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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Date: August 12th 1996

Brand: WCW

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

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Renegade vs Diamond Dallas Page

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Konnan vs Jim Powers

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ron Studd vs Chris Benoit w/Miss Elizabeth and Woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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

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

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

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

 

Date: December 18th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Augusta, Georgia

Rating: 2.7

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

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

….yup, this is THAT segment…

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

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

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

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

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

My notes after all of this reads…

“That was it?”

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

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

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

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

 

Ric Flair vs Eddie Guerrero

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

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

OK….

Brief Intermission from the review of this match

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

Ric Flair?

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

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

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

…back to the match

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart vs Marcus Alexander Bagwell

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

…that’s about where the positivity ends…

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

That’s pretty much all you need to know.

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

 

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

 

Sting vs Earl Robert Eaton w/Jeeves

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or maybe it’ll end in a disqualificaiton…

 

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #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.

Lucha Underground: Ultima Lucha Dos Review

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Following the successful first season of Lucha Underground, anticipation for the second chapter of this arc certainly ran wild. With the ending of season one tying up loose ends but also preparing the show for a future season, you could tell that something big was on the horizon for these stars.

So far this season, we had our fair share of big moments. The reign of Mil Muetres and Catrina followed by the return of Dario Cueto and the debut of Matanza showed the struggle for power between wrestlers. Rey Mysterio making his way to the promotion also provided the star power that the lucha libre promotion was looking for while new stars like El Dragon Azteca quickly became prominent figures.

For me, the storyline aspect of the show was the most compelling thing about it. However, there were a lot of matches that really stood out during the course of season two. Matanza and Cage had one of the best big man matches I’ve seen in a long time, Rey Mysterio was still able to hang with even the greatest of wrestlers at the promotion while Aztec Warfare II was an incredible episode to sit through as well.

However, this four hour extravaganza would be the culmination of another season of storylines and drama. Pentagon Jr would challenge the monster Matanza, hoping to get revenge for Matanza almost breaking his back in their last match. Prince Puma wanted to prove that he was even better than arguably the greatest luchador of all time. There were a lot of matches that was very much looked forward to by the fans, but could the three part show deliver?

 

Part One

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The first episode in this trilogy saw Dario Cueto’s “Tournament 4 A Unique Opportunity” which saw a four man tournament take place. In the first round, Cage faced The Mack in a rematch from last year’s Ultima Lucha while Son Of Havoc took on Texano. Both matches were hardcore matches, with Cage and Mack having a falls count anywhere match as well as Son Of Havoc and Texano having a bar room brawl. I thought the Cage and Mack match was really good, which was expected when considering how great their match from last year was. I don’t think this match was better than last year’s but it was still good. The Son Of Havoc/Texano match was also not bad but I can’t help but think that it would have been a much better match without the hardcore stipulation.

Let me get the big criticism out of the way. I’m sure that hardcore fans loved all of this innovation with weapons but these stipulations took away from the lucha libre style of wrestling that lucha fans tuned in to see. Not to mention that having so many hardcore matches on the first show left the fans feeling less excited for hardcore angles down the line, like the Death match with Mil Muetres and King Cuerno. Regardless, The Mack and Son Of Havoc won. They faced off in a short falls count anywhere match, which Son Of Havoc won.

Dario Cueto came out with two briefcases and gave Son Of Havoc one of two options. Son Of Havoc could choose between $250,000 or a Lucha Underground title shot at Ultima Lucha Tres. Son Of Havoc then claimed that it wouldn’t matter if there were $250 MILLION in that briefcase, he would want the title shot. Now, I understand putting the title over as if this was the most important thing in the world to a wrestler. However, would anyone really pass up on $250 MILLION just for a title shot? It seemed like a ludicrous claim to me, that the Lucha Underground title was worth more than $250 million. That’s probably more than what Lucha Underground is worth. Heck, I’m sure you could start a very strong wrestling promotion with $250 million and make YOURSELF a champion!

Havoc takes the title shot, which of course sprung a trap. Dario revealed that Havoc would only get the title shot if he won one more match. If his opponent won, that opponent would get the $250,000. Famous B then came out to reveal the opponent, who was his new client. It was a pretty big client for Famous B as it was revealed that Son Of Havoc’s opponent was Dr Wagner Jr.

This was a pretty big reveal. Dr Wagner Jr won in about two minutes, much to the delight of Famous B and his girl Brenda. I liked the whole culmination of Famous B’s quest to find the right client and in the end, he found a client that was already famous. I was kind of let down by the fact that I was expecting him to actually show up with a lesser-known name. I get the reveal that he found a client that was already famous, but Famous B’s whole service was about GETTING people famous. Dr Wagner Jr contradicting that was a little disappointing. I guess that’s a heel for you!

 

Part Two

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The “main attraction” of part two was the Gift of the Gods championship match, which was a seven person elimination match. Cage cashed in his title shot a few weeks before so a new champion had to be crowned. Sexy Star, Marty the Moth, Mariposa, Killshot, Night Claw, Daga and Sinestro de la Muerte were the seven entrants. The one thing which really got to me about the match was that the very best wrestlers in this match were eliminated the earliest. Killshot, Night Claw and Daga are all tremendous workers, so seeing them eliminated before the likes of Sexy Star and Marty the Moth felt like a slap in the face to those talents. Night Claw, who was debuting, looked awesome in this match. He eliminated two men and probably was the most over out of the bunch, before being eliminated.

It was down to Marty The Moth, Mariposa and Sexy Star, with the heels ganging up on Sexy Star. Mariposa was eliminated after Marty accidentally punched her in the face. I love how Mariposa’s origin story, according to Marty, was that she was part of a tribe of great warriors, yet she was eliminated her from a mere punch from her brother. Unless Marty has a punch that is equal in power to the Big Show’s WMD, I find it very hard to believe that Mariposa would be done after just one punch.

Sexy beat Marty to win the Gift of the Gods title. I know Lucha Underground wants to promote the idea of the women being just as good as the men, with two of the final three of this match being women. I’m also not totally against the idea of inter-gender wrestling, although I would go forward with extreme caution when booking such a program. If a woman is over enough and talented enough, she can wrestle the very best male athletes for all I care. That’s if the woman IS over enough and talented enough. Sexy Star wasn’t over enough, I don’t think. Sexy Star is not talented enough either. She’s an OK female wrestler but there’s only a handful of male wrestlers on the roster worse than Sexy Star. Every one else is miles ahead, so the idea that Sexy is supposed to be on par with these men is pretty unbelievable… even for Lucha Underground.

Next up was a “death match” between Mil Muertes and King Cuerno, which was essentially a no disqualification match. There was no murdering going on, but Mil sure did destroy King Cuerno. They brawled, with the heel Cuerno being more of a showboater while Mil was all about bringing the power game. Cuerno took a lot of punishment in this match, including rolling down the stairs. Their fight led them to the stage where the band that was playing were hanging out. Mil no-sold his head being thrown into a window. Cuerno put his hands on Catrina, which was the beginning of the end for Cuerno. Muertes put Cuerno through three tables with powerbombs, hit him with a crowbar, hit a tombstone and won. This was a fun no disqualification match, which did a great job with the two characters. Muertes was allowed to be a big, badass heavy hitter and Cuerno sold like crazy during the onslaught.

During the show, Mr Cisco was wired by Cortez Castro and Joey Ryan to meet with Dario Cueto. Cortez re-assued him by telling Cisco that Dario wasn’t going to kill… all the motivation one needs to meet with an sociopath! Cisco was doing this in order to clear himself of all charges. So Cisco meets with Dario, with Joey and Cortez listening in. Cisco claimed that he wanted to be in on whatever Dario was planning. It almost kind of worked with the storyline, as Cisco was so bad when acting here that Dario saw right through him. He asked if Cisco was wearing a wire and it was revealed. He grabs the mic and asks the cops to come get him. He asks if the cops wanted him for murder, quickly following up by saying if they weren’t before they would now. He grabbed the red bull from his office and killed Cisco with it by bashing him in the head. A very good scene which I’ll get more into later when I discuss the final scene of the season.

 

Part Three

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At the start of part three, Vampiro gave Pentagon Jr some last minute training before his match with Matanza. In a scene similar to the Empire Strikes Back moment where Luke goes into the cave, Pentagon Jr went into a similar cave and fought his own demons. He eventually bested Vampiro, who told him that he was ready.

The two-hour final part began with Drago, Fenix and Aero Star challenging Johnny Mundo, PJ Black and Jack Evans for the Trios Championship. A very fun and action-packed trios match as usual. When you put six wrestlers as good as these six together, a lot of great stuff will happen. I would argue that it was a bit too much, especially with Angelico’s return to get revenge on Mundo, but it didn’t bother me too much. Everyone worked well with each other and Drago, Fenix and Aero Star ended up winning the belts. Fenix became the first person to achieve the Lucha Underground Grand Slam, winning the Lucha Underground, Trios and Gift Of The Gods titles. I think that Fenix accomplishing the feat in two seasons, as well as winning all of the belts in the same season for that matter, hurts the prestige of the titles a little. However, at least there were good stories told in the build up to each of his title reigns. Therefore, I don’t really have a problem with it. It wasn’t like complete title hot-shots or anything. A great opener to the show.

El Dragon Azteca faced Black Lotus. Initially, this was a really weird match. It started off as a normal match and then El Dragon Azteca took control. He was the aggressor in this inter-gender match and the fans died down a little. Trying to promote the idea of a babyface male against a heel female in a match is really hard to do, as how are the fans supposed to root for the heroes in that situation? Heck, El Dragon Azteca was shown to be vastly superior to Black Lotus. Then Pentagon came into beat up both wrestlers, causing a no contest. He broke both their arms, and that was the end of this grudge match between Black Lotus and El Dragon Azteca. No satisfying conclusion to their entire program AT ALL. Ended in four minutes by a man that hadn’t had any interaction with either character up until this point. This led to Vampiro announcing that this was not Pentagon Jr, but now Pentagon Dark.

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Pentagon Dark cut an awesome promo in Spanish, which was thankfully subtitled. Even if it wasn’t, you can tell that Pentagon always shows some serious passion in his promos and the fans hang on to every word he says. He told the crowd that he was Pentagon Dark and wanted to fight Matanza now. Matanza came out, meaning that the Lucha Underground title match was the third match on the five-match card for this final part. I personally would have put this in the main-event although at least the position of the match made more sense with the ending of the show in mind.

This was a really great match to watch and I’ll explain why. The whole idea behind this transformation of Pentagon Dark was to show that this was not the same man as before. After training from Vampiro, he has become a totally different person to the man that fought Matanza and got destroyed. Therefore, the rematch was structured much differently than the first match. It’s not like when John Cena gets angry and the announcers say that this was a new John Cena, even though he wrestles exactly the same. Pentagon destroyed Matanza this time around as the training of Vampiro paid off. He destroyed Matanza, had the match won until Vampiro whipped out a bat wrapped in barbed-wire. This barbed wire bat would end up being Pentagon’s undoing as Dario’s involvement caused Matanza to grab the bat and use it on Pentagon. He hit him in the back with the bat, hit his finishing powerslam and just pinned him. I will criticise the ending just a little, as the series had previously shown Pentagon being able to take Negan-like barbed-wire bat shots TO THE HEAD from Vampiro. He took a hit from the back, was hit with Matanza’s finisher and beaten. I thought, after taking 90% of the match, that Pentagon getting beat like that was rather underwhelming. Other than that, it was a great match. Vampiro, who stopped taking his meds after part two to train Pentagon a little more, went back on them after this match.

Taya wrestled Ivelisse. A decent women’s match which saw Taya win and Catrina attack Ivelisse with a jawbreaker of some type. It appears that Catrina will be wrestling during season three, which I’m a little worried about. Catrina, as Maxine in WWE, was still a part of the worst women’s match I’ve ever seen in NXT along with Kaitlyn in 2010. How far Maxine has progressed in more than five years is unknown, but I do pray to all the Aztec gods that she’s good enough to be able to do decent work with the likes of Ivelisse.

The main-event was Rey Mysterio vs Prince Puma. This was an incredible match, with magnificent chemistry and great story-telling aspects to it. It was the up-and-comer Prince Puma needing to do whatever he could to beat the legend Mysterio. The crowd was into every move and the drama was there. This is a legitimate contender for the best Lucha Underground match of all time. There’s just one small complaint I have and it’s Matt Striker on commentary. He was not suited to call a match like this. Firstly, there were a lot of times when he was calling the match more like a fan than a legitimate commentator. Him calling a particular spot the “I’m sorry, I love you” moment felt so tacky and almost unprofessional if you will. Did you really need to tell the audience what was going on between Mysterio and Puma, when Puma found it hard to find the strength to put away this legend? Secondly, after Mysterio won, Matt Striker made an absurd claim about this being the future of Lucha Libre. If Prince Puma won the match, I could buy that line. However, the veteran Mysterio beat the future in Prince Puma! If Rey Mysterio is the future of Lucha Libre, then Lucha Libre is not going to be great shape should Rey retire in the next few years!

At the end of the show, Pentagon Dark attacked Vampiro. Vampiro was off his meds, so Pentagon just simply beat him up effortlessly. It was a pretty bloody beatdown. He did this because Vampiro introduced the barbed-wire bat in his match when he didn’t need to. Along with that, after telling Pentagon that he was ready, Vampiro introducing the bat proved that he still didn’t have enough faith in him so Pentagon was angry. Pentagon came off as such a star after Ultima Lucha Dos was finished.

The big ending saw Dario Cueto arrested and taken away in a police van. While in the back of the van, Dario simply smiled. And that was that…

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Overall, it was a good four hour event. We didn’t get any really good stuff until the Death Match but we did get some really great matches following that. The Pentagon Dark/Matanza match was great and the Rey Mysterio/Prince Puma match was a wondrous match. I thought the ending of the season fell flat to me, considering how great the finale of last season was as it tied up the loose ends. Following this, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of stuff that needs explaining. Let’s hope that we get some answers in season three, which begins in September.

Retro Express – Survivor Series 2006

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Survivor Series 2006 was the 20th anniversary of the annual Thanksgiving event. This was the first of its kind that featured the RAW, SmackDown! and ECW brands. The emphasis was on the Survivor Series elimination matches and WWE had to put on a show for a Philly crowd that was difficult to please. Could they give us a Survivor Series to remember?

 

WWE Survivor Series

Date: November 26th 2005

Brand: RAW and SmackDown!

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Attendance: 15,400

Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes and Ron Simmons w/Arn Anderson vs Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey in a Survivor Series elimination match
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Flair and Simmons both got big pops when they were coming out. Arn Anderson was in the legends’ corner wearing one of his vintage golf shirts. Ron “cleared house” until he was tripped by one of the members of the Spirit Squad. This lead to a very strange “spot” which gives us the first two eliminations. Ron Simmons followed Mitch around the ring which led to Ron and Arn trapping him. Arn threw Mitch into the ringpost which led me to believe that Ron would be disqualified for what Arn did to Mitch. Instead, Ron was actually eliminated because he was COUNTED OUT alongside Mitch. I thought this was an absurd ruling because surely Arn did the illegal move before the referee finished his count. Also, I don’t even remember the referee finishing his count while the Ron/Mitch/Arn spot was going on. I may have to go back and watch the match again but I SWEAR that I never heard the referee finish his count. I guess he could have whispered it to himself!
Jim Ross was trying to explain all of this on commentary but I think even he was baffled by all of this. To add to the confusion, Arn Anderson was thrown out as the Legends’ manager. Arn sold this ruling tremendously by the way! This led to the fans chanting “bullshit” as this took up a good two minutes of the match to sort all of this out. Not a great start.
Every member of the Spirit Squad was wearing their overalls except, if I recall, Nicky. As mentioned in past editions of the Retro Express, Nicky ended up becoming Dolph Ziggler. In this match though, Nicky was in full Ziggler-mode with his selling! After a spot with Sgt Slaughter, where the veteran fooled the youngster with a handshake, Slaughter began body-slamming Nicky over and over. Slaughter locked on the Cobra Clutch but Johnny ended up dropping him from behind with a kick. This lead to Nicky PINNING Sgt Slaughter.
Dusty Rhodes then pinned Nicky with an elbow drop. When watching this now in 2016, it seems a bit funny to see someone lose to a simple elbow drop. I know The Rock’s finisher is the People’s Elbow but surely one standard elbow drop shouldn’t beat people right? However, Dusty beat people all the time with this in his prime! It’s just also funny that Nicky lost to an elbow drop when as Dolph Ziggler, he hits wrestlers with ten repeated elbows as signature moves and can only get a two count!
Kenny pinned Dusty when he ducked the Bionic Elbow and rolled him up for the pin. This left Ric Flair alone to face Johnny, Mikey and Kenny. Flair pinned Mikey with an Atomic Drop and a pin which saw him with his feet on the ropes. Ric then pinned Kenny with the Small Package and made Johnny submit with the Figure Four Leg Lock and won the match for his team. The Spirit Squad beat up Ric Flair after the match. My biggest question was WHERE WERE THE LEGENDS when this happened? Not a fan of this match. I guess when you combine bad booking with five old wrestlers that could barely move and the Spirit Squad, you shouldn’t get your expectations up.
Match Rating: *1/2
Chris Benoit (c) vs Chavo Guerrero w/Vickie Guerrero for the United States Championship
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This was a fine match. Benoit worked very hard and Chavo looked really good as the heel getting the heat on him. Vickie Guerrero kept getting involved. Benoit made the comeback with the triple German suplexes. Chavo got some serious height on these suplexes. JBL began giving us a analogy on cheating in matches which he was able to somehow relate to picking up women in a bar. Chris Benoit kicked out of Chavo’s Frog Splash to a surprisingly big reaction. Vickie got knocked off the apron and the key to the finish was that Benoit was showing care for Vickie on the outside. While he was doing this, Chavo rolled him up. Benoit countered this into a Crossface and made Chavo tap out.
Match Rating: **3/4
I have to really give JBL some credit for being so great in 2006 as a commentator. You wouldn’t think it by hearing him in 2016, but he was fantastic during this pay-per-view. He would go on some of the greatest rants while on commentary and was allowed to just go completely nuts. It was tremendous to hear him when he could just unload like this.
Edge and Lita were backstage being interview by Todd Grisham. Lita was wrestling her last match that night, defending her Women’s title against Mickie James. Lita told Todd that she wasn’t going to change her mind about retiring. She said she was going to beat Mickie James and gave some spiel about wanting respect from the fans. Edge cut a promo about Team Rated RKO’s match against Team DX. He talked about beating up the Hardy Boyz for years and called CM Punk an ECW reject. As this was going on, Cryme Tyme went into Lita’s locker room. When Edge was done, they came out with a box. JTG told Todd that he never saw anything and left.
Lita (c) vs Mickie James for the Women’s Championship
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Having watched this match back again, I think it’s safe to say that this will be one of my most memorable women’s matches of all time. The sad thing is, I will not be remembering this match in a positive way. The match itself was pretty decent and there were some good aspects to this match which really made it stand out. However, I will never forget just how badly Lita was treated by the WWE and the WWE fans on this night.
Now a lot of people will say that this was fitting considering the characters of everyone involved. I understand all of that. However, this was still Lita’s last night with the company. WWE’s idea was to have the fans get as much abuse in as they can on Lita before she left and she was a trooper for putting up with this. Jerry Lawler actually said on commentary that he was going “to get in all that he could” about Lita and he was making jokes throughout the match about her. My biggest issue is that not every fan in the company remembered Lita for the gimmick she had during the last few years of her career. There were fans who were generally going to miss Lita and there was even a big “Thank You Lita” sign which I saw. I saw one at least but there were probally more.
As it turned out though, the WWE had been CONFISCATING signs which gave Lita praise that night. The idea that WWE wanted Lita to be remembered in such a fashion and was willing to get rid of any signs which gave her some credit for the many years of blood, sweat and tears that she gave for them is one of the most disgraceful things WWE has ever done. Jerry Lawler made a point later on in the show about how the fans should chant and cheer for whoever they wanted. In reality, it honestly looked liked they were punishing the fans for thinking in ways that they didn’t want them to think. I think that is just wrong, especially considering that you saddled Lita with this gimmick for well over a year.
Anyway, there were some awful chants from the crowd. Lita and Mickie actually had a decent match, which I don’t think many fans would remember. They had a decent little women’s match. There was an interesting spot when Lita locked on the sleeper hold and jumped on Mickie’s back for a while. Lita’s pretty tall compared to Mickie, so this looked unique. Mickie pulled off a nice barrage of kicks including a sweet-looking roundhouse. Mickie went for an hurricanrana but Lita dropped her on her face. Mickie kicked out of Lita’s moonsault to a big reaction. Lita went for an Impaler DDT but Mickie countered, which saw Lita land pretty hard. Considering her previously neck problems, that was worrying. Mickie hit the Mickie-DT to win the title. Good match considering everything that happened.
Match Rating: **1/4
Lita told Lilian Garcia to give it up for the “greatest women’s champion of all time.” Nobody did which upset Lita. Lita called the fans disrespectful. This lead to Cryme Tyme coming out. They were selling all of Lita’s stuff. They were selling things like dildos, bras and vaginal yeast infection medication. I’m not making this up. They were actually selling all of this on WWE pay-per-views ten years ago. Then we got a pretty disgusting moment when JBL wanted to buy a pair of Lita’s panties RIGHT AFTER Cryme Tyme just sold yeast infection medication. JBL paid $100 but didn’t get any change, with Cryme Tyme throwing her panties into the crowd. JBL was angry and wanted his money back.
That was the end of that. It’s so astonishing when looking back on this in hindsight. Obviously all the stuff with Lita and Cryme Tyme was all horrible and disgusting. The funny thing is that if you showed these fans in 2006 a segment from the “divas revolution” ten years later, they’d be begging for Lita to not retire.  Thankfully for Lita, she would be given a much better send off years later. She did wrestle again at RAW 1000 and she was even inducted into the Hall of Fame. Thank you Lita indeed.
They showed a clip of Michael Cole interviewing Batista backstage. Batista was scheduled to wrestle King Booker in a title match. Cole asked Batista about having to relinquish his World Heavyweight Championship at the start of the year but Batista didn’t reply. Cole asked a bunch of other questions and got no response. They showed a replay of Booker hitting Batista with the “Royal Scepter.” Batista eventually broke his silence, simply saying “I am leaving tonight World Heavyweight Champion.” A few minutes with questions by Cole and a clip from SmackDown! lead to seven words from Batista to build up the main-event of the show. Lovely.
Team DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy) vs Team Rated RKO (Edge, Randy Orton, Johnny Nitro, Mike Knox and Gregory Helms) in a Survivor Series elimination match
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CM Punk got a really big reaction when he came out, as did DX. I made the point earlier about all the Lita signs that were taken down. Keeping that in mind, there were some signs which I couldn’t believe were allowed to stay up. The first I noticed was not a bad one or anything. However, it simply read “Nitro = Ratings.” Apparently, there were some big Johnny Nitro fans in the crowd or some old WCW Nitro fans! Whether he was a ratings grabber will be left up for debate.
Team DX were having fun with the crowd before the match started. The Philly crowd was great for this match which really did help. There were some BIG chants for CM Punk. CM Punk even asked the crowd if they were ready. DX did their spiel and told everybody to suck it. Then the heels came out. I couldn’t stop laughing during Gregory Helms’ entrance and it was for his entrance theme. This version of his theme saw Gregory Helms say his name first in such a great way, putting a lot of emphasis on the “Helms” part of his name! I don’t know why I found this to be so funny!
Rated RKO came out with a really cool sounding mash-up theme, as Orton did his pose on the apron. Triple H tried to get Kelly Kelly to show her breasts but Mike Knox got all mad. Shawn super-kicked Knox and quickly eliminated him. This lead to Shawn asking “Who was that?” Triple H simply replied by saying that “He was in the match.”  This was a tremendous burial of poor Mike Knox!
There was an awesome spot with Shawn Michaels and Johnny Nitro, with leapfrogs and stuff. Shawn then slid out of the ring and cuddled Melina, who was not aware that he was cuddling him and thought it was Nitro. They both turned around, with Melina shrieking and Shawn yelling “aaaah.” Shawn’s reaction was magnificent!
It was pointed out that Nitro and Jeff had been in a ladder match on RAW a few days before. Despite this, both men were wrestling in this match and were apparently fine. They weren’t selling that previous ladder match one bit. On the same night that Lita retired, they apparently had to get in a spot with Matt Hardy fighting Edge. Matt Hardy got busted open early. Punk got the hot tag to a big reaction. Punk tapped out Nitro. This saw Team DX have a two man advantage at this point. Jim Ross referred to the Chicago-born Punk as “Young Mr CM Punk.” This made me laugh.
Randy Orton hit the RKO on someone but Shawn Michaels broke up the pin. Triple H got the hot tag. Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy did a double dive to the outside with JR referring to the both of them as “Team Extreme.” Matt Hardy eliminated Helms with the Twist of Fate/Swanton combination from the Hardyz. Rated RKO tried to walk out but the Hardyz brought them back into the ring. Shawn superkicked Edge and pinned him. Orton tried to escape through the crowd but they brought him back to the ring. DX hit the Superkick and Pedigree to eliminate him. It was a clean sweep for Team DX.
This was a squash match but it was a pretty entertaining squash match. I think the only man that was really buried following this was Mike Knox. Nitro and Helms at least put up a fight of some sort. Rated RKO were main-eventers anyway, so it wasn’t like it killed any careers or anything. Thumbs up from me. I enjoyed this match.
Match Rating: ***
In case anyone was wondering, this was not the first time where there was a complete clean sweep in a five-on-five Survivor Series elimination match. There were a few in the 1990s. In 2014, there was actually a clean sweep when Team Alicia Fox defeated Team Paige.
Mr Kennedy did an interview with Kristal. Kennedy was scheduled to face the Undertaker in a first blood match. Kennedy said that this was the biggest match of his career. His interview was cut off by MVP. MVP noticed that Kennedy had vaseline all over his face. MVP bragged about beating Kane in a steel cage match. MVP said that he had Kennedy’s back.
Mr Kennedy vs Undertaker in a First Blood match
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Kennedy undid three of the turnbuckles during the entrances. Taker beat up Kennedy and they brawled for a while. There was a lot of head-based offence at the start of the match, which made sense with the stipulation of the match. I remember watching a number of first blood matches were the two wrestlers would just do move after move during the match until the last few moments of the match where they would start target the head! Undertaker and Kennedy were trying to bust each other open early.
With that being said, there was one spot where Kennedy was dropped groin-first onto one of the exposed turnbuckles. One of my major complaints about Kennedy was the fact that he took this move and Kennedy sold by yelling “ooooooh” with a low-pitched voice. I was not a fan of his selling.
Kennedy was busted open in the mouth but MVP came out and wiped his mouth with a towel before the referee noticed. Despite doing this, MVP threw Kennedy back into the ring. Kennedy yelled “oooh” again and he yelled this as if he were Tarzan. MVP came back in and went to hit Kennedy with the chair but he hit Undertaker and busted him open. The referee noticed and called for the bell.
Think about this for a moment. MVP wanted to screw over Kennedy (which was apparently revenge from SmackDown!, when Kennedy screwed over MVP) by initially throwing Kennedy into the ring and then trying to bust him open with a chair. So if MVP’s goal in this match was for Kennedy to lose, why didn’t he simply rat him out for bleeding from the mouth when he came out with the towel? Why did he wipe away the blood when he could have just told the ref that Kennedy was bleeding?
So the fans were booing. MVP ran away as Kennedy beat up Undertaker after the match. Kennedy’s winning announcement was cut off by the Dead Man. Undertaker smacked Kennedy with a chair and “wrapped the chair around the skull” of Kennedy. Taker hit the Tombstone Piledriver and took off his glove to beat him up some more. JBL, being as awesome as ever, then began to berate Teddy Long for what Undertaker was doing!
There were some really bad portions of the match but I can’t hate it or anything as they at least gave us a good post-match beatdown from Undertaker.
Match Rating: **
King Booker was backstage with Queen Sharmell. He vowed to beat Batista and acted all kingly.
Team Cena (John Cena, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Kane and Bobby Lashley) vs Team Big Show (Big Show, Umaga, Finlay, MVP and Test)
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What’s funny about this show was that despite the ECW announcers not being there, the ECW referee was there and officiating this match! Test looked jacked in this match. There were a few beauties in terms of signs that I noticed. There was a sign which said “Umaga ate my turkey” which was followed up with a “RVD and Sabu are innocent” sign. I guess they were referring to the DUI incident that the two of them had in July 2006. I don’t know how much impact that sign could have several months after the incident!
The SmackDown! referee took Finlay’s shillelagh. There were big pops for Cena and RVD. Kane’s pyro scared Sabu. Cena took it to Umaga early on. This upset Umaga who went crazy and attacked all of Team Cena with a television monitor. This caused Umaga to be DQd. The heels took over and Rob Van Dam was busted open in the mouth. RVD and MVP seemed to mess up an enziguiri. Kane chokeslammed MVP as Cena was arguing with the referee. RVD hit the Frog Splash and pinned MVP. Test pinned RVD with the big boot to eliminate him.
Lashley speared Test on the outside and Sabu pinned Test with a springboard DDT in the ring. Big Show pinned Sabu with a chokeslam. The crowd popped for a showdown between Kane and the Big Show. The chokeslam struggle between the two of them was interrupted by Hornswoggle, who I believe was going by “Little Bastard” at this time. Finlay hit Kane with the shillelagh and Show capitalised to pin Kane. Big Show got a pop for powerslamming Cena. Jim Ross mentioned that Finlay had a “PhD in cheating.” Having studied and worked at a university, I’m curious to see if such a course exists!
Lashley got the hot tag while Cena got boos. Hornswoggle was thrown into Cena, with Lashley spearing Finlay. Lashley pinned Finlay which meant it was down to Cena and Lashley taking on the Big Show. There was an awkward looking double DDT on Show by Cena and Lashley. They followed it up with a much better looking double suplex. Lashley shoulder barged Show which led to Cena FUing Show for the win. Lashley and Cena were the sole survivors.
This was slightly better than what I was expecting. One of the commentary highlights from this show was Jim Ross saying that “We will see a lot more of Lashley at Survivor Series down the road.” It was funny because this was the last time that Lashley ever appeared at Survivor Series! Lashley had left the company by the time that Survivor Series 2007 rolled around! Sorry JR. You were wrong this time!
There was one more sign I noticed before the World Heavyweight title match which said “Discharge the Marine!” I wonder who that is directed to!
Match Rating: **1/2
King Booker (c) w/Queen Sharmell vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship. If Batista lost, he would not get another world title match as long as Booker was the champion.
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There was actually a really good video package for this match, with the exception of the fact that they didn’t mention the “last chance” stipulation in it at all. Fortunately, Teddy Long explained it before the match started. He also ruled that if Booker got himself DQ’d
or counted out, Batista would win the championship. Why this was announced on the pay-per-view and not on SmackDown! beforehand is a mystery. I guess it’s for the best, as they probably wouldn’t have mentioned that on the video package either!
There were some more great crowd signs, with a big “BOB” sign being hard to miss. There was also a sign which I noticed that said “Santa isn’t real.” I could only imagine what’d happen if you tried to get this sign into the arena if this was in 2016! You’d be ruffling some serious feathers!
King Booker made his entrance, to which JBL told Michael to “look at the pinkie.” During this long intro, JBL compared King Booker to William Wallace. Batista finally cut off the entrance by attacking him on the entrance ramp. There were “let’s go Booker” chants. Batista went for an early Batista Bomb but Booker rolled out of the way. Booker tried to leave but Sharmell reminded him that he couldn’t get counted out. Booker then took over.
I felt that there were some weird pacing issues between Batista and Booker. Batista was very slow and it seemed that Booker was too quick for him at times. Not the smoothest of matches.
King Booker gave Batista a side-kick which knocked him off the apron. Batista did the comeback to some boos. There was a “We Want Lesnar” sign. Batista did a top rope shoulder barge. Batista hit the Batista Bomb but Booker got the bottom rope. Sharmell threw the belt to Booker. Batista went for a Batista Bomb on Sharmell. As the referee was distracted, Booker tried to hit Batista with the belt but Batista ducked. Batista hit Booker with the belt and won.
It was a very boring match but Batista had a hell of a celebration! It’s hard to believe that this match was picked as the main-event and the fans really weren’t invested into the match until Batista won. This gets a thumbs down for me.
Match Rating: *3/4
This show was pretty darn boring at times. Even with a world title change, it seemed like nothing special really happened on this show. The crowd was great for the majority of this show but the show itself just didn’t live up to their expectations. The World title match was underwhelming and there was not one match that I would consider to be really good. The most entertaining match of the night was essentially a squash match! I would not want to watch this pay-per-view again. Not one of the stronger Survivor Series events in the now 30-year history of the pay-per-view.

Why Charlotte Should Not Win The Divas Championship At Night Of Champions

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Charlotte is undoubtedly one of the most gifted women in the WWE. She has the blood of one of the greatest wrestlers of all time running through her veins. When I saw her compete in NXT, I thought she was exceptional. She’s had some brilliant matches with Sasha Banks, Bayley and the rest of the women in the NXT roster. When I saw her debut on RAW in July, I was ecstatic. She’s got all the tools needed to be a huge star. With that being said… I don’t think Charlotte should win the Divas Championship in her title match against champion Nikki Bella at Night of Champions.

Pitchforks down please! I’m not entirely endorsing Nikki Bella’s reign as Divas Champion to continue either. However if you’re going to build up a new top face in the Divas Division, then the build up to their title victory is crucial. Look at Bayley’s title win at NXT TakeOver. Bayley had been struggling for a year or so to capture the NXT Women’s Championship. Bayley mentioned that her family was at everyone of her title matches. Her family has been through thick and thin with Bayley en route to her glorious moment in Brooklyn. When Sasha Banks injured her arm during TakeOver and the odds were stacked against her again, you really wanted to see Bayley finally get her moment at the top of the NXT mountain. When Daniel Bryan was taken out so many times at Wrestlemania XXX, you were rooting for this underdog to defy all the odds and win the championship. Charlotte needs that same journey.

Let me explain why Charlotte needs this journey so much. When Charlotte won the NXT Women’s Championship, she was a heel. She had Ric Flair in her corner. The NXT Championship was vacated by Paige and Charlotte seized the moment to capture the belt. She then turned face to engage in a heated rivalry with Sasha for the belt. She came onto the main roster as a babyface. She won her first match at Battleground and her record since has been pretty great compared to the rest of the divas in this “Divas Revolution”. Therefore, Charlotte has missed out on this opportunity to have her “struggle to reach the top” storyline which can make a top babyface… particularly in the divas division.

If you’re picking the babyface that will end the record-breaking title reign of Nikki Bella (it will be record-breaking longest title reign come Night of Champions) it has to be a worthwhile moment. Look at when Paige beat AJ Lee for the Divas Championship in 2014. AJ Lee had beaten everybody in her path. At Wrestlemania XXX, AJ beat everybody else on the main roster to successfully retain her championship. She had legitimately beaten everyone there was to beat on the main roster. That was when NXT Women’s Champion Paige arrived onto the scene. After being forced into a title match she initially didn’t want to be in, Paige overcame the odds to shockingly beat AJ for the title. She’s done something no other woman has done in 295 days. That MADE Paige an instant star from the moment she got onto the roster.

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Paige’s background wrote the story well for her. During her efforts to break into the wrestling industry in England, Paige was the only one out of her family selected from try-outs to be apart of the WWE. She struggled to fit into WWE as she was the outcast. She was not like any other diva. She really was the “Anti-Diva” and used that to shoot right to the top of NXT. This led to her winning the Divas Championship, being the youngest woman in the history of the company to do so. That is a phenomenal story.

Charlotte has a great story in the fact that she is Ric Flair’s daughter. There’s a great burden on her to succeed due to her bloodline. However, there was no real struggle for her to capture the NXT Women’s title. She won the belt after the previous champion Paige had vacated the belt. She won it in her first ever title match, so the climatic rise to her title win was seemingly non-existent. If she wins the Divas Championship on the first time of asking, then it would kill her rise to being the top babyface. There’s not been enough reason to get fans to rally behind Charlotte. The biggest reason for people wanting Charlotte to win the title is because they DON’T want Nikki Bella being the champion.

Nikki Bella is the type of heel champion who generates heat every time she goes down to the ring. People are sick of seeing her. WWE uses this to their advantage as Nikki is the perfect foil for Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte to rise up against. That would make anyone of these women worthy of winning the title, if it had not been for the WWE writers and how they’ve booked this women. As I went to great detail in during my End of the Revolution blog post, these women have suffered due to the way to writers have booked them. Out of everyone in the PCB, Charlotte has suffered the most.

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In what I think has been quite degrading, WWE has labelled Charlotte simply as the daughter of Ric Flair. That’s factually correct but it’s one thing to pay homage to her own family. It’s another thing to have Charlotte mimicking her father ALL THE TIME. Her theme music is a remix of Ric Flair’s entrance music. She shouts WOO every time she’s in a match. She shouts WOO every time she cuts a promo. She does the strut of Ric Flair. Her finisher is a variation of her father’s finisher. This means that Charlotte cannot stand out on her own as she needs to channel Flair in order to get a reaction. That’s not Charlotte’s fault. It’s the writers.

Chavo Guerrero was perhaps the worst victim of this type of booking. Every time he appeared on WWE or TNA following the death of Eddie Guerrero, they would have Chavo reference Eddie in literally every other promo he cut. He started using the three amigos and the Frog Splash and those became his permanent signature moves. Chavo couldn’t develop as a character or get over as the booking resulted in him needing to pay homage to somebody else in order to get over. Charlotte shouldn’t need to do this but now… she has too.

WWE is making Charlotte channel Flair to the point where she is now simply a tag line. In the casual audience’s eyes, she is Ric Flair’s daughter and nothing more. It’s sad. It sucks. But for this reason, Charlotte cannot be the one to win the Divas title if you want to develop this Divas Revolution. Unless Charlotte were to turn heel after this, which I don’t see happening, she is going to be stuck in this character purgatory. This means Charlotte cannot develop her character which means the fans’ interest in this champion will quickly vanish. Why do you think Natalya struggled so hard to get over as Divas Champion?

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Natalya was a great wrestler but it’s very difficult for her to develop a personality. Charlotte is going to do the same thing unless WWE gives the fans a reason to rally behind her. Have Charlotte lose this round at Night Of Champions. Have her make a mistake or have Paige accidentally cost her the match. That way, fans will begin to feel for her as she just had the title in her grasps only to come up short. Rematch after rematch on RAW until Charlotte says “Right. If I don’t beat Nikki at Survivor Series (or whatever), I don’t deserve to be on the main roster. If I lose, I will leave the main roster and never return.” That character development and self-motivation will get the fans to get behind Charlotte as she has a family legacy to uphold. When she wins the title, it will be a big moment. After struggling, she finally wins the Divas title on her last try. Therefore, you’re able to get Charlotte over enough to make Nikki losing her championship mean something.

If I had to pick right now who I believe should be the Divas Champion, I wouldn’t pick Charlotte. I’d pick Sasha Banks because she’s the most over person in the Divas Revolution storyline. But if WWE are going to go with Charlotte, then WWE have to do a lot more to develop this woman’s character. They have to build up the moment of Nikki losing her title a lot better. If Charlotte just beats her at Night Of Champions, then you make all these calls for change in the divas division seem anti-climactic. If you’re going to bring up all of these top quality NXT stars, then build them up as stars. Build up their moments of glory as truly big moments. If you’re going to take inspiration from the women from NXT, then do it properly.