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

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

download (2)

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

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

 

Date: November 26th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Norfolk, Virginia

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

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie and Bobby Heenan

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

hulk-hogan-yellow-clothes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

x1080-EZJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **3/4

 

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

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

 

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

wwef_36950465_th_64

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

hokuto-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Kensuke_Sasaki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Randy Savage vs Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart

sneak_ww3_1995_rev--13b04d4c624a7a37d53886491ee09655

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: *

 

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

 

Sting vs Ric Flair

Sting-Vs-Flair

Tony plugged that Hogan would face Hugh Morrus on Nitro.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

ww3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

j8xwPZez0pO05c5dN5AcllzjYro

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

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

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

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

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

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

super-giant-ninja

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

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

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

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

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

8277209

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

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

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

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

hqdefault (1)

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

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

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

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

maxresdefault (5)

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **

ric-flair-royal-rumble-1992

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

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

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

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

wcw-starrcade-1995

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

WCW Nitro Reading Order

Advertisements

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

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

maxresdefault

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

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

 

Date: November 20th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Macon, Georgia

Rating: 2.5

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

 

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

 

Scott Norton vs The Shark

wwef_36832749_th_64

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair

maxresdefault (4)

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

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

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Brian Pillman

download (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Road Warrior Hawk vs Big Bubba Rogers

wwef_36834829_th_64

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hulk Hogan vs Sting

x1080-q55

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World-War-3-WW3-III-WCW-PPV

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

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

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #11 (NOVEMBER 13TH 1995) – “EVIL” HULK HOGAN WANTS THE HEAD OF MENG

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

maxresdefault

We’re on the road to World War 3, with the stakes even higher for the 60 man battle royal main-eventing the show. Jimmy Hart revealed to the world last week that he added a stipulation to the Halloween Havoc title match indicating that if Hulk Hogan got disqualified, The Giant would win the WCW title. Because of interference by Jimmy himself, Hogan lost via disqualification and made The Giant the true WCW World Champion.

However, the WCW Championship Committee was having none of that. They stripped The Giant off the title and determined that the winner of the World War 3 battle royal would become the new WCW World Champion….

So we’ve got a few weeks to go before the war to end all wars and crown a new WCW World Champion. In the mean time, Nitro gives us four big matches for this episode. Hulk Hogan has sent Randy Savage to Nitro with the intention of determining who is on Hulk Hogan’s side in the battle with the Dungeon of Doom. Randy Savage takes on Meng, Chris Benoit battles Kensuke Sasaki and Sting will take on Dean Malenko in our main-event. We also have a WCW TV title match as the champion Johnny B Badd defends the gold against Eddie Guerrero.

 

Date: November 13th,1995

Brand: WCW

City: Jacksonville, Florida

Rating: 2

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

NOTE: In case anyone is wondering, this was actually at the same venue as last week‘s Nitro. WCW taped two shows back-to-back… except they taped this show FIRST! It’s kind of bizarre but yeah, we’re still in Jacksonville, Florida and my research showed that this episode did the exact same rating as last week’s show! Almost surreal!

capture

Speaking of surreal, we cut to this graveyard or what was supposed to be a graveyard anyway. It looked for all the world like WCW decided to raid the post-Halloween sales for scary props and stuff for this. Anyway, we’re shown Hulk Hogan dressed exactly like Emperor Palpatine who raided the bat cave for one of his masks!

I took the liberty of surfing the internet to find other reviews with descriptions of what Hulk Hogan was dressed like during this promo. I’ll quickly list them off here!:

  • A writer from Renegade Cinema said he was dressed as a S&M gimp!
  • Brandon Stroud from Uproxx with the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro series said he was dressed like a Sith Lord on his way to a swingers orgy!
  • A few sites simply referred to him as a Phantom of the Opera parody.
  • Team WCW from the Nerdopotamus had a great debate about Hogan’s appearance. Carlos claimed that Hogan looks like a dude that got laid off at Medieval Times to which his buddy Fredo stated that he looks like he just got hired at Medieval Times and he sneaks his costume home to show his mom his really awesome cosplay! I swear to all the gods out there that I literally just copied and pasted those words exactly from the post!
  • The Nitro Charged! series from Retro Oasis simply stated that Hogan has gone from emo to executioner!

I mean I could keep going on but suffice to say that Hogan looked absolutely ridiculous but so ridiculous that it was tremendous. It even appeared that Hogan had drawn himself facial hair, with his moustache out of the equation at the hands of the Dungeon of Doom! He was so heartbroken over his moustache that he drew himself a new one!

Hogan said the darkness in the Dungeon of Doom shakes in fear because of Hulk Hogan’s power. It’s here I noticed that he had the black glove on that he referred to one time in that creepy promo. Remember when he was talking about how people do bad things with black gloves? Strange showcase of continuity.

He said the Macho Man was on a mission to bring the head of Meng, the first man on Hogan’s hit list… otherwise known as the Hulkamania destruction hit list. Hogan whipped out his sword… an actually sword that he was wielding like a machete. Hogan said he has no idea where Sting is at with this relationship with Lex Luger. Hogan said if Sting was on Taskmaster’s side, Sting would be moved to the top of his hit list. He advised Macho Man to move fast, move swift and bring Meng’s head. Quite a crazy promo, which was followed by Bobby Heenan predicting that Hogan would be the first man eliminated in the battle royal.

 

Meng w/Taskmaster vs”Macho Man” Randy Savage

november_13_1995_monday_nitro-00005

Macho Man jumped Meng from behind to get things rocking as the fans went nuts. Macho Man, to show that he was truly on the darkside, was whipping out dirty move after dirty move including eye rakes. Macho Man went for a double axe handle but Meng cut him off. Jimmy Hart came down to the ring and Meng started to take control of the match.

This wasn’t much of a match early on until Meng tore off Savage’s shirt and Meng CHOPPED THE CRAP out of Savage. Savage may still have been suffering from a torn bicep at this point but even here, he was taken a proper beating from Meng to get the Tongan over. Savage’s body was RED RAW after this.

Meng went for a diving headbutt but Savage moved out of the way. Savage knocked Meng into Jimmy Hart and then hit Meng with the elbow drop for the pin which the fans were all ecstatic over.

Then The Shark and Lex Luger came down as Bobby Heenan yelled SHARK ATTACK! Lex worked on the arm of Savage on the ring post. Now I’d hate to be one of those guys but what on Earth was Luger wearing? He was wearing like pajama bottoms and a vest in pinstripes. It looked ridiculous but totally of the 1990s at the same time!

 

Kensuki Sasaki vs Chris Benoit

12422214_10100960720794844_2007479332_o

This was a match I certainly wasn’t expecting. Chris Benoit vs… Kensuki Sasaki. Yeah, Kensuki Sasaki was what popped up for his name plate! I feel I should refer to him as so even though I’ve always known him as KENSUKE Sasaki. If it bothers anyone, I’ll go with Kensuke Sasaki for future episodes.

Sasaki hit a huge clothesline from the get-go and went to work on Benoit. Sasaki hit a big powerslam and went on to hit the most realistic bulldog I’ve ever seen. He SLAMMED Benoit to the ground with such ferocity. Sasaki locked on a reverse chin-lock. In somewhat of a interesting spot, Sasaki tried a side-walk slam but Benoit proceed to somehow land on his feet. Sasaki then tried a teardrop suplex but it was reversed into a crossbody. If you’ll recall, Benoit tried a suplex last week but Eddie reversed it into a crossbody for the pin. At least this demonstrates that Benoit learned something from his last match where he lost. I liked that.

Benoit eventually hit two German Suplexes and finished with a Dragon Suplex for the pin. This match lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds and for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, it was absolutely phenomenal stuff. With that being said, this match being as short as it was bizarre considering two things.

Firstly, I missed it but the announcers talked about how Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko both became new members of the Four Horsemen. Secondly, they also mentioned that Kensuki Sasaki was getting a US title shot later on in the week against Sting. If Sasaki is being set up for a US title shot, why on Earth did you set that up by having Sasaki lose in less than 3 minutes to Benoit? At least Eddie won two matches in a row to earn a TV title shot. Sasaki lost in 3 minutes and is getting a US title shot. Quite bizarre.

 

Speaking of Benoit and Guerrero, another Benoit vs Guerrero match was actually set for WCW Saturday Night. This actually sounds interesting as these two are tied 1-1 in their little series since Benoit debuted. They also plugged Dean Malenko in action and Sting vs Buckhouse Buck.

 

Johnny B Badd vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW TV Championship

maxresdefault (2)

This was a very entertaining TV title match for the 10 minutes they got but it appeared that they were on different pages at times. Not the smoothest encounter I ever saw. A big reason was the size difference. Johnny B Badd was not a massive guy but he dwarfed Eddie in terms of size and that appeared to show in the match. He wasn’t quite able to match Eddie’s speed.

With that being said, Badd was beloved by the fans and he appeared to be more liked than Eddie in this match. Badd was somewhat a star in WCW. Eddie and Johnny shook hands. Johnny hit a decent tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but him hitting the move only reminded how great Eddie Guerrero’s tilt-a-whirl backbreakers were! Johnny hit his catapult leg drop for a near fall which I think was called the Badd Mood or whatever Tony Schiavonie called it one time!

Eddie almost landed directly on his own head doing a hurricanrana which could have ended nasty. Eddie and Johnny traded roll-ups. Eddie sent himself flying with a crossbody attempt where Badd evaded. Johnny hit a flip senton to the outside. Johnny missed a Springboard Splash and almost got pinned for it. The two kinda screwed up a victory roll where I think the difference in speed between the two was apparent.

After a while, Badd eventually got frustrated in this wrestling match. Therefore, the former Golden Glove Johnny B Badd hit a closed fist punch on Guerrero which is considered taboo in the world of wrestling. As Bobby explained that you do what you have to do, Eddie didn’t take to kindly to that. Eddie speared Badd and took him down, raining in punches from above. It leads to a wild frenzy and Badd attempted to jump at Eddie but referee Randy Anderson was in the way as Badd tried to jump at him. It looked kinda messy.

Eventually things calmed down as they tried to wrestle again. Eddie hit a teardrop suplex and would hit a Tope Con Hilo.

Johnny reversed a tombstone piledriver into a tombstone piledriver of his own for a near fall. At this point, we learned that there was a 10 minute time limit. Eddie hit a tornado DDT and the two crashed into each other with a crossbody attempt. The match eventually ends in a time limit draw with Eddie and Badd still swinging away at each other after the bell. They eventually shook hands and hugged each other after a hard-fought battle.

The match was great in the structure but somewhat sloppy with executions for about a 1/5 of the time. I like the idea that, yeah, Eddie and Badd lost their cool during the match. They both lost their cool and started brawling with each other. Even after a few moments on intense moments, the two men can shake hands and say well done after a time limit draw. The two babyfaces are not totally hating each other right now which makes them both likeable at the same time. They’re able to forgive and forget and I assume this will lead to another match down the road.

With that being said, we had a match with a 20 minute time limit with Badd and Brian Pillman at Fall Brawl. After the time limit expired, they went into overtime and kept wrestling. Why wasn’t overtime considered an option here? That was interesting. It was interesting considering that the Badd vs Pillman match was a number one contendership match and this Badd vs Eddie match was a title match!

Weird.

 

It’s here where Eric breaks the news that Hogan has called out Sting to wrestle him on Nitro next week. What a big match to reveal and he just announces it randomly in the middle of the show!

The Giant, Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster did an in-ring promo with Mean Gene. This is the third Nitro in a row where these three guys from the Dungeon of Doom have done a promo with each other! It’s the usually spiel between these guys.

Jimmy said that he and Taskmaster are the smartest men in the world as they took the WCW title from Hulk Hogan and Jimmy now has a new dilemma. He didn’t know what to do with his remaining Hulkamania jackets to which a disgusted Mean Gene says “gimme a break.” Taskmaster said that for 10 years, he was trying to figure out how to take down Hulkamania. It takes a true evil mastermind to take 10 years to come up with a plan to take out their arch-nemesis. All that plotting and planning!

Taskmaster said that they beat Hogan and plugged World War 3. They called World War 3 the biggest PPV event ever which I don’t think was the case. 23 years later and I don’t even know who won, although I have an idea! 60 men would fight for the biggest prize including the likes of Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage. The Giant declared that the competition was sky-high but there can only be one and that would be him. The Giant vowed that he would be the WCW Champion forever as he cackled along with his posse.

 

Sting vs Dean Malenko

maxresdefault (3)

If you though Chris Benoit vs Kensuki Sasaki was an interesting Nitro match… we got Sting vs Dean Malenko for the main-event. I’d hate to compare sizes again but Sting was not a small man and he was in the ring with the cruiserweight Dean Malenko.

By the way, it was here when I noticed Sting was not even wearing the WCW US title down to the ring! Remember when Sting was defending the US title all the time against guys like VK Wallstreet and The Shark? Now, Sting doesn’t even come out with the belt!

They wrestled for a bit. Sting hit a Gorilla Press which was a guaranteed pop no matter how many times he did it. Dean hit a dropkick to the knee to get the heat. Dean locked on a heel hook. Sting tried a Scorpion Deathlock during the match but Dean got the ropes. Dean hit a dropkick to the knee again and Mongo said Dean was treating Sting like a red-headed stepchild.

They actually mentioned Dean’s father who was billed as “The Great Malenko” back in the day. Dean hit a beautiful, and I mean a BEAUTIFUL, German suplex on Sting. Like I mentioned earlier, Sting is a BIG GUY in his own right. This took a lot of strength from Malenko and it looked amazing.

Sting eventually reversed the Texas Cloverleaf into a small package for the win. A decent but somewhat strange main-event to the show.

november_13_1995_monday_nitro-00021

Mean Gene caught Sting in the ring for a post-match promo but before that, Eric was talking about how Jimmy Hart stabbed Hogan in the back and Bobby Heenan proceeded to stab his piece of paper with a pen! Subtle comedy from The Brain!

Mean Gene broke the news to Sting that Hogan challenged him to a match on Nitro next week. Sting said he had nothing against Hogan and that he never dreamed of the day that Hogan would come knocking on  his door looking for him. Sting said that he could let it slide as he compared Hogan to a little dog sat on the porch while Sting himself was the big dog. Sting proclaimed that if you checked the list of who Sting has beaten, it’s a long list of big dogs as this is where the big dogs play. Sting was looking forward to the match.

Mean Gene agreed with Hogan that something didn’t smell right and Sting simply replied that the big dog would see Hulk Hogan next week, So we have a main-event for WCW Nitro next week. It’s so strange to see this go down. I don’t know if this was Sting and Hulk Hogan’s first ever match against each other but what a time to do the match free on a random episode of Nitro. It’s strange considering that for the Starrcade 1997 main-event between these two, WCW built it up for one year before eventually giving us the match.

Mean Gene sends it back to the announcers saying: “Mongo, Heenan – CONMAN, and Bischoff… you’re not a conman!” Mean Gene was so great. I gave my thoughts on Mean Gene during the last review but this was a great man.

50482d44719535.5a1dcf2f71e46

That was your Nitro review. This was a decent Nitro in my eyes. Not as good as last week to me but we got a few good matches. The TV title match was fine, Sasaki vs Benoit was great for 160 seconds, Savage vs Meng was an OK opener and Sting vs Dean was OK. Nothing particular bad but we got stuff that was unbelievable to watch. I think Hogan inadvertently stole the show with that opening promo!

Next week, we’ve got a big Hulk Hogan vs Sting main-event. We will see you with the review of Episode #12 of WCW Monday Nitro.

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.

maxresdefault

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

wwef_36832853_th_64

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.

nitro04

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

wwef_36832867_th_64

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.

Mean-Gene.png

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

maxresdefault (1)

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

sting-ric-flair

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.

tumblr_static_filename_640_v2

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.

download (2)

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

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

We will see you with Episode #11 of Nitro.

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #8 (OCTOBER 23RD 1995) – THE YETI ARRIVES ON THE GO-HOME SHOW FOR HALLOWEEN HAVOC

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.

maxresdefault

On the last episode of WCW Nitro, Ric Flair was set to go at it against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Sting had agreed to be Flair’s partner but questions were raised as to whether Sting could trust Flair. Apparently, Sting had his own concerns as he was not present for the opening bell.

Flair went at it alone and massacred Arn and Brian in a chop-fest. However, when Flair was overwhelmed, the Stinger finally came to the aid of Flair. With Arn and Brian getting counted out, Sting told Flair that he was on his side as Flair proved he had a lot of guts and a lot of heart.

Other highlights included Chris Benoit’s WCW debut in a great match against Eddie Guerrero and DDP evading a WCW TV title defence against Johnny B Badd by getting himself DQ’d before the bell even rang.

Now we come to the go-home show for WCW Halloween Havoc. With Hulk Hogan on the show this week and Sting and Luger set to team up in the main event, the question remained as to what was going to happen between the heroes of WCW and the Dungeon of Doom as we are on the road to Halloween Havoc 1995 in Detroit.

Before we get to Halloween Havoc though, we’ve got a Nitro to review and… prepare yourselves for an infamous WCW debut in the closing moments of the show. You have been warned.

 

Date: October 23rd 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Huntsville, Alabama

Rating: 2.6

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

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Kurasawa

wwef_36802681_th_64

Man, was I worried when I saw this match was set to take place. Kurasawa was a guy I was kinda high on when I first saw him. I then watched an infamous tag team match w/ him and Meng taking on Sting and Hawk and I could not believe how bad that match was. Now we had Randy Savage vs Kurasawa and even for a Randy Savage match… this was somehow boring.

This was boring because all Kurasawa did was kick away and karate chop away at Savage. When Ric Flair was chopping away at Anderson and Pillman last week, it was at least filled with fire and energy. Here, because Kurasawa was the heel, it was slow and boring. There was even a point in the match where Kurasawa was working on Savage and Savage threw Kurasawa out of the ring to buy himself some breathing room. After about 10 seconds or so, Kurasawa got back into the ring and started to work on him again.

I will say that the commentators did everything they could to put over Kurasawa, which was fine considering where this match was going on. They went on about how Kurasawa broke Hawk’s arm and defeated the undefeated Craig Pittman. That’s… fine.

So Kurasawa just kept beating on him, and beating on him, and beating on him. They went to a commercial, as the Americans put it, and then they came back and Kurasawa was STILL beating on him! This was just endless.

Actually, it wasn’t endless. Kurasawa went for a baseball slide but Savage evaded and Kurasawa fell to the outside taking a flat back bump. Kurasawa went for a head kick but accidentally kicked the ring post as Savage dodged. They got back in the ring and then Savage hit the elbow drop and won.

I can’t really hate the psychology of the match as they put Kurasawa over on route to Savage beating the guy, which is what you do. However, in terms of selling me on the idea of seeing Randy Savage wrestling twice at Halloween Havoc, this match doesn’t particular do a tremendous job when Savage was just getting beat on for about 90% of the match against Kurasawa.

Flair looked like a proper mega star when he beat the crap out of Anderson and Pillman last week. I don’t mean to keep bringing up Flair but Flair sold me on the idea that he’s a superstar and you’d want to pay to watch him smash Anderson and Pillman along with Sting. This match didn’t make wanna see Savage face Kamala and possibly Lex Luger as well as Halloween Havoc.

I will say that Dave Meltzer from Wrestling Observer gave this match minus a star and called it one of the worst matches of the year. I would not go that far. There’s been far worse matches than this since I started watching these Nitros. The first Nitro was also in like September 1995 so there’s a lot of ground we haven’t even covered. This match was certainly not at the level of badness that Sting and Hawk vs Kurasawa and Meng was.

 

I had to do some proper investigation following this next segment. The lights went out and a man was sat right on a big elaborate chair in a pre-taped video. It wasn’t until after this show where I figured out that this was Taskmaster’s father (a.k.a. The Master) and the founder of the Dungeon of Doom. Quite the lore to this Dungeon of Doom.

I swear I understood like about 10% of this promo. I actually had to rewind it in the middle of it as I was just in tears with laughter as this guy was yelling all kinds of random stuff which I didn’t even understand! He yelled that the insurance package had been delivered. As far as I’m aware, he said he found somebody that was thawed out of ice. The one they called… THE YETI. At that moment, they showed an ice block on the stage.

The Giant and Taskmaster then showed up and Taskmaster explained that his father went with the serpent guides to get the yeti. Taskmaster said that evil does dwell in Hogan’s heart. Taskmaster thought that there was no bit of goodness left as the fans chanted for Hogan. The Giant grabbed the mic and said that Hogan had many lives but the Giant would take the last life from Hogan at Halloween Havoc. Giant proclaimed that the one true immortal was himself and he cackled away. The VINTAGE Giant cackle which I wish he still did as the Big Show. I love it.

Taskmaster said the insurance package would be there at Halloween Havoc and Mean Gene advised that he would be talking to Hogan later.

I will get onto the Yeti later on as there’s a lot to explain about what was originally was supposed to happen. Nevertheless, this was a rather wacky promo as we learned more about the lore of the Dungeon of Doom.

 

We got another Randy Savage Slim Jim advert.

hulk-hogan-black-gloves

Mean Gene welcomed, as he billed him, THE START OF THUNDER IN PARADISE and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan. I’m not entirely sure of a review series but I will be watching Thunder In Paradise… eventually!

Hogan was still wearing a neck brace and I don’t remember if Mean Gene said this or one of the commentators said it, but somebody said Hogan was ready for Halloween Havoc… need I remind them that dude that Hogan was wearing A NECK BRACE?

Hogan yelled that even though he walked through the valley of the Dungeon of Doom, he feared no evil. He carried the hopes of all of the Hulkamaniacs. I mentioned how strange Hogan’s promos have gotten as of late. Here, he talked about the fact that he was wearing black gloves and said that everyone knows what a man with black gloves is capable of…. this was a reference to OJ Simpson. What a bizarre babyface this Hulk Hogan is and here I though Roman Reigns was a terrible babyface.

Hogan said that he was gonna get his big monster truck and drag The Giant around until he disintegrates and then he was gonna beat him in the middle of the ring.

He then went into some big tirade as to how Sting, Savage and Luger all wanted to pick the bones of Hogan and the bad guy Hulk Hogan is ready for them. He’d beat Savage, Sting and Luger and he vowed to destroy The Giant.

This was a crazy promo but in hindsight, this was a brilliant promo. Knowing where the Hulk Hogan character would go in a year’s time, this promo was a slight foreshadow of the Hogan that will eventually feud with Savage, Luger and Sting. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is I talked about how the Hogan babyface character is possibly even worse than Roman Reigns as a babyface. This is kinda mute point considering what’s happened to Roman with his leukaemia but it does apply to pretty much every babyface in WWE right now. Roman was a babyface that couldn’t get over as a babyface because WWE didn’t give the fans any reason to get invested in the guy at all. Hogan got people invested in him as he had the creativity to be as crazy as he could.

Even if he’s saying weird stuff like how shaving his moustache was like burning the American flag and comparing himself to OJ Simpson, Hogan was so out of his mind with his promos that you just couldn’t help but stop and listen to him. When you give the talent a means to be entertaining by just letting them be nuts, it speaks a lot more to the audience rather than talent that are just scripted to death to sound exactly like everybody else. Nobody in WWE nowadays sounds like Hulk Hogan because they sound just like each other. They don’t sound… human. That’s an issue.

Hogan didn’t have that issue because he didn’t have 28 writers writing all of his dialogue and this promo, as crazy as it sounded, it made you invested in finding out what Hogan was going to do to The Giant at Halloween Havoc.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night, including Hogan being there, Lex Luger vs The Shark and the American Males defending the WCW tag team titles against Harlem Heat. I actually wanted to watch these two matches as I wanted to see the long-awaited rematch from Episode #3 where American Males randomly won the WCW tag team titles. I also had a perverse desire to watch Lex Luger vs The Shark because can you imagine how bad this match had the potential to be? However, I could not find this episode of Saturday Night on my online travels and it’s not on the WWE Network yet so unfortunately I can’t watch those matches. ‘Tis a shame as I planned that as a bonus review!

 

Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs Eddie Guerrero and Mr JL w/Alex Wright

hqdefault (3)

As advertised last week, Alex Wright was supposed to be teaming with Eddie Guerrrero but he had injured his knees according to Bischoff. Supposedly, he did this in a match with Chris Benoit which I’m surprised the announcers didn’t bring up. I also like how Alex Wright came out in crutches for this match that he wasn’t cleared to wrestle in but he was dressed up in his gear and trunks! Mr JL took his place.

Eddie and Benoit pushed each other and stared each other down before the bell rang. The two of them started off the match.

During the match, Benoit and Dean Malenko somehow pulled off a double leapfrog. Benoit and Dean tried a double team where Benoit held Eddie in position for Dean to hit a tope suicida but Dean accidentally hit Benoit. Eddie then just THREW Mr JL into Benoit and Dean and I mean THREW him like Braun Strowman throwing some security guard geek onto a pile of men or something! It was tremendous.

Eddie hit a beautifiul tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Eddie launched Mr JL into Dean for an elevated high knee. In the middle of this, Scott Norton and The Shark were shown brawling backstage as they were pulled apart by the Dungeon of Doom. That’s at least the second time where we’ve seen WCW cut away from a cruiserweight match to show some angle involving the Dungeon of Doom during Nitro. I imagine fans of the cruiserweights were not to pleased.

By the way, I couldn’t help but notice that Bischoff said that this brawl was because of the miscommunication between the two during Norton’s match with Randy Savage on Episode #2 of Nitro. It took Norton and Shark this long to be mad about it?

The heels got the heat. Bobby’s explanation for Alex Wright’s injury was that he was trying out the dance moves of Disco Inferno! Dean hit a very good and realistic looking belly to belly on Mr JL. Eddie broke up a pin on Mr JL and Benoit’s response was to shove Eddie with enough force to send him crashing outside of the ring!

It only just occurred to me at this point of the match that Eddie beat Dean a couple of weeks ago on Nitro and the announcers made no mention of that fact. Eddie broke up another pin following a Benoit superplex. Dean and Mr JL had a good ol’ backslide battle that Mr JL won. Eddie made a hot tag and then got immediately kicked in the gut by Dean! Eddie turned it around and even dropkicked Benoit off the apron when Benoit was yelling at a fan. The finish came when Alex Wright tripped up Dean with a crutch and Mr JL rolled Dean up for the win. It was a good match with a strange finish.

So Alex Wright had blatantly cheated in a match he wasn’t even in and Bischoff’s defence of the babyfaces was stating that the heels were pulling heel shenanigans during the match. Apparently Bischoff wasn’t aware that two wrongs don’t make a right. Brian Pillman then came out and laid out Eddie which Mr JL and Alex Wright just stood there and watched. I guess this was because Pillman is a cruiserweight himself and they’ll need to crown as cruiserweight champion. I guess that’s why he did it.

 

Lex Luger and Sting vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Sister Sherri

wwef_36802687_th_64

WCW Hotline plugged once again by Bischoff, talking about an event from the night before called “In Your House”… ha ha. How clever.

I was more offended by, in response to Bobby calling Sister Sherri beautiful, Eric called him a sick, twisted and demented individual if he finds her beautiful. Nobody could get away with a line like that in 2018.

Sting started off by hip tossing Booker T over the top rope. Sting back-dropped Booker and Bischoff said he almost back-dropped him into another area code. Stevie Ray started to work on Lex Luger as we came back from the ads as Bischoff referred to Stevie as “the man in control of the total package.”

Stevie and Lex working together was not particularly eventful other than screwing up an eye rack spot so horrifically. Stevie looked like he eye-raked the sky and then Luger sold for it anyway when he wasn’t even close to Stevie!

Booker hit an axe kick. I will say, in Bischoff’s defence for the Sherri line (although I personally think beauty is subjective and nobody is truly ugly or anything), but Sherri was looking at a photos of Col. Robert Parker that she appeared to have retrieved them from her backside. I’m not making that up. She reached into her ass, whipped out the photos and then gave them both a big kiss! That was… oddly disturbing as my notes put it.

Booker went for a Houston Hangover but Luger got out of the way. Luger made the hot tag to Sting. Sting went wild as the fans went crazy. The fans always went crazy for Sting’s hot tag which made him such a tremendous babyface. Sting hit Stinger Splashes and went for the Scorpion Deathlock but Booker broke it up with a side kick.

Harlem Heat worked on Luger for a bit but Sting flew in out of nowhere and hit a top rope crossbody for the pin. This was not as boring as the Kurasawa vs Savage match but this was an absolute nothing match for me.

This match did not sell me on the idea of potentially seeing Luger in two matches either. Savage and Luger were not helped by this edition of Nitro heading into Halloween Havoc.

The Giant hit the ring to chokeslam Luger and Sting. If you remember from Episode #6 I believe, they teased the angle of Sting working with the Dungeon of Doom as The Giant had not attacked Sting yet. But now, there was no doubt as Giant just chokeslammed him. Savage came down and then Hogan came down to confront The Giant. The fans were going ABSOLUTELY CRAZY for this confrontation.

Hogan punched away at The Giant but Giant clobbered him on the back. Hogan hulked up and punched away at The Giant who started to stagger. The Dungeon of Doom came out to brawl with the babyfaces. The Head Of Security of WCW tried to calm down Hogan when all of a sudden, the ice block on the stage EXPLODED. Yes, ice had exploded.

Creepy music came on as a figure emerged from the explosion which was revealed to be the Yeti… DRESSED as a mummy as Nitro ended with a cliffhanger.

yeti

OK… so about the Yeti. Apparently, this was supposed to be El Gigante (Giant Gonzalez when he was in the WWF). However, El Gigante apparently like wasn’t able to get down to the show in time or something to play the role. I believe it was due to his health. Therefore, someone else was dressed up as a mummy to take El Gigante’s place but he was still referred to as The Yeti!

This was a hilariously awful reveal of the Dungeon of Doom’s insurance policy. I don’t think it was as funny as the Shockmaster’s debut or as stupid as the Gobbledy Gooker’s debut but this was like the perfect balance of the two. You’d think that after all The Giant’s done to Hogan in the past couple of weeks, who could The Giant possibly need for an insurance policy against Hogan? Who The Giant apparently needed and who Taskmaster’s father and serpent guides went to the trouble of finding… was a yeti dressed as a mummy.

And you know what was the kicker to all of this is?…. this edition of WCW Nitro BEAT RAW in the ratings. That’s astounding considering this edition of Nitro.

This may have easily been the worse Nitro I’ve seen so far. I think I hated Episode #3 a lot but I think this episode was miles worse than Episode #3. Episode #3 did not have a boring Randy Savage match, a boring tag team match and THE YETI debuting. Although with that being said, I loved Hogan and The Giant’s big confrontation. It was done in such a way to make you more interested in seeing who was going to win this big WCW title match. I liked that segment.

halloween-havoc-1995

That’s it for WCW Nitro. I am pretty sure I’m going to be reviewing the WHOLE WCW Halloween Havoc event. Looking at the card, there’s more matches I wanna see than those I don’t wanna see so that maybe what swings it. There is a lot of horrible sounding matches in the mix as well as Road Warrior Hawk vs Kurasawa match which sounds… HORRIBLE.

However, I do think I should be as fair to this one as I was to Fall Brawl. I will mostly likely review the whole of Halloween Havoc 1995 then it is back to WCW Nitro reviews with the fallout to the show. I will definitely be reviewing Hogan vs The Giant so brace yourself! We will see you with our next WCW review here on the Retro Express.

WCW Nitro Episode List

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #7 (OCTOBER 16TH 1995) – RIC’S PARTNER STINGS ANDERSON AND PILLMAN, CHRIS BENOIT DEBUTS

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.

maxresdefault

On the last episode of WCW Nitro, we entered CHAPTER THREE of the feud between Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Arn won at Fall Brawl and Ric won in Episode #5. We were at 1-1 heading into a steel cage match in Chicago. Flair had things under control when Arn beat Ric at his own game. Arn smacked Ric with the brass knuckles to the face and won. An ENRAGED Ric Flair challenged Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman to a match for Episode #7 and Flair was more than happy to go at it alone if he couldn’t find a partner. One way or another, Flair was gonna get his hands on Anderson and Pillman.

We had Hulk Hogan vowing to beat The Giant at Halloween Havoc, more matches added to the Halloween Havoc card. Lex Luger and Randy Savage will face each other, as long as they get past Meng and Kamala respectively earlier in the PPV. Sting also defended the US title successfully against The Shark, Disco Inferno danced and Sabu beat up Mr JL.

So now, it’s a big week for WCW Nitro. We have Ric getting his hands on Anderson and Pillman, Johnny B Badd challenging DDP for the WCW TV title and the DEBUT of Chris Benoit as he faces Eddie Guerrero. Let’s get to it…

 

Date: October 16th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Albany, Georgia

Rating: 2.2

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

 

From the get-go, we suffer from the disadvantages of watching only WCW Nitro and nothing else. Because from the start of the show, they already announce that Sting will be the one to team up with Ric Flair against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. On an episode of WCW Pro, Flair asked Sting to be his partner. Sting agreed but vowed to leave Flair for dead if he turned on him. The commentators were still speculating as to whether Sting and Flair can team up together against Anderson and Pillman. Sting and Flair had not teamed together in years since Flair turned on him many years prior to this.

The commentators were having some banter as Bobby Heenan called Mongo’s dog a “tarantula”. Heenan asks Mongo to turn the dog around and goes “oh, there’s the batteries.”

 

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

october_16_1995_monday_nitro-00006

My extra research from Episode #5 appears to have finally paid off. Allow me to break down what has happened with Mr Johnny B Badd. Johnny B Badd became the number one contender for the WCW United States Championship at Fall Brawl. We watched a 29 minute match where Johnny B Badd grabbed the victory. On the Nitro following this, “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff squashed this guy in a matter of minutes. I asked the question of whether he would get his title shot or not. They announced he was still getting his US title shot in a Saturday Night match with Sting.

I decided to watch this match and see what happens but what happened was Johnny B Badd NEVER got his US title match. He no-showed but it appears the explanation was that somebody had slashed his tires and he broke down. In a Saturday Night segment, WCW Television Champion DDP said something about all of Badd’s tyres being slashed. Badd asked DDP how he knew all four of his tyres were slashed when he only said one of them got slashed. Badd punched DDP and that’s how we’ve got the former US title number one contender now challenging for the WCW TV title on Nitro. GOT ALL THAT?

To put a cherry on top of the whole thing, Eric announced that Badd and DDP would wrestle each other at Halloween Havoc anyway… so what was the point of this match, even if it was for the WCW TV title? If they’re doing the TV title match at the PPV, why bother doing this match?

In the end, it didn’t even matter. What happened was DDP SMACKED Badd with the belt before the match started and Badd was out cold on the floor. DDP started attacking him some more as Diamond Doll looked on in awe and disgust. DDP did his own count but the referee disqualified him anyway.

It’s always been one of the great inconsistencies of professional wrestling with disqualifications and what warrants disqualifications in matches. The simple answer is that it’s wrestling and the rules can change at any moment to fit a narrative. It was widely accepted by a lot of fans that nothing you do before a match counts before the bell rings. Brock Lesnar hit Big Show with dozens of chair shows before their Royal Rumble 2014 match before the bell rang and they had a two minute match. Here, DDP hit Badd with the belt before the match and was DQ’d for it.

NOTE: Johnny B Badd had hurt his ribs before the match, which is why they never did the match properly on this edition of Nitro.

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

october_16_1995_monday_nitro-00010

I’m going to give this disclaimer right now about Chris Benoit, as I don’t want any of my comments about Benoit’s work to be misinterpreted. Every comment about Chris Benoit is directed solely on his abilities as a worker. I don’t have any intention to discuss the nature of his personality and character as well as anything related to the tragedies that happened to Benoit’s family in 2007.

With that being said… I could watch Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero wrestle each other over and over again. Considering the circumstances of the deaths of the two wrestlers, it is somewhat sad to watch a match like this. However, Benoit and Guerrero were just two wrestlers who were masters of the craft. Every time they wrestled, it was quality. It was the type of matches that every wrestler should aspire to emulate. Look at the psychology of what Eddie did in the ring but especially look at the psychology of what Benoit did. I understand everything in professional wrestling is considered entertainment but everything in this match felt real for some reason.

Everything Benoit did in this match had a purpose and a goal. He was not just hitting move after move after move on Eddie Guerrero just because he could. They all mattered and Benoit would do things in the middle of the match that would play into the finish. Lance Storm has this philosophy about wrestling where he doesn’t like how matches nowadays are about the last few minutes and based on those final moments of the match, fans go on about how great these matches are. To an extent, he’s got a point and this match shows that. Benoit worked on the hand, over and over again, and it eventually led to the finish. But I’ll get onto that later…

Benoit and Guerrero traded hurricanranas earlier on. Eddie did a big dive to the outside to “Eddie” chants by the fans. Benoit tried a back suplex but Eddie reversed it, which sent them both tumbling to the floor. It looked really crisp and really well done. Eddie sent Benoit into the ring post but then Eddie went crashing into the ring post in order for Benoit to get the heat. Benoit worked over Eddie, including hitting a beautiful hammerlock suplex. He worked on Eddie’s hand, which is important when considering the finish.

The key to all of this “getting heat” on Guerrero was that it was never boring. That was the great thing about Benoit wrestling as a heel. It was never boring. Nothing ever came off as repetitive as every move mattered. It was not a 10 minute Randy Orton headlock or a Kevin Owens chin lock. However, it was also methodical… which is great.

In one motion Eddie reversed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, bounced off the rope and hit a springboard DDT. It was pretty. Benoit chopped at Eddie as Mongo ranted about the NFL players being pussies or something. God bless Mongo and, to an extent, I feel there is a need for some creativity from the commentators. However, Mongo going on about the NFL over and over just takes away attention from the wrestling and is somewhat irrelevant as the match is going on.

There was somewhat a screwed up botch when Eddie attempted a 619 but I think that was about the only spot they screwed up in this match.

Eddie went for the Frog Splash but Benoit got the knees up. Benoit slammed Eddie, and I mean SLAMMED Eddie, with an absolutely tremendous powerbomb. Benoit went for another powerbomb but Eddie reversed it. Eddie then tried to punch Benoit, but because Benoit worked the hand over, Eddie’s hand was hurting a lot. This allowed Benoit to capitalise with a Dragon Suplex to win the match via pinfall.

This was a great match… possibly the best Nitro match we’ve seen so far. Tremendous psychology. The WCW cruiserweight division was announced by Bischoff following the match and this was a great match as a means to promote it. Benoit, I don’t think, was a cruiserweight at this time but with the likes of Eddie and Dean Malenko… suffice to say we’re in for a lot of fun.

GiantWCW1

Bischoff revealed that The Giant was here, much to the delight of Heenan as he cackled away!

Mean Gene is in the ring and we’ve got another plug of the WCW hotline. Mean Gene revealed that a top WWF executive was gone and a WWF guy got into a fight with a fan and lost. Gene said he couldn’t talk about it on Nitro but if you called the hotline for $1.49 per minute you could find out the answer. In case you were wondering, the executive that was fired was Bill Watts. I’m not particular sure who Mean Gene was on about when they mentioned the wrestler who lost a fight to a fan.

The Giant came down with the Taskmaster for a promo with Mean Gene. Taskmaster brought up that Hogan was dressed in black on the last episode and Hogan called Taskmaster evil. From the day he was born, Taskmaster said he knew he was the personification of evil. Evil, evil evil.

Taskmaster said when they shaved Hogan’s moustache, it took away his identity. He said Hogan gave up his colours but the fans had followed Hulkster for all of these years because he was a winner. After Detroit at Halloween Havoc, the fans would become followers of the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant said he was gonna push Hogan off the roof using his monster truck and then gave Mean Gene a close up of the hand that was gonna destroy Hogan by facepalming Mean Gene. Gene was shocked as The Giant cackled, vowing to destroy Hulk Hogan.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night, including Michael Wallstreet vs Jim Duggan, Disco Inferno vs Alex Wright, Hulk Hogan being there and Randy Savage vs Scott Norton in a rematch from Episode #2. So after Bischoff said he wasn’t on the roster last week, Disco Inferno is booked to face Alex Wright on WCW Saturday Night. I guess either he’s hired in storyline or they forgot he’s supposed to be a free agent.

 

Meng vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

wwef_36802713_th_64

Eric called this match a “barnburner” and although I would not go that far to describe the match, the match was very fun if you wanted to see two big dudes clobbering each other for a minute.

But before all of that, the aforementioned Disco Inferno arrived in all white gear. Before Disco could really get his groove on, like he did during Hawk vs Big Bubba, Meng’s music hit and Disco knew well enough to get out of town.

Meng jumped Duggan before the bell. Hacksaw fought back in a battle where they just punched away at each other. Hacksaw got back into it with a couple of dodges as well as getting the hell away from a massive Meng top rope dive. Hacksaw fired away at Meng and even hit a scoop slam. But Meng quickly regained control with a superkick that caused Hacksaw’s body to go limp as he crashed to the floor. Meng locked on the Tongan Death Grip and won. A very basic match of brawling with not a lot of actual wrestling and somehow that’s OK with me.

october_16_1995_monday_nitro-00023

Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart did a promo. They said that everyone now knows the evil in Hogan is real and Taskmaster was right when he mentioned that there was evil in Hogan. Hogan said the evil was here to protect the prayers and vitamins of the fans. Hogan said something strange like The Giant doesn’t realise that Hogan can make promoters fall to their knees in tears as Hogan is stronger than their entire promotions. These digs at WWF are just getting weirder and weirder!

Hogan said the “big stinky Giant” wants to burn down all of the trees to the ground. Jimmy is worried about what Hogan was gonna do to the Taskmaster and Giant. Hogan wanted to prove that Hulkamania was the strongest force in the world. He vowed to bury The Giant in the Motor Ciy right next to his father. He asked what The Giant was gonna do when the evil of Hogan ran wild on him. A crazy Hogan promo as usual.

 

Ric Flair and Sting vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

october_16_1995_monday_nitro-00030

There was no Sting for the opening bell of this match so this meant Flair had to go at alone by himself against Arn and Brian. It’s funny because while he was on his own, Flair was an ass-kicking machine! I think this was possibly the greatest performance of a one-on-two handicap match from a guy with the disadvantage. It was amazingly great.

He appeared to have no difficulty in absolutely obliterating Arn and Brian as he chopped away at both men throughout this match. He chopped Pillman so hard that the referee was forced back by the force of the chop. It was truly sublime.

Pillman would try getting in some chops but Flair would just chop him harder! Flair beat both of their asses and was running wild on his former buddies. I love how during the match where Flair is in control, Bischoff talks about how he had to pay the price as Sting didn’t trust him… WHEN FLAIR WAS DOMINATING ARN AND BRIAN BY HIMSELF!

The fans chanted “We Want Sting” during a match that also included Heenan comparing Hulk Hogan to Darth Vader. Flair went for the Figure Four Leg Lock on Arn but Pillman went to break it up. He tried to break it up but Flair somehow evaded Pillman from the position of having Arn in the Figure Four! It was awesome!

Flair tried a Figure Four on Pillman but that was broken up. Flair is still running wild as the ass-kicking Ric Flair was putting on a damn amazing performance. He was destroying both of these men but he was entertaining and believable at it. Flair was a believable crazy, wild mad man who you believed could smash Arn and Pillman so easily. It was awesome.

Arn hit a spinebuster and at this point, when the heels were in control… HERE COMES STING!

These fans went BONKERS for Sting has he came down to the aid of Flair. Eric went on about how Flair may have possibly earned Sting’s respect which is actually a believable statement if you saw Ric’s performance up until when Sting showed up. He wasn’t a geek that was getting beat on for 10 minutes. He was a fighter and Sting recognised that.

Sting was egging Flair to make the hot tag as the fans were going nuts and Sting eventually got the hot tag. He ran wild and even Sting running wild forced the referee to bump on every part of the mat! Sting hit Stinger Splashes all over the place and he was FIRED UP. THIS WAS A HOT TAG as the fans went crazy.

Sting was dominant and then all of a sudden, it was determined that Arn and Pillman were counted out. I never really heard a count by the referee but Sting and Flair won by count out and this did make you want to see the rematch at Halloween Havoc. Yeah, we’re getting a rematch at Halloween Havoc and I can’t wait!

Sting and Flair cut a post-match promo. Sting said there wasn’t a soul in the world that thought that he was gonna trust Flair. Sting was watching and said that Flair had a lot of guts and a lot of heart. Because Flair showed he had guts and heart, he’d earned Sting’s help. Sting and Flair did a high-five and started going nuts in the ring! This was an awesome exciting little post-match promo!

50482d44719535.5a1dcf2f71e46

That was Episode #7 of WCW Nitro. A huge improvement on last week. We saw a tremendous Ric Flair and Sting performance in the main-event, we had an awesome Benoit vs Guerrero match and this show did a lot in getting me hyped up for WCW Halloween Havoc coming up shortly.  This one gets a thumbs up!

Advertised for next week is Sting and Lex Luger vs Harlem Heat, Benoit and Dean Malenko vs Eddie and Alex Wright and Hogan will also be appearing on Nitro next week.

That’s it from the Armbar Express. We will see you with Episode #8.

WCW Nitro Episode List

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #5 (OCTOBER 2ND 1995) – RANDY SAVAGE VS LEX LUGER, RIC FLAIR VS ARN ANDERSON II

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.

maxresdefault

We’ve got to a pretty big episode of Nitro considering how the shows have been built in the last few weeks. Savage and Luger will finally face each other after weeks of not trusting each other and confrontations. Now these two are going to go at it and Lex Luger’s career is on the line. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson will face each other in the Fall Brawl rematch in the main-event as finally Ric is gonna “kick Arn’s ass” as he promised 2 weeks ago. The “double main-event” Nitro is here with Episode #5 as the build to Halloween Havoc continues….

wwef_36159357_th_64

…BEFORE we dive right into it, we’ve got some business to take care of. I promised two bonus reviews of a Sting vs Johnny B Badd for the US title from the WCW Saturday Night (September 30th, 1995) before this show and Sting and Road Warrior Hawk vs Meng and Kurasawa from Clash of the Champions a month or two before this. If you want to know why, please read our Episode #4 review for more details.

Sadly, I can only deliver on ONE of those promises and it’s not my fault! It’s not my fault because when I looked up the WCW Saturday Night episode in question, there were two issues. Issue #1 was that this particular episode is not currently on the WWE Network. They only started whacking WCW Saturday Night episodes on the network this year and they’re only up to 1993. Issue #2 is that, believe it or not, there was no Sting vs Johnny B Badd for the US title on that episode.

Allow me to explain. Johnny B Badd was supposed to receive a title shot on this episode. Sting waltzed down to the ring. He’s waiting for Johnny as Dave Penzer does the ring introductions. Johnny is nowhere to be seen so Dave declares that they’ll try this later on in the show. Brian Pillman is angry at whoever that Johnny is not here for his big US title match. He wants to be in the US title match but he’s told no. They try again but Johnny is still not here. They eventually determine that Johnny B Badd has no-showed the show so Brian gets his way and gets the title shot. Sting beats him and retains the US title.

After the match is over, Johnny B Badd arrives in the arena and claimed he had a flat tyre. Apparently, it was revealed down the road or on the show that WCW TV Champion DDP was the one responsible for it.

To recap, Johnny B Badd became the number one contender at Fall Brawl. Johnny B Badd lost to Mr Wonderful CLEAN IN THE MIDDLE on the Nitro after Fall Brawl. Johnny is given the US title match anyway and on that show, he’s unable to make it due to a flat tyre. Way to go Johnny B Badd… one of the worst booked title contenders I’ve ever seen.

 

Date: October 2nd 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Denver, Colorado

Rating: 2.5

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

 

The announcers are hyping up the show featuring a double main-event with Lex Luger vs Randy Savage and Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson II. Ric Flair cut them off in his robe and everything, telling Arn that “I’M COMING YOUR WAY BIG BOY” as he was going nuts. He was excited to kick Arn’s ass on Nitro after all of these weeks.

I got to say that this was probably the best performances for the trio of announcers for Nitro. All three of them showed excitement for the show! Steve “Mongo” McMichael was going nuts, Eric Bischoff was going nuts and Bobby Heenan was just a tremendous heel to bounce off these two idiot babyfaces! I loved it. For this one episode anyway, they all clicked!

They recapped the whole Luger/Savage feud, with the confrontations in the last two weeks and The Giant’s rampage from last week. I couldn’t help but notice it here during the replay, as I didn’t notice it the first time. The Giant GROWLS when he grabs Alex Wright for the bearhug slam! That was a nice touch.

 

Lex Luger vs Randy Savage

hqdefault (3)

I would be somewhat annoyed that one half of the “double main-event” for the show is going on first but it’s a hour long show and it is a great TV time to put the match on… right at the beginning.

Eric Bischoff alerted us that we could find out what happens on RAW by calling the WCW hot-line. I’m honestly surprised he didn’t tell us this week. Remember for Episode #1 when he spoiled that Shawn Michaels kicked “the big guy” in Sid? I have a feeling this may happen again in the future with a WCW commentator. Call it a hunch.

To be fair to WCW, they had a stacked card with Flair/Anderson II and Savage/Luger. Funnily, supposedly RAW and Nitro were tied this week. I was shocked. Mongo informed the fans that if they thought about turning the TV they’d be brain-dead like Bobby Heenan’s family. I swear babyface Mongo said that…

Luger and Savage get into the ring. They lock-up for about 45 seconds straight and they spill to the outside. Luger’s lock-ups are a weak point in his game judging on what I’ve seen from him since he’s arrived. Luger powered Savage into the corner and SLAPPED Savage, which was payback for what happened 2 weeks ago when Savage slapped Luger.

Savage tried a suplex on the floor and after a struggle, Luger turned it into a neckbreaker. Savage tried a small package but Luger kicked out. Luger pressed Savage over his head which is a greater feat of strength than you think. Savage may not look it compared to Luger but Savage himself was a big guy. He really was the “biggest boy” as he stated 2 weeks ago!

Luger was getting boos here as the fans don’t necessarily get behind Luger yet. Luger was way out of position for a Savage kick. They had an awesome spot where they battled for a backslide. For a full minute or so, they are trying to get the other man over for a backslide pin. Luger won the battle and got a near fall. I loved it as even a simple move like a backslide was fought for and was important to both wrestlers. There was a Booker T/Chris Benoit match I reviewed for Survivor Series 2005 where they did the same thing and I loved it. Every move should be important in a match.

Luger caught Savage off the top rope with a punch. Savage eventually hit a double axe handle on the outside. Savage threw Luger into the referee, slammed Luger and hit the elbow drop. In the latest of 101 ways to bury Lex Luger on Nitro, Savage has Luger down for a 10 count while the referee is out. Mongo is howling with laughter as the referee is taken out.

At this point, The Giant came down and choke-slammed Savage yet again for the second week in a row. Neither Luger or the referee saw it. The fans start to boo even more. Luger hurled Savage’s unconscious body up and onto his shoulders for the Torture Rack and won via submission. It looked kinda sloppy in execution but I liked the idea of Savage selling like he legitimately can’t move and Luger trying with all of his might to get him up for this move.

This actually got some serious heat with the fans as Giant helped Luger, a man who they already are not getting behind. Lex Luger has technically not done anything wrong as a babyface but a bad guy helped him win. I will say that this was a let-down as we got a screwjob finish but it did play into the storyline so I’ll allow it.

 

Man, this WCW Saturday Night show they advertised. They would explain what happened to Johnny B Badd in regards to his US title shot. They would have Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman vs Buckhouse Buck and Dick Slater as well as Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Big Bubba Rogers.

Bobby Heenan hyped up that The Giant was here to get his hands on Hulk Hogan. Oh yeah, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan was expected to be here as well! I didn’t mention that earlier but they hyped that last week!

 

They played Disco Inferno’s theme song and Disco came out. Eric Bischoff plays it like he doesn’t know what was going, Mongo appeared like he literally had no idea what was going on and Bobby Heenan was just sat there dancing as Disco made his entrance. Bischoff explains that we’re supposed to get Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko tonight but Disco came out when he wasn’t supposed to. Eddie arrives to tell Disco to get lost. Disco obliges and leaves. That was Eddie Guerrero’s WCW Nitro debut everyone.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko

19951002_eddie_dean_01_USE--7389da7a4a53ab1722d53aca366dcb9c

I was so excited to see this match pop up. They explain that Eddie Guerrero beat Jushin Liger on WCW Main Event the night before to appear on Nitro. That sounds like a really fun match. For the record, WCW Main Event episodes are not available on the WWE Network so I could not review that match.

Mongo’s analysis of Dean and Eddie were that these two fly more than two vultures around a bunch of dead meat. Mongo then questioned Dean Malenko calling himself the man of a thousand holds and mentions some book called “101 sex positions” or something weird like that. Before Bobby Heenan could say anything, Bischoff immediate cut him off by saying “don’t even touch that Bobby” to which Bobby sadly obliges. So I’m watching some of the most spectacular moves in a WCW ring since I started these Nitro reviews and in the middle of all this, they cut away from it to watch Hulk Hogan arriving at the arena.

It’s not like they just showed a second screen. Hogan took up ALL of the screen time and Eddie vs Dean was an afterthought. Hogan vowed to find The Giant and sort him out as my notes read. It’s all about the Hulksters out there and he’s gonna face The Giant eye-to-eye. They then cut back to Dean vs Eddie.

I didn’t take much notes during this match. It was very fast-paced and I just wanted to sit back and enjoy these two high-flyers put on a tremendous display. They showed slick reversals, monkey flips and eventually, Eddie hit the brainbuster. He was about to follow it up with the Frog Splash but Dean got the knees up. They both went for go-behinds but Eddie eventually tripped up him, grabbed the legs and pinned him. It was a lovely little match. Dean went up to Eddie after the match to ask for a rematch and Eddie accepted.

maxresdefault (1)

So we finally get Hulk Hogan appearing in the ring with Jimmy Hart for an interview with Mean Gene. They talk about a man in town causing destruction and Hogan basically said there’s not a lot to talk about. Hogan said he had to go do some soul-searching after The Giant snapped his neck. He mentioned a kid doing a lung transplant who told the Hulkster to look Giant in the eye and take him down. Hogan said he’d go to the back and rip him apart but before he goes to rip the Giant apart, he makes the rounds and greets the audience with handshakes! Literally going from 0 to 100 real quick.. and then going right back to 0!

Obviously this would soon make sense as an old woman starts to beat up Hogan with a walking stick. Actually, an old woman beating up Hulk Hogan with a walking stick may not make sense! The old woman was revealed to be the Taskmaster. At this point, Mongo proclaims that this is what makes Nitro so great!

The Giant and Zodiac came down to help lay the boots to Hogan. The Giant ripped of Hogan’s neck brace and broke his neck yet again. Taskmaster then did the unthinkable… and SHAVED OFF Hogan’s moustache! It looked initially like they were gonna leave it as a Hitler moustache when they cut to The Giant chokeslamming somebody! The American Males and the Nasty Boys both came down to try and stop these miscreants but even the likes of the WCW Tag Team Champions were no match for The Giant. Throughout all of this, Bobby Heenan is laughing like a madman in the middle of all of this destruction. The heels soon left as Brian Knobbs literally crawled over to check on Hulk Hogan…

This was another great segment for the Hogan/Giant storyline. Giant destroyed the Hulkster and four other men and was a pure wrecking machine. Not many heels got this much heat on the Hulkster before so it was refreshing to see a huge threat to Hulkamania that didn’t seem like just another dude. The Giant was not like the other geeks from the Dungeon of Doom. He was his own Dungeon of Doom if you will and you were dead excited to see what would happen at Halloween Havoc. This was a thumbs up segment.

 

Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson

2cig200

The rematch from Fall Brawl 1995. As Ric Flair was coming down to the ring, Eric Bischoff was asking the hard-hitting questions of where Luger was when The Giant and his crew attacked everybody. They excused Savage as he was on a stretcher but WHERE WAS LEX LUGER? My question was why was Lex Luger expected to be out there? They couldn’t find any other fresh dude in the back that could have tried to stop The Giant?

Arn didn’t even get an entrance as they were just going fast from the bell. Bobby was still justifying the Dungeon of Doom’s actions and their attempt to cut Hogan’s hair as well by stating that Hogan needed a haircut anyway! Bobby was on top form tonight!

Arn and Ric brawled all over the place. I love how Ric Flair appears to be the babyface in all of this but was still begging Arn off during spots! Heel tactics aren’t going away that easy for Flair! Arn hit the spinebuster but both men were spent and Flair kicked out after Arn eventually made the cover. They traded sleeper holds. Flair locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Arn tried a piledriver but Flair countered it. Arn tried a DDT but Flair held onto the ropes and Arn took a flat-back bump.

Arn tried a dive from the top rope but Flair cut him off with a big mid-air chop. We had a perplexing finish as I have no idea what the intention was and I personally blame the referee for it. I didn’t write down who the referee was but I think it was Nick Patrick. Brian Pillman ran down as Flair got the Figure Four Leg Lock locked in. Pillman did a dive when the referee called for the bell. It was hard to determine whether the referee was calling the bell for the DQ or if Arn Anderson had given up. It’s not like Patrick decided Arn had given up before Pillman did his dive. He rang the bell after Pillman dived so I thought Flair won by DQ. Eric Bischoff, on commentary, was the one who clarified that Flair won as Arn gave up. I think the referee miss-timed calling for the bell so that’s how the finish got screwed up.

Flair and Pillman started clawing at each other but then Arn got involved. Flair wanted to chop Pillman as hard as he could but the heels overwhelmed him 2 on 1. This actually plays into the promo Arn and Brian cut last week as Arn warned that if Ric went for Arn, Brian would have his back. The heels were men of their words as Pillman ran down to help Arn and they eventually worked together to dispose of Flair.

It was then announced that WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel booked Flair vs Anderson III to take place in a steel cage on next week’s edition of Nitro. They also announced Sting vs The Shark, Big Bubba Rogers vs Road Warrior Hawk and Sabu vs Mr JL.

I loved this little ending of the show. Eric declares that Nitro is as good as it gets to which Bobby and Mongo unleashed battle cries to end the show! Bobby goes “YEEEEAAAH” and Mongo howls at the moon as the show ends. I LOVED THAT. The announcers going crazy over the product and actually looking like their interested in it. A nice change of pace from WWE announcing in 2018.

 

This was a decent show. I wasn’t particular fond of the finish of the Savage/Luger match as I wanted a clean finish but the ending plays into the storyline so I’ll accept it. We got some good cruiserweight action, The Giant got to look like a dominant and big threat to Hulkamania and we had a decent match in the main-event which builds towards a big grudge match next week. Thumbs up for me. I liked it.

Before I leave you, I did also promise a bonus review of the Sting and Road Warrior Hawk vs Kurasawa and Meng match from Clash of the Champions that got a -2 star rating from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. I was shocked at this rating but I will give you a bonus review of the match and see if my interest in Kurasawa is misplaced…

…spoiler but yeah, I may have placed too much stock in him because this was not particular great work!

 

Sting and Road Warrior Hawk vs Kurasawa and Meng w/Col. Robert Parker

WITW52

Michael Buffer did the ring introductions. The highlights from his ring introductions were that Meng was discovered by WCW as he worked as a bodyguard which appears to have been true in storyline. He then said that Kurasawa was the latest edition in Col Robert Parker’s “stud stable” because nothing says studs quite like Kurasawa and Meng!

By the way, Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan were the commentators. The heels jumped Sting and Hawk before the bell rang. It broke into a four way which was a terrible idea, as these four were brawling and everybody was in each other’s way. When the match was limited to two guys working together, it wasn’t so terrible unless Road Warrior Hawk was in there. When they had to do spots as tag teams or when all four guys were doing things, it was just a clunky mess.

It’s funny because I read up on our boy Kurasawa and he’s apparently had no martial arts background before going to WCW. It’s funny because although he had no martial arts background and he was throwing kicks all over the place anyway, Kurasawa was actually an accomplished amateur wrestler. Kurasawa actually competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the Asian Championship one time. He’s got this background but WCW saddle him with a gimmick of being a martial artist.

Kurasawa does these kicks and Hawk no-sells them like crazy. Hawk appeared that he did not give an ounce of care about these kicks that the deadly “martial artist” was delivering. Hawk was just on another level of bad here in this match. God bless Road Warrior Hawk, who is no longer with us, but he looked like he was on another planet and looked completely lost in the ring. Sting did an atomic drop and it looked like it went horribly wrong.

Kurasawa did some chops but Sting chopped away even more. Kurasawa and Hawk did a clothesline spot and there was no communication there at all. Kurasawa hit the clothesline and Hawk just tumbled to the ground. It was ugly. Hawk was just not reacting to anything. He didn’t try to protect himself. His arms were down, he leaned his head forward and his mouth was open as he lurched forward, and I’d hate to make this comparison, but very much like a zombie. He showed no emotion in this match.

Hawk even attempted a scoop slam and, even at this point, I was fearing the worst… from a scoop slam. Hawk almost messed this up as well as Kurasawa came very close to landing on his face. Sting eventually flew in. I had no idea if he even tagged in. Hawk had no idea what was going on. Hawk and Kurasawa had a legitimate contender for the worst brawl I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I think I made a similar comment regarding the WCW tag title match from Fall Brawl but there was nothing in that match as bad as this brawl between Hawk and Kurasawa.

Sting and Hawk hit a modified… I think a modified Doomsday Device or a Hart Attack. Either way, it was sloppy and Hawk got the pin. Kurasawa then broke Hawk’s arms and ran away.

This match was beyond bad. Out of the four wrestlers in the match, the two worst wrestlers (Kurasawa and Hawk) were the most used out of the four. Hawk looked like he had no interest in being there and Kurasawa just couldn’t get going. It was messy, it was botchy and it was no good. I’m not sure if I can go as bad as -2 stars. If I gave this match -2 stars, then I’d be saying it was as bad as Buckhouse Buck and Dick Slater vs Harlem Heat from Fall Brawl. I cannot say it was as bad as that match because at least this match was relatively short compared to that tag team title match. This was still a bad match though. I would not recommend it.

Match Rating: -*

50482d44719535.5a1dcf2f71e46

Thank you for reading and I’ll be back with Episode #6 of WCW Nitro as part of the Retro Express. We’re getting to see Sting back in action for the first time since Fall Brawl (at least on Nitro) and we got a big steel cage showdown between Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. We’ll see you at Episode #6!

WCW Nitro Episode List