RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #50 (AUGUST 26TH 1996) – TED DIBIASE AND CHRIS JERICHO DEBUT IN THE WACKIEST EPISODE OF NITRO SO FAR

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

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Last week saw the main-event of WCW Fall Brawl 1996 officially put together, where Sting and Lex Luger asked to team alongside Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to fight the New World Order in a war games match. Fellow Four Horsemen members Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael stepped aside to let Sting and Luger fight alongside Flair and Arn. The Giant and Randy Savage got into a heated brawl in the main-event of the show where Savage left to fight another day while Giant chased him.

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This was such a fun and wacky episode of WCW Nitro. This episode was by no means the greatest episode of WCW Nitro ever. However, this is what people think of when people think of WCW. There was a lot of good action which was interrupted by outsiders (literally), there were some all-time horrible wrestling finishes, a disqualification finish in the main-event, trash being thrown into the ring, horrible promos, Ric Flair going crazy during a promo, Nick Patrick’s heel tactics, overbooked finishes to protect everyone and goofy angles up and down the show. The weirdest thing was… I loved it.

The show was far from perfect but it felt like a fun show where they tried out things and there was a lot of new types of angles they tried. Some of it worked for me, some of it missed the mark but it all came off so interesting that I could not turn away. It’s the type of a train-wreck where you can’t help but stick around and continue to watch. This show was not necessarily a train-wreck but it was all kinds of wacky. I like things to be unpredictable and, with the exception of the main-event finish, this was unpredictable.

This was also a huge success in terms of ratings and it was the highest rated episode of WCW Monday Nitro up until this point. They had no competition from RAW this week but WCW really took advantage of being the only show around for the next two Monday nights.

 

Date: August 26th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Palmetto, Florida

Rating: 4.2

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

Billy Kidman vs Juventud Guerrera

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There were multiple notable debuts on this episode of WCW Monday Nitro and we kicked things off with the debut of Juventud Guerrera. This man would become a mainstay in WCW for the rest of their existance. However, they put Juventud in there with Kidman for a 3 minute match and it was a fun three minute match.

Kidman hit a pretty sweet looking powerslam at the start of the match and then ate a NASTY powerbomb from the apron onto the floor. This was a hard, HARD landing for such a small man at the time in Kidman.

If you’re a fan of springboard moves and dives, this match was the match for you. Juventud did a springboard leg drop to the floor. Juventud did a slick looking springboard corkscrew for a 2 count. Juventud was caught by Kidman for a powerbomb for a 2 count which got a good pop. I like that the springboards were eventually backfiring on this luchador. He was a great luchador and the early parts of the match showed that but he was wrestling in the US where the style had changed. Therefore, he had to adapt if he wanted to win.

Kidman did a springboard leg drop. Kidman reversed a suplex for a 2 count. Kidman set himself up on the top rope and the fans know a big move is coming as he goes up and hit a shooting star press. He hits this move and it gets a two count. It didn’t come off like a near fall. He just hit the move and Juventud kicked out like Kidman had just hit a scoop slam.

Juventud did a “victory roll reverse hurricanrana” for the victory as Tony described it. That was a sweet cruiserweight match. Every big move looked very slick and Kidman and Juventud were just as quick as each other so the chemistry was there. I very much enjoyed this. Fans booed the finish but the right man won I think. This gets a thumbs up.

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Juventud was then interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund. I tore into Konnan a few weeks ago for a promo he cut where he was a babyface and a heel at the same time, and I deemed it as a “Kalisto-like” promo (a reference to the infamous promo Kalisto cut in 2016 during the WWE draft). Compared to this promo, I was not giving Konnan enough credit for his mic skills. Juventud Guerrera, through no fault of his own, cut one of the worst promos I’ve ever heard on his debut for WCW.

I’m a huge fan of Mean Gene Okerlund and I have a Funko Pop Vinyl sitting at my desk at work. I’ve admired his work on Nitro so far but he had a horrible night at the office tonight. I don’t know if this was just Mean Gene being a character or what the deal was but he did not help Juventud out at all. Gene mentioned that he “no comprande” Spanish and Juventud does not speak English well at all but he was going to let Juventud try to cut a promo in English anyway. This was a recipe for disaster.

Mean Gene mentioned an injury of Psychosis that we apparently all knew about the injury of Pyschosis. I have no idea about it. This is the first time I’m hearing about it and it’s not like the announcers mentioned Psychosis’ injury on commentary. What was this all about? Guerrera then tried a promo in English but then roared in Mexican as the fans started to boo as they could not understand him.

One should not really boo a man for speaking a different language than them but why WCW even let Guerrera near a microphone at this time blew my mind. The man could barely speak English as Mean Gene said and he was not going to get himself over by just speaking in Spanish and then randomly yelling I’M THE GREATEST WRESTLER IN MEXICA.” The fans booed the hell out of this man. If it was Asuka yelling in Japanese in an intense manner for example, maybe it would work. But no, he just starts talking in Spanish and the American fans aren’t able to engage with him.

Juventud kept trying and trying and Mean Gene let this all happen until he just gave up and they cut to a break. A bigger train wreck than that Konnan promo from 2 weeks ago which I’m amazed was even possible. Konnan was Ric Flair compared to this promo by Juventud Guerrera which is a shame for Juvi.

 

“Powerful Males” Marcus Bagwell and Jim Powers w/Teddy Long vs “Dungeon of Doom” Taskmaster and Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart

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They mentioned Scotty Riggs was injured. I mean he wrestled a week ago so I find it hard to believe that was a work so Riggs was out and Jim Powers became a part of the American Males for one night at least!

They put over the Taskmaster as “one of the most dangerous men we’ve seen in this sport” according to Tony as they show a video package of Taskmaster doing the running knee to an opponent in a tree of woe, teasing the possibility that we may see it again. Well wouldn’t you know it, he did that move during this match!

Taskmaster and Powers fight with Larry commentating that Powers was FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE. A four way brawl broke out in the ring. The babyfaces somehow gain control. Bagwell’s offence is literally dropkicks and punches. Calling him a wrestler at this point is a bit of a stretch and I know we’ve discussed this before with Bagwell but there doesn’t appear to be any signs of improvement yet.

Bubba caught Bagwell and slammed him with a spinebuster-like drop. Bubba hooked Bagwell in the tree of woe and Taskmaster smashed into Bagwell with the running knee. Bubba hit the laziest looking shoulder tackle ever. It was like accidentally bumping into someone in the street and Bagwell sold this!

Powers got the tag and ran wild. He smashed all the heels with turnbuckle smashes including Jimmy Hart and the fans were going nuts for Powers as he takes it to the Dungeon of Doom. The dude was getting over. Powers hit a crossbody and got the pin and the fans actually went crazy for this huge upset! I was stunned and I figured this is a great way to get a guy over. It was a clean win and they got such a big pop for the babyfaces. Jim Powers can now slowly build a rapport with the crowd and maybe they can do something with the guy. But of course, this was WCW and they couldn’t even let Jim have this….

Referee NICK PATRICK restarted the match claiming that Bubba got the shoulder up, which was preposterous when they showed the replay of it. It was as clean of a pin as any! So Patrick decided that the match must go on. The heels takeover and Bubba hits a spinning side slam and gets the pin.

This was a big opportunity to get over some lower-card guys that was squandered and sacrificed for this stupid Nick Patrick storyline. Did WCW really have to go out of their way to protect Big Bubba during this tag team match? For one night, they could have got Jim Powers over and given him a big win but they took it away. Last week, Chavo actually got a clean win but DDP laid him out and a referee made the save. Why can’t the babyfaces have anything nice on this show?

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Mean Gene interviewed the Dungeon of Doom after the match. Bubba said he should be getting the title shots and the main-events and he was not gonna be looked over any more after tonight. Bubba then called out Glacier! Yeah, Glacier was this big character they were building up that was becoming a joke because he hadn’t even arrived yet and Bubba was calling him out! We had to protect Bubba so he could go onto feud with GLACIER.

Jimmy mentioned Glacier saying blood runs cold but when he arrived, the only one running would be him. Taskmaster questioned that Mean Gene was apparently spotted around Hogan’s place. Mean Gene said “did the man have hair” and Taskmaster responded: “yeah, he had bald hair!” I loved that exchange! Taskmaster talks about the nWo and Gene questioned him about greasing the pole with Patrick or something weird like that. Basically he was implying that Nick Patrick is just “the heel referee” of WCW now, not necessarily with the nWo but an ally to the heels in general.

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Mean Gene interviewed Sting and Luger backstage. I guess Mean Gene TELEPORTED to the backstage area to do this promo. I was watching WCW Nitro on the WWE Network so we didn’t get any adverts. Therefore, we cut from one Mean Gene interview in the ring to an interview backstage! Mean Gene was all over this show.

Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael had called out Luger and Sting for a tag team match for their spots in the War Games match. Luger said he accepted Mongo and Benoit’s challenge. Luger said they’re in the right frame of mind to kick some behind. Sting claimed the Horsemen wanted to “test” them which suggested that the Horsemen didn’t trust Luger and Sting and they were making a mistake.

Last week, Benoit and Mongo stepped aside to let Sting and Luger fight with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson but I guess they had a change of heart this week. This feels like a really sudden change in attitude from last week.

 

 

Mike Enos vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

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Having looked back in my notes, I still can’t believe they did this match. You could tell that there was no competition from RAW in the first hour because in the middle of this Monday Night Wars, they did Mike Enos vs Chavo Guerrero Jr! What a star-studded match with a noteworthy finish!

They already had Hollywood Hogan booked to defend the WCW title at Halloween Havoc in October against “Macho Man” Randy Savage. That is some serious long-term booking right there with Fall Brawl already a few weeks away.

Enos caught Chavo coming from the top rope and hit a fallaway slam. This was basically Mike Enos playing the big-man role like DDP last week. Enos was basically The Giant as he carried Chavo in like a powerslam position and threw him back into the ring.

Enos did a backbreaker and Chavo was slipping off like he was slipping down a greasy pole. He barely had him in position as he was sliding all over the place while draped over his knee. It didn’t look like Enos was applying a hold at all. Konnan was in the audience and looked SOUND ASLEEP as he was wearing sunglasses and appeared to be in a lawn chair or something.

Enos hit a powerslam, Enos hit a northern light suplex. Enos was just doing moves forever on Chavo and nobody cared. He tried a powerbomb and Chavo just fell down on him and landed on Enos’ ankle. Chavo locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock but Randy Anderson gog knocked down.

What happened next has to be a contender or the leading contender to being the dumbest finish to a match in the history of WCW matches. The referee was down and Dirty Dick Slater, who is in a towel and has his head covered in this towel, his an elbow drop and broke up the Figure Four Leg Lock. Dick threw Enos to the outside. I want to stress to everybody that Dick had a full head of long hair and Enos has a short haircut. KEEP THAT IN MIND when I explain what the spot was they attempted.

Dick put the towel over Enos’ head and Dick went back in the ring as Dick started wrestling with Chavo. Yes… Rough and Ready’s Dick Slater and Mike Enos tried “twin magic” on WCW Monday Nitro. The signature move that would become the trademark spot for the Bella Twins, who is ironically being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year if they still do it, which those girls could pull off BECAUSE THEY LOOKED ALIKE. Slater and Enos looked nothing alike during this match!

Dick hit the swinging neckbreaker and he goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock and Chavo reversed it for a roll-up and the ref counted the pin. Dick popped up with this full bush of hair right in front of the referee and the decision just stood as Rough and Ready are frustrated in the ring.

Tony then talked about the team were gonna complain that the wrong man was in the ring which they had every right to do… THE WRONG MAN WAS IN THE RING. We just saw a referee restart a match for the hell of it so Randy Anderson could have noticed the wrong man was in the ring and restarted the match. That is apparently in his powers as a WCW referee and he stood there and did nothing. He could have called for a disqualification at least but… this is the dumbest finish I’ve ever seen.

They tried the twin magic spot with two men who clearly looked NOTHING LIKE EACH OTHER and it backfired to such a monstrous proportion. This was a HUGE THUMBS DOWN.

Mean Gene interviewed Chavo where Chavo just yelled rapidly about DDP. Chavo cut a promo about DDP not accepting losing to Eddie and someone had to teach him how to lose with respect. He said when someone messes with one Guerrero, they mess with all of us as the fans boo. The format was talk really fast, yell and talk about the Guerrero family. Welcome to what would be the template for every Chavo Guerrero promo for the next 20 years of his career.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs J.L. for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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I don’t know how this was possible but they brought out the WCW Cruiserweight Champion for a title match on Nitro and they found away to turn it into the slowest match of the show. They did give them a lot of it but a lot of it didn’t really matter when we see what happened during it.

Tony claimed J.L. was very mysterious but he could confirm he was not from Mexico! I mean he can’t have been that mysterious can he if Tony has already deduced that he was at least not from Mexico!

I do kinda like the spot of J.L. trying to bounce off the ropes with the headlock but Rey just let his body collapse to the mat to stopping JL’s momentum. It’s like if you’re trying to get your toddler up from the floor but he collapses to the floor because he doesn’t wanna stand up! It’s great because trying to move someone who doesn’t wanna move is difficult! This made sense

THEN THEY CUT TO nWo shenanigans…

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Hollywood Hogan is with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. They take a cameraperson to the video production truck where they spray paint nWo 4 LIFE on the side of this truck. Hogan asked if they thought “they” would get the message. I love how one of the Outsiders have spray paint that wasn’t particularly any good. The reason I say this is because someone wrote nWo in black and it looked like it was going to fade. Just to be sure that it could be seen, because the spray paint wasn’t that strong, Hogan does spray paint over spray paint over the faded-looking nWo spray paint. I wrote down that it was Nash that did the weak spray paint but I don’t remember if that’s right. Hogan bragged that this was gonna wake them up. Rey did a camel clutch as they cut to a break.

Obviously, the nWo was such a popular act at the time but this was another silly angle where they really did not come off as cool at all. You cut away from this title match to show a bunch of GROWN ASS ADULTS acting like teenagers as they did graffiti on the side of a production truck? This was lame.

It worked in getting the nWo HEAT, at least from me!, because they came off as such dorks to me and they interrupted the cruiserweights in action but they ended up coming off as the coolest things on the show for a lot of people. It’s surreal.

Dean Malenko came down to watch the match and emotionless doesn’t do Malenko’s expression justice. This is the closest one man can look to being sleep if that man was stood up and his eyes were open.

J.L. and Rey did weird spots where they each got on all fours and waited for the other man to do a move. J.L. did it and went down on all fours, and Rey grapples him on the ground! Rey then goes on all fours… and J.L. just kicks him! These were the stupidest spots! Why were both men going down to allow the other man to do a move on them? This was void of logic.

J.L. hit a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count. Mysterio reversed an attempt at a second one with a roll-up for a 2 count. The commentators even compared Hogan and the nWo to a bunch of kids. J.L. locked on a Boston crab and Rey sold this by flat out saying “ow my back”. J.L. just got the heat forever and it sucked the life out of this match. I mean they were interrupted by the nWo so maybe they just half-arsed it because they knew the nWo and fireworks would interrupt them.

Speaking of which, the fireworks literally just went off in the middle of the match. Rey did a sweet diving hurricanrana from the steel steps. Rey then almost spiked himself with a West Coast Pop and picked up the win. Rey called out Dean for a match right now and then celebrated with the crowd.

The match wasn’t bad but if you look at the the first three matches of the show. We got three short matches which were 3-4 minutes each. You put the cruiserweights out there and have them wrestle for 15 minutes as J.L. is slowing it down, the people are just gonna zone out. If it was the opening match on the show and if the nWo didn’t show up, maybe it could have been a good way to open the show. Here, the placement of this type of match was not right after three short matches.

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Mean Gene did ANOTHER INTERVIEW this time with Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael who were accompanied by Elizabeth, Woman and Debra McMichael. Mongo said he’s here for the match they demanded. They wanted to prove to WCW and the good guys they were ready for War Games. Benoit said they didn’t relinquish their spot as it was a decision made by the Horsemen. I know they were heels so it doesn’t really matter but Ric Flair flat out said it’s up to Benoit and Mongo about whether they would give up the spots last week! He had that much faith in the Horsemen that he left it to Mongo and Benoit to decide whether they would abdicate the spots or not. As mentioned earlier, this felt like a completely random 180 by Mongo and Benoit. Benoit said tonight was about security but it was not about security for the Horsemen but for WCW.

They recapped Hogan’s chair shot to “Macho Man” Randy Savage from 2 weeks ago and then Savage’s promo from last week. By the way I did not exaggerate this last week, Savage did say he had 15,000 stitches in his head last week when he was cutting his promo on Hogan! They also showed Savage and Giant’s fight from last week. I still can’t get over that big leap over the top rope from the Giant last week. He jumped CLEAN over the top rope in such a fabulous manner for a big man!

Mean Gene interviewed Savage. Savage said it’s for all the marbles. Savage said he’s only got one marble in his head but it’ll be the scariest match in history at Halloween Havoc against Hogan. Savage said he’s in the zone as he was shown to be super intense with this promo. He was a man of little words as he said he was gonna kick Hogan and Giant’s asses and then he stormed off.

 

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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Duggan walked right through fireworks for his entrance which seemed rather dangerous! It’s funny Bischoff said The Giant could be the man who decides the balance of power, which is a very interesting choice of words when you see where this nWo storyline goes…

Jimmy grabbed the leg of Duggan. Duggan chased him and Duggan threw Jimmy’s jacket at Giant and fired away with punches.

God bless The Giant but he did a running charge into the ring post. He didn’t just run into this ring post and kinda control the impact a little bit better. He ran and shoulder barged into it and smashes his arm right into the post! That looked so nasty and I hope The Giant learned to never do that again. It looked nasty, even for The Giant.

Giant did a bear hug as Eric Bischoff hyped up the debut of Chris Jericho. Speaking of debuts but who should come down to ringside but THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN TED DIBIASE. Bischoff even reminded us and mentioned that: “we’ve seen this before” in reference to Scott Hall’s WCW debut. He just mades his way to the front row dressed in black.

Duggan used the tape to no affect and he even wound up the taped fist punch and nailed Giant and he still was not able knock him down. What a way to kill off Duggan’s tape gimmick. They played it up like it was such a deadly thing to be hit with the taped fist and The Giant just takes two of them and no-sold them! Way to go Duggan…

Duggan and Hart wrestled over the 2×4. Giant then goes for the chokeslam and Duggan can barely get up. Some guys like Benoit, as discussed last week, will jump high into the air for The Giant to slam him down. Duggan didn’t jump at all as he clearly didn’t wanna take the bump. He tried to go up only barely and it almost led to Giant dropping him. However, this was THE GIANT, and he was able to hold him in place and got Duggan high in the air as if to say “you’re going up for this chokeslam whether you like it or not!” Giant controlled Duggan, he got him up and he slammed Duggan and got the pin. Duggan had an expression on his face like his life flash before his eyes after taking that bump! It was inadvertently the best struggle of the entire show!

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Ted DiBiase then put up a four horsemen sign to the camera then raised his thumb as a fan yells “next week 5” and the announcers play this up as if Ted DiBiase could be the fifth horsemen or that he could be the fourth or fifth member of the nWo….

The Giant was interviewed by Mean Gene. Giant yelled that Savage talked about Giant letting the WCW down and he rightfully questioned where Savage was for “us” during the match match at Hog Wild. Giant mentioned he will be there at Fall Brawl and mentioned Savage doesn’t deserve a shot at the title.

He yelled right at the camera and saliva and sweat landed right on the camera lens which was like a great comic book effect! Mean Gene, like a pro, whips out a handkerchief from his pocket, wipes the camera lens as he complained that these guys are very messy! I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of Mean Gene earlier on but this was a great moment! He was literally the Alfred to these WCW wrestlers, cleaning up after their messes as a true ally to the wrestlers! I thought that was a nice touch.

 

“The Four Horsemen” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson w/Woman and Elizabeth vs “Rock and Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson

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I don’t have many notes about this match as it is exactly the type of match you’d think Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs the Rock and Roll Express would be on Nitro in 1996 with these guys. The heels got the heat, the heel women take cheap shots at ringside, they get the heat on Robert Gibson, Ricky Morton gets the hot tag, the heels cheat and win. That’s all you need to know and it wasn’t bad but somewhat predictable.

The finish itself was rather something. Bischoff cut a big promo about referee Randy Anderson being in control of things during this match unlike Nick Patrick. Then Randy Anderson’s back is turned to chew out Gibson. As the referee is distracted, Flair dropped Morton crotch first with an atomic drop and Arn hit a DDT to streal the win. SUCH CONTROL demonstrated from this senior official!

Ric Flair yelled at the camera to Hogan mentioning that he heard Hogan quit, referring to their Clash of the Champions match.

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen minus Benoit and Mongo. Arn yelled about the nWo picking their spots but when they step into the cage and this will be the one and last War Games for the Outsiders. Arn said if you’re gonna be a man you gotta jump a man eye to eye, nose to nose. Ric yelled about the Clash match and claimed that Hogan said, and this is a quote, “OH GREAT NATURE BOY, I GIVE UP. IIIII QUIT. YOU’RE TOO MUCH MAN TODAY!” I love how elaborate and detailed Ric was with what he claimed Hogan said during their Clash of the Champions match! When I imagined Hogan saying that in my head, I died!

Ric told the nWo to get ready as they’re in North Carolina, the home of the Horsemen, for War Games. Elizabeth was laughing her arse off as she just watches Flair lose this mind. It must be like the most surreal thing in the world to just be standing right next to Flair in front of a live crowd as he cuts this crazy promo and is being Ric Flair. I would either be just constantly getting goosebumps or just in hysterics like Elizabeth!

 

Chris Jericho vs Alex Wright

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At last, THE DEBUT OF CHRIS JERICHO! As I watched this in 2020, Chris Jericho in 2020 currently has his Fozzy song “Judas” as his entrance for AEW and when he wrestled in NJPW too. That song got so over that every crowd for Dynamite was singing that song as Jericho was coming out as it’s revered as one of the best theme songs in the business today. In 1996, Jericho came out with one of my favourite WCW theme songs ever!

The song was “All The Days” by Mammoth and it was such a fabulous song and I popped like crazy when I heard it again for this episode of Nitro. It’s glorious…

The cruiserweights shake hands and Jericho looked so short compared to Alex Wright. The last cruiserweight Jericho needed to be in the ring was to DWARF him in the ring was Alex Wright. Wright was so tall compared to Jericho, it was like a 10 year old wrestling with his 20 year old brother!

They wrestle for a bit and Jericho’s busting out moves that would become vintage Jericho spots like the wheel kick and springboard drop kick to the floor. Jericho suplexed Wright back into the ring. Wright did a huge dropkick to Jericho coming off the top rope. The German got some major air time on this dropkick. Say what you will about Alex Wright but this was an athletic man at this time.

Then Wright’s athleticism becomes his downfall as he tries a springboard crossbody and smashes right into the face of Jericho in a horribly executed spot. Jericho does a running clothesline and he does WILHELM SCREAM as he runs right into Wright. It was one of the funniest voices I’ve heard Jericho do during his entire career. I’ve watched him since I started watching wrestling in 2003 so think of the ground that covers for me!

Wright crashed into the steel guard rail and then Jericho went to the referee and said he didn’t wanna win like this so this match was ruled a no contest as Jericho tended to Wright. The announcer officially declared that Chris Jericho does not wanna win this way so it is a no contest. That’s a new one!

Mean Gene interviewed Jericho. Jericho mentioned that he wanted to fight to the best of his ability. He said to accept that win would not have been to the best of their abilities. Jericho trash-talked the nWo and of course he gets booed, because the nWo came off as so much cooler than WCW. I mentioned that the nWo came off as dorks but if you look at the promos that the likes of Konnan, Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho and even NICK PATRICK have all cut about the nWo, they all come off as such geeks in comparison to these edgy heels. Wright goes to talk and Mean Gene said: “we’re out of time!” and completely cut off the German and denied him the chance to talk. What a cock Gene was being on this show!

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “The Blue Bloods” Dave Taylor and Earl Robert Eaton

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The Blue Bloods argued about who start the match because it was established last week that there was issues within the Blue Bloods. Rick bonked their heads together to get the match going.

Then Taylor tried to tag himself in and Eaton pushed him off. Rick ran wild on the Blue Bloods by himself and then Scott just entered the ring fresh as a daisy and posed with Rick! I dunno why but I found that hilarious that they did the Steiner pose when Rick did all the work by himself! Rick was kicking their arses 2 on 1 during this match!

Scott tagged himself in. Taylor commanded that Rick is tagged back in so RICK IS TAGGED IN. I’m pretty sure Rick Steiner did about 99% of the work during this match for the Steiners!

There was miscommunication from the Blue Bloods. Taylor recovered as The Blue Bloods tried a crossbody Doomsday Device but Rick reversed this and got the pin. Scott’s contributions to this entire match was he did one eblow smash and shoulder blocked Taylor at the very end to stop him from breaking up the pin! What a contribution and a great win for Rick Steiner and thank you to Scott Steiner for his 1% contribution to the win for the Steiners!

Taylor eventually attacked Eaton and the Blue Bloods got into a brawl in the ring after the match, which was actually a decent brawl. The Steiners urge them on as Rick stirred the poop as the Blue Bloods brawl some more! The Steiners were basically kids watching a school fight and egging them on! The Steiners yelled at Harlem Heat as they’re wrestling AGAIN at Fall Brawl. I am sick of this Steiners vs Harlem Heat feud…

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Woman, Debra McMichael and Elizabeth

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Let’s talk about the opening sequence of this match. So the match descended into a big brawl in the ring between all four men. I don’t know who put this match together but they pair up Sting and Benoit together to fight and they pair LEX LUGER AND MONGO TOGETHER FOR A FIGHT. Who came up with that decision and figured all was gonna end well at all?

It didn’t end well and to say chemistry was not there for Mongo and Luger is an understatement. They just bumbled around this ring while Benoit and Sting actually had a good looking fight.

Benoit got in the ring to increase the match quality with Luger. Benoit and Luger dropped each other with a clothesline. I don’t know why I thought about this during this match but seeing Lex Luger, Elizabeth, Woman and Chris Benoit all out there in some capacity made this somewhat uncomfortable to watch when you considered how those respective relationships ended up in real life.

Sting got the hot tag as the fans don’t pay attention and they all look at something that has happened in the crowd. I figured at first that a fight had broken out in the crowd. It turned out to be Hollywood Hogan coming through the crowd!

Mongo threw Luger into the ring post. Sting missed a dive. Benoit missed a diving headbutt. Then out came the Hulkster as he made his way down to the ring with a can of spray pain in his hand. He comes across Mongo and then Hogan backed away from Mongo! I don’t think that match ever happened but them teasing babyface Mongo versus Hollywood Hogan for a big match is unbelievable to think about!

Of course, the Outsiders fly in before anything happened. Scott Hall literally flew in as him and Nash beat up Mongo. They spray paint the back of Mongo. Hall dropped Benoit with what would be called the Outsiders Edge and Nash does the Jackknife powerbomb to Sting. They spray paint the nWo letters on Sting and Benoit’s backs. Ric and Arn run wild on the Outsiders for a brief period, kick their arses for a while but Hogan sprayed the face of Flair and actually spray painted Flair’s hair black which I’m sure Flair was thrilled about.

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The nWo celebrate as trash is thrown into the ring. There was water thrown into the ring and all kinds of stuff, so I wonder what the production team or whoever was taking down the rings must have thought when they saw all of this trash being thrown into the ring. That can’t have been fun to deal with.

Hogan actually spray-painted Nash’s white shirt. I didn’t understand what the significance of that was. Hogan raised his arms in victory as nWo have literally laid waste to the ring!

For the first time ever, the nWo take over the announce booth. Nash and Hall take over the announcers’ headsets as Hogan spray painted the WCW Nitro logo. I actually thought this was a hot segment to end the show as the nWo demonstrate that WCW needed to be united. The nWo were united and kicked WCW’s arse as WCW were literally fighting from within. I thought this was a great end to a wacky episode of Nitro. Not all of it bad wacky but some stupid stuff alongside some quality stuff. Wacky is probably the appropriate word for it.

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We hope you enjoyed that review from the Armbar Express. The Armbar Express currently does not have a social media presence but please feel free to spread the word about this series and follow the blog on WordPress to get notifications of future posts from this blog!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #51 (SEPTEMBER 2ND 1996) – THE GIANT AND TED DIBIASE JOIN THE NWO

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

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The New World Order took advantage of the divide within WCW during the latest episode of WCW Nitro. They came out at the end of the show to lay waste to Sting, Lex Luger and the Four Horsemen and then took over the announce booth to end the show. The show also included debuts for Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, who teased that either he was the fifth member of the Four Horsemen of the fourth or fifth member of the New World Order…

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It is hilarious that the big mystery last week was whether there was a fifth member of the Four Horsemen or the fourth and fifth member of the nWo. Ted DiBiase teased it and walked into this episode with a lot of mystery as to who else could possibly join up with the nWo in the takeover of WCW. If you happened to watch WCW Monday Nitro on the WWE Network like I did, the thumbnail for this episode is a shot of The Giant at the end of the show hanging out with the nWo at the announce booth! No attempt at all to at least cover up the spoiler for potential first time viewers of Nitro!

To be fair to WWE, their archive is focused on meeting the old-school demographic. RAW’s key demographic in 2020 are people in their 50s who have fond memories of the Monday Night Wars. It’s probably way easier to help direct people to this episode by posting the spoiler as if to say “this is the episode that you’re looking for”. If you wanted to relive The Giant turning on WCW and the Dungeon of Doom and siding with the nWo, you’ve got it right here. Works as an archive, miserable for first-time viewers.

 

Date: September 2nd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Rating: 4.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

DDP vs Alex Wright

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Could Alex Wright have come off as a bigger geek on these WCW Monday Nitros? I don’t even remember seeing him win a match on Nitro yet and he just comes off as such a nobody who barely accomplishes anything. The dude was very athletic, don’t get me wrong, but he’s in there with DDP for this match and despite of all of his efforts and athleticism, he’s still came off as such a nothing guy even compared to the cruiserweights, let alone the heavyweights. 

I was on my internet travels and I stumbled across an interview with the recently released from WWE Deonna Purrazzo. Deonna is actually a very solid comparison to how Wright was treated here. Wright ended up staying with WCW for a long time but both Wright and Purrazzo were very athletic and talented people. Deonna talked about how she never ever won while in WWE and brought up a good point of how she was ever going to engage with the fans if all she did was lose. If all she did was lose then why should she still be there on television or whatever?

If you wanted DDP on this night to squash a guy with a Diamond Cutter and win, there are so many jobber guys that they could have gotten on the cheap that would have done the job just as well as Alex Wright. That’s not a knock on Alex Wright but anybody else could get beat up for a while and get hit with the Diamond Cutter to put DDP over. If you have Alex Wright, who is an athletic guy, then he shouldn’t be reduced to just a glorified jobber to the midcarders unless you’ve actually got a plan with him. If you don’t, don’t bother wasting his time.

DDP’s over-selling really jumped the shark here. He’s pulled it off really well before but it really irritated me here when he is flopping around for Alex Wright at the start of this match. There’s nothing wrong with a cartoonish sell but his stuff selling for Wright just looked silly. Wright took control with some dives but missed a crossbody as DDP got the heat. DDP hit a side-walk slam to a ridiculous pop. The fans really liked this slam. DDP hit a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count.

DDP tried the cutter but Wright pushed him off. Wright hit a belly to belly suplex. Wright upper-cutted the gum out of DDP’s mouth. The finish saw Wright doing a backflip from the corner and then he turned around, and walked right into a kick in the gut by DDP. DDP hit a Diamond Cutter and won the match. Why bother doing a backflip that’s just gonna lead to DDP hitting his move and pinning the guy? 

It was a short but a decent match, all things considered, but this did not help Alex Wright at all.

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The previous match had been refereed by our main man Nick Patrick. Mean Gene interviewed Patrick and talked about Patrick being “slow on the draw” for that count. I think this is kinda stretching it to hype up the “controversy” of the Nick Patrick storyline. Patrick said WCW reviewed all of his matches and he’s still in WCW. Patrick was upset of people being on his case and Mean Gene for spreading lies. He mentioned Randy Anderson blew a call with Hogan/Flair a few weeks ago but Patrick is constantly the one under the microscope. He called Mean Gene a liar. This got a fair amount of heat and Nick Patrick did actually cut a decent promo all things considered.

However, I’m still baffled at this idea of interviewing the referee after the match and completely ignoring the efforts of the wrestlers in the ring. No interview with DDP, THE WINNER, or Alex Wright. Of course we have to amp up this referee storyline.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sister Sherri and Col. Robert Parker. Parker wanted to woo Sherri and got her a present, which was a black leather jacket. Col Robert Parker said Sherri was gonna ride his horse John Henry back in his farm and…. this storyline has been going on for one year. ONE YEAR. Do not think I am exaggerating this, because they were doing this storyline during the early Nitros with Parker and Sherri. Did this storyline ever go anywhere?

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) vs Greg Valentine and Buddy Valentino for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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This was the one and only Nitro wrestling appearance from Buddy Valentino. Think of Valentino as what would happen if you got a picture of Greg Valentine and then stretched the width of the picture on the Paint program on your computer. This was a wide man. Greg Valentine wasn’t really in that tremendous shape in 1996 but he was Lex Luger compared to Valentino.

Valentino had this singlet on which accomplished nothing in terms of covering up the exposed parts of his chest. The singlet was draped over his shoulders with his nipples to the side of them. I mean I don’t want to get on a man for his appearance on a wrestling show and I don’t wanna get on Valentino because he wasn’t that bad in this match. He was working hard for an appearance on a big wresting show and he was able to pull off a dropkick despite being such a big man. It’s funny, he did this dropkick and Greg Valentine is laughing his ass off on the apron as he clapped on his partner! That I enjoyed!

Referee Mark Curtis was making his WCW debut as Ted DiBiase arrived coming down the steps as the fans popped. Greg went to work on Booker T as the fans paid zero attention to the match. Harlem Heat got the heat on Buddy for a while and Booker eventually hit the Harlem Hangover and Harlem Heat won for the clean win.

Say what you will but Harlem Heat getting a string of clean wins together on Nitro episodes sets themselves up very well for defending the titles against the Nasty Boys at Fall Brawl. Now the Harlem Heat come off as legitimate tag team champions and now they are up against some nasty challengers, pardon the pun.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Harlem Heat. In a line I could not believe Harlem Heat could get away with saying in 1996, Stevie called the Nasty Boys “two fat milk-drinking suckas”. The Nasty Boys jumped the Heat and kicked their arses to a huge pop. They isolated Booker in the ring as the fans chanted “NASTIES”. They hit Booker with a spike piledriver and Knobbs got in a elbow drop in before they leave to attack Stevie Ray. I have no idea who the babyfaces and the heels are in this feud. Harlem Heat are winning matches clean like babyfaces but the Nasty Boys have “turned heel” and attacked the Heat but the fans went crazy for them! The ever-changing allegiances of the Nasty Boys continues!

 

Dean Malenko vs Chris Jericho

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A great match. It was the slow methodical pace of Dean Malenko against the fast pace of this recently-debuted youngster Chris Jericho. It was a crisply-worked match and the fans got into Jericho a bit more this week and it worked in all the areas that mattered. It worked with the crowd and it worked in the ring. 

Mike Tenay was joining the announce booth for this match as it was revealed he would be joining the announce booth for Nitros going forward. I love Tony Schiavonie referred to Chris Jericho as a “great cruiserweight” after he DEBUTED last week in a match where he called for a no contest as he didn’t wanna win a match against Alex Wright! At least they explained Jericho beat J.L. on Saturday Night so at least has won matches in WCW since he arrived!

Jericho ran wild as the fans chanted “ECW”. Dean then cut him off with a belly-to-back suplex. Dean smashed Jericho with a brainbuster

Dean got the heat and then Ted DiBiase decided to leave and walked all the way up the steps through the crowd. Of all the matches Ted DiBiase wanted to leave the show during, it was this one? Dean had a head scissors locked on Jericho and Jericho got him up from that position and then dropped him with an electric chair drop. That was a pretty impressive spot and as discussed last week, Jericho was not a large man at this time. 

So I guess the storyline was that Nick Patrick was more an incompetent referee than a crooked referee. He refereed this match and Dean kept grabbing the ropes and Patrick kept missing this. Dean then pointed at Jericho and Patrick of course attended to him and completely ignored Dean getting the ropes again. Weird since I guess the storyline is Patrick is now looking to call it down the middle. I think it was explained by his announcers that he’s over-compensating. Therefore, his calls have been all over the place to I guess convince the fans that he’s calling it objectively down the middle. 

Dean sent himself and Jericho crashing over the top rope with a crossbody. Jericho crashed into Malenko with a top rope crossbody to the floor. Far be it for me to critique Chris Jericho’s in-ring work, but this was a man that had yet to master the ability to slow down in the ring! This was the case of Jericho being too fast for Malenko as he came crossing down and appeared to crash into the face of Malenko which did not look pretty. 

Jericho hit a missile dropkick from the top rope. Jericho tried a tombstone but Dean reversed it into one of his own for a 2 count. Jericho hit a nice bridge German suplex for a 2 count. Jericho hit a “spin wheel kick” and then reversal after reversal leads to Jericho getting a pin fall following a victory roll-up pin. A fine match between Jericho and Malenko. I guess Dean Malenko, after being hyped up to challenge Rey Mysterio again for the Cruiserweight title, is out of the title picture and losing to the recently-debuted Chris Jericho. 

 

They showed a hype video for Rey Mysterio vs Super Calo for the Cruiserweight title at Fall Brawl. This was a simple but effective video package to hype up this match. All they needed to do was showcase these guys as doing as many flips and cool moves as possible to tell the viewer that if they paid to watch Fall Brawl, they may be able to see all of these cool moves again in a big time title match at the pay-per-view. This gets a thumbs up from me. 

More amazingly, they promoted WCW Saturday Night and one of the matches they promoted was… John Tenta vs Steve “Mongo” McMichael. That match seemed so unbelievable to me when they announced that I had to check and see if they actually did it. They didn’t do it on the episode of Saturday Night promoted nor did they do it at all. My personal theory is that John Tenta watched Mongo’s performance in the main-event and decided he was not doing that match! However, what a match that could have been!

 

Brad Armstrong vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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It’s funny, Giant got a massive pop coming out and the fans really liked The Giant, who had been wrecking guys for the last year on WCW Nitro. Keep that in mind when we cover later what happened at the end of the show. It’s a slow performance from The Giant where he slowly beat on Armstrong. It’s not particularly exciting as they cut away from the match to show a limousine. A clear indication into how Eric Bischoff felt about this match!

Giant threw Brad across the ring. Brad tried a roll up but Giant lifted him with both hands from the floor and up in the air to a thunderous roar from the crowd. Brad did a top rope dropkick to send Giant into the corner but Giant grabbed him and slammed him with a chokeslam for the victory and a big pop from the crowd. A more dragged-out squash match than usual from The Giant but it was OK for what it was.

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We got a nWo announcement. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan talked about styling and not having to sneak around anymore. Hogan booted a globe ball right at the camera. Hogan talked about The Giant crying and Ric Flair crying, referring to WCW as the World Crying Wrestlers… sick burn. He declared that in War Games at Fall Brawl, Sting would be stung, Luger will be HUNG, Flair won’t even be there and Arn won’t be Arn anymore. I love that Hogan was going for like a rhyming diss on the babyfaces and it came to Arn, so he just rhymed Arn with Arn! 

He said the nWo will take care of all the nWo business. Hogan said you’ve gotta take what you want. Hogan mocked Flair, Sting and everyone talking about the old days of WCW and he asked whatcha gonna do when the nWo ran wild on you. He added that anything else would be civilised and then Hogan unleashed on the greatest evil cackles I’ve ever heard in WCW. This was a MONEY promo. Two thumbs up for the Hulkster for a wacky but solid promo building up Fall Brawl.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Ron Studd

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We kicked off the second hour with “Macho Man” Randy Savage versus our new glorified giant jobber in Ron Studd. That is Studd’s position now. Chris Benoit and Randy Savage have both beat this guy in to hype up their respective matches with The Giant. 

Mike Tenay actually explained the origin story of Ron Studd where he was trained by Big John Studd and then took the name of Studd for his name. Tenay left out the tales of his run as the Yeti (which you can read about at these two links below!)

Studd did clobbering blows to the back of Savage. As Studd got the heat, they showed the nWo coming out of the limo as Hogan forced the camera man to get outta here as they wanted to get the “big man” out. Speaking of big men, Kevin Nash really struggled to get out of this limousine. He’s one of the biggest stars in this nWo feud and he was having problems with his knees already. 

Studd tried to scoop slam Savage over the top rope and this tiny referee got on the middle rope to stop him from doing it, because it’s been established throwing a guy over the top rope is illegal.

Savage did a double axe handle to Studd on the outside. Savage scoop slammed Studd but hurt his back in the process and then was able to hit an elbow drop for the win. It did what it needed to do in having Savage beat up a giant to build him up to fighting The Giant at Fall Brawl, so I was OK with this.

Mean Gene interviewed Savage for what I thought was a pretty solid promo. Savage wished Halloween Havoc was tonight because he guaranteed to the people around the world AND THE UNIVERSE that he was going to beat up Hollywood Hogan and take everything he wants because that makes me happy. It was set to be Savage vs Hogan for the title at Halloween Havoc in October.

Savage said he’s living on the edge and if anyone out there was not living on the edge, they’re taking up too much room, which was actually a sweet line that got a big pop from the crowd. Savage buried Giant for “not handling the pressure” at Hog Wild. Savage said he operates better under pressure. He said both Giant and Hogan will melt when the heat of the Macho Man brings them down. A good job in building up two future big matches for Savage in the next few months. 

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs Sting and Lex Luger

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The Four Horsemen ran outside to the limo but there was no one inside as they figured out the nWo were in the building. 

They kicked off this match with the Steiner Brothers vs Sting and Lex Luger. Think of what a big match this would have been. These two teams wrestled at the very first WCW Superbrawl show many years before this. We have another big match between these teams on Nitro. Rick And Luger grappled as the fans were amped up for this match. In this lock-up, Luger got pushed into Patrick. Patrick had this stern look on his face. This referee, after weeks of his character being called into question, has now just been shoved into by these big men. Nick Patrick’s response was to ring the bell and call for the disqualification… and the place EXPLODED with such heat for Nick Patrick!

This is what NUCLEAR HEAT is all about. I’m not a fan of Nick Patrick but when he called for the bell after being pushed into following the first move of this match, it was like these fans wanted to jump over the barricade and beat him down. His actions made you want to see him eaten alive by the babyfaces. Sting and Luger yelled at him. All four men cornered him in the corner amongst deafening boos from the fans.

Patrick pulled off a great performance and he was such a great character during this angle. He was a man trying to do his job, in his mind at least, and was now doing everything in his power to prove that. He made questionable calls for weeks, he gets called out by “the media” as Patrick put it. He gets bumped into by these big dudes. He was not gonna take this verbal and physical abuse anymore, so he rang for the bell.

As a character, you could have read this in so many ways. You could have read this as Nick Patrick being a crooked referee that was only looking out for himself, calling for the DQ to get out of here and earn a simple pay check. He could have easily been paid off by the nWo to lure Sting and Luger to the parking lot like he did, in order to get them to steal a police car and get them into trouble. Oh we’ll get to that…

Alternatively, you could have seen this as Nick Patrick simply standing up for himself. In his mind, he feels he is genuinely a good referee and after all of the accusations, he snapped. He rang for the bell after a wrestler laID their hands on him. By the rule book though, it was not like Patrick was wrong to disqualify them. Even if it was a “soft” push or whatever, he was still provoked so he had every right to DQ them if he felt it was right. 

Or… you can can conclude that he’s just an incompetent referee that is just over-compensating to make up for his mistakes. Any one of these scenarios would work.

This I thought was solid work. This gets two thumbs up!

 

“The Dungeon of Doom” Meng, The Barbarian, Big Bubba and Taskmaster vs “The Four Horsemen” Chris Benoit, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Debra McMichael, Woman and Elizabeth

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This match had some of the best and worst of professional wrestling wrapped up into one match and thankfully, they got the worst of professional wrestling out the way at the very start of the match. The match started with “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan and Steve “Mongo” McMichael and I swear, the stuff these two men did together couldn’t have gotten any worse unless one of these men ended up getting accidentally killed in the ring. Everything that could have wrong went wrong.

Taskmaster, the veteran of the two, grabbed Mongo and tried to do an Irish Whip but Mongo tripped and fell down to the ground. These two were on two completely different books as Taskmaster tripped following another Irish Whip and went to grab Mongo again. I think Mongo thought it was a clothesline as he takes a bump to the ground as Sullivan just looks down at him. That spot fell apart so that’s two for two in screwed up spots so far in this match. They tried two spots and messed up both spots.

Mongo did a shoulder tackle which is successfully pulled off. Then Mongo went to the top rope as I think he wanted to do a moonsault because his back was turned to Sullivan as Flair cheers him on. Mongo lost his footing, turned around and fell onto the middle rope. Mongo did this big dive off the middle rope and just lands in the middle in front of Sullivan. It was basically a flying nothing executed by Mongo as Sullivan crawled to the bottom rope. RIC FLAIR was left speechless on the apron watching this all go down. It was like Ric Flair’s brain malfunctioned at the sight of such sheer horrific wrestling from Mongo. Words do not do these spots justice. You really should look up this episode on the WWE Network and watch the first 90 seconds of this match. It is worth seeing…

Taskmaster himself was not any better and it does take two to tango. Taskmaster, as the veteran, was supposed to walk Mongo through their four spots and they screwed up three of them. Sullivan just appeared to wanna grab Mongo and do what he wanted to do while Mongo was just clearly not able to work a match on the fly. The “dive” spot was 100% Mongo’s fault but this was some of the worst wrestling you’ll ever see. 

I love that Benoit and Barbarian proceeded to have a quickfire chop battle with such ferocity. These guys were awesome in this match. Benoit german-suplex Barbarian like it was a regular move for him and please keep in mind htat Barbarian was a large competitor.

Flair finally got the tag to a big pop. This was some of the very BEST of professional wrestling. Ric Flair talked about being a babyface during the Stone Cold Broken Skull Sessions episode he did. He said he didn’t like being babyface because he was the dirtest player in the game all and all he did was cheat, so how was he gonna get himself over as a babyface? This crowd didn’t care. Flair got the hot tag and he did low bow after low blow to the Dungeon of Doom to thunderous reactions from the crowd. It was the most heelish house of fire spot you will have ever see. The referee just let it all go as the place is going bananas. Then, as Flair is running wild, THEY CUT TO THE BACK. 

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Sting and Luger are shown chasing Nick Patrick down to the limo as Patrick pleaded for his life. Patrick ran past the limo but then Ted DiBiase is shown going into the limo.  Sting, as a rational thinking babyface, threw a cement block throw the windows of limo! If I were in that limo when Sting threw that cement block, I would have been crapping myself to see a massive cement block that was able to break through the window at such high speed. This was a scary spot. 

AND THEN, Sting and Luger decided to play Grand Theft Auto as they steal a police car and go after the limo. WHAT? They stole a police car which the announcers point out will land them in jail all because they wanted to chase a retired professional wrestler in a limo! Absolute insanity!

Back to the match, I love that it was the Horsemen vs the Dungeon with two heel groups, and both teams were trying every dirty trick in the book in the middle of this nasty stable war. It wasn’t like the Horsemen suddenly worked like complete babyfaces. They were the babyfaces but they were acting like the Horsemen and pulling off Horsemen tactics. Arn talked about needing to do the wrong thing and doing bad things to win War Games two weeks ago and they demonstrated that during this match

Benoit and Sullivan start fighting on the mat but this was broken up. Meng did one of the best-looking atomic drops ever to Benoit. I like Meng doing a curb stomp to the gut of Benoit on the floor and Benoit bounced off the mat to sell it! Barbarian hit a powerbomb on Benoit but Arn broke up the pin. Sullivan actually threw Benoit over the top rope while the referee’s back was turned.

Flair eventually got out a chair as things started spiralling out of control. Arn got in illegally and hit Bubba with a spinebuster. The Faces of Fear missed a double top rope splash. Ric ran wild with another hot tag. Flair locked on a  Figure Four as the rest of the Horesmen took care of the Dungeon. Benoit floored Jimmy Hart at ringside. In an uncomfortable spot with the benefit of hindsight, Benoit yelled at Woman to grab Flair’s arms as the Horsemen got the win. Benoit argued with Woman as Woman was upset at Benoit for mixing personal with business or something.

This was a fun train-wreck of a match when all things are considered.

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The nWo jumped everyone after the match as Bobby left the booth. Hogan floored the referee. I do want to point out before The Giant came out that the nWo were kicking WCW’s arses 3 on 8 at this point! They were controlling the ring albeit with the wrestlers already being beat-down by each other and Flair’s infinite low blows delivered. It was an un-even fair that the nWo was winning!

The Giant then walked down to the ring. The nWo back off and then Giant turned around and chokeslammed Barbarian and then Meng. He is revealed as the fifth man on the New World Order (with Ted being the fourth I guess) as he hugged Kevin Nash. The Giant has betrayed us all and joined the nWo.

It’s funny because the running joke of The Giant/Big Show’s career was that he was always turning babyface and heel like every few months, so the people could have considered this a heel turn as he joined the nWo. However, The Giant was still aligned with Dungeon of Doom who are clearly heels. He was the heel in the feud with Randy Savage and he was squashing jobbers as a heel monster. He was the defacto babyface against Hogan but other than that, he was a full-blown heel at this time. This was a heel that somehow turned heel again despite already being a heel! Only The Giant could pull that off!

Savage ran down with a chair as he cornered Hogan. This was the funniest wrestling spot of the entire night. Savage had Hogan cornered with a chair. If you recall 3 weeks ago, Hogan hit Savage with a chair to the back of his head. 3 weeks later, Savage had Hogan at his mercy with a chair and he was gonna swing this chair right at Hogan. In the most agile thing Hulk Hogan as ever done, he ducked the chair shot and shoot took Savage down to avoid the chair shot at all costs! It was the best technical wrestling Hogan had ever done and it was a necessity for him, because this crazy Randy Savage had a chair shot with Hogan’s name on it! It was the funniest spot to see Hogan take down Savage as if this were a shoot fight, which it probably was in Hogan’s eyes!

The nWo took control again as Hogan smashed Savage with the chair. Giant delivered one last chokeslam and I love Hogan had to get his hands on Savage as well as Giant slammed him down. Because apparently Hogan was concerned Giant could not lift and chokeslam RANDY SAVAGE! I think he would have been fine doing the spot Hulkster!

Because this was the Hollywood Hogan show, Hogan couldn’t help but deliver three leg drops to Savage in a homage to Bash at the Beach. The WCW guys all tried to get in the ring but the nWo holds the fort in the ring. So yes, the nWo were kicking WCW’s arses despite having a 4 on 9 disadvantage! What underdogs these nWo hooligans were! 

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Hogan grabbed the yellow spray paint as they painted a yellow streak on SAVAGE’s back. The nWo make they way up the ramp and Hogan even yelled: “come on you chickens” as the WCW dudes stayed in the ring like cowards… AT FIRST. The nWo take over the booth. Hogan yelled about if there’s any question about who the most powerful organisation in the world IS, they just showed everybody. The Giant then started cutting a promo. Before I get to the promo, it is a nice change of pace to see a dude turn heel and immediately being able to cut a promo to explain why he did it. There’s no need to wait a week for Giant to cut a big promo about why he joined the nWo. They had a Giant cut a big promo to explain why he did what he did. That sounded good… on paper. In execution, it didn’t work out for Paul Wright.

I’ve loved Giant’s promos for the last year, but he cut one horrible promo at the end of this show. Giant talked about how he got a phone call from Ted DiBiase and he wanted to talk to him about business. Giant talked about getting to Florida and the home of Hulk Hogan. As Hogan commanded him to spit at the WCW logo. Giant mumbled about how there was 20 Harley Davidsons and 5 Mercedes and he walked around his big home. Giant just went on and on about all of Hogan’s stuff that he owned. It sounded honestly that Giant was a realtor trying to sell Hogan’s house. He just started talking about Hogan’s house to the point where he just got completely lost by cutting a promo in a style which clearly didn’t suit him yet.

This promo was eventually interrupted as the nWo and the WCW guys continued to fight. It’s a wild brawl and it really felt like an out of control situation. Everybody is fighting everybody and this was another thing I loved. How many times do we get a big heel turn in WWE and it takes the babyfaces weeks or even months to get their revenge on the people that turned on them? The Dungeon of Doom got betrayed by The Giant and they wanted his head! They were vicious heels so when Giant betrayed him, they wanted to beat his arse. They didn’t have to wait a week to get their revenge. They wanted some of the Giant on this show!

Then the fighting stopped and Giant got back on the headset again and talked about this mansion again. Hogan decided to step and basically cut Giant’s promo for him. He steamrolled over Giant and mentioned everything he showed Giant was his. Hogan stole Flair’s line of whether you like it or you don’t like it, it’s the best thing going today. Hogan destroyed the announce desk as all you see is wreckage as Nitro goes off the air.

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I have to say, the chaotic nature of the ending of Nitro worked really well even by 2020 standards. It turned into a giant “shoot like” brawl and it worked. The Giant’s promo about what Hogan was offering was very weird. Big Show talked about being strong-armed into the group on the Stone Cold Broken Skull Sessions, and this remains to be seen, but he did not look like he fit with this group here. The scary Giant of the Dungeon of Doom selling out for the money all seemed like totally out of character and a weak transition. 

It was also clear from this angle alone that Giant was not going to benefit a great deal from being in this group. By the end of the show, it became clear that Giant was just another one of Hogan’s lackeys in his crew after being the biggest heel in the company for a year now. If you want to discuss wrestling politics, it is entirely possible that Hogan wanted Giant under his wing just so his status as the biggest heel in the company was not in jeopardy. If this guy in The Giant was with the nWo taking direction from Hogan, that meant he coudn’t possible surpass Hogan as the biggest heel. I mean it sucked to be Giant because after being such a stand-out star in WCW and potentially the next big star to go up against Hollywood Hogan, he is now just another guy in Hogan’s group a month after defending the title against the Hulkster.

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I did not think this WCW Nitro episode was any good. It was a very memorable show, especially because of what happened with The Giant. However, even the memorable stuff had some absurdity to it. Sting, the biggest babyface in the business, stealing a cop car and throwing cement blocks at limos. Ric Flair whipping out low blows like it was nothing and being the biggest babyface of the night. The Giant joining the nWo and selling out for the money. There was some good stuff during this show and it felt like an “easy” show to watch if that makes sense to everybody. The show didn’t feel like it dragged although the main-event was quite long. I tolerated the show and things like Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko helped a great deal.

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: WCW 1998 PART 18 – SPRING STAMPEDE 2000

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Previously on WCW EWR…

Raven finally fulfilled his prophecy and defeated Chris Jericho to become the NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champ… wait a minute. Is anyone else getting a strong case of deja vu? Well anyway, Raven beat Jericho to become a two-time WCW World Champion. The next night on Nitro, Jericho was not there. But WCW Co-President Ric Flair informed us that Jericho had officially activated his rematch clause for a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match to take place between Jericho and Raven at Spring Stampede. Raven stated that Jericho was making a huge mistake but Jericho simply took the fight to the Exiles. On the next Nitro, Jericho began his crusade by viciously assaulting the Television Champion Perry Saturn. He would attack every member of the Exiles, and took out Randy Savage with a conchairto, putting him out of action. His crusade included attacking Raven during a WCW Title defense against Bret Hart on the Thunder before Spring Stampede. These actions have not set well with the Hitman, who will address the WCW Universe on the Spring Stampede Pre-Show.

On the Nitro after Uncensored, Hollywood Hogan and Sting called out Eric Bischoff for costing them to the WCW Tag Team titles. Eric came out to declare that he’s just struck the deal of the century, which will guarantee the destruction of both Sting and the Hulkster at Spring Stampede. Bischoff said that he would announce this deal later on and that he wanted Hogan and Sting to be there when he does. Bischoff guaranteed that while he was a little concerned about this contract, he knows that controversy will create cash and he knows that this would bring results. Later on, Hogan and Sting came out to await their opponents for the tag team match at Spring Stampede. Out comes Eddie Guerrero and Paul Heyman who simply walks to the ring. As they do, they spot the fired Chris Benoit coming out from the crowd. He grabs a chair and joins Hogan and Sting in the ring. Heyman finally grabs the mic and utters the words, “Controversy creates cash”. As soon as he says it, Benoit smacks Sting with the chair! Hogan is shocked before he is attacked to by the Rapid Wolverine. Eddie joins him in the ring, as they batter the legends. Benoit then approaches Heyman, as they shake hands revealing Chris Benoit as the newest “Paul Heyman Guy”.

Bam Bam Bigelow and Curt Hennig have been having issues with one another. The former tag team champions have been embarrassed on a number of occasions by Bret Hart and have had a mass fall from grace. The two blamed each other for the problems but their manager Ted DiBiase tried to get them on the same page. However, this resulted in a huge brawl on Nitro that ended up with DiBiase on his ass. DiBiase went to Bischoff, who made the match of Bigelow vs Hennig at Spring Stampede. This was seen as a cool-off match where the tag team can settle their differences. Ric Flair added a special referee to the match… Ted DiBiase!

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Pre-Show – Bret Hart/The Exiles confrontation.

Bret Hart interrupts the Pre-Show by stating that when he first arrived at WCW after Montreal, he thought he saw a company that he could trust. A company that wouldn’t screw him over unlike that company down in Connecticut. But what happens? Time after time, interference and injustices costed him his opportunity to become the WCW Champion and be the holder of a true World Championship. He said he respected the WCW Title, but he doesn’t respect the man currently holding the title – Raven. Bret is interrupted by Raven and his Exiles faction.

Raven told Hart that he’s got it all wrong. Raven says that Bret thinks Raven is disgracing the title, but it’s quite the contrary. Everything he and his Exiles stable have done in the last year has been done to reward true talent in WCW. Raven says that for 12 years, he had fought to be at the pinnacle of his profession. After so many years waiting for his opportunity, Raven said that somebody like him didn’t need to wait anymore and he proved his worth when he beat Sting for the WCW title back at last year’s Superbrawl.

He outlines Perry Saturn as another example. Perry Saturn was looked over and passed over by all the WCW management in the back until Raven reached out to Saturn. Now Saturn stood as the WCW Television Champion, he has a beautiful woman in Trish Stratus at his side and he has proven himself against the very best in the business. Bret responds by saying that he doesn’t believe Perry has proven anything too him. He says that Perry might have proven himself against the very best, but he’s not proven himself against the Best There Is, the Best There Was and the Best They’ll Ever Will Be. Raven proposes that since neither Bret or Perry are booked, why not have them fight tonight in an impromptu match? Saturn vs Hart in a non-title match! Bret agrees and says that after he’s done with Perry, he’s coming for the WCW title.

 

Match 1 – Bret Hart def. Perry Saturn in a non-title match

A match designed to make Perry look really strong. However, Bret goes over as I did have plans for Bret being in the WCW Title picture.

 

Match 2 – Rowdy Roddy Piper (c) and Steven Regal (c) def. Ultimo Dragon and AJ Styles in a tag team tables match to retain the WCW Tag Team Championship

The Legion hold on to the Tag Team titles after knocking off the exciting team of Ultimo Dragon and Cruiserweight champion AJ Styles.

 

Match 3 – Keiji Mutoh def. Rey Mysterio in a Falls Count Anywhere match

Mutoh beats Mysterio in a hell of a blow-off match between the Japanese legend and the rising mexican star. Suprisingly, Mysterio was a lot more over after this match! I guess Mysterio is really starting to come into his own. It took him a while, but now he’s really over. As for Mutoh, his overness is taking a tumble. That’s bad as it affects his stable the Asian Invasion if their leader is losing overness. 91% though so a strong match.

 

Match 4 – Rob Van Dam (c) def. Scott Steiner in a First Blood match to retain the WCW International Championship

This is a very brutal match. RVD and Steiner are just smacking each other weapons. But in the end, RVD wins by hitting Steiner with the Vandaminator for the win! RVD retains and the champ goes over in this feud! This got a 95% which I’m really happy with. The joint-top rated match on this card, alongside the main event.

 

Match 5 – Kensuke Sasaki def. Booker T

Yeah Sasaki going over in this was definitely the wrong call in this match and I’ll explain why. I ended up putting Booker in a REALLY big feud after this, so for him to go into this feud off the back of this loss to an Asian Invasion member was a really bad mistake! It didn’t really make him look strong! Then again, WWE had Daniel Bryan job to Bray Wyatt and then just put Bryan in the WWE Title picture! So it might work out for the best!

 

Match 6 – Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero def. Hollywood Hogan and Sting in a hardcore tag team match

Benoit and Eddie go over… CLEAN! Benoit and Eddie are the younger talent and not to take anything away from Hogan or Sting… their main purpose on my game now is to elevate the younger guys. I see Benoit and Eddie as the future of WCW and with Paul Heyman on their side, they are a force to be reckoned with. So there was no need to put Sting and Hogan over in this when they’ll just be super over at the end of it, win, lose or draw. 86%… nice rating!

 

Match 7 – Curt Hennig def. Bam Bam Bigelow with Ted DiBiase as the special guest referee

Ah well, this was the ruiner of my rating. 😦 Hennig beat Bigelow after DiBiase didn’t notice Bigelow’s foot under the rope. Hennig offered to shake hands but Bigelow drops him and leaves. Asbury Perfection seems to be broken up and that match did nothing to help them.

Now to address the elephant in the room… the 68% rating. I really don’t get why this match got such a low rating. Now I did have them both as heels and people could say that was a huge factor. But then again, Eddie and Chavo were both heels when they feuded so it can’t have been that. It’s not like Bigelow and Hennig weren’t over either. They’re definitely good workers… so why did it get such a low rating? The game said that it was because fans were still pumped up from the last match and this match was seen as a let-down but come on. Hennig vs Bigelow can’t have been SO much worse than Benoit/Eddie vs Hogan/Sting. And there’s like an actually decent storyline to Hennig and Bigelow so I don’t see how that can be the case. Bloody game! -.-

 

Match 8 – Raven (c) def. Chris Jericho in a steel cage match to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

Raven retained the WCW title after Bret Hart came out and got into the cage to attack Raven but accidentally clocks Jericho with a chair. Raven takes advantage to escape the cage Jericho responded by brawling with Hart to the back. The WCW World Title picture is heating up!