RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #62 (NOVEMBER 18TH 1996) – RODDY PIPER REVEALS THAT ERIC BISCHOFF IS IN THE NWO

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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Since Halloween Havoc 1996, Eric Bischoff had been trying to sign the “match of the decade” in booking WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan vs “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Piper was not “associated” with WCW but Bischoff claimed to have met with Piper to try and sign the match. Hogan had been calling Piper a coward and Piper had not appeared on television since the PPV. However, it was promoted that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper would be on WCW Nitro this week.

…oh yeah and this is the go-home show for WCW World III. They’ve mentioned that once or twice I guess in the last few weeks.

 

I could go on a big tirade about how badly they’ve promoted their World War III PPV this year but I won’t do that. I will forgive them for that on the grounds that this was a pretty good episode of WCW Monday Nitro. This was the best one in a long time. There was not a lot wrong with the episode and it featured a legendary WCW moment as Rowdy Roddy Piper confronted Eric Bischoff at the end of the show.

 

Date: November 18th 1996

Brand: WCW

City:Florence, South Carolina

Rating: 3.2

Commentators (First Hour): Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

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First thing they show on Nitro is not even the intro video for WCW Monday Nitro. The first thing they show is the Outsiders standing in the ring with chairs and the Nasty Boys and High Voltage both laid out, sparing us from seeing that match. I think there was another luchador tag team out there was well. I think what happened was High Voltage was wrestling a dark match but the Nasty Boys beat up those guys but then Outsiders beat up the Nasty Boys. It was crazy because they do kind of explain that later but without that, we just see the Nasty Boys randomly on the show after they were barred from the show last week! It was completely upside down with the storyline.

Kevin Nash grabbed the mic and said it was nice to see Larry Zybszko dressed up this week after Nash buried him for what he wore last week. Nash and Scott Hall intimidate Tony Schiavonie as they yelled about how they can be funny or deadly. Nash mentioned Tony’s bad neck and asked if Tony ever wanted to pick up his kids? Sounds like a threat to me.

Hall said they’ve heard how scary the Faces of Fear are and they are the two toughest guys in the business but he told “those two highlanders” to come out here and they would slap the coconut crap out of them. Hall said if the Faces of Fear won’t come to us, we’ll come to them. Nash and Hall walk to the back. FIGHTING WORDS.

So out of nowhere, Meng and The Barbarian appear out of thin air and bring the fight to the Outsiders! These two tag teams had a GREAT FIGHT! Kevin Nash would garner a reputation of being lazy in the near future but at this time, he, Hall and the Faces of Fear worked their asses off to put together a wild brawl! Nash and Meng used trash cans as swords as they battled! It was a hell of a brawl as Hall goes head first into the fire exit door! The Outsiders are selling like crazy for the Faces of Fear and it was GREAT!

They explain later what happened before the show started. It was shown that I guess the Nasty Boys were beating up High Voltage and “two Mexican friends” when the Outsiders attacked with chairs. Tony berated Larry as a wrestler for not stepping in and said he can’t be dealing with this as he has a family. Therefore, he was leaving Larry to it and Tony walked out for the rest of the show.

A unique way to start the show but I think the brawl between these four huge men that spilled out to the back really made it worth it. To give WCW credit, watching this fight really made me want to watch The Outsiders vs Faces of Fear at World War III! They’re doing Outsiders vs Faces of Fear vs Nasty Boys at the PPV so this was done with that in mind and I got excited for watching this match! Therefore, this was a success! HUGE THUMBS UP for the opening segment.

 

La Parka vs Juventud Guerrera

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We got THE DEBUT OF LA PARKA as he was booked against Juventud. I liked this match. The pacing was weird but this was exactly the type of match I expected it to be with a whole bunch of lucha spots from both men. They delivered that so I was content.

This is weird to admit but when I was younger, I had a Batman buckle belt exactly like La Parka had on for this match! This was weird booking when Juventud Guerrera, the loser of last week’s match against Miguel Perez, was back this week but Miguel Perez wasn’t. Shouldn’t the winner get booked for the next Nitro rather than the loser? What’s the incentive for Juventud to win if he just gets another match the next week anyway? It felt odd.

Juvi worked on La Parka. They exchange chops with La Parka delivering a kick to the face to floor Juvi. Mike Tenay joined Larry to save his arse on commentary but to be honest, this commentary was pretty bland especially with Tenay. I didn’t get much from them for the rest of the hour.

Juvi floored Parka with a clothesline. A bunch of lucha libre spots leads to a backbreaker for a two count. La Parka does a suicide dive into the guard rail. Juvi did a springboard hurricanrana to La Parka, who was seated on the top rope. That spot was actually pulled off really well.

Juvi did a springboard moonsault which appeared to look like a springboard pele kick because his feet landed right on Parka’s face! That can’t have fun for poor La Parka!

Parka cut off Juvi with a dropkick when Juvi went for a springboard splash. Parka did a crossbody to Juvi on the floor. Parka hit a powerbomb. Parka did a Romero Special but Juvi broke it up by just raising himself up from the hold and then just falling on top of La Parka to turn the match around! It was so basic but the fans yelled “ohhh” and reacted because Juvi landed right on the gut of Parka!

Juvi smashed Parka’s head into the turnbuckle. A part of me thought I missed an episode because they just randomly bring up that Roddy Piper would be here. That just seemed to be brought up out of nowhere after weeks of “negotiations” and Eric Bischoff supposedly being stone-walled.

Juvi did a top rope frankensteiner for a 2 count. Parka did a senton of the top rope but Juvi moved out of the way. Parka got small packaged for a 2 count. In the middle of these high-flying spots and lucha libre spots, Juvi did a random DDT! A part of me thinks they were supposed to only get a few minutes like the Miguel Perez match last weekbut they ended up getting more time at the last minute, so they just ended up doing a bunch of other spots without any real plan!

Juvi did a tornado DDT or a “rolling DDT” for a 2 count. Some fans actually started booing as I think they wanted the match to be over. Juvi tried a spinning frankensteiner but he fell down and La Parka does a tremendous springboard corkscrew for the victory.

This was a fine match with a great finish. Not much in psychology but the execution for a lot of the moves were on point. The fans popped for Parka winning so I will go ahead and say this was a success.

 

 

Dean Malenko © vs Ultimo Dragon w/Sonny Onoo for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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This was a weird one with the timing as well. It’s the J-Crown Champion from NJPW Ultimo Dragon facing the WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko for his title and it got… FOUR MINUTES! A few weeks ago, they had an episode of Nitro which saw Marcus Bagwell and Brad Armstrong get a long time for a match followed up by a Cruiserweight title match which lasted four minutes and got a bad ending. This show followed the exact same formula. Parka and Juventud got a lot of time and this big champion vs champion match got four minutes and a DQ finish! It was crazy with the time management for the show!

Although this match got four minutes, this was a great four minutes with Dragon and Malenko. They pulled off some amazing stuff and it was like a small teaser to what would have been a five star classic between these two at this time! This is a spoiler but apparently this match happened again at Starrcade 1996. We’ve got that to look forward to!

There was a good bit of mat wrestling to start of the match. Dragon and Maleno battled for the arm but then Dragon switched and worked on the leg of Malenko with a toe hold. Dean trying a kick but Dragon sweeping the leg was a spot that was pulled off beautifully. This was a small move but it worked out really well in execution!

Dragon did a cartwheel elbow smash. I love how after a massive exchange and a dragon suplex, Dragon tried a leapfrog and Dean just stood there and walloped him with a big clothesline! Some tremendous wrestling on display and in the middle of this, Malenko clotheslined Dragon out of his boots!

Dragon Irish-whipped Dean into the guard rail. Dragon missed a top rope moonsault. Dean tried a Texas Cloverleaf. Sonny Onoo got on the apron and got thrown in the ring. Dean then tossed Dragon over the top rope for the disqualification finish. Out of all the matches we’ve seen on Nitro in the last four weeks, this is the match with the disqualification for one man throwing another man over the top rope?

This was a lame finish to an otherwise awesome match. To be fair, they mentioned on commentary that Bobby Heenan picked Dean to win the World War III battle royal and he threw the J-Crown Champion over the top rope here. It at least demonstrated that Malenko can throw a man over the top rope so at the very least, they are teasing that Malenko may be able to do that to anyone that steps in his path at World War III to win the battle royal. That I very much appreciated.

 

They did show the finish of the Harlem Heat and Canadians match from last week where Parker was thrown into the ring by Stevie Ray but eventually, the referee just called off the match… seemingly for no reason.

 

“The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rogueau and Carl Ouellet w/Col Robert Parker vs “The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs

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There wasn’t much to this match other than to continue to slow build for an American Males break-up. There was no Harlem Heat there to promote the Amazing French Canadians’ match with Harlem Heat at World War III. Speaking of which, it was revealed if Harlem Heat won the match at World War III, their manager Sister Sherri will get 5 minutes in the ring with Col Robert Parker. My apologises, I guess that is the pay off to this year long storyline with Parker and Sherri. A random five minute match.

Bagwell waived the American flag coming out and gaining patriotism points with the crowd. Bagwell ran wild on the Canadians and then Riggs came in as they worked together to dispose of the Amazing French Canadians. Jacques stopped the match just so he could do some kip-ups, he encouraged Riggs to do some and then kicked him to gain control!

Riggs did a monkey flip to Jacques and Jacques almost landed right on his head. In response, a later spot see Jacques try a monkey slip but Riggs does not fall for it and punches him in the face. Of course he sees the danger in doing this spot! He damn near destroyed Jacques’ neck with the same spot earlier on in the match!

Bagwell and Riggs bump into each other for a spot and then yell at each other. To be honest, I had no idea why Bagwell was in the ring other than to crash into Riggs. It was hard to figure out what Bagwell and Riggs were going for before they crashed into each other.

Rogueau scoop slammed Ouellet into the back of Riggs which looked unpleasant for Riggs. The spot I usually see with the Amazing French Canadians is Jacques scoop-slamming Carl into an opponent who are usually laying on their back. Riggs was sitting up and so this big man was thrown right into the back of Riggs!

They do a quick double STO to Riggs as they continue to get the heat. Ouellet punched Rogueau by mistake and then Riggs was able to get the tag to Bagwell. Bagwell ran wild on the Canadians. Riggs kneed Rogueau into the head of Bagwell and then Jacques was rolled onto Bagwell for the pin by Carl.

This was a creative finish to an otherwise bland match. I didn’t think it was bad but there really wasn’t much going for it in my eyes. I love how the American Males were arguing after the match and Riggs’ big complaint was that Bagwell celebrated too much during the match! What a buzzkill this Scotty Riggs turned out to be!

 

They showed the WCW website and there was a red creepy web page they had called the WCW Dark Room. What on earth was up with that? It was like the website had suddenly changed into a website for a cult that ended up on WCW television!

 

Hugh Morrus vs Lex Luger

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This was a bad match. I don’t expect much from Lex Luger’s matches but at least they would be the Lex Luger formula for a match. They can at least accomplish the goal of getting Lex Luger over. The fans loveD the Torture Rack so you build towards that finish and then Luger delivered the move. I will get to the finish in a little bit but this match really let me down.

I love how Tenay talked up Lex Luger’s win streak when 3 weeks ago, he walked out of a match with Booker T because he saw his friend Sting in the crowd! He’s on a great roll but if he sees his friend in the crowd, he’s vulnerable. It’s like Sting is his kryptonite right now!

Hugh beat up Luger for a while as Arn cut an insert promo. Luger no-sold a slam and then taunted at Hugh by flexing his muscles. Luger hit a suplex and slammed Hugh with a hip toss.

One thing that bothered me was that Hugh did a knee to the back of Luger and Luger doesn’t feel his back to sell it. He just wobbled like a penguin to the corner and doesn’t even try to sell it. Luger really has a hard time trying to sell and usually I will try to block it out in my mind, but it really irritated me here. Then Hugh did a polish hammer and Luger fell down and became unmoving…. It was so inconsistent of how he sold during the match and it was really jarring.

Luger made a comeback with 3 clotheslines and did a back elbow to change things up! Hugh did his own clothesline but then he missed a big splash. Luger motioned of the Torture Rack, the fans went crazy as Luger is able to get another big man up in the air for this move. However, he’s unable to get Hugh properly up for the move. This is a conspiracy theory and I don’t have much evidence to go on but I’m fairly certain Hugh dead-weighted him. Luger got the man on his shoulders just like he’s done with other men way bigger than Hugh Morrus, but Morrus slid to the other side of Lex’s shoulders. Luger just then carried him like he’s about to do a shinbreaker. He dropped Hugh and then the referee decided that Hugh had given up.

Luger was pissed off in the ring that he wasn’t able to do the spot properly. I think Luger wanted to do what he did with Roadblock a month ago and try the spot again but this referee decided “he got him up, let’s take the match home” which did not sit well with Luger. This was a bad match with a horrible finish. I personally think this was the worst thing on the entire show.

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Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger. All of a sudden, Sting showed up through the crowd with a red baseball bat. He doesn’t have the black baseball bat yet but he did have a red one. I don’t know the significance of why it was red. Luger and Sting have a stare down. He poked Luger in the chest with his bat and pushed him into the corner with the bat. He gave Luger the bat and left. Larry then goes on a weird tirade along the lines of: “even I, as brilliant as I am psychologically, can’t figure this out.” Was there any need for Larry to say that other than to get himself over?

Luger then doesn’t respond to Mean Gene’s further questioning and then just left because Luger can’t figure out what was going on with Sting either. He looked dumb-founded. This felt like a filler Sting appearance because they certainly didn’t follow up Sting attacking Jeff Jarrett last week. It’s important to continue to establish the previous Sting/Luger relationship but this just seemed to accomplish nothing in the storyline.

 

They showed an interview with Nick Patrick and the solicitor Alan Sharpe which I think was from WCW Saturday Night. Chris Jericho and Teddy Long interrupted them. Teddy called out Alan Sharpe and claimed his law firm was called “do we cheat them and how” or something. Teddy made a comment along the lines of  Jericho could beat up Nick Patrick with one arm tied behind his back and I guess it was booked. Chris Jericho with one hand tied behind his back vs Nick Patrick booked for World War III.

 

 

Johnny Grunge vs Chris Jericho

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Ever since Chris Jericho arrived in WCW, I have had the pleasure of listening to Chris Jericho’s “All the Days” first WCW theme song. It’s a tremendous song and I was always happy listening to it. I’m not sure what happened here but all of a sudden, on the WWE Network, they played Jericho’s WWE Break the Walls Down theme as he came down for this WCW match. They couldn’t just play the All the Days song again? They had to put on the clearly out-dated future WWE theme? That song doesn’t sound like it belonged on a WCW show from 1996 because it clearly didn’t fit the era. If this is going to be the case for the rest of Jericho’s WCW run while I watch Nitro on the WWE Network, I’m going to be really upset.

Jericho worked on Grunge for a while and then Nick Patrick came down, still with a neck brace and also wearing sunglasses and all black. I will get into this later but Nick Patrick wearing a neck brace and still accepting a wrestling match with Chris Jericho is unintentionally hilarious when you think about it!

Jericho tried a top rope moonsault, landed on his feet and then Grunge floored Jericho with a lariat. Jericho did a “jump spin wheel kick” to Grunge and then followed this up with a springboard dropkick.

Grunge got mad and grabbed a chair but Jericho slid between the legs and dropped Grunge face first into the apron. Grunge did a clothesline to a seated Jericho, who was sat on a chair Grunge brought into the ring.

Then we got another horrible finish. First, Grunge grabbed a table and set it up….. SINCE WHEN ARE TABLES ALLOWED IN A MATCH? I know the Dudley Boyz did spots like this for years but this is not, at least it was not announced as, a hardcore match. Grunge is just allowed to use the tables for a spot which is even more illegal than Malenko throwing a man over the top rope.

Grunge smashed Jericho’s head into the table and it’s not a disqualification. Heenan said if Patrick were in the ring he would have disqualified them and Eric Bischoff’s grand rebuttal for this excellent point was… “he hasn’t used it yet.” He said this about 5 SECONDS after watching Grunge use the table to his advantage. I’m so glad now that Eric Bischoff will be a heel from here on out because that was a ridiculously babyface defence of this referee! Goldfish memory on display by Bischoff!

Grunge tried a chair leg drop but went crashing through the table and Jericho did a top rope dropkick for the win. The match was fine minus the blatant use of weapons and I hate that this was all allowed during the same show where you can’t even from a man over the top rope without getting disqualified. This… SUCKED.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Jericho. Teddy Long came out. Teddy said the match might be too much for Jericho and it is played up that CHRIS JERICHO may lose this match to REFEREE NICK PATRICK. Even if Jericho had a hand tied behind his back, he’s wrestling a referee who was wearing a neck brace. Yes, Patrick had apparently had legitimate experience as a wrestler and it is likely that Patrick is faking his injury as part of this storyline. However, how Jericho would be so incapable in the ring against a REFEREE is absolutely ridiculous. How bad much Jericho be in storyline where as soon as he loses a hand, he cannot beat anybody? By that logic, I would have been able to beat Chris Jericho in 1996 and I was two years old at the time!

Jericho put over Teddy as a intelligent man. Jericho said the match was the only way we’d get a coward like Patrick in the ring with him and accepted the match for World War III.

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The nWo arrived with Hollywood Hogan, Miss Elizabeth, Vincent and Ted DiBiase. Heenan bailed but returned later. Hogan grabbed a mic and said it’s time for Hollywood. Hogan demanded Bischoff tell everyone that he’s the biggest star and he’s a bigger star than Piper. He demanded that he tell them that he’s a bigger icon than Rowdy Roddy Piper. Bischoff quietly said it and then Hogan demanded he tell everyone that Piper is scared of Hogan. Hogan told Bischoff to say Piper is 100 times richer than Piper which probably was true at this time! If you consider all the money that was thrown at Hogan at this time for movie roles, television and his big ass WCW contract at this time, this was most likely a true statement! Bischoff relented and said it. Hogan said now that the nWo is running the show, carry on.

…in hindsight, why did this happen? I’m gonna jump ahead to the finish of the show but Eric Bischoff was later revealed to be aligned with Hogan. Therefore, why did Hogan and Bischoff feel the need to put on this facade where Hogan forced Bischoff to talk about how great he is? If he wanted Bischoff to tell everyone how great he is… HAVE HIM TALK ABOUT HOW GREAT HE IS. It’s Bischoff’s show, so he can do what he wants! I’m sure Bischoff will spend the next 3 years talking about how great Hogan is so why not do it here on the night he’s gonna turn heel anyway?

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Then Mean Gene Okerlund popped up on the ramp to speak to Diamond Dallas Page again. Mean Gene repeated the line from last week claiming DDP would be the 8th man of nWo if DDP accepted the Outsiders’ offer so they are getting the number for the amount of members wrong. Unless Miss Elizabeth and possibly nWo Sting are not officially part of the group, I have no idea why they keep saying DDP would be the 8th man.

DDP started to cut a promo but the nWo arrive. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, The Giant and Syxx were there. I’m guessing the Outsiders won the fight with the Faces of Fear from the start of the show because they were back on the show but the Faces of Fear weren’t. Hall asked if DDP had got his wake up call yet. DDP didn’t like the comment about Bischoff last week. Nash is talking again about how DDP didn’t get it with regards to why Bischoff was so important. Giant said we should punk him out so I’m guessing The Giant is not clued in on the plan to get Eric Bischoff in the team. Nash said something very beautiful was gonna happen tonight which was apparently a quote from Space Odyssey 2001.

 

Bobby Eaton vs Jeff Jarrett

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Bischoff’s explanation of why nWo are allowed time was that the more WCW censored them, the more people will want to hear more from them. This made little sense to me but obviously the line made a lot more sense at the end of the night.

Eaton and Jarrett wrestled and were among the dying breed of bleach blonde hair wrestlers in WCW! Jarrett worked on Eaton on the outside. Jarrett hit a suplex in the ring and went for the Figure Four Leg Lock as Ric Flair with a cast came out in a Christmas sweater as Jarrett secured the submission victory. This was short for the purposes to get Flair on the screen and to at least give Jarrett momentum heading into the rematch with The Giant at World War III.

Mean Gene interviewed Ric and Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett said we had to unite. They brought up how Sting dropped Jarrett last week. Jarrett said he chopped down Giant at Havoc to which I have no idea what was talking about. I seem to recall The Giant kicking Jarrett’s arse and Ric saving Jarrett from getting chokeslammed!

Ric got on the mic and for the first time on Nitro screamed “MEEEEAAAN GENE!” for WCW. It was glorious as Flair was so happy to be there! Ric said Jarrett is good to go. Ric said Dr Jim fixed him up and the Nature Boy will be back soon. Sting was up in the rafters watching this. Ric said Jeff Jarrett was in the Four Horsemen because the Nature Boy said so and so the other Four Horsemen members had to accept it. Ric and Jeff both strut their stuff and party and this worked with the South Carolina fans big time.

 

Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart vs Jim Powers

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Bubba hit a Boss Man slam for the clean victory. The match was OK. Very forgettable. Bubba celebrating with Jimmy in his arms was awesome. Those were my full notes of this match!

This was a filler match if I ever saw one. It wasn’t bad but all of my other notes about it were about things not to do with the match!

With that said, it was interesting that there was no Teddy Long with Jim Powers this week so I’m assuming Teddy is with Jericho until after World War III.

Bischoff tried to downplay Piper, saying it was unlikely he was gonna be there for Nitro. He mumbled about movies and management and whatever. You could tell that the second hour meant nothing to Nitro (well except the main-event angle) as JIM POWERS VS BIG BUBBA was the semi-main-event match of Nitro!

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman vs Eddie Guerrero

This match was a big reason why I loved this show. I have seen Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero wrestle at least a thousand times by now! It’s not that much on this series but I watched this match so many times and this match was a thing of beauty. It was a wrestling clinic when it needed to be, it was a fight when it needed to be and it delivered a winner and a loser! There was no shenanigans with Woman, Taskmaster, the Guerreros or even the referee. This was a true wrestling match and these two delivered as always.

Benoit tried a crossface early on to no avail. Eddie turned things around. Benoit was able to turn things right around himself and he grabbed Eddie and started slapping him as he yelled at him. The intensity of Benoit was always high to an extent but with Eddie, the intensity from him and Guerrero was always really high for these matches and it really introduced a level of realism to an otherwise fake wrestling match.

Benoit did a Northern Lights suplex. He went for the cover and when Eddie kicked out, Benoit immediately grabbed Eddie’s wrist for a wrist lock. This was not a typical match where they do a kick out and then lay there for a minute until the next spot. Benoit went for the cover and almost RIGHT AWAY moved onto the next hold. It was sublime.

It was so clear as Benoit was working on the arm of Guerrero. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Eddie rolled him up for a near fall. Eddie fired back. Benoit and Eddie crashed to the mat with a superplex as they came back from the break.

Benoit tried a powerbomb but Eddie turned the momentum into a hurricanrana to the outside. Eddie and Benoit fired away at each other on the outside with punches as Eddie showed some Latino Heat. Woman got in the way and Benoit took advantage of this distraction.

Eddie small packaged Benoit for a  2 count and Eddie hit a belly to back suplex. Eddie went for a splash but Eddie saw Benoit move and stopped himself. Eddie did a frankensteiner which Benoit reversed into a sunset flip for the pinfall victory.

Great match as usual and a clever finish. Everything they did was on point and I would HIGHLY recommend watching this wrestling clinic displayed by Benoit and Guerrero as usual. A tremendous wrestling main-event.

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Moving on to a tremendous main-event angle! Eric Bischoff got in the ring to cut a promo. Eric apologised for what Hogan made him do tonight and WCW were gonna do everything in their power to sign Piper for a match with Hogan. He said WCW will try to reach him through his attorneys and management to get him. Then bagpipes play and it is Rowdy Roddy Piper on the stage! Eric is taken back but not overjoyed either.

Piper had a microphone as fans go crazy for him. Piper said it’s nice to be back. He came here to tell some truth. Piper said he’s never heard so many lies in his life other than when he himself was saying them! Piper said he was king of the frat house as he talked about Charlotte, North Carolina. He said he was PO’d. He understood someone was calling him a coward.

He quotes LL Cool J, who he described as a “rapping kind of guy!” The line was: “You slap Roddy Piper and you didn’t get a hassle” and then he turns around, pointed at Bischoff and declared: “you’re a liar”.

Piper wanted to talk about “jerks and lairs” and then turned to Bischoff. He shook Bischoff’s hands. He questioned Bischoff about his claims of travelling to meet with Piper. He goads him into saying that he took a coach to visit. Piper responds with a line which I always remember from when I watched this angle for the first time. I made it clear when I started this series that I’d never watched the original WCW shows at the time but I have watched angles here and there. I watch this angle and I always remember the line where Piper then asked Bischoff: “Was the road crooked, or was the road straight?”

Piper grabbed Bischoff and called him a piece of shit before the nWo arrive to save Eric. Bischoff. They grab Piper as Bischoff hugged Hollywood Hogan. Bischoff changes his swagger and Hogan reveals everyone is working for Bischoff. Hogan then said Bischoff was working for the nWo so it wasn’t particularly clearly who was actually in charge of the group! Long story short, Bischoff was working with the nWo the entire time.

Piper tried to claw at Bischoff but he wasn’t able to do it. Hogan called Piper a loser. He said he was never been anything in the business until he wrestled Hogan. Hogan called Piper a coward. Hogan took off his belt as Piper tried to get at Hogan but police and security try to pull Piper away this time. Piper breaks away from the security but he is literally pulled away by his coat. The Giant VAULTED out of the ring during all of this in an incredible feat of athleticism form the big man. The nWo leave and Piper agreed to fight, he’ll have a contract at World War III and he tells Hogan to kiss his ass.

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This was a famous segment! The reveal that Eric was in the nWo all along. It was clear that this was in the works for some time to reveal Bischoff as being a part of the group. Heenan questioned him about some of his decisions last month and him being with the group is a logically way to explain how the nWo had gotten so far with their take over of WCW. They had a man on the inside in the WCW President Bischoff.

The crazy thing is, Bischoff completely transformed into the cocky asshole Bischoff that I always remembered growing up from watching him in WWE. He was the RAW General Manager when I first started watching wrestling and for the last year and a half when doing these reviews, I’ve seen him as this regular babyface commentator. As soon as they pulled the trigger had him turn, it was almost like he fit right in. He now had the means to say whatever he wanted and act the way he wanted on television!

The one thing I wanted to add before I finish this review was this show was great in terms of actually putting together a weekly television show. When the smoke cleared, this did nothing to promote the WRESTLING PAY-PER-VIEW they had set for the Sunday. There was hardly any mention of the World War III battle royal. The Piper thing only set up a segment for World War III to sign a contact for a match on a different show. Benoit vs Guerrero, as good as it was, never played into the PPV. The Giant and the Outsiders have matches booked for World War III but there’s no other mention of nWo involvement in the World War III battle royal.

All of this stuff is great for weekly ratings but as a means to sell PPVs, I don’t think this did what it was supposed to do. I did check and apparently, there was a big dip in PPV buys for World War  III than the pay-per-view before Halloween Havoc. Of course it did. As much as I personally hated the Randy Savage/Hollywood Hogan program, they dedicated so much of Nitro to this stupid storyline that people wanted to watch that match. They put in the work to promote Halloween Havoc as a big deal. For World War III they have not done that, which is sad.

 

The next review coming up shortly is World War III on the blog. We will review the entire show including Rowdy Roddy Piper signing the contract to face Hollywood Hogan and the World War III battle royal to determine the number one contender for Hogan’s championship at a later stage. Be sure to watch out for that on the blog by following it to get updates for future Nitro reviews. Leave a comment and spread the word if you can as we’re still on this journey to review every WCW Nitro episode and pay-per-view since the very first Nitro! The WCW Nitro review reading order is available below!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #60 (NOVEMBER 4TH 1996) – LEX LUGER VS BOOKER T REMATCH, HECTOR GUERRERO, WOMEN’S WRESTLING AND MORE….

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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Rowdy Roddy Piper had arrived in WCW but Eric Bischoff denied that Piper was actually associated with WCW but a free agent that was looking for “five minutes” to tell WCW World Champion Hollywood Hogan what he thought about him at Halloween Havoc. They showed the full Halloween Havoc segment on Nitro last week and Hollywood Hogan’s response to this new threat was to flex for the nWo fans.

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IT’S RAW VS NITRO TIME! This is a WCW exclusive review series but this week, we’re reviewing WCW Monday Nitro as well as WWF Monday Night RAW from November 4th 1996 as they go head-to-head. I will review both shows as they went down and then I will pick a winner and a loser! We’re changing it up for this week but there is a reason as to why we are watching RAW this week…

…this is the week where RAW actually moved its time slot to an hour earlier. They were head-to-head with Nitro’s second hour for years and remember, RAW was still a one hour show at this point.  They were getting creamed by Nitro in the ratings during the second hour so they changed it up. The direct head-to-head competition between RAW and Nitro would happen during hour one instead.

I wonder if the idea was that previously, Nitro were destroying them because they had an hour advantage leading into the second hour clash with RAW. Therefore, the Nitro fans would either stay or switch over the channel and if they’re hooked enough they would stick around for the second hour. Alternatively, something big would be promoted for the second hour on Nitro so they would feel the need to stick around to see what it is rather than watch RAW.

So now with RAW starting at the same time as Nitro, perhaps it would convince some fans to watch RAW and then watch the second hour of Nitro once the big angles of RAW are done. There’s a lot of ratings stuff to consider when they got that time slot. They got the time slot and they wanted to start off with a big angle. As I will get into when I review the RAW review, they ended up producing one of the most controversial segments in wrestling history!

I therefore feel that RAW was worth reviewing. The Nitro reviews will continue and let us get into this Nitro review first, including more follow-up to the big Rowdy Roddy Piper/Hollywood Hogan showdown at Halloween Havoc.

 

Date: November 4th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Rating: 3.4

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

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No Eric Bischoff for the entirety of this episode as he is off negotiating with Rowdy Roddy Piper during this show. It’s promoted heavily during Nitro that he will phone in with an update regarding contract negotiations for a future match between Rowdy Roddy Piper and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan.

Sting was shown actually in the rafters this time, watching the action. The New World Order’s The Giant, Vincent and Ted DiBiase looked on from the crowd. A tournament was starting from tonight to crown the first ever WCW Women’s Championship or as the announcers would call it a “ladies championship”. The title actually looked pretty cool when they displayed it at the announce table.

 

 

Brad Armstrong vs Marcus Bagwell w/Scotty Riggs

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A solid opener where I think Bagwell more than held his own against Brad Armstrong, who is way better than people remember.

They wrestled for a bit. Constant headlock takeovers from Bagwell in a struggle for control. The fans didn’t care as the fans chanted for nWo as Brad locked on a headscissors.

Brad ran wild with some arm drag which got Bagwell got mad and he slapped Bagwell to a big pop. Brad suddenly fired up and whooped Bagwell’s ass for a while, sending him crashing over the top rope with a clothesline. Bagwell was getting mad at himself with the signs of heel Bagwell starting to show during this episode of Nitro.

Bagwell sprung back into the match with a springboard clothesline. Bagwell sent Brad over the top rope with a clothesline. Bagwell was acting more of  a heel and the fans picked up on this as some of them started booing Bagwell. Bagwell did a springboard splash to the outside. I love how The Giant was shown leaving with Ted DiBiase through the crowd and he was high-fiving the fans on the way out! These dastardly villains were dishing out high-fives to try and get favour with the fans… which is working!

Brad hit an excellent tornado DDT for a 2 count. Bagwell hit a gutbuster. Bagwell and Brad both came off the ropes for the crossbody and Bagwell turned over the momentum on Brad and secured the pinfall.

I thought this was a good match. It started off tame but ended up being really good. They gave time to Bagwell and Brad and it worked out really well. If you get the fans from being bored to being excited by the time the bell rings, you have achieved. These two men worked their arses off and this match gets a thumbs up.

 

 

DDP vs Ice Train w/Teddy Long

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Tony talked about how Piper vs Hogan being signed would be THE MATCH OF THE DECADE. I have the doubts that the match will even be the match of the pay-per-view when we get around to it!

Ice Train had a towel over his head and Larry goes: “he’s so big, he couldn’t even get his coat on!” which I did laugh at.

We saw the return of the never-ending Nick Patrick/Teddy Long storyline. Last week, Nick Patrick brought in a lawyer to represent him so legal action is pending from the looks of it. If legal proceedings were going on with Nick Patrick at this time, do you think Patrick and Teddy would even be put close to each other at this time? However, for no good reason, Patrick was refereeing a Teddy Long client match again.

The Outsiders came out in the crowd and posed with the belts to thunderous cheers. They were treated like kings by this crowd. Nash was doing the too sweet signs and Hall was high-fiving guys too. Now the nWo were just complete babyfaces on this show! We will be covering Fake Razor Ramon and Diesel for the review of the RAW episode and the difference in stardom is just so grand. More on that when I review the RAW episode.

Ice Train worked on the arm of DDP but DDP fired back with some punches. Ice Train knocked DDP down with a back elbow. DDP hit a top rope clothesline.

Tony claimed Patrick was being lenient with the rope break counts when all I saw Patrick do was what every referee did and broke the count up at four. If this were real, surely the referee would just not break up the count at all and disqualify the man? The WRESTLERS have until five to break the hold, not the referees.

DDP floored Ice Train with a lariat but got a two count. DDP hit “the pancake” Styles Clash for a 2 count. DDP hit a swinging neckbreaker. Ice Train threw DDP off of him when DDP tried a cover and DDP landed right on Patrick’s back. Patrick was in such pain as the fans popped for Patrick being put in harm’s way again!

DDP was in shock and so concerned and it worked out so well when you think of the Patrick storyline! Jericho won a match against Bobby Eaton I think a few weeks ago and Jericho had to confirm with Patrick that it was actually a 2 count, because he couldn’t trust him! Here, DDP had inadvertently hurt an allegedly crooked referee and now he was in trouble! Patrick was shown to be so temperamental that he could have called for a DQ at any time, like when he did it for a Sting/Luger vs Steiners tag team match months ago! An awesome moment.

Ice Train made a comeback. He hit a powerslam for a 2 count, shades of his fellow team mate Jim Powers. I guess they’re team mates since they have the same manager in Teddy Long. Ice Train did an Earthquake seated drop to the chest and followed this up with a running body splash for a slow 2 count.

Ice Train knocked DDP down and clotheslined him over the top rope. As Patrick tended to DDP on the outside, The Outsiders ran in and clobbered Ice Train with the belts to his back as Patrick paid no attention to any of this even with Teddy Long yelling at him.

Now before I go into what happened next, remember that the Outsiders had attacked Ice Train with heavy gold belts multiple times! They used weapons to ambush Ice Train from behind. After this big beating was dished out by the WCW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, Ice Train got back up on his feet after like 20 seconds and didn’t try to sell it. 20 seconds is probably low-balling it. I looked down at my laptop to write down my notes and I looked up and Ice Train was already back to his feet like nothing had happened! As he was yelling at Outsiders fresh as a daisy, DDP hit a Diamond Cutter for the win.

It was a good match but the finish could have been executed a lot better. Ice Train could have least sold more for one. You’re getting attacked by the WCW Tag Team Champions… SELL THE BEATING.

 

They actually revealed for WCW Saturday Night that the winner of tonight’s cruiserweight title match would defend the title against Rey Mysterio Jr. on that show. Dean Malenko ended up winning tonight’s title match so Malenko’s big rematch against Rey, after beating Rey for the belt at Halloween Havoc, is happening at WCW Saturday Night? They reveal other plans for the cruiserweights for World War III but after their last match, that would seem to be the type of match fans would be clamouring to see again and possibly pay to watch. I thought that was weird.

 

Dean Malenko © vs Scotty Riggs w/Marcus Bagwell for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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Riggs followed up fellow American Males’ team mate Bagwell in singles competition, challenging for the Cruiserweight title. It was revealed the WCW Cruiserweight champion would defend the title against PSYCHOSIS at World War III.

Syxx showed up in the crowd because he was also after the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. In the ring, Riggs ran wild for a bit and did a big springboard to the outside.

This was a short match so I’ll jump right to the finish. Riggs went for a top rope move but got knocked onto the apron by Malenko. Bagwell, on the outside, threw Riggs back in the ring. Riggs yelled: “what are you doing” as Bagwell is taking it upon himself to decide for Riggs that he’s ready to get back in the ring even though Riggs was still hurt. As Riggs was yelling at Bagwell, Malenko got a Oklahoma Roll and scored the pin to retain the title.

The American Males argued after the match so yes, it is time to break up the American Males it seems. I’m actually stunned how much little time this title match got when compared to the opening match with Armstrong and Bagwell. It seemed a bit backwards with time management on this show.

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman vs Hector Guerrero

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Unbelievably, this match saw Chris Benoit face a Guerrero again but this time it was… Hector Guerrero! Not Eddie Guerrero like last week or even Chavo Guerrero. No it was Chris Benoit vs Hector Guerrero! What a treat to see this man in action. He was a breath of fresh air and he worked well with Benoit who sold for the man and made him look awesome to this crowd. They worked well together but, as usual, this great WCW match was ruined by a bad finish.

It was revealed Ric Flair will be on Nitro next week. Woman looked STUNNING on this episode and they revealed that it would be Benoit Vs Taskmaster for World War III.

Benoit and Hector did some criss-cross spots. Hector did some brilliant headscissor dropkick takeovers. They looked incredibly slick. Hector did a springboard move and the best way I can describe it is that he did a springboard Vader Bomb to Benoit on the outside. He grabbed the ropes, pushed himself off of them and fell backwards in a body splash position to floor Benoit. It looked so unique and it was pulled off tremendously by Hector.

Hector did a pumphandle backbreaker. Hector locked on a wrist lock and took advantage of the damaged shoulder of Benoit, who injured his shoulder at Halloween Havoc. Hector worked on Benoit, flipped him over and did a few little kicks to the arm of Benoit while he had him grounded. Benoit had turned things around when they came back from the break.

Benoit did a elevated gutbuster as Woman smiled wickedly to herself. Benoit locked on the abdominal stretch. Benoit beat away at Hector heading into the second hour of Nitro. Hector tried a small package to no affect. Benoit tried a tombstone but Hector reversed it for at two count. Hector fought his way back into the match with some European Uppercuts. Hector hung Benoit up on the top turnbuckle, laid down and kicked him up in the air.

Hector did the longest cradle in the world and went for the cover. I think Woman missed her cue because referee Mark Curtis did the count off this cradle and he’s hesitant to even to do the two count because Woman isn’t in the position. I assume he was clued in that Benoit was going to win but Woman wasn’t in position. Woman suddenly sprung into life and then she grabbed Hector as the ref counted three. The fans cheered as they fought Hector won. Hector got up to his feet, then Benoit rolled him up and referee counted to three before Benoit could even get his legs on the ropes for leverage. This was a screw up from everyone but the wrestlers in the ring but otherwise this was an awesome match.

One thing I want to add about this finish was that I think this was a missed opportunity to really get Hector over, at least for one night. I’m not sure for how long Hector sticks around for in WCW or even if this is just a on match appearance, but everyone was going nuts when they thought Hector had beaten Benoit. You could have built on this and made something of Hector as he had just beaten Benoit clean. Instead, they had to do a complicated finish yet again because god forbid anyone loses cleanly on this show. It would have been so much easier and so much better but they squandered it.

 

They showed Giant’s entire promo from last weeklast week… DID WE REALLY NEED THIS? It’s one thing to repeatedly show the Hogan/Piper Halloween Havoc segment which they have done in the last two weeks (which we’ll get to) but WCW really had to show this promo? The Giant just cut a promo about the Four Horsemen but it provided nothing new to the storyline so why bother putting in on the show other than to waste time? At least Piper/Hogan was the big storyline and this was an important part of the storyline with Piper’s first appearance. This added nothing new to the Jarrett/Giant program.

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Mike Tenay interviewed the remnants of the Four Horsemen in Jeff Jarrett, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Chris Benoit. Jeff called himself “the lead horse”. He wasn’t the lead horsemen or event the thoroughbred (which would have been a far better way to describe himself)… he was the LEAD HORSE. AN ACTUAL HORSE I guess!

Jeff started cutting his promo but Benoit cut him off. Mongo cut Benoit off and Mongo started ranting about Jeff. Mongo vowed Arn and Ric would be back and Mongo declared the interview to be over. They left and Jeff stayed as the fans booed. I guess the interview was not over!

Jeff talked about this and that. Nobody cared because Sting was here. Jeff talked about Flair picking him, scoring touchdowns, he talked about Sting turning his back and fumbling the ball. Of all the wrestlers to cut a promo with sports references included it’s the the old school wrasslin’ advocate Jeff Jarrett? He vowed the nWo was going down. Jarrett was just rambling on and on about all sorts. I don’t wanna say if only Mean Gene were here but if Mean Gene Okerlund were here, maybe Mean Gene would tell this guy to slow down on his promo and guide him through the interview. Mike Tenay was just a dude with an microphone at this time. It’s not really Tenay’s fault because he’s no Mean Gene but this did not dot Jarrett any favours cutting such a bad promo.

 

Reina Jubuki vs Madusa in a first round match (I’m assuming although they never showed the bracket) of the WCW Women’s Championship Tournament

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Say what you will about women’s wrestling in 2020 but at least the WWE announcers and commentators take notice of the action in the ring and take it seriously as a division. WCW put together this women’s division, they have a tournament and in the first match of the tournament, the announcers are making jokes leftm right and centre about the women.

They made jokes about what they were wearing, they made jokes about Bloomingdales and even Sonny Onoo was making plastic jokes. If you’re gonna do a WCW Women’s Division, would it be too much for you to not turn it into a complete parody of what it’s supposed to be?

Tony talked about how Mike Tenay knew the bracket but supposedly this was a top secret bracket that nobody knew about except Mike Tenay. CAN WE BE SHOWN WHAT THE BRACKET IS PLEASE?

OF COURSE… Nick Patrick has to be the referee for this match. TO BE FAIR, there was no Nick Patrick shenanigans from this match. I assume this was because Madusa was going over and they didn’t want the Nick Patrick stuff to impact the tournament. So at least that’s something that the women had going for them. They were not subjected to this Nick Patrick storyline.

Reina got the heat as she bit at Madua’s hand and then starting biting her toes. Actually, that’s a lie. She didn’t bite her toes… she bit Madusa’s wrestling boots covering up the tose! How this was supposed to hurt Madusa, when her toes was protected, I have no idea!

ZERO comes out, who was one of the competitors in the tournament, and Mike Tenay says: “you know who this is?” He said that as if every fan was supposed to know who this woman was. Spoiler, but I did not know who this woman was Tenay. If you’re a commentator, don’t just assume that your audience knows who everyone is on the show is. Zero had never been on the show until this episode. Take the time to tell us and educate us professor before making these comments.

Sonny Onoo cut a promo into the camera, says Madusa was full of peroxide and falling plastic. He said she reminded me of an American car and had an evil cackle. I don’t agree with how badly they joked about these women but to be fair, I did laugh at that line from Sonny.

Madusa tried to make a comeback but missed a top rope front dropkick. Reina hit one of her own. Reina went for the cover but Madusa bridged out of the cover to break it up. Reina’s scoop slam was reversed into a german suplex for the pin to a huge reaction. So heck, they had the babyface get the clean pin to a huge reaction to build her up towards potential fighting ZERO in the final. What a concept and it worked in getting Madusa over! The clean finish gets a thumbs up because at least it was the one positive from this match.

I also have to admit one more thing about the jokes in this match. Bobby Heenan had me in bits when they were showing the replays. They show the German suplex and Bobby goes: “the last time I’ve saw a move like this was in a Bloomindales, and end of month sale, two women were fight over some pillow cases.” I’m not laughing at that line for the possible sexist nature oF the jokes that they would be fighting over women’s clothing but the idea that women would be german suplexing each other in the middle of a clothes shop is the funniest thing to think about for me! That’s what we need to see during Black Fridays is more German Suplexes being thrown en route to grabbing discounted items!

I laughed.

 

M. Wallstreet vs Chris Jericho

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Jericho worked on the arm. They wrestled for a bit with Jericho landed on his leg as he was sent to the outside. Wallstreet worked on Jericho. Wallstreet locked on an abdominal stretch. This was pretty boring stuff from Wallstreet as usual.

Jericho made a comeback, smashing Wallstreet’s head on the turnbuckle. It was weird but it appeared Wallstreet was constantly pulling up his trousers during the match so I guess he was having some wardrobe malfunction of some kind.

Jericho did a top rope dropkick to send Wallstreet to the floor. Jericho got sent into ring post by Wallstreet. Out of nowhere, Jericho got a small package out of the win to get a pinfall victory.

Bobby theorised that Jericho got the tights because he ran away as soon as he got the pin! The match was… a match. Nothing particularly special as with the majority of Wallstreet matches at this time.

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Mike Tenay interviewed the solicitor from last week Alan Sharpe and Nick Patrick. Jericho interrupted them. He accused Patrick of working for the nWo and lying about that neck brace. The solicitor talked about Jericho’s father being an ice hockey goon for some reason. Teddy Long came out. I SWEAR THIS WAS A REPEAT FROM LAST WEEK.

Teddy talked about what happened with the Outsiders. Teddy talked about Ice Train needing medical attention AFTER ICE TRAIN NO SOLD THE BELT SHOTS! Could you not throw in this line when your own client acted like the title shots didn’t phase him? If he was injured during that match it surely THIS was because of DDP’s Diamond Cutter so what did Nick Patrick have to do with that?

The Solicitor talked about Teddy being a referee that was suspended in the past. Teddy was lost for words but Jericho cut him off and said this was a pre-mediated plan against WCW. Vincent and Ted DiBiase from the nWo watched on. This was an exact repeat from last week and it accomplished nothing.

 

Lex Luger vs Booker T w/Sister Sherri for the second week in a row

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This was repeat from last week and it accomplished nothing. To be fair, this was not an exact repeat as at least we got a finish this week. Last week, Lex Luger beat Booker’s ass and then just walked out of the match to chase after Sting.

Luger ran wild for a big reaction from the crowd. Lex Luger did a Oklahoma Slam. Booker did an axe kick. Booker got the heat as Sherri kicked at Luger on the outside. Booker hit a side kick. Booker got hung up on the top rope as the fans went nuts.

Luger made his comeback. He tried a Torture Rack but Booker grabbed the ropes. Booker cut him off with a spin wheel kick. Col Robert Parker came down and hugged Sherri as he cheered on Booker. Parker yelled to Booker, Booker grabbed Parker and Luger got the school boy roll up for the win.

Tony tried to argue that it was Parker’s fault that Booker got pinned. Bobby correctly pointed out that Booker got himself distracted by turning on Parker so yes, Booker was the cause of his own demise. Sherri was scolding Parker, who honestly looked like he was cheering on Booker.

This match was lame but at least Luger didn’t walk out like last week. That at least is the positive I will take from this match.

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Eric Bischoff was on the phone. Bischoff said things were going extremely well with negotiations with Piper. Bischoff said they had a match signed but things weren’t going well with Piper’s management, attorney and agents. He said Piper would have loved to do it but Eric got stonewalled over the weekend. He was flying to Detroit next Tuesday to talk to Piper on the set of his latest movie. Then Bischoff threw in a line saying: “his management works for him, he doesn’t work for them.” So if he wants  to do the match and his management works for him, can’t he just sign a contract to do the match?

If I were Rowdy Roddy Piper, if I was a millionaire (as he claimed at Halloween Havoc) and I really wanted to fight Hollywood Hogan, I’d force my management who works for me to make sure that match happens no matter what. I don’t care how much money I have to pay, I don’t care what contracts I have to sign, just make sure I get to fight Hogan.

Bischoff’s explanations of what’s happening with contract negotiations just plain sucked. It’d be one thing if the story was Piper wanted to do the match but Hogan didn’t wanna do the match so their hands were tied. But no… Piper is the one that is stalling from the sounds of it. At the very least, that’s how it’s coming across. Is it possible that Bischoff is lying about being stone-walled based on what happens in a few weeks time? Maybe. However, without any foresight in mind, these explanations make no sense.

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They showed the video of the Hogan/Piper Halloween Havoc segment again and I just skipped all the way to the next segment on the WWE Network which was the nWo coming out to close the show.

Hogan, The Giant, Vincent and Ted DiBiase all came out. They dimmed the lights again and put the spotlight on Hogan. He talks about the Cable Ace Awards for the November 16th but he doesn’t have his invitation. He talks about Ted Turner being at the awards. He said he wanted to be nominated because he’s the reason Nitro is where it is with its success. He was gonna crash the party if he didn’t get an award. He said the whole world is wearing black and white.

Hogan talked about wanting Piper to get in the ring with him. He said Piper had no heart. Of all the times on this show for buffering, this was the only segment where I got problems on the WWE Network. Hogan said Piper was scared to fight Hogan. He doesn’t have Hollywood’s guts. He said Hollywood Hogan was our master, he will be the world champion and it’s that time for Hogan to entertain them. He then did exactly what he did last week where he posed and danced. This was an exact repeat of last week and it accomplished nothing. Hogan came out just to rip off a shirt, pose and leave for the last two weeks… quite a gig.

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I think some of the earlier matches with Brad Armstrong vs Marcus Bagwell and Hector Guerrero vs Chris Benoit really saved the show because this was another filler episode, where really nothing was accomplished and if I missed it I would have not missed anything. There were developments with the American Males being about to break up and there was some decent action but everything else felt like WCW were standing still with some of these stroylines. It was almost a repeat of last week’s show and did not empower me to want to watch next week’s show. Thumbs down for this week’s episode with the exception of those two matches… and I guess the DDP vs Ice Train match.

Stay tuned as this WCW review series will continue and I will also review the WWF Monday Night RAW also airing on November 4th 1996. I’m not sure about quality but I’m fairly confident RAW will be the more memorable episode to watch after all of these years!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #59 (OCTOBER 28TH 1996) – THE NIGHT AFTER “ROWDY” RODDY PIPER DEBUTED IN WCW

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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WCW Halloween Havoc 1996 went down in Las Vegas, Nevada. The New World Order dominated with a 4-0 victory in wrestling matches during that pay-per-view. The Giant defeated Jeff Jarrett by disqualification, Syxx defeated Chris Jericho after Nick Patrick shenanigans, The Outsiders won the WCW Tag Team Championship and Hollywood Hogan defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. At the end of the night, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper appeared to confront Hogan as they yelled back and forth up until the end of the show.

 

What a miserable follow up to Halloween Havoc this Nitro was. I have been very complimentary of Nitros as of late but this was a filler episode to end all episodes of Nitros. Nothing matches, nothing angles and an absolute waste of a closing segment involvement Hollywood Hogan’s “response” to Rowdy Roddy Piper’s comments from Halloween Havoc. There’s no way you watched that final segment and, even as a hardcore nWo fan, could think Hogan’s shenanigans were cool. More on that later but that segment was just adding to the pile of a not interesting episode of Nitro at all.

 

Date: October 28th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Phoenix, Arizona

Rating: 3.6

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

A few things to address before we get started. “Macho Man” Randy Savage was off the show tonight. The reason, as I discussed at the end of the Halloween Havoc 1996 review, was that his contract was coming up with WCW and he had not re-signed. Just like Mean Gene Okerlund, he was off the show until he eventually would re-sign later on. I think he’s actually back in WCW pretty shortly because I’m pretty sure he’s there for early 1997 for WCW. However, we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Also, it was explained throughout the show that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was not officially associated with WCW. Eric Bischoff and Tony Schiavonie both explained that Piper was allowed “five minutes” to come and say his peace at the PPV but he went too long in his promo with Hogan. However, Bischoff was adamant that Piper was not with WCW. He’s considered a free agent just like Sting. We’ll get more into free agents later on in the show…

 

Lord Steven Regal © vs Juventud Guerrera for the WCW Television Championship

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I can’t say there was much too this match. There were so many shenanigans going on outside of this match that there was no reason to pay attention to the match. Keep in mind that this match was for the WCW TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP.

Sting was shown up in a luxury box high above the fans watching the show. He was not quite in the rafters yet but he was high up there watching the show. Larry Zybszko said it but it really was the case where Sting looked like he had no soul with the facial expressions being displayed by the Stinger. He sat there with no expression to his face, watching the product.

The nWo’s Syxx grabbed the mic within the crowd and welcomed everyone to nWo Nitro. Syxx talked about taking over. There was a dude in a gorilla mask right behind him that made me laugh. Syxx told Sting to make the right choice.

The wrestlers were completely distracted as Regal kept looking on at Syxx as he applied a hold. A Regal tiger powerbomb was reversed into a frankensteiner. Juvi missed a 450 splash, to which Regal did a shimmy in celebration! Regal did a big dance and locked on a Regal Stretch for the clean submission victory to retain the title. A couple of sentences to describe this match for this review. What more is there to say when Sting and Syxx were just doing their own thing up in the crowd? Why would anyone care about a four minute television title match?

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The Faces of Fear were promoting the WCW Nitro t-shirt. This was a great commercial where the Faces of Fear said whatever they were saying in their native language and they had on screen subtitles. I will write down word for word what they said:

The Barbarian: Take it from us, the Faces of Fear, these are trendy shirts!

Meng: They’re 100% cotton, and the colors stay vibrant wash after wash. And they feel great.

The Barbarian: Of course, one size fits all…

Meng: …so buy the shirt! (Meng laughs… ha ha ha ha)

There’s so many layers to this. I wish I had an app or some technology to translate what they said to see if they actually said what the subtitles claimed. The idea of the Barbarian talking about “trendy shirts” and Meng talking about vibrant colors is the funniest thing to me! What’s even funnier to think about is how this all went down in kayfabe! The Dungeon of Doom were approached by WCW guys to promote the shirts and I guess Taskmaster allowed THE BARBARIAN AND MENG to do the job! The two most savage and non English speaking members of the group promoting this shirt! Unreal!

 

Tony was about to interview Regal. Tony talked about Sting and Sting had left his sky box. Tony promised the interview with Regal after the break as Regal had already made his way to the back. They came back from the break…. and they had had already moved on to the next match! Poor Tony, he had no idea what was going on! Regal surely had no idea what was going on. There was supposed to be an interview then there wasn’t supposed to be an interview! Either that or Regal just decided that enough was enough after that Syxx and Sting business!

 

DDP vs Mike Enos

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This was a decent enough match. I don’t rate Mike Enos that highly but he was completely fine here. DDP was able to get a decent match out of the guy and if you’re able to get a decent match out of Mike Enos and make him look good, at least for this match, then more power to you.

Enos played babyface for a while, sending himself and DDP over the top rope with a clothesline and getting pumped up with the crowd. DDP quickly regained the heat. DDP hit a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count. It’s weird that I see wrestlers on this show win with all kinds of moves. Sting would change the finish every week from the Scorpion Deathlock, a top rope crossbody to small packages to win his matches. Yet in this match, DDP does near fall spots with Mike Enos of all people because he could only win with the Diamond Cutter! It’s so crazy to see that kind of psychology with just about everyone Page was in the ring with.

DDP hit a top rope clothesline as the fans got distracted by the Outsiders appearing in the crowd with the WCW tag team titles that they won at Halloween Havoc. DDP tried a Diamond Cutter but Enos cut him off and hit a belly to belly suplex. Enos hit a “reverse jawbreaker” and Enos called for the Outsiders come down to the ring. Esso dropped DDP throat first onto the ropes. Enos hit a short arm clothesline. Enos again called the Outsiders down to the ring. Enos hit a powerslam for a 2 count. Enos tried a powerslam but DDP hooked his legs on the top rope and hit a Diamond Cutter for the win out of nowhere as Tony noted that the Outsiders were cheering for DDP.

Decent match and a slick finish as usual from Diamond Dallas Page. With the Outsiders trying to recruit DDP, this appears to be the start of a babyface turn for DDP. He’s been the cockiest heel in the world for the last year but he got over so big with his Diamond Cutter and now, the push for even greater things begins for DDP! At a time where Sting is in the rafters and Savage is gone for now, this was time for WCW to build up some new babyfaces!

 

Jim Powers w/Teddy Long vs Dean Malenko

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The announcers put over big about how Dean Malenko, the mat-based wrestler/technical wrestler, was able to beat the high flyer Rey Mysteiro Jr.at his own game at Halloween Havoc, beating him in the air with a top rope gutwrench powerbomb to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. They put him over big time after his big win which is great.

AC Greene was at ringside again in a nWo shirt.  Nick Patrick was once again the referee for a Teddy Long client match… more on that storyline later when Nick Patrick does his interview with his lawyer. Powers was able to use his size to take Malenko down with a headlock takeover.

Powers ran wild with hip tosses and scoop slams. Psychosis was shown on the ramp, who was injured at this time but was interested in the cruiserweight championship. Larry said “muscles don’t make the wrestlers” which made Vince McMahon livid somewhere in 1996.

Malenko took over. Malenko got the heat on Powers. Powers did the atomic drop and ran wild with turnbuckle smashes. Powers got a few 2 counts. Powers hit the powerslam which he flat out just called the “powerslam”. It’s got to help with creativity if you have POWERS as part of your wrestler name.

He hit the move but Teddy Long was yelling at Nick Patrick so Patrick was distracted. Then Malenko got the bridge pinfall and was able to score the pin. Teddy Long and Nick Patrick argued yet again. I AM SO SICK OF THIS. Again… more on that later.

The match was fine up until the same old ending with Teddy Long and Nick Patrick.

 

Ricky Morton vs Jeff Jarrett

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I made history with this match. After 16 years of watching wrestling, this is the very first time where I have ever watched a Ricky Morton singles match! I was blown away when I saw they were gonna have Ricky in a singles match with Jeff Jarrett. Not even that, it was a decent old-school wrestling match with Jeff Jarrett.

This is the beauty of having such a big roster for WCW. If you have so many unique wrestlers on the payroll, there’s so much potential for interesting match-ups that you wouldn’t think to put on. Having looked at whatever that roster was at the time, Jeff Jarrett vs Ricky Morton would not be anywhere near my show format! However, it was on this show and I wouldn’t have thought to do that. That’s sublime actually to think so outside of the box that it catches people off guard.

There was some great spots where Jarrett kept trying to get out of an arm lock but Morton clutched onto the hold, even when Jarrett tried a scoop slam. Jarrett eventually got out of it This match was going along fine but there was one spot where they even struggled to do a suplex together. It wasn’t like a straight vertical line or a flip. Jarrett got him up in the air but Morton wavered in the air before coming crashing down.

Jarrett did a top rope crossbody but Morton reversed it and almost got the pin. Jarrett did a swinging neck breaker. Jarret tried a figure four leg lock but Morton rolled him up for a 2 count. Morton tried a sunset flip. Jarrett did the shinbreaker and then did a Figure Four Leg Lock for the win.

It was weird because Jeff Jarrett has been a blue collar babyface since he arrived in WCW. He’s in there with a fellow babyface and he worked the match like a completely heel. He was basically doing Ric Flair spots en route to winning the match.

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The Giant was out in the crowd and talked about how Jarrett thought he was the newest member of the Four Horsemen. He said the Horsemen didn’t pass the torch to Jarrett, they passed a wet mat. Giant called the Horsemen pathetic and they banded together like a pack of rats. He said they weren’t bad, they were afraid. They fight scared, they walk scared and they were scared. Their was day was coming. He talked about Jarrett and said his hands were gonna wrap around his neck as he lifted him up and BAMN… the end of Jeff Jarrett. He told everybody to check the closet, look under the bed and say their prayers because there’s a monster behind your back. A SOLID PROMO.

This was a true redemption promo from The Giant. He cut a bad promo in my eyes at Halloween Havoc but this was one was quite the opposite. He showed a lot more passion, a lot more fire and he sounded a lot more confident on the mic. Everything he said was true in the confides of the storyline. The Four Horsemen ganged up on Giant five on one at the PPV and Giant called them out for banding together “like a pack of rats”. He was just allowed to be his old self again with this promo. So I don’t know if Giant himself was just in the mindset of “I’ve got be my old self again to make this work” or whatever. It worked tonight with his promo.

Jarrett called out Giant to come down to the ring but Giant had left by this point. Jarrett said The Giant would not chokeslam him and he didn’t do it at Halloween Havoc. So in Jarrett’s mind, his claim to fame from Halloween Havoc was that Giant didn’t chokeslam him. Keep in mind that The Giant beat his ass for 12 minutes or however long that match was and Jeff would have been chokeslammed if it weren’t for Ric Flair. However, he was just happy he didn’t get chokeslammed. He came off as such a geek. Shouldn’t you be annoyed that you didn’t get the job done because Ric Flair got involved in your match?

Jarrett had one challenge to Hogan and the nWo. The walls will crumble but WCW had to unite. He talked about Dungeon of Doom, Lex Luger, Sting. He rambled on about being a leader. Jarrett said Hogan will go down. He threw in a line where he claimed WCW was here since 1905 and WCW would remain for a long, long time. Now I checked and it appears Mr Ted Turner founded WCW in 11 October 1988 so I have no idea where Jarrett got 1905 from or what he was trying to reference to here.

The promo drifted off in the middle. This was a pretty crap promo from Jarrett as a rebuttal to a slam-dunk of a promo from The Giant. He did not come off good when this segment was over.

 

“High Voltage” Robbie Rage and Kenny Kaos vs “The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rogeau and Carl Oulette

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These two teams fought for a few minutes with the fireworks going off for hour two during the match. None of it really mattered as the Nasty Boys ran in and beat them both up as the fans chanted for the Nasties. They hit a double powerbomb as they left both teams laying. This accomplished nothing other than to get, of all people, the NASTY BOYS over after they were made to look like complete geeks by the nWo a month ago.

Jerry Sags got the mic and talked about Hogan asking the Nasty Boys to join the nWo which was a big Hollywood Hogan lie. Sags said he and (Brian) Knobbs don’t need to belong. Sting doesn’t need to belong, Piper doesn’t need to belong. Knobbs said we may not be liked, we may not be wanted but one thing we are is nasty. They were nasty before the nWo was even a thought, before WCW was even a thought as they were born nasty. Knobbs made a reference to Buffer and yelled: “let’s get ready to rumble” to end the promo.

So the Nasty Boys are also supposedly free agents themselves just like Piper and Sting because, in kayfabe, they don’t belong anywhere! “We’re free agents because we’ve got nowhere else to go!”

 

ARE THE NASTY BOYS FACES OR HEELS?:  TWEENERS

I’m pretty sure this is the third instalment in this mini-series within the series where I assess where the Nasty Boys are faces of heels! At the very least, I can confidently say that they were definitely tweeners here. They laid out the babyface and heel tag teams regardless of their allegiances. They called themselves free agents and rid themselves of the nWo. Therefore, I think it is very safe to assume that the WCW officially are treating them as tweeners in the mean time. There was no clear indicator to suggest they were good or bad. They were just NASTY!

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Jimmy Graffiti

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A good cruiserweight match yet again on Nitro. Jimmy Graffiti following up his performance with Dean Malenko last week to have a good match with Rey Mysterio this week.

Graffiti did an electric chair drop. Rey did a monkey flip. A cool spot saw Rey do a flip and then Grafitti tried a flip but got dropkicked for his troubles. Mysterio did a springboard moonsault into the ring. Rey took himself and Grafitti to the outside with the hurricanrana.

Graffiti took over with a hard Irish whip into the steel rail. Graffiti locked on a rest hold. Rey did the frankensteiner roll up for the win. I didn’t make a lot of notes for the match but there was enough entertaining stuff there to appreciate. Not as long as the Malenko match from last week but it was fun in its own right.

 

Lee Marshall did his 1-800-Collect deal from the grand rapids. AC Greene, wearing a nWo shirt, was shouting out to Nick Patrick in the ring.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit w/Woman

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Maybe I’m alone in this but I really liked this match. I’ve seen people said they hated it because of the injury angle. I’m not sure about Chris Benoit but I’ve read that Eddie Guerrero legitimately got a rib injury on the night before so they played up an injury angle for both men. If you were gonna book a match where both men were meant to be injured, this was probably the best possible match you could have done.

Benoit and Eddie were both taped up for this match. Seeing Patrick being the referee for this bothered the hell out of me but at the very least, the Patrick shenanigans were kept to a minimum. Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra showed up on the ramp in support of fellow Horsemen Benoit.

Chris and Eddie were writhing in pain, with Eddie being barely able to move and Benoit screaming with agony feeling his ribs. This was like selling 101. How many matches do we see nowadays were we see dudes and women doing spots for like five minutes and then feeling their ribs I guess to “sell” their injuries? Listen, if you’re injured YOU’RE INJURED. You will not be able to do things at 100 miles an hour because you’re wounded. Eddie Guerrero could not do lucha libre spots because he had a bad rib. Every move was important and every bit of motion each men did impacted them, both positively and negatively. They sold for like 15-30 seconds after every move and you as a viewer would show concern for their well-being. I enjoyed this.

This was not a technically brilliant match but this was a FIGHT. This was like every Randy Savage vs Ric Flair match ever, and it was great to me. For example, a simple arm drag to get out on an abdominal stretch saw Guerrero in so much pain afterwards as he stayed on the floor and Benoit just continued to stomp on him. So simple and so effective to tell the story.

They chopped away at each other in the corner. Benoit and Eddie took each other out with a double crossbody, with both men smashing head first into each other. It was almost like a crossbody headbutt from both men!

Woman got on the apron to distract the referee Mongo got into the ring. Please keep in mind that Eddie has bad ribs legitimately heading into this match! Eddie covered his head, because Mongo kept hitting dudes in the head as of late with this blasted briefcase that he still has. This time Mongo hit Eddie in the ribs instead and Benoit got the pin. This was a lame finish to what looked to be a really interesting layout for a match. Mongo ran in to do a cheap briefcase spot for no other reason other than to get himself over on television. Bad finish to an otherwise great match.

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Tony interviewed Nick Patrick and his attorney Alan Sharpe. Alan said Mr Nick Patrick has been an honest hard-working official at WCW. He gave professionalism to this sport. He was questioned for his refereeing in a highly controversial match between Savage and Hogan. It didn’t have to happen and he blamed Chris Jericho for this. Jericho supposedly attacked Patrick at Halloween Havoc I DON’T REMEMBER THIS. I don’t remember if it was the push Jericho gave him at Halloween Havoc or something else that happened but supposedly Jericho put his hands on Patrick and now it was his fault that Patrick was a bad referee in the main-event! I would love to see what evidence this Alan Sharpe would have used in court to validate this claim.

Chris Jericho came out and said there’s nothing wrong with Patrick’s neck. Jericho said everyone knew he was a paid employee with the nWo. Alan accused Jericho of having anger management problems. Teddy Long came out. Teddy said people like the attorney are like scam artists. Alan accused Teddy Long of slander and mentioned that Teddy was gonna get “pulp fiction” or something. They bicker and bicker and… this segment sucked.

This Nick Patrick vs Teddy Long storyline needs to die in a fire. I have seen it so many times. I realise this is not the longest on-going storyline for WCW at this point! The Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri stuff has been going on for A YEAR which we’ll get too. However, this feud between the referee and manager is just going absolutely nowhere. Yes, I am fine with a slow build for a program. There’s a difference between a slow build and what Patrick and Teddy were doing. This was the same thing OVER AND OVER again.

If you’re going to do a slow build, at the very least there needs to be SOME DEVELOPMENTS over time. I will compare this to the Bayley vs Sasha Banks 2018 feud where it felt like that feud lasted an eternity. That feud was so bad because there would be new “developments” or some big angle between the two every week and there was no direction. Sasha was mad at Bayley just because, Bayley would walk on Sasha just because, they would fight just because, they would get back together just because, they would do a segment with Dr Shelby just because and it made you hate both characters who were both acting irrationally in this screwed up friendship.

To WWE’s credit, they’re doing the slow build a lot better in 2020 with the same two women. However, going back to Patrick and Teddy, it’s not like there’s big angles going on each and every week. It’s the same thing over and it is another example of characters acting irrationally with no direction. There’s a fine line between doing new things every week and doing things every six weeks. You have to plan towards a destination but for the fans to get invested, the stories told each week must be relevant to the destination.

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In a logically world, if Teddy Long had such a problem with Nick Patrick, it wouldn’t even get to the point where it has gotten to. Teddy would have at least put a complaint in against Nick Patrick, ask for a different referee or actually become a referee again himself to show Patrick how it’s done. If you’re Nick Patrick, and you have this prick of a manager getting involved in your match, you can throw him out of the match (which you have the powers to do), you can petition with the WCW board of directors to get his manager licence suspended or you could ask not to referee matches with his clients if you think there is a conflict of interest.

There’s no clear explanation that’s ever been given as to why Nick Patrick almost exclusively referees every Teddy Long client match. Therefore, there’s no reason why any of this is happening. Now granted, they’re doing a great job in not outright telling you that Nick Patrick is a crooked referee. Everything related to Patrick’s refereeing is circumstantial. There’s been no evidence of Patrick taking a bribe from the nWo or the heels or from anyone. In kayfabe, because we have no reason to believe otherwise, Patrick is just an incompetent referee!

We think he is intentionally screwing over the babyfaces but the fans and we as the viewers have not seen any physical evidence of him being in anyone’s pockets. You have that angle…. great. However, there is no need for this Teddy Long storyline over and over again. You just don’t.

….so yeah. That last segment was really bad.

 

Booker T w/Sister Sherri vs Lex Luger

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Luger and Booker botched a Gorilla Press spot where Booker slipped from Luger’s grip. All the big men Luger’s done that spot with and it’s Booker that is the man he screws up this spot with. Booker was tall in his own right. He was not as tall as a lot of men in WCW or not even as wide but he was large compared to the average person.

Luger sent Booker outside with a clothesline. Sherri kept arguing with AC Greene in the crowd. A lot of this match was Luger beating on Booker and the fans were behind Luger during this. Luger did a reverse elbow as the show went to the break.

We came back and Booker had the heat on Luger. Luger turned Booker inside out with a clothesline. Booker hit a scissors kick for a 2 count. Booker hit a few side-walk slams. Booker tried the Houston hangover but Luger moved out the way… well he almost moved out of the way. He looked like he was clipped him in the head as Booker came own,

Luger fired up and went for the Torture Rack but he stopped. He looks towards the crowd and through super-human vision or x-ray vision, he was able to see Sting all the way up in the crowd watching this match. This was not quite the Wall/Hulk Hogan moment from 2000 but Luger saw Sting from so far away in the ring. Keep in mind that WCW were selling out big buildings at this time! So Sting is right up at the very top of the building and Luger can just see him!

Luger bailed and ran up to meet Sting in the crowd. Sting turned his back on Luger as Luger chased after him. Booker was declared the winner by count out. I should have known when the announcers made a big deal about how Lex Luger was on a roll that some silly finish was coming. Well here it is… Luger bailed on a match because he saw his friend who may as well have been on the moon with how far away he was! Slow, nothing match with a silly finish but at least the crowd was into Luger at this time.

 

They showed the ENTIRE Piper/Hogan confrontation from Halloween Havoc which I think was because not everybody watching the PPVwas actually able to see the whole confrontation. The segment was so long that it just cut out for people across the country so to be fair to them, they at least showed the whole thing on Nitro.

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The nWo arrived with Hogan, Vincent, Ted DiBiase and The Giant. The lights were dimmed and Hogan got a spotlight. Hogan had demanded television time earlier. Hogan said we told you what was going to happen and there was no question in anybody’s eyes that the nWo is the only superior body in wrestling. He said they have conquered and won.  Hogan said: “The Nacho Man, if you’re watching from your hospital bed I have nothing but the utmost respect. But with all of WCW on your back, you couldn’t get the job done.”

Hogan said he was gonna take good care of Elizabeth for Savage. The Outsiders won the tag titles which put the icing on the cake. He said he saw the fear in Piper’s eyes. DiBiase then started talking and they referred to having something big planned for this moment which I guess they had planned for a while based on what they were saying. DiBiase’s idea was he decided to have Hogan entertain the loyal nWo fans. Hogan’s “entertainment” was that did his pose and ripped off his shirt to I guess give the fans a show. That was everything that happened in that final segment. Hogan talked for a few minutes, DiBiase talked and then Hogan just did his spiel. This was like a dark segment of a wrestling show that ended up as the main-event of the show by mistake.

This was the BIG FOLLOW UP to “ROWDY” RODDY PIPER DEBUTING IN WCW. The nWo didn’t even do a beatdown or have a big party or anything. Hogan came out, said a few things, flexed and left. What on earth was this segment?

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I stand by my earlier assessment. There were some bad aspects to this show. There were a few decent matches but otherwise, there was nothing noteworthy that happened and Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero match wasn’t as good as you were expecting because they both had to work “hurt” as part of an angle. Surprisingly, this show did a 3.6 in ratings which was way more than the 3.2 last week. Quite an increase for I have no idea what reason. I’m guessing it’s down to it being the Nitro after the PPV. This was a filler episode of Nitro and it still crushed WWF Monday Night RAW in the ratings war.

SPEAKING OF WWF MONDAY NIGHT RAW. We will be doing something a big special for next week’s review of WCW Monday Nitro. For the first time since I think June 1996, we will be reviewing both RAW and Nitro head-to-head! I will be reviewing the November 4th 1996 editions of both shows to compare them because in case you were not aware, next week’s RAW is a pretty infamous episode!

This is a bit of a spoiler but this was the episode of RAW in which Stone Cold Steve Austin goes to Brian Pillman’s house! I’ve watched the segment of what actually happened. Austin invaded Pillman’s house and Pillman tried to defend himself. For the purposes of not spoiling things for people that have never seen this, I won’t go into any further detail. However, I feel I almost had to review this angle with Brian Pillman.

The Brian Pillman thing felt like the culmination of everything we’ve seen from him in WCW in this series where he was transforming into the loose cannon, everything he did in ECW and now the stuff he did with Austin. So yes, I think this is a RAW episode worth reviewing.

MAY THE BEST SHOW WIN!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Date: October 27th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Las Vegas, Nevada

Attendance: 10,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Eddie Guerrero vs DDP in a battle for the ring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett w/Ric Flair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: *1/2

 

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

 

Syxx vs Chris Jericho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***

 

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

 

Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **3/4

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #58 (OCTOBER 21ST 1996) – STING RETURNS AND MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN BLACK AND WHITE

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 very close to Halloween Havoc, with the New World Order leader Hollywood Hogan defending the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth is once again in the middle of another Hogan vs Savage storyline in wrestling, with Elizabeth putting together a video apology last week for the Macho Man for singing with the nWo. This heartfelt apology rocked Savage who left the building distraught and possibly throwing him off his game ahead of his big title match against Hogan.

 

This episode I’m about to review I felt was a decent go-home show for WCW Halloween Havoc 1996. Good matches up and down the card. There weren’t many things done to build towards that pay-per-view and even the closing segment with Savage and Hogan was off to me. Keep in mind, that closing segment ended with Savage suggesting that he was going to kill Hollywood Hogan at the PPV! I’ll talk more about the Elizabeth stuff later but this seems like a complicated way to get Savage in a position of wanting to kill Hogan at the PPV, with Elizabeth being in business with Hogan. It felt anti-climatic despite the stakes being raised.

 

Date: October 21st 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Mankato, Minnesota

Rating: 3.2

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

Bobby Eaton vs Chris Jericho

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I thought this was a solid opening match. WCW have really stepped it up in the last few weeks with the opening matches for WCW Monday Nitro. It was Malenko vs Brad Armstrong last week and it was Jericho vs Bobby Eaton this week. I think in Bischoff’s mind at this time, it’s very clear that the second hour was the more important hour for him. The big angles were done on the second half of the show involving Hogan and Savage for example. However, putting a solid opening match to kick off Nitro was a great way to get the fans hyped up for the rest of the show and appealed to traditional wrestling fans. They tuned into Nitro wanting good wrestling and they got some!

They announced Savage vs Chris Benoit for later on in the show and Sting was set to appear on this episode of Nitro. It was somewhat ambiguous at this point as to which Sting was actually going to turn up for Nitro – the real Sting or the nWo Sting.

I guess Eaton was no longer with the Blue Bloods with Larry claiming he was “thrown out” of the Blue Bloods. They didn’t even show us what happened but I’m guessing based off Regal winning the TV title and Taylor and Eaton brawling a few weeks ago, they cut the man loose from the group.

Syxx and nWo Sting were amongst the crowd with a nWo banner in the background, Syxx was filming the show… for god knows what reason. The commentators explained Syxx was “scouting” Jericho ahead of their match at Halloween Havoc but I’m fairly certain that the New World Order will have owned televisions and would have the money to watch them for the sake of scouting.

Jericho used the speed to gain the advantage over the bigger Bobby Eaton. Jericho locked on a surfboard stretch submission. Eaton did a powerslam where I think Jericho tried bouncing INTO the rope and then bounced off the and stumbled as they did the spot.

Jericho wrestled down Eaton with a hammerlock. Jericho did the springboard dropkick. Eaton turned things around and worked on Jericho with an arm lock of his own. Eaton and Jericho knocked each other down to the floor with a punch at the same time which looked quite comical. They brawled on the floor with Jericho trying a back elbow but smashing his elbow into the ring post. Jericho backdropped Eaton on the floor.

Eaton hit a swinging neckbreaker and tried a move from the top to which Jericho cut him off but then the Canadian got knocked right back down again to the mat. Eaton did a top rope knee drop “on the shoulder” of Jericho but Jericho kicked out. Jericho did a side kick “enziguiri “ of some kind. Jericho did a top rope dropkick and frantically rushed over to score the pinfall for the win.

I love how Jericho had to go up to referee Nick Patrick just to check with him if it was a three count, given Patrick’s recent history with his refereeing. I thought this was a fine opener.

Eaton actually raised Jericho’s hand after the match showing signs of a babyface turn.

 

Tony Schiavonie interviewed Jericho after the match. Jericho said it was only six days before Halloween Havoc and said Syxx would be coming out of the PPV with a loss. He said he will come out with a victory and we’ll see who the better man is. A lot of yelling from Jericho. Far be it from me to critique the promo capabilities of Chris Jericho but I was not enthralled by the generic good-guy promos from Jericho at this point.

 

We got a Rey Mysterio Jr. video package. Some of the video effects used were seizure-inducing. Black and white effects really hurt my brain as they were showing all of these cool moves from the WCW Cruiserweight Champion Mysterio but the visual effects brought down the video package quality.

 

Dean Malenko vs Jimmy Graffiti

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Another great Nitro match featuring “The Man Of 1000 Holds” Dean Malenko as he wrestled Jimmy Grafiti. Jimmy Graffiti was dressed as Johnny Grunge, with a head like The Sandman but kinda worked like Super Calo. He and Malenko put on some great stuff together on this Nitro. It’s said that any TV opportunity is an opportunity and Graffiti worked his ass off for this one and that has to be respected.

Very good chain-wrestling to start off the match and after a while, Jimmy hit a decent looking float-over DDT. Graffiti hit a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Grafitti hit a side-kick. Some very crisp looking moves hit by Graffiti during this match.

Malenko hit an uppercut but Graffiti fell through the ropes and almost landed right on his head on the floor. I watched that spot a few times and Graffiti was very luck to walk away from that spot seemingly un-phased.

Dean did a chin-lock. The nWo Sting was shown with the video-tape and Larry called him “Stink”. Dean slammed Graffiti with a back suplex. Grafitti tried a bridge pinfall attempt but Dean kicked out. Dean hit a side kick for another 2 count. Dean hit a delayed suplex. Grafitti tried a Magistral roll up but got a 2 count.

Malenko crashed over the top rope with Graffiti following a crossbody and Graffiti landed head first into the apron. It looked nasty. I mentioned he got lucky following out of the ring earlier but here, his head smashed into the apron with a big thud when coming down. It also wasn’t like it was the top of his head, the side of his head smashed the apron. That was ugly.

Graiffit tried a dropkick off the top rope but Malenko reversed into a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory. Sloppy in parts but a another fine match to follow up the Jericho/Eaton match.

The irony of the “Power Pin of the Week” was the fact that it featured Dean locking on a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory! What a POWER PIN!

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs Sgt. Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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Nick Patrick, of course, was the referee and still wearing his neck brace. He refereed the opening match too. This was the continuation of the Nick Patrick vs Teddy Long storyline with one of Teddy’s clients in the ring with DDP who had previously put his hands on Teddy on Nitro.

DDP spat at Teddy before the match started. Teddy summoned Pittman towards him on the apron and then DDP jumped Pittman to start the match. Bad strategy from Team Pittman where Teddy allowed Pittman to have this back turned to a cheating scoundrel like DDP!

DDP caught a kick and hit a Discuss Clothesline. DDP did the elbow drop to the gut but Pittman sold it as if DDP hit him in the balls, therefore calling Patrick’s refereeing into question yet again.

DDP hit a Styles Clash-like facebuster. Pittman kicked out but DDP got thrown into the referee who sold his back. Pittman locked on the code red armbar but referee Patrick was distracted with Teddy Long. Pittman yelled that DDP had given up but Patrick didn’t see it. DDP then hit a Diamond Cutter for the win. Teddy and Patrick yelled at each other even more, Pittman got mad at Teddy Long and this storyline needs to go away.

I mean seriously, where is this storyline going? Other than Nick Patrick working for the New World Order, this Nick Patrick storyline just keeps going and going and it is really starting to jump the shark. WCW are just throwing Patrick in there for every match where the wrestler is managed by Teddy Long. You have DDP and Craig Pittman trying to work a match but they are the backdrop and extras to the Nick Patrick/Teddy Long feud. Once again, the referees and managers are more important than the wrestlers in the ring. That I hate about wrestle. It’s not even like Teddy or Patrick are adding any further to the storyline. They’re just bickering back and forth with no end in sight.

 

Tony interviewed Nick Patrick. Patrick claimed he did not hear DDP give up in the previous match. He blamed Teddy for being the reason that he did not hear him as all he saw was DDP getting to the ropes. To be fair to Patrick, how many times does Teddy Long get up on the apron to chew out the referee when really he should be there to help his clients? Teddy Long distracting the referee which cost Pittman the match so of course, Pittman chewed out Teddy after the match as well and got frustrated with him.

Patrick insisted that he was not the nWo referee claiming he was in twice the better shape than that referee. Patrick warned Tony about what happened the last time an announcer came at him with accusations in reference to “Mean Gene” Okerlund. I was wondering where Mean Gene went because he seemed to disappear from the face of the earth but it turns out his WCW contract expired at this time. In case anyone was wondering what happened to hi.

 

They recapped the nWo attacking Ric Flair two weeks ago and the recap of Jarrett’s promo last week which it also said took place “two weeks ago” so that was an error. Those two events did not happen on the same episode.

 

Jeff Jarrett vs Ron Studd

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They explain that Ric Flair had a MRI on his shoulder so he’s out of action for now. Ron Studd was on jobbing-giant duty tonight as he faced Jeff Jarrett, who would be fighting The Giant at Halloween Havoc in Ric Flair’s place. This was the continuation of Ron Studd’s role of being the giant to lose to a babyface ahead of a match against The Giant.

It’s sad because any wrestling promoter would kill to have a guy as tall as Studd in their ranks. You know how Vince treats giants and a giant ninja has just debuted recently with Akira Tozawa on RAW in 2020. They did try with Studd as the Yeti but now he’s back to being a random lower-midcard guy as a set-up guy for future matches with The Giant. First Chris Benoit, then Randy Savage and now Jeff Jarrett. It would be difficult to push him as a giant with The Giant and Kevin Nash already in the company for the nWo so Studd is just in this position. To be fair, at least Studd has a purpose in WCW unlike the 100s of other wrestlers signed to the company that are just signed for the hell of it. At least he has that going for him.

Ric Flair made his way down to the ring in a suit which he explained were his street clothes…which I totally believe! He’s Ric Flair! He’s always stylin’ and profilin’! Ric commanded Jeff Jarrett to do his strut to mostly boos but some cheers. Then Ric Flair showed him how to do it. He took off his jacket, slicked his hair and did his own strut as the fans went nuts. Fans booed Jarrett and chanted “Nature Boy” with Ric then going into full Ric Flair mode with his stylin’ and profilin’. It’s an awkward position for Jarrett to be in because they were trying to get him over but when Ric Flair came out and ain’t nobody gonna get cheered more than Ric Flair. Therefore, when Jarrett is doing the struts and he was trying to be Flair, the fans turned on him. Why have a cheap imitation when they had the real Ric Flair?

Flair and Jarrett. shook hands as he left Jarrett to it. Jarrett beat up Studd in the corner. Studd tried a suplex but Jarrett grabbed the rope to block it and then Jarrett did a suplex of his own to Studd as the fans actually popped for. Jarrett did a Figure Four Leg Lock on the big man and got the submission victory. It sucked to be Studd but at least this was effective in showing to the viewers that Jarrett could chop down and beat a large man in preparation for a match with another large man.

 

Tony interviewed Jarrett. Jeff said it’s time for him to put up or shut up. He said it’s time for everyone whose ever watched Ric Flair and who respects Flair to be the hunters instead of the hunted. Jarrett said there’s a big bullseye on Giant’s leg and he’s putting on the Figure Four. He said: “You’ve chokeslammed them all but you haven’t chokeslammed Jeff Jarrett.”

Flair interrupted and said he sat home last week and saw a man talk good about Flair. Flair said the nWo outsmarted outflanked and played the game dirtier than the Four Horsemen at War Games. Flair said he would be in Jeff Jarrett’s corner. He said the day he get back in with Jarrett and The Four Horsemen, he will kick the nWo’s ass.

 

Lex Luger vs Roadblock

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THE DEBUT OF ROADBLOCK. It’s almost like a balancing act with how wrestlers are signed with WCW at this point. For every new cruiserweight like Jimmy Graffiti or some great worker like that, they have to sign a big stiff for the big boys of World Championship Wrestling. Roadblock looked massive! He was as wide as a roadblock, he had a road block sign on his shoulders and had an ugly expression on his face. That’s not to say that he’s ugly but the way he gritted his teeth and snarled I enjoyed!

I love how Roadblock ran the ropes first and foremost! He was in the ring with Lex Luger. He ran up and charged at Luger to start the match with his hands in the air to start off the match! It was such a funny run as he charged at the Total Package.

Luger clotheslined him out of the ring. Luger did a scoop slam. Arn was cutting an inset promo about how “those impressive things “he was doing in the ring wouldn’t help him against Arn at Halloween Havoc and at the time of the promo being played, Luger was doing barely anything “impressive” in the ring!

Roadblock did a clothesline. There was an awkward spot where Luger took an Irish whip into the corner and then just turned around! He didn’t even try to do it naturally. He went back first into the turnbuckle and then span around like a Bayblade and then sold the move!

I loved this finish. I don’t think this finish was planned out this way but ended up being perfect with getting Luger over. Luger tried a Torture Rack but Roadblock, because of his size, slipped off of Luger’s shoulders. Luger tried again but Roadblock slipped off again. It was looking like a disaster but Luger started amping up the crowd! He rallied himself up and the fans as he was determined to get this big man up for the Rack. He throws his hands up. He tried the Torture Rack more time and he pullED it off to a big pop and Roadblock submitTED! Then just drops Roadblock down to the mat when he was done!

Whether this was a botched finish or not, this worked out perfectly for Luger. The storyline going on last week was Luger was selling his back because of a chair attack from Arn the week before. Therefore, they put him in the ring with this big guy and Roadblock kept slipping off his back because he was so big and Luger couldn’t keep him up. It played into that. After two attempts, the fans got fired up as they wanted Luger to get this man up for good and he delivered with a great pay-off. This was unintentionally one of my favourite matches of the night!

 

“The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri in a non-title match

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There’s not really much I can say about this match other than the finish. This was your typical American Males match with them working very fast and this was your typical Harlem Heat match with shenanigans. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bagwell hip tossed Booker clean over the top rope as Bobby Heenan correctly pointed out should have been a disqualification. Tenay tried to explain this away as he talked about the momentum and Bobby cut him off and said: “Mike, Don’t think.”

Bagwell turned Booker inside out with a clothesline. As Booker hit a powerbomb, the Outsiders come out also to videotape Booker and Ray. Booker got cut off the top rope with a dropkick. Riggs got the hot tag and ran wild on the Harlem Heat.

Now to the finish, American Males were running wild in the ring but referee NICK PATRICK stopped Bagwell and took him to one side. Riggs punches Col. Robert Parker off the apron. Booker laid out Riggs as his back was turned. Booker went for the cover and Bagwell froze for 2 seconds as the referee counts to two, then he jumps in at the last minute to break it up but supposedly that was a three count and Harlem Heat won the match.

Over-booked tripe for a Harlem Heat match once again. It was honestly like Bagwell was frozen in a block of ice and then thawed out as Patrick got to “two” on his count. Bagwell had all the time in the world to break it up but because Patrick had to be distracted for Harlem Heat to do their spot, Patrick had to turn around and then do the count before Bagwell broke it up. This was a disaster and a miserable finish. I cannot wait for Harlem Heat to lose those titles. I’ve had garbage finishes in title matches for more than a year now with this team and now I want something different with this tag team division. THUMBS DOWN FOR THIS FINISH.

 

“The Fantastics” Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rodgers vs “The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart

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This was a great way to get Faces of Fear over for their match with Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael at Halloween Havoc. Take a random tag team in the Fantastics and have these two monsters destroy them for five minutes. AEW does this well in 2020 but I love the idea of establishing a dominant force by having them destroy enhancement talent. They don’t need to beat one of your other star tag teams. This was the problem with Nitro doing Harlem Heat vs Faces of Fear last week. Nobody could be booked to lose without losing momentum so they had the Outsiders interrupt the match and caused the match to be thrown. This would have been a better option.

Hire a few guys on the cheap and have them sell for the big stars and get them over. It’s good for the stars you wanna get over, it’s good for the enhancement talent because they have the “rub” of being in the ring with a star and it’s a better financial move to make in the long run. Maybe enhancement talent isn’t the word to describe the Fantastics but they were compared to the Faces of Fear in WCW’s eyes at the time.

My favourite spot of this match was when The Faces of Fear did a back drop from Meng into a powerbomb from The Barbarian in an awesome spot in one motion. The Faces of Fear don’t strike me as “spot” guys if that makes sense. All I’ve seen is big power moves from these two monsters as they destroy people left and right. Then suddenly they do this complex spot and they pull it off! I was blown away by them.

I love whenever Barbarian does a backbreaker to someone. It’s not just a motion where they go up and go down. Barbarian lifts him high in the air and slams him right down on his knee. The Barbarian was quite great in the ring.

The monsters destroy the Fantastics with Meng delivering a piledriver. There was double diving headbutt from Faces of Fear on the floor and then they got one of the babyfaces standing up and did a double headbutt while they were on their feet! Bischoff is constantly talking about how these Fantastics have no chance.

Fantastics get the hot tag. Rodgers ran wild. They slam Barbarian with a double back suplex and then do a double top rope dropkick for a 2 count. Barbarian caught Rodgers I believe from the top rope, Meng then booted him and they score the pin.

The Faces of Fear with a fun dominating display and this was a fun five minutes!

 

They recap the Elizabeth video package from last week. I loved the irony of this. Eric Bischoff made sincere apologises to Savage and his family for showing the video package. He’s extremely apologetic and all morose with his delivery as he is sorry for showing the video package and making Savage “an emotional vegetable”. He’s so sorry… but he showed the video again anyway! “Hey Savage, I apologise for this video but I will repeatedly show it as a way to pop a rating!” was basically what Bischoff did here! Bischof claimed he had footage about how low-class Hogan could be that he would show later on. 

 

nWo Sting vs Mr JL

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So Eric Bischoff had been teasing all night that Sting would be here and I don’t remember when it was but then Bischoff got word that it might not be the real Sting. Then, wrestling Mr JL, was the nWo Sting who actually still came out to “The Man called Sting” theme that Sting came out to.

They explained that Elizabeth’s contract would be up in November with WCW which is why I guess she joined the nWo so at least, she would still be signed with the nWo.  The nWo arrived with Vincent, Ted DiBiase, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx and The Giant.

Sting did the World’s Strongest Slam front slam. Sting did the Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Deathlock but the match is interrupted by, believe it or not, THE REAL STING. For the first time in WCW, Sting was here in WCW while wearing the black and white. It was not quite the vintage black and white face-paint he would sport later on in the feud with the nWo. However, he was wearing black scorpion trunks and white face pain and a black trench coat He dropped nWo Sting with the Scorpion Deathlock and he beat him up for a while.

The nWo just stood around the ring as Sting did a Stinger Splash and did the Scorpion Deathlock. The nWo then get into the ring surrounding the real Sting and Ted DiBiase told everyone to say hello to the real Sting. DiBiase offered Sting a place in the nWo. He said if they join them, he would be joining a family. Nash said it’s time for him to break on through to the other side. Hall said Sting had been carrying the WCW banner for 9 years but what does he have to show for it? Hall said he knew the fake Sting would get to him and said there would be no stopping them if the real Sting joined too.

Sting said he may or may not be in their price range or maybe he could be. Sting said the only thing for sure about Sting is that nothing is for certain and then he left. Ironically, after the nWo talk about nWo Sting just being bait and doing nothing to help the fake Sting, Fake Sting still posed with the nWo after the nWo did nothing to save him! It’s weird because the nWo talked about being a part of family if Sting joined and nWo Sting was already in the group and they left him to get his ass kicked! I get the nWo are heels but if this was supposed to sell Sting on the idea of joining “a family” than this was a horrible sales pitch! Such disregard for people who are ALREADY with the New World Order!

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The main-event was supposed to be Randy Savage vs Chris Benoit. Benoit made his was down to the ring just like Mike Enos last week. “Macho Man” Randy Savage came out in what was described as his “street clothes” which was in full back. I can suspend my disbelief that Ric Flair would walk down the streets all suited and booted… because he’s Ric Flair! It was impossible to believe that any normal human in the world would wear this outfit Savage had on in the streets! He looked more like the Undertaker than a regular guy street clothes!

Eric Bischoff said he apologised for last week but now he’s got more footage to show! Yeah Bischoff is aware of the effect his music had on Savage but yet he’s got another video to show anyway RIGHT BEFORE his match with Chris Benoit!

The video showed Hogan on the set of the 3 Ninjas film referred to last week. My description of Hogan’s look in my notes noted that he “looked like a shitty version of Shao Kahn” from the Mortal Kombat series! Ironically, there is a blog post on the Armbar Express from my early days blogging about a ScrewAttackDeath Battle video featuring Shao Kahn which you can read more about that on this link!

Hogan complained to his director and claimed the nWo would betaking over produciton of the film. When in the world when making the movie could someone just take control of producing the film like this? Even when Joss Whedon replaced Zack Snyder from Justice League, it’s not like Joss just walked up at the set and said he was taking over the project! There was a process to this change in the movie! The Giant was apparently going to direct the film and Hogan was gonna produce as he said: “welcome to the world of Hollywood Hogan.”

Elizabeth was on the set with the nWo as she supposedly had a cameo I guess agreed to her in her nWo contract. Hogan pressured Elizabeth to tell Savage she loved him. Giant yelled at the camera man “what you’re doing boy?” as Hogan got upset with Elizabeth. Giant sent Elizabeth back to the trailer as Hogan berated her. He said: “What Hollywood wants, Hollywood gets.” Hogan said she wanted some acting lessons Hulk Hogan style.

Eric asked for Savage’s thoughts as they cut back to them at the arena and Savage eventually broke his silence. He said: “it just occurred to me how fragile friendships and relationships can be. Eric, you and I both know how fragile business can be.” He ends with promo with saying: Hulk Hogan, life is fragile” and he waleds away. So yes, it was played up to suggest Savage was going to KILL HULK HOGAN at Halloween Havoc! To be fair, Savage did release a rap video many years later about wanting to fight Hulk Hogan in real life! Maybe this was just life imitating art!

That was a horrible segment. When building up a babyface Randy Savage against a heel Hollywood Hogan for Halloween Havoc, it shouldn’t be this difficult. Hogan turned on Savage at Bash at the Beach, Savage went nuts and wanted revenge. Of course the Elizabeth stuff from WWF is an aspect of this feud but you don’t have to directly address it. Here, they address Elizabeth and it watered down what should have been a great personal rivalry when Savage should do everything he can to try and kill Hogan. They inserted Elizabeth into the middle and it took away from the personal rivalry aspect of Hogan vs Savage.

They had to write the storyline around her which I think took away the heat from Savage and Hogan. I have not been a fan of this storyline but heck, maybe Halloween Havoc delivered in a big way. We will wait and see.

 

The WCW Halloween Havoc review is coming up next on this blog. In the mean time, enjoy time indoors during this crazy time to read up on my thoughts about every WCW up until this point! Be sure to follow the blog as we’ve got more Nitro reviews and PPVs to come for the foreseeable future!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #56 (OCTOBER 7TH 1996) – JEFF JARRETT MAKES HIS WCW NITRO DEBUT

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 storyline for the New World Order has suddenly become centred around Miss Elizabeth and her feelings for the “Macho Man” Randy Savage. She was not able to accompany Arn Anderson and Woman down to the ringside for his match with Chris Jericho last week and left the building early. The end of last week’s episode saw Elizabeth arriving at the nWo’s party to discuss deals and movie roles as Savage arrived to express his disgust at his ex-wife, who appears to now be with the nWo.

The drama continues with Macho Man and Liz this week as part of a slicker WCW Monday Nitro than last week. A lot of people might see this differently but I thought this was one of the best Nitro shows in a while. We got a lot of matches to digest, we got a rematch of the Rick Steiner vs Chris Benoit from last week which was actually better the second time around and there just felt like there was more life to Nitro this week. There was typical moments of nWo getting heat especially with the ending of this episode but there were other things going that got a lot more development. They developed the Lex Luger/Arn Anderson storyline a bit more for example. There was a lot to like about this episode.

 

Date: October 7th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Savannah, Georgia

Rating: 3.5

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

There were really cool effects with the Nitro logo spinning as part of the lights on the ramp and these lights were shooting up to the Nitro set at the top of the ramp. It was very flashy and very elaborate as usual for WCW Monday Nitro. Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zybszko talked about what happened last week and Larry immediately came to the conclusion that Elizabeth was with the nWo – did Larry not learn anything from what happened with Sting when they accused him of being with the nWo? They made a big deal last week as to offer Sting a car to say they were sorry for doubting him and here is Larry already concluding that Elizabeth was with the nWo when it’s not even clear what’s going on.

There were new WCW tag team champions as Harlem Heat defeated Public Enemy on WCW Saturday Night to regain the tag team championship, capitalising on Johnny Grunge’s knee injury caused by the Faces of Fear last week. Therefore, we’re back to Harlem Heat vs Outsiders at Halloween Havoc for the WCW tag teams titles as previously advertised.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Sister Sherri and Col. Robert Parker vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock in a non-title grudge match

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Harlem Heat got the “jobber entrance” despite being the WCW tag team champions, with the former champions getting the big entrance to kick off the show as Harlem Heat were already in the ring! Referee Nick Patrick, with a disgusted look on this face and still wearing a neck brace, was refereeing this match. This was ironic as Patrick was the referee when Public Enemy won the tag team titles 2 weeks ago.

Public Enemy did the drop toe-hold/elbow drop combination early on in the match. Stevie Ray stomped on Rocco on the floor as Sherri screamed at him. Rocco grabbed Sherri to a huge pop but Booker saved her. Elizabeth was shown at the locker room of Randy Savage as she wanted to explain herself but I guess he wasn’t there as she looked disappointed coming out of his locker room.

They cut back to the match where Harlem Heat have got the heat on Public Enemy. Ray hit a sidewalk slam and Booker hit a side kick to a big pop. Ray held Rocco and Sherri clocked him with a punch to the face. This was a straight up punch to the face as opposed to a slap which was different for a female manager and I actually thought was pretty cool.

They get a good close-up of Nick Patrick at exact moment he is adjusting his trousers! Bad timing from the WCW production crew! Heat beat up Rocco in the corner as I guess Patrick missed Grunge getting the tag as he stopped him from getting in the ring.

The nWo arrived in the arena with Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Ted DiBiase, Syxx and Vincent all there within the crowd. Hall cut a promo, calling Harlem Heat “hillbillies” and saying if they want some of the Outsiders they’re gonna get it. Nash said they were gonna get the belts. Hall said it was gonna be awfully scary. Nash said he smelt the fear. DiBiase said he smelt the money and it was gonna get real real hot. Then they left.

Booker then missed a dive as the Harlem Heat had completely ignored the Outsiders during their promo and continued to wrestle. The nWo’s words had fell upon deaf ears. It is a change to have guys come out to distract their rivals but the rivals not listening to them or not allowing themselves to get distracted. At the very least, that’s something different where the story is Harlem Heat are not letting the nWo get to them. That I like.

Grunge got the tag and Rocco pulled off a double bulldog as the Public Enemy ran wild. Rocco got knocked off the top rope by Parker as Rocco went crashing through the table. Stevie hit Grunge with a chair to the knee. Sherri was talking to Patrick for about 30 minutes as Harlem Heat place a chair on the knee and Booker did a top rope knee drop to the knee of Grunge and Harlem Heat got the pin.

It’s the same finish EVERY SINGLE WEEK from Harlem Heat. I am begging for something different but no, there has to be some over-complicated spot involving the managers or some shenanigans that is completely bookeed. That’s why I groaned at the start of the show when I realised Harlem Heat were the champions again. Was it so hard to have Grunge awkwardly land on his leg and then Harlem Heat capitalising to get the win? Did we need Parker to get involved and two different leg-based attacks with a chair before Harlem Heat got the pin?

This was an OK match with a hugely over-complicated finish as usual with Harlem Heat.

 

Jeff Jarrett debuted on WCW Monday Nitro dressed all in white with sunglasses on and a black jacket as he mentioned he’s got something to say. It would be later revealed he would be wrestling Hugh Morrus later on in the show.

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Tony did an interview with Nick Patrick on WCW Saturday Night which they showed along with the clip of Savage putting his hands on Patrick. Patrick said Randy Savage was being fined $1 million for putting his hands on Patrick and wanted him suspended. He mentioned he’s assured by his lawyers that he’s got a strong case and he hoped WCW got on his side.

There’s actually a bit of lore to this whole Elizabeth storyline particularly with the big fine Patrick has planned. If Patrick is in the pocket of the nWo, as alluded to in recent months, they could have had him goad Savage into striking him and then issued out this fine. How Patrick was able to lobby such a large fine and what authority he has to do that has yet to be explained! However, this fine makes it easier to lure Elizabeth to their side with things like movie deals because she wanted the money to help out Savage. It was explained Flair spent all of his money apparently so she’s joining the nWo to help him out financially. I find that interesting but more on Savage and Liz later.

 

DDP vs Jim Powers w/Teddy Long

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Nick Patrick was referring two matches in a row which, if you think about, is completely ludicrous. He’s “injured” with a neck brace on, and he’s refereeing two matches in a row which I feel is somewhat unfair! Tony also talked about Patrick wanting Savage suspended right before his big match with Hogan at Halloween Havoc so this would put WCW in a big disadvantage ahead of such an important match.

I love how Patrick patted down the babyface Jim Powers right before the match but not the heel Diamond Dallas Page! That subtle detail from this heel referee I appreciated.

Powers broke out of a Full Nelson attempted by Page and kicked Page into the ropes. They showed an inset promo from DDP where he called Eddie “Borito Boy” ahead of their match at Halloween Havoc. That’s certainly not nice.

Powers tried a few roll-ups on DDP but to no avail. Powers did a crossbody for a 2 count. DDP hit an absolute solid Diamond Cutter where he countered a full nelson into a Diamond Cutter which looked excellent. A great finish in my eyes to an average television match. CLEAN victory for DDP.

DDP kicked down Teddy Long after the match and pushed him into the corner. Then Teddy yelled at Patrick in the ring for something DDP did…. why? There’s no controversy here regarding the finish as DDP beat Powers clean. I know it was a dick-move for DDP to push around Teddy but how was that Nick Patrick’s fault? Hasn’t Teddy Long learned with the likes of his run-ins with Scott Norton to try and stay out of the ring like a good manager should do?

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Mike Tenay tried another interview and this time Randy Savage WAS THERE to be interviewed as he was followed down by a driver sporting Slim Jim gear called Jason Killer. Killer was the driver of the Slim Jim race car. It was mentioned nWo talked about nWo running through the competition at the Nascar event hyped up in recent weeks. It was revealed that the nWo car did not finish the race as it hit the wall as the Slim Jim guy Jason finished in 10th. Savage said Hogan was gonna crash and burn like the nWo car. Elizabeth interrupted him but he yelled what’s done is done and told her to save it. He left and Elizabeth followed him. A wacky promo from Savage regarding this NASCAR business.

 

“High Voltage” Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage vs “Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart

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The Faces of Fear attacked High Voltage from behind to kick off the match as Tony revealed Jeff Jarrett was making his in-ring WCW debut tonight. Chris Benoit, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra all came out as the Four Horsemen were facing the Faces of Fear at Halloween Havoc.

High Voltage did a spot where I think they tried a double springboard shoulder tackle. This sounded clunky on paper and looked horrible in execution. What ended up happening was Kaos crashed into Meng as planned (although looked completely un-coordinated doing so) and Rage landed right on his feet making contact with nobody. It made these guys look so horrible.

Barbarian and Meng beat up Rage in the ring. Meng hit a sit out powerbomb with Rage not even landing on his shoulders properly so it look nasty. In response, Barbarian hit a big powerbomb of his own and Rage landed right on his shoulders for the second powerbomb!

Faces of Fear did a catapult into a big boot for the clean pin as they posed in the ring with Jimmy Hart. Jimmy declared that the Faces of Fear were ready for Benoit, Mongo and “that bimbo of yours!” An easy way to put over Faces of Fear ahead of their PPV match with Benoit and Mongo. This gets a thumbs up.

 

Glacier vs Mike Wenner

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This was the first I’d ever heard of Mike Wenner but apparently, he was in World War III battle royal in 1995 which I did review, but I have no memory of him actually being in the match last year! He was back for this squash match against Glaicer.

There was a mix of cheers and loud boos from the crowd. Glacier was still undefeated in WCW. Glacier did some kicks and a leg sweep. Glacier rolled out of an Irish Whip and Glacier somehow pulled off a gutwrench flapjack which I’d never seen before.

Some fans chanted boring. Glacier dropkicked Winner out of the ring. To liven up the match a little, Glacier did a springboard dive to the outside. Glacier did a roundhouse kick or “spin side kick” for the win. This was the best Glacier’s looked so far in WCW.

Then we get the longest two minutes of my entire life. Glacier posed in the ring for about a minute or so as they’re waiting for the second hour dynamite timer to go off. What would happen, if you paid close attention to what he was doing in the ring, was that he’d strike a few fighting poses and then bow. He’d do more fighting poses and then he bows to the crowd. He kept doing this to waste time before the second hour countdown hits zeroes and the fireworks would then go off.

Even after the timer went down to zero, Glacier was continuing to do poses in the ring in the same manner. He’d do a few moves and then he bows and just did that on repeat.  He just kept bowing and doing all kinds of kicks in the ring as I guess he couldn’t LEAVE THE RING despite his match being over! He spent more time for his post-match celebration then actually wrestling on this episode of Nitro! This was… mind-boggling!

 

Jeff Jarrett vs Hugh Morrus

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This was one of the worst babyface performances I’ve ever seen from Jeff Jarrett. Eric Bischoff tried to play up that Jarrett was maybe with the nWo as he was an “outsider” from the WWF, so of course they had reasons to doubt him. So Jarrett was supposed to be a babyface despite this.

In this match, he did almost everything in his power to get himself booed! Jarrett continued to strut around the ring and laid on the top rope as he bragged about this being too easy. He strutted after every other move he did and the fans turned on him quickly. Hugh eventually cut him off with a big clothesline to a big pop. Hugh mocked him as the fans popped even more!

Jarrett got back in the match. Jeff missed an enziguiri. Jarrett did an atomic drop and a clothesline. Jarret hit a swinging neckbreaker for a 2 count. Hugh missed a top rope leg drop and Jarrett did a figure four leg lock as Hugh gave up. As a match, it wasn’t bad. As a means to get Jeff Jarrett over as a babyface, this failed big time.

 

Tony interviewed Jeff Jarrett. It was revealed that Jarrett was in the “nWo” black limo which explained the connection to nWo Bischoff made. Jarrett said Hogan said he was bigger than the wrestling industry itself and if it wasn’t for Hogan, his father Jerry Jarrett wouldn’t be here. Jarrett retorted to this claim saying Hogan started in Tennessee. Jarrett said history doesn’t mean anything to Hogan but it means a lot to Jeff so Hogan and the nWo could STICK IT as another callback to the infamous Hogan line from Bash at the Beach.

Speaking of that “stick it” line, it’s weird how overlooked that line appears to be in the history books. Everyone remembers the big heel turn from Hogan and people remember the promo but line WCW has attempted to put over in the past few months since he turned heel is the “stick it” line. Hogan told the fans to stick it, Sting told Hogan to stick it, Bischoff told Sting to stick it one time, Sting told Luger to stick it and now Jarrett was telling Hogan to stick it. That line is forever repeated on this show and Bash at the Beach was about four months ago!

 

Arn Anderson w/Woman vs Renegade

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Arn tried a piledriver but Renegade reversed it and chased Arn out of the ring. Arn caught Renegade coming back into the ring with a boot to the head. Arn did a knee drop and worked on Renegade with punches to the head.

Renegade tried a sunset flip on Arn but Arn cut him off with a punch to the head. Arn choked away at Renegade. Fans chanted for the DDT. Arn worked on the arm of Renegade as he slowed down the pace of the match as Tenay alluded that Arn would earlier on in the show.

Renegade fired back. Renegade did a handspring elbow smash and he tried this move a second time but Arn smashed him in the back of the head as the fans popped. Arn then signalled for the DDT, he hit it and the fans went bonkers as he got the clean win.

This was such an effective finish. This was a high-risk move that Renegade tried one too many times, Anderson made him pay, he got the fans riled up for the DDT and then he delivered and got the pin. It’s so easy and basic wrestling psychology. This finish gets a thumbs up and I actually thought this was a good match.

Arn beat on Renegade after the match but Lex Luger chased him off.

 

Lex Luger vs Squire David Taylor w/Jeeves

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Squire David Taylor literally kicked Jeeves in the arse and slapped him down as he called him a “stupid little person” when coming down to the ring. Bischoff laughed off Patrick’s claim at a fine towards Savage.

All you need to know about this match was Taylor missed an elbow drop from the top rope and Luger locked on the torture rack for the clean submission victory. There’s nothing more I can really add to that although I will talk a bit about the torture rack.

The Torture Rack was so over and it was so over because at this time, there were so few clean victories that when he locked on the Torture Rack and it got the job done, the fans went nuts. There was so many shenanigans in WCW, particularly with the nWo, so when Luger was setting up for the Torture Rack the fans would buzz because they knew the match would be over!

This is a bad show to actually make that analogy about too any screwjob finishes because there were a lot more clean victories than usual this week! However, you will see how much that points stands in a few years’ time!

Arn attacked Luger with a chair from behind as Luger made his way to the back as the referee begged Arn off. I think they did a great job with this Luger vs Arn build towards Halloween Havoc. The seeds of the feud were already in place at Fall Brawl and the Nitro after with the Horsemen beat down. This week, both Arn and Luger won their respective matches clean and then Arn laid out Luger from behind like a coward. Now Luger will want revenge a lot more, leading to their match at the PPV. This was solid booking.

 

 

Rick Steiner w/Scott Steiner vs Chris Benoit w/Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra

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This was a way better match than last week and last week’s match was good. They got a lot more time which was key and there was a good pay-off to this two-week storyline between Benoit and Rick Steiner.

They mentioned Rick’s brother Scott had two ruptured discs on his back which was why he’s not been in action recently and he wasn’t there last week. However, he was back to have his brother’s Rick’s back against the Four Horsemen. As much as I feel bad for Scott and his injury, an injury does not excuse this outfit that Scott was wearing on this episoe! He was wearing the same outfit that all the announcers were wearing at Hog Wild. It looked terrible!

Rick got distracted with Mongo and Debra which led to Benoit getting the jump on him to kick off the match. Rick hit an absolutely perfect slam where Benoit jumped at him and Rick slammed him down with such finesse and precision. Great stuff.

They punched away at each other as part of this fight between the two suplex machines. Rick did a belly to belly suplex as Eric mentioned Rick was teaming with The Great Muta in the NJPW tag team tournament in October, with Muta filling in for Scott Steiner.

Rick hit a solid looking german suplex with Benoit landing perfectly on his shoulders. Benoit got the heat on Rick for a while. Bischoff called out Patrick on the neck brace saying he’s not buying. Bobby asked “are you calling him a liar?” to which Bischoff said no and Bobby said: “well you just did”.

The nWo limo arrived with WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan and The Giant coming out of the limo. Hogan said he’s got business to take care of and told Giant to watch his back.

Benoit continued to work on Rick and hit a back suplex. This was a huge suplex match where they threw each other all of the place and it was great. Rick eventually hit a big flying forearm to get himself back into the match temporarily but Benoit went back to work by throwing Rick into the corner.

Benoit hit a diving headbutt for a 2 count which Benoit was outraged by as he yelled at Patrick. Benoit was caught jumping off the top rope by Rick who did a big belly to belly suplex. Rick did a bulldog from the middle rope for a 2 count as Scott questioned Patrick for doing a slow count. Rick and Benoit took each other out with a double clothesline.

The finish was great as Debra distracted the referee. Mongo tried to use the briefcase but Scott cut him off and confronted him. Mongo tried to use the briefcase but Rick grabbed it like “yoink”, hit Mongo directly in the head in a funny cartoon manner and then hit Benoit with it in the head for the victory. I loved this match and I loved the finish where the heel shenanigans backfire and the good guys win! It felt like a big win for Rick Steiner and a good-feel moment overall. I give this three thumbs up! This was brilliant!. The fans went nuts with the brothers hugging! I’D RECOMMEND WATCHING THIS MATCH.

 

Ric Flair © vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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Flair vs Savage was the scheduled main-event for Monday Nitro, clearly inspired by the Halloween Havoc Sweepstake commercial from last week!

Hogan was shown hanging out with the Nasty Boys and Ted DiBiase backstage. DiBiase had the “nWo paperwork” as Hogan wanted them to watch his back. He left the contracts with them as Hogan had a big evil grin on his face. I also love the idea of despite being an evil organisation, you still had to sign paperwork and agree to contracts in order to officially join the nWo! I guess there had to be some honour among theives, even with the big bad nWo!

In case you haven’t figured it out by this point, the main-event never took place. The nWo attacked Ric Flair backstage, as Hall, Nash, Giant, Syxx and everybody was back there beating up Flair as Vincent held the US title for like two minutes! It’s weird that Vincent held that title in his hands when the US title match at Halloween Havoc at this point was Ric Flair vs The Giant. I guess Vincent just really wanted to hold a title in his hands!

Miss Elizabeth was backstage just watching on all nervous as to what was going on. Giant stalked Elizabeth up towards the entrance ramp as she begged him off. Savage came out and had a standoff with Giant with a chair but Hogan blindsided Savage. Hogan threw down a referee and then dropped Savage on the guard rail.

Hogan choked Savage with a chair but Elizabeth begged him off. Hogan grabbed her by the hair and then the arm as he bragged about owning her. Giant carried Savage down to the ring but, in a dangerous and awkward, moment, he lost his footing as he makes way onto the steps. Giant then slips on the steps as he’s holding Savage like a baby and Savage landed on the steps in an awkward manner. This was a bad botch although my big question was why Giant felt the need to go up the steps to throw Savage into the ring.

Giant was about to chokeslam Savage but Hogan stopped him to get a good punch in. Hogan punched away at Savage. Hogan clotheslined the back of Savage in the corner as Giant grabbed the face of Elizabeth.

Hogan did a leg drop on Savage and spat at him as he made Elizabeth watch this beating. He did another leg drop as fans throw more trash into the ring. Someone got a good throw of a box of Slim Jims right into the face of Hogan as he’s yelled at Savage! He spray-painted around Savage’s body like this was a crime scene.. Someone else got a good throw with a cup of beer or something at Giant’s arm as he was holding Elizabeth.

Hall and Nash came down. Hogan grabbed the mic and said: “by the power vested in me, I deem this consummation of Savage and Elizabeth null and void because I own you, I own your body, your soul, your heart as it was etched in stone. Ooooh yeah.” Hogan continued to yell as he said they should destroy the broadcast booth.

Eric Bischoff was adamant about not moving but then he and the announcers bailed as the nWo unveil the nWo monster truck with Syxx in the passenger seat! This was a big monster truck with Hogan’s arms on the side all kitted out in black and white. Despite claiming that he was not gonna leave, this big monster truck was there and Bischoff, Heenan and Tenay were nowhere to be found. They ran for their lives! The monster truck was being revved up near the announce table as they go off the air.

….so yes. They got this big monster truck to destroy the announce table… and they didn’t even do it! They just revved the engine and that was that!

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This was best episode of Nitro in a while. I very much enjoyed this episode although the Elizabeth stuff was super uncomfortable but this was a better show than usual. The Elizabeth stuff is hard to watch through but this does strengthen the resolve of the babyface in question Randy Savage. If the plan was for Savage to beat Hogan for the title, then this was effective way to build up a massive threat in Hogan, have him do every despicable thing in the book and have Savage, the knight in shining armour, save Elizabeth from this evil organisation.

The only problem with that is I’m fairly certain Hogan retained the title at Halloween Havoc! Therefore, all the evil shenanigans we’re watching is even worse in hindsight knowing that Savage won’t even get his revenge! It’s like the Triple H/Booker T storyline from 2003 heading into WrestleMania 19. Everything was in place for Booker to beat Triple H. They even went as far as to have Triple H dismiss Booker as a threat because of his race as “people like him” couldn’t be world champion. The stars were aligned for Booker to become the first ever African-American world champion and beat this bigot Triple H… and then he just lost. So in hindsight, all of this awkward and negative led to nothing.

The exact same thing is happening here, knowing Savage isn’t going to get his revenge. With that being said, there were still a fair amount of clean victories and happy endings to at least provide a bit light during this dark time with the New World Order take over.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #55 (SEPTEMBER 30TH 1996) – WHERE DOES MISS ELIZABETH’S LOYALTIES LIE?

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 New World Order have been conducting a hostile takeover of WCW and took over for real last week with half of the roster wrestling in Japan during this episode. They took over the program for the second hour where they introduced their newest member Vincent, strong-armed Eric Bischoff and beat up a number of WCW guys to assert their dominance in the world of professional wrestling….

…oh yeah, and Public Enemy won the WCW Tag Team Championship.

 

This week’s episode was a better episode than last week. I ended my review of last week‘s episode with a big speech about the nWo taking over the show and how it took away from the wrestling. This week, we did get some more nWo shenanigans and a big chunk of the show dedicated to the Miss Elizabeth drama but we got a lot of decent wrestling matches too. This wasn’t a strong show or anything but I got a lot more wrestling this time and I was all for it. This was back to being a wrestling show again….

 

Date: September 30th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Cleveland, Ohio

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

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The announcers were recapping what happened last week and described it as: “the lowest point in the history of this program” when the nWo took over last week according to Tony. OH JUST YOU WAIT. We’ve got years of content to come, Schiavonie.

They cut to Eric Bischoff at the announce booth. Eric said this is not about him and this is about what WCW represented. He brought up all the former champions and said they may not mean anything to the nWo including “180 lb wimp they call Syxx”. He said the nWo nonsense is going to stop as this company is not gonna tolerate it. Bischoff said this is not fun anymore. He called the nWo all dirt bags and that included Hulk Hogan. Bischoff admitted the one singular mistake he ever made was bringing Hulk Hogan into the company. He said this was all gonna stop. Supposedly the fans were chanting “nWo” during this promo although I don’t remember this!

A defiant Eric Bischoff promo standing up for WCW which is hilarious in hindsight but to his credit, this was a good promo. It felt for a moment that he was fighting for WCW and was standing his ground against WCW. With what has happened with Bischoff in recent weeks with him ducking questions and making the nWo aware of WCW’s tour in Japan, it still felt obvious that Bischoff was up to something related to the nWo. However, Bischoff was still playing the role of WCW spokesman and he was passionate about destroying the nWo at all costs. I liked this promo. THIS GETS A THUMBS UP.

 

“Public Enemy” Rocco Rock © and Johnny Grunge © vs El Technico and Juventud Guerrera for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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Teaming with Juventud to go up against the new tag team champions was “El Technico”, who I believe was Billy Kidman in a red body suit while wearing a half red and green mask… quite a silly costume. “El Technico” means technical wrestler according to Tony.

Rocco Rock was bouncing all over the place to sell for Juvi until he eventually smashed Juvi into the steel guard rail to take control of the match. Technico got the tag and ran into a boot in the corner. Public Enemy did a double team elbow drop which was broken up by Juvi.

Juvi tried a powerbomb but Grunge sent him over the top rope. Public Enemy did an elevated springboard senton for the win to retain the tag team titles. No stupid finishes to retain the titles. No need to protect Juventud and El Technico. They beat them clean and strengthen their own title reign, they were dominant in their performance and this is a fine way to put the new champions over. Fine.

Like complete dicks, Public Enemy put El Technico through a table. Public Enemy do this to their opponents all the time and they’re supposed to be good guys. It’s quite astonishing actually. Not great conduct from your babyface world tag team champions.

 

Mike Tenay interviewed Chris Benoit, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra McMichael. Mongo did not have a match but he was there to watch Benoit’s back. He complained about the nWo beating up Savage in a handicapped situation. Clearly Mongo forgot what happened 2 weeks ago when the Four Horsemen beat up Luger four on one! Here, Mongo has the cojones to call out the nWo for taking cheap shots! Incredible, the irony of that statement. Benoit vs Rick Steiner was booked for tonight. Benoit put Rick over and said he was a great wrestler but tonight he was in the ring against the best.

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The nWo were backstage with Hollywood Hogan’s child Nick Hogan with them. Nash made some crack about Bill Murray and talked about Mongo. Ted DiBiase talked about WCW paying all of the bills. Giant was hungry. I have no idea what these guys were saying at times. This was not very good.

This seemed like a lame party the nWo were hosting. By the way, the nWo did the “following announcement has been paid for by the New World Order” line to which Hogan or someone yelled “not anymore.” This hasn’t been made totally clear but I guess because they lost at Fall Brawl in the War Games match, WCW were paying the nWo’s bills or something which is why Hogan said this before EVERY segment they were in during this show.

 

Dean Malenko vs Alex Wright

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Dean Malenko had the mask of WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. as supposedly he jumped Rey during an interview with Tony at Saturday Night, took the mask and Tony covered the luchador up. As Tony explains this and what happened with Rey losing his mask, Larry goes: “why, is he that ugly?” I did laugh at that.

Alex Wright got booed coming out. Wright and Malenko wrestled on the mat for a bit. I like how Wright tried to trip the leg and go for the abdominal stretch but Malenko side-stepped him and Wright went crashing to the floor. One simple side-step and Malenko had gained the heat in this match! Simple but effective.

Malenko locked on a kneebar of some kind. Wright ran wild in the corner to big boos. Malenko missed a top rope crossbody and Wright cradled him for an upset victory. Larry even said it shocked him which was saying something according to him as he was “smarter than the world”. This was a fine television match.

 

They showed a clip from Saturday Night as Savage wrestled Big Bubba but he threw the referee out of the ring. Tony said he didn’t condone the attack on the referee but he did enjoy the follow up attack on Nick Patrick as Savage punched him out! They then show Mike Tenay was on the entrance ramp to do an interview with “Macho Man” Randy Savage on Nitro. Savage’s theme played but there was no Macho Man. Mike Tenay just says: “we’ll be back after the break”. A complete waste of time.

 

There was a Slim Jim advert with Randy Savage hyping up the Slim Jim Halloween Havoc sweepstake for a Slim Jim Monster Truck and a trip to Las Vegas. This was so bizarre as Savage was in a Frankenstein mask and then took it off. He cutsthis promo about the sweepstake and he’s got a gorgeous woman in a Slim Jim Nascar car I believe, when Ric Flair interrupted him with his two women. It’s so bizarre because Savage and Flair have been in a blood feud about Elizabeth for the last year and yet here they are, with Flair all happy as they are doing this advert together! This was surreal to watch!

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Jim Powers w/Teddy Long

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Eddie Guerrero cut a inset promo about wanting to lock horns with Jim Powers. DDP vs Eddie Guerrero was booked for Halloween Havoc.

The referee Nick Patrick was shown with a neck brace on after it was shown that Savage had put his hands on him during the episode of Saturday Night. Matt Ghaffari was at ringside again. Eddie and Jim wrestled for a bit with Powers playing the big man role including hitting a sweet belly-to-belly suplex on Eddie.

Even with the size difference, Eddie was able to shoot take him down and starting punching away at Powers! Powers did two hard Irish whips and then a clothesline. Tony then claimed he didn’t want to see anyone get hurt RIGHT AFTER HE ENDORSED SAVAGE BEATING UP REFEREE NICK PATRICK.

HUGE NWO CHANTS BROKE OUT as the geeks with nWo signs walked around within the crowd. They do explain that Powers’ manager Teddy Long had a problem with Nick Patrick because he himself was once a referee, and thought Nick was not good enough. Eddie did a back suplex and went up to the top rope but Powers cut him off. Powers hit a superplex for the two count.

Eddie did a German suplex with a bridge for a 3 count. Powers claimed to have kicked out but Patrick called for the bell anyway and awarded the match to Guerrero. It felt like a screwed up finish because Powers did not look like he kicked out at all. It looked like Powers kicked out about second after Eddie got the three count so the controversy for this finish was not even there.

Teddy began to psychically show how Powers got his shoulders up before the 3 count! Teddy told Patrick to go back to referee school. Nick dared Teddy to put on a blue shirt and basically be a referee if he thought this was so easy.

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The nWo were backstage where the Nasty Boys joined the party and yelled that they were here to party. Some hotel staff got food for the group as the lady providing room service was smiling throughout all of this. This was dead funny to see this woman just stand here totally happy and not even look intimidated in the slightest by the likes of The Giant and Kevin Nash. It was as if she was their mother bringing in cookies while they played video games or whatever. She provided room service and left them to it with a smile on her face! She might as well have said: “OK, you boys have fun!”

Sags did a Eric Bischoff impression by opening his ass and saying “oh no, the nWo are gonna get me” and Scott Hall shot a blank stare at the camera basically acknowledging how stupid this was. It was one of the greatest Scott Hall facial expressions I’ve ever seen! There was a certain charm to these segments but overall, it looked really stupid. The Nasty Boys came off as really uncool which I guess was the story because I expected the nWo to kick them out for being uncool. However, the Nasty Boys was there the entire time. I guess they proved they could party with the nWo…

 

Mike Tenay interviewed Arn Anderson, Elizabeth and Woman. Arn said they forgave Elizabeth for making a mistake at War Games and decided that they needed to pull together. Woman said business is business and asked what she was doing out there during War Games. Elizabeth flat out said she doesn’t know what to say and she clearly had NOTHING to contribute to this segment! Arn said either Elizabeth is in or out but if she’s in, she’s all the way in. All of this Elizabeth drama was all fine and the story of where her loyalties laid was fine, expect Elizabeth herself was not up for the role at all. She legitimately didn’t know what to say when Arn and Woman were giving her this brow-beating for helping Savage. This was very awkward for Elizabeth.

 

Hugh Morrus vs Brad Armstrong

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This was a rematch from two weeks ago. Brad and Hugh were playing keepaway for a while until Hugh eventually grabbed him and punched away at Brad.

Brad turned it around with a hip toss and a dropkick, missing a second one before the production crew cut to the fireworks for the second hour. Mike Tenay was at the commentary booth again for the second hour. Morrus caught Brad with the powerslam.

Eric Bischoff was not out there for long on commentary but he couldn’t help but say: “Nasty Boys, you’re dumber than you look” to which Bobby responds: “they’re not that dumb”.

This was a far more competitive match than their last match. Brad tried a Russian leg sweep but Hugh grabbed the rope to avoid the impact. Hugh did a moonsault and went for another one and got the pin. This was an emphatic victory for Hugh as he bragged about tickling Brad’s funny bone. This was OK I guess and that is being generous.

 

They showed Arn, Woman and Elizabeth arguing, Arn was all about business as Elizabeth was upset about something. Eric Bischoff left the booth as he left it to Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan to continue the show.

 

Arn Anderson w/Woman vs Chris Jericho

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Elizabeth was not there joining Woman at ringside as Tony replaced Eric at the announce booth. We finally got the very first time on WCW programming where it was speculated by Bobby that Eric could be with the nWo. Elizabeth was shown watching this match from backstage, watching on one of the monitors.

The match was going along fine. Woman eventually slapped Jericho to a large pop as Arn took control of the match. By the way, two weeks ago I talked about Savage hitting his opponent, I think it was Scott Norton, with a chair on the outside and it was not a disqualification. I was baffled why this was the case when he got DQ’d for a chair shot in the ring anyway. It was sort of explained to me that I guess everything outside of the ring was legal in WCW but if you bring anything in the ring, then it’s a disqualification. I guess those were the rules in WCW as there was no DQ following Woman slapping Jericho here.

Elizabeth eventually left wherever she was watching the monitor as Arn continued to get the heat on Jericho. Jericho caught Arn coming off the top rope with a dropkick.

Jericho did a springboard shoulder tackle and followed it with a diving back elbow from the top rope. Jericho missed a Lionsault but Arn planted him with a DDT for a clean pin. After all of that drama with Elizabeth possibly coming out or not, it didn’t play into the finish at all. The one time you almost expected shenanigans from Elizabeth or EVEN WOMAN WHO WAS OUT THERE, Arn beat the guy clean.

This was a fine match regardless. This was not like Jericho was hurt losing to Arn Anderson. This was good television and a good television match. Elizabeth got her bags and she left the building.

 

M. Wallstreet vs Lex Luger

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Wallstreet was no longer “V K” Wallstreet anymore. It was M. Wallstreet now, I guess as a nod to his real first name Mike.

The announcers weren’t paying any attention to the match as they talk almost exclusively about the nWo. I cannot confirm this but I’m sure Tony called Randy Anderson “a good looking Randy Anderson” or something. A bizarrely worded compliment from Schiavonie.

This was an absolute nothing match so I don’t blame the announcers for not paying attention to the match to be fair. Luger locked on an abdominal stretch, a sleeper hold, a chin lock… this was just completely slow and nothing action. By the way, this was the first time they’ve mentioned on Nitro that Luger lost the WCW TV title to Lord Steven Regal last month. That’s kind of an important detail considering Luger was involved in the nWo angle.

Eventually Luger got back into the match with some rolls up and a big forearm for a 2 count. Wallstreet fired back with his own clothesline. Luger reversed a suplex into a torture rack and got the clean win over Wallstreet. This was a boring, bad match. BIG THUMBS DOWN.

 

Tony talked about how WCW were wrong about Sting and revealed a special “Sting” WCW car to be driven in the upcoming Nascar event as a peace offering! WCW playing the role of the dumped partner in this relationship with Sting and doing everything to get Sting back is kinda funny! I’m pretty sure one of the announcers even said: “please come back” as they are offering this car to him!

 

“The Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian w/Jimmy Hart vs “The Rock and Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson

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Ricky Morton kept trying to bring down Meng with sleeper holds at the start of this tag match, jumping onto the back of the Tongan to force him down but Meng was too big. Bobby claimed Meng has not been to sleep since ’62.

Gibson got in the ring to do a double team move and both members of the Rock and Roll Express go for the cover and referee continued to count Barbarian down for both members of the Express, They both covered Barbarian for individual pins even though only ONE OF THEM was the legal man. They both dog-piled pinned Barbarian and he still kicked out! The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express came off as completely geeks doing nothing to the Barbarian here, even with illegal pin attempts!

Gibson did a sunset flip as they cut to a break. Meng spat at Gibson then delivered a piledriver to Morton. I love how this referee had a problem of Gibson running in at this tage after Meng spat and punched at him, despite earlier being OK with an illegal competitor going for the pin on a legal opponent.

Barbarian did an awesome backbreaker where Ricky went high up and Barbarian literally slammed him down on his knee. It looked cool. Meng locked on a camel clutch. Meng and Barbarian did a double headbutt  onto a floored Morton. Morton evaded a top rope headbutt from Barbarian.

Gibson got the hot tag. The Express ran wild, Gibson grabbed Jimmy Hart at ringside but Barbarian delivered a kick to the back of Gibson’s head as the Faces of Fear got the pin. Gibson and Morton were never given a chance to rock and roll in this company and this was another example where they’re just another tag team. They were complete jobbers in this tag team division. Their matches were fine, and this was a fine match, but that’s just a shame.

I loved Morton tried to save his partner from a post-match beat down from the Faces of Fear but Meng booted him right out of the ring! Public Enemy made the save but Faces of Fear kicked their asses and then the Faces of Fear exposed the knee of Grunge and did splashes to the knee which was not good for Halloween Havoc. Public Enemy were set to the defend the titles against the Outsiders at Halloween Havoc (even though Harlem Heat were still advetised to face the Outsiders during this show!) No to mention, what unbeatable monsters the Faces of Fear turned out to be. They were at a four on two disadvantage against the babyfaces and destroyed them!

 

Chris Benoit w/Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra McMichael vs Rick Steiner

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A hard-hitting main-event with Rick Steiner and Chris Benoit of all people. It’s great to see them in this position but considering the main-eventers they had, it’s surreal to see Rick Steiner vs Chris Benoit as the main-event! Then again, High Voltage were in the main-event last week so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Patrick cut a promo on Savage to the camera before the match started.

They were still hyping up Outsiders vs Harlem Heat for Halloween Havoc as I mentioned before. Rick delivered an absolutely beautiful German suplex to Benoit. This was a huge release suplex with Benoit landing right on his shoulders. Rick worked on Benoit for a while. Rick floored Benoit with a clothesline

Rick caught Benoit and slammed him down for a 2 count. Debra distracted Nick Patrick and Mongo hit Rick with a briefcase as Rick attempted a belly to belly SUPLEX from the top rope so Benoit just fell down onto Rick to pin him for the win. Speaking of this spot, Mongo took a solid minute to get into the ring to get himself ready to hit Rick with the briefcase. It took forever for Mongo to do this for some reason. Trash got thrown into the ring by the fans following a hard-hitting match with a bad finish.

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There was one last announcement from the nWo before the end of the show as it was revealed that Elizabeth had left the building early to go to the nWo party. Giant talked about having two movies and doing a movie last week. Giant said if she listened to them they would get success or something. Elizabeth looked so depressed as Giant and Hogan dwarfed her.

Vincent walked in the hotel room too. Hogan walked Elizabeth through a bunch of movie deals. Elizabeth talked about things changing since the deal they made. Vincent got a gift that was sent to the nWo. Elizabeth left. Savage ran down and screamed at Elizabeth as he grabbed a piece a paper she received. Savage yelled “son of a bitch” as the show went off the air.

This was so uncomfortable. I have no idea if this was Elizabeth officially joining the nWo or what the deal was but she looked completely out of place. She felt completely out of place as a heel with the Four Horsemen but along with Woman, they were able to make it work as she and Woman played off of each other. Elizabeth sat down on the sofa with Giant on one side and Hogan by the other with the nWo as she looked like she didn’t want to be there, which she probably didn’t in real life.

While we’re at it, why was she there in the group? The women’s division is non-existent in WCW, there’s no championship for the women, Madusa shows up once in a blue moon but there’s nothing else. No women for her to feud with and it’s not like she’ll be able to cut promos. She couldn’t cut promos as a babyface let alone as a heel. It honestly felt like she was put in this group because of this storyline at that’s it. Otherwise, what would Elizabeth being with the nWo accomplish?

It also did not look like it was fun for Elizabeth. I was not a fan. Not to mention, she left Randy Savage in real life a few years before this. Ever since she was brought into WCW, everything she’s been involved in somehow has featured the Macho Man. They’re not even dating at this time again and Savage is screaming at her like he was during the height of the famous Hogan/Savage feud in the WWF.

NWO-professional-wrestling-4387268-1280-800This was a better show than last week. There was a lot more good wrestling involved, there were more characters and storylines to play around with this week and the nWo shenanigans had been reduced drastically more than the week before. An improvement but I would not go ahead and say this episode was good. Fine and acceptable are the words I would use. There was not a lot wrong about it but nothing particularly special about it either. This was a perfectly fine wrestling show in my books.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #54 (SEPTEMBER 23RD 1996) – THE NWO TAKE OVER THE SHOW AND RUINS 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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WCW are now on the back-foot in the war with the New World Order. Hollywood Hogan has the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, they now have seven members of their organisation, Syxx joined the pack last week and WCW suffered a loss within their own ranks.

Sting arrived for Nitro last week, declaring himself a free agent and telling everyone who doubted him to “stick it”. He was out of WCW but he would come back when everyone would least expect it. Now, WCW were on their own. Nothing symbolised this more than the ending of the show, where Lex Luger was left beaten down four on one by the Four Horsemen with no one to help him.

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This Nitro I’m about to review was so bad. This was soooo bad. I really did not like last week‘s show but this week’s episode took bad to another level. This was an episode designed to give the nWo the floor. There were legitimate plans for WCW Monday Nitro to become the nWo’s show as Eric Bischoff alluded to on commentary last week. That was not a storyline bit that Bischoff threw out as a throwaway line, that was the plan because the nWo got over so much that he wanted to cash in.

Well he gave it a try in the second hour of this show and we got unbridled garbage. This second hour was designed to make a mockery out of WCW but it made a mockery out of professional wrestling. The fans just wanted to see a wrestling show and we got a bunch of adults acting like high school bullies during what is presented as a sporting event. If this was WWF RAW IS WAR, maybe this would have worked better to that audience. However, these fans wanted to see wrestling and the best match these fans got involved MIKE ENOS of all people. More on that later as I review a wretched show.

 

Date: September 23rd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Birmingham, Alabama

Rating: 3.4 (It went down from last week, I wonder why)

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and the nWo (and Bobby Heenan for a few minutes)

 

 

They showed an ad on USA Today newspaper for the nWo. Larry Zybszko made a weird analogy about the nWo being parasites but he and Tony make it clear that a lot of WCW talent were in Japan making it a good time for the nWo to pounce and act. I wished the nWo would have pounced at this point to stop this Larry promo. He just mumbled on and on just to get to point of calling the nWo parasites. They also showed fans I guess revolting against the nWo although it was somewhat 50/50 between fan liking nWo and some fans being disgusted by nWo.

 

Taskmaster and Konnan w/Jimmy Hart and Big Bubba vs Brad Armstrong and Juventud Guerrera

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What a weird tag team match. On one side it’s a luchador and a generic old-school babyface and on the other it’s Konnan and Taskmaster representing the Dungeon of Doom. Konnan being a part of the group I still can’t believe is something they did but more on that later.

Konnan has been going all out in recent weeks in the ring, perhaps to get himself attention with a new gimmick in the midst of the nWo bandwagon. Therefore, the first thing Konnan did in the match is LAUNCH Juvi with a German suplex over his shoulders onto his head. He was not playing around.

Juvi took control with a headscissors take over and then took out Konnan with a dive. As Juvi rolled Konnan into the ring, Taskmster got in a cheeky kick at the luchador. Konnan dropped Juvi with a cradle DDT that he used last week. Konnan slammed Juvi with a muscle buster.

Taskmaster kept refusing the tag as Konnan basically did the work for the team. Brad got the tag and ran wild on Konnan. Konnan slammed Brad with a powerbomb and then at this point, Sullivan made a tag to deliver a double foot stomp and get the pin. They told the story of a heel stable leader making one of his cronies do all the work so he gets all the glory. That’s fine and they told that story well.

Then Konnan shoved away Taskmaster but then Big Bubba blindsided Konnan which the fans started to buzz about because possibly they think Konnan was gonna turn. Bubba and Sullivan beat up Konnan as Jimmy claimed this was an initiation. Konnan declared he was Dungeon of Doom and they all leave together as part of a weird fake babyface turn where the heels actually jumped the guy! Mike Tenay, who was there for commentary, compared this to a gang initiation…. MIKE TENAY giving the fans insight into gang warfare ladies and gentlemen!

 

 

Our street insider Mike Tenay interviewed Randy Savage. Savage said if the nWo were gonna cheap shot him every night, tonight was not gonna change anything. Savage said he’s the last hope for WCW. Savage claimed he was booked in Japan but he took himself out of there as he felt the need to be on Nitro. Savage made some weird comment about him and Elizabeth swimming together and finished his thoughts by saying “things don’t make any sense”. He vowed to take the nWo out.

 

Mike Enos vs Chris Jericho

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The blow-away match of the episode was MIKE ENOS VS CHRIS JERICHO in such a weird match-up. They had such wrestlers like Juventud Guerrera available to wrestle and they put Jericho in there with Mike Enos of all people? Even with the randomness, these guys worked their asses of. They knew this match didn’t matter as the nWo would take over the show so screw it. They went out there and tried their best. This was Chris Jericho wrestling a tree and it wasn’t bad. I cannot say this was good.

Jericho got a huge pop coming out for a guy who just debuted a month ago. Girls were going CRAZY for long-haired Lionheart Chris Jericho. Enos offered a handshake and suckered Jericho in for a slap.

Jericho took control with a wheel kick. Jericho gave Enos a receipt with a slap to his face. Enos did the weirdest looking catapult shoulder tackle from the apron. Enos did a belly to belly suplex. Enos roared and did a clothesline from the apron to Jericho on the floor. Enos slammed Jericho on the apron. Enos suplexed Jericho on the side of the steel steps.

Enos did a bear hug that looked so ineffective as Jericho wrapped his legs around him. This took away from the match for me. Enos hit a powerslam. Enos grabbed Jericho’s legs and did the Boston crab… TO CHRIS JERICHO. A lot of guys, LIKE CHRIS JERICHO, will sit down to make it look like this hold could hurt somehow and try to “put weight” on his opponent but Enos just stood there like a big tree with some grip on Jericho. It didn’t look any good.

Enos did a Canadian Backbreaker but Jericho reversed this into a sunset slip. Jericho tried a frankensteiner but Enos countered it into a powerbomb which sounded cool on paper but pretty bland in execution. This came off as the laziest powerbomb off the top rope I’ve ever seen. Enos caught Jericho off the Frankensteiner attempt and he and Jericho just fell down. Enos didn’t try to slam him. He fell forward and Jericho fell backwards and they crashed to the mat. A cool finish saw Jericho counter a powerslam into a roll up for the win.

This was ultimately Jericho wrestling himself and it was the best match on the show. This is not worth going out of your way to watch. It was the best out of a bad situation.

 

Pat Tanaka vs Glacier

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This was so stupid. Glacier and Tanaka are out there for this next match and to make sure Glacier “GOT OVER” with this martial arts gimmick, he and Tanaka work a “martial arts” match with one powerbomb being thrown in by Tanaka. Even with Glacier being a legitimate martial artist and I think Tanaka doing some judo in this time, this was the lamest martial arts which did not belong in a wrestling show. Think of this as Brock Lesnar vs Cain Velasquez from the Saudi Arabia show in 2019 but shorter.

Glacier reversed a Tanaka punch into a palm strike. Tanaka tried a high pick but Glacier swept his legs to bring him down. Tanakta cut off Glacier with a powerbomb. Glacier no-sold this and hit a roundhouse kick for the win… “ALMOST IN RECORD TIME” according to Tony. Glacier hit this kick which was basically Aleister Black’s Black Mass but at 50% of the speed. THUMBS DOWN for everything about this.

Larry hyping up Glacier as the man to stop the New World Order I got a good kick out of. Could you imagine Glacier vs Hollywood Hogan for Starrcade?

 

Matt Ghaffari was shown at ringside who was an Olympic silver medallist and so Larry buried him for being a loser. Could Larry not do anything right as an announcer? He couldn’t even hype up a celebrity in the crowd properly as he had to take a shot at him despite Matt being a silver medallist in wrestling. Tony asked how many medals Larry had. Larry said none because he was too mean. This… was terrible.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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Arn Anderson vs Lex Luger and Outsiders vs Harlem Heat for the WCW tag team titles were revealed for Halloween Havoc. To build to this tag team title match at Halloween Havoc, they had the Heat scheduled to defend the titles against Public Enemy. All I know was that I was looking forward at the possibility of seeing Public Enemy vs the Outsiders which seemed silly to suggest that they would actually got with this. What a clash of styles that would have been. I will get more to that later.

Harlem Heat blindsided Public Enemy to kick off the match. Grunge took out both members of the Heat with a top rope double clothesline. Public Enemy did a drop toe hold/elbow drop combination that was the default tag team move from WWE 2K games.

Larry buried Public Enemy and Nasty Boys for not having stamina. Booker got hung out on the top rope as he missed a side kick. Grunge got the tag and beat on Booker in the corner. Stevie Ray did a big leg drop. Stevie locked on a long-ass chin lock on Grunge. Booker floored Grunge with a Harlem Side Kick. The nWo limo had arrived, with Hall, Nash and Syxx in ring gear and Giant suited and booted. Bogus Sting, Ted DiBiase and Hogan were also there.

Grunge hit the neckbreaker as he crawled his way to Rocco and got the tag. Rocco ran wild. Rocco clunked Booker and Stevie’s heads together but they no sold this and took him out with a double clothesline.

In a weird spot, Rocco was on the apron. Stevie pushed him into the ring and Rocco fell into the ring and covered Booker accidentally but Patrick stops the count as Rocco’s foot was on the ropes. It didn’t look like that was planned at all so Patrick improvised. Then there’s a cradle and a 3 count and both Rocco and Booker celebrated. Booker goes to the get the belts but Nick Patrick said “no” as PUBLIC ENEMY ARE DECLARED THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS. WHAT?

This was such a shocker and the manner in which this was pulled off just really devalued the titles that were being set-up for the Outsiders to win. Harlem Heat’s title reign started off when Patrick pinned Luger or Sting when 20 police men were in the ring. Fast forward a few months and the title reign ended with another controversial finish, where Patrick did a pin and awarded the match to Public Enemy because…. whatever. I don’t even know if Public Enemy knew they were winning the titles!

With this title change, the WCW tag team title match for Halloween Havoc had been changed to The Outsiders vs Public Enemy which is quite a match on PPV. It’d be interesting to see what this match would be like in execution. I won’t look it up but I’d be astonished if Public Enemy make it to Halloween Havoc as the champions.

 

First hour over. Other than the title change, it’s a pretty standard Nitro right? A bunch of standard matches. Nothing particularly special but only the Glacier vs Pat Tanaka match sucked. Everything else was below par and Enos/Jericho was fine. Then the show turned into a heaping pile of horrible ideas that were actually done on national television.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Greg “The Hammer” Valentine

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The announcers kept calling Halloween Havoc – Slim Jim’s Halloween Havoc. Savage fired away with punches in the corner to Valentine. Valentine took control and threw Savage to the outside. Valentine dropped Savage on the guard rail. Super Calo supposedly dislocated his shoulder earlier on in the show.

Savage then went crazy and hit Valentine with a chair while they were on the floor as the referee let this go but then Savage gets on the top rope and hits a top rope chair shot to then warrant a DQ. How was a chair shot to a head on the floor not a disqualification in the referee’s eyes? You can’t throw a man over the top rope in World Championship Wrestling but you can hit a man with a chair when outside of the ring? However, a top rope chair shot is where the referee drew the line? Anyway, the referee got thrown out for his trouble by Savage.

So this dick “Macho Man” Randy Savage beat up a wrestler with a chair, got himself RIGHTFULLY disqualified and beat up the referee. Then the nWo’s Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Syxx arrived to MAKE THE SAVE and attack Savage with Ted DiBiase there as well. There’s no other way to put this. Savage was beating up a helpless referee and the nWo saved him. Valentine rightfully left the ring to let the nWo beat up this guy. After all, Savage attacked him with a chair. Savage deserved this and to be honest, Savage was a horrible babyface at this time.

Hall hits the Outsiders Edge. Elizabeth came out but then ran off scared for her life. Giant came up on the apron. Nash dropped Savage with a Jackknife powerbomb. Giant got a mic and introduced WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan with this elaborate introduction.

Hogan came out with the WCW title. Hogan hit a leg drop on Savage as he posed with the crowd. He hit another leg drop. Kevin Nash whipped Savage with something. I was like “what the heck was that?” Hogan explained that “he’s whipping him with a Slim Jim” which I actually enjoyed. Hogan suggested they help him with his hygiene. Hogan talked to the “nWoites” and mentioned that he’s used to being in Hollywood but the bright lights bouncing off of Savage’s bald head needed sorting out. He spray-painted Savage’s head black. Hogan making fun of someone for being bald made me laugh. Just wait until we get to Bash at the Beach 2000!

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Nash and Hall strong-armed Eric Bischoff at commentary and forced him down on the chair. Bobby Heenan fled from the booth. Hall told Bischoff to do the job well chico. Hall and Nash joined Bischoff on commentary. They ask for them to bring out VINCENT… who is revealed to be the former Virgil from WWF. Hogan and Vincent hug. Vincent grabbed Bischoff by the head.

If it was starting to feel like seven was too many people in the nWo with Syxx’s arrival last week, then it’s really gonna feel like there’s too many people with Vincent. I understand that they don’t slow down the recruitment process with the nWo but this where it really felt someone was brought into the group just to be there.

Firstly, this was a guy brought in for the sole purpose of being a shot at Vincent Kennedy McMahon from the WCW. They went through the effort of getting the cash to get Virgil? He was billed as “head of security” but the nWo already had guys like Hall and Nash and The Giant could have easily been a “head of security” guy. However, Virgil was just another guy in this group.

You could have argued that every other guy in the nWo at this point had a reason for being there. Hogan was the world champion, Nash and Hall were the tag team, The Giant was the big man (even with Kevin Nash already there), Ted DiBiase funded the group and he was the manager, Bogus Sting served the purpose of parodying Sting who was a big player in this storyline and even Syxx could have been the “cruiserweight” guy of the stable. Vincent? What a waste of a member.

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Bischoff was looking defeated as Hall welcomed us back to Nitro after the break. Hall said they could take over the NBA. Hall talked about Kevin Greene. Hall vowed to take over NASCAR. Of course, they bring out the nWo car as they have a racing team! This was a sweet looking car as Kyle Petty WAs set to be racing the Nascar racing event under the nWo banner. Say what you will about this storyline but the nWo was getting some serious mainstream publicity. I brought up USA Today mention but they had a car competing in NASCAR which is a hugely popular attraction in America. That’s quite an accomplishment.

 

Jim Powers w/Teddy Long vs VK Wallstreet

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Scott Hall called Jim Powers a “comer” as he “comes” down the ramp. The Giant did the ring introductions for the rest of the night, basically playing Dave Penzer for the show. Two months ago, The Giant was such a threat to the nWo and now he’s the ring announcer in a suit. The nWo has already completely undermined his importance to WCW. He wasn’t even allowed to actually wrestle as the stars of the shows were the Outsiders on commentary and Hollywood Hogan.

Hall called Teddy “peanut head” which did not sound alright in the slightest. Hall and Nash go down to ring as Ted DiBiase joined commentary. Nash and Hall beat up Powers. Ted goes: “boy what a fight” in a totally deadpan manner as Outsiders beat the crap out of Powers.

The referee left as of course, Nick Patrick came down to replace him. He argued with Teddy. Giant is hulking himself up and dropped Powers with a chokeslam and gets the “pin” I guess. Jim Powers vs VK Wallstreet ended up with The Giant pinning Jim Powers for the win…. OK.

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Hogan is shown spray-painting the building and bumps into the Nasty Boys. He congratulated them and he mentioned they’ve always been friends. He wanted to talk business with them. Hogan asked them to go to his suite to try and talk business. He gave them his hotel key as if he was planning a hook up of some kind with the Nasty Boys! It was such a bizarre recruitment process of the nWo! The Nasty Boy take them up on his offer as he sings “Hurrah for Hollywood”.

ARE THE NASTY BOYS FACES OR HEELS?:  HEELS

Bringing back this new game about whether the Nasty Boys were faces or heels in WCW, the Nasty Boys were clearly heels here joining Hogan in his hotel. After such a great babyface performance at Fall Brawl, they were back to possibly being heels again with Hogan.

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Syxx

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Hall kept calling guys “comers” as they came down to the ring. Duggan was set to face Ron Studd which by the way, you could tell they had no one there for this show. Of all the matches to put together on Nitro, you were gonna do Duggan vs the former Yeti Ron Studd?

Thankfully, Studd came out but Hogan stopped him in his tracks. Hogan then started punching away at Studd as he and Nash kick his ass to the nWo music! They play this song as they do this beat-down as an official beat-down theme which I laughed at! Hall said “the soundtrack to your favourite adult movie, brought to you by the nWo”. Scott Hall was on fire at commentary!

Syxx replaced Studd. Duggan went after Syxx and Nick Patrick with the 2×4. Hogan said nobody gets in the nWo’s way. Duggan punched away at Syxx as Hogan talked about WCW being about to die. Give it five years or so Hulkster. Duggan did a hip toss. Duggan did clobbering blows to the back. Duggan dropped Syxx with a clothesline

Hogan discussed possibly bring Duggan into the nWo which I would have loved to see in reality! Duggan did another clothesline but Giant grabbed him and chokeslammed Duggan on the floor while Patrick conveniently chose that time to check on Syxx. Syxx got the pin after Duggan was rolled back into the ring.

Hogan puts over that Syxx won the match fair and square and talked about how he loved his life.

 

In the first mention of Sting in the entire show is the WCW magazine advert. Speaking of which,…

 

nWo Sting vs Bo LeDuc

Bischoff talked about the fake Sting from two weeks and mentioned that “only a sucker would buy that” and correctly points out WCW bought that. DiBiase talked about the physique of this man. Sting did a Stinger Splash and Sting made Bo tap out with, according to Hogan, “the best Scorpion Deathlock he’s ever seen.”

 

“High Voltage” Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage vs The Outsiders

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The match was supposed to be High Voltage vs the Amazing French Canadians… FOR THE MAIN EVENT OF WCW MONDAY NITRO. I love Giant was willing to give the Amazing French Canadians the floor to sing the Canandian national anthem. He respected their rights to celebrate their country… of course until the Outsiders came down!

The Outsiders did rock, paper, scissors and Hall won as they took the match with High Voltage and proceeded to have longest squash match in wrestling history. This was such death television to me. They beat on them, beat on them, beat on them, beat on them. Hall did a clothesline in the corner as they just beat up High Voltage forever. Hogan called out Mike Tyson as I watched this  DURING THE WEEK WHERE MIKE TYSON WAS SET TO BE ON AEW.

Nash hit the jackknife powerbomb and Hall stood on Kaos or Rage for the pin. I don’t remember who it was that got pinned

I love how I think Hogan said “I’m gonna get my kids a Macho Man punching bag” and they got a good laugh in “HA HA HA” like true heels. Hall had to ask Giant: “is Andre really your dad man?” before the show goes off the air. Hall was the best part about this show by a huge margin.

 

Upon reading this review back myself, what I really didn’t really suggest that this show was really bad or anything. To a point, I just started writing things down. Nothing noteworthy happened in that last hour other than the nWo taking over and being there. Every match they had in that second hour was made out to be a complete joke. Even the Savage match before the nWo shenanigans ended with Savage getting himself disqualified. Even the fans were restless as they just wanted some wrestling. I wanted some wrestling. The nWo did not present wrestling.

What they presented was raw, unrestrained nWo creative control. I know that’s a weird way to put it but this entire second hour was the nWo doing whatever they wanted and they were the only people there, so yeah they just did whatever they wanted, goofing off and not caring all about the wrestling aspect of the show. All the Outsiders did was bury Jim Powers coming down on commentary before they kicked his ass. Wallstreet vs Powers ended up with Giant getting the pin. nWo Sting got a squash victory. Virgil was just there. Hogan was bragging about how great his life was. Hall was making a joke out of this.

Now did this accomplish the goal in getting heat for the nWo? Yes. Was this a successful trial run in seeing how well an “nWo” Monday Nitro would do? No and I’ll explain why. This kinda plays into the eventual demise of WCW but the reason why WCW was popular at this time was not JUST BECAUSE OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER.

We’ve talked about this but before the famous 83 weeks that Nitro beat RAW in the ratings, WCW were already winning the majority of weeks when going up against RAW. They had a few weeks where they beat RAW, they lost one week and then the next week Nitro begun the 83 weeks where Hall and Nash were both on the show. However, Hollywood Hogan wasn’t even there. Ted DiBiase wasn’t there. The “New World Order” hadn’t even been mentioned yet.

You want to know why WCW was more popular than the WWF? It was the better show. Look at my review of the episode of RAW I watched where all Goldust did was try to get together with the Undertaker. Shawn Michaels was having a silly affair storyline. Hardly any ratings draws at hand at this time for the WWF.

Compare that to WCW. Yes, we had the New World Order angle which was the biggest thing going in WCW. However, look at everything else. Look at the Cruiserweight division and guys like Jericho getting so over so quickly in that division. Ric Flair was unbelievably great, Sting had his own great storyline of WCW not trusting him. They had all sorts before the nWo even arrived.

Eric Bischoff saw the nWo popularity rise coincide with the ratings going up and was convinced that the nWo was the main reason why he was winning the war. I’m not trying to downplay this angle but I personally think if the nWo was not there, Nitro would still be beating RAW at this time. I don’t know if they would have beat them for 83 weeks but anyway, Bischoff dedicated the next three years of the show in order to promote nWo more than even WCW itself. It was nWo shenanigans over what was more important and what the fans wanted more than anything, which was wrestling.

I wanted to see… a match in that second hour. A legitimate match between two competitors trying their hardest to win which at the very least would have seen both competitors try to be competitive. I got 10 minutes of the Outsiders beating up two twerps, I got nWo guys destroying WCW geeks and I didn’t want that. This was Crash TV and ultimately when Vince Russo tried TOO MUCH of Crash TV, it resulted in WCW ratings plummeting even more.

Is there a place for shenanigans like this? Yes. Does it need to be all over the show (or at least the second hour)? No. That is the root of the problem. Too much of a good thing can really ruin it for us all.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #53 (SEPTEMBER 16TH 1996) – STING TURNS HIS BACK ON WCW

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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WCW Fall Brawl 1996 finally saw WCW and nWo go to war in the War Games match. After Sting “betrayed” WCW on last week’s episode of Nitro, the doubts about where the Stinger’s loyalties lied. Sting insisted that it was not him that attacked Lex Lugerlast week but the “Total Package” said he looked into Sting’s eyes and knew it was him.

In the War Games match, a man called Sting arrived on the scene aligned with the nWo. However, the real Sting appeared as WCW’s final entrant in the match as he took care of the nWo by himself. After berating Lex for not trusting him, Sting walked out of the match and left Team WCW at a 3 on 4 disadvantage against the New World Order. The nWo won the match and laid waste to everyone after the match, including “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth as they embarrassed the previously married couple.

 

Date: September 16th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Asheville, North Carolina

Rating: 3.7

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

 

This post-Fall Brawl episode of Nitro started with Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko with their typical post-PPV recap. They continued to mention during the show that if WCW had trusted Sting, they would have won War Games. Tony explained that Sting was in Japan during Nitro last week which Sting actually contradicted with his own promo later. He said something about being on a flight from Atlanta but oh well. Larry Zbyszko, of course, had to berate Sting for crying that nobody trusted him.

They showed clips of people in nWo shirts politely giving out flyers to people in the arena before the show! I just love that the nWo are this evil organisation that did such things like destroying cars and spray-painting women but when it comes to the fans in the arena, they have geeks ready to act all friendly and nice to the lovely WCW wrestling fans!

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs Juventud Guerrera for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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Tony acknowledged that WCW was in paranoid times because yes, WCW has accused everyone of being with the nWo in the last few months including Sting and Ric Flair. Even guys like the Nasty Boys and GREG VALENTINE were being questioned by the announcers!

This was a very fun cruiserweight match to open Nitro. Juvi hit a fallaway slam and Rey started working on the leg of Juvi. Rey pulled out a spin wheel kick. Juvi tried a springboard but Rey kicked Juvi out of the sky with a front dropkick.

Before going to commercials, Rey did a tremendous springboard hurricanarana to Juvi on the floor as the place went nuts heading into the break. Juvi did a springboard wheel kick, following that up with a baseball slide dropkick and then a springboard moonsault in an impressive display of consecutive moves for Guerrera.

Juvi barely caught Rey with a springboard 450. The nWo fans in the arena had a “party” with signs as they chanted nWo, which seemed more like a protest rally than anything. The finish was fabulous where Juvi tried a powerbomb but in mid-flight, Rey did a hurricanarana and got the pin. The execution of this move was so sublime and, as I have mentioned in this series, great lucha libre is some of the best wrestling out there. Great stuff to kick off Nitro and this gets a HUGE thumbs up!

 

Mike Tenay interviewed Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael accompanied by Mongo’s wife Debra. Mongo yelled that he made a promise that if Sting let them down of what they were gonna do. Debra told Luger and Sting to watch out. Benoit said they crossed the horsemen’s path and advised them to prepare themselves to pay the price as Mongo let out a war cry. I’ve never really been enamoured with Mongo promos but he was a very good talker when he needed to be. A lot more energy in these promos then a lot WWE promos nowadays.

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There was video package for Glacier. Last week, I mentioned that Glacier had finally debuted on WCW Pro. His in-ring debut was set for this episode of WCW Nitro so of course, we got a more elaborate promo to tell you more about what Glacier was all about. What an introduction to Glacier this was…

Glacier did a voice-over during a video package where he claimed his master gave him his name. He said he had a “burning desire” inside of him which had to have been a rib by someone! He said he travelled 1000 miles and went to Japan, and he found an old master who took him in and would become his sensei. He explained that sensei means master in Japan and he’s explaining all of this martial arts stuff in the most southern American accent imaginable!

He said he and his sensei took a bunch of styles and made a new awesome style. Glacier said he has taken experience in wrestling and martial arts to put together to make a new style. He talked about the symbols on his costume. He talked about one symbol being, and this is a quote, the “symbol of the universe.” I may have to listen this promo back because the next note I wrote was that “the symbol above his eye is a symbol of ice!” He said on his back was a symbol of honour.

This was such a bad promo, but I could listen to it over and over again! This is right in the “so bad, it’s good” category. He gave himself more character in 3-4 minutes than WWE has given its main roster in 3-4 years. He even gave himself an origin story, he talked about symbols on his gear and someone somewhere really wanted to get this guy over! Based on his match later, I’ve got a good idea who this guy was that wanted Glacier to get over but man, they went all out to tell the story of GLACIER. The best part about the promo is that he recorded all of this quietly like he recorded it with his parents asleep in the next room!

 

 

Ice Train w/Teddy Long vs DDP

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Weirdly enough, I liked this match! The match was stylistically very different. You have the tall cocky heel against the shortish and thick Ice Train. They both got wins the night before so they’re both looking to continue their winning streaks. It seemed to be a bigger match than usually for both men… until we got to the finish.

Ice Train was all pumped up following his victory over Scott Norton the night before. Ice Train ran wild on DDP for the early stages of the match. Ice Train sent DDP to the floor with a shoulder tackle. DDP did a swinging neckbreaker. 

Ice Train had burning desire inside of him as well as he fired back up to his feet but DDP floored him with a lariat. DDP tried a Diamond Cutter but Ice Train pushed him off and delivered a belly to belly suplex. Ice Train hulked up and delivered a front slam, took down the straps and hit a massive powerslam for near fall.

Ice Trian hit a big body splash and soon as that happens, they cut to the back where nWo geeks are taping themselves around the WCW merch table. These nWo guys were preventing the fans from buying WCW merchandise. They cut away from the action to show all of this… and then the bell just rings.

Tony flat out says: “I have no idea what’s going on here.” Suddenly, they cut back to the ring as Ice Train and Teddy Long are backing up referee Nick Patrick in the corner as DDP celebrates. There’s a towel in the ring as Ice Trian tried to get at Nick Patrick with Patrick all bug-eyed in fear. Patrick had great facial expressions. But again, I had no idea what was going on because Ice Train was destroying DDP during this match and then DDP was the winner all of a sudden.

So they showed the replay. Ice Train had the full nelson locked on as Teddy Long was on the apron. DDP grabbed the towel out of Teddy’s and threw it in the ring so Nick Patrick awarded the match to DDP. Nick Patrick assumed Ice Train had surrendered to his own hold that he was applying to somebody else!

This was such a stupid finish. It was such a stupid finish firstly because they didn’t even show it live. They had to show this angle with the nWo geeks at the WCW merchandise booth DURING THE FINISH OF THE MATCH. That’s stupid enough where the bell rang without the commentators paying attention and Tony even admitting he didn’t know what was going on. Then they show the replay of the finish, which actually made it worse. It made it worse because this was such a stupid finish.

I get the Nick Patrick storyline. It felt like it’s been the hottest angle in WCW for 2 months now because they bring attention to it all the time. However, Nick Patrick reached new levels of storyline incompetence with this finish. Keep in mind, this was the SENIOR OFFICIAL that referred the War Games match the night before! He saw a towel in the ring despite Ice Train APPLYING A FULL NELSON and awarded the match to DDP. In which of the infinite earths out there would any referee logically make that call?

If you wanted to screw Ice Train out of a victory, there are a million ways Ice Train could have lost this match. Patrick could have somehow missed DDP taping to the Full Nelson which leads to DDP somehow hitting the Diamond Cutter. Patrick could have prematurely counted out Ice Train for not breaking the hold. DDP could have jumped out of the ring and so Patrick thinks Ice Train threw him over the top rope and so DDP wins. THIS TOWEL THING SUCKED on so many levels.

This had to have been the worst kayfabe referring performance ever and it took away from the match. They didn’t even show the finish and then they showed the finish on a replay and it was such a dumb finish. TWO THUMBS DOWN.

 

nWo dudes are outside of the merchandise with signs of “who wants this crap”. That’s what I was thinking after the DDP/Ice Train finish. They cut to the crowd where they show, making his WCW debut… Sean Waltman, formerly 1-2-3 Kid in with the WWF, in the crowd. More on him later…

 

Konnan © w/Jimmy Hart vs Super Calo  for the AAA Americas Heavyweight Championship

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What a bizarre title ranking system. Super Calo and Juventud both lost their matches at the PPV so they just get rematches the next night for the other titles. They just switched feuds like these titles were interchangeable.

Speaking of those two matches at Fall Brawl, I mentioned Konnan looked the best he’s ever looked in that match with Juventud Guerrera. It appears Konnan was wanting to top himself tonight and Super Calo was willing to put him over. I say that because Calo destroyed his own body to get this match over. One of the first spots was Calo doing a “suicide dive into a senton” as Tenay puts it as Calo crashed into the steel guard rail, and that really set the tone for the match.

Calo tried a crucifix early on for a 2 count. Konnan does a double underhook suplex from the top rope. Konnan stretched out Calo. Konnan did a powerbomb for a 1 count. Konnan tries the power drop but Calo reverses it into a headscissors. Konnan does the reverse DDT for a 2 count.

Here’s the next big spot. I’ve never been in a wrestling ring as I’m sure many of the people reading this review haven’t either but we all know the concept of how to do a clothesline. If you had a trampoline and two friends, you could do this exact same spot if you wanted to (NOTE: The Armbar Express encourages the readers to follow WWE’s advice and please don’t try this at home unless you are a trained professional). One man will charge at another man with his arm to the side and the other man will fall on his back and take a bump to sell for it.

Calo’s idea to sell this clothesline for Konnan was to turn himself inside out and land on the side of his neck. I’ve seen many wrestlers turn themselves inside out for a clothesline. Rikishi used to do it well. Seth Rollins did it all the time for Dean Ambrose. Paul London even got heat for it when he did it with Gene Snitsky in 2005. However, this was such a naughty landing. It’s a clothesline, you don’t need to nearly paralyse yourself and do a flip. Just take a back bump to the floor, for god’s sake.

THEN, Calo tried a reverse hurricanarana and he falls down and Konnan fell right on top of him. I screamed out-loud as I saw Konnan, a much bigger man than Calo, squish Calo which can’t have been good.

Even with all of this, Calo was still doing all of these insane moves. He did a slingshot senton to the floor onto Konnan and then he followed this up with a missile dropkick to Konnan. He again CRASHED TO THE FLOOR. He was flying all over the place after nearly legitimately killing himself by overselling a clothesline.

Calo tried a dropkick in the corner but he landed right on his head. I was begging for this match to be over. Konnan did a cradle DDT FOR A TWO COUNT and I was still begging for this match to be over. The cradle DDT was such a big move but Calo still, for some reason, needed to drag this out as he just determined to destroy himself during this match.

Konnan does the alabama slam and the bridge for a 2 count. Konnan struggled but was finally able to  get Calo up and did a sit-out powerbomb for the win. How Calo survived this match is astonishing to me.

 

Mike Tenay talked to Sean Waltman. Sean said he’s been in Japan doing a bit of a deal there. He wanted to check out Nitro as the hottest thing today. Sean asked who won War Games to which Tenay said it was the nWo and Sean goes: “oh that’s too bad.” This was a complete waste of time.

 

Hugh Morrus vs Brad Armstrong

I made way too many notes for this match. All you need to know is that Brad Armstrong was criminally underrated. The finish saw Hugh do a moonsault and after a lazy pin, Brad cradled him and got the pin. I was blown away by a babyface getting a clean win over a heel on this show. What a concept.

 

Mike Tenay interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage. There was no Mean Gene Okerlund on this show for some reason. They showed still photos of what happened to Savage during his match with Giant at Fall Brawl. Savage said it’s gonna get really scary because he’s down to one marble and once he’s lost it, can Hogan take what he was going to do to him? Savage didn’t think so. Reviewing Randy Savage promos are difficult as I have no idea what he was saying half of the time and this was not a particularly strong Randy Savage promo from me. This was also the night after he and his ex-wife got embarrassed and spray-painted on by Hogan and his cronies. Not the fire I really wanted from the Macho Man.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Scott Norton

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Of course, the nWo arrived right for the start of hour two in full force with their black limo. I wrote down that Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Fake Sting and Ted DiBiase were there. I don’t remember if The Giant was here for this spot but he was there later.

Eric Bischoff mentioned Savage was the only one here for WCW for next week and Bobby Heenan was upset at Bischoff for revealing this and basically showing the nWo WCW’s hand for next week. It was explained that I guess half of the roster would be in Japan next week.

Norton and Savage brawled on the ramp as the action spilled into the ring. Savage took over until Norton cut him off with a Samoan Drop. Norton smashed Savage with a powerbomb and slammed him with a powerslam.

Savage did punches in the corner but Norton dropped him with an atomic drop. Savage worked on Norton for a while. He scoop slammed Norton on the floor. Norton dropped Savage with a DDT in the ring. Norton dropped him with a shoulder breaker

Savage sent Norton in the ring post and Savage clunked in the head multiple times with a chair and went for the referee as the referee called for the bell. This was just absolutely moronic to me.

In case you all are not aware, RANDY SAVAGE WAS CHALLENGING HOLLYWOOD HOGAN FOR THE WCW TITLE AT HALLOWEEN HAVOC. Savage is Hogan’s next challenger during WCW’s biggest ever angle and hottest period ever. To build him up for Hogan, they had him lose via count out to John Tenta last week, they had him lose to The Giant atFall Brawl and they had him lose to Scott Norton via disqualification.

What was so vital about protecting Scott Norton on this episode of Nitro? Norton lost to Ice Train clean at the PPV. Was there like a concern that if they beat Norton again, he’s gonna lose momentum? DUDE… HE’S WRESTLING THE MACHO MAN. Him losing clean to Randy Savage was never in a million years gonna hurt him. Why couldn’t Savage just beat him? He’s losing more times than Disco Inferno has in the last few months. MORONIC BOOKING AND A HUGE THUMBS DOWN.

The best part about this DQ was Savage smashed Patrick’s face into the apron for the biggest pop of the night and Patrick sold this very well. Patrick was crying his eyes out as Savage wailed on him. To Patrick’s credit, the character of Nick Patrick had a lot of potential but just not as a referee.

 

Big Bubba vs Glacier

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The amount of money they put into Glacier for this character was actually amazing when you think about what happened to him in his career. They have this big elaborate entrance for Glaicer with this armour on and snow falling into the ring as a cool visual affect as he roared. I’ve read on the reliable Wikipedia page of Glacier that the gear, made by Andre Freitas of Atlanta-based AFX Studios, cost $35,000.

I haven’t bothered to check how that compares to today’s wrestling standards. I’m sure WWE once or twice forked out big time for costumes for people like Triple H for example. I saw Will Ospreay many years ago claimed to spend $10,000 a year on wrestling gear. However, that was some serious investment from WCW when you think about how much $35,000 was worth to a lot of people at the time. Bischoff and Ted Turner ponied up the cash for ring-gear for a Mortal Kombat Sub-Zero rip-off character.

Speaking of Eric Bischoff, Bischoff when calling this match was treating Glacier the way you would imagine Vince McMahon would treat muscular men. Nobody cared about Glacier except Bischoff as he was going out of his way to put him over and all of these martial arts moves he was busting out during this match. At least in Vince McMahon’s defense, he likes big, muscular men because they have historically drawn very well for him in the past. Bischoff just liked martial arts and dudes like Glacier because he liked martial arts. There has been a lot shoot fighters that have done well in wrestling but when was the last time legitimate martial arts like karate got over in the wrestling world? The reason for that is simple…. THIS IS WRESTLING NOT MARTIAL ARTS.

Glaicer tripped Bubba as he has a stance of some kind. I have no idea what this was supposed to be or what style this was supposed to be. Bischoff put over Glacier’s “perfect control” and his martial arts skills as Glacier tried two roundhouse kicks and tried a karate chop but Bubba cowered in the corner. Then Bubba finally grabbed Glacier and all the fans cheered! Five months, $35,000 costumes and all the money you could throw at this guy and the people have already turned on him a minute into his debut Nitro match!

Bubba caught Glacier and slammed him with a spinebuster. Bubba mocks Glacier but Glacier kipped up, did a sweep and delivered some kicks. Glacier hit a spinning side kick for the win.

This came off as the fakest martial arts in the world, which is ironic because the man playing Glacier was legitimately a championship winning martial artist before joining WCW and doing “fake” martial arts in the ring! He studied Hung Ga and studied karate but the stuff he did in this Glacier get-up was horrific. Bobby’s recap of the match was: “I don’t like him”

This was a bad match but at least Bubba tried to sell and put over the match. Bischoff talked about Glacier having a bright future ahead of him… oh just you wait Easy E.

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Sting walked out to the ring and he grabbed a mic. Sting was scheduled to team with Lex Luger later on that night against Benoit and McMichael. However, Sting came out and turned his back to the hard cam to address the fans. Sting started talking as he explained  that he tuned in to Nitro last week and saw his friends doubt the Stinger. Bischoff asked quietly: “why is he not looking at the camera?” until he figured out that Stind has turned his back on the company and was directly addressing the fans.

Sting explained that because Luger threatened to kick his ass, he went into seclusion. At least this explained why Luger had waited a week to see Sting face-to-face at the PPV despite knowing where Sting lived, so at least that plot-hole was covered by the Stinger’s promo!

Sting said he went face to face with Luger at Fall Brawl and Luger refused to believe him. Sting brought up the excellent point that he has been the mediator and the babysitter for Luger for a year now. He gave Luger the benefit of the doubt every time. Sting said he gave his blood, sweat and tears for WCW. For all of the fans and wrestlers and the people that never doubted the Stinger, he vowed to stand by them if they stood by him. For all of the people, the commentators, the wrestlers and the best friends who did doubt him… he told them to STICK IT.

Sting said from now on, he considered himself a free agent. From time to time, he will come in when we least expected it. From now on, WCW were all on their own.

This was such a great promo because you could totally understand why Sting felt betrayed and this was the last straw in his eyes. How many times has Sting been betrayed by someone in WCW? During this series, how many times was he betrayed by someone? He mentioned standing by Luger, despite Luger being a heel with the Dungeon of Doom. Ric Flair double-crossed him after Ric got a bunch of kids in the ring to ask for Sting’s help. Hogan turned his back on Sting and joined the New World Order. Despite never turning on anyone himself, his name was dragged through the mud and everyone thought Sting had turned his back on the company.

This promo was basically him saying enough was enough. “You all though I turned my back on the company so now… I’M TURNING MY BACK ON THE COMPANY.” He literally turned his back to the hard camera to address the fans. This was so brilliant that it’s hard for me to believe this promo took place on this show. In a lot of ways, it was also kinda sad because…. this was the last of “Surfer” Sting. There are no more “The Man Called Sting” songs to be played when he comes out with this big smile on his face. This is the last time we will see this version of the Stinger in WCW. That to me is sad!

 

Chris Jericho and Marcus Bagwell vs “The Four Horsemen” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson

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The Horsemen don’t come out as they just show the entrance way. Ric Flair was shown arguing with Woman and Elizabeth as Elizabeth didn’t wanna come out because of what happened to her at Fall Brawl. Elizabeth didn’t wanna come out and Arn eventually said she’s nervous, so let’s leave her back here.

Waltman pressed a remote control at ringside and a bunch of leaflets fell down from the top of the building. Some dudes walk pass the hard cam with nWo signs as it is clear now that Waltman is in the nWo. Bischoff refers to him as the “sixth” one even know we already have six guys in the nWo! It’s unfortunate time for the man who would be called “Syxx” but we’re approaching the time at WCW where the stable will just be flooded with members. We’ve had four new members of the group in the space of three weeks. Don’t think it’s going to slow down from here….

The ring was littered with all kinds of garbage as Ric Flair lost his mind as they cut to a break.

The phrase: “we beat you, now you’re paying the bills” was showing on the signs among many other leaflets falling into the ring. The wrestlers all kick away the papers including referee Nick Patrick but then Patrick himself kicks away more flyers out the ring AFTER CALLING THE BELL. As a referee, shouldn’t he clear the ring of this rubbish before starting the match? At least in football, they stop the match if like a streaker or even a cat runs onto the pitch. Patrick is continuing this match in the midst of pieces of paper littered on the mat.

Bischoff said they haven’t mentioned the details but he has agreed to give the nWo their own television show. The match goes on and Ric eventually loses his mind again at the flyers on the floor. He grabbed a whole bunch of them and threw them away.

The Horsemen cut off the babyfaces with a  beautiful spinebuster by Arn as Ric worked on Jericho. Ric raked the eyes for Jericho for about half an hour as Nick Patrick talked to Bagwell in the corner. The heels work on the legs of Jericho.

They show Sean Waltman in the back with the entire nWo posse. The Giant played a boombox playing recording of Sting from WCW Monday Nitro that they used to trick WCW into thinking that was the real Sting last week. Hogan recapped all of this by saying the Sting has now stunk. Hogan called Waltman big man as Eric buries him for his size on commentary.

Bagwell gets the hot tag and ran wild. Bagwell hit a fisherman suplex on Arn but Ric broke it up. Bagwell rolled up Flair but Woman raked the eyes. Arn spiked Bagwell with the DDT and Flair pinned Bagwell with the Figure Four Leg Lock. Heenan even mentioned Bagwell was out cold and Woman still felt the need to grab Flair’s arms as he got the pin!

It’s funny Heenan said the official can only call what he can see in defense of the crooked referee Nick Patrick. It’s funny because Jim Ross uses that to defend the referee EVERY SINGLE WEEK during every heel finish like this on AEW Dynamite and JR is supposed to be a babyface.

 

Lex Luger vs “Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael

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Some dude from the crowd got in a great throw as he threw trash in face of Mongo as Mongo came down to the ring. Sting was obviously not coming back so Luger was going at it alone against Benoit and Mongo.

Luger ran wild for a bit with clotheslines. Luger hit a forearm on Benoit that did not look like it connected at all. Benoit beat the crap outta Luger during the match. Mongo choked and punched away at Luger on the mat. Mongo scoop slammed Luger.

Mongo did a head butt to another man’s groin right in front of his wife at ringside! Luger and Benoit floored each other with a double clothesline. Luger made his own comeback and locked on a Torture Rack but Ric Flair ran into the ring along with Arn as the referee called for the bell.

Luger fought the horsemen on his own but Mongo cut him off with a chop block. The Four Horsemen beat up Lex Luger as they then show the nWo backstage, hanging out in the back of a limo. Hogan talked about half of WCW being in Japan next week. Hogan was going arrange for the nWo to be there next week as they laughed and Luger is shown defeated on the mat.

It was here, after Sting was gone, The Giant had joined WCW two weeks ago and the Four Horsemen are back to being stone cold heels again where I realised that there are literally no babyfaces anymore except Luger. They did have “Macho Man” Randy Savage but he’s not a babyface for much longer either, which is kind of a spoiler but it feels necessary to mention it now.

Lex Luger was shown face down on the mat beaten up by four men. It was depressing to see. No Sting there to save him this time or to fight the Four Horsemen again. At the end of the day, it was Luger that caused all this to happen and not the Four Horsemen. Sting had told Lex to stick it. Savage got destroyed at the PPV and was going crazy. The last clear babyface Lex Luger, who had the temerity to call out Sting for betraying WCW, was left alone with nobody to save him.

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At the time, this was very unique to see such domination from the heels in wrestling. Even with the Four Horsemen, they lost the majority of War Games matches they had in WCW as heels. The majority of time in WWF and WCW, the biggest stars were the babyfaces. The WWF Champion at this time was Shawn Michaels, pushed as the next big babyface to the WWF’s detriment for the next year or so. The fans rejected Shawn but the fans loved Hollywood Hogan, who was the biggest star in the industry as a full-blown heel.

In a lot of ways, the nWo really did a number on the business for years to come. The nWo will prove to dominant for so many weeks in the next few years and it basically gave permission for every other company to book their shows around the biggest heels as opposed to the biggest babyfaces. The WWF would start doing it with Triple H in the 2000s, he would have his own heel group in Evolution during the “Ruthless Aggression” era and even TNA had groups like Aces and Eights and Immortal running the show. The Bullet Club took over NJPW, Brock Lesnar is dominant in WWE now and even AEW book the Inner Circle more prominently than even The Elite.

With this angle, the babyfaces were being relegated to being the nWo’s whipping boys. Guys like Lex Luger and Randy Savage and even more guys to come will pop in only to fail at the hands of Hogan before Sting reappears for his big showdown with Hogan eventually. It’s sad that although this was revolutionary with WCW at the time, watching it with modern eyes is a curse. I see so many heels booked better than babyfaces in the 2010s and 2020s and now, I get to see it all over again with the company that really just started it all off. Now, babyfaces rarely get really over in wrestling to the point of being the biggest stars of the company… ever.

I do want to comment that this was quite an elobarate plot to cause WCW to fall from the inside because they went through the effort of creating a fake Sting to drive a wedge within WCW. That I at least appreciate.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

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