RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #52 (SEPTEMBER 9TH 1996) – A MAN CALLED STING BETRAYS WCW AND JOINS 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 numbers increased for the New World Order as two new members were revealed during last week’s episode of WCW Monday Nitro. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase was shown entering the nWo limousine as Sting and Lex Luger chased crooked referee Nick Patrick out of the building. Sting’s appropriate response would be to steal a police car and chase the nWo limo as it took off!

As Ted DiBiase left, the rest of the nWo arrived in Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. They beat up the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen until The Giant arrived and teased making the save. However, The Giant betrayed WCW and the Dungeon of Doom as he chokeslammed the Faces of Fear and joined up with the nWo. The Giant cut a promo at the end of the show saying that Ted DiBiase and the Hulkster offered him everything he ever wanted and Hogan bragged about how this was the best thing going today.

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We have now arrived at the go-home show for WCW Fall Brawl 1996. The main-event of that would be WCW vs nWo in a War Games match, in what would end up being a famous War Games match connected to what took place on this show.

A new trend is starting to form on WCW Monday Nitro which would set a bad precedent for future wrestling shows. The nWo storyline was done really, really well at this stage and everything that was a part of that storyline was obviously well-thought and executed. Eric Bischoff had his teeth tucked into this storyline featuring his main man Hollywood Hogan and the nWo. Just look at the number of nWo t-shirt commercials that aired during this Nitro for example.

The big angle coming from this show played into this storyline and it worked out, and it’s a good thing it did. Because without that storyline, this was one of the most bland wrestling shows you’ll ever see. We got a bunch of nothing matches across the board and non-finishes in the matches featuring the biggest stars. They showed hundreds of video packages to show us what happened last week and what happened DURING THIS SHOW and a whole bunch of interviews. All of this felt like filler that could have been used for something far more productive.

 

Date: September 9th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Columbus, Georgia

Rating: 3.7

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zybszko opened up the show as usual. Tony goes out of his way to make it clear that although The Giant joined the nWo last week, the fourth man for the nWo in the War Games match was still not yet known as The Giant was already booked to face “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Fall Brawl. So the storyline is being played up as to who the mystery man is. It feels like every Nitro since Scott Hall showed up has included a “who is the mystery man” storyline of some kind. Whether it was Hall’s “big surprise”, or who the third man was, orthe fourth man or the fifth man. Now it’s who will be the fourth man at War Games!

 

Pat Tanaka vs Super Calo

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One of the advantages of having a massive roster like WCW had was that after a few weeks of using the same guys on Nitro, random wrestlers would burst back onto the scene and would come off as so fresh to the crowd. Here, the opening match was PAT TANAKA VS SUPER CALO and it came off as so random to me! It’s not like it didn’t belong either, because Super Calo was challenging Rey Mysterio Jr. for the Cruiserweight title at Fall Brawl. I appreciate the company going out of its way to be different. Some times it’s good different, some times it’s bad different but they get an A for effort regardless!

What also took me off guard was Pat Tanaka’s music, which would end up becoming the theme song of one Bill Goldberg. I was about to call out the WWE Network for editing in Goldberg’s theme song for some reason but apparently, that’s what he came out to. It’s weird hearing that song without “GOLDBERG” chants accompanying it.

The match itself wasn’t particularly spectacular but it was certainly unique with its layout. You had two guys with complete different styles and they just did a bunch of cool spots, really trying to make the most out of their few minutes of fame they had on this episode of Nitro.

Tanaka took down Calo with a “reverse back kick”. Calo does a flying crossbody off the top rope and then a top rope shoulder tackle to follow that up. Calo took out Tanaka with a dive. They show “youngsters” outside in nWo shirts with packs of printed paper coming into the arena.

Tanaka does the Bray Wyatt crossbody to take out Calo for a 2 count. Calo tried a hurricanrana but Tanaka cut him off with a big powerbomb as the fans went “oooo” as even they felt the impact of this powerbomb. The finish saw Tanaka try a gutwrench suplex from the top rope but what happened was Calo somehow reversed it into a crossbody for the win without actually doing anything! It was weird but it weirdly worked where Calo and Tanaka just crashed down to the floor and Calo covered him. Again, I admire WCW trying out a new finish! This finish gets a thumbs up!

 

Rick Steiner was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund in a great segment. One of the things people remember about Rick’s brother Scott Steiner was Scott’s crazy promos and interviews that he’d do where he’d just went absolutely crazy. Rick didn’t quite hit what would be peak Scott Steiner when he was in TNA but Rick was out of his mind for this promo!

Last week, there was a tag team match where Lex Luger and Rick wrestled but they tumbled into referee Nick Patrick who called for the bell. This was at the very start of the match for those of you who don’t remember. During this interview, Rick yelled and claimed that he had Luger beat last week! He claimed to have Luger beat after the FIRST MOVE OF THE MATCH! Luger came in to interrupt Rick’s wild rantings! Luger put over Rick but Lex said he was focused and he was gonna be the Total Package. Rick squealed again about how he could beat Lex and I died. Squealed is actually the best way to describe this noise Rick Steiner was making. He sounded exactly like Scott when he was talking really fast during this promo and I just loved the delusion Rick had that he could beat Luger after they wrestled for roughly 10 seconds last week! This also gets a thumbs up!

 

They showed the first of a number of nWo announcements as they promoted the famous nWo shirts. Kevin Nash added that all proceeds would got to the Ric Flair retirement fund. These shirts never got old, ever. This look was such a classic and it looked so cool compared to what everyone else was doing at the time. If you look at a lot of WWE t-shirts nowadays or even AEW shirts, there’s a lot of effort being put into producing these shirts. WCW did it right with these shirts and eventually the Wolfpac shirts. It was a black shirt with the white nWo logo and it looked cool. I even own an nWo shirt myself and even a Bullet Club shirt which follows the same pattern. If you make it simple and stand out, anyone will want to buy it and it would look stylish. These shirts they had just aged really well.

 

WE HAVE BREAKING NEWS as GLACIER FINALLY DEBUTED AT WCW PRO! After 5 MONTHS of building up Glacier to bring Armageddon or whatever to WCW, Glacier arrived on the third or fourth ranked WCW show. He didn’t even show up on WCW Saturday Night. He showed up on WCW Pro, which I didn’t even know existed until I started watching these shows! His debut was that he did a bunch of “martial arts moves” but it honestly look like he was doing a dance in front of this live audience. He was doomed when it took him five months to arrive on WCW television but this debut was a serious let-down. I can only imagine what they’re gonna try to do with him in the next few months!

 

 

“The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rougeau and Carl Oulette vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags

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This was the WCW Monday Nitro debut of the Quebecers, Jacques Rougeau and future ROH World Heavyweight Champion Carl Oulette. To get over just how foreign this team was, The Amazing French Canadians started singing the Canadian national anthem as the Nasty Boys proceeded to kick their arses. 

Then the heels turned things around and then beat the Nasty Boys’ arses for the rest of the match and all the way until the finish. It was like a “Macho Man” Randy Savage WCW match, where Sags and Knobbs sold and sold until the finish when they won.

Jacques hit Sags with the Canadian flag to get the heat I guess. We broke away from this action to show Larry throwing away the flyers the nWo youngsters in the crowd were handing out with the flyers saying: “you haven’t seen bad… but it’s coming”.

Jacques scoop slammed the big man Carl onto Sags. The Amazing French Canadians did a sweet double team senton. Jacques held Carl on the top rope and then Carl did a flip and delivered the senton. The finish saw Knobbs grab the Canadian flag and hit Roulette and Sags got the pin. This match was so backward-assed booked. It was the weirdest heel/face dynamic from the Nasty Boys. They got their asses kicked clean in the middle against the Canadians and then used literally a “foreign weapon” and cheated to win… and they were babyfaces.

I may start to play a game each week for these reviews. Are the Nasty Boys babyfaces or heels on this show? This week, my vote is that they are babyfaces. They were going up against the foreigners who sang their own national anthem, they beat them and the fans cheered and then cut a promo about how they were not with the nWo. They cheated to win the match but the fans cheered when they did it. Nothing like American pride to get someone over as a babyface. Also in the Nasty Boys’ defence, the Amazing French Canadians used the flag as a weapon first so I guess that was just revenge!

ARE THE NASTY BOYS FACES OR HEELS?: FACES

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Nasty Boys. They discussed the Nasty Boys beating down Harlem Heat last week. Fans chanted for the NASTYS. Sags said everybody was pointing the finger at the Nasty Boys. Nasty Boys said the WCW tag team titles are all that concern the Nasty Boys which is with WCW. They only care about Harlem Heat and the tag titles. Brian said they couldn’t give two hells what the nWo does. He said they were WCW and they were coming to take the titles SUCKA. A decent promo to hype up Fall Brawl.

 

St Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long vs Scott Norton in a Hold vs. Hold match

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The loudest bell in the world sounded to kick off this match. This was effectively a submission match but they called it a “hold vs hold” match where I guess the man with the best hold won! This was to build up Ice Train vs Scott Norton in a SUBMISSION match at Fall Brawl. Teddy Long was also managing Ice Train alongside Pittman. 

Pittman ran wild for a while with a few head butts to the gut. Norton cut him off with a rake to the eyes and the arm breaker. Pittman Irish-Whipped Norton into the steel guard rail. Norton threw Pittman into the steel steps

Norton locked on the armbar as Teddy was I guess questioning whether Pittman wanted to give up. I was so confused by what was going on here. I think Pittman didn’t want to give up but Teddy was arguing with rferee Nick Patrick of all people to stop the match because of what Norton was doing. I mean there was nothing Patrick was doing wrong since Pittman hadn’t given up but I guess Teddy wanted Patrick to call off the match as Pittman was not going to give up.

The opportunity was taken out of their hands as Ice Train came down. More crooked than the refereeing by Nick Patrick was the fashion on display by Ice Train. as he seemingly came right out of a YMCA video. He had a fanny pack, black leather cap and a denim jacket. It’s actually amazing but if you put Ice Train against the outfits of Bobby Heenan or Tony Schiavonie from Hog Wild, Ice Train would probably lose against both men in the battle of who wore it better! Dusty Rhodes was another plane of bad but this was not a good look for Ice Train. 

Ice Train came down and threw in the towel for Pittman to save him. Norton and Ice Train went nose to nose as Pittman got hot at Ice Train… ironically. I do love how they showed the replay as part of the “Pepboys Power Pin of the Week” and the POWER PIN of the week was Norton’s submission hold that won him this match! The irony was running wild on this episode of Nitro!

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Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair. Flair asked Luger where Sting was. Luger said he knew what it was like to be a horsemen but he had no idea where Sting was. Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Chris Benoit showed up and they questioned Sting, saying that the “rat” has jumped the ship. Luger just said Stinger was not there for the interview but he would still be there.

I love how Sting not showing up for an interview was evidence enough for the Horsemen that Sting was not on their side! It’d be like when Conor McGregor would be late for a weigh-in show for example and whoever he was fighting then started claiming that he’d jump ship to Bellator or something! Like you’re that paranoid? He’s not there for an interview but there’s dozens of interviews on Nitro. Mean Gene talked to everybody during these shows INCLUDING THE RFEEREES! 

Actually, now that I think about it, remember when a few months ago Ric Flair was supposed to team with the Horsemen in the main-event against Sting, Luger and Savage and he no-showed the match? That was a show-long storyline that went nowhere too. Flair was randomly accused during that episode and now Flair is questioning Sting because he missed an interview! Ric Flair missed THE MAIN-EVENT OF NITRO on that show!

Luger confirmed Sting would be there. Arn said he expected to get hurt at War Games. Arn said Hogan lit the fire now it us gonna burn the nWo all to the ground. A very energetic promo from Team WCW heading into War Games.

 

Joe Gomez vs Juventud Guerrera

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I haven’t read the source of these rumours but supposedly this match got Joe Gomez put in the “doghouse” of WCW because of how it went down. I’m not sure if I can put the blame solely on Joe Gomez for this but this was such disastrous match which all fell apart at one spot near the end where they tried the dumbest spot imaginable which was even worse in execution. 

Juvi I guess was getting a Mexican title shot at Fall Brawl which Konnan currently held. I’m not even sure if it wa an official title because they’ve barely had Konnan come out with it on WCW television. Juvi did a springboard 450 Liger kick which is the best way I can think to describe this springboard kick. 

There was actually some decent spots during the match but this spot I’m about to talk about was so abysmal. Let me cut to the case. Juvi and Gomez are both standing on the apron on different sides of the ring. The planned spot was Juvi was going to springboard diagonally over to Gomez and do a hurricanrana to send him flying into the ring. This to me is a stupid spot although I get what they were going for. Maybe if they had two legitimate luchadors, this could have worked. However, they tried to do this spot with Juvi and non-luchador Joe Gomez and it didn’t work.

Juvi springboarded over to Gomez and tried a hurricanrana but he just crashed down to mat and Gomez tumbled over the rope to try and sell the move. It looked horrible. I blame this spot on Juvi personally because Juvi tried in one motion to flip Gomez over the top rope and expected Gomez to go over in time. Gomez was still trying to get himself in position for the spot and Juvi just flies away and hoped the spot was going to work out. Juvi appeared to be a wrestler that just worked at his own pace and if you couldn’t keep up with him, the match would just fall apart. That’s what happened here. 

Juvi did a springboard corkscrew apparently called the “hiro con plancha” for the win. Sloppy spots during the match really hurt this match and it didn’t really do favours for either wrestler. 

 

Mean Gene interviewed Nick Patrick yet again. We’ve had surely at least four weeks in a row of Mean Gene interviewing Nick Patrick after matches. Mean Gene asked about the DQ from the tag team match last week. Patrick claimed Luger deliberately hit him and he claimed this happening because of the lies Mean Gene has been spreading. Patrick claimed Sting and Luger should have been suspended. Mean Gene claimed there was too many incidents to suggest this is just a coincidence from Patrick. Patrick claimed to be WCW all of the way. Mean Gene talked about the cars and the new Rolex watches Patrick had and Patrick retorted about Gene being Mr Mercedes Benz. I like some of the banter between these two but I am over this storyline with Nick Patrick and I’m fairly certain that it is far from over….

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I talked about some of the angles from last week’s angles being absurd. Nothing on that show last week would have been as absurd as this. The nWo are in full force outside of the arena. This is not WCW’s fault obviously but it was raining outside for this episode of Nitro. We can’t control whatever weather God throws us at us. Fine.

However, Hollywood Hogan, The Giant, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall are all outside putting out flyers on the cars all decked out in nWo gear. The rain was POURING DOWN as they were doing all of this in tank tops, t-shirts and caps! There was no nWo branded jackets apparrently that they were wearing or there weren’t any coats they had. Ted DiBiase had a blue umbrella outside of the limo as he talked to some inside the limo and everyone else was outside in the miserable pouring rain putting flyers on the cars parked outside of the arena.

There’s so many things that is ridiculous about this scenario. Firstly, Ted DiBiase was revealed as a member of the nWo and it’s mentioned on this show that he is bankrolling the nWo. He’s bringing in all of this money for limos and time to promote their shirts and nWo announcements and yet the nWo felt the need to go outside in the rain to put these flyers on cars? Even if they felt it so strongly that this needed to happen to spread the word, it was already shown that they have “youngsters” that are handing out flyers IN THE ARENA FOR THEM but the nWo THEMSELVES are the ones outside in the wind and rain dishing out these flyers? 

Finally, let’s think about this. It’s pouring down with rain and it is windy. Your plan as a wrestling stable is to put pieces of papers on the cars and hope they don’t fly away because of the wind? Why the heck did you guys even bother? This was at the same time hilariously great and hilariously stupid at the same time! This is something that was straight out of Hulk Hogan’s MO so I don’t find it hard to believe that he thought this was gonna look cool for the nWo to do! It just looked ridiculous. 

 

Rick Steiner vs Lex Luger

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It was not Nick Patrick this time refereeing the match with Luger and Steiner. It was Randy Anderson.

There were a lot of headlocks, mat-based wrestling as Rick kept wrestling Luger down to the ground. Then for like 30 seconds, Rick stalked down Luger as Luger stayed grounded as Rick didn’t even touch him. I have no idea what was going on. It was like Rick was trying to wrestle himself while Luger stayed on the mat. There were no holds so Lex just kept laying on the ground.

For the time before the fireworks went off for the second hour, it was the most boring match in the world. Then the fireworks went off and Luger suddenly fired up and Luger did a flying forearm. All of a sudden, the match burst into life for the second hour! It felt like we had just turned the channel to an alternate reality of WCW Monday Nitro where the match was exciting!

Rick dropped Luger with a big belly to belly suplex for a 2 count as the fans started getting into the match. Luger eventually fired back and hit a “perfectly executed” powerslam to Rick. Luger went for the Torture Rack as Nick Patrick ran down to interrupt the match. Luger ran to the back with Patrick as Luger was then counted out. This was the second match of the show where a man went down to the ring to basically stop the match. Ice Train stopped Pittman’s match by throwing in the towel and Patrick did it here to grab Luger’s attention.

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Ted DiBiase was shown talking to who appeared to be Sting who was supposedly in the limo.  Lex Luger came out to confront DiBiase but then a man called Sting popped out of the limo and attacked Luger as he and the nWo jump Luger in the rain.

I don’t think I can properly describe this angle without revealing a Fall Brawl 1996 spoiler so if you want to watch that PPV without “spoilers” it may be best to watch that PPV and then come back to this review. You have been warned….

….this is a fake Sting. However, he proper looked like the real Sting. He was decked out to look exactly like Sting and in the Sting gear and it was almost like a complete double of Sting. Eric Bischoff screamed “nooooo” as the nWo and even Ted DiBiase got in a few shots. Luger eventually fired back and threw away the chauffer. There was two limousines out there as the nWo appeared to have vanished.

Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight and the technology we have in 2020, it would be easy for us nowadays to tell this was a fake Sting. This was 1996 where such technology did not exist. The fans could not prove to each other in heated debates whether this was the real Sting. They were people that were sure this was not the real Sting but there was always doubt and that’s the beauty of this angle. Any opportunity you have to “work the fans” and keep them guessing as to whether this was real or fake is an opportunity to take.

By the way, it can’t have been fun for Luger to get jumped IN HIS GEAR in the pouring rain as he’s rolling around in all of this water. 

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Now I mentioned that a lot of fans did figure out that this was not the real Sting but in the eyes of the WCW announcers and the WCW wrestlers, there was no question that Sting had betrayed them. Eric Bischoff was gobsmacked as he told Sting to stick it (a callback to when Hogan and Sting both used that line on each other), Heenan was in near tears as he shakes and the announcers were clearly shaken by the betrayal of the one constant in WCW in Sting.

Say what you will about WCW but they played this up as a legitimate turn. There was no questioning what Sting did. Sting was with the nWo in WCW’s eyes and there was no question as to whether this was a “fake” or what the deal was.

It’s funny, the fans were not shown anything of what happened backstage so 15 minutes of nothing happened for the live crowd as the last thing they saw was Luger walking out of a match! A lot of nothing happened on this show and the fans were booing throughout this show as Bischoff tried to play up the sombre atmosphere of Sting betraying them. A bunch of the wrestlers go outside to check one of the limos. 

 

Rey Mysterio Jr © vs Billy Kidman for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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One uncomfortable moment was where Mike Tenay called out WCW for not having leadership and Bischoff berated him for being a newcomer and calling out WCW for leadership! 

Rey sent Kidman over the top rope with a hurricanrana. Rey got cut off by a high dropkick from Kidman. Kidman did a Shawn Michaels-like top rope body splash for a 2 count.

Rey did a springboard flip senton to retain the cruiserweight title. This match was exactly 100 seconds long. I don’t have much of a review of it and that’s a shame considering this was Mysterio vs Kidman for the Cruiserweight title.

Bischoff sounded so defeated as he called this match

 

“The Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian w/Jimmy Hart vs “Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock

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Dear god, the timing for matches on this show was all over the place. As discussed, Kidman and Mysterio got 100 seconds. Every other match except Luger vs Rick got about 3 minutes of time. Luger vs Rick Steiner got about 6-7 minutes before Luger walked out of a boring match. Then they gave 10 minutes to PUBLIC ENEMY VS THE FACES OF FEAR. What?

They all brawled as Barbarian and Rocco screwed up a moonsault spot in the ring. THE LEPRECHAUN ran down as chased way Jimmy Hart.

THEY CUT AWAY FROM THE MATCH to do an interview with Lex Luger, Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. This was not like a inset promo during a match. This covered up the whole screen as the babyfaces cry about Sting. Arn said he’s not disturbed that Luger lost a friend or that he himself lost ally. Arn said the only thing you could count on was Sting, even when WCW was previously bought out. Arn said he’s speechless but he wanted an answer. Luger talked about his best friend having stabbed him in the back. Luger yelled that he knew where Sting was and he knows where he lives and he’s gonna go find him. That actually tied into Giant’s betrayal last week. Remember when the Dungeon of Doom attacked Giant after the big turn to immediately get revenge? Luger’s friend Sting turned his back on him in his mind so Luger was going to find Sting where he lives and get his revenge!

Ric yelled that they were gonna go to war. Flair was literally losing his voice as he was yelling at about War Games. 

All of a sudden, the tag match turned into a crazy fight. Patrick was turning his attention to Grunge and Jimmy Hart yelling backstage and missed the cover initially from Meng. He did the count and it was 2 and a half so if Patrick was available at the scene, the Faces of Fear could have won the match right there. So again, they are playing into the Nick Patrick storyline… 

Grunge got the hot tag and tried to headbutt the Faces of Fear but it didn’t work as they no-sold it and roared. Bischoff quietly told Sting to stick it. I love how Bischoff was trying to play the tough guy but he told Sting to “stick it” like in a quiet tone because he was actually petrified of the guy.

Barbarian tried a big splash onto Rocco through the table but Rocco moved as Barbarian crashed through the table on his own. Another table was brought into the ring as Nick Patrick sternly warned him not to use it. Rocco did a top rope moonsault.

Rocco went for the cover but Meng sat up like he was the Undertaker and proceeded to beat Rocco’s arse from that position. He did the Tongan Death Grip turned into a four way brawl and then it was ruled a no contest. It honestly looked like they were legitimately fighting at one point! Patrick then awarded the match to Faces of Fear as he begged them off.

Someone called Meng “Haku” by mistake and Bischoff went on this big tirade apologising and saying he is no longer with the WWF and all that jazz. He was deathly afraid of a WWF lawsuits at this time.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the remnants of the Dungeon of Doom. Jimmy Hart yelled about everybody being in his face about him creating The Giant. Bubba called out Glacier again. All of a sudden, Konnan is now with the Dungeon of Doom. Konnan has transformed his gimmick into a gangsta-like character and he’s with the DUNGEON OF DOOM of all stables fighting alongside guys like Hugh Morrus and The Leprechaun.

Speaking of which, Konnan said he’s seen the best gang wars and led the best gang wars. He’s sick of them paying for nWo announcements and he said the toughest men are in the ring right now. Kevin Sullivan said for Savage, all he needed to do was take care of Tenta tonight and Giant at the PPV and the debt would be considered paid for the Dungeon of Doom as the Dungeon helped Savage to the back last week.

 

We got a nWo announcement. Ted DiBiase is now cutting promos alongside Nash, Hall and Hogan. I love how Ted was cutting a promo into a nWo exclusive microphone. Hall talked about it being nWo 4 life and they all laughed. Usual nWo shenanigans.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs John Tenta

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This was every Savage WCW match ever. Savage sold forever, he hit a double axe handle, and he would usually hit an elbow drop and win… this one had a bit of a twist.

Savage hit Tenta in the head with a chair and smacked him in the back with a chair with the DQ not being called for any of this. He did one last chair shot as he hit a double axe handle and hit an elbow drop and went for one more as Teddy Long came out to urge Savage to exit the ring.  Savage therefore did a big jump out of the ring as Teddy warned that “they’re back”.

Tenta is left in the ring as the referee throws the match out. Savage leaves just as the limo leaves. WCW guys are searching the limo. They find yellow paint like the used on Savage last week. They spray pain the limo in yellow.

 

Arn Anderson makes his way to the announce both. Arn yelled that the world was in shock and outraged but no one was hotter than the Horsemen. He said the whole thing started 10 years ago and we paved the way for Hogan. He said Hogan wanted to be a Horsemen but he just didn’t know how to. Arn said Hogan surrounded himself with thugs. Arn vowed to take Sting’s head off if he was the fourth man. Ric Flair took a headset and he said they were going to War Games and yelled at Hogan that he was not gonna leave War Games alive.

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I did not like this episode. The Sting stuff was good but besides from that, a whole bunch of nothing matches took place on this show. There were moments where all we got was segment after segment after segments and when were were down with all the segments, we had matches which were either squashes or had some shenanigans leading to the finish. Rey Mysterio vs Billy Kidman went 100 seconds. This was not an easy episode to watch and it wasn’t that exciting to me. Therefore, it’s gets a thumbs down. It’s saving grace is that it did get me excited to see what would happen in the main-event of WCW Fall Brawl.

 

We will be reviewing WCW Fall Brawl 1996 for our next Armbar Express blog post. As always, be sure to stay safe and follow the blog for further updates and further WCW Monday Nitro reviews as part of the Armbar Express’ Retro Express series!

 

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

RETRO EXPRESS: CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS #33 – HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (C) VS RIC FLAIR FOR THE WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

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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Howdy! We’re changing things up a bit with this post. The last episode of WCW Monday Nitro I reviewed was building up the main-event of WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII which was Hollywood Hogan vs Ric Flair. Now I never watched the last Clash of the Champions they did in January 1996 and I didn’t really wanna watch this one either. However, I did want to watch the main-event for a few reasons:

  1. Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair was a pretty big dream match at the time so whenever they wrestled each other, it was pretty much considered a big deal.
  2. This would most likely tie-in to the current New World Order storyline.
  3. This was the first ever Hogan vs Flair match where Hogan was the heel and Flair was the babyface…. that is HUGE.

I watched The Giant and Hogan from Hog Wild and I found it so surreal to see Hogan wrestle a “Hulk Hogan” match as the heel with Giant running wild on him. How is a babyface Ric Flair vs a heel Hulk Hogan going to work? I couldn’t help myself so I watched this match as part of this series.

Think of this as a bonus match review, as we’ve done before, as part of the Retro Express WCW series!

 

Hollywood Hogan (c) vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Tony Schiavonie at commentary did an excellent job in hyping up this match. He broke down the entire storylines of both these men from the moment when Hulk Hogan arrived in WCW in 1994 up until this point. Now Ric Flair is being cheered against the “low-life” Hollywood Hogan as Bobby Heenan referred to him as. It creates the contrasts to the men these two were two years ago to the men these two are now.

Hogan was still cheered as a babyface as he came down and ripped off his shirt though. The Giant nameplate was still on the belt. Hogan slicked his forehead for some reason. Flair then responded by slicking his own hair back to big “woos” from the crowd.

They locked up as Ric took over with a confident look on his face. Hogan knocked down Flair with a shoulder block. Hogan positioned Flair on the top turnbuckle and when the referee was dealing with Hogan, Flair got in a cheeky slap to the face. Hogan wrestled Flair to the ground and worked on the arm which did not look good. Flair then chopped away and punched at him as Hogan got upset on the outside, Hogan threatened to punch a female fan who was giving him all kinds of hell!

Hogan won the test of strength and Flair bit at Hogan to take control ofthe match. They had a few spots where they were on totally different pages.

Ric Flair pulled off a big delayed suplex to Hogan which is quite a feat of strength. Hogan then HULKED UP as Flair punched away as the fans went crazy. Hogan did his whole babyface Hogan comeback. Hogan then missed the Leg Drop and Flair capitalised with the Figure Four Leg Lock as Heenan commanded that Flair breaks Hogan’s legs! Hogan threw down the referee Randy Anderson as he was locked in the hold.

Then the Outsiders ran down and the nWo beat down Flair. The Horsemen and Sting and Lex Luger chased away the nWo as Tony believed Hogan had given up. Flair was declared the winner via disqualification.

Flair and Sting pushed each other as Hogan yelled from the entrance ramp. Hogan posed with the belt as Dave Penzer officially declared Flair was the winner but was not the champion.

Exciting at times but an otherwise dull typical Nitro main-event at Clash of the Champions.

Match Rating: *3/4

 

I shouldn’t be surprised that this match was as big of a let-down despite the interest and build towards it. This is hero Ric Flair versus villain Hulk Hogan. Who could have imagined that we’d ever see this in a wrestling ring? What happens? Instead of building this up for, I dunno, Starrcade or some other big pay-per-view, they rushed towards putting it on television in this TBS special. Because WCW wanted to protect both men (for multiple reasons probably), they had a typical disqualification and it was bothersome.

If not already established by the last edition of Nitro, I guess this accomplished the goal of perhaps “tightening” the unity between the Horsemen, Luger and Sting but it didn’t really seem to accomplish anything for the future. A big match they could have built on and delivered at a bigger stage going to waste at a Clash of the Champions event and producing a non-finish.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #48 (AUGUST 12TH 1996) – THREE TITLE MATCHES AND THE OUTSIDERS VS STING AND LEX LUGER REMATCH

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

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WCW Hog Wild saw the next step in the New World Order’s plan to destroy WCW. The Outsiders defeated Sting and Lex Luger following shenanigans from a crooked referee in Nick Patrick. In the main-event, Hollywood Hogan and the nWo toppled The Giant in order to seize the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from WCW. The last image of the show saw Hulk Hogan spray paint “nWo” on the championship belt to deface the title and literally leave a black mark on the prestigious World Heavyweight Championship.

 

My thoughts on the post-Hog Wild edition of WCW Nitro are that there was a strong emphasis on the second hour of the show. There were a bunch of “filler” matches I guess in the first hour and then a huge line-up for the second hour. We had three title matches on the second hour, including Randy Savage vs Ric Flair and the Outsiders making their WCW Nitro debut in a rematch from Hog Wildagainst Lex Luger and Sting. Very interesting format for the show so I can only assume that Nitro were going up against RAW in that second hour and they wanted a really strong hour.

I think it worked. Firstly, Nitro won the ratings war against against RAW by 3.3 to 2.0, which I believe was the largest gap between the shows up until this point. Secondly, the second hour was actually a strong hour. We got two main-event worthy matches and they were putting in a lot of ground-work for future events, including a Hollywood Hogan vs Ric Flair match at Clash of the Champions. I thought this was a good episode as we move towards Fall Brawl.

 

Date: August 12th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Casper, Wyoming or as Larry Zbyszko called it, “in the middle of nowhere”

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

The show started with Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko’s usual introductions, where Larry called out the Four Horsemen, Sting, Lex Luger and the Dungeon of Doom, a.k.a. the “brotherhood” of WCW, for not showing up to help Giant in the main-event of Hog Wild. I guess this was to play up the angle that WCW were not truly united yet in the fight against the New World Order.

 

“High Voltage” Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage and “Rough and Ready” Dick Slater and Mike Enos vs “Dungeon of the Doom” Taskmaster, Hugh Morrus, Meng and The Bababarian w/Big Bubba and Jimmy Hart 

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This was probably the biggest clue that WCW didn’t really care for the first hour of the show. The opening match saw whatever was left of the Dungeon of Doom take on High Voltage and Rough and Ready! This was one of a few matches on this show where all I could think was “who put this match together?” It was… insane.

Taskmaster was in street clothes for this one. I wrote there were “massive boos for these guys coming out” which I think were related to High Voltage and Rough and Ready.  Hugh did a clothesline and the fans went nuts for the Dungeon of Doom during this match.

Dudes just started running into the ring at random. I don’t even remember there being a single tag in this match. Enos was pretty bad in this. Taskmaster just ran and attacked dudes like crazy and the referee just allowed it to happen and eventually it broke into a wild brawl. Kaos missed a dive by about 1000 miles. There was like no attempt by Kaos to make it seem like he was even remotely going to hit Meng on the floor. Meng hit a superkick and won via pin fall.

Rough and Ready beat up High Voltage and Dick Slater fell down trying to stomp on them and… this was just a giant massive mess. A clear indication that the first hour was not a priority even in the midst of this weekly wrestling television war!

 

Sting and Lex Luger and came down. Luger grabbed the mic and they said they would both have a sleepless night. Sting said they didn’t care about controversy from their match at Hog Wild. Sting and Luger made a challenge towards the Outsiders for right now as the fans got amped up. They wanted to see this fight and Sting weas urging them on to make more and more noise. Sting said if the nWo had the guts, they’ll show up to the ring right now. Sting said that it’s 2 on 2 and he whined that the nWo always picked their spot. They eventually gave up and I guess the ball was left in the nWo’s court to whether they accept the challenge or not.

 

Renegade vs Diamond Dallas Page

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There was not a lot to this match but I personally think it was one of the better regular DDP matches on Nitro in the last few months. I’ll break it down shortly but I did ask myself a question during this match… was there ever a reveal of who DDP’s benefactor was?

Remember when DDP became broke after Kimberly took all of his money in a match? He was down in the dumps and became homeless and then, a “mysterious benefactor” helped DDP get back on his feet. They’ve not made a reference to this in months. I did check and there was apparently no official reveal as to the identity of the mystery benefactor. Apparently DDP has said in interviews that he believed the angle would reveal that Kimberley was the benefactor all along. There was another name rumoured but this is for someone that has yet to arrive in WCW, so I won’t mention who the man or woman was that was also rumoured to be the benefactor.

Back to the match, DDP worked on the arm for a little bit. The men bounced off each other from the shoulder tackle attempt. DDP bumped his arse off for a Renegade shove then later proceed to smack Renegade with a lariat. DDP hit a swinging neckbreaker as they revealed the nWo would respond to the challenge later on in the show.

DDP put on a chin lock for a long time. Renegade almost sneaked his way into a win with a roll up. Renegade literally kicked the gum out of DDP’s mouth and did the comeback. Out of nowhere, DDP did a counter and hit a Diamond Cutter for the win. A decent Nitro TV match. Maybe I’m in the minority on this one but I thought it was alright.

 

The New World Order are shown sitting down backstage. Kevin Nash said they’ll do the match with Sting and Luger when they feel ready. Hall said they beat WCW at Bash at the Beach and Hog Wild and Hogan won the title at Hog Wild as well. They mentioned they heard some whining and crying about Nick Patrick and called him a “FINE senior referee.” Hogan mentioned a fourth and fifth member of the nWo. Hogan complained about the belt and wanted to redesign the belt with a “Buddy in Tampa.” Nash said whatcha gonna do when the nWo runs wild on you? Hogan said the WCW faithful would disown Sting and Luger if they beat them again.

This was a pretty bland nWo backstage promo. They were just sat down talking for a long time about embarrassing WCW, accepting challenge etc. and it wasn’t particularly interesting. I think it was their attempt to make it look like a shoot but it just looked bland. It really didn’t get me invested in the rematch. Sting and Luger did a far better job at hyping up this main-event earlier on in the show.

 

Konnan vs Jim Powers

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I wrote down “A mess of a match” and this match wasn’t even the worst thing Konnan did all night.

Konnan did some horrible punches and knees and then locked on an abdominal stretch. Powers got a huge pop out of a clothesline. I laughed when the commentators claimed Jim Powers was “very successful” in WCW. I’ll say it again, I don’t remember ever seeing Jim Powers win a match on Nitro!

I guess Konnan is a heel now because of what Hogan did. Fans chanted USA. Powers bounced Konnan’s head of the turnbuckle as he ran wild on Konnan. The fans were really into Powers here. Powers did a dropkick and Konnan could not just fall down to sell the move. Konnan instead twisted in the air and just fell down on his front. For god’s sake. Just take a bump to the mat and sell the move better.

Konnan reversed Powers charging at him with a kick and got a pin with his feet on the ropes. This was a poor match.

Mean Gene Okerlund interview Mexican Heavyweight Champion Konnan after the match. Konnan cut the most bipolar promo in WCW history up until this point! Konnan said Mean Gene’s opinions are irrelevant and mentioned the nWo have been stinking up the joint. Konnan mumbled about having a bulletproof plan. Konnan then said that he was sticking for WCW and told the nWo to look out and the fans booed. He cut a heel promo and then turned it into a babyface pro-WCW rally promo against the nWo. WHAT?

Man this was a bad promo from Konnan. This promo was so bad. Konnan just got totally lost with his own promo. If there was ever a man that needed a scripted promo to follow, I think we’ve found our guy. He just completely lost focus during this promo. This was the 1996 version of the Kalisto promo after the WWE Draft 2016 where Kalisto talked about making a good lucha thing! Awful stuff!

 

Ron Studd vs Chris Benoit w/Miss Elizabeth and Woman

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This was another one. My first note from this match was: “Who fucking put this match together?” In the morning of Nitro, Eric Bischoff, Kevin Sullivan or whoever it was started thinking: “OK. We need Chris Benoit to get a big win on Nitro to capitalise on his big win at Hog Wild. Who can we put him in the ring with?” They looked around the locker room and saw the former “Yeti” Ron Studd and decided to have Chris Benoit SQUASH this giant of a man in Ron Studd! WHAT IN THE… WHA WHAT?

It was so bizarre. How many wrestlers did WCW have on the payroll at the time? It was probably in the hundreds but I know they had like 200-300 wrestlers on their payroll at one time with hundreds of them not working at all. Lanny Poffo was signed to WCW and never worked a match during his time there! They looked at all the cruiserweights, all the big dudes and all of the technical wrestlers but the man they wanted Benoit to squash was RON STUDD this seven foot tall dude. The funny thing about this selection is…. the match ended up being GOOD!

Chris Benoit took this dude, who rarely ever wrestled in his life, and got a good match out of the guy by just getting the heat and chopping down the big man. He was chopping down this giant to show that he could chop down any giant in his path as a preview of his match with THE GIANT at Clash of the Champions! It was so simple and effective.

Elizabeth was a total babyface shaking the hands of the fans while walking nervously towards the ring. Benoit talked trash up to Ron’s face. Benoit slapped him in the face and then Ron grabbed him and stomped away at him and choked away at the Canadian. Benoit looked so tiny compared to this man. This worked visually in presenting Benoit as the clear underdog and showed what type of a mountain this man had to climb to beat this mountain of a man.

He chopped Ron down with a dropkick to the knee and worked on the leg as Ron screamed and wailed. As great as a match this was, Ron Studd sounded so unauthentic as he wailed on the floor “AAHHHH AAHHH AHHH.” He screamed like he stood on Lego rather than have his leg broken or snapped by Benoit! To Studd’s credit, he sold way more than Dean Ambrose usually would have in WWE.

Benoit wrapped Studd’s leg around the ring post. Benoit tried a shin breaker but Studd did a few elbows and a scoop slam to take over. Benoit pulled off a superplex on the big man to a huge pop as the fans loved Benoit. I don’t think I’ve ever someone the size of Benoit do a superplex to someone the size of Studd. Studd went up for the superplex and Benoit did a big superplex for the pinfall and win.

This crowd was so hot for this show and for Benoit as he called out the Giant by looking at the camera saying giants can be beat. I’ve seen a lot of tall guys the size of Studd worse than him and he had a decent match with Benoit! I would mostly give the credit to Benoit but I do think this match being put together raises an excellent point…

This was such a unique match in the way it was put together and just how crazy on paper it sounded but WCW still did it. They threw two wrestlers who didn’t look like they could fit together and the wrestlers tried their best to make something of it. I’m writing this on the 5th of April 2020 having watched WrestleMania 36. The majority of matches on the show with how they wawer put together and how they was formatted (I guess with the exception of the Boneyard match and the Bray Wyatt match) was exactly the same. All the styles were exactly the same. In this match in 1996, we got two clashing styles and it somehow WORKED!

Again, I may be in the minority, but this gets a THUMBS UP from me!

 

Mean Gene interviewed Benoit, Woman and Elizabeth. Mean Gene complained about being “light-headed” due to Woman. Benoit was facing Giant at Clash of Champions. Benoit put over Dean Malenko as one of the best technical wrestlers today and respected him but Benoit was a man with an agenda. The Horsemen had a agenda and Benoit said Giant was strong and big but he vowed to knock him down to size. The promo drifted off a little at the start but I think Benoit pulled off a decent promo by the end of it. He showed passion and I think this did a good job in building up that Clash of the Champions match.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) w/Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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I will echo the sentiments from Brandon Stroud from the The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro series with Upprox.com. Every week there’s a Harlem Heat match, and every week they find a stupider way to finish it. They had a stupid and over-booked finish at the Hog Wild show and they did another one here.

I do actually want to mention one thing about Hog Wild which I purposely did not mention but I will address it here. If you read my Hog Wild review, I did mention the spot where the fans were honking and revving up the bikes to get under the skin of Harlem Heat and they booed the hell out of them. Allegedly the fans were shouting out all kinds of racial slurs towards the Harlem Heat tag team during that event.

I never mentioned it although it was pretty clear that the Harlem Heat tag team were the most hated people during that show. In case you were wondering why I didn’t mention it, it was because my reviews are mostly focused on the wrestling aspects of the shows and I try not to mention anything that doesn’t relate to the wrestling aspect of it. For example, I was mad at the crowd for booing during the Chris Benoit vs Dean Malenko match which was tremendous. I have a rule to not discuss political, social attitudes and sensitive matters during these reviews. In case you were wondering, that’s why I never mentioned it during the Hog Wild review.

Eric Bischoff claimed: “he was taking care of business” for last week’s episode of Nitro and completely zoomed past Heenan’s question of where he was at Nitro and Hog Wild. The Steiners wasted little time and beat up and sent the Harlem Heat packing to the outside of the ring.

Scott did a powerslam and hit a sweet belly to belly suplex. The fans were super into the match and the Steiners and I think it was Stevie Ray that cut off Rick’s momentum. Scott tripped over a fallen Booker and came very close to not connecting with a clothesline. I got flashbacks to the Test/Steiner spot from Bad Blood 2003 where Scott completely missed a double axe handle (please read my WWE Bad Blood 2003 review at this link)!

Scott tried a suplex but Sherri grabbed Scott and Booker fell on Scott but Col Robert Parker stumbled into the pin when he ran away from Rick for the disqualification. It was creative for a cheap finish but was there any need to do a rematch between the tag teams if you’re basically going to do the same concept of a finish? Harlem Heat once again retained the titles after their managers got involved. This was just a complicated way to make sure that nobody “does the job” and effectively meaning that no-one got over.

Harlem Heat get hot at Parker after the match. Nick Patrick was the referee and the disqualification apparently proved to Bischoff that Nick Patrick was a fair official! There are storyline reasons for why certain characters are acting the way they are but for the purposes of not divulging spoilers to the uninitiated, I will leave it at that. This was an OK match.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs The Ultimate Dragon w/Sonny Onoo for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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Think of this match like an edited version of the PPV match. Dragon did all the stuff he did at the PPV. He got the heat on Rey by basically just getting all of his stuff in and then Rey got the roll-up out of nowhere and won!

This was a return match from Hog Wild. Dragon unleashed a few side kicks which Bischoff claimed was a great showcase of martial arts. Dragon did a springboard elbow smash. Dragon smashed Rey with a running powerbomb what Bischoff called a “sprint powerbomb”.

Rey cut off a Dragon dive with a foot to the face. Rey did a nice hurricanrana and a big plancha to the outside. Dragon cut off a dive to the outside with a dropkick. Dragon did a nasty dive to the outside himself.

Dragon hit a Dragon Suplex for a 2 count. Dragon hit a moonsault from the top rope. Dragon tried a powerbomb and Rey reversed it into a roll up for the win. A fun little TV match as Rey Mysterio was so happy about being the champion and Rey called out Malenko. Didn’t they mention at the PPV that Mysterio beat Malenko in a title match on WCW Pro? I find it weird that Rey would want a rematch with Malenko after already beating him twice before in the last month or so.

 

Ric Flair © w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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Eight months ago at WCW Starrcade, these two men were fighting in the main-event for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. I don’t know how this happened but eight months later, they were fighting for the US title and it was presented as a far bigger deal than this match was presented eight months previously. These two are supposedly in line for future WCW title shot anyway but I do find that interesting.

Savage ran at Flair but Flair cut him off. Savage smashed away at Flair with some punches. Savage choked away at Flair. Savage spat at Flair and Flair responded with a poke to the eye.

Flair used Elizabeth as a human shield but Elizabeth moved out of the way as Savage ran right at Flair. Savage lunged at Elizabeth as Ric got the heat on Savage. Savage fired back at Flair with some jabs. Savage did double axe handle as the fans were going crazy for Savage. Flair cut off Savage with a punch to the gut.

Flair did the chop block that apparently he stole from Nick Patrick! Woman got a kick in at Savage and then ran for her life! Flair got a Figure Four Leg Lock locked in as Flair grabbed the ropes whenever he could. Savage tried to reverse the pressure and Flair tried one last grab of the ropes but the referee saw it and eventually kicked Flair’s hand off the ropes as Savage finally reversed the pressure.

Flair accidentally clotheslined the referee which I actually loved. We don’t see many “ref bumps” during a Ric Flair match and here’s the reason why. Ric Flair is known as the dirtiest player in the game who does everything in his power to bend the rules! However, the referee was down. Therefore there was no rules to break for himself or for his opponent too! Not only could Ric do whatever he wanted, so could the Macho Man!

Savage hit a big double axe handle to the outside. This crowd was insane as Savage was looking to end this match and win the prestigious United States Heavyweight title. Savage started tearing up the mat on the floor. Then coming down to the ring with a chair was Hollywood Hogan…

Hogan came down with a chair. I’ve made jokes about how weak Hulk Hogan chair shots were in the past. Here, this was not safe in the slightest. Savage had his back turned and Hogan walloped Savage in the back of a head with a chair. It looked ridiculously nasty.

He hit him again with the chair to the back which did not look as bad. Referee Nick Patrick ran down to the ring asking for assistance with the injured referee as Hogan walked to the back. Then as soon as Flair went for the pin, Patrick ran into the ring and counted the pin!

I love that even though Randy Savage was knocked out with two Hogan chair shots, Flair cannot help himself but put his feet on the rope with Woman holding onto his legs! Because you see, Ric Flair must get the advantage at EVERY CHANCE he can!

They mentioned on commentary saying that Hogan did not make a move towards Flair, suggesting maybe Flair is with the nWo. This to me was a really fun match.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Hollywood Hogan. Hogan said the nWo took the WCW title EASILY and turned it into the New World Order title. Hogan said there’s no stopping the nWo. Hogan said he wanted to make sure that WCW still had such a high regard for Flair and didn’t want to have a mark on his body as he doesn’t want any excuses when he beats him in Denver, Colorado. He said Outsiders are here to clear up some busy. Once they are done with “Stinky” and “Flex Lexy”, the nWo were gonna rename people and categorise them with different names. He proclaimed that Ric Flair will be known as “the stupid little man.” Hogan told Flair if he could do what he did to the Booty Man at Hog Wild imagine what he was gonna do to Flair at Clash of Champions (Booty Man allied himself with Hogan and then Hogan turned on him Hog Wild in case you weren’t aware).

I think with names like “Stinky” and “the stupid little man” that Hogan was DETERMINED to get the fans to hate him! What stupid names he came up with! They were not clever but I don’t think he intended for them to be clever. This was not like Kevin Nash where he did everything in his power to make himself appear to be cool. Hogan was trying everything in his power to get booed! It certainly didn’t work at Hog Wild brother!

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall

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They confirmed it was “nWo time” and the match was on but no one could find the Outsiders. The Outsiders showed up through the crowd. I do like that there was a ECW-esque vibe to them walking out through the crowd as if they were actual outsiders. That I did think was cool and it was different to what everyone else was doing in that company.

Lex Luger came out but there was no Sting. Lex Luger ran wild with a  double clothesline as he smashed both men into each other. Sting eventually came out and did a big top rope clothesline to Nash.

Sting sent Nash to the outside with a clothesline as Luger sent Hall to the outside. The Outsiders tried to surround Luger and Sting but the babyfaces were ready for them. Sting did a springboard to the outside as they beat away at the heels. Nick Patrick appeared to pull Sting off of Nash which saw Nash take a cheap shot in order for the Outsiders to get the heat. Bischoff was more concerned and questioned why a man got throw over the top rope and this was not a disqualifcation!

I think Sting was waiting for a dive but Nash wasn’t ready so he got down off the top rope and just started beating up both men. Eventually, the big spot came when Patrick pulled Hall out of the way of a Stinger Splash from Sting as it was confirmed that the Outsiders had paid off Patrick. Nick Patrick was now I guess officially the nWo referee if not already established at Hog Wild.

The Four Horsemen eventually ran off the Outsiders as the match was I guess thrown out as Bischoff claimed “this bites”.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Four Horsemen. Ric Flair however was the only man who talked. He said doesn’t like Sting and Luger but he’ll play ball with them cause they’re WCW. Flair yelled about Hogan calling himself to be the immortal. He said the first rule of fighting is never to outmatch yourself. He said Mongo was a match for Nash which I good a good kick out of. Can you imagine if they did Kevin Nash vs Steve “Mongo” McMichael? What a specatacle that would have been!

Flair kept going by saying Arn Anderson was a match for Hall and the “bussaw” Benoit would be a match for whoever the 4th man was. Ric Flair went nuts and said they were gonna run wild and style and profile horsemen style.

 

That was WCW Nitro. I thought it was a fun show overall. Certain aspects of the show which would look bizarre on paper actually worked and there were fun matches throughout the show. It felt like an easy to watch and digest overall. I enjoyed it at the very least. This shows gets a thumbs up!

In case you are wondering, I will be reviewing the main-event of the Clash of the Champions show referenced to during Nitro. It’s Hollywood Hogan defending the WCW title against Ric Flair. Think of it like a bonus match review as part of the series. I’m gonna review that match and then we’ll back with the Nitro review. I hope you enjoyed this review and be sure to follow the Armbar Express on WordPress to get alerts to future posts…

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #47 (AUGUST 5TH 1996) – BAD BOOKING CAUSES BUMP ON THE ROAD TO HOG WILD

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’s episode saw the New World Order lay waste to four men as part of a well-done viscous attack that disrupted WCW Monday Nitro. They beat down Arn Anderson and Marcus Bagwell with baseball bats as well as taking out Scotty Riggs and throwing Rey Mysterio like a dart into a trailer. They left the arena in a limo, which “Macho Man” Randy Savage chased by literally jumping on top of the moving vehicle! Good guys and bad guys put their differences aside to attend to their fallen comrades during an historic episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

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The episode we’re reviewing today is the go-home show for WCW Hog Wild. This is the card for the Hog Wild show for those of you that need a reminder:

  • Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs Ultimo Dragon for the WCW Cruiserweight title
  • Ice Train vs Scott Norton
  • Madusa vs Bull Nakano with the winner destroying the loser’s motorcycle
  • Dean Malenko vs Chris Benoit
  • Harlem Heat (c) vs The Steiner Brothers for the WCW Tag Team titles
  • Ric Flair (c) vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW US title
  • Lex Luger and Sting vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall
  • The Giant (c) vs Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World title

As for building up this card, WCW have done an excellent job with the matches involving the nWo. Lex Luger and Sting are at the forefront of this big invasion angle and the Outsiders have been destroying people left and right so obviously Sting and Luger want revenge. The Giant has been smashing guys every single week leading to his title defence against the traitor to WCW Hollywood Hogan. They’ve done such a great job building up those two matches in particular. Since they are the money matches anyway, I guess you can consider the build to this PPV good.

As far as the rest of the card, there’s a lot we need to talk about. I’ll mention them again during the review but these storylines are modelled in the same way as a lot of the WWE storylines are nowadays leading into a PPV. Traditionally, wrestling pay-per-views would have the very best wrestlers on those shows because the biggest matches possible would be taking place. The Giant has beaten challengers each week going into Hog Wild to fight the biggest star in the world Hollywood Hogan for example.

This episode of Nitro made caring for these individuals really difficult. Let’s start with Ice Train and Scott Norton. They have this big break-up angle where partner miscommunication led to them losing to the Steiner Brothers on Nitro. They accuse each other of being the weak link and then a week later, we have them both in separate singles matches. What happens? They both lose by disqualification. Why should I care about two losers that were already losing as a tag team now facing each other in a singles match at Hog Wild?

This plays into what happened this week. How many times have I talked about the way Madusa has been booked since she arrived in WCW. She arrived as the WWF Women’s Champion which caused WWF to actually sue WCW in real life. They go through all of that effort to bring her into the company and she’s away from Monday Nitro for MONTHS after a little feud with Sister Sherri. She came back a few weeks ago to have a good match with Malia Hosaka. They do the rematch on this episode of Nitro and what happens? Hosaka got the win. Why? Why is Madusa constantly losing on Nitro to set up such things as a big match with her and Bull Nakano at Hog Wild?

Eddie Guerrero. While Eddie Guerrero has been winning matches on Nitro since Bash at the Beach, I’ll give WCW props for that, I was still mad with the way he was presented him last week in his match with Big Bubba. Big Bubba beat him up for about 21 hours and Eddie got a fluke win to, in theory, set up Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair for the WCW US title. This week, they showed Eddie Guerrero saving Chavo Guerrero from Ric Flair during an episode at Saturday Night. Eddie turned around and Ric Flair attacked him from behind and made him look like a geek.

Would it not have been better to see Eddie face and beat all the members of the Four Horsemen leading to him vs Ric Flair at the PPV, so at the very least he is presented as someone as being on Ric Flair’s level? No. He’s presented as so vastly inferior to Ric Flair. I understand this is Ric Flair we’re talking about but they did a poor job in building up Eddie for Ric in the last few weeks.

Speaking of the Four Horsemen, then there’s Chris Benoit. They were getting Benoit over so big in his feud with Kevin Sullivan. He was the young lion of the Four Horsemen and he was putting on great performances every week. Since Bash at the Beach, I don’t think he’s won a single match on Nitro once. The Horsemen didn’t win any of the matches with Luger, Sting and Savage in the last few weeks, he lost to Eddie Guerrero about 3 weeks ago. Then on this episode of Nitro, what happens? He got distracted by Dean Malenko, he went out and attacked him and he supposedly lost by count-out to Alex Wright? ALEX WRIGHT. God forbid that we have Chris Benoit beat Alex Wright clean to build up Benoit vs Malenko.

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I realise the stuff I’m ranting about is not really that important, and with wrestling being fake, it really doesn’t matter who wins and loses. However, possibly due to the WCW backstage politicking at the time, they over-booked everybody on the mid-card on the exact same level to the point where they all stay in the same position as a means to keep to keep everyone happy. I guess nobody wanted to do the job so the lengths they had to go to in order to protect everyone is mind-blowing.

Their saving grace, at this time, was that the talent was so excellent that the ring-work made up for it. I’m sure Malenko vs Benoit at Hog Wild was a great match and I believe Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair ended up being a good match at Hog Wild.

….I don’t mean to start this episode review with a rant! If you see the way these wrestlers were treated as I go through this review, thank god WCW did have the New World Order at least at the start! Even with this episode though, the nWo didn’t really do anything spectacular or anything at the level of last week. I’ll get to that when I talk about the nWo’s “involvement” with this episode of Nitro.

 

Date: August 5th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Disney/MGM Studios at Orlando, Florida

Rating: 3

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

 

The show started with Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko talking about what happened last week. Larry Zybsko kept trying to coin phrase “New World Odor” like he did this last week. They actually mentioned that they were four empty chairs in the front row which was apparently where the FOUR members of the nWo were expected to sit. Big Bubba, Scott Norton, Meng and The Barbarian all come out to act as security for the show.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray (c) w/Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker vs “The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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It was so weird as in the middle of all this nWo madness, the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS were randomly challenging for the tag team titles on Nitro! However, we got big HEAT chants before the bell rang and Harlem Heat were very much over with this crowd.

Both teams were wearing red. Booker and Ricky started off the match. Larry pointed out the teams had their “speed men” in the ring to start the match. Booker took over early. The Express took Booker down with a double elbow smash and a double clothesline

Tony then declared that the security team had worked… TEN MINUTES INTO THE SHOW! We still had approximately 110 minutes left of the show but apparently the security was a success in the eyes of Tony Schiavonie!

The fans were into Harlem Heat as they got the heat on Ricky Morton. The Heat got distracted with the managers and almost got rolled up by Ricky. Booker yelled at Col. Rober Parker on the outside. Sherri whined about her anxiety being out here and Booker was not happy about it.

Booker did the Harlem Side Kick. Booker missed a top rope splash and Ricky literally rolled into a Robert Gibson hot tag. Gibson ran wild and hit an enziguri on Ray.

Robert went for the cover but Sherri kissed Robert or at least tried to. Gibson pushed her off the apron. Col Robert Parker got mad and took off his jacket. He riled himself up and was ready for a fight but he got punched in the face. Harlem Heat took advantage for the win with Ray hitting a big boot as Booker prevented Morton from breaking up the pin. Average Nitro tag team match to me. It was OK but was nothing particularly memorable.

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Nasty Boys. Brian Knobbs said they were getting a lot of heat just because Hogan is a friend of theirs. They make it clear that Hogan did what he wanted to do and the Nasty Boys did what they wanted to do. They expressed it’s a free country when Sting and Lex Luger interrupted. Sting wanted to know where they stood. Remember when Sting was constantly being questioned about where is loyalties lied when Lex Luger was allied with the Dungeon of Doom? Now he’s doing it to the Nasty Boys!

Sags said they stood in Nastyville. Knobbs yelled they don’t condone what Hogan did but didn’t see anything wrong with it here. Knobbs brought up a good point that WCW wanted them to step up but WCW’s guys weren’t willing to help them during their tag team matches so why should they help WCW? That is a… solid point. This was to build up the main-event of this Nitro episode of Sting and Lex Luger vs The Nasty Boys.

GLACIER is still coming. I’ve read a similar review online saying it’d been 15 weeks since the original Glacier videos started.

 

Malia Hosaka w/Sonny Onoo vs Madusa

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Apparently this women’s division consists of three women because this is a rematch from 3 weeks ago and we’ve not seen any other women wrestle on Nitro since.

Madusa did a sunset flip for a 2 count. Hosaka levelled Madusa with some kicks and with a hair-assisted snapmare. Madusa hit a spinning heel kick.

Hosaka got the leg and stood there for like 20 seconds either forgetting her spot or not making her mind up about what she wanted to do. She eventually did the Figure Four Leg Lock to literally no reaction. Even in small promotions where someone would do the figure four leg lock and at least one or two fans would go “woooooo.” Here, Hosaka does the move and nobody cared. The fans chanted “USA” to cheer on Madusa.

Then Hosaka went back to work on the knee of Madusa as they cut away from the action to show a black limo. Madusa struggled to do a gutwrench suplex. Hosaka did a sunset flip but Madusa got the ropes at one.

Madusa did a superplex . Madusa did a front drop kick to Sonny on the apron and then Madusa fell down on her back. Hosaka covered her as soon as Madusa fell down and Sonny grabbed Hosaka for leverage for the win. I already talked about the booking of this match during my introduction. But again, this is to build… MADUSA VS BULL NAKANO for the PPV. This was a pretty poor match compared to their last match.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night that was meant to act as a pre-show for Hog Wild. This Hog Wild, that was intended to promote the PPV, included JOHN TENTA VS BIG BUBBA as well as Hugh Morrus in action! What a show to get me excited for Hog Wild!

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs Alex Wright

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The two men locked up and then Benoit took advantage by raking the eyes and then firing away with punches. Wright fired back with his own punches and kicks. Wright then ran wild with “headscissor dropkicks” and then worked on the arm.

It’s funny Meng was out there for security when he and Benoit got into a screaming match during the nWo angle last week. I guess they buried the hatchet or they just forgot about whatever it was there were screaming about!

There was young kid in the front row that appeared to be crossing his fingers when Benoit covered Wright. This kid was clutching to his dad appearing to cheer on Alex Wright! That’s what wrestling is missing nowadays is kids crossing their fingers and rooting for their heroes. With John Cena not on the scene anymore, you don’t really get this type of reactions from young kids anymore! It’s mostly just adults upset that Goldberg beat The Fiend for example…

Wright reversed a kitchen sink into a roll up for a near fall. Benoit locked on a camel clutch. Jimmy Hart came down to talk to the girls. He yelled that Woman was wasting her time with Elizabeth as “she is useless”. Jimmy yelled that there was someone backstage she was driving crazy and she pointed to a sock with Kevin Sullivan’s face in. For those of you that are somehow unaware of this but Woman (a.k.a Nancy Sullivan) was the wife to the “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan.

Dean Malenko ran down to take Woman backstage by force. Benoit dove on the outside and beat the crap out of Dean Malenko which I wrote down had led to the no contest. Benoit isn’t focused on the match anymore, a new fight had broken out… whatever. A no contest was fine. Then Tony called it a “count out” victory for Alex Wright. WHAT?

There was no actual count from the referee and Dean was attacking Benoit or was trying to screw Benoit out of the match. If anything, if it was not a no contest as I figured previously then shouldn’t this finish have been a disqualification victory for Benoit since Malenko was attacking him as they fought to the back.?It also sucked because this was a good match up until that point. Wright held his own and kept up with Benoit and they were making something out of this match.  

Really though, Alex Wright did not need to win this match. He’s not on the PPV. Benoit has a big match with Dean Malenko who destroyed Billy Kidman and Chavo Guerrero in recent weeks. If Benoit beat this cruiserweight, it would set up perfectly for a big cruiserweight match for the PPV. Bad booking in my eyes.

 

Lord Steven Regal w/Jeeves vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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OK, I’m assuming that all of the last 5 episodes of Nitro were taped because it was all bright for the two earlier matches and it was pitch black for this match. So I’m kinda assuming they taped several matches from each day in one big bunch and then just picked and chose matches for each show.  I haven’t checked to see if this was the case but that’s the only thing I can assume.

It was also weird because Malenko and Benoit brawled to the back after Benoit’s match and then for Ric Flair’s match later on in the show, Benoit was back out there and we never saw Malenko again. It was almost like nothing had happened before.

There was some in-match banter when Regal warned Savage “you better watch it or I’ll slap you” and Savage put his hands up and went “ooooh”. This was great. Simple things like that were awesome in at least showing some personality for these characters. It’s simple but effective.

It was very scrappy stuff but in a good way where Savage would choke away at Regal and Regal would try to out-wrestle Savage. It’s pretty much exactly how you’d think Regal vs Savage would go on an episode of Nitro! Regal wore down Savage and the fans chanted “Macho”.

Apparently Bobby and Eric weren’t ready yet for the second hour and Larry somehow didn’t realise that nobody was there as the fireworks went off for hour two! Great awareness from the Living Legend! In case you were wondering, Tony and Larry called the full two hours on this episode of Nitro.

Regal fired away with some great forearms as Sting and Luger came down to the ring. Sting and Luger sat at two of the four vacant seats meant for the nWo. Savage back-dropped Regal and started brawling with the Englishman on the outside. He smashed Regal into one of the chairs Sting and Luger were sat at (Luger and Sting had fortunately moved out of the way!).

Savage hit the elbow drop and got the win as Regal got up and walked away beat red with tears in his eyes! A short but decent match from Regal and Savage.

Sting and Luger went to the black limo parked near the ring and opened the door but found a bouquet saying “condolences on the death of WCW.”

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Mean Gene interviewed Randy Savage. Savage said he would be facing Giant or Hogan  after Hog Wild for the WCW World title… which actually kinda makes sense since I don’t think Savage has lost a match since Bash at the Beach. This booking made sense!

Savage said he cut a deal. Savage said The Giant would get a bigger piece of Hogan than Hogan thinks and if Giant left a little bit for Savage, Savage will finish the job. Now, this kind of plays into what I mentioned earlier but this was building up for a program, likely on Nitro, where either Hogan or Giant would face Savage. Savage wasn’t even on Hog Wild and he’s already looking past that PPV. A weird way for a PPV go-home show to play out.

Sting and Luger showed up in the ring. There was no Outsiders but they got the bouquet. Sting admired the pretty flowers but had a problem with the line saying “WCW was dead” when “WCW was alive and well”…less than five years later dude.

Savage threw down the flowers. Sting held down the bouquet and Savage booted it out of the ring. I was begging for Sting to swipe the bouquet at the last minute like Charlie Brown! That I wanted to see! This was a fun segment nevertheless.

 

Ric Flair w/Miss Elizabeth, Debra McMichael and Woman vs The Booty Man w/Booty Babe

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I do believe this will end up being the end of the Booty Man. The Horsemen beat up Booty Man after this match and it appeared to be an injury angle to write him off of television. This is a bit of a spoiler but Booty Man does not come back as the Booty Man as they repackaged him with a new gimmick. It’s sad seeing the end of the Booty era here on WCW Monday Nitro!

Booty Babe said everyone was looking “bootyful” which I’m 99% sure if I used that line when chatting to a woman it would backfire. Arn Anderson came out with a chair and his arm taped up. Now… one of the problems I had with this show is that Arn Anderson took such a vicious beating last week and here he is with a bunch of bandages like it was nothing. They showed Rey Mysterio being at WCW Saturday Night too but… I felt this was a deal they should have played out for at least another week. They should have had Arn, Rey and the American Males off of television until at least after the PPV. I was not a fan of seeing Arn this early after how big the nWo angle last week was built up.

Heck, they had Eric Bischoff away from television for 2 week after Nash powerbombed him at The Great American Bash so why not have Arn off of television for a month?

Ric Flair beat up Booty and hammered away at Booty with punches to the head. Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael guarded the entrance way. Ric gouged the eyes of Booty Man. Bobby Heenan came down and yelled about making it to the show himself but Bischoff was not there. He said Bischoff doesn’t miss things so he questioned where he was. Heenan left again as again, they’re questioning where Bischoff is during all of this carnage which does have a pay off in the upcoming months…

Booty and Ric continued fighting. Booty missed a high knee and went knee first into the corner. Ric got the Figure Four Leg Lock and then Benoit and Mongo attacked Booty as Ric continued to grabbed the ropes. This match got thrown out.

The referee also got thrown out to the outside as the security did nothing about this. Keep in mind the security was there to keep away the Outsiders but did nothing as Booty Man was being obliterated by the Four Horsemen. This was such a beat down by the Horsemen as well. They didn’t hold back and even Arn was getting involved with a chair shot to the leg!

Mean Gene gets in the ring to do an interview and yelled at the Horsemen to stop it. Arn starts cutting a promo and said his life flashed before his eyeslast week. As Arn was cutting this promo, Ric was still taking cheap shots at Booty Man right behind Arn. Arn said the good book said when the New World Order is put into place it is the end of times. Arn said there’s one rule of gang fighting that is if they send one of theirs to the hospital, they must send one of theirs to the morgue.

Benoit yelled about seeing fury and vengeance unleashed. Mongo yelled that the Outsiders needed to get it together as they’re coming after them. Ric yelled at Hogan to watch this as he continued to kick away at Booty. Ric yelled at Booty to tell Hogan to send a message. Ric yelled that Hogan wanted their attention and now he’s got it. Ric said Arn was his best friend and Hogan crossed the line and now he was gonna paid the price. He yelled: “That was your best friend, come and get him big boy.” Because obviously, Booty Man was an ally to Hogan against the Dungeon of Doom…

My impression from what happened last week is that the good guys and the bad guys were all on the same page and fighting against the nWo, which would make the Horsemen the babyfaces when they go up against the nWo themselves. Here, they do a four on one beat down on Booty Man like complete arseholes. At least the nWo beat the four men last week in a fair fight. There were apparently four members of the nWo last week beating up the WCW dudes. Here, four men are beating up one and the security are doing nothing about this!

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There was another nWo announcement. Apparently they lured Luger in for the beating on Sting on WCW Saturday Night 2 weeks ago with an emergency phone call. They said Hogan would become the nWo champion. They sung happy birthday to Hogan and I loved that. You could tell Hogan was having so much fun as a heel! Nash said we’re not talking about taking over, it’s about extermination now. The video just stopped as Sting and Lex apparently ordered the production team to stop this footage.

Sting and Luger are backstage and literally bullied and intimidated the production crew into stopping the footage. They’re supposed to be good guys and they’re threatening and imposing their will on the production team. Explain to me how they are any better than the Outsiders when they did this two weeks ago? Again, they came off arseholes like the Four Horsemen! No wonder the fans started to cheer the nWo and boo WCW during this feud!

Sting and Luger accused the staff of putting the videos on the air for the money. Sting decreed no trash should go on the air. Sting cracked the joke about pork pie and mountain dew that Nash did two weeks ago and then they left.

 

The Giant (c) w/Jimmy Hart vs Sgt. Pittman w/Teddy Long for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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The Giant then no-sold two diving headbutts and then Pittman ran into a chokeslam for a pinfall victory. Pretty much the same as 90% of Giant’s match on Nitro since he arrived. However, I still love Jimmy Hart running around Giant after the match like he’d just beat Hogan clean or just won the Oscars! No matter who is in the ring, Jimmy will always celebrate like it’s the biggest win of Giant’s career! That was great. Teddy Long stopped a further beat down on Pittman but he himself ate a chokeslam from The Giant as the fans chanted “one more time.”

Think about this for a minute. We have the Four Horsemen, Sting, Lex Luger and The Giant all fighting for WCW against the New World Order. The Horsemen attacked someone four on one during this show, Sting and Luger bullied the production crew and The Giant is chokeslamming the manager Teddy Long like a complete dick! This man is the babyface champion going into the match with Hogan at the PPV! You have WCW wrestlers acting like arseholes while the nWo are coming off as cool to the fans!

I love how Larry was concerned that Teddy was going to have a heart attack and during a SmackDown! storyline more than 10 years later, Teddy Long had a on-screen heart attack during a wedding! Larry planting the seeds for a storyline 10 years later for a different wrestling company!

 

Mean Gene interviewed Giant and Jimmy Hart. Mean Gene berated Giant and called Teddy Long just a guy off the street. Hart said everyone always told Hogan what he wanted to hear. The black limo had returned as Jimmy was cutting this promo. Hart yelled Giant would be ready for Hogan. Giant said he sent a message to the world as the fans chanted for Hogan. Giant said he had one job and that was to be the champion since he was a kid. Giant said he doesn’t feel sorry for anyone that stepped in his way. He said Hogan talked his trash about how he’d take over WCW. He said Hogan’s 15 minutes were up and he dared him to show up at Hog Wild.

They showed a clip of Mongo and Debra re-gaining the money in the briefcsae from Randy Savage. Dear god, because this storyline must keep going. In case you didn’t read my review from two weeks ago, Savage regained his money that Elizabeth had gotten from him as part of their divorce. They had been flaunting it around like it was a trophy. Savage got the money back to a big pop and now the heels have the money again! You’d think Savage would have put his money in the bank by now since getting his money back! It’s ridiculous.

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs “The Nasty Boys” Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs

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The Steiner Brothers came down to ringside with a chair. Luger ran wild on the Nasty Boys for a bit. The Nasty Boys got the heat. Knobbs did a splash in the corner and an elbow drop for a 2 count.

Knobbs got the heat for a while but then Sting got his foot up as Knobbs went for the splash. Luger literally jumped into the match for a hot tag. He ran wild with clotheslines and hit a powerslam. Luger tried a torture rack but Sags broke it up. Sags tried to hit Luger but hit Rick Steiner by accident and then Rick hit Sags with a clothesline.

Sting somehow got the tag as Sags tapped out for the win. WHEN DID STING GET THE TAG? Luger went to the outside and brawled with Knobbs I think and was outside the entire time before Sting got back in the ring. At what point did Sting get the tag back into the ring?…. did I miss something? Please leave the comment if you know when Sting got a tag back in the ring during all of this match.

This was an OK match but…. with the Nasty Boys in the main-event I was begging to see what was on the other show. I wasn’t not particularly thrilled about the possibility of this match

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They show two kids in the ring flexing with the babyfaces. Mean Gene said they must be working at the “main event fitness centre”. Mean Gene mentioned the limo was back. Sting suggested they go check out the limo. Luger thought it was another gag gift but Sting and Luger went down anyway as Mean Gene wanted to go along with them. Scott Norton also walked down alongside the rest of security.

Sting opened the door and a bag was thrown as them with a TURNER logo on the front, suggesting Turner Broadcasting was somehow involved and possibly funding this operation.

They showed an “after show” exclusive that the WWE Network had access to. They had a piece of paper inside the bag with the nWo saying they’d see them at Hog Wild.

 

This episode was a massive thumbs down for me. If you look at the quality of Nitros as of late, this really didn’t hit the mark. As the follow up to the big nWo angle it didn’t deliver, as a go-home show for Hog Wild it didn’t deliver and as a wrestling show it didn’t deliver. There was only one good match on the show in Benoit vs Wright but it had a horrible finish. The other matches were short matches, boring matches or average matches at best.

I think Hog Wild will be good based on the card I mentioned earlier on in the review. This show in particular didn’t sell me on this pay-per-view and… I’d like to think it’s going to pick up after Hog Wild. We will be reviewing WCW Hog Wild as part of the blog and I’m looking to post that on the blog at some point this week.

Stay safe everybody and follow the blog to be update on future reviews or posts we put up on the Armbar Express.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #40 (JUNE 17TH 1996) – THE ONE WITH THE WWE NETWORK BUFFERING, AEW REFERENCES AND SCOTT STEINER’S SUPLEX TO THE GIANT

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 Great American Bash 1996 was a very good WCW pay-per-view, to some one of the best WCW pay-per-views they ever did. Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan battered each other in a falls count anywhere match with Arn Anderson ending the relationship between the Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom with a beatdown on Sullivan. Sting beat Lord Steven Regal and Dean Malenko defeated Rey Mysterio Jr. in two excellent matches. The Giant retained the WCW title and Steve “Mongo” McMichael turned on Kevin Green and became the fourth Horsemen of the Four Horsemen.

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Following up The Great American Bash was this edition of WCW Nitro, with great work done to hype up the next pay-per-view Bash at the Beach. As a WCW Nitro show, it was honestly a good show. It was way better than last week’s episode and actually wasn’t half-bad. However, the thing that ruined the viewing experience of this episode to me was the WWE Network.

This is a spoiler alert for when we get to the very end of this WCW Nitro series but WWF ended up beating WCW and buying them out. When the WWE Network got up and running, they decided to put every WCW Nitro episode, every pay-per-view and a bunch of other WCW shows on the Network for fans to enjoy. This is along with a huge archive of WWE, ECW, WCCW and many other wrestling promotions throughout time.

As much as the WWE Network is value for your money when it comes to the archive, original content and monthly WWE Network specials, the service itself sucks. Watching this episode of WCW Nitro was a living hell. There isn’t one of video-streaming service that buffers as much as the WWE Network does. Not one…

I’ve got subscriptions to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’ve been able to stream off services likes Crunchyroll, NowTV, YouTube, ITV Player for AEW Dynamite, BBC iPlayer, 4oD among many many other streaming services. Not one of those services buffers at the absurd rate at the WWE Network does. As a loyal WWE Network subscriber for years, it bothers me so much how they’ve not been able to fix this.

How much does WWE make each year? Probably hundreds of millions. WWE has the money but they can’t fix this mind-numbing issue that has been the case for at least 5 years? These other services have no issues with it. Why does WWE have to be the black sheep in buffering and the quality of their streaming services? It makes this blog post series of WCW Nitros a lot harder when the episodes flat out stops the videos some times for minutes.

I’m going to go into multiple examples but there was one example near the start of the show where I just could not take anymore. I almost just skipped this review of Nitro based on this instance. However, I did complete the whole show and I will give you my full breakdown of the post-Great American Bash edition of Nitro.

Date: June 17th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Richmond, West Virginia

Rating: 3.4

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Bobby Heenan

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At the start of the show, Tony Schiavonie revealed he would be calling the whole episode of Nitro this week. Eric Bischoff was destroyed by Kevin Nash at the pay-per-view and Tony actually mentioned Bischoff was still in hospital.

Speaking of Bischoff, they showed the first part of the segment where the Outsiders beat up Bischoff at the pay-per-view. They showed the line about them not being associated with WWF and then Scott Hall gut-punching Bischoff. They then teased that later on in the show, you would get to see the remainder of the incident where Nash powerbombed Bischoff. They teased this throughout the show and when they actually “revealed” it, it was still shots of the powerbomb! They didn’t actually show the actual clip of the powerbomb!

Tony and Larry spent a good five minutes at the start of the show breaking down the PPV and I’ll tie this into the Kevin Nash powerbomb thing. This is a key thing because not everyone watching WCW Nitro bought and watched that pay-per-view. They took the time here and later on in the show to update the viewers of the storylines if they didn’t watch the PPV. They did this while simultaneously encouraging them to buy the replay.

This isn’t like the WWE Network where if you don’t watch a WWE PPV live, you can watch it days or even months later or whenever you can be bothered. At the time, there was a replay and then you had to wait until they sold VHS tapes of the show.

To WCW, it was a big deal to watch the pay-per-view and the Kevin Nash powerbomb to Bischoff. This was a big angle on pay-per-view that they were determined to have people pay to see it was so shocking. By the end of this Nitro, they showed it was a rare thing to see these “outsiders” at WCW. They didn’t bring Hall and Nash back this week. Every time they were on Nitro up until this point, there was a reason for them being there. They were not rushing this storyline along. They had a plan all the way to the Bash at the Beach, and they were sticking to the plan.

Rick Steiner vs Stevie Ray

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Last week, Scott Steiner and Booker had a good match on WCW Nitro. WCW decided to follow that up with their respective brothers facing each other in a singles match. Therefore, we got Rick Steiner and Stevie Ray wrestling each other. Dear god, did this miss the mark.

Rick Steiner tried his best and Stevie Ray was really not impressive. Rick almost killed Stevie with a belly-to-belly suplex. Rick went to the effort of turning himself inside out to sell a clothesline for Stevie. Of all the matches to want to do that spot for, he did it for a random two minute match with the worse half of Harlem Heat. Ray missed a fist drop and Rick hit a clothesline for the win.

Booker came out to attack Rick and apparently there was some issue with the timing. I say this because Harlem Heat overpowered Rick. Stevie had him set up for a powerbomb as he waited and waited and waited and then just hit a powerbomb. Then he went to do it again as Booker makes his way up to the top rope.

Scott Steiner came out to make the save but he basically took a double axe handle from Booker to save his brother Rick. Scott taking the bullet for his brother Rick does actually play into his match later as believe it or not, he had a WCW World title match in the main-event of Nitro! Therefore, he was willing to risk a shot at the WCW title to save his brother. That is true brotherhood being displayed there!

Disco Inferno vs Joe Gomez

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Do you guys remember when WCW was in the middle of a ratings war in 1996? They were battling the WWF and they thought DISCO INFERNO VS JOE GOMEZ was an excellent idea. That’ll put butts in seats…

Speaking of putting butts in seats, although this is a bad match to mention this, this was the first week of 83 straight weeks where Nitro beat RAW in the ratings. This was the first episode in a historic streak for WCW as they would trounce WWF RAW every week. So maybe Disco Inferno and Joe Gomez were bigger draws than I figured. I dunno. Supposedly Hulk Hogan from “Hollywood” called WCW to say he wanted in for the “war” at Bash at the Beach. If that’s not foreshadowing, I don’t know what is!

Gomez beat up Disco for a while and did some arm drags. Disco bantered with the crowd and Gomez cut him off. Gomez did a dropkick and then missed a crossbody. Disco got the heat and Gomez ran wild. Disco hit a swinging neckbreaker to a shockingly big reaction. Disco did a dance and Larry Zybsko on commentary yelled at him for not making the cover. Disco went for a lazy cover and Gomez cradled Disco for the win.

After all of this, Disco didn’t care that he lost the match as his hair was still in place. I understand that this was Disco Inferno vs Joe Gomez but why would you want to have the loser Disco Inferno make it clear that he didn’t care about this match? In fact, forget WCW. Why would any company want to do a match, have a guy lose and then have the loser treat the match as no big deal? If the dudes in the ring couldn’t care less why should I as a viewer care about this?

I know I’ve got years of Disco on WCW but I’m already sick of him. I’m gonna need something from Disco for me to change my mind on him. He was also new to the business at this point so I’m able to give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s also not his fault that the match got booked this way. However, I could do with less Disco Inferno.

Ric Flair was with Debra McMichael, Elizabeth and Woman for an interview with Mean Gene Okerlund. Mean Gene said he’d never so disappointed in one person as he was in Debra. For you see, Debra and her husband Steve “Mongo” McMichael turned on Kevin Greene and sided with the Four Horsemen. Debra said it was for the money. Ric said “Macho Man” Randy Savage was gonna find why he’s on top of the world. Ric said they all think he’s afraid of him and that Savage was gonna tear him apart but that ain’t gonna happen. Savage had been reinstated to WCW and was set to wrestle Flair on this show.

“The American Males” Scotty Riggs and Marcus Bagwell vs “The Four Horsemen” Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit

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I thought this was a decent match although this was the initial start of the buffering of doom which really escalated with the match that followed. Some fans boo the American Males in the front row and Bagwell, at this very point of the entrance, said: “that’s exactly what I wanna hear.”

Benoit’s face was shown bruised up following his match with Taskmaster at the pay-per-view. If that was make-up then I appreciate the commitment to show Benoit physically bruised after the falls count anywhere match from The Great American Bash.

Riggs and Arn wrestled for a bit. Arn took a cheap shot at Bagwell on the apron but whee Arn got on the floor, Bagwell got his revenge. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Bagwell rolled out of his grasp and reversed it into an arm drag.

Bagwell did a fisherman suplex but Benoit immediately broke it up. Benoit beat up Bagwell for a while and the fans were popping big for Benoit. These were fans hugely behind the Horsemen.

Benoit did a diving headbutt but Riggs broke it up. In an awesome spot, Benoit cheap-shot Riggs and after this, Bagwell cheap-shot Benoit and then after that, Arn cheap-shot Bagwell in one big sequence! I thought that was awesome!

Benoit suplexed Riggs on the ropes and got the pin. Decent match ruined in part by WWE Network buffering. Nothing the wrestlers did in the ring ruined this match for me.

Mean Gene interviewed Benoit and Arn. Arn said Mongo made the right choice and they were at full strength and also said his deal with Taskmaster went south. He said at the end of the day, it’s all about the Four Horsemen. Mean Gene talked about Benoit needing assistance at the pay-per-view… BENOIT BEAT TASKMASTER CLEAN. In storyline, there was not one time where Chris Benoit needed the help of anyone during that pay-per-view. He was kicking Taskmaster’s arse during that match, he beat him fair and square, he beat him up some more and then Arn beat Taskmaster up himself!

Benoit said Taskmaster had a quest to destroy the Horsemen but the Horsemen were about guts, glamour and glory… that’s a damn good line!

Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart vs John Tenta

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This was where my meltdown took place with the buffering on the WWE Network. Not that I was dying to see a pointless rematch between Big Bubba and John Tenta but this was where I lost my rag with this WWE Network.

During this match, it buffered here and there. It dragged out a short match into like a 15 minute viewing experience for me. Bubba tried to attack Tenta from behind but Tenta was ready for him. Larry said Tenta was the size of the national debt.

Tenta pulled off a dropkick as Bubba got mad on the outside of the ring. Bubba posted Tenta as Jimmy had the referee distracted. Tenta beat up Bubba. Jimmy tried a cheap shot but got a reverse atomic drop for his troubles. Tenta hit a powerslam but pulled himself up from the cover and hit a second one and got his foot on the ropes for the win.

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At this point, the episode just became unplayable. I had buffering issues throughout watching this episode and at this point, I just had enough. The entire video stopped playing. It showed like 5 seconds of post-match stuff and then stopped entirely. It was stuck for a minute unable to do a thing. So I clicked off the show and went back in. I got back in, and it stopped entirely yet again.

I had to go through the trouble of turning off the Playstation 4 I was watching it on, start it all up again for it to work again. Before anyone says it is to do with my internet, I have no problems with Amazon Prime, no problem with ITV player, no issues with YouTube and no issues with Netflix. I use them all the same way, using the same internet on my Playstation 4. It’s just the WWE Network. This bothered the hell out of me.

Tenta chased Jimmy back into the ring and Bubba hit him with a loaded sock. He seriously whacked Tenta at one time in the head. He beat on him and beat on him. Bubba revealed coins and dropped it on Tenta. Watching all of this at a time in AEW where Pride and Powerful used a sock full of dollars as a weapon. That’s not even the biggest AEW coincidence on this show! Oh we’ll get to that!

Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy and Bubba. Jimmy said he’s gonna make examples of everyone that leaves the Dungeon of Doom.

Mean Gene interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Savage says he’s gonna take his time with Flair. He admits he’s not all there but there’s no man that can put him down. Savage said he saw a women psychiatrist during his time away from WCW and she had him down as OCD…. One Cool Dude. He’s used this line before but I still think it’s a great line!

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Ric Flair w/Woman, Debra McMichael and Miss Elizabeth

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WCW did my idea of having the second hour fireworks going off during someone’s entrance. Savage came down and there were fireworks all over the place. It was funny because Bobby Heenan came out as he was supposed to call the second hour. Savage chased Heenan towards the ring. Heenan then did an outstanding vault out of the ring and made his way to the announce booth! It was so cartoonish and pulled off exceptionally well that only Bobby Heenan could have done this spot this well. He vaulted out of there like he was a an Olympic swimmer diving into a pool!

Ric got the mic. He said every man in life must in some point of time experience the agony and pain of defeat. He said Savage is experiencing the pain and agony of defeat and divorce. Savage said he was gonna kick Flair’s ass and the fans went nuts.

The match started and I love Flair and Savage fighting in all of their entrance gear! Flair was in his robe and Savage was in his big hat and jacket. It was only for a minute or so but it looked so funny to me! I loved it.

Elizabeth took a cheap shot at Savage with a slap. This was a fabulous old-school fight between Savage and Flair. It was bowling shoe ugly at times and then comedic at other times and the fans were into all of this.  Savage took Flair up to Flair’s fancy table and shoved food in his mouth.

Then we got the AEW moment. Savage gets a champagne and I swear on a stack of bibles. I shared this on my Instagram @tomrobinson5199. Future All Elite Wrestling announcer Tony Schiavonie said “OOooh. A little bit of the bubbly.”

My jaw dropped and I am about 90% certain that AEW has the means of time travel. There’s been so many AEW references in 1996 before AEW even existed that there’s no way this is a coincidence! Tony even said it the same way Chris Jericho initially said it in 2019. Jericho goes “oooh” and in a deep voice said: “a little bit of the bubbly” and I swear Tony said it in the exact same manner on June 17th 1996 on WCW Nitro. It was… surreal.

The finish saw the referee getting bumped. Savage dropped the elbow and went for another elbow drop when the women got in front of him and Flair. It didn’t stop Savage from dropping another elbow drop on Flair. Benoit ran out and Savage gave him a piledriver. Savage then took out Arn and it was Mongo that hit Savage with a briefcase to the back and walloped Savage in the head. It sounded like a shotgun blast it was so loud. Flair pinned Savage and The Horsemen attacked Savage after the match.

Mean Gene interviewed Taskmaster, Jimmy Hart and WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant. I think this is the first time Mean Gene referred to Hall and Nash as “Outsiders”. Jimmy cried to Taskmaster that he knew they couldn’t trust the Horsemen. Taskmaster said there’s a legal war going on, there’s a war with Hogan when he comes back and there’s another war. Taskmaster said there’s a fine line between pain and pleasure and Giant cut him off. Giant said the Horsemen say they’re the elite but if that’s the case, why don’t they have the WCW title? He said anyone in the Dungeon is better than anyone in the Horsemen. He said they’d all fall down. Taskmaster then said he doesn’t care about the Four Horsemen and this is all about WCW…. right after cutting a promo about the Four Horsemen!

Taskmaster was at the same time preaching WCW loyalty and calling out the Four Horsemen. A lot of fires being started for the Dungeon of Doom….

 

Mean Gene interviewed Rey Mysterio Jr. Rey talked about Dean Malenko using the ropes during their match at The Great American Bash. Rey said he would show him what he’s made out of and he wanted the cruiserweight title. Rey said something in Spanish to “the Latinos” as Mean Gene put it.

 

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

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Nowhere near as good as their Great American Bash match but still a good and fun cruiserweight match between Malenko and Mysterio Jr. So of course, after about 30 mins of the video being fine on the WWE Network this is the match where the buffering problems started again.

Rey did La Magistral roll-up for a 2 count to which people actually went “awwww” for as they legitimately bought this as a near fall. Rey started winning the match with the quickness factor but Dean hit him with a hard clothesline and used power moves like a backbreaker and a back suplex to turn things in his favour.

Dean did a calf crusher to work on the legs and dropped him with a brainbuster. Dean locked on the abdominal stretch. Dean hit a big powerbomb and he SLAMMED this little man with such force. Not as powerful as the infamous Benoit/Guerrero powerbomb from earlier on in the series but this sounded almost as hard as that Mongo briefcase shot from earlier.

I love how Bobby told Tony to watch his tone as he claimed Tony was gonna get punched in the face. Tony, without missing beat, simply said in a nonchalant manner “no I’m not.”

Rey did a great springboard hurricanrana to the outside. Rey got a near fall from a roll-up. Dean tried a powerslam and Rey just turned the momentum in his favour for a pin attempt. Dean reversed the bulldog attempt into a reverse DDT for the win. A very good match. I give this a thumbs up.

 

The Giant © w/Jimmy Hart vs Scott Steiner for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Scott’s chest was taped up because of the attack from Harlem Heat. Scott tried a German suplex but was unable to budge the big man. Scott tried to slam Giant but Giant was too big. The Giant actually got mad by these attempts and delivered stomps to the bad ribs, an elbow drop and even stood directly on his ribs.

It was almost exclusive rib-based offense from the champion as he did a Polish Hammer to the back of Steiner. He threw some kicks at Steiner as Bobby said “Giant kicked the life out of Scott Steiner.”

Giant, believe it or not, did a Camel Clutch on SCOTT STEINER, the man with the Steiner Recliner! Jimmy was literally jumping for joy witnessing Giant beat up this guy and pumping his fists up in the air in celebration!

Giant hit a suplex. I’m usually all for dominating performances to put a big monster over but this match was god damn boring at times. He beat on him, beat on him and beat on him. The Giant then got a chair but Scott eventually crotched him on the top rope and chop-blocked him. Scott did a sleeper hold but Giant got out of it and fired away with forearms.

Then we got one of the most unbelievable suplexes I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen Brock Lesnar German suplex guys like Braun Strowman and The Big Show. I’ve seen Brock Lesnar bend John Cena in half with German Suplexes at SummerSlam 2014. I’ve seen Kurt Angle launch Rey Mysterio with a double German Suplex with him and Randy Orton. The suplex Scott Steiner delivered to The Giant had to have been the most impressive suplexes ever delivered in the history of wrestling.

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Scott hit the most unbelievable T-Bone Suplex On The Giant and the fans went NUTS for it. I was gobsmacked as I yelled JEEZUS at the top of my lungs. I’ve seen the likes of Sting, Lex Luger and Hulk Hogan doing spots where they struggle and struggle to get the big man down. Scott Steiner goes in there and suplexed this big man with seemingly such ease. He didn’t just suplex him. He THREW HIM across the ring and this is THE GIANT. It was incredible.

Scott went for a cover and The Giant lifted him off at two. Scott tried to use  a wooden chair but Jimmy intercepted him. Scott shoved Jimmy off, broke the chair over The Giant’s head to no effect and Giant chokeslammed him for the win.

No matter what happened in the rest of this match, that suplex was worth all of the beating and heat that we had to sit through. He hit this suplex and the folks lost their minds as well as me! I lost my mind watching this. Scott Steiner was tremendous at this time.

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Mean Gene came out to announce Team WCW for the six man tag team match at Bash at the Beach. Mean Gene claimed this was the biggest announcement Mean Gene’s ever made. He explained that they’re selecting from the six top men depending on win/loss record and “many other things”. If we’re going off win/losses alone, surely guys like WCW US Champion Konnan would have to be in the mix right? I don’t remember the last time I saw Konnan lose a match.

The six mae in the drawing for this six man tag team match were Hulk Hogan, The Giant, Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting and Macho Man Randy Savage. I mean I would have to assume that the “many other things” must out-weigh the win/loss records right? The Giant is an understandable option as he’s the WCW World Heavyweight Champion. Hulk Hogan is understandable but he’s not been in WCW for a month and the same goes for Randy Savage (at least not been in the ring because of a storyline suspension). Lex Luger lost at the pay-per-view. Sting and Ric Flair face each other all of the time and trade wins back and forth so surely, from a win/loss record standpoint, they were not ranked highly?

I would go with the explanation that they went with the six former WCW champions as opposed to going off recent track records. Every one of them except Sting and Luger have been the champion in the past 9 months or so. Sting and Luger are the tag champs so this list does actually do a fair job in “determining” the finalists up for selection if you want to find the biggest stars!

There was a random draw to determine who would be fighting for WCW. There’s an invasion from outsiders that are threatening your company and you’re gonna leave it to randomisation to determine who is gonna fight? That seems like a terrible idea if this were real!

The names were revealed to be Lex Luger, Sting and “Macho Man” Randy Savage and the show ends leaving you to dwell on those names.

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As a WCW Nitro episode, this was actually a decent show but as a viewing experience on the WWE Network, it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I sincerely hope the WWE Network can resolve these issues for the future.

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WCW Nitro Reading Order