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

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

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

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

 

Date: December 18th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Augusta, Georgia

Rating: 2.7

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

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

….yup, this is THAT segment…

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

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

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

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

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

My notes after all of this reads…

“That was it?”

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

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

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

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

 

Ric Flair vs Eddie Guerrero

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

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

OK….

Brief Intermission from the review of this match

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

Ric Flair?

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

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

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

…back to the match

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart vs Marcus Alexander Bagwell

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

…that’s about where the positivity ends…

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

That’s pretty much all you need to know.

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

 

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

 

Sting vs Earl Robert Eaton w/Jeeves

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or maybe it’ll end in a disqualificaiton…

 

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

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RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #14 (DECEMBER 4TH 1995) – RANDY SAVAGE VS LEX LUGER FOR THE WCW TITLE

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

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The controversy continued to run wild following World War III. Randy Savage had won the WCW World title in the 60 man battle royal, despite Hulk Hogan never being truly eliminated. Hogan vowed to show the tape on Nitro and Savage agreed to give Hogan a title shot should the tape show what happened with Hogan and The Giant. Nitro had the footage on deck but the video footage got cut at the moment Hogan got pulled under the bottom rope by The Giant.

The Giant came down to brawl with Hogan which led to chair shot after chair shot delivered by the Hulkster. There were more issues for Hulk Hogan as his mistrust of the relationship between Lex Luger and Sting emerged once again. Even after fight by Luger and Sting’s side at the end of the show, Hogan still saw Luger as the enemy.

 

 

Date: December 4th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Phoenix, Arizona

Rating: 2.4

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

NOTE: This show was actually an overrun. Usually the episodes of the WWE Network are 40-48 minutes long but this one was in the mid 50s if I recall.

 

It was revealed at the start of the show that Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and The Giant were all on probation for their actions last week. I was wondering if they were gonna even mention Hogan and Flair attacking referees last week and they ended up mentioning it.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T (c) and Stevie Ray (c) w/Sister Sherri vs “American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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Many, many moons ago, the American Males beat Harlem Heat for the WCW Tag Team titles. That was way back in Episode #3. Here we are, 11 episodes later, and Harlem Heat are once again defending the tag team titles against the American Males.

Things started off with Stevie and Scotty, with Stevie supposedly having a bad ankle. The one noticeable thing in the first couple of minutes was that American Males did a double back drop on Booker and he didn’t land on his back. He did a complete flip and seemed to land on HIS ANKLE.

So Col. Robert Parker comes out with a present. This was delivered to Sister Sherri and revealed to be a coat. Harlem Heat are kicking American Males’ ass by the way as this is going on. It was revealed that Sensational Sherri had a ring as she left ringside. Then Booker gets upset that she left during a match they were dominating anyway with no problems… weird.

A.C. Green, NBA basketball player, was at ringside having words with an already irate Booker. Harlem Heat did an ugly looking double Gordbuster on Scotty. Harlem Heat… future 2019 WWE Hall Of Famers by the way.

Fans start chanting for AC. Booker screws up a backbreaker by just dropping Riggs on the mat. Bagwell makes the hot tag and runs wild on Harlem Heat. He turned Booker inside out and hit Stevie with a Northern Lights Suplex. Bagwell goes for a dropkick but Stevie catches him, elevates him in the air for 5 seconds like he’s gonna do a Cesaro Swing, then just drops him…

Booker hit the Houston Hangover for the pin. As my notes read… WHAT AN UGLY MATCH. This tag title scene is really in need for a shake-up.

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Sting and Lex Luger do an interview with Mean Gene. It’s been announce that Sting, Luger and Flair are set to do a triple threat match at Starrcade. Mean Gene said Sting got Flair to say uncle. Sting said he doesn’t agree with Jimmy Hart being Luger’s business partner but gives Luger credit and that he could get the job done. At this point, I got proper confused. They explain that the winner will get a title shot later on in the night against the WCW Champion. Lex Luger is challenging for the world title in the main-event… so Luger is gonna be in the triple threat and then challenge himself for the title if he wins on Nitro?

…it took them until an interview later to explain all of this.

Sting said momentum is going his way and that he’s gonna win.  He’s gonna come at Lex like he would with the Nature Boy. Luger said he’d win the title and that Sting’s right but as far as the triangle match is concerned, Luger said there’s no holds barred for him too. A perplexing interview!

 

Sting vs Kurasawa

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This was no good in its own right either. My initial question was why Kurasawa wasn’t with his manager Col. Robert Parker but then the commentary team asked the same question moments later! The explanation was that he was with Sherri.

My notes for this aren’t stacked at all. Sting sent Kurasawa to the outside with a clothesline. There was one great spot where Kurasawa hit a kitchen sink on Sting, put on a big smile and said “HA HA HA!” That was awesome. I enjoy the small things of wrestling!

My notes finish with Kurasawa working on the arm and then Sting hitting a Sting Splash. He tapped out Kurasawa with the Scorpion Death Lock for the win. NOTHING to this match.

 

Starrcade was plugged as NJPW battling WCW. That actually sounds kinda sick.

 

Scott Norton vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster

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You remember when Scott Norton was aligned with the Dungeon of Doom a couple of months ago and he had the storyline with The Shark? Fast forward to this episode of Nitro and he’s just another dude in a match with the top heel in the group! I therefore assume Norton got kicked out of the group.

They plugged Hogan and Sting against Arn and Flair for next week. Giant hit a big shoulder tackle and ROARED. Giant beat on Norton and hit him with a scoop slam. Then we had an incredible feat of strength. Scott Norton LIFTED THE GIANT up for an Atomic Drop. He has The Giant up in the air for close to 10 seconds as the fans go NUTS. Incredible from Norton.

Now as I saw this spot, I couldn’t help but notice that Norton was thicker than The Giant of all people. I’m not saying that in an negative way but if you watch The Big Show later on in the Giant’s career, Giant always had a thick waist. The Giant here was proper slim.

Norton batters away at Giant. Norton tries to clothesline him twice and as Bobby Heenan declares that these two could go on all night, Giant catches Norton off the top rope with a chokeslam for the win. A quick but fine mean guy match.

 

Mean Gene is with Ric Flair along with NBA star Charles Barkley. This major big time NBA star makes his way down to the ring and he had his jeans pulled WAY UP. Charles said he could never measure up to the Nature Boy and he’s his man no matter what people say. Flair said they’re gonna tear the town down and the greatest basketball player alive is standing with the Nature Boy. Charles said we have the best basketball fans in Phoenix and we’ve got the best wrestling fans in Phoenix and you better appreciate the Nature Boy. Flair said Hogan, Sting and Savage better not jump on him anymore as Charles may just become a full-time Horsemen.

 

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

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This was an absolutely nothing match supposedly for the WCW title. Eric revealed that they would reveal the team from Japan that would take on America at Starrcade. This match however starts with Lex Luger backing away from Randy Savage. Now, I understand Luger is the heel in the situation. However, Luger tapped out Savage clean at World War III… why the hell would he feel the need to back down from Savage?

Luger looked blown up 30 seconds into the action. We got all kinds of stalling. I don’t think they told us this on commentary but I don’t think they mentioned the reason for why Luger has this title shot. The very reason why was that he beat Savage at World War III right before Savage became the champion. But nobody on the announce team mentioned this.

Luger tried an elbow drop which did not look like an elbow drop at all. He leaped high in the air, stuck his hands to the sky and just to a flat back bump on the mat as Savage evaded. It actually did look like he stuck one his arms out a little bit so it’s possible it was just a bad camera angle.

Savage started working on Luger’s arm in a twist of fate, as he locked on the arm lock that Luger used to beat him at World War III. At the very least, they explained that Savage would go into the Starrcade triangle match should Luger win the title in this match.

Savage went for a double axe handle but crashed into the steel rail. They both clobbered each other. Savage and Luger fucked up clothesline spot where Luger didn’t seem to be in place for it. Savage smashed Luger into the exposed turnbuckle but Luger fell into the ref and knocked him down. Savage got a hold of Jimmy. Flair ran down at hit Savage with the Brass Knuckles.

Jimmy pulled Luger for the cover when Hogan ran down to go after Flair. He got his hands on Flair. The referee went to make the count but Hogan broke it up for the DQ. Hogan went to punch Luger but Sting ran down and Hogan accidentally punched Sting. Hogan and Sting pushed away at each other while Savage separated them.

Mean Gene came down to interview the babyfaces. Hogan said he didn’t give a shit about probation. Hogan asked about Sting and Luger again. Sting says straight up that he is on Hogan’s side. Sting insists that Luger is still his friend and he’s trying to straighten him out. Sting says sometimes he questions Savage’s motives but he’s not gonna doubt the Macho Man. Sting asks why Hogan questions Luger. Hogan pointed out Macho Man said that he warned us about Luger in the first place. Sting says maybe they didn’t just give Luger the opportunity he needed. Sting said if they don’t get it sorted out, they may lose next week’s match with the heels. Hogan told Sting not to have Luger get in his face. Sting makes one last statement and he’d keep Luger out of Savage and Hogan’s face.

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This was not a particular strong edition of Nitro but we do have a big Sting and Hogan vs Ric and Arn main-event next week. They’re starting to build towards Starrcade and if it’s WCW vs NJPW for Starrcade, then they’ll need to do a stronger job at building that angle to the PPV.

I will see you all in Episode #14 of this WCW Nitro series!

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #13 (NOVEMBER 27TH 1995) – STING AND LEX LUGER VS ARN ANDERSON AND BRIAN PILLMAN

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

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

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

 

Date: November 27th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Salem, Virginia

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

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

 

Johnny B Badd w/Diamond Doll vs DDP

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hulk Hogan vs Hugh Morrus

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

…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sting and Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a bubble these guys live in.

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

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

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW WORLD WAR III 1995 (NOVEMBER 26TH 1995)

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

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

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

 

Date: November 26th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Norfolk, Virginia

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

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie and Bobby Heenan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **3/4

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Randy Savage vs Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: *

 

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

 

Sting vs Ric Flair

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Tony plugged that Hogan would face Hugh Morrus on Nitro.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **

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

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

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

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

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

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #12 (NOVEMBER 20TH 1995) – HULK HOGAN VS STING

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

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We’re on the road to World War III and tensions are running high both in the forces of good and the forces of evil. Factions like The Dungeon of Doom are cracking from within with internal conflicts between the likes of Scott Norton and The Shark. The forces of good has been divided by suspicion as the “Evil” Hulk Hogan has suspected foul play from the Stinger due to his friendship with the Dungeon of Doom’s Lex Luger. Hulk Hogan has thrown down the challenge and Sting accepted the challenge.

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

 

Date: November 20th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Macon, Georgia

Rating: 2.5

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

 

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

 

Scott Norton vs The Shark

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair

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

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

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Brian Pillman

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Road Warrior Hawk vs Big Bubba Rogers

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hulk Hogan vs Sting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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

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

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

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

 

Date: November 6th,1995

Brand: WCW

City: Jacksonville, Florida

Rating: 2

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

The Taskmaster w/Jimmy Hart vs The Renegade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sting vs Ric Flair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We will see you with Episode #11 of Nitro.

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

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

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Previously on the Retro Express…

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

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

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

 

Date: October 30th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Dayton, Ohio

Rating: 2.3

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

 

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

 

Craig Pittman vs Eddie Guerrero

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Scott Norton vs The Shark

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sabu vs Disco Inferno

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

BONUS MATCHES

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seems weird.

Match Rating: ***

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: -*

 

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