremendously now she’s a heel. Considering all the ways they could have turned Paige heel, this was by far one of the greater methods.

4.  Randy Orton Returns In Big Brawl With The Wyatt Family

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I thought this opening segment with the big brawl involving Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, the Wyatt Family and the returning Randy Orton was a great segment. It seemed to come out of nowhere as you’d think they’d build up to the fight later on in the show. But no. Everyone came out all guns blazing. It started off with Roman challenging Bray Wyatt to a one on one fight. Luke Harper and Braun Strowman got involved before Dean Ambrose came down to help Roman. Then Randy Orton came down to help even the odds. The good guys were able to stand tall and knock Braun down to the outside.

I thought this was a nice little brawl. It wasn’t like a pull-apart fight or anything but it was nice to see them fight for a little while. It really helped intensify this rivalry and it’s a great change of pace to see the show actually start off with a brawl. It’s different and I do like it when WWE tries something different!

5. Xaiver Woods

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Xaiver Woods still continues to be one of the greatest parts of RAW every single week. Xaiver cut a promo with the New Day just before their six man tag also involving Rusev, the Dudley Boyz and Dolph Ziggler. Xaiver talked about how he had to get wood removed from his “buttocks!” Xaiver did his usual thing on the trombone and in one of the highlights of this show, played Rusev’s theme song on the trombone. I thought that deserved the pop of the night! I also like how 30 seconds into the song, Michael Cole then stated “I think he’s playing Rusev’s theme music” or something like that. I love how it took Cole that long to figure it out!

Summer Rae was also getting involved by doing a “trombone tag team” with Xaiver! What’s funny about this was that Rusev and Xaiver were in some kind of video together playing video games recently! It’s nice to see how their relationship in real life has now been transferred into the kayfabe world of WWE! Rusev was celebrating with the New Day and seemed so out of character being filled with positivity! There was also the moment where the New Day were doing Rusev’s pose that he does in the ring during his entrance! That was awesome! The New Day is awesome! I hope they never break up!

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There were a few great moments in the show, accompanied with some not so great moments. There was a few things that annoyed me. Cesaro jobbing to the Big Show was one of them, effectively finishing his main event push. That was sad. There was one other thing that annoyed me, which I’ll get to now before I finish.

WWE made the big announcement that Brock Lesnar would be facing the UNDERTAKER in a Hell in a Cell match at the PPV. Instead of promoting that match, WWE decided it was more important to dedicate more time to promoting Big Show vs Brock Lesnar at Madison Square Garden in a few weeks!

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Wrestling Flashback – Rufus “Pancake” Patterson

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Today on the Wrestling Flashback is the Prime Time Players. This is actually due to an appearance the Prime Time Players made on Chris Jericho’s podcast. On the podcast, they talked about coming up with the idea of Rufus “Pancake” Patterson as an alter-ego for Titus O’Neil.

Why did they call him pancake?

Because he flattens fools!

This gimmick ended up being a one time thing which they did on WWE television. They did film a couple of segments for the WWE App but it only ever appeared ONCE on WWE Television. What’s interesting though is that they appeared at one of the top time slots for a WWE show… they showed up at the start of the show during a segment with John Cena.

John Cena was talking about how he was ready to face The Rock for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29. This kicked off RAW, so they were kicking off RAW to promote the main event of Wrestlemania 29 with Cena. This was interrupted by the Prime Time Players. They start to cut this promo and Cena cuts them off. He was about to introduce them but Titus cuts him off to proclaim himself as “Titus’ nephew”. His name was actually Rufus “Pancake” Patterson.

I always thought the debut of this gimmick as part of the program including John Cena and The Rock was very interesting. On Jericho’s podcast, Titus and Darren talked about the pressure of opening the show and I don’t blame them for being nervous.

This was a gimmick that was really hit or miss experiment. For me, it was either you loved it or you hated it. For me, it was a hit. Titus always had a great sense of humour and I think if this was given a few months, this gimmick could have gotten really over. Probably not to the status of an alter-ego gimmick like Dude Love or Mankind. However, Titus and Darren just had great chemistry that I think would of worked out for the best. If Titus was the manager of Darren (like he was during Young’s match with Cena after the above segment I was talking about) it could have helped both Darren and Titus. Titus would have been able to get over just by his mannerisms and mic work. Darren could have built up a good record in the ring and could have been elevated as a singles star.

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Let’s be honest, the original split of the Prime Time Players didn’t go as planned. However, I think the opportunity to have both them stand out as individuals first while still being a tag team could have been a success. When they split up, Darren and Titus weren’t able to create a unique identity for themselves before doing so. If they were to have this gimmick run on for a while on television, Titus and Darren can get over as themselves so the split means they didn’t have to rely on each other to get over.

I really wish we saw a bit more of Rufus “Pancake” Patterson. With enough screen time, I truly believe he could have been worth Millions of Dollars…

07/09/2015 RAW REVIEW – A Great Day For The New Day, A Bad Day For Seth Rollins

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Hello everybody. Welcome to the RAW review. This RAW was a very special RAW for me. It was one of the rare occasions where I stayed up and watched this live. I’m from the UK and RAW is on over here at 1am and finishes at 4. I rarely get a chance to watch it live and I figured that I’d give it a watch. The last two episodes of RAW were actually good so I stayed up for this one because of a lot of things. I heard Sting was going to be on the show, which he was. I knew the New Day were going to be on and be the most entertaining act of the night, which they were. I was expecting a few surprises, and there was. However, all of that could not save this show from possibly being the worst episode of RAW in years.

I give credit where credit’s due. I usually try to maintain a positive outlook on WWE. I’m an optimist and I hope for the best. However, this show was a massive disappointment. This show was following great work from the last couple of weeks and this was supposed to be the “Season Finale” of RAW. I should be over the moon about how great the New Day were. However, everything else on this show really didn’t hit the mark. Let me cut to the chase. Seth Rollins’ promo at the start of the show just set the tone for this really embarrassing episode of RAW. Keep in mind, WWE had stars like Sting, Triple H, John Cena, Edge, Christian, The Dudley Boyz, Randy Orton and so many others in their disposal. Yet somehow, the crowd seemed dead for this show. I don’t blame them for not caring about this show and it all started with the Seth Rollins promo at the start.

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Seth Rollins has really stepped up his game in terms of his promos in the last few months. The fans were invested into everything he had to say. He was a joy to listen to. Tonight however, he was not. Seth’s promo revolved around him talking about how he was “special” and complained about Sting stealing his statue. Last week, Seth found out that he would be defending both his WWE World and US titles on the same night against Sting and John Cena respectively. This promo should have been put in place to allow Seth to get out his frustrations about the whole deal. He’s the victim of this whole thing as he has to wrestle two healthy WWE stars on the same night, and he dedicated most of this promo complaining about a statue.

Sting interrupted and cut a goofy promo about the statue. I liked Sting during this show. He was the mixture of craziness and goofiness that made him a hit on this show. It was sort of like his deal in TNA as “Joker” Sting, but it was a lot less tamer. That was fine because it’s humour that the WWE’s PG audience would find entertaining. I have no problem with all of this.

Sheamus then came out to confront Rollins. Sheamus and Seth Rollins may possibly be an upcoming MAIN EVENT feud for WWE. Sheamus could possibly cash in on Rollins, become the Authority’s new favourite and lead to Seth Rollins’ big face turn. This could be a program in the near future. To get you excited about the possibility of this feud, WWE put on the most embarrassing back-and-forth I think I’ve seen all year long. This was involving MAIN EVENTERS! All they did was just call each other stupid and Sheamus joked about Ronald McDonald being a relative of his. This segment made Sheamus to look like a complete joke. I felt so bad for the guy. However, things would get worse for Sheamus later on in the show…

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Seth Rollins was forced to wrestle twice in one night tonight. He wrestled Ryback in a decent champion vs champion match. Seth is just one of those wrestlers that can have a decent match with anyone. He’s creative enough that he can make Ryback look good in there. Ryback didn’t really mess anything. Ryback WON after Sting popped up on the titantron. I had no problem with the finish. Ryback’s roll up was A LOT better than the roll up in the finish of the divas match between Sasha Banks and Paige (we’ll get on to that later). I only had a few problems with this match. Firstly, this match featured the holders of THREE of the top titles in WWE. You’d think a match featuring these two important figures in the WWE would go on LAST? When was the last time you saw a match which featured a WWE World Heavyweight Champion, a US Champion and a Intercontinental Champion? This should have had a lot more build and it was kind of offending that this went on first with little promotion before hand other than word of mouth from Stephanie. Secondly, there was NO development in this new feud involving Ryback and Kevin Owens. Other than Kevin Owens eating an apple and confronting Ryback before his match, nothing else happened. Kevin didn’t do anything to really get Ryback’s attention other than verbal remarks. Surely he should have ATTACKED him after this match? I guess not…

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Paige vs Sasha Banks actually opened the show. I think I’m probably just going to jump around a lot in this episode so bare with me. This match was an OK match. These two are very good workers and this REALLY should be the feud for the Divas Championship. It was an OK match… until the finish. Paige hit the RamPaige onto Sasha when Naomi got into the ring and distracted Paige. Sasha took advantage with a MESSY roll up to score the pin. The pin looked like both Paige AND Sasha’s shoulders were on the mat. It looked to me like it was a draw. Maybe that was the intent, as Paige complained about the finish and Sasha’s shoulders being on the mat afterwards. However, none of the commentators brought this up on commentary. The PCB never seemed to protest this as Paige was just upset in the ring. It just looked like a really bad roll up which they tried to cover up afterwards on SOCIAL MEDIA with a verbal spat from Paige.

I also have an issue with Naomi’s run in. Did we really need the distraction to be a deciding factor in the finish of this match? Naomi’s getting in the ring should really just be the spot which would lead to Sasha taking over and getting herself the heat on Paige. It should not really be a part of the finish. It’s not like Naomi attacked Paige or anything, like Tamina had earlier on. She got in the ring, she got back out and Sasha rolled up Paige for the win. One last thing about this match. Sasha has now been Paige TWICE on RAW in the last month as well as Nikki Bella in a non-title match a few weeks ago. I understand this is scripted entertainment but surely that should put Sasha in contention for a title shot. I feel really bad for Sasha and her group, who are apparently having to play third-fiddle to the PCB and Team Bella.

Speaking of the PCB and Team Bella, Nikki would talk about breaking AJ’s record title reign next week and put up the Bellatron. She announced a Bellabration until she was interrupted by the PCB. Charlotte announced that she would be getting a title shot next week on RAW, meaning Nikki’s title reign could end just hours before breaking the record. I personally don’t think Charlotte should win the title right now. If you read my recent article on Charlotte (at this link), you can see why. Her winning the title next week might be a big moment for her but I don’t think it’ll help her in the long term. However, I am glad we’re finally getting a Divas Championship match next week!

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Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns SQUASHED The Ascension in a tag team match. This was ridiculous for so many reasons. Firstly, the Ascension had just began a stable with Stardust on SmackDown! I love how the majority of this show featured replays of the events that took place on SmackDown!, yet the writers on RAW seemed to neglect the events of SmackDown! here as the Ascension didn’t appear with Stardust! There was no mention of the group forming and it was just typical business as usual for the Ascension. You’d think if they were wanting to push this new stable, the Ascension would maybe pick up some wins first and build themselves up. That didn’t happen tonight as Roman and Dean squashed them in a matter of minutes!

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Bray Wyatt appeared, vowing to take out everyone thinking of joining Roman and Dean’s crusade. Randy Orton was shown talking to Ambrose and Reigns prior to his match with Sheamus.

The funny thing is just before RAW started, I listened to Steve Austin talking about this Randy Orton/Sheamus feud and he was bang on the money. There was NO storyline involved, there was no new developments after Sheamus beat Orton at Summerslam. It’s not like Sheamus beat Orton by cheating at Summerslam either. He just won clean giving Orton no logical reason for wanting a rematch. It was just incredibly frustrating watching what these men were being put through. I don’t blame the fans for not caring about this match.

Firstly, the match itself was OK. It was worse than their Battleground and Summerslam matches but it was an alright TV match. However, it was just so hard to get invested into this match. It’s also incredibly hard to consider Sheamus as a possible top main event heel when he cuts promos during matches saying “I don’t look stupid”. This was very bad because Sheamus is supposed to be this tough, Irish brawler. He’s supposed to love a good old fight more than anything else. He’s like Finlay with his mean attitude. With that being said, why on earth would Sheamus care about the fans calling him out on his looks? It completely contradicted the character that he has developed ever since he debuted. Interim UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor would not get distracted in a UFC fight if the fans started chanting “You look stupid”. He doesn’t care about how he looks. He cares about beating people up and dominating in the UFC. Sheamus should have the same mentallity. He certaintly should have the same mentality if he’s supposed to WIN the WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP!

 actually began trending on Twitter following this match. This is how uninterested people were in this match. Orton won with an RKO and was immediately attacked by the Wyatts. I guess this was because he was talking to Dean and Roman before backstage. Whether this leads to Randy actually joining Dean and Roman remains to be seen.

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I do want to mention probably the greatest segment I’ve seen all year long in WWE. It was a four minute backstage segment and it followed Seth losing to Ryback. He was looking for Sting when the New Day showed up. They were trying to get Seth riled up about their six man tag team match against John Cena and the Prime Time Players. Seth got angry and he was then confronted by Edge and Christian. Seth’s bad night continued when he chickened out of a fight with someone with a serious neck problem so serious that one shock could lead to Edge being paralyzed. Way to put over your champion…

The New Day and Edge and Christian began a music battle, pitting Xaiver Woods’ trombone against Edge and Christian’s kazoos. Big E tried to eat the Kazoos when the Dudleyz showed up. They announced that the New Day would be defending the titles next week against the Prime Time Players. The Dudleyz, Edge and Christian began singing a song about breaking tables which was a very cheerful moment. This segment was… magical. The New Day was just incredible during this entire show. Sadly this segment was followed up by Summer Rae…

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know of my deep disdain for this Ziggler/Rusev/Lana angle. When Lana was revealed to be injured and out for four months, I was hoping that they’d just wrap up this storyline. I jokingly said that WWE might drag this storyline out for four months until Lana is back and is able to have her first match. However, when I saw this angle with Ziggler, Rusev and Summer Rae, I have a feeling they’ll actually probably do that! This LONG segment ended with Ziggler attacking Rusev and then Ziggler vs Rusev being announced for Night of Champions.

I understand that there’s not actually been a clear winner between Rusev or Ziggler in this entire storyline. Their match at Summerslam ended in a double count out and Ziggler won by DQ on RAW last week. What would be logical is that this match would be made NO DISQUALIFICATION so there MUST be a winner. However, it was just announced as a standard match like all the other ones! If you’re going to do this match for a THIRD TIME, can you at least make it a little bit different? Throw in a stipulation or something. Because all of this will need to nothing positive if their match at Night of Champions doesn’t truly represent the pent-up “emotion” from Rusev and Ziggler. These two have hated each other for months. They’d want to just beat each other up. Why do the exact same match for the second PPV in a row?

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The Dudley Boyz beat Los Matadores. When Los Matadores came out with El Torito, I was PRAYING that Bubba would put El Torito threw a table! I was sadly disappointed. After the Dudleyz won, Diego was angry at El Torito and started pushing Torito around. This was apparently the big heel turn of Los Matadores. This was shortly followed up with the Dudleyz putting Diego through a table. What a way to turn heel…

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Cesaro and The Miz wrestled to a double count out when the Big Show interfered. The Miz ran into the crowd and because Cesaro was outside too, it was ruled a double count out. After seemingly turning face once more, Show KO’d Cesaro and just walked off. This match needed to happen… why? What was the benefit to EITHER of one these wrestlers? What was the benefit of Big Show running out to run off The Miz and then KO Cesaro. This helped… NO ONE.

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We had the six man tag team match main event, with the Prime Time Players and Cena taking on Rollins and the New Day. The New Day were hilarious throughout this match. The match itself wasn’t actually that bad but the fans around that time in the show was just drained. You could tell as the fans barely had enough energy to chant “John Cena Sucks” during Cena’s entrance. Xaiver Woods was just the start of this match and he wasn’t even in the match itself! There was a spot where Xaiver began playing the trombone to the rhythm of the moves his team mates were doing. You’ll have to go and watch the match itself to see how magical it all was. It added so much life into the match. It was weird seeing Cena getting beaten up until TITUS O’NEIL got the hot tag. Shocking. To be fair, Titus usually has awesome hot tag moments so I didn’t mind. The match ended with Cena catching Kofi and hitting the AA for the win. This was followed by Sting appearing on the screen one FINAL TIME to crush Seth Rollins’ status. That was the end to RAW.

I was going to talk about the ending of RAW itself in a bit more detail but I might just wrap things up now. All I can say is that this show was so draining. There was little for the fans to get excited for. Seth Rollins got completely buried throughout the entire night. There were a lot of screwed up finishes. Some horrid storylines continued and it was a true let down when considering how great the last two shows have been. This show gets a MASSIVE thumbs down. All I can say is that next week’s RAW has to be REALLY good in order to get people into Night Of Champions…

Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo Comment On Bash At The Beach 2000

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A few days ago, a preview of the WWE’s upcoming DVD release “Monday Night War: Know Your Role” was uploaded onto YouTube. What the DVD features is a sit-down interview with Eric Bischoff. Bischoff talks about dealing with Vince Russo and talks about the famous “Bash At The Beach incident” in 2000.

For those of you that don’t know what happened in 2000, let me break it down for you. Vince Russo was a writer for WCW, signing for the company in 1999. Vince had been pushing Jeff Jarrett to a great degree, making him the WCW Champion. He began a storyline involving Jeff and Hollywood Hogan for the title. His plan was for Jeff to beat Hogan at the Bash at the Beach PPV. On the day of the PPV, Hogan activated the “creative control” clause in his contract and refused to lose the match. He believed that Vince had a lack of direction for Hogan’s character following his loss and refused to lose to Jeff. Vince therefore had Jeff lay down for Hogan, resulting in Hogan winning the belt. Hogan cut a “worked shoot” saying that “That’s why this company is in the damn shape it’s in; because of bullshit like this”, which would be the last time Hogan appeared in WCW. Vince would go on to cut a shoot promo on Hogan’s “backstage politicking” and nullified the result of the match. The finish of Jeff laying down and Hogan’s promo was apparently a work but the promo cut by Russo wasn’t. Hogan would go on to sue Russo for defamation of contract but the case got thrown out.

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However, Eric argues in this video that it was actually Vince Russo that went into business for himself that night. Eric said the finish of Hogan going over was already decided between himself, Hogan and Russo. However, on the day, Vince would change the plans which forced Hogan put his foot down, activating his creative control clause. Two ideas were apparently pitched to the head of the network. Vince’s idea of Jeff going over and Eric’s idea of Hogan going over. The president, who “had the deciding vote”, went with Bischoff’s plan. However, Vince would change the plans anyway.

It’s also interesting to note that Bischoff says that Hogan was the only one in WCW to have creative control and that he only ever used it once at Bash of the Beach. It’s interesting because Hogan said the same thing before in interviews. He also said the things Russo booked made Eric look like Steven Spielberg.

Bischoff’s comments can be seen down below…


Vince Russo responded to these claims on his YouTube channel. If you’ve ever seen the stuff Vince writes about his past dealings with WWE, WCW and TNA, he’s very defensive about this work. If you’re as dedicated and passionate as Vince was about his projects, it’s perfectly understandable. It’s hard to see things you’ve put hard work into get torn apart.

However, Vince didn’t take too kindly to Eric’s accusations. He specifically didn’t like Bischoff calling “BS” on Vince’s side of the story. Vince talked about the story at Bash at the Beach itself, in his book “How WCW Killed Vince Russo” and in a number of shoot interviews in the past. However, he now talks about the entire thing again.

Russo says that Eric was talking nonsense and that what happened at Bash at the Beach was part of the original script. Russo argues that if he did go into business for himself, that there would have been some sort of confrontation between Russo, Hogan and Bischoff. He says because there wasn’t a confrontation, it was because everybody was following the script.

Russo argues that if he had gone into business for himself, there would have been some ramifications. Since he “double-crossed” the head of the network, Vince would have probably been fired or been in some other form of trouble. Vince also talks about the legal issues that Eric claims Vince created. Vince also talks about Eric’s accusations of Vince being a bad writer.

Down below was his response to Eric’s comments…

I won’t jump to any sort of conclusion about who I think is right or wrong because frankly, it’s Eric’s word against Vince’s. All I’ll say is that it’s incredible how the Bash at the Beach thing is still being talked about after all of these years. I’m also expecting much more to come out of this story.