RETRO EXPRESS: WCW STARRCADE 1995 (DECEMBER 27TH 1995)

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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Starrcade 1995 is here. The World Cup of Wrestling… well at least the 1995 version of it. Not TNA’s version of the World Cup of Wrestling. Not WWE’s version of the World Cup of Wrestling from last year. Nope… WCW’s take it on it. By World Cup, they mean the USA’s WCW taking on Japan’s NJPW in a best of seven series. 7 of WCW’s best taking on 7 of NJPW’s best. Who will walk away with the honors?

Along with this, we had a triangle match between Sting, Lex Luger and Ric Flair. Whoever won this booked themselves an immediate title match against the Macho Man Randy Savage for the WCW title. Would one of the worst world title reigns of all time continue or would either Luger, Sting or Flair take the title from the Macho Man?

 

Date: December 27th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Nashville, Tennessee

Attendance: 8,200

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan

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Before I get into this mega review, as these PPVs always seems to be with the WCW series, I have to mention some difficulties I had watching this PPV. This was the first show I watched since they switched the format of the WWE Network. If you’re subscribed to the Network and have watched anything in the last few weeks, you’ll understand.

It now has a format very similar to Netflix where if you scroll down, at least on a PS4 console, it just has list after list of categories and stuff. When I scrolled down, not once was able to find Starrcade 1995 or anything from my watchlist of content. I had podcasts saved I wanted to watch, I had some NWA matches I wanted to watch. I even have Total Divas saved on there but that’s an entirely different story for another time…

Anyway, I couldn’t find my watchlist including the Starrcade 1995 which I’d saved. So, I had to go find it. On a positive, they did group all of the WCW stuff together now. It used to be where you’d have to find the PPVs under PPVs and all of the Nitros under Vault or whatever that section was called. Now, if you look for WCW, it’s all there. PPV, Thunders, Nitro… even the WWE’s Monday Night Wars series they did. It’s all there.

I find it. I sit down and I get ready to watch the show. Then I have another problem, which is actually not WWE’s, WCW’s or any wrestling promotion’s fault. My remote starts playing up. I try to turn up the volume and, for some reason, it turns off my TV. I have no idea what happened to it but when I tried to turn up the volume, the TV turned off with Starrcade still running. I could turn it down no problems but I could not turn it up.

I find away around it and eventually, I got settled. Then I get all the way to the Lex Luger vs Masahiro Chono match. I had to stop to go get a protein bar or whatever it was I went to get. I had to get something. I come back and the match has already started playing on my PS4. So I try to re-wind it and, if you have the WWE Network, you know where I’m going with this….

I try to re-wind and I could only re-wind back 10 seconds at a time. You could rewind back 10 seconds, you could fast-forward 10 seconds… no less. Even if you missed like one spot in particular, you’d have to rewatch the last 10 seconds just so you can see a small detail. Unbelievably annoying this was. Also, if you rewind 10 seconds and then when you want to go back a little bit further because you realise that’s not enough time to rewind, the Network crashes. It completely crashed twice during the Luger/Chono match to the point where I had to turn off my PS4 off and start over.

Another positive I guess is that points and highlights of the show are easier to get to it when skipping forward but you still have to rewatch the whole segment or match from the beginning. I saw Luger flexing at the start of that match like 3 times during one watch of this Starrcade.

I’m hoping the Network changes things back because this is gonna make watching Nitros awkward for the foreseeable future.

 

Chris Benoit vs Jushin Thunder Liger in Match #1 of the WCW vs NJPW World Cup Of Wrestling

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This wasn’t particular;y one of the better Benoit matches I’ve started this series but this was by no means a bad match. It was pretty solid… minus a horrible finish which I think hurt the match. I think the fundamental flaw of this match is a fundamental flaw of many wrestling matches nowadays. It was all about the moves.

The best thing about great Benoit matches was that there was always a purpose for 70% of what he did in the ring to either progress the story or to do something which would make sense in the structure of an actual wrestling match. This match didn’t really embody this that strongly. It was just a bunch of moves, executed really well, that were put together until someone ran in which led to the finish.

I mean it started off well. Benoit won the test of strength. Liger got to his feet and did a hurricanrana and a Liger kick. Benoit, the heel, did a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to thunderous cheers. It was a common theme on the his show was that there was purely blind loyalty to the US on this show. This was to the point where even the heels Lex Luger and Benoit got thunderous babyface reactions for one night.

Liger did a great belly-to-belly suplex and followed it up with a fake out back flip. Benoit did a snap suplex and a back suplex. Benoit actually whipped out a Liontamer of all submissions!

Benoit did a crisp German suplex with a bridge to big cheers for Nashville! Liger did a bow and arrow submission to Benoit and then locked on the dragon sleeper for extra twerk.  Liger then went to work with a camel clutch.

Benoit reversed this camel clutch into an electric chair. Liger countered a back suplex into a crossbody. Benoit’s tombstone attempt reversed into a Liger tombstone slam. Benoit went up for the superplex and the crowd ERUPTED after Benoit hit this… it was astonishing how much these fans popped for this move!

Benoit missed a diving headbutt which was followed up with Liger hitting a sit-out powerbomb. Liger did a brainbuster. Benoit did one german suplex and then Benoit hit a second and he SLAMMED Liger into the mat. This was a hard hit. Benoit hit a powerbomb. Benoit went up for a diving headbutt when the Taskmaster ran down with fellow Dungeon of Doom member Jimmy Hart holding him back. Benoit was distracted and Liger did a somewhat hurricanrana roll up for the win.

Bit of a silly finish to an otherwise solid opening match.

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Match Rating: *** (Feels a bit of a low rating but there wasn’t much of a story to the match for it to be higher. The moves were done crisply well and well executed but it was just a bunch of moves and the Taskmaster interference ruined it for me.)

 

Mean Gene Okerlund did an interview with Eddie Guerrero. Eddie said Taskmaster had no business being in the match against Benoit. Eddie said it was an honour to represent WCW and he was just happy to be here. He talks about his opponent Shinjiro Otani. Eddie says Otani is a tremendous athlete but Eddie had to be on top of his game. Eddie said he hit the gym and he said he’d give it his best. Mean Gene said he saw Eddie do push-ups and getting read for the match to which Eddie smiled! This was a great promo.

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Koji Kanemoto vs Alex Wright in Match #2 of the WCW vs NJPW World Cup Of Wrestling

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They confirmed Hulk Hogan would be wrestling on Nitro which basically confirmed that Hogan was only to serve a one week suspension for going crazy with attacking officials, wrestlers and referees with chairs in the past month or so. It was like storylines emulating life with these weak punishments for WCW wrestlers. If we stick around to around the 2000s of WCW, you’ll see just how bad at punishing these wrestlers this company will get.

I liked this next match. It was Alex Wright vs Koji Kanemoto for Match #2. It was the fast, quick pace of Wright against the fast, quick but controlled pace of Kanemoto. I don’t know whether Koji was a face or a heel in NJPW at the time but here on this show, in US soil, he played the role well as the evil foreigner going as far as roaring at one fan!

Wright started off with dropkick headscissors to which Kanemoto responded by unloading chops and kicks to the leg, and then followed it up with a big wheel kick. Kanemoto gets Wright laying on the top rope, slapped him on the belly multiple times and did a dropkick to the gut! A creative little spot that I liked! Unlike anything you’d normally see in a match.

Kanemoto did a dive. I will say it bothered me when Wright ran right to the hard cam to catch Koji and just stood there as he dove on him. He didn’t even try to hide that he was waiting for Koji to catch him. Kanemoto did a tiger suplex but Wright’s feet was on the rope. Kanemoto did a moonsault but didn’t go for the cover. Wright leapfrogged Kanemoto in the corner and did a big german suplex for a near fall.

They battled for a while until Kanemoto dropped Wright face first on the top turnbuckle and followed it up with a bridge pin for the win. The right man won considering Kanemoto was the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Wright beating him here would have just made NJPW looked very weak.

WCW 0 – 2 NJPW

Match Rating: ***

 

Mean Gene did an interview with Sonny Onoo, who was the spokesman for Team NJPW. Mean Gene plugged the WCW Hotline. Sonny said it should be 5-0 right now to NJPW. Sonny vowed to buy WCW and Iowa. Mean Gene said WCW is not up for sale but advised that Iowa is a whole different story! Sonny said everything is for sale to which Mean Gene replied: “well you Japanese would know that!” Sonny messed with Mean Gene and Mean Gene got confused.

 

Lex Luger vs Masahiro Chono in Match #3 of the WCW vs NJPW World Cup Of Wrestling

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As I mentioned, it was here when I had the WWE Network issues with it crashing. It crashed at least twice if I recall correctly. To be fair, I wasn’t missing much with regards to this match. Really, I only needed to wait until near the end of the match. We got a legendary commentary moment which I will get too in a little a bit. I actually mentioned this in one of the WCW PPV reviews I did. I can’t remember which one but I at least knew what was coming!

The one thing I wanted to say, before we even get to that, was that Luger was such a heel in the last few months and now in Starrcade, the fans WENT NUTS for him coming out to deal with the Japanese! He was so beloved and over during this match, at least in this match anyway. Bobby Heenan even brought this up that he’s only being cheered because he’s going up against New Japan… the HEEL is the voice of right here!

Luger gorilla pressed Chono,  flexed and the fans went BONKERS for Team America. Chono did a big boot to send Luger crashing to the outside. Chono did a suplex. The fans chanted USA. Chono did a sleeper and dropped him with the reverse DDT. Chono locked on the STF. Bobby got all flustered with confusion with his WCW/NJPW Support. Then we got… the moment.

Mashario Chono throws this kick, and then Tony Schiavonie, WCW Professional Wrestling Commentator, refers to this kick as the Mafia Kick. In a match between the USA’s WCW and Japan’s NJPW, he calls this move the “Mafia Kick.” The responses from fellow commentators on this night, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes, were GLORIOUS.

Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan buried him so hard. Before I watched this series, I’d seen this clip of Dusty and Bobby burying Tony before on YouTube over and over again. Here, I watched it again as part of the series and I died with laughter.

Dusty starts off by going “where do you get all of this?” to which Tony replies that this is his job. Dusty says that he kicked him right in the middle of the mush and re-iterates it has nothing to do with the Mafia. Dusty Rhodes goes: “Hell watcha talking about?” I laughed, I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. I was reduced to tears, I was laughing so hard.

Then Bobby takes over as Dusty starts laughing at Tony. He yells, at the top of his lungs, “TONY HE KICKED THE MAN IN THE HEAD!” Again, I laughed, I laughed and I laughed. Chono comes off the top and Luger hits him with the elbow and Dusty calls this saying that he hit him with the “Sicilian Elbow!” Bobby brings up a Yugoslavian Neckbreaker and he again goes… “HE KICKED THE MAN IN THE HEAD SCHIAVONIE!” He goes… “HE KICKED HIS BOSNIAN BUTT… HOW YA LIKE THAT?” My faces is red, tears are running down my face at this point! Then Luger locked on the Torture Rack for the win and to a HUGE POP by the fans. Fans went CRAZY for Luger. I was still in tears after Dusty’s promo on Tony Schiavonie.

This put Tony in his place for the way he would literally just make up names for the basic moves of the wrestlers. Remember when Johnny B Badd did a dive and he’d call it the Badd Mood? Tony came up with all of these crap names and Dusty and Bobby rightful destroyed him for it. These are professional wrestlers and Tony not calling the moves properly exposed the business and disrespects the wrestler that apply their craft in the ring. I’m paraphrasing Joey Styles’ shoot promo from 2006 but he’s right. This Chono just threw and kick and he had to call it something wacky. HE KICKED THE MAN IN THE HEAD SCHIAVONIE!

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Match Rating: *1/4

 

Sting did an interview with Mean Gene. Mean Gene reminds us that Sting lost the US title to Kensuke Sasaki, his NJPW opponent for tonight. I did mention this during the World War III review I believe. Sting cut a promo on Sonny Onoo. He talks about the triangle match. Sting talks about how Luger said he’s gonna do what’s he’s gonna do but Sting is gonna do what he’s gonna do. Sting gets all excited and Mean Gene goes YEAH. Great promo I wrote but your usual Sting promo at its very core.

 

WCW Television Champion Johnny B Badd w/Kimberley vs Masa Saito w/Sonny Onoo in Match #4 of the WCW vs NJPW World Cup Of Wrestling

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This was kind of a mess of a match here. Sonny Onoo cut a promo and said Kimberley should be at home cooking and that’s what is wrong with this company. Kimberley got the mic retorting with “this ain’t no Japanese bathhouse.” She says: “If this sport is just for men, then what are you doing here?”

Saito did a STO and locked on a choke from the ground position. Saito murdered Badd with some chops to the chest. Badd would slap him back but Saito battered and battered Badd in relation with chops. They sounded so hard and this was just brilliant to me.

Things kinda fell off a cliff here. Sonny choked Badd with the Japanese flag. Sonny grabbed the hair. Badd got back into a match and did a sunset flip. Badd fired back. Badd got his hands Sonny Onoo and then Saito dumped Badd over the top rope for the DQ. Badd then did the “Badd Mood” flip to the outside thing and missed by 100 yards. An absolute nothing match with one noteable spot where Masa beat the crap out of Johnny B Badd.

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Match Rating: *1/4

NOTES: Masa Saito actually passed away July 2018. R.I.P. Masa Saito as I’m not sure if we’ll see another WCW match with him during this series so I’ll say it now.

 

Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart did an interview with Mean Gene. Luger talked about Kevin Sullivan aka The Taskmaster. He says Sullivan has a short fuse. Luger said all the top names in WCW are all after the top title. Luger said Savage is a pathetic one arm champion. He would have torn his arm out of its socket at World War III if it wasn’t for Sting. Luger says he’s going into the match by himself. Jimmy told Lex to bring home the gold and Mean Gene responded saying he has a book of clichés if he needs it! Great banter from Mean Gene! He had some great lines during this show!

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Shinjiro Otani in Match #5 of the WCW vs NJPW World Cup Of Wrestling

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I LOVED this match. Eddie Guerrero matches in WCW as of late have been so great. He had a great match with Johnny B Badd if I recall correctly, he had good matches with Benoit, he had a great match with Flair two weeks ago and here’s another one. Him and Otani. This was a great wrestling match and my personal favourite match of the night.

Otani took control of the arm from the get-go and raked at the face of Guerrero. Guerrero stood on Otani’s face, retribution for Otani going for the eyes. They grappled on the mat. Eddie turned things around with a hurricanrana. Eddie did a slingshot senton into the ring.

Eddie locked on the Boston Crab and followed it up with big powerbombs and brainbusters. Otani hit a nice springboard dropkick into the ring and then a springboard crossbody to the outside. Otani hit a German suplex and Eddie hit a frankensteiner for a near fall.

Eddie hit a big gory powerbomb for a near fall. Otani did a springboard dropkick to the back of the head of Guerrero. This was very much back and forth stuff.

Otani tried a dragon suplex. Eddie reversed it into a hurricanarana roll-up. A few roll-ups later, Otani picked up the win with a cradle of his own.

I probably wouldn’t have beaten Eddie here but he only barely just lot and it wasn’t like Eddie was buried here. Otani was just the better man.

A great match.

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Match Rating: ****

 

Mean Gene did ANOTHER INTERVIEW, this time with WCW Champion Randy Savage. God bless Mean Gene but he was all over this show. Savage cuts off Mean Gene. Savage said he liked being the underdog and Savage says he’s coming to get Tensan tonight. Mean Gene says he was off the phone with a suspended Hogan and Savage interrupts with “WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO SAY?” Hogan apparently asked for Savage’s mindset. Savage said he’s gonna even the score for WCW. He said: “Sting, be there for the USA.” Savage was wrestling Hiroyoshi Tenzan while Sting was wrestling Kensuke Sasaki.

 

WCW World Heavyweight Champion Savage vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan (or as the name plate called him Tensan) in Match #6 of the WCW vs NJPW World Cup Of Wrestling

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Another absolute nothing match. I understand Savage was injured here but at the same time, why did he work two matches on this show? You couldn’t get someone else to come in and beat Tensan in this match if Savage was working with an injury?

Tensan worked on Savage. Savage tries to fire back but Savage’s punches are no-sold by Tensan. Tensan clocked Savage with a big wheel kick. Tensan delivered a Samoan Spike to the floored Savage. Tensan did a samoan drop and a headbutt for a near fall.

Tensan missed a moonsault. After a suplex struggle, Savage only manages to lift Tensan into the ropes. Savage hit the elbow drop for the win to level things up for WCW.

Not a strong review from myself but this wasn’t a strong match to talk about. This was just another nothing match as things just kinda fell off a cliff for this PPV from this point. It really did just peak with Eddie and Otani.

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Match Rating: *

 

Mean Gene interviews Ric Flair. Flair says tonight, we’re talking about the world title. Flair says Sting and Luger need to know to be the man, you have to beat the man. Flair talks about being rested as he was literally losing his breath cutting this promo! Flair said he’d win the title. This was a fine promo.

 

Sting vs WCW United States Champion Kensuke Sasaki in a non-title match in Match #7 of the WCW vs NJPW World Cup Of Wrestling

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Your typical Sting match which, again, isn’t a knock on Sting but there wasn’t anything really exceptional about it. Looking at the result, it really did no favours for Sasuke as the US Champion if you look at the finish.

Sting brought the US flag to the ring. Sting hit an early Stinger Splash but this was followed by the bulldog from Sasaki. Sasaki unleashed two clotheslines, he tried a third but Sting ducked and did a dropkick.

Sasaki worked on Sting and even locked Sting in his own Scorpion Death Lock. Sting huffed, and puffed and pushed Sasuki up in the air and out of the hold. That I liked.

Sting fired back and then locked on his Scorpion Death lock but Sasaki tried to fight to the ropes but Sting pulled him back into the middle of the ring but Sasaki eventually submitted and WCW won the World Cup.

Again, Sasaki wasn’t buried TOO badly but this was also the man that also just lost clean outright to Sting when Sting had another match (possibly two) to worry about on the same night. It wasn’t like Sasaki lost to Sting at his best which is the best way I can put it.

WCW 4-3 NJPW

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Team WCW celebrated and Luger did come out. Sting and Luger hoisted up the trophy together. They showed a great promo hyping up the triangle match with Luger, Sting and Flair.

 

Sting vs Lex Luger vs Ric Flair in a triangle match to determine the number one contender for the WCW Championship

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For a match featuring Sting and Ric Flair, this was such a chore of a match to sit through. You all know how much I’ve raved about Sting vs Ric Flair matches. They would never not be good. It’s the same formula but they always found a way to work with whatever crowd they were in front of. They threw Lex Luger into this triangle match and it was easily one of the dullest long matches I’ve seen in a long time. It wasn’t technically a bad match and it wasn’t as offensive as that tag team title match from Fall Brawl but it dragged, and dragged and dragged. We got stalling, and stalling and stalling and it did this match… no favours.

The rules were two men would start in the ring and one man would be on the outside and could tag in and out. Whoever got the first pinfall or submission won. So no, it wasn’t a “traditional” triple threat or three way dance you’d see nowadays. In this match, two guys would be in the ring as one man stood outside.

I don’t think there was ever a storyline reason for why Ric never wrestled in the WCW VS NJPW thing but Savage, Sting and Luger did. I’m not surely if they’ll actually explain it but the announcers made it clear that Ric was the one with the advantage supposedly in this match! Let’s all remember that.

Dusty made a Jack Daniels joke regarding Bobby’s drinking issues. Back to my point from Episode #17 about Flair’s selling everything, Sting literally just grabbed Ric’s hand here and wrenched it and Ric went AAAAAA! It was brilliant to see Flair in such pain a minute into wrestling a man that’d already wrestled earlier on in the show.

So Sting and Flair wrestled. Tony talked about Sting’s heart in fighting two men at Halloween Havoc by himself, not remembering that Flair did the same thing two weeks before that Halloween Havoc show. Flair locked on a hammerlock and forced Sting to the ground. Flair chopped and went back to the hammerlock. Sting fired back and launched Flair with hip tosses and gorilla presses.

Sting did the punches in the corner and even bit Ric Flair. Sting  and Flair brawled on the outside. Sting no-sols being slammed into the barricade. Sting missed a dropkick as Flair grabbed the top turnbuckle. Flair went to work on Sting and kept trying to tempt Luger into the ring. Sting went for a cover but Luger tried to break it up. Flair bumped Sting into Luger and Luger made a blind tag, flexing right at Flair.

So to recap, this match started with typical Sting and Flair spots. Every spot they’ve ever done in a WCW ring. Then Luger hits the ring and Luger and Flair had to just wrestle, and stall, and wrestle and stall.

Luger brought Flair into the ring, literally CARRIED HIM into the ring after he tried to escape. As much as it was basically Flair 101 for Flair to beg off the babyfaces, he did it way too much during this match. Like over and over again. Flair Flair Flopped after the punches in the corner. Then Flair takes control of Luger. Keep in mind, Flair had just been wrestling with just Sting and now, Flair worked on Luger and Flair had essentially dominated Sting and Luger for the majority of the match up until this point… and he’s the most heel of the bunch. Sting did get a bit of offense in when he was in the ring but mostly this match was Flair getting the heat on both men.

Flair hit Luger in the knees with a chair. Flair locked on the Figure Four and Luger turned it over. Luger and Flair struggled for a suplex but Luger won and suplexed Flair into the ring. Flair is punching away at Luger and Tony said, when Flair is just punching away at Luger, “Luger is starting to mount a comeback.” Tony was so bad calling this PPV.

Flair tagged in Sting trying to stir things up between Sting and Luger. Sting and Luger are now just standing around for about 2 minutes, felt like 30 minutes. Then they LOCK UP… we had to be like 15 minutes into this match. The fans start to boo and get restless. Sting and Luger have a clean break following a lock up and the fans boo more. Luger finally starts punching away at Sting. Sting fires back. Sting no-sold an atomic drop and hits a clothesline.

Luger smashed Sting with the clothesline. Luger kicked out of the top rope crossbody by Sting. Sting tried a Vader splash but Luger got the knees up. Sting try to lock on the Scorpion Death Lock but Luger got the rope. When Luger was floored, Luger actually low blowed Sting and then Luger worked on this nut shot and did an atomic drop! Tremendous groin-based offense!

Sting fired back and did a bulldog. Sting hit a Stinger Splash. Luger locked on a Torture Rack and the ref went down as Flair chopped blocked Luger. Both Sting and Luger were sent outside.

Flair wakes up the ref and the ref counts out Luger and Sting while Luger grabs Sting’s arm to keep him outside of the ring. Therefore, that meant Ric Flair wins.

They made me sit there through a 28 minute match with Sting, Luger and Flair, a 28 minute boring-ass match between these three and Flair wins… with a count-out.  So after Ric Flair wrestles the majority of a 28 minute match, he wins and Savage is sent in to do battle with him. An injured Randy Savage vs an exhausted Ric Flair for your Starrcade main-event.

Match Rating: 1/2*

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) vs Ric Flair w/Jimmy Hart for the WCW World Championship

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Flair has about 5 minutes for a breather and then Savage comes out for the main-event. Savage starts working on Flair when MR WONDERFUL “PAUL ORNDORFF”, in a neck brace, appeared with his hands on his hips.

Savage missed a double axe handle to the outside as Doug Dillinger told Orndorff to head to the back. In hindsight, what was the point in Orndorff coming out? It’s not like he showed up in the post-match angle.

Flair worked on the arm. Flair chopped away at Savage. Flair, immediately after a 28 minute match, gets the heat and beats up Randy Savage who last wrestled more than an hour ago on this show. What a geek of a WCW Champion Randy Savage was here.

While Ric made it to the ring, Jimmy took a cheap shot kick at the gut of Savage. Ric did a hammerlock to Savage and dropped knees on the arm. Flair grabbed the wounded arm and just stretched it over his own shoulder. Savage fires back but runs into a sleeper hold. Savage does a backdrop

Jimmy threw the megaphone to Flair but Savage fought him, took the megaphone and used it on Flair which busted him up big time. Savage hit the elbow when the Four Horsemen ran down.

Benoit and Pillman ran down as Jimmy got the referee. Arn Anderson ran down and clocked Savage with the brass knuckles. Flair covers Savage to win the world title for the 12th time in his career as the fans go nuts.

The Horsemen have a big party in the ring. Pillman waffled Savage with the belt. and that’s how the show ends.

Match Rating: ¾*

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My initial reaction to this is, obviously, this pretty much solidifies Savage’s claim for one of the worst world title reigns of all time. All of Savage’s matches ended in a DQ and in the match where he loses the title, he gets his ass-kicked by an exhausted Ric Flair and gets beat. Was there shenanigans? Yes. But at the end of all of this, after Savage won what Buffer called the greatest battle royal in history last month, Savage drops the title to Flair and came off as a complete geek of a champion.

However, I will say this about the post-match celebration. Ric Flair sold this like it meant something and when you’re win your twelfth title reign and you still have to sell how much it means to you, that tells you how great Flair was. It still felt like a big deal when Flair won the title here and he sold it as if it was a big deal. The Horsemen were so happy, Pillman was going nuts and it showed legitimate passion that you don’t get from wrestlers nowadays. In a lot of ways, that was a success.

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That was Starrcade. That was an easier PPV review to do than I figured it would be. To be fair, a lot of the matches on this show were nothing matches. The big sell for the show was WCW vs NJPW but really the show-stealing matches were like Eddie vs Otani and Benoit vs Liger. Every other match was just in the area of slightly above average to an absolute nothing match and there was a lot of nothing matches where my reviews were just really short. Not a lot to say.

Going into 1995, the world title picture does have a bit of intrigue to it. Flair has the World title and Hogan apparently has a World title shot awaiting him after Starrcade. I’m pretty sure the match is happening on Nitro but this little period before the nWo arrive will be somewhat interesting to see how the world title picture shapes up before the big arrival of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the WCW Starrcade 1995 review. We are now heading into 1996 which will be an eventful year for WCW and see a major shift in the wrestling landscape.

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #17 (DECEMBER 25TH 1995) – RANDY SAVAGE AND RIC FLAIR BATTLE ON CHRISTMAS DAY

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 had a rather excitable edition of Nitro featuring a great, old-school Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair match, Sting and Lex Luger picking up victories going into Starrcade and Randy Savage retaining the World title against The Giant following interference from a wild Hulk Hogan. The show ended with Savage agreeing to give Hogan a title shot after Starrcade 1995.

Now we’ve got the go-home edition of Nitro as Starrcade is just a couple of days away… literally. This episode of Nitro, taped beforehand, aired on Christmas Day of 1995. Then on the Wednesday, WCW were taking on NJPW at Starrcade. A Wednesday PPV of all things which seems really peculiar. I mean WWE did do Taboo Tuesday on a Tuesday but it just really surreal to have a PPV two days after an episode of their flagship show.

 

Date: December 25th, 1995 (Taped the week before)

Brand: WCW

City: Augusta, Georgia

Rating: 2.5 (WCW was unopposed for this week’s Nitro as there was no Monday Night RAW on this week)

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

 

Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart vs Scotty Riggs

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Last week, Luger squashed Marcus Bagwell from the American Males in a rather bad match. This week, he had a match with Bagwell’s partner Scotty Riggs…. this was slightly better and more competitive.

Luger hammered away at Riggs. We got a repeat of Luger’s horrible dropkick selling from last week as he tumbled to the ground with each bump while his arms were in the air. Scotty did an arm drag and actually worked on the arm, demonstrating ring psychology at the very least.

Scotty draped Luger’s arm over the top rope. Scotty did an arm drag and Luger immediately hit his hand on the match 3 times… shouldn’t that have counted as a submission?

Scotty got some offense in before Luger sent him crashing into the barrier. Riggs fired back and hit a backbody drop. Riggs got a small package. Riggs missed a top rope dropkick. Luger did a horrible powerslam and locked on the torture rack to a big pop and to win the match.

 

Mean Gene Okerlund did an interview Sting and you’ll never guess what Mean Gene asked? You’ll never guess….

…he asked about Sting’s friendship with Lex Luger.

Sting flips out and says that “enough is enough” as he’s tired of being asked about it. He said Luger was a friend of his and he’s doing everything he can to straighten him out. Sting does actually say that maybe Luger snapped for a reason. Sting does talk about Ric Flair and NJPW but then Mean Gene can’t help but ask right after the interview.. “so what’s up with you and Luger?” He asks this question and Sting is not happy… that part I loved.

 

 

Sting vs Big Bubba Rogers

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I loved the touch added to Sting’s entrance as they had light up scorpions on the ramp as he came down to the ring. That I liked.

Big Bubba actually whipped out an enziguri on Sting. Big Bubba got the heat and locked on a chin-lock. The announcers bantered about this and that but then it’s revealed that Hulk Hogan has been suspended… UNTIL THE END OF 1995!

Now let’s all remember that this episode is being shown on CHRISTMAS DAY. So Hulk Hogan has been suspended FOR A WEEK! In case anyone is wondering why he got suspended for a week, it’s because he ran wild last week with chair shots towards The Giant, Taskmaster, the referees etc. And after all of this, he’s suspended for a week? Hogan seemed more than willing to do the time for the crime!

At the very least, Heenan did say that the suspension was under review so it could be longer. With that being said though, spoiler alert, but Hulk Hogan is wrestling on next week’s episode of Nitro! I cannot wait for the explanation!

The finish to this match was Sting actually did a small package from the top rope for the win as Big Bubba looked stunned. That was actually a creative finish from Sting and the thing I like about Sting was that he had more than one way to beat somebody. It wasn’t just locking on the Scorpion Death Lock. I believe he beat IRS with a top rope crossbody before, he probably beat somebody with a Stinger Splash, he had the Scorpion Death Drop and now he’s got the small package from the top rope.

I liked that as it makes you believe that the match can end at any time and not just to zone out until the guys start hitting their finishers. This was a basic match but effective in getting Sting over. Sting and Luger both getting wins two weeks in a row is effective in building them both up for Starrcade so I was happy with this.

 

Speaking of Luger, Mean Gene interviewed him and Jimmy Hart. It turns out Luger’s got another match against NJPW as well at his Starrcade triangle match for a shot at World Champ “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Luger said there’s no deal between him and Sting. He said they’d been friends for 10 years. He said we couldn’t ask for a more premier match in the triangle match with himself, Sting and Ric Flair. Luger said he’s the uncrowned world champion and that’s the way its gonna remain until he becomes the champion… no shit? By that logic, I was also the uncrowned WCW Champion when I was one year old at the time! You’re the uncrowned champion until you win the title… what a concept.

Sgt. Pittman comes down, interrupts the interview and says he’s got no problem with Luger. Pittman wants Jimmy Hart to be his manager. Jimmy makes Pittman take off his shirt. Then he tells Pittman to now look at Luger and ask himself why Jimmy should wanna manage Pittman? He told Pittman to look for a different manager.

 

Dean Malenko vs Mr JL

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This was a very unfortunate match for Mr JL, better known as Jerry Lynn. He came in as part of the cruiserweight push from WCW. He got in the ring with Dean Malenko and his arm got broken during the match.

Now I watched this match again during this review to try and pinpoint where he actually broke his arm. At what point did he do it? There’s a few spots which I figured he might have done it in.

The match goes along fine. Dean hits a beautiful t-bone suplex. We got some great stuff. Then Mr JL tries a monkey flip but falls right on his back. I wrote in my notes that he fell on his head but after a rewatch, that doesn’t look like it was the case. I thought if he hurt himself, it would have been at this point. I say that because after JL drops to the mat. Dean went over for the bridge pin. Referee Nick Patrick counts one and then just stops despite JL’s shoulders still being on the mat. Patrick is frozen like he just doesn’t know what to do. JL seems to be trying to push Dean to the air to the air to reverse it into a backslide. Its like a 10 second struggle until he somehow pushes him up and finishes the spot.

I thought it was that spot because that spot looked so screwed up that the only thing I can conclude was that JL was hurt then because he landed HARD on the mat. However, JL keeps on going. He even hits a beautiful sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. They keep going and then Dean hit JL with an Alley-Oop which launches JL into the top rope. He kinda looked like he smashed his arm on the top rope but he still kept on going.

Then I read from somewhere that he broke his arm during the finish. Dean goes the top rope with JL on his shoulders. He presses him up and drops him down onto his knee for the gutbuster. Mr JL SCREAMS and grabs his arm as Dean quickly goes for the “Malenko Leg Lock” for the win. It seems more likely that this was actually when it happened and that when JL landed, his arm got trapped in between his body and Dean’s knee. I assume that’s when it actually happened and Dean rushed to the finish.

It’s a shame because JL is gonna be out of the picture for a while because of this.

 

Mean Gene is doing an interview with Ric Flair. Ric says Savage is about to wrestle Ric Flair on this show and that the great one cannot be denied. Jimmy Hart then walks up to him. Jimmy apologises for what Taskmaster did last week for interrupting the Horsemen as Kevin Sullivan has a short fuse. Jimmy says he owes Ric one after Savage grabbed Jimmy by the tie a few weeks ago. Jimmy asks to go down to ringside tonight with Flair as Flair becomes champion. Ric says if Jimmy wanted to be ringside when he beat Savage, he told him to knock himself out brother.

 

Randy Savage (c) vs Ric Flair w/Jimmy Hart for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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This was easily Savage’s best match since this Nitro series started. EASILY. He and Flair went in there and had a good old scrap for the strap. An old-school fight to be the world champion and then of course… the finish happened which we’ll get to.

Savage actually spat at Flair at the start of the match which only fired up Flair. Flair missed a knee and then Savage worked on Flair’s legs with assistance of the ring post. Savage locked on a Figure Four Leg Lock of his own. Then Flair got his hands on the ropes but the referee kicked the hands away. I think possibly this was because Flair had somehow turned the tide in the Figure Four which was not really obvious during the match or even pointed out on commentary.

Jimmy kept getting shots in at Savage. He stomped away at Savage on the floor and even choked him with his tie or something during the match. Flair got the heat and Irish-Whipped Savage into a metal barricade. There was one moment I loved where Savage is laying on the barricade gasping for breath and like 5 kids in the crowd that happen to be behind the barricade all can’t help but try to touch him from a distance! It was tremendous!

Savage hit a big clothesline for a near fall. I always love how whenever anyone does like a basic move to Flair but Flair can’t help but scream at the top of his lungs! Savage goes for a backslide but Flair simply goes “AAAAAAAAAA!” It was the best. Ric Flair was and always will be the best seller of all-time, by a country mile. This backslide seemed like torture for him and that’s what wrestlers should be doing. It was great.

Flair does a low blow when the referee wasn’t looking. Bobby Heenan’s brilliant explanation is that it was accidental as it was a reaction move for his leg. Heenan explains that when Flair gets his leg in that kind of nerve position, his leg goes up in a north angle! Bobby Heenan was the man.

Savage fires back and does a backdrop. Savage locks on a sleeper hold but Flair counters it with a knee breaker. Flair locked on his own Figure Four Leg Lock and THIS TIME grabbed the ropes for leverage blatantly. Bischoff said: “We’re running out of time but I really don’t care.” I’m sure TNT executives were thrilled with that….

…they actually probably were if these over-runs were doing great and their ratings were going up every week. So who knows…

Savage runs wild and goes to work when LEX LUGER runs down for the DQ.

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OK… I know WCW had this reputation for DQ finishes on Nitro main-events but this was one which really grinded my gears. We had a great match as a main-event for the World Title.  This was the best match Savage has had in months. This was the best Nitro main-event we’ve had in months. Savage could have gotten a big clean title victory right before his big title defense at Starrcade and Luger runs down for the DQ.

EVERY ONE OF SAVAGE’S TITLE DEFENCES HAS ENDED IN A DQ. Now granted, this was at least an improvement on the Luger and Giant matches as at least Savage was about to win this time when Luger ran down. However, why did Lex Luger run down to attack Savage?  What does it matter to him if Flair gets beat? My only explanation is that possibly Jimmy Hart came up with a plan with Luger, to make peace with the Horsemen, that if Flair was in trouble Luger should run down to help him. That’s the best explanation I have for it.

I was also literally kidding when I joke for the Episode #16 review that this match would end in a DQ. I fully expected Flair to win but it really was for the best that Savage defended his title clean at least one time. If Savage drops the title at Starrcade, this must go down as one of the worst world title reigns in history. Right?

Sting runs down for the save as he beats up Flair with Savage beating up Luger. Sting clocks Savage. Sting and Savage slap each other to fire themselves up and they stare each other down as we close Nitro.

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I have to admit. With the exception of the WCW vs NJPW element of it, I’ve not really been that enamoured by this Starrcade push. Luger and Sting have both been booked strong going in, Savage has been booked weak going in and Flair just seems an outsider in this whole thing with Luger and the babyfaces. Hulk Hogan’s not even there and I’m not even sure if The Giant will be there. Both men weren’t even on this episode of Nitro. So lord knows what the WCW title picture is gonna look like after Starrcade.

Oh yeah, and no follow-up to the infamous Madusa angle from last week when Alundra Blayze put the WWF Women’s title in the trash can. What a waste of an angle…

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We’ll be doing a full review of WCW Starrcade next time. WCW vs NJPW is going down, Sting, Lex Luger and Ric Flair in a triangle match. The likes of Sting, Savage and Luger all in the multiple matches. Despite the lacklustre build to Starrcade, I’m very much looking forward to certain aspects of it. Not gonna lie. We will see you with the Armbar Express review of WCW Starrcade 1995.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #16 (DECEMBER 18TH 1995) – WWF WOMEN’S CHAMPION ALUNDRA BLAYZE DEBUTS ON WCW NITRO

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

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The ever confusing WCW World title picture has gotten even more confusing in WCW as of late. WCW announced a triangle match between Sting, Ric Flair and Lex Luger at Starrcade with the winner facing Randy Savage at the end of the night for the WCW title. 2 weeks ago, Savage defended the title against Luger but ended in a disqualification when Hulk Hogan ran down and broke up the pin. Last week, Savage vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan was also booked for Starrcade while Luger claimed himself to be the uncrowned WCW Champion. Then, they randomly announce that Randy Savage is also set to defend the WCW title the next week against The Giant. If that’s not confusing enough….

…the on-going drama with Sting, Lex Luger, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage just kept GOING AND GOING. Sting and Hogan tagged against Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in the main-event of last week’s show. Hogan and Sting bickered, Lex Luger ran down and attacked Hogan, Savage made the save, Sting punched Savage and then they all kissed and made up. The same old storyline with Lex Luger with seemingly no end in sight.

 

Date: December 18th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Augusta, Georgia

Rating: 2.7

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

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We kick things off with an infamous WCW angle which was one of the bigger shots fired by WCW at the very start of the Monday Night Wars. The commentators are talking about the show and who should come out but WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze…

….yup, this is THAT segment…

Alundra grabs the mic and cuts a promo. I almost got this down word for word on my notes but this was pretty much her promo for her WCW debut.

“I am Madusa. Always have been Madusa, always will be Madusa. This is the WWF Women’s Championship belt,” says the formerly known as Alundra while Bischoff goes “woah”.

Alundra grabs a trash can conveniently right next to the announce table and drops the title into the trash can.

She proceeds: “And that is what I think of the WWF women’s belt. I am WCW. I used to be called Alundra Blayze but now I’m Madusa. They call this the place where the big boys play. Now it’s the place the big girls play.”

Alundra, now going by Madusa, leaves the booth. Eric Bischoff grabs the title, shows it off… and put its back in the trash can. Then William “The Refrigerator” Perry, NFL star, makes his way to the announce booth to squeeze the hand of Bobby Heenan.

My notes after all of this reads…

“That was it?”

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In hindsight, this was an absolutely atrocious segment. Madusa comes out randomly on the start of Nitro. She cuts a god awful promo. The verbiage was just so wooden but not nearly as wooden as her delivery. She drops the title and she mentions that “that’s what I think of the WWF women’s belt” like the WWF is beneath her. She says that at a time where WCW doesn’t even have a women’s division. I’ve seen exactly two women’s matches since this Nitro series began. It was the same tag team match with the same four people and they both came over from Japanese wrestling promotions. If the WWF women’s division is so bad, what does that say about WCW?

The one thing she had coming in that would have made her like a truly big star in WCW, similar to how Ric Flair showed up on WWF TV with the WCW title, is her parading around with the women’s title. She proclaims herself as the one true champion and tells WCW to make it official, it could lead to a tournament to fight Madusa to see who is the true champion. But no, she doesn’t even have the title and she disregarded the title as meaningless… in a nothing 2 minute segment which was shortly sidetracked by William Perry.

Now maybe I’ll be wrong and this may end up into a great angle similar to what I suggested. Spoiler but we do get a women’s title in WCW and that title is retired in 1997. So my gut is that it wasn’t very successful at all… call it a hunch.

I would also call this unsuccessful on the grounds that the WWF actually filed a lawsuit as a result of this angle!

 

Ric Flair vs Eddie Guerrero

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Remember a month ago or so when they were building Ric Flair vs Eddie Guerrero on Nitro? Eddie was set to face Flair in a match but Flair pulled out and he was replaced with Brian Pillman? All of this time later, we finally get the match… and Eddie Guerrero gets no entrance as Flair makes his way down to the ring.

The fans loved Flair in this one as he played around at the start of the match. In the middle of all of this, they announce RIC FLAIR is getting a WCW title match next week?

OK….

Brief Intermission from the review of this match

So to recap, Lex Luger and The Giant both received WCW title shots in the last couple of weeks. Luger got his title shot a few weeks ago and Giant got his title shot on this episode of Nitro. Luger got a title shot because he beat Savage at World War III right before Savage won the title. The Giant got a title shot because he was the champion but got stripped off the title and never got a one on one singles rematch. FINE. Both those explanations make sense as to why they both got title shots.

Ric Flair?

Obviously, I understand that he is Ric Flair. However, based on his win/loss record since he turned heel again at Halloween Havoc, what on Earth has Ric Flair done to earn a title shot? I don’t even remember the last time he won a match on Nitro. He may have won matches on Saturday Night. However, Flair was in the Starrcade triangle match anyway and now HE’S getting a title shot?

Him and The Giant are both on probation and they’re getting title shots. If you think about it, the one person that has the greatest claim to a title shot nowadays is Hulk Hogan who is also on probation. Hogan has not been mentioned once, at least up until this point. Hulk Hogan unfairly lost the WCW title and he wasn’t even beaten for it. He was never eliminated from the World War III battle royal and Flair and Giant are both getting title shots before him.

I know I’ve made fun of Hogan’s character as just a whiner on this show but if you look at what’s happened, he has every right to be pissed!

…back to the match

In singing Flair’s praises, Bobby Heenan brings up Flair’s a 11 time champion at this point and asks the question of “how many of you humanoids did anything 11 times well?” Eddie dropkicked Ric in the back of the head and Ric did an amazing flop for the sell. Eddie slapped Ric in the face and then styled and profiled himself, to which Flair got proper bugged eyed with fury! The fans actually booed when Eddie did this.

Eddie missed a dropkick and Flair goes a Figure Four Leg Lock but Eddie reverses this into a small package for a near fall. This was turning into a very well paced match that suited Ric’s old school style and Eddie’s ability to adapt to just about any pace of a match. Flair got the heat as he chopped away at Eddie and did some knee drops. Eddie fired back as Eric Bischoff referenced some Mike Tyson fight.

Eddie hit a tornado DDT. Eddie actually managed to pull off a hurricanrana spot with RIC FLAIR of all people. It actually also looked very well executed too. Ric was dizzy and hit the ropes to send Eddie crashing onto the floor. Eddie grabbed his knee and Ric went immediately for the knee. Solid use of ring psychology which shouldn’t come as a surprise when Ric Flair and Eddie Guerrero are both involved.

Ric stomped on Eddie’s leg. Ric locked on the Figure Four as Ric grabbed the ropes for leverage but Eddie refused to give up. Ric slapped at him but Eddie yelled “Noooooo!” Eddie fought and fought and fought and fought but Eddie eventually passed out and Ric PINNED him with a Figure Four.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Flair pin somebody with the Figure Four before! I actually thought this was a clever finish. They got Eddie over as a babyface who refused to give up, even against a 11 time world champion. This was a solid match that told a good story and had an excellent finish and it definitely would have helped Eddie. Whether they follow up on this the right way remains to be seen…

 

Arn joined Ric in the ring as Mean Gene came down as well. Ric went to attack Eddie and Mean Gene yelled him “HEY KNOCK IT OFF, or I’ll cut this interview!” Arn said he respected Paul Orndorff but for every reaction, there’s an opposite or equal reaction. In case you don’t remember what happened last week, the Four Horsemen took out Paul Orndorff with a spike piledriver. Arn said the Horsemen does not put personal achievements above the group and you don’t jump the Horsemen.

Taskmaster ran down and put Arn and Ric over. Mean Gene pointed Ric towards the hard cam like a true professional! Taskmaster was upset that Brian Pillman knocked the Dungeon of Doom during his promo last week. I don’t remember Pillman knocking the Dungeon of Doom unless he’s referring to Pillman taking a shot at the Zodiac. Taskmster said they better put Brian Pillman on a short leash. Ric said no problem but Arn grabbed the mic sand said that if you come looking for Pillman, you mess with the Horsemen. Taskmaster said there are no allegiances in WCW and left.

 

Sgt. Pittman interrupted the announcers now. So that’s THREE times that the announcers have had somebody interrupt them at the booth in one episode. Pittman said he’s been doing a lot of sneaking and peaking and found that Bobby Heenan was one of the best managers of all time. He wanted Bobby to manage him. Bobby said he didn’t manage anymore as he’s a broadcast journalist but Bobby will help him find a manager. Pittman said if he doesn’t get help, he won’t be taking any prisoners.

 

Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart vs Marcus Alexander Bagwell

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I’m gonna get the positives out of the way regarding this match… at least Lex Luger is getting some wins under his belt all of a sudden and is looking more of a threat. Remember when Luger kept getting beat on Nitro and Hogan made him look weak and the time he lost to Meng? Now he’s on a winning streak…

…that’s about where the positivity ends…

This was a typical Luger match where he gets blown up and does a horrible job with selling. Bagwell got some offense including a monkey flip. Luger got the heat. Bagwell ran wild. Bagwell went for a splash but Lex got the knees up and then hit the powerslam. Luger locked on the torture rack for the win.

That’s pretty much all you need to know.

Mean Gene does an interview with Luger and Jimmy Hart. Jimmy said Luger is the uncrowned champion. Luger said he’s breathless with anticipation… nothing to do with him completely blown up of course. Luger said he’d take the title and said Savage should give up.

 

Pittman and Cobra are set to wrestle each other for what seems like the 100th time as of late and this match is plugged for Saturday Night. How exciting…

 

Sting vs Earl Robert Eaton w/Jeeves

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So right before this match, these announcers have the temerity to plug that Sting was going to be on WCW Saturday Night to do an interview about his friendship with Lex Luger. After MONTHS and MONTHS of this storyline, they wanted you the fans to tune into WCW Saturday Night to watch Sting TALK more about this never-ending storyline.

Eaton started off with a headlock and Sting pushed him off, doing a leapfrog and then pushing Eaton high in the air with his feet.

This was a basic but rather boring match. The fans were bored and did the wave. Sting did a hip-toss which led to Eaton delivering a backbreaker. Eaton missed a top rope knee drop. This led to Sting hitting the Stinger Splash and locking on the Scorpion Deathlock for the win.

Bischoff said Sting is “on a roll like a freight town going down hill”… very much the entire story of WCW’s existence.

So after plugging that we’ve got an interview with Sting on Saturday Night, Mean Gene comes out to do an interview with Sting… ON NITRO. Again, why would I wanna watch WCW Saturday Night on TBS or whatever channel they were on.

Mean Gene said: “Sting, we’ve got to discuss what’s going down at the triangle match at Starrcade.” Sting said he’ll not forget what Flair did to him and “what he did to all of those kids,” referencing the angle where Flair got all of the fans in the ring to get Sting to team with him. Sting said he was upset by Luger not mentioning his name when talking about going through the roster during his earlier promo. Sting says he’s been a five time WCW Champion and he wants to be the six time champion.

 

Randy Savage (c) vs The Giant w/Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart for the WCW Championship

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Bischoff reminds us that Randy Savage has an injured arm which, if you’ll recall, Hogan basically claimed was fake news during World War III. So I guess, in WCW storyline, Savage is ACTUALLY injured… well he’s actually injured in real life in 1995 but now they’re properly acknowledging it.

Savage starts with the ill-advised tactic of jumping onto The Giant’s back to choke him out. Giant stumbles around the ring to fight it but Giant slams him down. Giant goes to work and locks on a bearhug. Giant tries a chokeslam but Savage rakes him in the eyes. Savage tries multiple clotheslines to take the challenge down but Giant catches him, carries him around “like a child” according to Bischoff and delivers a backbreaker. It was actually a well done spot.

The Giant misses a splash and Savage counters with an elbow drop but The Giant flings Savage in the air as a kick out. The Giant actually unleashes a dropkick during this match. The Giant tries a suplex on the floor but Savage somehow grabs the rope to avoid being slammed onto the floor. How they pulled off this spot so well is beyond me. I’ve never seen a spot like this.

Here is the Armbar Express’ Geek Of The Week sponsored by the Filthy Four Daily show from Figure Four Online! Bryan Alvarez would be proud of this one. The Giant hits a chokeslam and wastes his god damn time posing. Nobody, to my knowledge, has kicked out of this chokeslam yet. He poses and poses during a World Heayvweight Championship match. Giant does a leg drop and then Hogan runs in to hit Giant with a chair for the DQ. The Giant came off like a complete idiot.

I probably should have awarded “Geek of the Week” if you will to Randy Savage since, yet again, Savage is saved from losing the title because of Hulk Hogan running down to cause a DQ. He’s never been able to defend the title by himself yet.

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So Hogan goes crazy. He whacks the referees with a chair, attacks some kinda official as well. I have no idea who he was but Hogan laid him out too. Hogan attacks Giant, attacks Taskmaster. Fans are going CRAZY FOR THIS by the way as this is going on. Mongo and William Perry try to calm Hogan down. Hogan then goes into the ring to check on Savage. The fans chant Hogan, Hogan, Hogan. This was actually a very well done segment, other than burying Savage as the champion, that got a lot of positive reaction from the crowd. They loved Hogan going crazy. A complete 180 from last week’s show where Charlotte, North Carolina booed Hogan out of the building!

Mean Gene interviewed Hogan and Savage. Mean Gene said Hogan risked the chance of being suspended. The Giant tries to get down of the ring again as Taskmaster and two security guard are able to pull The Giant away. Hogan takes a massive swing at the head of Giant, Taskmasker and a security guard. The heels flee. Hogan said he’s sick of this probation. Hogan says Savage owes Hogan a title shot. Hogan says he knows Savage can beat Ric. Savage says he has to get past Starrcade. Savage says right after we’ll get that match the world has been waiting for in Hogan vs Savage. Hogan I think said he has respect for the NFL players in the football field. He says don’t try to step onto their turf, they will get laid out. Savage and Hogan celebrate with Hogan’s music.

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So I’m not sure what to make of this. So right after all of these matches, title shots and Starrcade main-events are set up, then Hogan gets a title shot after Starrcade, This does not help with the build to Starrcade at all. This makes Hogan’s title shot seem way more important than the triangle match and the title shot at Starrcade. If that’s the case, why should I care about Starrcade? They’re just starting too many fires or potential storylines and not focusing on the PPV in front of them. And on top of all of this, Flair is getting a title shot next week?

Now, I haven’t looked at the results for next week’s show. I don’t know who wins and loses this match but it did seem weird to me that Flair of all people is getting a title shot. Luger and Giant had legitimate claims to a title shot. Flair does not. So either Flair is being fed to Savage in order for Savage to get a legitimate title defence under his belt or… they’re putting the belt on Flair next week because Savage is injured.

Or maybe it’ll end in a disqualificaiton…

 

That was my Nitro review. Bland in part but one of the more excitable Nitros as of late. Eddie vs Flair was good and the closing segment with Hogan going crazy was good. I still think the Starrcade build is pretty poor but they do have one more week before Starrcade so maybe next week will turn things around.

Stay tuned for our review of next week’s show where Ric Flair is the next man to challenge Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #15 (DECEMBER 11TH 1995) – HULK HOGAN BOOED IN FLAIR COUNTRY AS HE TEAMS WITH STING

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’ve got a much clearer idea of what the WCW Starrcade 1995 PPV would look like. It’s America’s best in WCW against Japan’s best in NJPW. However, the world title picture is where things get a little bit more complicated. Sting vs Lex Luger vs Ric Flair was booked for Starrcade in a triangle match, with the winner facing Randy Savage for the WCW World title later on in the same show.

The strangest thing about this Starrcade show is that Hulk Hogan is not yet scheduled for Starrcade or not featured at all in the title picture. He was never officially eliminated in the World War III battle royal to crown a new champion and then he was put on “probation” along with Flair and The Giant after a brawl from a few weeks ago. And yet, Flair could possibly earn himself a title shot if he wins the triangle match but Hogan couldn’t?

It’s also strange that Hogan is not in the title picture as Nitro is still all about the Hulkster. Last week’s show was headlined by Lex Luger challenging Randy Savage for the WCW title. Hogan broke up the pin for the DQ. A brawl broke out where Hogan accidentally clocked Sting. Savage tried to play peacemaker, and now we’ve gotten Episode #15 where Hogan and Sting must team up to face Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in the main-event.

 

Date: December 11th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Charlotte, North Carolina

Rating: 2.6 (Went up this week with an advertised Hulk Hogan main-event as opposed to a Randy Savage World title defence… make of that what you will)

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

 

Mr JL vs Eddie Guerrero

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This was your typical lucha libre WCW cruiserweight match and there was nothing wrong with that. They worked well at a… fast, but not too fast pace. Eddie is one of those reserved cruiserweights where he’s fast but he’s not too fast where the audience can’t appreciate everything he does and can’t keep track of it. He’s tremendous when it comes to controlling the pace of a match.

Speaking of Eddie, the announcers plugged that Eddie would be wrestling at Starrcade against Shinjiro Otani. Bobby Heenan actually did a great job on commentary in putting Eddie over but also explaining that the Japanese were already training in the Rocky Mountains, not suffering jet lag and ready to go.

There was one botched spot where it was a tilt-a-whirl that was screwed up a little and ended up in a backbreaker. Eddie eventually rolled up Mr JL and secured the win. I did like that the fact that Eddie all so excited and joyous to have gotten the win and Mr JL was on his knees devastated and dejected to have been beaten in this match. Even if this was just an opening match on Nitro, the result of this match mattered to Eddie and Mr JL.

 

Mean Gene Okerlund did a promo with Jimmy Hart and Lex Luger. Jimmy told Mean Gene to shut up and he said Luger was the uncrowned WCW Champion. They recapped Luger going heel, beating Savage and then a clip from last week. Luger said if it wasn’t for Hogan stopping the count last week, Luger would be the world champion right now. He said he owns Macho Man and everyone knows it so Savage is no problem. He talked about Flair. He talked about Sting and that he and Sting talked about how it will come down to those two at Starrcade and if it does, may the best man win.

 

“Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs Disco Inferno

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To put this match and pretty much this episode of Nitro into perspective, I wanna actually mention that I watched my WrestleMania 21 DVD on the weekend before I watched this episode of Nitro. On Disc 3 of the boxset, it showed the 2005 WWE Hall Of Fame induction. I watched it… it was FABULOUS. The Iron Sheik had an absolutely incredible acceptance speech. Ric Flair and Roddy Piper told some great stories. Bobby Heenan was on form that night. And inducted among many memorable names during this ceremony, including Hulk Hogan, was “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.

He didn’t particularly stand-out in this Hall of Fame, especially when the Iron Sheik of all people is inducted! However, he did talk about his love for the business. It’s the usual Hall of Fame speech. However, the WWE’s video package before Orndorff came out for his induction really didn’t do Mr Wonderful much justice. It mostly focused on his feud with Hulk Hogan and WrestleMania I where he teamed with Piper against Hogan and Mr T. It was a shame because this episode of Nitro demonstrated a lot more to what made Mr Wonderful so…. wonderful.

Mr Wonderful got this gimmick and this excellent Mr Wonderful theme song and he comes down to the ring with a mirror to look at himself, because he thinks he’s so wonderful. Bobby explains that the mirror got bigger with every show, because he wants to see more and more of himself in this mirror. Paul Orndorff really did believe, in storyline, that he really was Mr Wonderful and he lived the gimmick.

This match really was the battle of the fantastic theme songs. We had the Mr Wonderful theme song, which Bobby claimed Mean Gene sang the female part of the lyrics! We also had the Disco Fever theme song which, pretty much speaks for itself. Right in the 1990s cringe but cool category.

Disco jumped Mr Wonderful to get things underway. Disco actually beat up Orndorff while his arms were stuck in his jacket. Orndorff fired back with an atomic drop and then bonked Disco on the head with an elbow. Orndorff hit an ugly facebuster and then performed an even uglier disco dance right in front of Disco’s prone body! It was so ugly, it was beautiful! Orndorff looked all goofy as someone who was not meant to look like Disco Inferno. Orndorff hit a back suplex for the win and I actually loved this. Orndorff has the man beaten as clean as a sheet with a pinfall but because he’s a heel, he can’t help but put his feet on the ropes!

Orndorff looked kinda knackered after a 3 minute match but otherwise, this was a basic and simple match to wrestle which suited the old school Orndorff and the very green Disco Inferno. It wasn’t that bad.

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Mean Gene did an interview with the Four Horsemen, in Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Mean Gene asked Brian what it’s like to be a part of the Four Horsemen. God bless Brian Pillman, but he was completely outta his mind when he cut this promo. He claimed Hogan wanted to be a member of the Four Horsemen and even donned the black because he wanted to be a bad guy. Brian claimed Hogan could never keep up with Flair’s lifestyle. Pillman then decides to bury a bunch of random guys on the roster. He cuts a promo on Steve “Mongo” McMichael, The Zodiac, Mr Wonderful and the American Males.

Mr Wonderful comes out after Pillman targets him. Mr Wonderful cuts a promo where he says he could be a Horsemen if he wanted to and that’s the only reason why Pillman IS a horsemen. He called Pillman a punk. Arn gets in between them. Orndorff says if Pillman thinks carrying around everybody’s bags makes him a Horsemen then he is a Horsemen, because that’s what Pillman’s doing. Wonderful and Pillman then got into a brawl. Flair and Arn helped Pillman and turned it into a 3 on 1 beatdown. Arn and Ric delivered a spike piledriver on the floor. At this point, Mongo said “I’VE SEEN THIS ON A FOOTBALL FIELD”…. WHEN DID THREE NFL PLAYERS EVER DO A SPOT LIKE THIS?

As a segment this was really well executed. As a means to write Orndorff off of TV, which is what I assume this is all about, Orndorff came off as worthy star worthy of a Horsemen beatdown. I don’t even think I’ve seen Orndorff lose a match on Nitro since THIS Mr Wonderful gimmick started. He beat Disco Inferno, he cut a great promo on Pillman and then he got taken out by Flair and Arn who were in the main-event of this episode of Nitro.

Bobby was shown going to see Orndorff who was being seen too by the medics. Not getting up real close to Orndorff but still showing concern.

 

Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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I think this is the moment when writing my Nitro review where I’ve just realised just how much Lex Luger was on this show. He showed up to do a promo with Mean Gene and Jimmy Hart and now he’s got a match with another Jim in Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Spoiler alert, but he shows up later on in the show and all of the babyfaces talk about Luger at the end of the show. It’s just astonishing to think about. It’s astonishing because according to a number of stories, Bischoff was not high on Luger. And yet here is Luger all over this show so I’m not sure what changed. Maybe it was that dreaded Luger vs Meng match from Nitro a few months ago.

In a twist of fate, the babyface Duggan jumped Luger before the match. Duggan smashed Luger’s head into the turnbuckle. Hacksaw ran wild with a hip toss, a clothesline and a few elbows. They cut away to show Orndorff loaded into the ambulance. Bobby was back on commentary by the way. Jimmy Hart got on the apron and as he does, Hacksaw grabs tape to hit Luger with it. Then Hacksaw got distracted by Hart. Supposedly Duggan ran into Hart’s megaphone and Luger took advantage and locked on the torture rack for the win.

Bad finish to a well below average match. This really did not make Luger come off as a main-event star. Duggan got the heat for a long time and it took a megaphone and a distraction for Luger to get the win. So really, nobody got over after this match was over. Really, you could make the argument that the Torture Rack got over as Duggan tapped right away and Luger did hardly anything leading up to it. But that’s about it.

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Mean Gene was with Macho Man. They revealed on commentary that Randy Savage is set to face Hiroyoshi Tenzan at Starrcade along with defending the WCW World title later on in the show. And then, it was revealed that he will defend the title against The Giant next week on Nitro.

So this WCW World title picture… Hogan started off this series as the champion. He loses the title to The Giant via disqualfication but then The Giant is stripped off the title. Savage wins the title in a battle royal where Hulk Hogan was never even eliminated. Now all of a sudden, The Giant is getting a WCW title match next week. If hypothetically, The Giant regains the title next week, does that mean Savage is out of the title picture all together? Why is Hogan not in the title picture at all? He didn’t even get beat properly to lose the title. He was never eliminated in the World War III battle royal. Along with all of this, Savage is wrestling Hiroyoshi Tenzan at Starrcade on the same night he may or may not be defending the title? What is going on?

Savage said he’s not even thinking of Starrcade or Tenzan or Luger, the whiner, and he’s not thinking about Flair or Sting. He’s thinking about Nitro against The Giant. He compared him to Andre The Giant. Savage said he would be like dynamite, blowing up in your face as he would do whatever it took to win.

 

Hulk Hogan and Sting vs Ric Flair and Arn Anderson

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Sting and Hogan came out to separate entrances. Hogan came down to boos and then complained that Sting went out to the ring without him… right at the moment Sting’s song has a lyric that goes “And all the old people start to act like a child.” I mean Hogan did file a lawsuit against Vince Russo for defamation in 2000 so Hogan, if you’re reading this, no disrespect intended dude! I just think it’s hilarious that Hogan’s character whines like a child that Sting is not coming out with him right when that lyric kicks in.

At the very least, I am being more respectful of Hulk Hogan than this Charlotte crowd. Holy crap, they hated the Hulkster in Charlotte. Ric Flair was always gonna be loved in Charlotte but this was a clear defiance against Hulkamania in 1995. This made Hulk Hogan’s eventually change in character in 1996 all the more appropriate but at least up until this point, it’d been a bit more split 70/30 across the Nitro audience. Not on this night. Everyone loved Ric, they liked Arn, they respected Sting and they hated Hogan.

This was sort of like the WrestleMania 22 show where the Chicago completely booed John Cena and cheered Triple H. Up until that point, the negativity towards Cena was slightly less obvious than it was in WrestleMania 22 and then everybody turned against Cena at ECW One Night Stand. To give WCW credit, at least they turned their John Cena at a perfect time for them.

We got a Hogan sucks chant. Mongo drops the line of: “I played with guys that I didn’t particular care for.” Arn delivered a sweet looking fireman’s carry arm drag. Sting Gorilla Pressed Arn which is still a crazy feat of strength as Arn wasn’t exactly a slim guy here. Arn tried to cause issues with Hogan and Sting by goading Hogan to make the tag… to thunderous boos. I honestly kept forgetting this was Flair country and then as I finally thought of it when watching this match, Flair got tagged in.

Flair chopped away at Hogan to no affect. Hogan backdropped Flair and ran wild. As Flair was bundled over the apron, Sting gave him a Mongolian Chop.

Arn jumped Hogan as Sting and Flair brawled outside. Flair did an eye poke and the fans wooed away. The Horsemen got the heat on Hogan. We got every Sting vs Ric Flair mini-match you ever saw and I think I’ll be writing that at least a few hundred more times before this Nitro review series is over!

Sting locked on the Scorpion Death lock on Arn when Ric got involved, Hogan distracted the ref, Sting locked on the Death Lock but then Arn hit a DDT. Luger came out a brawled with Hogan and locked on the Torture Rack. The referee supposedly didn’t see ANY of this.

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The heels got the heat. Mongo then blamed Hogan and Sting for not being able to work together. Oh yeah? Well what about Lex Luger running down and attacking Hogan? Mongo had a horrid night on this Nitro.

Flair locked on the Figure Four with Arn with the assistance by holding onto Flair. Sting pulled Flair to his corner with sheer leg power and made the tag to Hogan but the referee didn’t see it as the ref was distracted with Arn. Sting eventually fires up and no-sells the chop, throws Flair off the top and goes for the tag but Flair stops him. Bischoff talks about “wanting to reach out and touch somebody.” Arn got spiked by a Sting facebuster. Hogan And Sting kayfabed screwed up the tag and Arn hit the spinebuster. Hulk hulked up anyway and hit a leg drop as Sting hit a Stinger Splash for the win. A weird miscommunication spot which usually would lead to the heels getting the win in this kind of story. But no… Hogan and Sting just overcame the heels and won. It was one of the better Nitro main-events as of late. I’m not gonna lie.

Brian Pillman ran down after the match. 3 on 2 as Lex Luger stopped Pillman from attacking Sting and then instructed Pillman to beat up on Hogan instead.

Sting fought to help Hogan and by the time Savage ran down, Sting had already cleaned house. Sting punched Savage WHICH LOOKED rather intentionally but supposedly it wasn’t. Savage slapped Sting. HOGAN tried to be peacemaker as the fans chanted Hogan sucks. I got super confused as to why Sting punched Savage, I guess it’s because Sting is in the triangle match at Starrcade but perhaps there was something I missed. However, this did not look like Sting punching Savage was an accident.

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Mean Gene got involved and in between Hogan, Sting and Savage. Hogan ASKED AGAIN for about the 700th time about Luger and Sting. My notes here just read “FUCK OFF”. Savage said he hated Luger. Savage wanted to know about Luger too. Mean Gene said let’s talk about it on national television Sting! Sting said it was an accident when he punched Savage. Hogan does testify for him as Sting did save him from the 3 on 1 beatdown by the Horsemen. Hogan blamed Flair and had his arms wide out to elaborate on this point! Savage said we needed to take a chill pill. Savage wants them to work together. Hogan told Savage to get his act together as he may end up losing to The Giant if he doesn’t get it together. Savage said we’ve all got giant problems to end an OK episode of Nitro but by no means exhilarating show that I should wanna watch every week. Really, these last two episodes really did seem like filler if you look at the story.

The story has mostly been about Lex Luger causing division between Sting, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage but that’s been the storyline since the very first episode of Nitro. We do not need to see this scene every week of Savage, Sting and Hogan questioning each others intentions. Their characters make sense but we don’t need to see Sting being put on the spot every week because of his friendship with Luger. Jesus.

Speaking of Lex Luger. So Lex Luger ran down in the main-even to attack Hogan. He was all over this episode of Nitro. My prediction is that Lex Luger will win the triangle match at Starrcade. Seriously, why would Lex Luger be getting pushed this much if this didn’t lead to Luger winning and facing Savage again? If you look at what happened last week, Hogan ran down and caused a DQ when Luger was fighting for the World title. He got screwed out of the title. If we want to be greedy about this convoluted WCW title storyline, Luger has a claim to a title shot himself. Savage never properly beat him to retain the title. The only problem is that I don’t wanna see Lex Luger vs Randy Savage again. They have yet to deliver since Luger arrived either on TV or on PPV. I don’t know what the appeal would be if they were to do Luger and Savage again and Savage beat him as a blow-off to that feud.

…or The Giant may end up winning the title again next week and this entire conversation may become null and void.

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My analysis is that thi was an OK Nitro. Felt a lot like a filler Nitro. We got Luger winning a match, we got Orndorff getting taken out, we got your usual cruiserweight match on Nitro and we got pretty much the finish to almost every Nitro show in the last few months. However, there was nothing really wrong with it either other than just repeating angles with Sting, Hogan and Savage.

Next week, we’ve got Savage’s bit title defence against The Giant but WCW really have to put in the work to build up anticipation towards Starrcade. In the meantime, we’ll see you at Episode #16 of this review series.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #11 (NOVEMBER 13TH 1995) – “EVIL” HULK HOGAN WANTS THE HEAD OF MENG

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 on the road to World War 3, with the stakes even higher for the 60 man battle royal main-eventing the show. Jimmy Hart revealed to the world last week that he added a stipulation to the Halloween Havoc title match indicating that if Hulk Hogan got disqualified, The Giant would win the WCW title. Because of interference by Jimmy himself, Hogan lost via disqualification and made The Giant the true WCW World Champion.

However, the WCW Championship Committee was having none of that. They stripped The Giant off the title and determined that the winner of the World War 3 battle royal would become the new WCW World Champion….

So we’ve got a few weeks to go before the war to end all wars and crown a new WCW World Champion. In the mean time, Nitro gives us four big matches for this episode. Hulk Hogan has sent Randy Savage to Nitro with the intention of determining who is on Hulk Hogan’s side in the battle with the Dungeon of Doom. Randy Savage takes on Meng, Chris Benoit battles Kensuke Sasaki and Sting will take on Dean Malenko in our main-event. We also have a WCW TV title match as the champion Johnny B Badd defends the gold against Eddie Guerrero.

 

Date: November 13th,1995

Brand: WCW

City: Jacksonville, Florida

Rating: 2

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

NOTE: In case anyone is wondering, this was actually at the same venue as last week‘s Nitro. WCW taped two shows back-to-back… except they taped this show FIRST! It’s kind of bizarre but yeah, we’re still in Jacksonville, Florida and my research showed that this episode did the exact same rating as last week’s show! Almost surreal!

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Speaking of surreal, we cut to this graveyard or what was supposed to be a graveyard anyway. It looked for all the world like WCW decided to raid the post-Halloween sales for scary props and stuff for this. Anyway, we’re shown Hulk Hogan dressed exactly like Emperor Palpatine who raided the bat cave for one of his masks!

I took the liberty of surfing the internet to find other reviews with descriptions of what Hulk Hogan was dressed like during this promo. I’ll quickly list them off here!:

  • A writer from Renegade Cinema said he was dressed as a S&M gimp!
  • Brandon Stroud from Uproxx with the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro series said he was dressed like a Sith Lord on his way to a swingers orgy!
  • A few sites simply referred to him as a Phantom of the Opera parody.
  • Team WCW from the Nerdopotamus had a great debate about Hogan’s appearance. Carlos claimed that Hogan looks like a dude that got laid off at Medieval Times to which his buddy Fredo stated that he looks like he just got hired at Medieval Times and he sneaks his costume home to show his mom his really awesome cosplay! I swear to all the gods out there that I literally just copied and pasted those words exactly from the post!
  • The Nitro Charged! series from Retro Oasis simply stated that Hogan has gone from emo to executioner!

I mean I could keep going on but suffice to say that Hogan looked absolutely ridiculous but so ridiculous that it was tremendous. It even appeared that Hogan had drawn himself facial hair, with his moustache out of the equation at the hands of the Dungeon of Doom! He was so heartbroken over his moustache that he drew himself a new one!

Hogan said the darkness in the Dungeon of Doom shakes in fear because of Hulk Hogan’s power. It’s here I noticed that he had the black glove on that he referred to one time in that creepy promo. Remember when he was talking about how people do bad things with black gloves? Strange showcase of continuity.

He said the Macho Man was on a mission to bring the head of Meng, the first man on Hogan’s hit list… otherwise known as the Hulkamania destruction hit list. Hogan whipped out his sword… an actually sword that he was wielding like a machete. Hogan said he has no idea where Sting is at with this relationship with Lex Luger. Hogan said if Sting was on Taskmaster’s side, Sting would be moved to the top of his hit list. He advised Macho Man to move fast, move swift and bring Meng’s head. Quite a crazy promo, which was followed by Bobby Heenan predicting that Hogan would be the first man eliminated in the battle royal.

 

Meng w/Taskmaster vs”Macho Man” Randy Savage

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Macho Man jumped Meng from behind to get things rocking as the fans went nuts. Macho Man, to show that he was truly on the darkside, was whipping out dirty move after dirty move including eye rakes. Macho Man went for a double axe handle but Meng cut him off. Jimmy Hart came down to the ring and Meng started to take control of the match.

This wasn’t much of a match early on until Meng tore off Savage’s shirt and Meng CHOPPED THE CRAP out of Savage. Savage may still have been suffering from a torn bicep at this point but even here, he was taken a proper beating from Meng to get the Tongan over. Savage’s body was RED RAW after this.

Meng went for a diving headbutt but Savage moved out of the way. Savage knocked Meng into Jimmy Hart and then hit Meng with the elbow drop for the pin which the fans were all ecstatic over.

Then The Shark and Lex Luger came down as Bobby Heenan yelled SHARK ATTACK! Lex worked on the arm of Savage on the ring post. Now I’d hate to be one of those guys but what on Earth was Luger wearing? He was wearing like pajama bottoms and a vest in pinstripes. It looked ridiculous but totally of the 1990s at the same time!

 

Kensuki Sasaki vs Chris Benoit

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This was a match I certainly wasn’t expecting. Chris Benoit vs… Kensuki Sasaki. Yeah, Kensuki Sasaki was what popped up for his name plate! I feel I should refer to him as so even though I’ve always known him as KENSUKE Sasaki. If it bothers anyone, I’ll go with Kensuke Sasaki for future episodes.

Sasaki hit a huge clothesline from the get-go and went to work on Benoit. Sasaki hit a big powerslam and went on to hit the most realistic bulldog I’ve ever seen. He SLAMMED Benoit to the ground with such ferocity. Sasaki locked on a reverse chin-lock. In somewhat of a interesting spot, Sasaki tried a side-walk slam but Benoit proceed to somehow land on his feet. Sasaki then tried a teardrop suplex but it was reversed into a crossbody. If you’ll recall, Benoit tried a suplex last week but Eddie reversed it into a crossbody for the pin. At least this demonstrates that Benoit learned something from his last match where he lost. I liked that.

Benoit eventually hit two German Suplexes and finished with a Dragon Suplex for the pin. This match lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds and for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, it was absolutely phenomenal stuff. With that being said, this match being as short as it was bizarre considering two things.

Firstly, I missed it but the announcers talked about how Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko both became new members of the Four Horsemen. Secondly, they also mentioned that Kensuki Sasaki was getting a US title shot later on in the week against Sting. If Sasaki is being set up for a US title shot, why on Earth did you set that up by having Sasaki lose in less than 3 minutes to Benoit? At least Eddie won two matches in a row to earn a TV title shot. Sasaki lost in 3 minutes and is getting a US title shot. Quite bizarre.

 

Speaking of Benoit and Guerrero, another Benoit vs Guerrero match was actually set for WCW Saturday Night. This actually sounds interesting as these two are tied 1-1 in their little series since Benoit debuted. They also plugged Dean Malenko in action and Sting vs Buckhouse Buck.

 

Johnny B Badd vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW TV Championship

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This was a very entertaining TV title match for the 10 minutes they got but it appeared that they were on different pages at times. Not the smoothest encounter I ever saw. A big reason was the size difference. Johnny B Badd was not a massive guy but he dwarfed Eddie in terms of size and that appeared to show in the match. He wasn’t quite able to match Eddie’s speed.

With that being said, Badd was beloved by the fans and he appeared to be more liked than Eddie in this match. Badd was somewhat a star in WCW. Eddie and Johnny shook hands. Johnny hit a decent tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but him hitting the move only reminded how great Eddie Guerrero’s tilt-a-whirl backbreakers were! Johnny hit his catapult leg drop for a near fall which I think was called the Badd Mood or whatever Tony Schiavonie called it one time!

Eddie almost landed directly on his own head doing a hurricanrana which could have ended nasty. Eddie and Johnny traded roll-ups. Eddie sent himself flying with a crossbody attempt where Badd evaded. Johnny hit a flip senton to the outside. Johnny missed a Springboard Splash and almost got pinned for it. The two kinda screwed up a victory roll where I think the difference in speed between the two was apparent.

After a while, Badd eventually got frustrated in this wrestling match. Therefore, the former Golden Glove Johnny B Badd hit a closed fist punch on Guerrero which is considered taboo in the world of wrestling. As Bobby explained that you do what you have to do, Eddie didn’t take to kindly to that. Eddie speared Badd and took him down, raining in punches from above. It leads to a wild frenzy and Badd attempted to jump at Eddie but referee Randy Anderson was in the way as Badd tried to jump at him. It looked kinda messy.

Eventually things calmed down as they tried to wrestle again. Eddie hit a teardrop suplex and would hit a Tope Con Hilo.

Johnny reversed a tombstone piledriver into a tombstone piledriver of his own for a near fall. At this point, we learned that there was a 10 minute time limit. Eddie hit a tornado DDT and the two crashed into each other with a crossbody attempt. The match eventually ends in a time limit draw with Eddie and Badd still swinging away at each other after the bell. They eventually shook hands and hugged each other after a hard-fought battle.

The match was great in the structure but somewhat sloppy with executions for about a 1/5 of the time. I like the idea that, yeah, Eddie and Badd lost their cool during the match. They both lost their cool and started brawling with each other. Even after a few moments on intense moments, the two men can shake hands and say well done after a time limit draw. The two babyfaces are not totally hating each other right now which makes them both likeable at the same time. They’re able to forgive and forget and I assume this will lead to another match down the road.

With that being said, we had a match with a 20 minute time limit with Badd and Brian Pillman at Fall Brawl. After the time limit expired, they went into overtime and kept wrestling. Why wasn’t overtime considered an option here? That was interesting. It was interesting considering that the Badd vs Pillman match was a number one contendership match and this Badd vs Eddie match was a title match!

Weird.

 

It’s here where Eric breaks the news that Hogan has called out Sting to wrestle him on Nitro next week. What a big match to reveal and he just announces it randomly in the middle of the show!

The Giant, Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster did an in-ring promo with Mean Gene. This is the third Nitro in a row where these three guys from the Dungeon of Doom have done a promo with each other! It’s the usually spiel between these guys.

Jimmy said that he and Taskmaster are the smartest men in the world as they took the WCW title from Hulk Hogan and Jimmy now has a new dilemma. He didn’t know what to do with his remaining Hulkamania jackets to which a disgusted Mean Gene says “gimme a break.” Taskmaster said that for 10 years, he was trying to figure out how to take down Hulkamania. It takes a true evil mastermind to take 10 years to come up with a plan to take out their arch-nemesis. All that plotting and planning!

Taskmaster said that they beat Hogan and plugged World War 3. They called World War 3 the biggest PPV event ever which I don’t think was the case. 23 years later and I don’t even know who won, although I have an idea! 60 men would fight for the biggest prize including the likes of Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage. The Giant declared that the competition was sky-high but there can only be one and that would be him. The Giant vowed that he would be the WCW Champion forever as he cackled along with his posse.

 

Sting vs Dean Malenko

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If you though Chris Benoit vs Kensuki Sasaki was an interesting Nitro match… we got Sting vs Dean Malenko for the main-event. I’d hate to compare sizes again but Sting was not a small man and he was in the ring with the cruiserweight Dean Malenko.

By the way, it was here when I noticed Sting was not even wearing the WCW US title down to the ring! Remember when Sting was defending the US title all the time against guys like VK Wallstreet and The Shark? Now, Sting doesn’t even come out with the belt!

They wrestled for a bit. Sting hit a Gorilla Press which was a guaranteed pop no matter how many times he did it. Dean hit a dropkick to the knee to get the heat. Dean locked on a heel hook. Sting tried a Scorpion Deathlock during the match but Dean got the ropes. Dean hit a dropkick to the knee again and Mongo said Dean was treating Sting like a red-headed stepchild.

They actually mentioned Dean’s father who was billed as “The Great Malenko” back in the day. Dean hit a beautiful, and I mean a BEAUTIFUL, German suplex on Sting. Like I mentioned earlier, Sting is a BIG GUY in his own right. This took a lot of strength from Malenko and it looked amazing.

Sting eventually reversed the Texas Cloverleaf into a small package for the win. A decent but somewhat strange main-event to the show.

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Mean Gene caught Sting in the ring for a post-match promo but before that, Eric was talking about how Jimmy Hart stabbed Hogan in the back and Bobby Heenan proceeded to stab his piece of paper with a pen! Subtle comedy from The Brain!

Mean Gene broke the news to Sting that Hogan challenged him to a match on Nitro next week. Sting said he had nothing against Hogan and that he never dreamed of the day that Hogan would come knocking on  his door looking for him. Sting said that he could let it slide as he compared Hogan to a little dog sat on the porch while Sting himself was the big dog. Sting proclaimed that if you checked the list of who Sting has beaten, it’s a long list of big dogs as this is where the big dogs play. Sting was looking forward to the match.

Mean Gene agreed with Hogan that something didn’t smell right and Sting simply replied that the big dog would see Hulk Hogan next week, So we have a main-event for WCW Nitro next week. It’s so strange to see this go down. I don’t know if this was Sting and Hulk Hogan’s first ever match against each other but what a time to do the match free on a random episode of Nitro. It’s strange considering that for the Starrcade 1997 main-event between these two, WCW built it up for one year before eventually giving us the match.

Mean Gene sends it back to the announcers saying: “Mongo, Heenan – CONMAN, and Bischoff… you’re not a conman!” Mean Gene was so great. I gave my thoughts on Mean Gene during the last review but this was a great man.

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That was your Nitro review. This was a decent Nitro in my eyes. Not as good as last week to me but we got a few good matches. The TV title match was fine, Sasaki vs Benoit was great for 160 seconds, Savage vs Meng was an OK opener and Sting vs Dean was OK. Nothing particular bad but we got stuff that was unbelievable to watch. I think Hogan inadvertently stole the show with that opening promo!

Next week, we’ve got a big Hulk Hogan vs Sting main-event. We will see you with the review of Episode #12 of WCW Monday Nitro.

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #10 (NOVEMBER 6TH 1995) – STING VS RIC FLAIR, THE GIANT “DEFENDS” THE WCW WORLD TITLE

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

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So we’re coming off the heels of Halloween Havoc 1995. It’s still unclear as to the fate of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The Giant defeated Hulk Hogan via disqualification due to shenanigans from Jimmy Hart and Lex Luger. However, the title cannot change hands on a disqualification. Throwing a monkey wrench into things, The Giant is still declaring himself the champion and vowed to defend his “title” on Nitro.

With the WCW title situation up in the air, will this show give us some clear direction in the main storyline as we head towards World War 3?

 

Date: November 6th,1995

Brand: WCW

City: Jacksonville, Florida

Rating: 2

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

 

This was INTERACTIVE WEEK in WCW. The fans could call in and vote on who they wanted in the main-event of the show. Before we get into who they could choose, I’d like to point out that The Giant is the “champion” set to “defend the WCW title” and he ended up in the opener on the show!

So there were two locker rooms to pick from – the red locker room and the blue locker room. The red locker room had all the heels and the blue locker room had all the babyfaces. The options in their respective locker rooms were:

RED LOCKER ROOM: Ric Flair, Meng, Diamond Dallas Page, “Blue Bloods” Lord Steven Regal and Earl Robert Eaton, Big Bubba Rogers, The Shark and Scott Norton

BLUE LOCKER ROOM: Sting, Johnny B Badd, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Dave Sullivan, Alex Wright, “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags and  Mr JL

It was so clearly set up to be Sting vs Ric Flair in the main event, to the point where Eric Bischoff was literally telling you throughout the show to vote for these guys. How miserable must it have been for the other guys back there to be back there as the Executive Producer of the show (at least I think he was) doesn’t want you in the main event of the show? With that being said, Sting vs Ric Flair was the match I would have wanted to see back in 1995! Maybe throwing in dudes like Randy Savage for example may get messy with that particular storyline.

I also like how there was a possibility that  Mr JL vs The Shark could have main-evented this show over The Giant’s WCW title defense! Bobby Heenan wanted to see Mean Gene Okerlund vs Tony Schiavonie.

 

The Giant (c) w/Jimmy Hart vs Cobra in a match apparently for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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I felt like such a massive idiot when I saw Cobra come down to the ring. We got constant, and I mean constant, high screech buzzing sounds. I had no idea if it was just part of his theme song or if it was technical difficulties with the sound. Little did I know until after the show that it was actually Morse Code!

In some ways, this is sort of clever but this got on my case real quick. I mean Jeff Farmer, the dude who was actually Cobra, got a different gimmick in 1996 so this does not last long. For spoilers sake, I won’t reveal what the new gimmick is in case you don’t know!

The idea that The Giant vowed to defend the WCW title on this show and the wrestler that WCW decided was a worthy challenger was COBRA is absolutely hilarious. You’ve got a literal immortal monster and you think Cobra is gonna beat him for the title? To their credit, Eric was still insisting that this was not a title match. However, the end of the show suggests that the WCW Championship Committee must have had some idea what was going with the title.

In the end, all of it didn’t matter. The Giant hit a chokeslam and pinned Cobra in 17 seconds to “retain” the title. I actually timed it. 17 seconds. Mongo actually had a great line where he says Bobby hadn’t seen anything end this quickly since his honeymoon. The one high spot of this match.

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Mean Gene was with the heels in the red locker room. Mean Gene talked about Interactive Nitro as the bad guys all looked mean. The Shark and Scott Norton were shoving at each other for screen time as the Blue Bloods were in the back drinking tea. Then they cut to the blue locker room…

This was an incredible sight. Tony Schiavonie was with the babyfaces and these babyfaces were so full of energy and so fired up for this interactive Nitro. There were technical difficulties this time around. The screen was going buzzy, the sound was going buzzy but that didn’t stop these guys. Charis were thrown, many promos were cut as Sting yelled that he wanted Flair. The Nasty Boys wanted the Blue Bloods, Hacksaw Jim Duggan is pacing back and forth in front of everyone. In the middle of all of this, Alex Wright, the most serious of the bunch, eventually breaks and is just reduced to giggling through it all! This… was gold.

I’ll tell you why this was gold. Here, there’s two sets of locker rooms with good guys and bad guys. Even if you’d not been watching the storylines of WCW on a weekly basis, anyone can switch on the channel and figure out easily who the good guys and bad guys were. In WWE 2019, you have no way of figuring out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. What you need is like a police board, pointing to different characters, to let you figure out who is on whose side. That’s too much work.

Make it easy for your audience to understand all of this. The babyfaces in the blue locker room were all excited and happy. The heels in the red locker room were all acting mean and acting like dicks to one another. Is it that hard WWE? And don’t tell me that it’s not possible to have clear babyfaces and heels in wrestling anymore because that’s just a lazy excuse to let the writers have the dudes do whatever they want. Put in the work and let the actions of everyone make sense. Put in the work.

I apologise for going off in a random tangent about this during a Nitro review but Jesus. This was 23 years ago and WCW have got it all figured out… for now.

 

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were hanging out in Venice Beach. This was just a totally bizarre segment. They were hanging out with a bunch of geezers. They had a Jimi-Hendrix style of musician rocking the guitar while a random old guy was sandwiched between Hogan and Savage. Hogan claimed they were hanging out on the dark side as they were surrounded by people who really didn’t look like they wanted to be there!

Savage vowed to go back to Nitro and see who was friend or foe and who was in the light. This was all kinds of random.

 

The Taskmaster w/Jimmy Hart vs The Renegade

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Previously, The Renegade had Jimmy Hart as his manager. Here, the Renegade now had to go up against one of Jimmy’s new allies in the Taskmaster. This was a waste of match if we’re really being honest.

The Renegade ran down and clobbered into Taskmaster, which is the the best way I could explain it. Renegade ran wild with clotheslines and Kevin Sullivan tumbled to the mat. Jimmy distracted his former comrade which gave Taskmaster the heat. As soon as Taskmaster got the heat, Jimmy was yelling “YOU COULD HAVE BEEN THE NEXT HULK HOGAN” and hurling abuse after initially begging him of earlier on in the match.

Taskmaster slapped away at Renegade. Taskmaster went for a flip senton from the apron but Renegade got the knees up. Renegade hit a cartwheel elbow to the corner but somehow got himself caught up on the top rope. Taskmaster hit the running knee and then did the ugliest looking Coup De Grace I’ve ever seen for the pinfall.

In what turned out to be a very sad segment in hindsight, Jimmy then splashed water at Renegade and wiped away Renegade’s make-up. Jimmy yelled that Renegade was “plain old Rick” and left him beaten and broken in the ring.

If anyone is wondering whether or not this was the end of the Renegade character, it isn’t. I believe he comes back as just another guy and he loses the Ultimate Warrior gimmick because of this angle with Jimmy Hart. The tale does have a sad ending as following the release from his contract in 1998, Richard Wilson a.k.a. The Renegade takes his own life following depression about his release. In hindsight, this was an awkward angle to sit through knowing that it all goes downhill for the guy in the next few years.

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Mean Gene is shown backstage with the heels. This was also a great segment. It starts with The Shark and Scott Norton arguing again. Eventually Scott yells “WHY DON’T WE TAKE THIS OUTSIDE FISH?” and they start to fight! I laughed because upon first watching this, I have no idea what Scott Norton called him! It took me three attempts to figure out what he called him because there was a part of me that though he called him a bitch! I had to do some investigating and it did appear he called him a fish!

Then the lights went out! Technical difficulties which none of the wrestlers saw coming. THAT DID NOT STOP RIC FLAIR! He was undeterred as Ric Flair said like the lord above, he brought the lights back on and it’s up to him when the lights turn on and off! He’s in control of all of these lights! Fantastic recovery. He was just in Ric Flair crazy mode as he styled and profiled. Mean Gene actually asked the important question “who turned these lights of intentionally?” Brilliant.

Actually, now is as good of a time as ever to talk about this. This is the first review of WCW Nitro since the death of “Mean” Gene Okerlund. He died at 76 years old and within those 76 years, he gave so much to the wrestling business. As an interviewer, he was so charismatic and witty as he elevated stories and he elevated those he was speaking to by bringing out the best in them. He brought out the best in Hulk Hogan, he brought out the best in Ric Flair and he brought out the best in Randy Savage. These are not just random names either. These were the biggest names in wrestling history.

Well lemme tell ya something Mean Gene. Thank you for all that you gave to wrestling and my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. We do have a lot more Mean Gene moments to appreciate in this series and let’s celebrate as he does stay with WCW until they go out of business. Here’s to you Mean Gene…

 

In what sounds like quite the show, they plugged WCW Saturday Night which featured Arn Anderson vs Kurasawa, Disco Inferno debuting his new music video and Hacksaw Jim Duggan going to Ireland! Not making this up!

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

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This was every bit as good as nearly every Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero match throughout time. This was also the rematch from their match on Nitro where Benoit made his in-ring debut. Benoit actually had a sweet mullet so he and his sweet mullet jumped Eddie before the bell. Eric Bischoff told us not to look away as this action was going to be hot and advised that this match was back “due to popular demand” and I want everyone to remember that….

My notes said that Benoit hit a hard spinebuster but I have no memory of this (I wrote this a week after I watched the episode so please cut me some slack)! So then the production crew, in the middle of this match that was back due to popular demand, cut to the Japanese Contingent with Jushin Thunder Liger. The fans want this match again so we’re gonna cut to somebody else during the match! Way to go….

Eddie ran wild and hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Eddie hit a dive and even hit a huge brainbuster as Bischoff was talking about Hulk Hogan. Benoit hit a big superplex and then hit another huge powerbomb on Eddie Guerrero. This was not as memorable as the infamous powerbomb from their first match but by god, it sounded super realistic and and looked realistic too.

Eddie did the victory roll that he beat Craig Pittman with last week but Benoit kicked out. Eddie went for a school boy roll up for a near fall. Benoit hit a German suplex for a near fall and hit a Northern Lights suplex for a near fall. A fair amount of drama at this point.

Benoit and Eddie then channelled their inner Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn by doing the KO/Zayn brawl spot on the apron. The fans were so into this and it really was great stuff. Benoit went for a back suplex into the ring but Eddie reversed it over the top rope into a crossbody. As Benoit’s feet was on the rope, Eddie scored a pin with the referee oblivious to Benoit’s feet being on the bottom rope.

Great stuff as well between these two and this was rather good storytelling too. Benoit won the first match and although Eddie won the second match, the referee missed the feet on the rope so it gives us a legitimate reason to wanna see a third match. Eddie did not beat Benoit outright and Benoit can come out and yell about that. This was awesome.

I will say, there was an annoying bit of commentary at the very end. Bobby is rightfully yelling about how this was a bad call by the referee and the babyfaces Eric Bischoff and Steve “Mongo” McMichael proceed to ignore it and claim we don’t have time for an instant replay! In their defense, they didn’t even have the technology to provide the footage from Halloween Havoc last week until the very end of the show. So maybe they don’t have the technology for instant replays.

 

Sting vs Ric Flair

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So the fans correctly chose Sting vs Ric Flair for the main event of the show. Funnily enough, Ric Flair was dressed with purple trunks (close to blue) and was representing the red locker room in this main event!

Sting started firing away at Flair to a huge reaction as Sting Gorilla Pressed Flair over his head. He went to work in the corner with the ten punches spot. Flair finally got a bit of offense in with a suplex on the floor. Sting went for a Stinger Splash on the outside but Flair evaded it as Sting went crashing into the barricade.

We come back and Flair apparently low-blowed Sting during the adverts. Flair locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock and I loved this spot. Flair has Sting doomed with this Figure Four Leg Lock and as Sting is writhing in pain, Flair is grabbing the ropes for leverage. So suddenly, Sting gets fired up and beats his chest as the fans started to lose their minds. Sting, with his sheer leg power, dragged Flair to the middle of the ring meaning that Flair could not grab the ropes any more. Flair was dejected as Sting finally turned over the Figure Four but Flair quickly got himself out of it. This was brilliant stuff.

Flair chopped Sting but Sting no-sold the crap out of it and ran wild, to the fans delight. Sting hit a huge hip toss and a dropkick before Flair cut him off with an eye poke. They were on the outside and Flair grabbed a chair and then he started running at Sting with a chair over his head like how Arthur from the Ghost N Goblins game series charge at people! The referee, however, stopped Flair from using the chair.

Flair and the referee shoved each other as Eric alerted us that we’d get a special announcement at the end of the show. Flair kept pinning Sting with his feet on the ropes but referee Randy Anderson was unable to see any of this. Sting launched Flair from the top rope, crashing down onto the mat. Sting punched away at Flair but the referee got in the way. Sting’s response to this was to lift the referee like a toddler and then place him into the opposite corner! This was awesome!

As this was going on, Flair whipped out the brass knucks and hit Sting while the referee was not in position. Flair even hit an elbow drop for good measure but Sting kicked out. Yeah, Flair used the brass knucks and hit a move but Sting was still able to kick out! I also remember people, including Sean Waltman, complaining on Twitter in 2017 when Roman Reigns kicked out of the brass knucks when Kevin Owens used it during Royal Rumble 2017! Here, Flair hit the brass knucks and hit a move and Sting was still able to kick out!

Sting fired back and Gorilla Pressed Flair for like the third time in this match. Every time Sting did this, the fans went nuts. They gave the fans just the right amount of the things they wanted to see as opposed to the things they didn’t want to see. Sting hit a superplex and went for the Scorpion Deathlock. Flair gave up and Sting won.

However, Sting would not accept just beating the Nature Boy. Sting refused to let go of the hold as the referees start pleading with Sting to let go. This Stinger, however, had been pushed to the brink. Flair screwed him over at Halloween Havoc and this was payback. He HATED Flair at this point so there was no letting go of this submission.

Sting was yelling his head off as guys like Mr JL, Eddie and Dave Sullivan all tried to plead with him. Eventually, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Johnny B Badd pried Sting away from Flair. Sting eventually went back for more of Flair as this time. Lex Luger went down to the ring. Now Lex Luger was a heel at this point but he was still Sting’s friend. He got in Sting’s face and said something to Sting which caused Sting to finally snap out of it as Sting and Luger left together.

This was all brilliant. This was put together so well and the actions of everyone involved made sense. Say what ever you want about WCW but at this point, this has been a brilliantly put together show since I started watching this. The characters for everybody, for the majority of the time, made absolute sense in WCW. It makes sense why Lex, despite being a heel, was coming down to plead with Sting. It makes sense why Sting hated Ric but also why he listened to Luger. WWE can make all the excuses that WCW stole all of their talent but this was clearly just a better show in general as opposed to what the WWF were featuring at the time. This angle didn’t really feature many old WWF talents. Sting, Luger and Flair all made their names in WCW and the story they told with this match was excellent.

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As Bischoff mentioned during Sting vs Ric Flair, we had a big announcement for the end of the show. The Giant, Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart were in the ring with Mean Gene. This show was also clever in the sense that The Giant was in there with what appears to be the three smallest people they could find to establish how big The Giant really is! It’s a subtle thing but it was clever!

Jimmy finally gave us an explanation as to the fate of the WCW World title. Jimmy explained that when Hogan was making his movies that wound up in the video stores, Jimmy was taking care of business. When Hogan was going around the world doing charity work with Macho Man, Jimmy was taking care of business. When Hogan wanted to step into the ring with The Giant, Jimmy did the contract for the match as he had the legal right to do so. Jimmy explained that he put in a stipulation that explained that if Hogan got disqualified during the Halloween Havoc 1995 match, he would lose the title. Jimmy attacking the referee, because he was Hogan’s manager, caused Hogan to be disqualified. Therefore, The Giant is the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

As the evil dudes cackled, a WCW attorney entered the ring. This attorney revealed that he had been talking to the WCW Championship Committee. The attorney confirmed that Jimmy was right when he said he had the legal right to make and sign the contract for Halloween Havoc. However, he whipped out an official written statement from WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel. Everybody in the ring tried to lean over the attorney’s shoulder including Mean Gene who even whipped out his glasses!

The statement read that The Giant is actually NOT the champion right now. Nick had decreed that due to the dubious nature of the disqualification at Halloween Havoc, it had been ruled that the title has been vacated and will be awarded to the winner of the World War 3 battle royal.

The Giant yelled NOOOOO! and refused to  give up the belt, but Mean Gene confirmed that Giant needed to give it up. Taskmaster said that WCW could have the belt back as The Giant would just win the battle royal at World War 3. Taskmaster said that nobody was gonna throw Giant over the top rope. This began more than two decades of Big Show telling everyone that nobody could throw him over the top rope in battle royal type matches and then him GETTING ELIMINATED in these matches! It all stemmed from this point!

Jimmy was going nuts and throwing paper as the heels weren’t happy.

Hell of a segment that finally gave clarity as to the fate of the WCW title and the overall direction for the show heading into World War 3.

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This was a heck of a show when all said and done. We got another Benoit vs Guerrero match which is always quality. We got another Sting vs Ric Flair match which is always quality. The Giant was able to look like a monster with a quick victory. We had some great angles as we now have a clear direction for the collective storylines heading towards World War 3. This show gets a thumbs up from me!

Next week, we have Randy Savage vs Meng, Johnny B Badd vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW TV title and Sting vs Dean Malenko. Very much looking forward to those matches and I like how Eddie is rewarded for winning two matches in a row against Pittman and Benoit by getting a title shot. The winners on the show are being rewarded. This is all lovely…

We will see you with Episode #11 of Nitro.

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #9 (OCTOBER 30TH 1995) – ….SO WHO IS THE WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION?

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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Previously on the Retro Express…

WCW Halloween Havoc took place. We got short matches, we got long matches, we got monster trucks, we got betrayal after betrayal after betrayal… and we may have a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

The title match between The Giant and Hulk Hogan ended with a disqualification when Jimmy Hart attacked the referee. Hart turned on Hulk Hogan and this was quickly followed by Lex Luger double-crossing Randy Savage as the Dungeon of Doom welcomed two new members into the fold. With The Giant holding the title like he’d won it and Michael Buffer insisting The Giant wasn’t the champion, questions were raised about who the champion was…

…this episode of WCW Nitro didn’t do a particularly good job in explaining it either!

 

Date: October 30th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Dayton, Ohio

Rating: 2.3

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

 

Funnily enough, this week’s rating was down from last week. Usually, the ratings go up following a PPV but not here. Interesting stat.

 

Craig Pittman vs Eddie Guerrero

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I’ll explain the storyline to this one because there were a few dark matches on WCW Halloween Havoc that were shown on Main Event instead. One of them was Craig Pittman vs VK Wallstreet and I was able to watch it. The announcers explained that the winner would face Randy Savage on this episode of Nitro. Pittman won but Savage ended up getting taken out at the end of the PPV. Therefore, Eddie replaced Savage in the match. This type of storyline does make it seem that wrestling on Nitro was worth fighting for. I guess that’s a good way to put the show over.

Bobby Heenan said Halloween Havoc changed the course of professional wrestling. I’m not sure I’d go that far as I don’t believe The Yeti and The Giant humping Hogan changed the course of professional wrestling. I mean Viscera humped wrestlers in the ring but nowadays, not many people do. :/

Eddie tried to take down Pittman at the start of the match but Pittman was simply too big for the cruiserweight Eddie. Eddie was actually able to take Pittman down as it started off as a very much shoot-style grappling match. Pittman soon turned it into a brawl.

Bischoff claimed President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary were watching Halloween Havoc… I’m about 99% certain that didn’t happen. Pittman hit a belly-to-belly suplex. Eddie hit a beautiful springboard crossbody. After Eddie found some fire, some Latino Heat if you will, Pittman went back to hitting belly-to-belly suplexes! Pittman hit a powerbomb. There was actually a smooth finish were Eddie reversed a hip toss into a victory roll for the pin. A fine little opener for Nitro.

 

They showed The Shark accidentally costing Scott Norton the match against Randy Savage in Episode #2 and then Norton and The Shark brawling last week.

 

Scott Norton vs The Shark

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Bobby Heenan left the announce booth and was later showed to be eating sushi with Sonny Onoo. This blood feud between The Shark and Scott Norton starts with a lock-up, which could be explained away as these two were part of a stable after all. There’s just cracks in the Dungeon of Doom. They’re still allies at the end of the day.

Nevertheless, this ended up being a hard-hitting fight. The Shark hit a belly-to-belly and then hit a big elbow drop. Scott tried to get Shark down with clotheslines but the Shark would not go down. Even with a diving shoulder tackle, Scott could not take down the Shark. Then out of nowhere, Scott just hoisted him up for a scoop slam and slammed him! After all of that effort, he just slams him! The fans did pop for that.

Scott and Shark took each other out with a clothesline. They brawled on the outside and it ended in a double count-out. They brawled to the back and Norton rammed Shark into the WCW logo on the ramp. Bischoff claimed it was solid steel which I find hard to believe as the logo was light enough to be moved by the apparent sheer force of Shark and Scott Norton! If it was steel, it wouldn’t have moved so easily!

I will give WCW credit in the sense that they did a double count-out but the brawling itself did make you want to see more of these two beating the crap out of each other. Therefore, this gets my endorsement for now.

 

Tony Schiavonie makes a rare Nitro appearance as they showed photos from WCW Magazine of what happened with Ric and Sting vs Anderson and Pillman at the PPV.

So out comes the newly re-united Horsemen with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Yes, Flair turned on Sting at Halloween Havoc. Pillman called it a thing of beauty as Flair cut Sting’s throat. The group said the incident saw them one step closer to excellence. Pillman really was having the time of his life out there.

Arn gave Sting props for taking the beating. Flair styled and profiled and stated that the Horsemen were back. Whether you like it or you don’t like it, learn to love it because it’s the best thing going today. Those were words straight out of his WWF title victory speech from Royal Rumble 1992. Flair said that on next week’s Nitro, the Horsemen were ready to go to work as Flair went nuts in the ring.

This really was great stuff to get you amped up for a Four Horsemen reunion.

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So they then run down the WCW Saturday Night card as usual. Chris Benoit vs Alex Wright was supposed to take place. They announced RIC FLAIR AND ARN ANDERSON VS THE RENEGADE AND COBRA. What a vast difference in skill in these tag teams! They then announced Harlem Heat would defend the WCW tag team titles against the Blue Bloods.

Now… on Episode #3, the American Males won the WCW tag team titles. The American Males… have done nothing since then. Then, on Nitro, they randomly mention that Harlem Heat are defending the tag team titles on Saturday Night. It turns out that the title change only took place in late October anyway (taped in September) but this really does devalue the tag titles when this is the first time the Nitro audience had heard about the titles changing hands.

 

Sabu vs Disco Inferno

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The more I think about it, the more I’m amazed that this match took place. The crazed Sabu vs the Disco Inferno on Nitro. Sabu went for a takedown but Disco was just jumping over him and dancing. Sabu eventually just smacked Disco in the mouth. Sabu did his usual spiel including a springboard front dropkick.

Both men traded blows in the ring and then Sabu hit a springboard flip leg drop for the pin. The most noteworthy thing about this was the aftermath. Sabu continues his gimmick of jumping wrestlers after the match after he’s beaten them. Sabu did a dive to the outside where he landed on Disco’s shoulders which can’t have been good for Disco.

Sabu threw a table at Disco. Sabu then tried a dive through the table with Disco laid on top but Disco moved out of the way. Sabu lands right on the table that didn’t break and he probably felt way worse than Disco did in the earlier dive spot. He landed right on an unbreakable table and after this happened, a young kid in the front row is laughing tremendously for a solid minute as Sabu was having a temper tantrum. This was pointless, other than that one fan howling with laughter at this idiot Sabu for this failure of a beatdown on Disco.

 

Lex Luger and Meng w/Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster vs “The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs

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How bad was the WCW tag team division at this time? Let’s think about this for a second. Last week, Harlem Heat were beaten by Sting and Lex Luger in the main-event. Harlem Heat then won the WCW tag team titles. The former champions American Males are now in the main-event and were squashed by the newly turned Lex Luger and Meng. Mere fodders for the main-event talent of WCW.

I love how a running gag during this show is that WCW are promising to show us what happened at Halloween Havoc with exclusive footage. They’ve not mentioned explicitly what happened with the Dungeon of Doom but promised to show us later on in the show. And yet, before that point, Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart are already shown to have been aligned with the Dungeon of Doom!

Eric Bischoff actually implied that Luger, Meng and the Dungeon of Doom had been in cahoots all along. If you look at the storyline, that statement makes no sense. Meng hit Luger with a golden spike at least twice up until this point and they had the second-longest match at Halloween Havoc. However, we’re supposed to believe that they were working together all along?

Lex Luger could not even take a backdrop from Scotty Riggs. This was so poorly executed from these two men. The referee was somehow distracted as Luger and Meng hit a double move on Riggs I believe. Bischoff claimed the fans were chanting for Hogan. I could barely hear any chants for Hogan. Maybe the equipment just couldn’t pick it up but no Hogan chants were picked up on TV anyway.

Bagwell got the hot tag and ran wild. He went VERY, VERY FAST in this match. He was at least fast compared to everybody else in the match. Bagwell was at least able to get Luger up for the back drop. Bagwell had Luger pinned but the referee was distracted. Meng hit a kick to the back of the head as Luger locked on the torture rack for the victory.

A usual main-event that did the American Males no favour and did very little for Lex Luger and Meng.

 

The announcers goofed around as Mongo sprayed silly spray at Bobby Hennan, who did not look happy about this. They FINALLY showed the Halloween Havoc footage where Jimmy Hart and Lex Luger joined the Dungeon of Doom and The Yeti humped Hulk Hogan.

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Tony Schiavonie interviewed The Dungeon of Doom with The Giant having the WCW World title. Jimmy Hart explained he would give his explanation for why he turned on Hogan next week. Jimmy did say that the evil that was in Hulk Hogan was in fact Jimmy all along.

This was such a perplexing segment. Tony starts of by insisting that The Giant is not the WCW World Champion. Then The Giant is talking about how nobody would knock him off the hill and then says he’ll defend the WCW title on Nitro, vowing never to lose it. Tony then says… alright, he’s defending the title next week.

It’s one thing if you want to tell me that The Giant is just delusional in declaring himself the WCW World champion. That would be fine, except that Tony then just declares that The Giant is defending the title next week so the announcers are going along with the delusions of this Giant. As of right now, my understanding is that Hulk Hogan is still the champion.

I’m really hoping we get some clarity about this for next week’s show. This thing with the WCW World title just confuses me. I think they may not have figured out the actual explanation for why The Giant is “the champion” right now, so they can’t just say that he’s the champion. Rather confusing times.

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When I first watched it, I really was not high on this Nitro. However, I’ve somewhat had a change of heart about how bad it was. The show was actually not bad if you just look at the first half of the show. The Dungeon of Doom stuff here was a real let-down on this show. In short, half an OK show and half a bad show. That’s the best way I can describe it.

 

 

BONUS MATCHES

I have two bonus matches to quickly review. As I mentioned earlier, Halloween Havoc had four dark matches used for WCW Main Event I believe. WCW Main Event is not on the WWE Network but I was able to find two of them on YouTube and DailyMotion and I did watch them. So here’s some bonus match reviews to wrap up this edition of the Retro Express.

 

Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs “Blue Bloods” Lord Steven Regal and Earl Robert Eaton

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It’s actually almost shocking that Lex Luger and Meng got such a long match for the PPV and yet this match wasn’t even on the PPV. This match was great. Benoit, Malenko and Regal were all exceptional wrestlers. Eaton was a little slow in this match but he was able to work well with these great workers.

The announcers actually mentioned that Lord Steven Regal had a knee injury and was sporting a knee brace. Benoit and Regal showcased a lovely bit of chain wrestling as Regal was forced outside of the ring.

I started watching wrestling in 2003 so seeing a much faster Benoit in 1995 was almost surreal to me. I’d hate to make a comment like this considering the circumstances of Benoit’s death but he almost seemed like a completely different wrestler compared to the type of wrestler he was 10 years later. Here, Benoit was flying around all over the place like a cruiserweight. 10 years later or so, he’s much more slower and methodical.

There’s a lot that contributed to Benoit working at a slower pace down the road but I’ll just say that it was really weird in the change of wrestling styles in the space of 10 years. John Cena, for example, has not changed at all from the wrestler he was 10 years ago other than being a little slower nowadays. Benoit in 1995 was totally different to Benoit in 2005.

Eaton was a little slow to breaking up a pin following a Northern Lights Suplex. Dean hit a somewhat missed-time bulldog. Eaton then hit a gorilla press into a backbreaker which looked sweet.

They then go to do a spot. I believe the spot was Benoit was going to get Eaton up for a powerbomb and then Dean was going to clothesline Eaton from that position. Even with Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko on the scene, this spot was so horrendously screwed up and I sort of put the blame on Eaton. Benoit tried to lift this guy up and Eaton just could not get himself up. I believe either Eaton dead-weighted Benoit or Eaton just couldn’t lift himself up because Benoit was ridiculously strong back then. He usually did not have much issues with slamming big men so that leads me to believe that it was Eaton’s fault.

As great as Benoit and Regal were together in the ring, Dean and Regal were tremendous in the ring too. They did a spot where Dean had a submission locked in and Regal tried to lift Dean up for a Rampage Jackson like slam using one arm. However, Regal is still having to use one arm so it is a struggle for Regal to get Dean up! It was brilliant.

Regal went for a Regal Stretch but Benoit broke it up by booting Regal in the face. Regal tried a tombstone but Benoit reversed it for his own tombstone in a beautiful transition. Benoit hit a diving head-butt but Eaton broke up the pin. Dean sent Eaton to the outside with a crossbody. Regal hit a double-underhook suplex for near-falls, a move that Eric Bischoff proclaimed to be a double-armbar suplex.

I liked the finish of the match. Eaton broke up a pin but as the referee is dealing with Eaton, Benoit and Dean pull off a dropkick into a Dragon Suplex combo on Regal. Eaton is forced onto the apron and is fixing his attire when the referee starts to count the pin on the Regal. The light-bulb then suddenly switched on for Eaton as he was sprung into action. But before he could act, Benoit had his partner pinned.

I liked this match but in hindsight, knowing that the Blue Bloods are getting a future WCW tag team title shot, why did they get beat here by Benoit and Dean? With Eddie beating Pittman on Nitro, the goal was to get the cruiserweights over for the new division. With that being said, why were the number one contenders for the WCW tag titles sacrificed for them?

Seems weird.

Match Rating: ***

 

Craig Pittman vs VK Wallstreet for the right to face Macho Man Randy Savage on the 30th October 1995 edition of WCW Nitro (In a match that ended up not happening anyway since Randy Savage was taken out at the end of Halloween Havoc!)

 

I’m reviewing these matches in the order in which I watched them. Therefore, it does pain me to end this blog post on such a sour note. This was a complete waste of my life with the exception of one spot.

To give people some context, I was eating some porridge for my breakfast when watching this match. Pittman’s offense was mostly big standing head-butts when he leaps at a guy. Wallstreet is in the corner. Pittman goes for the move and smashes himself into the middle rope. I laughed so hard that I almost choked! I had to rewind it. Seeing this guy going face first into the turnbuckle of this failed headbutt! Definitely rewind worthy.

Yes, that was what led to VK Wallstreet getting the heat.

They do a bunch of moves when Big Bubba Rogers runs out with his hands taped. He punched Pittman in the face and fled. Then Hacksaw Jim Duggan, with his hands taped, comes down and punches Wallstreet in the face. Pittman rolls over onto Wallstreet and gets the win.

WHAT WAS THAT FINISH? Two men, who weren’t in the match, punches the two men in the match in their faces. Despite those two doing all of the work, Pittman gets the pin and the opportunity to be on Nitro. What a clown show of a match this was.

Match Rating: -*

 

That’s about it from us at the Armbar Express. Next time on WCW Nitro Episode #10, The Giant will supposedly defend the WCW title despite not technically being the champion! Be sure to check out for that next episode review and be sure to read up on up to two months worth of reviews regarding WCW Nitros and WCW PPVS!