RETRO EXPRESS: WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 (SEPTEMBER 15TH 1996)

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

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

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

 

Date: September 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Attendance: 11,300

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

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

 

DDP vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **1/4

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOTCH RATING: *****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ****

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: *1/2

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #46 (JULY 29TH 1996) – THE NWO ATTACK WCW DURING AN HISTORIC EPISODE OF MONDAY NITRO

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 road to Hog Wild 1996 was still in full gear, a show where WCW wrestlers alongside Eric Bischoff would literally be riding into Hog Wild on motorcycles. WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant accepted Hollywood Hogan’s challenge for Hog Wild, vowing to chokeslam Hogan for WCW. Ric Flair no-showed WCW Nitro last week, leading to speculation of where his loyalties lied. Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage picked up a win in the main-event and declared their intention to fight for WCW and take out the New World Order. Meanwhile, the New World Order were invading WCW’s production truck and literally hijacked Nitro as Kevin Nash and Scott Hall took over the show.

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WCW Monday Nitro. We are two weeks away from WCW Hog Wild and we got an episode of Nitro that was considered a ground-breaking and historic episode with one angle featuring the new bad boys in town in the New World Order. I made the point during the review of thelast episode that everything so far had felt “tame” from the New World Order. Up until now, it was Kevin Nash and Scott Hall spray-painting blanket sheets andplaying around with the production equipment. It was the kind of evil plots Professor Chaos from South Park would have put together. It didn’t particularly come off as cool and edgy, although traditional wrestling fans would argue that heels should not come off as cool and edgy. Solid point.

However, it felt like the nWo storyline completely turned around again in the right direction after this episode. I’m going to change this review up a little bit. See normally, I would just review the show chronologically from start to finish but this time I’m going to tackle it somewhat out of order. The first thing I will review in-depth is this angle with the New World Order attacking World Championship Wrestling. It feels right to discuss the big angle right off the bat, as I have a lot to get through…

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What happened was they were having the rematch from last week’s main-event with a slight adjustment. It’s Sting, Lex Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage taking on “The Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Ric Flair, who was replacing Arn Anderson who filled in for Flair last week.

Jimmy Hart interrupted the match as Lex Luger wa running wild. He was up on the apron trying to get everybody’s attention. He eventually gets Lex Luger’s attention. If you’ll recall, Jimmy Hart used to manage Lex Luger on WCW so it would make sense why he would go to Lex Luger first in this matter. Jimmy yelled that the Outsiders are here and the announcers stress that this is not a “Dungeon of Doom” ploy as the wrestlers eventually leave the ring.

They cut to outside at the parking lot where Kevin Nash and Scott Hall from the New World Order were standing above Four Horsemen member Arn Anderson with baseball bats. Arn was clutching his arm as Nash and Hall were looking mean over him and Marcus Bagwell who was also laid out by the Outsiders. Scotty Riggs came out and sees this and he gets taken out too with some kind of video equipment.

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Then WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio got a bright idea and jumped off the top of a trailer onto Kevin Nash. Nash caught Rey and gets him in a powerslam position. Nash then literally threw Rey Mysterio like a dart head-first into the trailer. This was like a spot that could only work in the 1990s. WWE would never attempt a spot like this nowadays and it really wouldn’t work as like a big spot nowadays, especially if you consider all the insane stuff we see from places like CZW for example. Here, it worked really well.

Think of this Rey Mysterio/Kevin Nash spot like Stone Cold Steve Austin hitting Vince McMahon with the bedpan on RAW when Austin visits him at the hospital. Austin was beating up Mr McMahon’s foot as Vince was wailing at the top of his lungs. AHHH! AAAAAAAHHH! He was screaming his head off. Austin then grabbed the nearest thing he could find, a tiny bedpan, and smacked Vince in the head of it. He hit Vince with it one time and it made the best noise in wrestling history. It was like Tom and Jerry in the sense that he hit Vince and it was like a ping sound that came out. It was one hit with a bedpan and Vince was out like a light.

Here, Rey gets thrown into the trailer. Keep in mind, Rey was putting his hands out so it wasn’t like he actually went head first into the trailer. Rey got thrown into the side of this trailer and all you hear is a big thud as Rey dropped to the floor and was down for the count. It was such a spot that was made for television. The sound of Rey hitting the side conveyed the…. I don’t want to say comical, but entertainment aspect of professional wrestling. It’s the sound that put the move over more than if Kevin Nash hit him 20 times with a steel chair. He did this one time and then he and Hall left the building.

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Nash and Hall stepped into a limo that was their getaway car. Rey mentioned later when he was being attended to and the announcers alluded to this as well, that there was four men out there doing this attack. They only showed Hall and Nash so Hollywood Hogan or the fourth man was not on television. Anyway, Hall and Nash enter their limo when the six men that were in the six man tag match all arrive on the scene to make the “save” I guess but it wasn’t really a save as the damage had been done. Everyone attended to the fallen on the floor… EXCEPT for “Macho Man” Randy Savage!

Randy Savage jumped onto the limo as it moved off. Yes, Randy Savage jumped on top of a moving vehicle and got into the sun roof. He gets stuck with his legs sticking out in the air as they drive away from the building. It was such an elegant jump that only “Macho Man” Randy Savage could pull off with such finesse and in such a way that it totally fit the character. He vaulted onto the limo to go after the nWo like a mad man, as he wanted to beat up the nWo, as established last week with his promo. If Sting or Lex Luger had done this spot for example, it would be one thing. Savage going crazy and jumping onto a limo as it drives away… absolute insanity.

In case you are wondering, everything I’ve just described covered about two minutes of real-time as to what actually happened with the nWo and this attack on WCW. This two minutes was such a home run. As I mentioned, WWE could not pull off an angle like this and make it come off important, but WCW did. It was a simple and effective angle where they laid waste to four men and then left. It made the nWo come off as a bigger threat than ever and as alluded too, there are now four men for WCWto deal with from this nWo group. Therefore, the angle had escalated to even further heights as we build towards Hog Wild.

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I have a few things to mention before I move onto what happened next on the show. Eric Bischoff mentioned on commentary that the nWo had taken out “half of the roster” backstage… half of the roster which consisted of four men! In fact, there were at least ten people out there at the ring for the six man tag when this whole attack went down! The maths from this announce booth was not really on form tonight!

The last thing was that Bischoff claimed the National News had been calling up about this. I was going to mock the idea that Bischoff claimed the National News would be interested in what was clearly a wrestling angle. However, Bischoff later claimed on his 83 Weeks podcast that there were people legitimately calling 911 because of what Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had done!

The quote I wanted to mention from Bischoff was: “It is true. It was something that I didn’t think about. It’s not like I was sleeping at the wheel or was too busy, but I never would have anticipated that you could do something on a wrestling show that was so believable where people sitting at home would call the cops in the local market, but that was exactly what happened … Sure enough, we had Orlando cops showing up on set because people called 911. They thought there was a murder going on backstage because they had never seen anything like it. It was so believable, it just didn’t look like a pro wrestling angle. It was everything. You didn’t see ambulances, or anything remotely close to this scene before. You may have kind of in a way similar but not executed like this or produced as well.”

As previously mentioned, this is nothing WWE could pull off in 2020 because the fans would see right through it and no one would call have actually called up 911 after Randy Orton attacked Edge after the Royal Rumble 2020 for example. It was clearly presented as a wrestling angle. This nWo thing was a wrestling angle which came off realistic because how it was presented was different than how everything had been presented in wrestling by that point.

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They come back from the break and Arn is shown grabbing his arm as Woman hugged Arn and was in tears over him. Woman pulled off such a great performance as an actress during this angle. Really, a lot of wrestlers in the back acted very well in looking distant or distraught or pissed off as to what happened. Woman in particular, who hugged Arn as if he were a loved one, was great as you could totally see Woman treating Arn as a genuine friend. Woman was not in a relationship or teased to be in a relationship with him like she was with Chris Benoit. It was not like Woman was consoling Ric Flair who hit on everybody and was a womaniser. Arn was just a guy alongside the Four Horsemen that looked out for his own tribe. So yes, Woman was in bits over Arn Anderson being attacked… I could buy that in storyline and it worked very well.

A big FIRE TRUCK drove in after four dudes got jumped by the Outsiders. Not an ambulance or the police or anything like that… it was the fire department! To be fair to WCW, I don’t find it difficult to believe that if a fire truck knew some major injuries and  big attack went down, that they would not immediately attend the scene even if there wasn’t a fire at Disney/MGM Studios. Heck, if there was a company out there who I could see getting emergency services onto the scene this early at their entertainment park… it’s DISNEY!

Rey grabbed his mask as the they tried to attend him. They eventually take off Rey’s mask as Tony explained the importance of masks in lucha libre in covering up their identities. In reality as well, no matter what the importance of lucha libre masks were, the ambulance staff would have had to take his mask off to see if there was damage to the skull or whatever. Rey did cover up his face but the point is, it was portrayed as new as lucha libre in particular was such a sacred thing in wrestling. Therefore if they were taking of Rey’s mask, the audience would knew something big had went down and it wasn’t just another wrestling angle.

Mongo yelled about how he can’t believe WCW let them come in here. Mongo was just yelling about all of this. Woman was literally in tears and devastated over this… her acting was tremendous. The characters were all in panic, showing great concern whether you were a good guy or a bad guy. They put their differences aside. Benoit was literally in TEARS, as is Elizabeth grabbing her head. Even little details like that was great because if you are in tears and distraught because something went down, you feel like your head was spinning and you feel like you’ve got a massive headache. This… was all insanely great.

Mongo’s face is shown trembling. Meng burst onto the scene mocking everything in Tongan and he and Benoit go nose to nose. They shove each other as Benoit growled at him. Meng wasn’t even speaking in English and Benoit was still all mad at him! That’s how emotionally distraught he was!

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This is where I must address the elephant in the room because Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan arrive on the scene waiting for the hand-over of commentary as it was the second hour. Bobby yelled it’s not worth him coming out there with a history of neck injures and a damaged nerve on his hand. He needed a guarantee that Heenan would not be hurt which Bischoff obviously could not guarantee that so Heenan decided not do the broadcast. Before I get into the elephant in the room, I do find it funny that Heenan had to go home for his own safety and wellbeing as the entire world in 2020 is forced to do the same during the coronavirus outbreak!

Anyway, the elephant in the room. We were just coming into the second hour of this episode of WCW Nitro and this entire segment took up at least 30 minutes of television time. There’s a yin and a yang to this. The yin is that they dedicated so much time to an angle which highlighted the “seriousness” that they wanted to convey to the viewer. That’s great and I appreciate that.

The yang, however, is that this angle went on way too long. They dedicated a third of the show to the aftermath of this attack. Remember, the whole attack was over in about two minutes. The rest of the time was showing Arn, Rey, Bagwell and Riggs being attended to. The fans were restless in the arena as they chanted boring. I personally was begging for a match to happen myself. A theme for the rest of this review is that all these fans wanted from World Championship Wrestling… was wrestling.

As ground-breaking and innovative as this angle was, this kind of stuff would ultimately lead to WCW’s downfall. Wrestling fans want wrestling… which I’m sure will shock some of you reading this review especially if your name is Vince Russo. They weren’t getting it here and they started to get bored.

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The problem down the road is that Bischoff and eventually Vince Russo relied too much on “Crash TV” and lack of attention to the wrestling and it eventually led to the WCW losing the Monday Night War. Really, all wrestling fans, and all these wrestling fans in attendance for this show, would want is wrestling. Even if it was Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Mike Enos in the opener, they didn’t care. The stuff like this that was intended for a TV audience really doesn’t play well with a live crowd.

By the way, remember when Hogan knocked Giant off of a building at Halloween Havoc and seemingly killed him? There was nowhere near as much time dedicated to that angle as there was to this angle where four guys got attacked backstage. The Giant… DIED and they were back to the ring for another match! I checked my own review of that PPV and that’s what happened! Don’t look at me!

Anyway, that was an absolutely great angle that was certainly innovative and different at the time that got given way more time than it should have. This made it an unpleasant viewing experience purely because of how long it was.

I’m 2,500 words into this review and I’ve covered one angle as part of a two hour wrestling show! I guess I should talk about the rest of WCW Monday Nitro.

By the way… Bischoff mentioned that they did have “stand-by matches” that they were scrambling to put together. The card originally was The Giant defending the WCW World title against Arn Anderson and Rey Mysterio defending the Cruiserweight title against Eddie Guerrero.

 

Date: July 29th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3.1

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie, Larry Zbyszko and Eric Bischoff (and Bobby Heenan for about one minute)

 

The first thing they conveniently show is footage from WCW Saturday Night of Hall and Nash filming Lex Luger and Sting. They attacked Sting on his own as Luger was away from the car to make a phone call or whatever. Obviously, a third party was filming this beating alluding to the reveal of a possible fourth member… although it could have easily been Hollywood Hogan!

However, not even the dark lightning could hide the horrible white shorts Sting was wearing. They stuck out like a sore thumb. God, if I was wearing these shorts I would want a bunch of dudes to kick my arse while I’m at my car too! They were that bad.

 

Mike Enos vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews of this match. Dave Meltzer described this match as a “worst match of the year candidate” on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter at the time. I didn’t think it was that bad and I would much rather watch this match ten times than the Doomsday Cage match from Uncensored 1996! This match to me was OK.

The announcers noticed there was no Col. Robert Parker, Dick Slater or whoever accompanying Mike Enos down to the ringside. There were USA chants. Enos attacked Duggan. Duggan hip-tossed Enos and then sent him over the top rope with a clothesline.

They get into a shoulder block battle but then they headbutt and punch away at each other. Duggan did the atomic drop but then Enos got the upper-hand by pulling the top rope and sending Duggan crashing to the floor.

Enos did a scoop slam on the outside. Duggan then proceeded to attempt some horrible punches but I guess Enos no-sold them and just took control of the match. These punches would not hurt a fly and would have even put Shane McMahon to shame in terms of their delivery, Maybe these punches put this match on “worst match of the year” level in the eyes of Meltzer!

Enos wore him down with the chin-lock but Duggan fired up to his feet. Duggan threw some better punches and then they tumbled into each other from a double shoulder block attempt. Duggan tried a sunset flip, literally pulling on Enos’ tights and showing Enos’ backside to the world.

Enos went for a top rope splash but Duggan evaded this. This was a very basic match but it’s amazing how much these fans were into this match. Duggan fired up again and fired away with punches in the corner. Hacksaw took the tape out his trunks, hit Enos with it to get the win and the pinfall and then Duggan raised the tape up high in the air for the referee.

It worked with the crowd and… it wasn’t that bad of a match. It was a solid OK but nothing more. They didn’t screw anything up but they did hardly anything of value. Therefore, I cannot put this on worst match of the year territory.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In case you are wondering, the Doomsday Cage match from Uncensored mentioned earlier did “win” the category for worst match of the year for the Wrestling Observer Awards in 1996. For my fabulous review of that match, please click on THIS LINK to read about that monstrosity.

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Hacksaw Jim Duggan after this match and Duggan cut a very good promo. This was a dude that had been up and down the road with the Hulkster, being a beloved babyface during Hulkamania where Hogan was a beloved babyface himself. Duggan said the young kids looked up to Hogan and they knew each other for 20 years. Duggan insisted that he knew what was in Hogan’s heart and so questioned why did he turn his back on everything he know? Duggan’s looking directly into the camera as he cut this promo by the way as if he’s talking to Hogan. An effective way to connect to the crowd and captivate you. I was very much hooked into this promo.

Duggan said the first word his little girl said was “Hulkster”. Duggan then claimed that Hogan was a great technical wrestler! HULK HOGAN is not the man I would have considered a great technical wrestler! Maybe compared to Hacksaw Jim Duggan, he was a great technical wrestler!

However Duggan said he didn’t wanna wrestle Hogan and he just wanted to beat him up. This was a fantastic heart-felt promo from Duggan. Hogan had turned on the fans and Duggan was upset. This really made me want to see Hogan vs Duggan… in some capacity. I wonder if WCW ever did this because this would have a been a solid money promo for that match, if they did it on Nitro for example. I guess we’ll wait and see

 

Ric Flair, Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Woman, Elizabeth and Debra McMichael vs Sting, Lex Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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Yes, I did use a photo from last week’s show. In case you were wondering….

I mentioned this match earlier and when I realised they were doing this match again, I was gobsmacked. It didn’t work last week, so they tried it again? It’s not even like they replaced Steve “Mongo” McMichael with Ric Flair. They replaced Arn Anderson with Flair as Arn was supposed to be in a world title match later. Why? I have no idea why the did this. The worst wrestler in the match last week was Mongo and you’re gonna swap ARN with Ric Flair and not Mongo?

Getting back to Arn Anderson before we get to the match, Arn has lost every Nitro match he’s had in the last 3 weeks. How he got himself a WCW title match on that win/loss record blows the mind.

The men all get into a big brawl as Benoit and Savage batter each other like crazy. Savage and Benoit were a great combination where you could totally believe that they wanted to beat the hell out of each other. As established with the limo spot, Savage was out of his mind and we happen to know for a fact that Benoit became out of his mind in real life. However, their brawling together was really intense and well-done.

Sting worked on Flair in the ring. Savage literally had Benoit squeezed into a front face-lock as Benoit tried to claw at him. The referee tried to get in between them as they cut to a break. The referee eventually restored order and started the match. Sting beat up Benoit for a while and then Ric Flair tagged himself in. Flair took a cheap shot at Savage as the announcers questioned Flair’s loyalties to WCW. Flair and Savage brawled at the “VIP section” as they throw food at each other!

How Sting constantly fell for the finger poke from Ric Flair after all of these years, I’ll never know! Savage spat at Flair from the apron. Savage pointed at Elizabeth and in response, Flair rushed out of the ring to give her a kiss on the lips to infuriate Savage even further.

I love that Savage didn’t even try to wrestle Ric, or lock up with him. He threw hands with him and he just brawled with him. Savage was a mean dude, seeking Ric Flair’s blood at this point! This was another great combination of brawlers. Ric and Savage had some great brawling during their matches as we’re watching the Nitros. It was more old school and less intense as Savage and Benoit but it was great to see.

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Eventually Mongo and Luger get tagged in. Luger was hesitant to go in the ring which I would totally understand if you saw Mongo’s display last week. Somehow, it got worse…

Lex and Mongo locked up… barely might I add. They locked up a second time and it’s not even close to be a proper lock-up. Mongo got Luger into a head-lock and Luger bounced Mongo off the ropes. Mongo lost his footing when running the ropes, he tripped and then fell out of the ring. They cut to Mongo on the outside and Benoit was shown standing on the apron just looking at him as if to say “my god you suck.” Benoit looked at him like you would look at a co-worker thinking “why is he or she still employed?” It was a glare but more a glare of disappointment. Dear god, when Lex Luger is ten times the worker you are, that’s something to indicate that you don’t belong in a ring. This Mongo couldn’t even run the ropes.

Then they struggled to do a headlock together again, and Mongo eventually dragged Luger towards the corner so Flair could get the tag. I guess that was just an audible called by Flair as he could not let Mongo continue in that ring for much longer!

Benoit stomped aware at Luger in the corner. Savage and Benoit get into a brawl. Sting ran wild on Flair… what else is new? Sting slammed Ric with a superplex but Benoit broke up the pin.  Mongo is tagged in and does a clothesline following up with a backbreaker. The heels get the heat on Sting.

Sting eventually fired back and actually tries a backslide but Benoit broke up the pin again. Isn’t there a rule where you’re only supposed to break up the pin once during a tag match? WCW’s rules are strict enough where you can’t even throw a guy over the top rope without getting disqualified (please see my review from last week at this link for further context) and guys are running in with breaking up the pins for the hell of it. Maybe I need to pull up the rule book on that one…

Flair tries a figure four leg lock on Sting I believe but they roll each other over to try and reverse the pressure. Tony Schiavonie claimed referee Nick Patrick was “consistently good”. He’s consistent alright but “consistently good” was not what I was thinking. Jimmy Hart of course ran down and took the camera as the match just stopped. Of course, if you read my introduction to this review you know what happened next.

A rather bland match I didn’t need to see that eventually was a prelude to the real main-event of the show…

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “High Voltage” Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage

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As mentioned, we were waiting around for about 30 minutes as the nWo angle went down. They finally put out a match. Apparently the announcers claimed High Voltage were making their debut which they weren’t. I do recall the Faces of Fear kicking their arses on Nitro previously. Rick Steiner was shown very cautious and paranoid as he made his way down to the ring, looking to the back as Scott was shown trembling as he made his way down to the ring too.

Scott took over Kaos with a Fireman’s Carry and locked on an armbar. Scott tagged in Rick and yelled at him: “let’s go” and “come on” as they’re in the middle of this match.

Rick gets tagged in and get his arse kicked for a while. High Voltage did a double dropkick and a double suplex. Rage did a top rope shoulder tackle. Kaos tried one of his own and Rick was supposed to catch him but Kaos just landed right on his head. It was an absolute horrible bump taken. If I had not re-watched the battle royal from the AEW Double or Nothing show where Joey Janela went head first through the table, that would have been the worst spot I’d seen all day when I watched this!

Scott got the hot tag and ran wild. Scott did a tiger powerbomb. Rick slammed Rage into the corner. Scott dropped Rage with a Steiner Screwdriver for the win. This was… a match with one dangerous botch from Rick and Kenny Kaos.

 

Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart vs Eddie Guerrero in a stand-by match

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This match basically confirmed that the nWo angle did a tremendous job in getting heat for themselves for their attack. Eddie Guerrero was supposed to face Rey Mysterio for the cruiserweight title. Obviously, Rey Mysterio was no longer available to defend the title. Therefore, they replaced Rey Myterio with BIG BUBBA. It’s quite a change of pace to move from facing the CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION to BIG BUBBA. Trust me, I was booing the nWo myself for what they’d done! They robbed from me Eddie Gurerrero vs Rey Mysterio on Nitro. -.-

Also, keep in mind the amount of great cruiserweight matches we’ve seen on Nitro in the last month with Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, Guerrero, Psychosis etc. We get a Cruiserweight championship match cut from the show in favour of Eddie Guerrero vs Big Bubba. Therefore the first thing Bubba must do is get on his knees to mock the height of Eddie Guerrero. Are you kidding me? You’re picking this show, where the WCW Cruiserweight Champion was easily man-handled by Kevin Nash, to again have a heavyweight basically make the cruiserweights seem like jokes? Come on.

Bubba took Eddie down with a shoulder block and then got the heat for what felt like as long as that nWo angle. They do mention The Giant was still scheduled to defend the title tonight but there was no challenger determined. I have to say that obviously they had a plan for Hog Wild, but this would have been a great time for Hollywood Hogan to interject himself into the match and beat The Giant for the title here on Nitro to pop a rating. If it was like a master plan from the nWo to get Hogan into the match by taking out Arn Anderson? It’d be like the finger poke of doom but having the opposite affect. However, they had a plan so why rush things? Therefore, I’m OK with them waiting.

Bubba choked away at Eddie. Bubba did a bearhug slam for a 2 count. Eddie fired back but Bubba just knocked him back down. Bubba put on a LONG ARSE chin lock which felt 20 hours long. There were big Eddie chants along with some dudes booing. It was probably the same dudes chanting boring due the nWo angle.

Eddie finally hit a tornado DDT as the fans were standing and roaring because finally there would be some life in this match. Jimmy took the referee and threw the megaphone to Bubba. It missed Bubba, Eddie then does a sunset flip as the megaphone slipped from Bubba’s grasp after he finally grabbed it and Eddie got the pin. Larry even mentioned that Bubba didn’t need to use the megaphone to win… CORRECT. Bubba was beating Eddie soundly. Eddie Guerrero came off as a geek to me after this show.

Kevin Nash would infamously use the phrase “vanilla midgets” to describe the cruiserweights of WCW. However, if you watch how Rey and Eddie were treated on this show, they were in fact portrayed as vanilla midgets that didn’t matter. Nash took out the Cruiserweight Champion like it was nothing and this match with Eddie Guerrero. Big Bubba beat his arse for about 21 hours and Eddie got a fluke win because the opposing manager screwed up. After weeks of Eddie getting putting over big with victories over Benoit and Psychosis, Big Bubba smashed him for a long time and Eddie got a fluke win to supposedly set up Eddie Guerrero challenging Ric Flair for the WCW United States title at Hog Wild? This match was way worse than Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Mike Enos to me. I don’t care what anyone says…

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Then we got more history. They show the first ever paid-for announcement by the New World Order. There was actually a lot of firsts from this episode of Nitro. They showed the famous nWo logo and play the famous nWo theme music. They declared that “The following broadcast is brought to you by the New World Order.” I love how the nWo proceeded to cut a promo on “Billionaire Ted” when it was probably Ted Turner’s organisation in storyline who agreed to put this on the air! Like it must have been a scenario where the nWo must have offered them a load of money to put these videos on the air and Turner Broadcasting were like… “OK.” Even though nWo were trying to destroy WCW!

The nWo members were all wearing sunglasses. Hogan said it’s a New World Order and there’s nothing you can do about it. He said they were new and they were taking over WCW. Hogan said they made the choices and be ready for the call if anyone was set to join the nWo. Hogan roared with laughter so loud as Hall talked quietly about who’s next to join the nWo. Nash said the whole world wanted to know one thing about Lex Luger…. “whaddya bench? Whaddya bench?” I died. Kevin Nash… his comedy is currently on and off with me. It missed last week with the production team stuff but that line I creased at this line about Lex Luger! Tremendous stuff from Nash.

Hogan said he would beat up The Giant and the very best WCW has to offer. The nWo will establish itself as the greatest wrestling organisation in the world. Hall told Sting and Luger to don’t sing it and bring it.

It was all in black and white and even by today’s standards, it came off so innovative that the people wanted to know what they were gonna do next. This also came right after an angle where they smashed four guys like it was nothing. So yeah, these were interesting times if you were a WCW fan as to what the nWo were up to.

 

The Giant © w/Jimmy Hart vs Greg “The Hammer” Valentine for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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These fireworks that went off for The Giant sounded like dolphins. If you watch this match and listen to the fireworks, they chirped like they were dolphins in the sea! It sounded so not-imposing despite The Giant being out there! Giant slammed Valentine into the ground off a push. Valentine tried to knock down Giant with clotheslines but then Giant just flattened him with a punchline as I’d like to call it…. it was  clothesline/punch hybrid and it was very funny to see Giant just clobber him!

Valentine hit a double axe handle but Giant caught him off the top rope as he attempted ta second one and hit a chokeslam from the top rope. Valentine was what 40+ years old and he was taking a top rope chokeslam from The Giant! Giant had the straps down as he roared and got hyped up with the crowd. The Giant hit a second chokeslam and got the pin. A short squash match for The Giant.

Mean Gene interviewed The Giant and Jimmy Hart. The Giant mocked Hulk Hogan’s “Mean Gene promos” and Giant said Hogan conned America that easily and he made the fans believe what he believed but Hogan himself never even believed in it. The Giant said he’s beaten the finest athletes and has beaten everybody with as much honour as in his body. I understand The Giant is the big babyface now but I do recall guys like Jimmy Hart running in for The Giant during WCW title matches! Honour isn’t particularly the word for it!

The Giant urged: “If we don’t hang together then we’ll all hang individually.” Jimmy promised that they would take Hogan out.

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There was a lot to love about this show but there was also a lot to despise about this show. Yeah, there were important angles that took place that were really well done and shot. However, the nWo angle made everything else seem so unimportant. Dave Meltzer put it best on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter edition for August 5th 1996 that: “The 7/29 Nitro show was basically a backdrop for a major angle.” Yep, that is a perfect description for this episode of Nitro.

We had boring matches and nothing matches up and down the show and the real highlight wasn’t even a match. Again, there’s a yin and a yang to this kind of stuff. As a show to hype me up further for WCW Hog Wild, this really got the job done. This show gets a thumbs up for hyping up Hog Wild and this nWo angle but a thumbs down for everything else.

We have one more episode to go before we get to WCW Hog Wild. I very much enjoyed writing this review and I know I’ve not been as active with the reviews since the new year started but I’m hoping to try and knock as much of these reviews as I can in the next few months. I think the Coronavirus will give me enough time indoors to get to work on this! Stay inside and be safe everybody! Take care of yourselves and I hope you follow the blog to get updates of all of the Nitro reviews and other posts presented by the Armbar Express!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #45 (JULY 22ND 1996) – NEVER MIND THAT SHIT, HERE COMES MONGO!

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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Hollywood Hogan re-appeared for the first time since his big heel turn at WCW Bash at the Beach as he was now aligned with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. The Outsiders and Hogan interrupted an exhilarating Lex Luger vs Big Bubba matchlast week to kick their arses and send them packing. Hogan cut another money promo about the fans turning their backs on him after he showed their children the right path. He said again that the New World Order would rule the professional wrestling world. He issued out the challenge to the WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant for a world title match at Hog Wild, vowing to rename it the nWo Championship.

 

Date: July 22nd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 2.6

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan

 

Squire Dave Taylor vs Scott Norton

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I guess Scott Norton was the “heel” in the break-up angle between himself and Ice Train, which they revealed has led to Scott Norton vs Ice Train being booked for Hog Wild. In case you aren’t caught up with this storyline, they showed last week that Norton and Ice Train were having issues. So seeing Norton vs Squire Dave Taylor in a heel vs heel match seemed kind of odd. As much as I appreciate that not every match is typical good guy vs bad guy match and I appreciate how every match is not the same as the next one, two bad guys just having a nothing match is really not the best way to open Nitro as a means to get people excited.

Meng vs Arn Anderson had this same problem last week. As good as those two men were, they put them in the ring together and there was barely any reaction from the crowd because they were both heels. In response to that I guess, they take Taylor and Norton, who were two decent workers, and had them open the show with a nothing match.

Norton knocked Taylor down with a shoulder tackle. Norton shrugged off uppercuts and dropkicks and floored Taylor with a clothesline. Taylor tried again with uppercuts and shoulder tackles but Norton instead threw Taylor over the top rope for the disqualification. Those are all of the notes I have on this match. They brawled, Norton threw Taylor’s arse over the top rope and the referee called for the DQ.

An absolute waste of time and all the more reason why they needed to get rid of this over-the-top-rope rule. I kinda appreciate the concept but not the best way to get the crowd excited when you could get disqualified for throwing someone over the top rope. In essence, you’re disqualified for kicking too much arse.

Taylor smashed Norton into the ring post. They brawled and then Norton tried a powerbomb but Taylor rolled off of him as Norton relented his assault and walked to the back as Taylor was declared the winner.

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Four Horsemen. There’s Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit as well as the ladies in Miss Elizabeth, Woman and Debra McMichael. However, there’s no Ric Flair. Arn said Ric would be here right on queue. Mongo said it was his chance to beat up the real “pretty boys” in Randy Savage, Lex Luger and Sting and things would not be pretty after tonight. Beauty is subjective by its very nature but the one thing I do not associate with “Macho Man” Randy Savage is being a pretty boy! This was certainly a weird promo from Mongo! Benoit said we were gonna experience the crippler, silent but violent.

 

VK Wallstreet vs “Konan”

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Konnan came down to the ring and was billed on the TV screen as “Konan”. One of the n’s were dropped from his name for whatever reason.

Konan took Wallstreet over with an arm-drag. They were feeling each other out and Wallstreet bounced Konan off the turnbuckle, and Konan bounced off this turnbuckle with quite the oversell.

Konan wrestled Wallstreet to the mat. Wallstreet smashed Konan into the steel steps. There were buffering problems galore during this match for me on the WWE Network. Wallstreet took over and worked on the leg, stomping on it and wrenching on it. The fans booed as not a lot happened in this match.

Wallstreet then locked on a chin-lock and there was suddenly a “Konan” chant as the fans tried to urge him back into the match to bring some energy to the match. Konan tried to get back into the match and he just ran at and missed Wallstreet, smashing into the corner and Larry Zybsko made fun of him for just trying to run at Wallstreet.

Konan hit a lariat. Konan fought back. Wallstreet hit a sloppy Samoan drop which I think Konan screwed up as he fell down too early. The timing was just not there for the finish. Konan reversed the lazy pin into a cradle of his own for the win. I was very much not a fan of this match. I felt it was very quiet, clunky at times and it really never did anything for me. Thumbs down from me.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sting, Randy Savage and Lex Luger. Luger said Flair was probably in a big fat limo or hotel but he, Sting and Savage came here to make a statement. Luger explained Sting and Savage were in Japan last week but now they were all here to make a strong statement of where they were all at. Sting said he felt like chomping on horsemen tonight. Savage wanted Hogan, the Outsiders and Flair and suggests they get it all over with in one night. Savage went crazy wanting them all to come out and sort it all out tonight.

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They showed Glacier whipping out some martial arts to hype up his debut… again.

Then they aired the following video package – it was four geeks walking together side-by-side at a beach. It was Alex Wright, Joe Gomez, Jim Powers and The Renegade. I think Gomez and Renegade teamed up against the Four Horsemen on Nitro but other than that, this was the first time we’ve seen them as a faction.

Now in order to highlight how much of a geek stable they looked, I want to bring up the stable called Evolution from WWE in the Ruthless Aggression era. The WWE Network have been releasing documentaries about this era and one of the episodes was about Evolution. They explained that when Batista was injured and while it was just Triple H, Flair and Randy Orton together, they were considering bringing in Mark Jindrak as the 4th member. They tell the story about how they were filming the four men walking side-by-side while they were filming their titantron or something. It’s how we got the infamous image of Jindrak walking alongside these guys.

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Anyway, so WWE did that in 2003 to try and show them off as four cool dudes in suits walking down the road. You had the past in Triple H and Ric Flair flanked by the future in Randy Orton and… in this case, MARK JINDRAK. In WCW 1996, they have these four nothing guys in sunglasses individually all take their Nitro shirts in the most uncool/un-hot manner. They have these four MEN then walk down the beach Evolution-style with this long hair and posing up a storm. These hot-throbs were not looking hot… at least not me. Maybe some women in 1996 fainted at the sight of these four hunks.

And then….

 

The Renegade, Alex Wright, Joe Gomez and Jim Powers vs “The Dungeon of Doom” Taskmaster, Hugh Morrus, The Barbarian and The Leprechaun w/Jimmy Hart

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So the Dungeon of Geeks faces the Dungeon of Doom in an eight man tag team match. Joining the Dungeon of Doom at this time was a man called “The Leprechaun”, as he ran around and harassed everybody like a mad man. In case you were all wondering, I watched this episode of Nitro on St. Patricks Day. And of course, they show THE LEPRECHAUN on the episode of Nitro I happened to be watching ON ST PATRICK DAYS OF 2020!

Renegade ran wild and then they cut away from this match to show disruption in the production area. They show Barbarian smashing away at Wright, with Wright coming back into the fight with a moonsault. Then they cut to the backstage area for about 90% of the match.

They showed “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in the control room. It turned to black and Nash joked they shouldn’t have bought that cheap TV. Nash yelled “IT’S THE BRAIN CENTRE” as he hijacked a headset. Hall told one of the production geeks to pan to the crowd as he got a headset. The production crew did what the Outsiders said as they pleaded with them with the geekiest voices imaginable. Hall threatened to sue the security for throwing him out and then forced the production to pan to the crowd. They then get back to the action as Gomez was battling with Taskmaster. As a wrestling fan watching this almost 25 years after it happened, this came off so bad. I guess it worked with the fans as they started to love the New World Order but this came off so corny to me.

All they really did was pick on a bunch of geeks on the production screen and play around with the cameras, with Nash cutting dad jokes. With this as well as the scene last week of Nash and Hall getting blankets and covering the WCW sign, this really hurt the seriousness of this angle. Nash and Hall came off as such dorks rather than an actual threat to WCW. This is a little bit of a spoiler for next week, but they are presented in a much more formidable force in WCW which we will cover on the Armbar Express.

Meanwhile, how pissed off must the eight men in the ring (and Jimmy Hart at ringside I guess) have been with how this match was literally hijacked by their own company? Teddy Long came down to inspire and amp up Powers. Powers actually got a power boost if you will as he fired away at Hugh Morrus. Powers started actually smashing guys. The good guys ran wild and then WCW World Champion The Giant ran down as smashed every babyface in the ring with chokeslam, one after the other. The fans were actually going nuts for all of this because when you have one man dominating and conquering all, the fans take notice as this was a force to be reckoned with. Sucks to be the babyfaces (and the rest of the Dungeon of the Doom for that matter) but the goal was to put the WCW World Heavyweight Champion over to fight Hogan which I had no problem with.

Giant raised his arms and the fans cheered. Mean Gene interviewed The Giant and Jimmy Hart. Mean Gene said: “Jimmy you scare me especially when you’re behind me like that.” The Giant said his mission when he arrived was to win the title which he did. He said he’d defend it wherever he was, whether it was Japan or here in the US. Giant said while Hogan was trying to make movies and win Oscars, he was dominating WCW. The Giant said WCW wanted him to take care of Hogan and he was going to chokeslam him in the middle of the ring as the fans roared with approval. Jimmy said The Giant would be ready for Hog Wild. This was good promo from The Giant to hype up the main-event of Hog Wild. A thumbs up from me!

 

DDP vs Prince Iaukea

DDP hit a Diamond Cutter and got the win. That is pretty much all you need to know about this match.

….Moving on….

 

Dean Malenko vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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Making his WCW Nitro debut this week was Chavo Guerrero Jr. He cut an inset promo saying Malenko had fought many men but he hadn’t fought him. I thought this was a fun match. It was the most fun match of the show up until this point.

Chavo started off very fast and Dean cut him off with a gutbuster. Dean threw him up and splattered him down to the mat. They announced Dean Malenko vs Chris Benoit for Hog Wild as Dean cost Benoit his match with Eddie Guerrero last week. The irony that Dean helped Eddie last week and is now facing Chavo in a match this week!

Dean dropped Chavo right on his head with a teardrop suplex. Dean hit a fallaway slam with 30 seconds left before hour two. Dean and Chavo battled for the superplex as the fireworks went off, with Bischoff sounding like he was on a walkie-talkie as he welcomed us to the second hour. This came off very low-rent to me as the fireworks seemed to have a really bad affect on the audio eqipment.

Dean smashed Chavo with a clothesline and went to work with a headscissors submission. Bischoff asked for Bobby Heenan on commentary and we got no response and then… we just heard a crash. It was like something had been knocked over and then Bobby started talking and we went on as normal. Weird technical difficulties at Disney/MGM Studios.

The front row showed a family of three going crazy during this match and then there was a girl to their right just backing away while looking at them with disgust!

Dean locked on a bow and arrow submission I think and then locked on the STF as Chavo refused to give up. More fireworks went off as Dean continued to go to work. Chavo got out of a submission with a dropkick. This family was still continuing to have a ball in the front row!

Dean hit a brainbuster. Jimmy Hart made his way down to the ringside and cheered on Dean. Dean hit a big powerbomb and Jimmy yelled that he wanted Dean as part of the Dungeon of Doom. As Dean is distracted with Jimmy, Chavo almost caught him with a roll-up and then later on nearly pinned him with a small package.

Dean caught Chavo off the top rope and locked on the Texas Clover Leaf as Chavo tapped out for a submission victory for Malenko. A fun match I think. Not as good as the Kidman match from last week but a fun match nevertheless. This gets a thumbs up.

 

Ice Train vs Meng

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This, to me anyway, became the newest funnest match of the episode. Meng vs Ice Train had a hoss battle! Two big dudes smashing into each other. It was sloppy in parts but a fun train-wreck nevertheless!

I love Bobby putting over the fact that Ice Train started a year ago but stopped when he realised he wasn’t ready but now he’s back and seemed ready to go and that made him a smart man. It made him seem like a mature wrestler and I appreciate that. As I talk about Ice Train being smarter and mature, Ice Train was playing to the crowd and Meng just started kicking his arse!

Ice Train hit a massive crossbody on Meng as the two big behemoths crashed into each other.  Ice Train and Meng messed up a sunset flip where Meng was just stood there was Ice Train waited for him to keel over for the spot.

Ice Train did a small package for a two count TO MENG. Meng was a tall frame but he was willing to do spots involving small packages and roll-ups! Meng dropped Ice Train with a head butt. Ice Train tried a scoop slam but Meng was too big. Meng snarled as he went to work on Ice Train!

Meng locked on a double never hold but Ice Train eventually shook off the abuse. Ice Train hit a running shoulder tackle. Meng dropped Ice Train to his knees with two headbutts and then Meng tried a camel clutch but Ice Train broke free. Ice Train fired up with big chops in the corner with sweat being splashed into the camera as he ran wild. I don’t know why, but I thought that was cool. This was such a hard-hitting match that sweat got all up the corner and in the camera lens as Ice Train hit these chops with such ferocity!

Ice Train hit a big power slam for a 2 count. Meng murdered Ice Train with a superkick as Ice Train came off the middle rope. Then Scott Norton beat up Meng for the disqualification. Norton yelled that he’s got Ice Train’s back as he doesn’t want Ice Train to have no excuses as Ice Train’s worst nightmare is about to come true.

I figured this disqualification was coming but when you think about it, both Ice Train and Scott Norton lost their matches on this episode leading to them having a match on pay-per-view. It’s a feud of two losers costing themselves or each other to lose all the way to the pay-per-view. I get why they did it but it didn’t make either of them good. Other than that, I was OK with this battle between Meng and Ice Train.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Psychosis

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I thought it was kind of cool to see Pyschosis spit green mist into the air for his entrance. It was visually great and added more to this luchador to the casual viewer.

The two luchadors grappled on the mat for control with Psychosis eventually gaining control with a spinning toe hold and then slapping Eddie in the face. Bobby Heenan talked about the Guerreros and Eddie would have been the one that would become the very best Guerrero. If we’re talking about name recognition, Bobby Heenan ended up being right on the money about this!

Eddie ran wild and hit, and I mean HIT, a top rope crossbody. Eddie landed right on top of Psychosis and was stood back up cheering with the crowd. Eddie lifted Psychosis up who either was not willing to go up for the backdrop or Psychosis was just too tall for tiny Guerrero.

Psychosis eventually took control and hit a top rope wheel kick which actually looked very slick. I love how Psychosis did a dive and sent Eddie crashing to the feet of the fans and the fans in the front row yelled down at Eddie and encouraging him to get up!

Psychosis did a top rope leg drop. Eddie did a victory roll for the 2 count. Eddie turned things around and hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. There was a sweet exchange which nearly turned to Psychosis getting the roll up win.

Psychosis hit a powerbomb and a corkscrew with Eddie kicking out at two. Eddie eventually fired back and hit a hurricanrana and hit a frog splash for the win. This was an awesome match but again… Eddie was looking to rush to the finish for some reason like he did during their first match two weeks ago. He got the moves done so quick and then power-walked to back saying “WCW.” It was weird. However, this was the best match on the show by a huge margin.

 

“The Four Horsemen” Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Woman, Debra and Miss Elizabeth vs Sting, Lex Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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As I watch the career of Steve “Mongo” McMichael progress as a WCW wrestler, there’s a part of me that really does not want to think that he was as bad as people made him out to be. When I watched his big tag team match at the Great American Bash and the odd Nitro match, I figured that maybe he wasn’t that terrible. There was some promise and he was doing things right in terms of taking things slow, focusing on the stuff he was good at. In this six man tag team match, he did a nice shoulder tackle for example.

However, other than that one spot I just mentioned, this Mongo was so horrible and please take into consideration the men he was in the ring with. Lex Luger isn’t particularly great but think about everybody else. You have Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, Sting and Randy Savage in the ring and Mongo made this match completely fall apart. This isn’t even like the Four Horsemen eight man tag from 3 weeks ago where he did very little. Everything he did in this match, minus one spot, was some of the dirt-worst of professional wrestling.

Arn was shown in a white limo I guess looking for Flair but he wasn’t there so I guess Arn was taking Flair’s place in the match. Sting ran wild on all three Horsemen but it was Mongo that stopped him in his tracks with a middle rope shoulder tackle, which I mentioned earlier.

Savage chased the women around as Arn choked Sting. Benoit hit a suplex as he urged Sting to give up. Then Mongo got tagged in and hit a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Sting went for a crossbody and smashed right into the head of Mongo. Sting over-shot his target so I’m not entirely sure I can blame Mongo on that one. However, Mongo didn’t really seem to welcome a flying Sting coming at him… for a former American football player! That was only the beginning of miscommunication between Sting and Mongo in this match.

Sting fired back to his feet but Arn kept Sting down on the mat by trapping his legs as Sting tried to reach for the hot tag. Sting fired away at the heels and for some reason, Mongo grabbed Sting’s arm and then they fell down and Mongo went for the cover. The botch looked so bad but in storyline, if you really think about, Mongo wrestled Sting to the ground. WHAT?

And then, oh then the highlight of the match, Mongo lifted Sting from his leg and barely supports Sting’s body as he initially tried to do a back suplex. Sting was not willing go up for this back suplex and grabbed the top rope. So Mongo’s just got Sting in the air and Sting is grabbing the rope. Mongo’s idea to recover the spot is just to fall back, drop Sting and have it turned into an in-adverted sit-out powerbomb where Sting fell on his arse. Yeah this was terrible stuff from Mongo. Mongo was gassed as well on the apron so he got blown up from this point!

Lex Luger eventually got the hot tag. Luger did a scoop slam to Mongo and somehow, they pulled it off with no issues. Lex Luger and Mongo did a spot together! It broke out into a six way brawl. It turned into a mess of a match as they tried to synchronise spots. Debra and Woman argue over the briefcase allegedly with Randy Savage’s money inside but Savage intercepted it and got his money back to a monstrous pop from the crowd. After all of this time, Savage finally got his money back from the heels.

It does make you wonder though about this storyline with Randy Savage’s money… are the heels in storyline just completely moronic with how they use it? One week, Elizabeth is throwing around Savage’s money and is apparently the “sugar mamma” of the Four Horsemen, funding everything they do. Then, they give a briefcase of Savage’s money to Mongo who just carried it around. Mongo sold out for money and then he just carried the money around in a briefcase. Then Savage intercepted the briefcase and somehow, he’s got all of his money back. For some reason, the Horsemen had all of Savage’s money in this briefcase which Mongo didn’t even spend! Which begs the question… why did he join the Horsemen if not for the money which was apparent early on in the storyline? To WCW’s credit, Savage getting his money back did get a big pop from the crowd but this storyline was tricky to keep up with.

Then my review notes just read -” What the fuck” most because of the finish. Sting went for a roll-up on Mongo but Mongo kicked out. Mongo stayed on the mat and the referee distracted himself with Sting and Mongo as Savage hit Benoit with the briefcase and Luger pinned Benoit so I think this was the fault of the referee. Benoit and Luger were already the legal men so I have no idea what the referee was doing counting the pin for Sting and Mongo. I think Sting was yelling at the referee afterwards as they showed the replay of the spot. Then the referee saw Luger in the match pinning Benoit and counted to three. So it appears Sting, Mongo and the referee all lost track of who the legal men were in this match. This match, and the finish,… sucked.

Bobby just said let’s get out of here.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sting, Luger and Savage again. A woman threw something in the ring and Mean Gene told the young lady not to throw her underwear in the ring! Macho Man, who clearly didn’t care one bit, said “that’s OK!” Savage was totally OK with women throwing their underwear at these handsome men. Maybe Mongo was on to something with that “pretty boys” line from earlier on in the show!

Sting said that they were not feeling down, they were feeling mean. Sting said he doesn’t read horoscopes and apparently it was gonna be a bad day for Leos and called the Outsiders “Leos”. Luger said the Outsiders were pushing all the wrong buttons. Luger said they’ve done a good job of pushing them over the edge and they’re gonna lose it. Luger said they mocked WCW but he said they were gonna shove their teeth down to their throat to wipe the smirks of their faces. I actually though Luger did a great job with his promo. Savage said nothing was gonna stop him from kicking Hogan’s ass. The fans were going nuts for this big promo. This was a fine promo to close the show.

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Generally, I thought this was a good show with bumps on the road here and there. The train-wreck of a main-event didn’t help but it was saved by a good promo from the babyfaces. There were some fun matches on the show and the fun stuff outweighed the bad stuff so this show gets a thumbs up from me! Maybe I’m being generous but during a time like this for the world with coronavirus, maybe we need some positivity here and there. I’m also a believer in giving credit where credit is due, so I’m gonna go this show a whole bunch of credit today!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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

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

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

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

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

 

Date: June 24th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Charlotte, North Carolina

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Bobby Heenan

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Taskmaster w/Jimmy Hart vs Kip Abee

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

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

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

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

 

Hardwork Bobby Walker vs Dean Malenko

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

The Barbarian vs Eddie Guerrero

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

DDP vs Alex Wright for the Lord of the Ring

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

I thought that was ridiculous.

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

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

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

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Date: May 13th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Nashville, Tennesee

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Chris Benoit vs Squire Dave Taylor w/Jeeves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs VK Wallstreet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

The Giant © vs Lex Luger for the WCW title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW UNCENSORED 1996 (MARCH 24TH 1996)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Date: March 24th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Tupelo, Mississippi

Attendance: 9,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **3/4

 

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

 

Steven Regal vs The Belfast Bruiser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Madusa vs Col Robert Parker w/Dick Slater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #28 (MATCH 18TH 1996) – THE ALLIANCE TO END HULKAMANIA RECRUITS ZEUS FROM NO HOLDS BARRED

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

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Last week saw the rivalry between the Mega Powers and the Dungeon of Doom continue, with a six man tag team double strap lumberjack match. Confusing on paper and even worse in execution, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and The Booty Man defeated Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster once again to get more momentum going into a big Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored.

This week, we’ve got the go-home show for Uncensored 1996. It turned out to be a rather infamous event but this show was a horrible preview of things to come. I thought last week’s show was pretty bad but this was worse. I will make it perfectly clear that the main-event from last week was worse than anything on this week’s episode of Nitro. However, at least last week had some redeeming qualities about it. I liked The Steiner Brothers’ big return and The Giant vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan. There were hardly any redeeming qualities on this show. Nothing worth going back to watch and the closing segment was just… it felt really flat to me. As a closing segment to hype up Uncensored, this didn’t do it for me.

Anyway, let’s run-down the show…

 

Date: March 18th 1996

Brand: WCW

City:Chattanooga, Tennessee

Rating: 3.6

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

 

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The show does not start with WCW cutting the announcers as they usually. It cut to Loch Ness and The Giant having a “brawl” and when I say a brawl, it was the equivalent to Godzilla slowly beating up a building. Loch Ness can barely moved and he is just leaning and grabbing the handrail as The Giant threw kicks and punches (better than his kicks from last week). Jimmy Hart, the smallest guy imaginable in this scenario, tried to get between them. The Giant threw knees as Lex Luger comes out. Lex Luger walks by as Giant continues to kick Loch Ness’ arse. It turned out that Lex Luger was actually supposed to be defending the WCW TV title against Loch Ness!

 

Lex Luger © vs Loch Ness for the WCW TV title.

Loch Ness is exhausted leaning on the handrail as the referee starts counting him out. Lex Luger implores the referee to count him out and Loch Ness is unable to move at all, so he gets counted out and Lex Luger retained the title!

This led to an awesome Lex Luger moment! Lex Luger has been pretty great in the last few weeks. He starts celebrating like he just won a gold medal. Then Jimmy Hart jumps into the ring and is all excited, RIGHT AFTER two of his guys have had this massive brawl! I don’t know why, but I found that hilarious. He managed every heel so even though two of these monsters are killing each other, he’ll go celebrate with Luger when he retains his title!

Luger backs Jimmy Hart away again. Luger comes to the booth and cuts a great promo. Luger grabs a mic and says he’s on a roll! Lex Luger says he’s ready and he’s peaking at the right time, calling out Hulk Hogan. I thought Luger had a great little moment here.

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Eric Bischoff then reveals they have a stand-by match. I love the idea that they even had a stand-by match because this implies that in storyline, they expected LEX LUGER and LOCH NESS to go like 10 minutes or something! Loch Ness I don’t even think has wrestled 10 minutes in his combined WCW career yet by this point!

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage are being interviewed by Tony Schiavonie. Hogan said this place was on fire. Hogan predicted the same momentum as the last few weeks. Savage and Hogan said they’re gonna go to the top together and they’re gonna go to dust together. Savage cuts a crazy promo himself. Hogan said there’s no titles on the line at Uncensored as they’ll wreck havoc wherever they go. Hogan said he heard what Taskmaster said… they never during the promo what Taskmaster actually said. I had no idea what Hogan was on about. Hogan says bring all of your horses, bring all of your men and the Mega Powers will kick your ass again. I actually loved that line to close the promo and Hogan and Savage had tremendous tag team promo chemistry. They were both so crazy with their delivery that they played off each other very well.

 

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

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The closest thing to an average match on the entire show. Public Enemy does this stupid wave dance as they make their entrance… and it’s over with the crowd. The fans in the building are all doing this wave and going nuts for Public Enemy. It’s almost astonishing what was considered cool in 1996!

With that being said, I was at an England Rugby match against Italy right before the Rugby World Cup this year. I think it may have been the match before the World Cup for England and there’s 50,000 people there for this match. In the middle of it, a wave breaks out. This wave breaks out and it does a complete lap of the crowd four times it went on so long. Maybe it’s a crowd thing that they just felt the need to entertain themselves!

Public Enemy grabbed tables. Rocco did a beautiful arm drag reversal from a tilt-a-whirl which I actually thought was pulled off well. Scott was about to put Rocco through a table with an elbow drop but Rocco moved out of the way. Rick Steiner did a suplex as Bischoff breaks the news that NBA star Dennis Rodman has been suspended for 6 games… whoop de doo.

Grunge did a bulldog to Rick Steiner onto a chair which was not a disqualification. There are bigger fishes to fry with this later on in the show but, why not try to enforce the rules a little bit?

Booker T is revealed as Sting’s partner against the Road Warriors for their match at Uncensored. Rocco did a DDT. Rocco flew off the top rope and Rick BARELY caught him with a powerslam. Rocco pulled off a springboard moonsault.

Scott hit a big belly-to-belly suplex and made the tag to Rick Steiner. Rick and Rocco brawled to the floor. Scott does the punches in the corner. Rocco goes for a dive through the table but Rick moves and Rocco goes right through the table as Scott and Rick hit their finish the Steinerizer for the win.

Now, I get Public Enemy are the hardcore tag team in WCW… but when are tables allowed in a match? I understand they didn’t hit the Steiners with tables and chairs but they used them to their advantage when it is against the rules in a tag match to use them. No matter if you hit them with it or you just use it, it is against the rules of a regular tag match to use a weapon to your advantage. END OF STORY.

Rick and Scott yelled at the Road Warriors as Bischoff refers to WCW Nitro as “the hottest show on the planet”… incorrect. Unless the standards of television were really bad in 1996, I find this very hard to believe.

 

Arn Anderson w/Woman vs The Booty Man w/The Booty Girl

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Arn Anderson tried so hard to get a good match out of the Booty Man. He tried his hardest to sell for the guy but it was hard to care. The Booty Man didn’t do a thing for me as a babyface. He was very bang average as a wrestler. I found it hard to get into him. This was the second closest thing to an average match on the show.

I will say that I loved that Arn went to throw a punch during the match but then he just collapsed to the mat Flair-style. Arn was trying really hard to get this guy over. Kimberley is with The Booty Man as… THE BOOTY GIRL. I’ve said this a few times but what a strange time the 1990s was for professional wrestling. The edgy content hasn’t even arrived for the WWF or WCW yet and they’re just casually dropping the name BOOTY GIRL as a name for Kimberley.

Arn got the heat. Arn worked on the arm of Booty. Booty runs wild as some fans actually boo.

I’m going to recap the finish but I’m going to leave in the notes as exactly as I wrote them. After I wrote what happened next, I could not believe my eyes as to what I wrote. As a wrestling blogger for about 7 years now, this was one of my crowning moments for the Armbar Express.

Booty throws punches when the Booty Girl arrives. Woman grabs the shoe and goes towards Booty. Booty gets in between them as Arn flies in with a double axe handle. Booty hits the high knee for the win.

In these notes, I would often refer to Booty Man as Booty for short. Writing THE BOOTY MAN over and over is just hard to do fast. So yeah, I just call him booty. Just that it led to the sentence “Woman grabs the shoe and goes towards Booty” is just remarkable. The only problem is that those notes are completely accurate. That’s what happened!

 

They broke down the Uncensored card during this match by the way. Booty Man is facing DDP at Uncensored. Eddie Guerrero is facing Konnan for the US title. Sting and Booker T are facing the Road Warriors. Madusa is facing Col Robert Parker. The Giant is battling Loch Ness. The main-event, of course, is the Doomsday Cage match.

 

“The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags

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I’m 90% certain this was the worst match on the show. After the Road Warriors have their best tag team match in a long time against the Steiner Brothers last week, they had a tag team match that completely fell apart against the Nasty Boys. The tag teams brawled from the get-go. Knobbs goes for a double axe handle to Animal on the floor and just falls down. The least elegant double axe handle I’ve ever seen and that set the tone for this match in many ways.

Bsichoff advised that the Nasty Boys were FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES against the Road Warriors… IN A REGULAR TAG MATCH? I mean this was not a regular tag match. They were brawling but I don’t even know why they were brawling. It was very sloppy stuff as they just brawled. Knobbs goes to the top rope but Hawk pushes him off. Knobbs bumped all over the place and bumped into the guard rail. It looked like it really hurt Knobbs as he was grabbing his gut during the match. The tag teams smack each other with those chairs again as Nick Patrick tries to get in between them.

It was here where I started to question whether every match on this episode of Nitro was No DQ because the refs aren’t doing a thing about any of this. They use weapons and there are no disqualifications at all… at least in the first two tag team matches.

They eventually get into the ring and start to wrestle for a change! There is some huge miscommunication between Knobbs and Hawk in the ring. I don’t think they had a clue what to do or Knobbs was hugely injured from the guard rail spot from earlier so they had to think of stuff on the fly.

They mentioned on commentary that Mean Gene Okerlund was off with a flu. Hawk kicked Knobbs I think in the groin or what Mongo called them: the groin muscles. Again, this was not a disqualification. Animal hits a powerslam. Animal goes for a big splash but Knobbs gets the knees up. Saggs gets the tag and this leads to nothing.  They all brawl in the ring. Knobbs looked like he could barely move.

The Steiners come out to brawl with both tag teams I think… RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REFEREE. The ref doesn’t even call for the bell. They all fight each other and in the middle of this melee, Animal hits  Knobbs with the spike shoulder pads while the ref gets distracted. The ref then comes over and counts for three. Again… a massive mess of a match.

I have a few problems with this match other then how bad it was. Firstly, The Road Warriors couldn’t beat The Nasty Boys clean going into the tag team match with Sting and Booker T? It was so important to protect the Nasty Boys here? Why bother doing a run in during this match?

Secondly, WCW were promoting Uncensored to be no disqualification all over the PPV. To build to a PPV where there are “no rules”, they had a number of matches where the wrestlers did what they wanted and the referees didn’t care. Why would people want to watch the PPV when they could watch No DQ matches all the time on free WCW television? This sucked.

 

 

 

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Taskmaster in a tornado tag team match

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I hadn’t even got to the main-event and this review was hard to write. This show was just so draining to talk about and then we got this main-event.  If you take the messy and sloppy aspects of the six man tag team matches as of late with these two factions and made it into a tag team match, you basically got this match. Not a lot of wrestling and hard to keep track of what everyone was doing. As shown later, the announcers couldn’t even keep track of what everyone was doing.

The match started. Hogan and Savage take over as Hogan chased Flair to the outside. Flair cuts him off with the eye poke. Hogan grabbed a big green hat, pulls it over Flair’s head and smashes Flair’s head into the turnbuckle.

For like 90% of the match, they only showed Flair and Hogan on television while Taskmaster and Savage are just brawling elsewhere. Hogan and Flair brawl. Hogan pushes Flair off the top rope as Savage and Taskmaster brawl on the outside. Savage eventually holds Taskmaster up in the ring and Hogan delivers a big right hand to knock him down.

Hogan chokes Taskmaster with some wire as Woman rakes the eyes of Savage as they had a split screen on the go. Hogan ran wild on Taskmaster and Flair. Savage then floors Flair with a clothesline. Savage punches away at the Nature Boy. Tornado tag matches are fine to do but these guys really aren’t having a tag match. There’s just a bunch of stuff happening as they all took turns brawling with each other. To borrow Arn’s line from last week, this match did not resemble professional wrestling at all.

Flair goes for the Figure Four on Savage as Hogan doesn’t even try to save Savage. Hogan just goes for his own Figure Four Leg Lock on Taskmaster as the battle of the Figure Four Leg Locks begin! Eventually Savage reverses Flair’s Figure Four and gets out of harm. Flair pushes the ref and the ref pushes back which is a spot only Ric Flair can pull off this well.

Savage goes to choke Taskmaster’s neck but he ends up grabbing his shoulders so it looked like he was given him a back massage instead! Flair does a back suplex but Hogan no-sold this. Hogan sends Flair over the top with an Irish Whip. Then Flair hits Hogan with a low blow while they were fighting on the outside. and of course, the announcers miss this. Not one of the three announcers were able to see Ric doing this.

I was begging for this match to be over as this was no good. Hogan fired back. Taskmaster gets knocked into Flair. Flair hit Hogan with Woman’s shoe again. This time Hogan kicks out and powers up!

Hogan Hulks up on Ric Flair as Savage and Taskmaster are just in the way. Then Arn Anderson comes down. Hogan hits the big boot. Arn trips Hogan. Then BRIAN PILLMAN runs in and attacks Hogan and Savage as the ref calls for the bell. After everything we saw in the earlier tag team matches, we got a disqualification in the Nitro main-event.

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I understand it just becomes like the gimmick of WCW Nitro where all the main-events ended in a disqualification. However, we had a show where all the tag teams did whatever they wanted with chairs and tables and it was no disqualification. In fact, the Steiner Brothers did a run in and it wasn’t a disqualification. Brian Pillman runs in and suddenly it’s a disqualification.

You know what. I’m going to establish this now… this was the worst episode of Nitro I’ve seen so far. There was no sense in the finishes, there was no consistency and the talent was just not there to pull this off. You have guys like Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit on the payroll but first, we gotta make sure that The Booty Man is in there instead. This show needed some serious change.

I will say that Savage and Pillman go on to have a hell of a brawl where they just claw at each other, which I think ended up busting up Savage a little bit. Speaking of The Booty Man, he runs down. Who should make the save for the heels but ZEUS and some other big guy. This was Zeus from the No Holds Barred movie with Hulk Hogan and he was back in professional wrestling with the Dungeon of Doom.

The babyfaces then leave the ring. Rather than staying and fighting, these three cowards walk out at the mere presence Zeus and this other guy, which we’ll get to. I loved Zeus’ face which… you could not take seriously but it was cartoon-like and it fit right in! The babyfaces FLED from the ring as Flair calls out Hogan but Savage backs Hogan off as they leave.

Tony Schavione interviews the group of heels. Taskmaster said they’ve upped the ante. Jimmy Hart said Hogan and Savage were Dumb and Dumber. All the heels said some stuff and rambled on. Arn had some statement where he said he was undefeated on Nitro before The Booty Man beat him. I call B.S. on that one based on the fact that Hogan pinned him 3 weeks ago. Now granted, Arn is a heel so his lies would make a bit more sense when you consider that he’s a heel that’s supposed to be delusional. That at least makes sense to me!

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OK, so as for the new two recruits to the heels’ stable. This stable I believe was officially called the Alliance to End Hulkamania. The two guys introduced here were set to face Hogan and Savage at Uncensored. I’ve lost track of all the guys that Hogan and Savage were meant to be fighting at Uncensored. Apparently, Brian Pillman was supposed to be in that match as well but he ends up not showing up. Anyway, the thing with these two are that these would be wrestling their final wrestling matches in their careers on this show.

Believe it or not, Zeus was going by Z-Gangsta in WCW! He wrestled exactly five times in his wrestling career. He wrestled in tag matches against Hulk Hogan for WWF as part of the No Holds Barred movie build. He wrestled this match in WCW. Believe it or not, he wrestled ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER IN 1990. In WWC Puerto Rico, they had a match. This match is on YouTube so I do plan on watching this match! I am a glutton for punishment but I must see this match! Zeus in his prime I guess!

The other guy’s name was Jeep Swenson. As unbelievable as some of you may find this to believe, he was initially called the Final Solution. This was actually the name of Adolf Hitler’s plan in World War 2 to destroy the Jews so, as you could imagine, this caused some complaints so they ended up changing the name. He then became the Ultimate Solution for this match.

Swenson actually passed away a year later with heart failure. He actually had a role as Bane in the also infamous Batman and Robin movie too. These guys were right up Hogan’s street in terms of big, mean dudes for Hogan to conquer. I think this doomsday cage match could turn out to be one of the worst matches I ever watch. If this show is anything to go by or if any of the previous six man tag team matches in recent weeks are anything to guy, this will be nothing short of a disaster. Keep in mind that those matches that came beforehand did not include Z-Gangsta, Ultimate Solution and Lex Luger who would also be in this match.

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The plan is to watch WCW Uncensored in full although I did consider watching just the main-event. However, I am going to watch the PPV and try to stick to watching every PPV as I’ve done before. The real attraction will be this Doomsday Cage match main-event. I will see you with my review of WCW Uncensored 1996.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order