RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #20 (JANUARY 15TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN VS MENG MAIN EVENTS OVER A WCW WORLD TITLE MATCH

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 12th world title reign of Ric Flair is underway, with the Four Horsemen looking to keep the title on the Nature Boy as their top priority. Flair and Arn Anderson teamed up to face recent former champions Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in the tag team match main-event. Hogan and Savage picked up the win but the Four Horsemen’s planned post-match beatdown was cut-off by the Dungeon of Doom. The Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen, because of past comments by Brian Pillman, were now at odds at the end of the show as they brawled to close the show

 

Date: January 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Miami, Florida

Rating: 3.5

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

 

The show starts with the commentators running down the card as usual and they reveal that Ric Flair will defend the WCW World title against Sting tonight and then the winner would go on to defend the title against “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Keep that in mind when you read about what went down in the first match of the evening.

 

Lex Luger vs Randy Savage

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Nothing about this match really differed it from any other Lex Luger vs Randy Savage match we’ve seen in this series so far. The announcers even point out that Luger had apparently won 3 matches in a row against Savage so he’s got his number, as Luger has been saying in a number of promos against Savage. I remember Luger beating Savage at World War III and Savage’s title defence a month ago on Nitro, but I can’t remember the third match. Unless, it was a Saturday Night show which I haven’t watched. Either way, they make it clear that Luger has been getting the better of Savage.

Luger tried to bring a chair into the ring at the start of the match. He threw it to Savage but the ref intercepted him from Savage and then Luger went to work following Savage’s tussle with the referee. A dastardly move to gain the upper-hand.

Savage battered away at Luger, smacking Luger’s head on the steps. Savage dropped a double axe handle. Some fans were actually chanting “Luger”. I have no idea why but Luger was over on this episode.

Savage choked away at Luger. Luger dropped a few elbows at about 1% of the speed of Dolph Ziggler… which to be fair, isn’t a bad thing. When Ziggler throws 10 super fast elbow drops repeatedly, it makes everyone of those elbow drops seem so useless when the guy just kicks at one or two or whatever. Luger does a few big elbow drops and, because his arms are massive as he’s Lex Luger, they hurt the ribs of the Macho Man.

Savage eventually went for the Elbow drop and when I mean he went for the elbow drop, Macho got some freaking HEIGHT on this elbow. He jumped high in the air with like 3 seconds of hang-time before coming crashing down onto this target. But in this instance, Savage crashed onto the mat and then Luger locked on the Torture Rack and beat Randy Savage CLEAN with a submission.…. WOW.

So going into a WCW World title match next week, Savage gets beat clean in the middle by Luger. Of all of the people that WCW tried to protect with DQ finishes, the one time they have a clean finish is when the #1 contender for the world title loses clean to Luger the heel. Amazing.

As my notes read… Why should Savage get a title shot after this? This is actually a relevant note going into Savage’s promo with Hulk Hogan later on.

I will say, this clean victory did come off as a legitimate big victory for Lex Luger. At the very least, it benefited someone.

 

The Taskmaster and Hugh Morrus vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

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The match originally scheduled for this show was The Four Horsemen’s Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman facing off with The Dungeon of Doom’s Taskmaster and Hugh Morrus. Before anything went down though, the entirety of the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen came down together to the ring.

Bischoff said it was like something that came out of a Godfather movie. In the middle of all of this, I notice the One Man Gang is holding up the US title. Somehow, the title got switched from Kensuke Sasaki to the One Man Gang. At the very least, they put the title on a guy who is part of a big stable so at least it gives the Dungeon of Doom some credit. Mean Gene Okerlund got between the groups and interviewed them both. I loved this segment that followed.

Arn Anderson said that he and Taskmaster had a meeting of the minds. Arn reiterates that Ric Flair keeping the world title is the first order of business for the Horsemen. He said anything that gets in the way of business, they don’t want any part of it. Arn said there’s no winners and no financial gain, there’s only survivors from feuding with the Dungeon. Basically, he wants water under the bridge with the Dungeon.

Taskmaster, in response, puts over Flair as the 12 time world champion. He says no sports team can match that legacy. Apparently, Taskmaster agreed that the Horsemen will borrow “The Big Man” The Giant at Clash of Champions. It’s gonna be Hogan and Savage vs Giant and Ric Flair. Taskmaster agrees that there’s no winners and losers but Pillman, “this punk” as he called him, has gotta learn respect. Arn reminds the Taskmaster that they respect the Dungeon but they’re not afraid of them. Pillman starts to mouth off but Arn literally slaps the taste out of him.

Arn says “I TOLD YOU TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.” Arn said it’s treat like a business and it’ll always be about the business as fellow Horsemen Chris Benoit stares a whole at Arn Anderson. I love this storyline… the young guns acting on emotion and not on business and Arn is trying to straighten him and Benoit out before they starts fires they don’t want. He really is the enforcer and out of the everybody in the ring, Arn came off as the coolest guy in the ring that also included Ric Flair. I loved it.

 

 

“Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock vs “The American Males” Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Scotty Riggs

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This was the debut of ECW Alumni Public Enemy in a WCW ring. I never really watched the “real” ECW if you will from the 1990s. It might be something to do once this series is over. I never watched Public Enemy in ECW so maybe they were actually really good in an extreme environment. But in the confides of a wrestling match, they looked completely lost in this match.

The American Males run wild on Public Enemy from the get-go. Riggs tried a clothesline on one of the members of Public Enemy but the Public Enemy member struggled to get over the top rope to take this clothesline.

Bagwell does a diving crossbody and smacked one of the Public Enemy members right on the face. The announcers never went through the trouble of identifying which member was which so I was trying to guess which one was which during this match.

The fans chant “ECW” of course. Riggs did a sunset flip on Grunge for a 2 count. Bagwell run wilds in the ring for the hot tag. Bagwell runs wild on both members of Public Enemy as the fans boo. Grunge got the victory. It’s just the match where the American Males win on the Public Enemy for the entire match and then Public Enemy just got the win out of nowhere. I totally forgot to write down what the finish was, I do apologise. It didn’t matter anyway as this was a nothing, mess or a match to me. The important stuff came after the match.

Rocco kicks Bagwell’s ass after the match as the Enemy get the table and even stacks the tables on top of each other. Bagwell is put on top of the tables as Rocco did a swanton bomb to a huge reaction as Riggs is also down on the floor. The fans liked Public Enemy here but this was a mess of a match to me. It just looked so out of the blue in the middle of this wrestling show to see hardcore action, like with Sabu at around the start of this series. Remember when Sabu would just win a match and then beat up the loser afterwards for no reason?

 

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

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Sting runs wild on Flair just like in any Flair vs Sting match. Sting hit Flair with a big suplerplex to which Flair acted like a fish out of water selling this move! It was pretty great.

Sting then tries a big splash to the floor, he gets high in the air, arms out, everything, and Flair just gets the knees up. You could tell these two men loved wrestling each other and they were so into their match with this energy and charisma they were they were demonstrating. It didn’t just come off like a routine thing.

Sting tries to attack Flair with a crossbody bouncing off the ropes but he crashed into the ropes. Sting locked on the sleeper but Ric reversed it into a back suplex. Sting fired back into the match with punches and eventually sent Flair crashing into the floor with Flair doing a vintage Flair flop.

Flair tried a Figure Four Leg Lock but Sting rolled it up for a near fall. Sting almost got Flair with a backslide. Sting tries a sunset slip but pulls down the trunks of Flair accidentally. What’s weird about doing this spot is that in 2017, Ric’s daughter aka Charlotte Flair did this exact same spot with Lana on an episode of SmackDown! Like the same spot where Lana accidentally pulls Charlotte’s gear down off when doing the same spot?

Jimmy Hart is yelling at Flair saying that he’s the man and all of that but yet didn’t warn Flair not to go to the top rope as he got pushed off by Sting!

Jimmy got on the apron as Luger came down to the ring. Luger got at Jimmy on the apron but Luger “accidentally” bumped Jimmy’s megaphone into Sting. Flair capitalised and locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock to retain the title. Hogan and Savage came down and cleared the ring Of Flair and Luger. Hogan and Savage tended to Sting in the ring.

 

Mean Gene talks to Hogan, Sting and Savage in the ring. Hogan talks about Luger and said that hopefully the sense has been knocked into Sting. Savage said from day one that you couldn’t trust Luger and he tells Sting to wake up. Hogan yells that Luger is the reason Sting lost that match. Sting said he didn’t remember what happened as he was knocked loopy so he went backstage to talk to Luger about it. Then Hogan and Savage start talking. Hogan brings up some legitimate good points that Savage lost to Luger tonight and Hogan said he should get a title shot… and he’s right. Hogan said he should be the champion which, if you look at the storyline, makes total sense. He didn’t even lose the title clean… The Giant screwed him out of the title with a disqualification at Halloween Havoc.

He was mad that Savage got a title shot for next week. Savage tells Hogan to back off and that he deserved the title shot. Savage says he’s gonna take that shot. Hogan said he’s on a roll… what chance does Savage have? Savage walks out and Hogan says “you can’t walk out on me like that brother, we’re friends.” I actually loved that. They’re friends at this point and Hogan saw Savage as a friend but this is about the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The biggest prize in WCW. That I liked.

 

 

Hulk Hogan vs Meng w/Taskmaster

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In case you were wondering, yes Hulk Hogan vs Meng main-evented this show over Sting vs Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Say what you will about Hulk Hogan being the biggest star but a regular Hulk Hogan vs Meng match main-eventing over a Sting vs Flair world title match is ridiculous.

Meng and Taskmaster both go to work on Hogan, with Taskmaster chopping at Hogan on the outside as Meng worked on him in the ring. Meng chokes at Hogan and yells like a wild beast… like a wild Samoan if you will!

Meng locks on the nerve hold as Hogan screams in agony! Meng misses a diving headbutt. Hogan fires hay-makers at Meng, punching away  at Meng. Hogan Hulks Up, hits the Big Boot and hits the Leg Drop. Savage stops Taskmaster from interfering, Hogan punches Taskmaster and then pins Meng.

That’s pretty much what happened in a lacklustre Nitro main-event.

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A disappointing Nitro this week. I really wasn’t enthralled by this at all with the exception of the Four Horsemen/Dungeon of Doom segment. A lot of questionable booking decisions such as beating Savage clean before his world title match next week, Meng vs Hulk Hogan main-eventing over a WCW World title match and Public Enemy getting beaten up for the entire match before winning out of nowhere in their debut match. I just wasn’t into this week.

I have no plans to watch the Clash of Champions show, which I believe is after next week’s Nitro. I may watch Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair and The Giant just for storyline purposes as that’s the big storyline right now. I’ll see how I feel.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed that review and stay tuned for my Episode #21 review featuring Randy Savage challenging Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

 

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 #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 #13 (NOVEMBER 27TH 1995) – STING AND LEX LUGER VS ARN ANDERSON AND BRIAN PILLMAN

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 went to war. World War III came around, headlined by the World War III 60 Man Battle Royal for the vacated WCW World Heavyweight Championship. 60 men vied for the big gold belt in a battle royal featuring giants, sharks, sumo assassins, horsemen, cruiserweights and many, many more. Eventually, it came down to six men left in the one ring. It came down to Dungeon of Doom members The Giant, Lex Luger and One Man Gang battling the babyfaces in Hulk Hogan, Sting and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Friends Sting and Lex Luger united in an attempt to eliminate The Giant. As they were on the verge of eliminating The Giant, Hulk Hogan sneaked up from behind and tossed out all three men including his best friend forever Sting.

The Giant wasn’t having that and pulled the rug from underneath Hogan, by pulling him from underneath the ring and attacking the Hulkster. Hogan and Giant battled outside of the ring and as Hogan had taken care of The Giant, Randy Savage eliminated One Man Gang. Hogan turned around to discover that his friend Randy Savage had been declared the winner and the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion. An irate Hogan pleaded his case that he was never truly eliminated but eventually calmed down and congratulated his other best friend forever Randy Savage on his big title victory….

 

Date: November 27th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Salem, Virginia

Rating: 2.5 (According to my research, the ratings for RAW and Nitro were virtually the same for the last two weeks! Spooky.)

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

 

Johnny B Badd w/Diamond Doll vs DDP

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I believe this was a non-title match as they had the TV title match at World War III. DDP getting another title shot the next night wouldn’t make sense but it was hard to figure out what the ring announcer was saying. If anyone is able to confirm whether this was a title match, please let me know.

This was the return match from World War III, where Badd defeated DDP to retain the TV title and gain the services of the Diamond Doll. Despite this, a devastated DDP came out and presented flowers to his former Diamond Doll. As he gave her the flowers, he delivered a cheap-shot to Badd to get the heat.

The Diamond Doll Kimberley was actually shown to not be totally disgusted at DDP but somewhat happy that DDP gave her flowers and thought about her. Nevertheless, she was somewhat confused. She inspected the flowers and discovered a chain within the flowers.

DDP hit the same tombstone slam he hit at World War III which caught me off guard. It was very hard to pay much attention to this one. Firstly, because we saw this match at Halloween Havoc and World War III and this one was just a TV version of those PPV matches. Secondly, because the camera was placed on Kimberley for the majority of the match and not on the action in the ring!

The finish saw DDP wanting Diamond Doll to throw him the chain. She was conflicted but eventually threw the chain underneath DDP’s legs. Badd grabbed the chain and clobbered DDP with it for the win. Badd got initially upset with what Diamond Doll did. He questioned whether she meant to throw it at him or at DDP. Diamond Doll simply responded by saying it didn’t matter as he won. Badd was like… OK, and then they were both happy!

So right now, Diamond Doll’s motives aren’t quite clear and it’s unclear where her affections lie…

 

Mean Gene Okerlund was with Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster. I would lose my mind about this considering the amount of times we’ve seen a Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart combo promo in the last month’s worth of WCW content, except that at least The Giant wasn’t out there. It was always a trio of Jimmy and Taskmaster cutting promos as Giant looked mean. As much as I love The Giant in that role, at least this was a change!

This was also not their usual spiel. Taskmaster questioned Jimmy’s motives and asked why Lex Luger was running with Sting? Taskmaster was upset that Luger let go of the submission after his victory against Randy Savage at World War III. If Luger hadn’t let go of the hold, Savage wouldn’t have won the title. Jimmy pleaded his case as Taskmaster’s first manager and that this was all part of a plan.

 

Cutie Suzuki and Mayumi Ozaki vs Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto w/Sonny Onoo

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This was a rematch from their amazing World War III match. If you haven’t watched their World War III match, I implore you to go watch it on the WWE Network. It is a thing of beauty. This Nitro rematch… was ALSO a thing of a beauty.

Akira tried a sneak attack but she got double teamed with a double clothesline by the babyfaces. Bull tripped the good guys for the heat for her partner. Bull RAGDOLLED the living daylights out of Ozaki who was TINY in comparison. They repeated the elevated choke Hart Attack from World War III but Suzuki broke up the pin.

Ozaki hit a top rope bulldog. Suzuki hit another beautiful dragon suplex. Akira hit a fallaway slam. The fans went nuts as Bull attempted a top rope leg drop, all giddy with excitement! They did a screwy spot where Suzuki leapt on top of Bull’s shoulders and they just fell down face first! Then Ozaki and Suzuki did a double foot stomp together on Bull but only for a near fall.

Bull pulled out a double suplex on the babyfaces which the fans popped for. Akira hit a NAUGHTY looking powerbomb on Suzuki. I mean she almost lost her grip of Ozaki but she pulled it together and you just heard a big THUD and she got slammed onto the mat. Akira missed a spinning kick. There was miscommunication between the babyfaces and Akira capitalised with a Northern Lights suplex for a near fall. The action spilled onto the floor and this led to Akira trying a Molly Go Round (I know that’s what Molly Holly called it but it’s like a 450 seated senton from the top rope, if that makes sense) but crashing into Bull instead.

They hit a few more moves on each other and Akira eventually hit a Northern Lights Bomb for the pin. The fans were super into this and it was a good match. For four women who had not appeared on WCW television before, these fans ate up the action from the Japanese women. This was awesome.

 

Hulk Hogan vs Hugh Morrus

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There isn’t really much to say about this match. Hogan beat up Hugh Morrus for the majority of the match. Hugh eventually got the heat. Hugh tried a moonsault but Hogan kicked out. Hogan hulked up. Hulk Hogan hit a big boot and a leg drop for the pin. That’s literally all you need to know about this match…

…..

….what more do you want me to say? It’s nearly 90% of all of Hulk Hogan’s matches in his career. He beats on his opponent, the heel gets the heat, Hulk hulks up and beats him. DONE.

I will say this about Hogan. I know this is stating the obvious but Hulk Hogan looked MASSIVE in this match. Hogan was always a tall guy. I think he was actually 6’8. He was in his casual clothes (casual for Hogan anyway) for the Giant and Sting matches he’s had in the last month and during the battle royal at World War III, we could barely see Hogan because of how messy that battle royal was. Here he was up against Hugh Morrus, with the announcers talking about the size of Hugh Morrus, and Hogan dwarfed in height and in broadness of the shoulders. He looked 10 feet tall.

Again, stating the obvious but he was really humongous in this match…

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Mean Gene brought out the NEW WCW World Champion Randy Savage for an interview. Savage said he’s ecstatic about being the new champion and that means he’s the only world champion. He vowed to face everyone and he was about to talk about World War III when Hogan interrupted him.

This crybaby Hulk Hogan whined about the finish of the battle royal. Hogan even brought up (like I brought up in the World War III review) that his name is still on the name plate to which Savage replied that he was gonna get it changed!

Hogan then showed the clip from World War III and conveniently at the moment where Giant was going to pull Hogan from underneath the ropes, the clip went fuzzy. Hogan is losing his mind about this as Savage is saying that the clip didn’t show anything and he didn’t see anything. Then The Giant comes down to attack the the babyfaces.

The Giant chokeslams Randy Savage on the cement ramp. Keep in mind by the way, it was believed Savage was working with an injury (well not believed by Hogan if you listen to the opening promo he cut at World War III) and this guy is taking a chokeslam on the floor. Sting tried to make the save but Giant got his hands on the Stinger. Before he can do major damage, Hogan comes flying in with a chair.

He smacks him a few times in the back with a chair and they’re relatively hard hits. He knocks him out of the ring and even elbows a referee in the process. This crazy mad man Hogan continues to run wild with the chair. Then Hogan wants to get in some good chair shots to the head…

In what is a double-edged sword situation, Hogan hits Giant with the lightest chair shots to the head you could think of. He didn’t proper SWING it like Bradshaw would for example. He placed the chair in position and ran at The Giant with a chair to the head. While the fans may have cringed at how bad these chair shots were, these were not chair shots that were ever gonna cause a concussion or head trauma. It was the lightest chair shots you could think of and, I know this is a cliche, these chair shots could not hurt a fly.

Eventually, Sting backs Hogan off of The Giant. So I’m sitting here watching Sting watch out of his buddy. Watching out for his best friend forever Hulk Hogan, even after Hogan eliminated him from behind at World War III. Even when Hogan was accusing him of working with the Dungeon of Doom, Sting still was looking out for Hogan’s mental well-being as he did not want Hogan to make the same mistake Sting almost made against Flair. After all, Sting is a great friend. But ERIC BISCHOFF was sceptical about Sting backing Hogan off of The Giant, like he was protecting THE GIANT.

You know I’ve really tried to cope with Bischoff on commentary, but Bischoff is such an annoying presence on the commentary team. You’ve got three announcers as part of the Nitro team. You’ve got the babyface in Steve “Mongo” McMichael. You’ve got the heel in Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. So they’re polar opposites that are gonna argue with each other about the stars that they like. As the third man (pardon the foreshadowing) Bischoff should be the one that remains neutral.

This is not Eric Bischoff as part of the nWo as of yet (spoiler alert but Eric Bischoff was a part of the nWo). Bischoff, as a generic commentator, is spreading wildfire about this and that and trying his damnedest to make every babyface unlikable except Hulk Hogan. He made the comment about Randy Savage possibly screwing Hogan at World War III, Sting possibly siding with the Dungeon of Doom and Lex Luger possibly siding with the Dungeon of Doom. Granted the third thing happened with Luger but you should be trying to at least report the facts. Not spreading gossip like you’re one of these dirtsheets that you guys supposedly hate.

Bobby Heenan will play “devil’s advocate” and Mongo is supposed to be on the side of right. If you’re the play-by-play impartial one, don’t you go ranting and raving about the WWF. Don’t you go accusing people left and right of turning on Hulk Hogan. Don’t go out of your way to make somebody unlikable. That just degrades the status of these big stars.

He really winds me up nowadays but sadly, we’ve got YEARS of this to go with Bischoff. Buckle up.

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

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Luger had a really bad night in this match. His timing was off for a number of spots. Luger and Sting ran wild early, minus an Arn Anderson spinebuster. Bobby said he’d never seen Luger and Sting as a tag team… with no memory of their match against Harlem Heat from a month ago.

At least Luger wasn’t going complete babyface on the heels, with the Total Package whipping out eye pokes and heel moves to work on the bad guys. Unsportman-like tactics used against his fellow heel. Sting had Arn locked on a Scorpion Deathlock. Brian tried to dive onto Sting to break it up but Luger accidentally sent Flyin’ Brian flying into Sting to inadvertently break it up. The heels got the heat. Luger and Pillman started fighting on the outside. Eventually, Sting rolled up Pillman for the pin.

All of a sudden, Ric Flair FLIES down to the ring at a speed very close to The Flash. I have no idea what it was but Flair in a jumper and slacks got down to the ring so fast. I wrote up the finish of the match and I looked away from the TV and when I looked back up, Flair was at the ring going to work on Luger!

The Horsemen laid out Luger, Sting and the referee during the scuffle. Flair locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock when Hogan came out for a third time during the night to make the save. Hogan then went for Luger but Sting made the save to stop him from attacking Luger. Sting and Hogan argued but eventually shook hands and got over it.

I understand, from a storyline perspective, why Hogan went after Luger. Hogan allowed Luger to fight beside him at Fall Brawl and then Luger turned on him at Halloween Havoc. It’s well established that Hogan does not trust Luger. Fine.

The Sting situation however somewhat baffles me. I get that because of his affiliation with Luger, the good guys did not 100% trust Sting. Savage even accused Sting of working with the Dungeon of Doom on Episode #2. Sting and Hogan eventually settled their differences in the ring, they worked together at the end of last week’s episode of Nitro and then they’re friends again at the start of World War III.

Hogan even flat out said that Sting’s relationship with Luger doesn’t matter any more. He will never ever doubt Sting again.

Even after Hogan eliminated him from behind at World War III, Sting came out to rescue Hogan against The Giant on this episode and tried to talk some sense into him. After Sting is such an exceptional friend to Hogan, Hogan goes off on Sting about Sting protecting his friend Lex Luger.

After the two babyfaces bury the hatchet, they’re back to bickering at each other about where Sting’s loyalties lie. If Hogan hadn’t been a complete dick in recent weeks on Nitro, I probably wouldn’t have minded this. However, as a fan, why would I possibly get behind Hogan in this feud and why would I have any reason to not trust Sting?

It’s still gonna be at least 6 months of Hogan as a babyface so I don’t think this was planting the seeds of Hogan’s heel turn at Bash At The Beach. Because Eric Bischoff and Mongo after both on Hogan’s side and Bobby still hates Hogan. In their mind, Hogan is absolutely in the right with this issue with Sting and STING is the asshole just because he’s friends with Lex Luger.

What a bubble these guys live in.

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That was Nitro everybody. Some mixed feelings about a number of segments on this show. There was some exceptional wrestling that was, I guess overshadowed, by crybaby Hogan who is such a horrible friend to Sting and Randy Savage. Bash At The Beach 1996 cannot come soon enough!

We’ll see you all with Episode #14 of Nitro. I don’t think they plugged anything for Nitro. They did plug a special Starrcade announcement for WCW Saturday Night which I assume will be mentioned on Nitro. Nevertheless, we’re on the road Starrcade!

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW WORLD WAR III 1995 (NOVEMBER 26TH 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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Are you all ready for the biggest battle royal in the history of professional wrestling? 60 men will battle for the vacated World Heavyweight Championship. The title was held up after the controversial finish from Halloween Havoc‘s main-event title match between The Giant and Hulk Hogan. While The Giant won via disqualification, and Jimmy Hart had secretly signed a “title-can-change-on-DQs” stipulation, the big man was ruled to not be the WCW World Champion. WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel determined that the vacated title will be awarded to the winner of their World War III 60 man battle royal.

This is a battle royal that included giants such as The Giant and The Yeti, Immortals like Hulk Hogan, all the members of the Dungeon of Doom including the recent turncoat Lex Luger, all the Four Horsemen including Ric Flair, other stars like Sting, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Kensuke Sasaki, Eddie Guerrero and many, MANY more….

 

Date: November 26th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Norfolk, Virginia

Attendance: 12,000 (WCW said it was sold out)

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie and Bobby Heenan

(NOTE: Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Chris Cruise and Larry Zybsko were also commentators for the battle royal. Mike Tenay was a commentator for the women’s tag team match)

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I had to watch this opening promo twice because I was clearly not paying enough attention to it the first time around. Hulk Hogan promos are always entertaining but he has a habit, especially during this period, of just being batshit crazy. There’s no other way to describe it and I apologise for the language but it’s true. We’ve had promos of Hogan wearing black gloves and comparing himself to OJ Simpson, he talked about being on the dark side, he cut a promo with a big sword two weeks ago. At this point, I was kinda numb to it as I just enjoyed them despite how crazy and exciting they were. There’s real no point analysing every little detail.

Here, it took me two attempts and several trips to the internet to figure out what he was on about. If Hulk Hogan would have cut this promo in 2019, where WWE have a weird obsession with making insider references to “dirtsheets” and the internet and all that crap, it probably would have worked out better. In 1995, this was just the most random promo I’ve ever heard.

I’ll break it down. He comes out with Sting and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He says that out of everything bad, there’s always something good. The Hulkamaniacs have stuck by him even when he was on the dark side. He said he knows who his friends are and that the dark side of Hulk Hogan will be no more. He ripped off the black gear as he vowed to burn the Dungeon of Doom. He actually set the gear on fire in this bin. He vowed he’s gonna stand by Sting’s side and that he would never question Sting again. He flat out said “I WANNA BE YOUR FRIEND FOREVER STING.” Let’s all remember that for the main-event.

Savage apologised and called Sting the coolest dude in the world as he was questioning Sting too during these run-ins with the Dungeon of Doom. Then Hogan went on an incredibly insane tirade. He was mad that people were saying that Randy Savage actually had a legitimate arm injury. Hogan laughed and suggested that it was part of the plan and there was nothing wrong with Savage.

On the second attempt of watching promo, I had to transcribe the next part of this promo. He grabs a piece of paper and says the following:

“OBSERVE THIS. This is what we call a rag sheet. They said The Giant would win the battle royal. They said Randy Savage was injured. This is like a dinosaur compared to the the internet and that the internet has all the scoops. We’re gonna steal the world title.”

Now… this was aimed at the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Apparently, they “revealed” that The Giant was gonna win the battle royal and win the title and mentioned something about Savage’s injury. Hogan was a man here with creative control and a platform to complete bitch about Dave Meltzer and “rag sheets” and he laughed off this newsletter and literally burned it. He laughed at the idea that Savage was actually hurt (and he was actually hurt which you could tell by the matches we’ve watched him in as of late).

All I could think on the second attempt of watching this is what were the fans thinking during this promo? All I could think is they’re like “what is Hogan on about?” In 2019, this promo might have worked better since the majority of wrestling fans are hardcore fans nowadays. Here, there was a lot of fans who didn’t read Wrestling Observer Newsletter that had no idea what Hogan was on about. Surreal.

 

They recapped a DDP promo with Diamond Doll and Mean Gene. I think this may have been from WCW Saturday Night. DDP tells Diamond Doll to shut up and Diamond Doll says no and stands up for herself. Mean Gene gets all flustered and declares to the world that they’re in the middle of an argument! Lovely insight from WCW journalist Mean Gene Okerlund

Diamond Doll said that she will put herself on the line for this TV title match at World War III as DDP doesn’t appreciate everything she does for him. She said he wouldn’t know a 10 if it was staring him in the face.

 

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

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If there’s not much to the review of this match, it’s only because we saw this exact same match at Halloween Havoc. This was slightly better if anything. They wrestled for a bit. Heenan drove home that DDP was worth $13 million and that’s why Diamond Doll should stay with him! Badd tried a 619 but DDP evaded and Badd responded by doing a big dive to the outside.

Badd tried to get to DDP but DDP used Diamond Doll as a human shield. He then threw Diamond Doll at Badd to get a sucker punch in on Badd. There was a weird spot that saw Badd go for a hurricanrana but DDP countered into a tombstone slam. Yeah, not a tombstone piledriver. He got Badd into a tombstone position and then just slammed him down.

Badd’s method of getting back into things was just collapsing out of the corner as DDP drove himself into the ring post. We saw an awesome spot when DDP went for a full on kick to the gut but he missed and slipped as if he actually slipped on a banana peel! DDP was a tremendous seller.

Tony explained that these two men had a disadvantage going into the battle royal later but Heenan explained that at least they’re on first. Heenan actually kinda contradicted this point later but we’ll get to that.

Diamond Doll gave Badd the 10+ sign just as she did at Halloween Havoc. Badd hit a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall that the fans went nuts for. DDP tried a pin with his feet on the rope but Badd kicked out. Badd went for the “Badd Mood” springboard splash but DDP got the knees up. I think they screwed up a gut-wrench spot as DDP just dropped him with a gutbuster. This was kinda confirmed by the fact that they went for the spot again.

Badd reversed a tombstone piledriver for one of his own for a near fall. Badd hit a dive to the outside which Tony also called the “Badd Mood” and he got the pin to retain the title.

I actually loved Kimberly’s facial expressions. She’s on the outside as Badd hits this Badd Mood. She actually shows concern for her man DDP and when Badd gets the pin, she actually looks stunned. She’s not like super happy about it… she’s just stunned. It wasn’t until she actually got into the ring where she showed joy about Badd’s win as it took a long time for it to sink in. She was getting sick of DDP, which is why she put herself on the line in the match and thinking that it may motivate DDP, but he lost and it completely took her off guard. After all, Badd won the match at Halloween Havoc because of Max Muscle. Here, despite being happy to be with Badd she still showed concern for the ex. This was great story-telling.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Mean Gene plugged the WCW hotline about the WWF steroid scandal. They actually name-dropped WWF this time which is an important and we’ll also come back to it later. Mean Gene interviewed Badd and Diamond Doll. Badd said he was gonna show DDP what respect is all about. Mean Gene was about to ask the question about how Diamond Doll felt about this but before she could give an answer, Badd offered her the chance to be his manager and wanted her to take some time to think about it. Diamond Doll appreciated the offer for her to think about it but respects the fact that the better man won tonight. Badd was excited for the battle royal.

This really hits home how good the story-telling was in this program. Badd’s not really shown to be a bad guy… pardon the pun. He allows Diamond Doll time to think about the offer and he’s not treating her like property. He’s treating her as a person and is giving her a choice of what to do. Even though she put herself up on the line, she’s got to be 100% cool with it for Badd to be cool with it. Diamond Doll is gonna think it over and I think in a week’s time, we’ll find out if she’s truly cool with this. This was awesome.

 

Big Bubba Rogers vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a “taped fist match”

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God, this was a bad match. I think if this would have been miles better if it wasn’t as long as this was. It was ten minutes long and in no circumstances should Big Bubba Rogers and Hacksaw Jim Duggan wrestle for ten minutes.

Duggan jumped Big Bubba from behind to get things going. Hacksaw tried to hit Big Bubba with the 2×4 but Big Bubba begged him off.

Hacksaw tried to clothesline him down with two attempts but he eventually sent him crashing to the outside with a third clothesline and then got a USA chant going.

I kinda feel bad for Tony and Bobby as their announce table was positioned right in the corner of two of the rings set up. It seemed unsafe as hell as Big Bubba nearly crashed right into it during the match.

Hacksaw and Big Bubba started scrapping in another ring. Hacksaw went for something off the apron but Big Bubba moved and Hacksaw crashed and burned. It didn’t occur to me until this match just how great a gig Hacksaw had in wrestling. This USA chant is so timeless that all he needs to do is yell USA and the whole crowd bursts out into USA chants and it gets them into the match and cheering for Duggan because he’s such a patriot in their eyes. He is even wrestling a fellow American from Georgia!

They tumbled into each other in another ring. Big Bubba whipped out possibly the only enziguri I’ve ever seen him do. Big Bubba whipped out tape and Tony asks “I don’t know what this is gonna do.” Isn’t the whole match a “taped fist match” for a reason? Isn’t the whole storyline that they’re constantly knocking each other out with these taped fists?

Hacksaw sent Big Bubba to the outside with an ugly looking tackle. Tony initially asked a legitimate question. They’re wrestling in all of these other rings. Why isn’t the referee technically counting him out if they’re supposed to be in one ring? In a standard singles match, this would be a good point. About a minute later though, Tony explained that this match can only be won via pinfall or knock out. Well then WHY WOULD THE REFEREE COUNT THESE GUYS OUT?

This really grinds my gears about the commentators. These commentators should be the smartest people in the WCW world. THEY should be the ones with all the scoops. Not the internet as Hogan alluded to earlier. This Tony Schiavonie doesn’t even know the rules of the match!

This also explains why Big Bubba taped Hacksaw’s arm to the rope and punches away at him and it’s not a disqualification. To be perfectly honest, they never even explained what the rules were until Tony mentioned the match can only be won via pinfall and knock out.

Hacksaw dumped Big Bubba to the outside and Big Bubba’s lower back SMACKED into the apron. It was one of the worst apron bumps I’ve ever seen and it wasn’t even intentional. Big Bubba was clearly not moving right afterwards. It looked so nasty that the fans all yelled oooowwww. Nasty.

Of course, then Hacksaw proceeds to slam away at Big Bubba’s back onto the mat.

Hacksaw hit a big clothesline as VK Wallstreet ran down with a taped fist of his own. Hacksaw hit Wallstreet with a 2×4 for a big pop. Big Bubba hits Hacksaw with a chain and knocked him out. By the way, this referee seemed so bored by this match just purely based on the delivery of his ten count. He looked like this was just a waste of his time. One arm up and looked half asleep. No that I blame him. This was a pointless match that went too long as they just brawled everywhere to no heat except when Hacksaw chanted USA. This was a bad match.

Match Rating: 1/2* and that is actually being generous. This match barely evaded a minus rating!

 

They plugged WCW stars being on CompuServe chatting with folks on the internet.

They cut to Mean Gene with Ric Flair. Flair was on form as usual. Flair says the whole wrestling world knows the Nature Boy is gonna style and profile. For what happened on Nitro a few weeks ago, the great one is back one more time to get Sting. Flair calls himself the best thing going today. Flair says it’s been his master plan as he’s got all the babyfaces in the same building and said that Flair would rule WCW one more time. Typical Flair promo.

 

Cutie Suzuki and Mayumi Ozaki representing JWP vs Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto w/Sonny Onoo repreesnting AJPW

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Before I watched this show, I took a quick peep at the card for the show since they never advertised anything on Nitro. I saw Bull Nakano’s name as part of a women’s tag team match and I got giddy. Oh, I have no idea how good I was gonna get it.

Mike Tenay joined Tony and Bobby on commentary supposedly as the Japanese expert in WCW. This was great from the get-go as Bull and Akira whooped ass from the start of the match. Bull threw Ozaki around like a ragdoll. Akira had a hold of her arm and Bull started biting the other arm as Ozaki had nowhere to go as her hands were tied with these heel wrestlers!

They did a lovely spot where Bull choked and hoisted Ozaki up and Akira caught Ozaki from the elevated position for like a modified Hart Attack.

Ozaki fired back but Bull dropped her with a big right hand sending her crashing to the ground. Ozaki finally was able to get free by hitting a big DDT. Cutie got the hot tag and what followed was an awesome spot. I can’t remember who got the lock in on who but Cutie locked on a Single Leg Boston Crab. Ozaki locked on a Single Leg Boston Crab herself as they had both had stereo Single Leg Boston Crabs locked on to the heels as the fans ate this up. They were going nuts for this spot and it was truly well executed spot.

Bull eventually got mad and turned things around. There was miscommunication as Suzuki crashed into Ozaki and sent her onto the floor. Bull tried a moonsault but missed. Then Ozaki and Cutie went absolutely crazy as they unleashed top rope foot stomps on the big bad Bull. One after another after another as the fans were going crazy. They went for the cover but Bull STILL kicked out at two. This was great.

So much was going on as it was insanely difficult for me to take notes! They tried a double suplex on Bull but the clearly much bigger Bull reversed it into her own double suplex! Akira went for a dive but missed. The heels went for double powerbombs but they were countered into roll-ups for near falls. This was tremendous.

Ozaki and Suzuki both went off the top for top rope crossbodies. Ozaki hit a beautiful dragon suplex for a near fall. Akira then decided enough with these babyfaces and proceeded to commit attempted murder. She almost DESTROYED Ozaki with a German Suplex. One of the most dangerous looking German suplexes I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I saw Brock Lesnar hurl everybody in WWE with German suplexes across the ring. One of my memories was Brock killing Big E with a suplex at Beast of the East. This looked so much more brutal than any suplex I’ve ever seen.

Akira hit a double front dropkick from the top and did a flip to the outside on babyfaces. Bull and Akira did a Doomsday Device for a near fall. Bull did a big leg drop from the top for the pin in an awesome, AWESOME match.

I just saw two great women’s matches at the 2019 Royal Rumble. Ronda Rousey faced Sasha Banks and Asuka faced Becky Lynch. I was debating all week in my head about which one of these matches were best. This tag team match from 1995 was miles ahead of both of them. I’m not sure I’m gonna go as far as to say these women were better wrestlers than the likes of Asuka and Becky etc. (especially not Asuka) but there was just a sense of excitement in this one that was missing in those two matches. This was not a routine WWE match. This was not even a routine WCW 1995 match. This was these four women doing whatever the hell they wanted to do and it got over with this crowd that’d never seen these girls before. This was amazing.

Match Rating: **** (Exactly like Dave Meltzer from Wrestling Observer at the time and I have no problem agreeing with that rating. Everybody go watch this match on the WWE Network!)

 

OK, Mean Gene plugs the hotline AGAIN. He said there was more comings and goings from another promotion, they can’t talk about here but if you call the hotline you can find out… YOU GUYS named-dropped the WWF specifically earlier and the steroid scandal.

He brought Jimmy Hart and Lex Luger and Mean Gene flat out called Jimmy a little twerp. That made me laugh. Jimmy said you might just be seeing the next WCW World champion in Lex Luger. Luger said that they’re looking at the flagship and the future of WCW wrestling. He was gonna smash Savage into the pieces and he was gonna stand there as the WCW Champion.

 

Kensuke Sasaki (c) w/Sonny Onoo vs Chris Benoit representing the Four Horsemen for the WCW United States Championship

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You remember a couple of weeks ago when Benoit beat Sasaki in a 2 minute 40 second match on Nitro? This was like a couple of weeks ago and they’re here at World War 3 with Kensuke Sasaki as the United States Champion defending the title against Chris Benoit! What a twist of fate!

Since I don’t think I touched on this during my review of their first match, allow me to explain what happened. On the same week as the Benoit match, they did a big WCW and Japan supershow. This is not on the WWE Network before you ask. On that show, Sasaki challenged Sting for the US title and beat him to win the title. It’s hard to believe with the finish of the Benoit match on Nitro but yeah, Sasaki was the new US champion of WCW.

Sonny Onoo had a great line where he looked straight at the camera and said “this Chris Benoit thinks he’s an American wannabe” and proceeded to laugh like Waluigi! It really went like “wahahahahaha!” We need more heel managers like this in 2019!

There was some great technical wrestling going on in this one and all you could do was just sit back and watch. There was some small details about this which I liked. Benoit was dominating the technical game so Sasaki’s response was to bring brute force into things with a couple of scoop slams and knocking the wind out of the faster Benoit.

Benoit hit a big dive which almost saw Benoit crashed head first into the barricade. This was a very scary spot and even scarier with the “benefit” of hindsight (which really isn’t a benefit all things considered).

Onoo got on commentary for a little bit and mentioned some deal about Starrcade. Apparently, the story was that he got kicked out of WCW but supposedly he’s got a deal set up for Starrcade.

Sasaki hit a big powerslam during all of this. Benoit hit two German suplexes but he went for the third and Sasaki got out of it and just flat out hit a big clothesline. Sasaki tried a tombstone piledriver but Benoit reversed it into one of his own, which would have been a more special spot if I hadn’t seen it in the opening match with DDP and Badd. Those two did the exact same spot.

Benoit hit a diving headbutt. I don’t want to talk about this for too long but I couldn’t help but notice this. Benoit hits the diving headbutt here and then just goes towards the next spot in these 1995 matches. If you watch an older Chris Benoit in action, he’d hit the headbutt and then he’d be down clutching his head for a while before doing whatever spot was next. It’s not nice to think about but I could not help but think about this. How much can change in the span of a decade.

Benoit did a Frankensteiner for a near fall. Sasaki tried an armbar variation but Benoit got the rope. Sasaki then finished things off with a big clothesline and a Northern Lights bomb to retain the title.

Not as exciting as the women’s match but a very well-done technically proficient match.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

I almost just left the room for the next segment. For what feels like the millionth time in my life, MEAN GENE OKERLUND DOES A PROMO WITH THE TASKMASTER, JIMMY HART AND THE GIANT!

HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SEE THIS? At least with Ric Flair, you know it’s going to be entertaining every time you see it as you have no idea what he’s gonna say. Here, the Dungeon of Doom are just rambling and babbling about the same old stuff. No substance to any of this other than The Giant’s excellent facial expressions.

Taskmaster blabbed about taking no prisoners and called The Giant the uncrowned champion. The Giant had his eyes laser-focused on the hard cam for the majority of this. Then the fans burst out into Hogan chants and the Giant roared and it got Jimmy Hart fired up with his promo. Taskmaster refused to believe that the Dungeon of Doom would implode as the Dungeon of Doom would win. The Giant vowed to throw Hogan over the top rope. He graced us with a poem: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m gonna kick you’re butt to Calamazo.” This was definitely one of the more livelier promos from the Dungeon of Doom.

 

They plugged Starrcade, which was set to air on a Wednesday.

Mean Gene was with Savage again. Savage said what it is is what it is. Mean Gene asked if Savage was jittery to which Savage responded by saying that he’s always jittery. Savage said he was the total package and he was gonna get Lex. Savage insisted that he was a million percent which he clarified was better that hundred percent! He is mathematically correct! He said he and Luger had a date with destiny.

 

Randy Savage vs Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart

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This was the 3rd match in the series between these two. Luger won the first match and Savage won the second match at Halloween Havoc so this was the rubber match. Bobby talked about losing his voice for Nitro but insisted that he’d be there as he needed this job as he’s supporting an orphanage in Guam!

These cameramen had no problem with constant shots of the Hooters girls in the front row.

I know the line between reality and fiction is very fishy with WCW. At Halloween Havoc, Savage was in kayfabe 100% against Lex Luger but worked very slow as he was working with a legitimate injury. Here, in storyline, the announcers played up that Savage’s arm was actually injured but Savage was working the match as if he was a million percent as he claimed earlier! Apparently, he still had the injury according to Wrestling Observer Newsletter so who actually knows how he was feeling.

He didn’t really add much to this match and it wasn’t like they did anything that they hadn’t done before. They did some stuff. Savage hit a scoop slam and hit an elbow drop but Jimmy Hart distracted the referee. Savage tried to throw Luger at Jimmy but Jimmy moved out of the way as Luger went crashing onto the floor.

It was here where we learned Sting and Luger were gonna team up on Nitro. Lex Luger locked on the Torture Rack on the outside as the referee was counting them down. As a true manager, Jimmy got on the megaphone and yelled at Luger what number the referee was at with his count!

Luger locked on an arm lock as Savage passed out in an odd finish. Luger refused to let go off the arm when Sting ran down. He got in Luger’s face just as Luger did for Sting when Sting locked on the Scorpion Deathlock on Flair on Nitro. Luger relented and Sting went to care for Savage. So even after they did the opening promo where Hogan and Savage had faith in Sting, they’re still playing up the nature of this friendship between Luger and Sting and that Sting is not totally on the babyfaces’ side.

Match Rating: *

 

They recapped the Sting/Ric Flair feud. Sting vowed that if he ever got Flair in the Scorpion Deathlock again, he would never let go.

 

Sting vs Ric Flair

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Tony plugged that Hogan would face Hugh Morrus on Nitro.

We had an awesome spot in this match where Flair was punched by Sting. The Nature Boy rolled out, rolled into another ring and started to style and profile in another ring! Flair even got a good thrust in towards one of the male fans who were outraged as the women cheered!

The fans were very hot for this match. Flair was dropkicked and rolled all the way into the third ring! Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker randomly came out to watch the match and smooch. It’s every Sting vs Ric Flair match you’ve ever seen except Flair was able to flop and roll into three different rings during the match!

Flair got in the ring and tried a test of strength. Sting literally had hold of one arm and Flair yelled ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGH!

Sting tried a Stinger Splash but crashed into the barricade. In a spot I’ve seen at least twice in the series so far, Flair went for a chair but the referee Nick Patrick interjected himself and grabbed the chair. Sting grabbed Flair by the throat but as Nick was trying to yell at Sting, Flair got a cheeky low blow for the heat!

Flair worked on the leg of Sting and then went for the Figure Four Leg Lock. Flair was so desperate that he actually clawed and punched away at Sting’s leg! Flair then made the mistake of slapping Sting. Sting roared as Flair went bug-eyed and screamed as Sting turned it over!

Sting did a backslide for a near fall. Flair pushed Nick Patrick but the referee was having none of it and pushed Flair to the ground as the fans went crazy for it. Flair ran into another ring which the commentators clarified was ring #1. Sting did a comeback but Flair cut him off with an eye poke. Sting threw Flair from the top rope. Again, every Sting vs Ric Flair match you ever saw and all of the same spots will never get old!

Sting hit a big superplex and locked on the Scorpion Deathlock as Flair gave up. It’s actually funny. Sting let go shortly after he got the win despite claiming he wouldn’t let go. I watched this and thought this was a point blank plot-hole. However, I though about it when I reviewed the Lex Luger vs Randy Savage match. Sting ordered Luger to let tgo and not make the same mistake he did. So maybe, with that in mind, he decided to learn from his mistakes and not stoop to Flair’s level by trying to end his career. That at least makes sense to me.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

Bobby actually predicted that none of the men that already wrestled at World War III would win. I said earlier that this was kinda a contradiction, since earlier he said Badd and DDP wouldn’t be at a disadvantage as they were wrestling first. Now he’s changing his tune and saying that they’re not gonna win. I dunno. It seemed like a weird lIne.

They revealed the three giants of the battle ring in each ring to be The Yeti, The Giant and HULK HOGAN. THAT GIANT… Hulk Hogan.

Speaking of Hogan, he was brought out for another interview with Mean Gene. Hogan said he smelt the stench of the smelly Giant. Hogan vowed to rip and tear his way all the way to the WCW title as he ripped his shirt off. Hogan said it’s every man for himself which actually turned out to be very accurate in the battle royal. Hogan said he had a chance to prove Hulkamania was the greatest force on earth. Hogan flexed as Mean Gene was so taken back by these physique to the soundtrack of the fans booing in the background!

I couldn’t help but notice, when they showed the WCW title, that Hogan’s name was still on the name plate. My question is how has it taken so long for that nameplate to be taken off the belt? I actually thought it was a spoiler about who would win the battle royal!

They showed the two other announce teams for this battle royal. Ring #1 was the announce team of Tony and Bobby. Ring #2 was the announce team of Eric Bischoff and Dusty Rhodes. Ring #3 was Chris Cruise and Larry Zybsko. God bless all of these commentators, but they had no hope in hell of successfully calling this battle royal!

 

The WCW World War III Battle Royal for the vacated WCW World Heavyweight Championship

Alex Wright vs. Arn Anderson vs. Big Bubba Rogers vs. Big Train Bart vs. Bobby Walker vs. Booker T vs. Brian Knobbs vs. Brian Pillman vs. Bunkhouse Buck vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Kanyon vs. Cobra vs. Dave Sullivan vs. Diamond Dallas Page vs. Dick Slater vs. Disco Inferno vs. Earl Robert Eaton vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Fidel Sierra vs. Hugh Morrus vs. Hulk Hogan vs. Jerry Sags vs. Jim Duggan vs. Joey Maggs vs. Johnny B. Badd vs. Kensuke Sasaki vs. Kurasawa vs. Lex Luger vs. Lord Steven Regal vs. Lt. James Earl Wright vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Mark Starr vs. Maxx Muscle vs. Meng vs. Mike Winner vs. Mr. JL vs. Paul Orndorff vs. Pez Whatley vs. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Santana vs. Road Warrior Hawk vs. Scott Armstrong vs. Scott Norton vs. Scotty Riggs vs. Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker vs. Sgt. Craig Pittman vs. Shark vs. Squire David Taylor vs. Steve Armstrong vs. Stevie Ray vs. Sting vs. Super Assassin #1 vs. Super Assassin #2 vs. The Giant vs. The One Man Gang vs. The Taskmaster vs. The Yeti vs. VK Wallstreet vs. Zodiac

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Now I’m sure you’re all wondering why I listed all 60 men in this battle royal! Because WCW actually went through the effort of introducing all 60 men separately into this battle royal! They all came out at completely random times (except Hogan coming out last) and they call came down in a single file row. Nobody was out of position. They call trecked down to the ring. Harlem Heat came out separately. THE SUMO ASSASSINS came out and were introduced separately as Sumo Assassin #1 and Sumo Assassin #2. The Barrio Brothers.

Scott Armstrong, future WWE referee, looked like the biggest geek in the world as he came out with a mullet and pointed to the camera! Some guys, when I wrote down their names, I just wrote THAT GUY and THAT OTHER GUY! It wasn’t until I looked it up where I could clarify their names. I could not catch the name but I wrote like three different versions of Big Train Bart’s name! Cobra, with the most “charisma” I’ve ever seen with the most serious face imaginable looked at the camera and went… woo. No umph to it. Just… woo.

Let’s talk about The Yeti. The last time we saw this… thing, he came out as a mummy and dry-humped Hulk Hogan with The Giant. He came back here and he was dressed as a giant version of Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. I have no idea as the man built as a Yeti transformed into a Mummy and then transformed into a ninja! I’d love to know what Eric Bischoff, Executive President I believe of WCW, was thinking when he thought of the Yeti’s very gimmick!

I wrote on my notes that this was going to be the worst review of my life! So here goes nothing!

Michael Buffer finished the introductions and after all the fireworks in the world… all 60 men in the three rings started to fight!

There were three rings with 20 men in each ring. Once one of the rings were down to ten men, they’d go into another ring (I think ring #1 was the one they had to go into). So when it was down to 30 people, the camera focused on the one ring they were all in. By the way it took like 10-20 minutes in for them to get to 30 people in the ring!

I literally wrote on my notes: “You cannot keep up with any of this shit as there’s 3 screens.”

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Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair start to fight from the start of the match and the announcers are unable to call it. The fans are going crazy but because 60 people are all brawling at the same time, the announcers cannot see this thing.

Everybody was fighting. It’s hard to call what happened. My notes are mostly just these two men fought on the outside, Disco Inferno was on the outside, Lex Luger was on the outside, this guy tried an elimination, this guy tried elimination etc. Reviewing a battle royal is weird. I had no idea how to grade it when it was over.

A notable thing to note was that The Yeti was eliminated almost immediately. All the fanfare on Nitro before Halloween Havoc and on Halloween Havoc itself to hype up The Yeti and this ninja was thrown out early on in the match. One of the three giants was already eliminated!

Big Bubba Rogers was the Dolph Ziggler of this battle royal. Ziggler has this thing in battle royals where, I think as a means to show how athletic he is at staying in, he’s thrown out all the time but is able to hang on. Big Bubba did the exact same thing. The Shark and Hogan both tried to eliminate this guy but he stayed in by like hanging on the ropes or something. It was astonishing to see BIG BUBBA ROGERS of all people do this!

These announcers missed eliminations left and right and you really couldn’t blame them. I didn’t realise until like a third into the match that the referees were also in the ring during all of this! WHY EVEN BOTHER? One skinny referee is in there with all of these big bodybuilders, with 20 men in each ring, just squished. Why bother if there’s two much action for them to call?

5 minutes in and we had two eliminations – The Yeti and a dude called Mike Winner. Mike was actually the first one eliminated so he was not a winner. There was WAY TOO MUCH brawling outside of the rings. Hogan and Flair were brawling on the outside, Orndorff and Luger, Savage and Luger. Lex Luger is actually a key in all of this, He was on the outside for like 95% of this match. At what point do they start DQ’ing guys who stay outside of the ring in battle royals? I know this still goes on in 2019 but Luger was barely in the ring while everybody else was getting beat on. Why doesn’t everybody just wrestle on the outside so they can’t get eliminated? This bothered me way too much.

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Guys like Mark Starr, Big Train Bart were eliminated in the melee. Arn tried a piledriver on Luger on the outside but Luger somehow countered it. A Barrio Brother was eliminated. Scott Armstrong was eliminated and was left unmoving on the floor. It looked like he landed hard. Bobby Walker was thrown out. The Giant after like ten minutes decided to run wild. He tossed out Stevie Ray, the other Barrio brother and Brian Knobbs. Alex Wright was tossed out, somebody else was tossed out.

Randy Savage eliminated Lord Eaton. Dirty Dick Slater LEFT according to Tony! Ring #2 was down to 10 men so they all moved to Ring #1. VK Wallstreet was thrown out by Savage. Scott Norton was eliminated by fellow Dungeon of Doom member Hugh Morrus. Hulk Hogan and The Giant finally come to blows but this is barely touched upon by the announcers as they probably had no idea it was going on.

Finally, 31 people are left and are all fighting in one ring according to the announcers. The Dungeon of Doom all tried to attack Hogan. Pittman locked on an armbar on Joey Maggs and then threw him out. It was like he snapped his arm and they threw him out. It was kinda cool looking.

Eric Bischoff claimed Kurasawa was eliminated but it was never shown. It eventually emerged later that Kurasawa was still in the ring so Bischoff couldn’t even keep up. The man in charge of running the show could not keep up with this battle royal.

Somebody was stretchered out as Big Bubba and Hacksaw eliminated each other. Disco Inferno was eliminated and Dave Taylor was eliminated. The Dungeon of Doom then all turn on each other… FOR NO REASON. They’re dominating the match and then The Giant and One Man Gang start to fight. Then Hugh Morrus got involved and he started fighting with them. This was a complete mess of a match but I loved it. A train wreck of the most tremendous type!

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Jerry Saggs and Booker T were both eliminated. Hogan eliminated Taskmaster to a big pop. Steven Regal was eliminated. Hogan and Giant had a terrible lock up in the middle of the ring. DDP and Badd eliminated each other and fought to the back. Pittman was thrown out.

Benoit was eliminated. Savage tried to eliminate The Giant but Giant escaped and then headbutted Macho Man in his groin. Meng was thrown out. Flair and Sting fought again. Morrus eliminated another Dungeon of Doom member in The Zodiac. Sasaki finally got rid of Hugh Morrus.

Hawk eliminated Pillman. Hogan burst onto the scene and eliminated Hawk and Kensuke Sasaki. We were down to ten men. Sting almost eliminated Eddie Guerrero accidentally but Eddie stayed largely due to his legs leaving him hung out to dry. Hogan dumped out Mr Wonderful and as Orndorff rolled out, his legs got stuck up by the barricade and was propped like a doll on the barricade.

Ric and Arn Anderson worked together on Eddie Guerrero. Arn hit a spinebuster and threw him out. For a cruiserweight, Eddie Guerrero was given a lot in this big WCW PPV main-event. He made it to the final ten. Sting and Hogan worked together on Flair. Sting catapulted Arn into Flair on the top rope to eliminate Flair and then Hogan eliminated Arn in a matter of seconds.

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Fans are going crazy now they can finally see what was going on. Flair ran into another ring and was IRATE about this development.

The final six were Hulk Hogan, Sting, Randy Savage, Lex Luger, One Man Gang and The Giant. It was mostly babyfaces vs heels when it came down to the final six. Eventually, Sting and Luger worked together to try and eliminate The Giant. Just as they had him on the verge of elimination, HULK HOGAN eliminated all three men from behind.

So after all the talk about how he’d always be Sting’s friend and he’d always stand by Sting’s side, he eliminated Sting from behind. What an absolute cock this Hulk Hogan is! He eliminated his friend when his back was turned. He didn’t even wait until the end to have a fair fight. Hogan was totally a heel at this point!

Eventually The Giant pulled Hogan from underneath the bottom rope. They begin to fight and Hogan even slams The Giant but as this is going on, Savage eliminated One Man Gang in the ring. We couldn’t see it  but the bell rings as Savage was declared the winner.

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Savage declared the winner actually got a lot of boos. An irate Hogan, even more irate than Ric Flair, pleaded his case to the referees. He even went as far as to motion himself as if to show what happened. He was pulled underneath the bottom rope by The Giant. Hogan was such a great friend to Savage that after his friend Savage won the title, Hogan is trying to upstage him. He mockingly laughs at Savage being given the belt, he whines while Mean Gene insists this is gonna stand.

In Hogan’s defense, he was screwed. He was never technically eliminated and this match being such a train wreck actually plays into the story. As I mentioned how the referees must have no idea what was going on, the referees didn’t see HOW Hogan was suddenly out of the ring. So many people were going outside of the ring that they may have just been going over the top rope and the referees wouldn’t have known. Here, they saw the only two people left in the ring were Savage and One Man Gang. Hell, we had at least two occasions where rivals eliminated each other and then fought to the back. They may have seen Giant and Hogan fighting and figured, Giant eliminated him.

Savage is in the ring and said he valued Hogan’s opinions but he saw nothing. However, Savage lives by what it is is what it is. Hogan even went as far as to ask the fans if he went under the bottom rope. Mean Gene was unsure as to whether this would stand up in court.

Hogan said there was a dark cloud as neither man went over the top rope. Savage said that he wanted to see the film and Hogan said he wanted a title shot if it was shown he went under the bottom rope.

After a while, Hogan eventually calmed down and shook Savage’s hands. He gave congrats to his friend despite the fact that he was screwed in this battle royal.

Match Rating: **

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If you think about it, this finish was just the ultimate poetic justice for Hulk Hogan. At Royal Rumble 1992, Sid Justice eliminated Hogan from behind and Hogan was outraged by this. He was so outraged that he helped Ric Flair eliminate Sid. EVERYBODY except Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon (and I guess Gorilla Monsoon if you listen to the commentary) saw Hogan as the heel. He helped a heel eliminate a babyface when he was FAIRLY thrown out of the Royal Rumble.

Here in this battle royal, he eliminates his friend Sting from behind after doing the big promo about he’d never leave Sting’s side and he wanted to be his friend forever. So he completely does a flip-flop from the Royal Rumble 1992 and eliminates Sting. This time, HOGAN is robbed of the Battle Royal and his other friend Savage wins the title. It’s the karma to end all karmas and if you want to look at this with that incident in mind, Hogan got what he deserved here.

Regardless, this was a great finish. This sets up three big matches. It sets ups Randy Savage vs Hulk Hogan as when it’s proven Hogan went under the bottom rope, he will get the title shot that he wanted. It sets ups Randy Savage vs The Giant as he was technically never beaten for the title and Savage never even eliminated him in the battle royal. It also sets up Randy Savage vs Lex Luger again as Luger beat him earlier on in the night.

I’d say this PPV was a thumbs up. The wrestling up and down the card was great with the exception of I guess the Big Bubba/Hacksaw match and the Savage/Luger match. The battle royal was a MESS of a match and extremely difficult to follow but I had a fun time watching it. It was a complete train wreck for the first half and in the second half it was more co-ordinated. This PPV gets a THUMBS UP.

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I am 7500 words into this review and I am pooped. We hope you enjoyed that review as I had a lot of fun writing it. I usually hate doing the PPV reviews as they’re longer but this one was a lot of fun to write. I hope everybody liked it and I will be back for more Nitro. Back for fallout from World War 3 as we’re on the road to Starrcade!

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #12 (NOVEMBER 20TH 1995) – HULK HOGAN VS 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’re on the road to World War III and tensions are running high both in the forces of good and the forces of evil. Factions like The Dungeon of Doom are cracking from within with internal conflicts between the likes of Scott Norton and The Shark. The forces of good has been divided by suspicion as the “Evil” Hulk Hogan has suspected foul play from the Stinger due to his friendship with the Dungeon of Doom’s Lex Luger. Hulk Hogan has thrown down the challenge and Sting accepted the challenge.

So now, main-eventing this episode of Nitro, is Sting vs Hulk Hogan. Who will gain momentum on the go-home edition of Nitro as we head towards war…. WORLD WAR III?

 

Date: November 20th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Macon, Georgia

Rating: 2.5

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

 

This episode was decreed as the “Superbowl of Wrestling” by Eric Bischoff, with the other commentators looking stunned as Bobby Heenan admitted he was cheering for Sting. Bobby then clarified that he would cheer for Sting to win… but then wished for Sting to fall down some stairs.

 

Scott Norton vs The Shark

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This feud kind of “jumped the Shark” for me this week. Pun always intended when it comes to The Shark! Bischoff then said, and I quote, “this man will flash you” as Scott Norton came down.

The Shark came down to brawl with Norton. The fans actually booed at this point so maybe they were sick of this feud too. They got into the ring and rang the bell. The Shark hit a big belly-to-belly slam and an elbow drop as Bobby revealed that you’d see these “two men pound each other tonight.”

Norton then began to fire up as Bischoff plugged the WCW hotline. Norton then simply picked up Shark, slammed him and pinned him. Then the two started pushing each other again after the match so this feud must continue. I was all for this feud at first but I think this was the point where the life was sucked out of this feud. I’d hate to be so negative about this feud but this act can only get good for so long.

 

Mean Gene Okerlund did another god damn interview with the Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart. It is the exact same thing every week since Jimmy Hart sided with the Dungeon of Doom.  Mean Gene called Jimmy the original Benedict Arnold and Jimmy thanked him for the compliment. Jimmy tried to stir the pot between Sting and Hogan. Jimmy’s idea to stir the pot was to make Sting jealous that Hogan was doing a Baywatch episode with “Macho Man” Randy Savage instead of Sting! In Jimmy’s eyes, this was an act of betrayal as Sting was brought in for Thunder in Paradise one time!

Taskmaster said there’s strength in numbers and Taskmaster has waited a long time for Hogan to be in the ring with all the members of the Dungeon of Doom. Mean Gene called them the two biggest pieces of garbage he knows. At the end of this Mongo said Bobby’s opinions are like his feet… they both stink.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair

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Disco Inferno came down to dance while promoting a CD of this. I have no idea if this was a real CD but I pray that it is and somewhat available on eBay! Eddie stopped him in his tracks anyway.

Ric Flair came out in street clothes. He looked SLICK indeed as Slick Ric got on the mic. He came out with Brian Pillman who was actually dressed to compete himself. Ric got on the mic and said WCW made a mistake when they said Eddie was gonna wrestle him tonight. Ric said he decided to let the great flyin’ Brian take care of business. Flair told Pillman to take care of his line of work for him and he’d get the plane ready. Eddie was upset as apparently he’d trained “all week” to face Ric Flair!

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Brian Pillman

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Pillman waved his red jacket in front of Eddie as if it was a bull fighting show. Brian slapped him and then hit some hard chops. Eddie hit a lovely teardrop suplex but Pillman soon caught Eddie off the top with a dropkick. Brian got in front of the camera and yelled “I LOVE YOU MAN.”

Eddie tried a roll-up but Pillman regained the heat with a face slam. Bobby did play up Eddie as a big star saying that “everybody’s talking about Eddie this and Eddie that” and even if Heenan is a heel that’s a good thing to subtlety play up the babyfaces if you’re a heel. Therefore, if Eddie is being prepared for a big match with Flair or whoever, this is a good way to build him up.

Eddie eventually fired back with a little “Latino heat” as he speared and threw punches at Pillman. Pillman suplexed Eddie to the outside and tried a double axe handle but he smashed right into the barricade.

Eddie did a big dive off the top rope. I love how Bobby suggested that Eddie’s real name is Clark Kent as he came off the top rope like Superman. In case you weren’t aware, Bobby Heenan was a really good commentator.

Eddie hit a brainbuster. Brian tried a superplex but Eddie pushed him off the top rope, hit a frog splash and got the pin. The commentators asked the questions of where the Horsemen were. Bischoff actually explained that they were on Flair’s plane but it does play up the storyline that Pillman’s doing the heavy lifting while the Horsemen were partying on a plane.

Bobby talked about how Eddie might be a future star and he really did go all out on commentary to put Eddie over as a top star.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night with Lex Luger being in the main-event, Disco Inferno in action, VK Wallstreet in action and Hugh Morrus who they described as, and this is a quote (as a rewound it several times to make sure it was true)… “a really exciting wrestler.” HUGH MORRUS IS A REALLY EXCITING WRESTLER.

We then cut to the crowd and these kids in the crowd were holding up peace signs and the teenagers to their right looked utterly disgusted with these cheerful kids!

 

Road Warrior Hawk vs Big Bubba Rogers

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So as these two were coming down to the ring, Bischoff asks the hard-hitting questions again of “what if that injury was not what we thought it was and Savage was gonna turn on Hogan at World War 3?”

Bischoff also suggested that someone that may not be expected to show up may show up at World War 3. This was just the part of the show where Eric Bischoff was one of the most annoying people alive, Bischoff was giving it the “big ‘un” about how wrestlers from wrestling organisations from around the world are looking to get involved in World War 3.

Now I know the idea is to build up the PPV but is it not possible to state that WCW have the biggest stars in the wrestling world instead of spearing rumour wildfire with the hope of possible last-minute PPV buys? Eric should be trying to establish that they’ve got the literal biggest stars in the wrestling world and that they’ve got a battle that everyone in wrestling will want to get involved in this big event. Outright suggesting that someone from the WWF will show up is a big sell unless a big star like Bret Hart or Diesel or Shawn Michaels is actually showing up. Spoiler alert but none of these men turn up.

Big Bubba and Hawk botched a spot where Big Bubba did a big splash but Hawk wasn’t able to move fast enough so he ended up shoulder-barging the guy instead. Big Bubba hit a spinebuster as Bobby said “THE HAWK IS GROUNDED, TWEET, TWEET, TWEET.” Big Bubba Irish whipped Hawk but tumbles out of the corner backwards at the speed of light and crashed into Big Bubba.

Hawk missed a dive. Big Bubba taped up his fist and went to hit Hawk but Hacksaw Jim Duggan came out of nowhere and tripped Big Bubba and Hawk got the pin. It was revealed that Big Bubba landed on his own taped hand but this was absolute dirt horrible wrestling. Keep in mind that Bischoff said two weeks ago that they didn’t have instant replay when Benoit got screwed out of the match with Eddie. Here, these WCW jerks magically have replays on hand to show clips of the horrible match we just watched. This was horrible.

 

Hulk Hogan vs Sting

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To say that WCW had money to blow at this time was never more clear than when you saw the pyro displays for the big stars of the company. Stinger is coming out and a flame pyro shot up right near him to which Sting even said “that was too close for comfort,” which is incredibly accurate. I screamed at this part for the safety of the man called Sting.

Interesting note about Sting, when it relates to this storyline… Sting was dressed in the red and yellow as he came out. In comparison, Hogan came out and he was all in black. Very interesting story-telling just based on what they were wearing which is pretty clever for a wrestling company. So Hogan’s music played and the fans just boo this man. But as they’re waiting for Hogan, Savage comes down to the ring with his arm in a sling.

The arm in a sling was as a result of Luger’s beatdown from last week. He’s out there, with his arm in a sling mind you, and more pyro sparks right in Savage’s face. We got firework after firework as Savage was waiting for Hogan. WWE in 2018 recently stopped doing fireworks for their talent as a cost-cutting measure but I’m glad they’ve stopped just as a safety measure for these guys. All the fireworks in the world are shot right at the talent in WCW. It’s scary.

Finally, Hogan “sneaks” into the ring. When I say sneak to the ring, I’m fairly certain Kamala could have done a more elegant job at this. Hogan tried getting over this barricade not at the speed of sound but at the speed of silence. Sting is looking away as Hogan and his broken down body struggle to get over this barricade.

Hogan, with the Batman mask on from last week, finally gets in the ring and plays to the crowd like “do you want me to get this guy?” and then he gets him.

So Eric Bischoff, who has been hyping this match up for the entirety of the show, then suddenly declares that he doesn’t want to see this match. You as a promoter, when the match finally starts, pick right when the match starts to say “on second thought, I don’t want to see this match”? Eric Bischoff got my nerves during this episode, in case you hadn’t figured it out.

Hogan could barely move. He even tripped when going for a clothesline. Sting tried his hardest to get the best out of Hogan, selling like crazy for the Hulkster. This was like their Starrcade 1997 match in reverse. We’ll talk about it whenever we get to it in the series but in their Starrcade match, Sting was out of shape so when he fired up, Hogan sold like crazy for Sting. This was remarkable to watch.

I think I figured out at this point that this was Hogan’s first match on Nitro since his match with Luger on Episode #2. You could see why he was so limited with this match. Hogan was barely in position for a crossbody as the two of them were on complete different pages of different books for a clothesline spot.

Then Hulk Hogan whipped out an ARMBAR. Paying homage to the name of the blog, Hogan does what is possible the worst armbar I’ve ever seen. It seemed Hogan had never watched a mixed martial arts fight in his life. I can tell you for a fact that UFC was around at this time and I confidentially tell you that even me, with possibly weeks worth of martial arts experience in my whole life, can do an armbar better than Hulk Hogan here in this match. That’s right ME.

Sting hit a Stinger Splash but Hogan grabbed Sting by the waist and locked on a bearhug which was actually a clever spot. The fans booed Hogan like crazy and they were all cheering for Sting. It appeared Sting went for a toe hold but Hogan didn’t register with the spot and stayed on his feet as Eric tried to convince us that this is where the action was at. Sting locked on the Scorpion Deathlock and Hogan fired up much to the fans’ dismay.

Hogan did the punches and a big boot but started selling his leg after he missed the leg drop. Sting went for a Scorpion Deathlock as Hogan grabbed the referee and yelled “HELP ME” but this was shortly broken up by the Dungeon of Doom for the DQ. Everybody was out there and then The Giant came down. The Giant grabbed Hogan and Sting for a double chokeslam but Savage hit Giant with a chair.

Giant chokeslammed Savage. Sting and Hogan both used a chair to send Giant over the top rope with an ugly spot as The Giant was held back by the Dungeon who had a hard time holding back this monster of a man.

Taskmaster and Jimmy then harassed the announcers, specifically Bobby Heenan their fellow heel. Heenan astutely pointed out that if this is how they’re gonna treat Heenan, who they like, imagine what they’re gonna do to everyone during World War 3.

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That was Nitro. I was not to high on this one this week. The end segment was sort of the only thing that really made me want to watch this World War 3 PPV. In fact, I think the battle royal for the title is the only match they’ve promoted since Halloween Havoc. That’s not good.

We will see you with our World War 3 review as WCW goes to war. After giving it some thought, it’ll be another whole PPV review. I’ve actually watched the PPV already as the time of writing this post and prepare for one of the most wackiest battle royals in wrestling history!

 

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.