RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #31 (APRIL 15TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN’S REIGN OF TERROR CONTINUES AS HE CONQUERS SIX HEELS BY HIMSELF

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

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We’ve officially hit the period of WCW Nitro were things just don’t add up and make sense anymore. These last few episodes have closely resembled WWE 2019 now more than ever where it is very clear “plans change” as things are completely turned on their heads. The Giant’s big babyface turn two weeks ago was completely pushed to one side as he’s back to fighting the good guys again. Lex Luger’s slow transition from heel to face sharply ended when he was just randomly an overwhelming good guy fighting by Sting’s side.

Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter always used to get this stick about when WWE, TNA or any company does a big swerve, he’d go “plans change” and people think Dave is covering his ass. If you don’t think that WWE nowadays don’t change their minds on a daily basis, think again. If you don’t think that WCW changed their minds over and over, these last two episodes demonstrated that clearly they did.

WCW have generally been good since this series started with promoting a match for the next week’s Nitro and then delivering that match. Last week, they promoted Hulk Hogan, The Booty Man and The Booty Man’s “big plan for satisfaction” going against The Taskmaster and Arn Anderson. They didn’t specifically mention what match it was but it was something where Booty Man had a plan against the heels.

This week, the Booty Man was off the show as he had “an injury” which I’m not entirely sure whether it was a work or a shoot. He’s off the show. So not only did they not deliver on Booty Man and his weird promo about getting satisfaction if you know what I mean. They did not come up with a replacement tag team partner for Hogan either. No, Hulk Hogan went at it alone with Arn Anderson and Taskmaster.

I’m going to tie this intro into this opening match where it was…

 

Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson and Taskmaster w/Jimmy Hart, Woman and Miss Elizabeth

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They do this match where it’s your typical Hulk Hogan vs bad guys match. Arn and Taskmaster jump him before the bell. Hogan fights them off. Hulk Hogan pulls off one of the worst Figure Four Leg Locks of all time followed by the definitive worst Figure Four Leg Lock of all time on Arn Anderson. He got Arn’s leg and was a deer in the highlights. He had no clue how to put on this move and Hogan is a guy who had been a wrestling main-eventer for at least a decade by now, maybe for 15 years by this point. Literally if you picked two random kids outside of your house, showed them the Figure Four Leg Lock on a video and told them to go do it, it would have been a 1000 times better than what Hulk Hogan did here. He didn’t know what leg to put over. He was trying to tie up the legs himself and it was a disaster.

Hogan no-sold a chair shot and ran wild until the heels somehow got the heat and everyone, including Jimmy Hart, got kicks in on the outside. Booty Babe in an exceptional outfit yet again came out to support Hogan. Hogan bonks Arn and Taskmaster into each other and hits the Leg Drop for the pin. So yes, Hulk Hogan overcame Arn Anderson and Taskmaster clean in a handicap match. It’s stupid for one man to beat two men on his own but FINE… it’s Hulk Hogan. You put your top babyfaces over so him destroying two babyfaces was tolerable to me. BUT THEN…

Hogan grabbed both of the girls at ringside in Miss Elizabeth and Woman. He dragged them both into the ring, lurked over them like he’s going to attack these women and amped up the crowd for this beating against the women. This was so uncomfortable by this point to see Hogan manhandling these women and wanting to beat him up. Yeah, this was also the same Hulk Hogan who tried to punch the ref last week. What a complete arsehole this character is!

Then he changed his mind and went after Jimmy Hart. Hart begged for his life but Hogan kicked his ass and ripped his shirt off. The Giant came down for “the save” but it had minimal affect. He chokeslammed Hogan but Hogan no-sold this chokeslam and got right back up. Hogan fought back and hit a scoop slam and sent The Giant packing.

He then cut a promo about going after the title and he actually nearly scoop slammed Mean Gene Okerlund and that was that.

So to recap, Hulk Hogan overcame the odds from having to go up against six heels. Now granted, I understand three of those people were managers. I understand to an extent that Arn Anderson and Taskmaster are beaten up all the time by Hogan so what does it matter if they get beat up again. The Giant? He had to get beaten and sent packing here?

The Giant hadn’t even been involved with Hogan since I think the lumberjack match before Uncensored and before then, the last time they crossed paths was SuperBrawl I think. The Giant went out here just to be slain by Hogan and shown to be a complete geek. This was the same Giant who Hogan was terrified off at Halloween Havoc and was fighting on par with Hogan at SuperBrawl. On this show, he was just another guy.

I figured that maybe the “Hoganisms” that caused Hulk Hogan to go over all of these heels were purged from his system at the Doomsday Cage match. Nope, he still had a bit more typical Hogan conquering left to do. The Giant paid the price here and it really indirectly buried Sting and Lex Luger later on in the show but we’ll get to that.

There was no way any of this was planned last week so whether it was Hogan changing his mind or Bischoff changing his mind, this angle did more harm than good and A HUGE THUMBS DOWN for this opening match.

Despite all of that, the fans were still going nuts for Hulk Hogan throughout this whole segment!

Now onto the rest of the show…

 

Date: April 15th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Charleston, West Virginia

Rating: 2.8

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

 

I do love after this match, the announcers have some banter. Mongo makes a comment about how the fans love him and Bobby Heenan, without missing a beat, responds saying: “yeah they love me.” Mongo talked about his dog wearing camouflage and that the dog didn’t wanna get hit by a stray bullet to which Heenan looked at the camera with a face of just total disgust! Heenan’s reactions to some of Mongo’s comments are some of the highlights on Nitro every week!

 

“Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags in a street fight

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If you simply watched their SuperBrawl match instead of this match on this episode of Nitro, you’d find it hard to tell the difference between that match and the match that was on this Nitro. This was garbage wrestling to its very core and if you love several minutes of guys clobbering each other with trash cans and anything they could find, then you liked this match.

I wasn’t much of a fan as literally a lot of my notes were just XXXXX hit XXXXX with XXXX and for a while I just stopped taking notes. When I stopped taking notes, I look up and Johnny Grunge walloped Brian Knobs with trash can shots RIGHT to the head with purely blatant smacks to the head. He did this at least three times in the row to the head and Grunge was clearly aiming for the head as he moved his position to get a better hit of the head. DUDE. Was it really necessary to smack Knobs in the head over and over?

There was on spot earlier on in the match I liked where Knobs put the trash can on Grunge and while he then hits Grunge with like a trash can lid or something, Sags is on the other side of Grunge PUNCHING the trash can! I don’t know why but I loved that. “I’m gonna punch this trash which is shielding you and maybe I’ll connect with you inside the trash can!”

They got a table and Mongo said: “here comes the wood.” They didn’t even build up to the big table spot later. 30 seconds later after finding this table, someone is randomly thrown into the table. No big move through the table or anything no, someone is randomly thrown through the thing.

A cameraman fell over something on the outside. Rocco did a bulldog on Knobs into a chair. The big finish was there was another table and Grunge missed a top rope leg drop and went through the table. He went crashing through the table and Knobs got the pin. I remember a spot very similar to this from SuperBrawl to lead to the finish. Just like the finish to that match, there was also post-match brawl between the two tag teams!

They all still continue to the fight after the bell. Rocco did a cannonball off the top rope and hit Grunge on the apron to send him, Grunge and Sags crashing through the table. This sucked. The match was a waste of time to me and really, it accomplished nothing when these big weapon shots are shown to be ineffective after the match because they’re all still fighting with each. They all still continued fighting… so why did I bother watching this tag match if they were gonna fight afterwards anyway?

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Earl Robert Eaton w/Geaves

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An alright match which didn’t get a lot of time and the announcers completely didn’t care about. Savage starts the match on fire and then Eaton just… gets the heat somehow! I looked down for 20 seconds to write up a note and I look up and Eaton is getting the heat on Randy Savage! I had no clue and they didn’t mentioned what the move was that changed the tide in this match!

Savage tried to fight back but Eaton raked at him over and over. Eaton did a Ric Flair impersonation and then did a Figure Four Leg Lock which was 20,000 times better than Hulk Hogan’s Figure Four Leg Lock from earlier… and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Eaton somehow got a Four Horsemen t-shirt in the ring and showed it at Randy to fire him up. I did like the storyline that Eaton was doing everything he could to piss off Savage as Savage was in a feud with Ric Flair who was with Miss Elizabeth.

Eaton was doing Flair’s move and showing off Flair’s merchandise.  Savage then turns it around and then just straight up starts choking Eaton! Savage then beat up Geaves who ran for his life. Savage did a back drop on the outside to Eaton.  Savage hit the scoop slam in the ring, hit the elbow drop and got the pin.

Then Savage threw the referee down and then goes for another elbow drop. Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Alex Wright and a few other babyfaces try to beg him off but Savage did the elbow drop anyway. The faces then hold Savage down as they handcuff the Macho Man.

To recap, nothing happened to Public Enemy when they beat up The Nasty Boys and put them through a table. Here, Randy Savage goes for another Elbow Drop and the babyfaces run to the ring begging Savage to rethink this. Savage hits the move and HE’S the one in handcuffs? You think they’ll be any follow up to Public Enemy beating up the Nasty Boys after the match? Of course not. This made no sense.

 

WCW Nitro showed a poster for I believe a movie called “The Great White Hype” and this poster showed Samuel L Jackson with a turban on and a great big cigar in his mouth.

 

Sting (c) and Lex Luger (c) vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth and The Giant for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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What a bizarre match to put on for your main-event. The parallels between the AEW shows in 2019 to the WCW shows in 1996 are absolutely remarkable. The day after AEW Full Gear, they announce that AEW World Champion Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara are challenging the SCU for the AEW Tag Team titles. In April 1996, the WCW World Champion Ric Flair is challenging for the WCW tag team titles on the Nitro episode I’m watching the day they announce that AEW show in 2019! It’s amazing the coincidences that fall into place when reviewing these shows!

Ric Flair goes to Mongo’s wife again and Mongo just SITS THERE and threatens Flair.  Lex Luger was still the WCW TV Champion, in case you’re wondering. Sting runs wild early on and even dropkicks Giant off the apron.

Sting throws Flair into Giant, Giant catches Fliar and threw him back in the ring. Flair goes: “what are you doing” and tears into The Giant, and then turns around into Lex Luger flexing and gets frightened off!

Flair gets thrown out into Giant again and Giant throws Flair back into the ring. Flair loses his mind, runs outside and chops Giant! Then Giant chases Flair up the ring as they cut to the ads. I loved this big man/little man dynamic with the heel tag team where they don’t get a long but The Giant is just mean and scary and doesn’t need to do a lot to get Flair to back off!

The Giant finally got the tag and kicked away at Luger in the ring. Ric Flair is back on the apron and after everything that happened early in on the match, he starts thrusting at the crowd and starts enjoying himself!

Woman raked at Luger while Luger was down on the outside. Flair drops a beautiful knee drop which I don’t remember seeing much from him during this Nitro series. Giant does two big Irish Whips to Luger into the corners and reduces Luger to screams of agony!

Flair does the Figure Four on Luger for a long time. Flair and referee Nick Patrick starts pushing each other. Luger finally fires away and the fans go nuts. Luger throws Flair off the top rope. Sting finally got the hot tag and ran wild on Flair as The Giant just stood there.

This hot tag included a quickfire superplex! They moved so fast to get this superplex spot over and done with during this hot tag of Sting running wild! Sting goes for a Scorpion Death Lock as Luger batters The Giant to hold him off. Woman threw the coffee at Luger again this week but Luger ducked and Sting ended up with coffee on him. This caused the ref to call for the bell.

The Giant chokeslammed the babyfaces. Flair went for a “pin” on Sting and Luger, tried to punch the ref and celebrated over the prone bodies in the ring.

This was exactly what I was mentioning earlier. Hulk Hogan ate a chokeslam after his match from The Giant, who was fresh mind you, and was totally fine but Sting and Lex Luger ate a chokeslam after their match and they were down for the count? It made Sting and Luger look so inferior to Hulk Hogan. It made The Giant looked so inferior to Hulk Hogan. The Giant overcame two men with a partner where as Hogan overcame six people earlier on in the show.

Speaking of Hulk Hogan, where was he for this beating? His friends (at least Sting was his friend anyway) were getting beat up by the heels and he’s nowhere to be seen. Do you guys remember at World War III where Hogan said Sting was his “best friend forever?” He left his friend at the mercy of The Giant KNOWING that he could kick The Giant’s ass easy as he watched him do it EARLIER ON THAT NIGHT. What a friend.

 

Bischoff managed to get Heenan handcuffed somehow as Heenan tried to wrestled himself out of it. He bit it as the headset went across his face and was having a horrible time with these handcuffs as Nitro went off the air.

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This show was horrible this week. Maybe I’m being a little harsh but I was not a fan of this episode. There was not much to enjoy throughout. The Hulk Hogan angle at the start of the show really set the tone where there’s no longer like a well though-out story-telling process. A few months ago, I could see there was a detailed plan with certain storylines, especially with Luger and Sting. They even stopped that last week and after all of that, they get their asses kicked by the heels at the end of this show.

Now the show mostly consists of just a bunch of stuff happening. They never mentioned once the May PPV or the Lethal Lottery they’re doing in May. They’ve not mentioned a thing and as a WCW fan, this must have been infuriating. They never even mentioned the WCW Cruiserweight Tournament which a few weeks ago, they could help but mention throughout that episode. This week’s episode was the worst Nitro I’ve seen so far but it is right up there.

 

I hope you enjoyed my review of Episode #31 of the Nitro series. Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly an update whenever Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too! I will be back with my review of Episode #32 of Nitro from April 22nd 1996.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #29 (MATCH 25TH 1996) – RIC FLAIR VS THE GIANT FOR THE WCW WORLD TITLE

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

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WCW Uncensored came and went. We got long street fights, long title matches, a long Booty Man match, short monster matches and we got a match I’m positive will not be surpassed as the worst match I ever saw. The Doomsday Cage match saw the Mega Powers vs The Alliance to End Hulkamania. At the end of all the shenanigans within the cage, outside of the cage, in the ring, with frying pans, with Z-Gangsta, people being eliminated and then not being eliminated, Lex Luger turned on Ric Flair and Savage pinned Ric Flair as Hogan and Savage won the Doomsday Cage match.

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I have to point out a few things for this episode of WCW Nitro. If you haven’t read my review of Uncensored and specifically the Doomsday Cage match, I promise you will get more enjoyment out of it than watching a 3 hour edition of RAW in 2019. I believe this was one of my greatest match reviews of my entire life. Please read it by clicking this link .

No matter what happened, there was barely any follow up to the Doomsday Cage match. They mentioned briefly that “Hogan won” and completely ignored Savage getting the pin. They never mentioned Z-Gangsta, The Ultimate Solution or even Brian Pillman, who I guess was supposed to be in that match too but was randomly pulled out of it (or Pillman pulled out of it).

They never even tried to promote the replay. Having watched that pay-per-view in full, how could anyone have wanted to buy this replay? They were in the right to not mention it like they usually do with WCW PPVs. That match alone brought down that whole show that steering as far away from it as they could was the best thing to do.

Another thing to mention was that they revealed at the start of the show that there would be 3 title matches on this episode of Nitro. The US title, WCW World title and the WCW tag team titles would all be defended. This was after a pay-per-view, where only one title match was on the pay-per-view at all. Promoting the title matches on Nitro was great for Nitro ratings but not for PPV buys.

 

Date: March 25th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Huntsville, Alabama

Rating: 3.1 (down from last week. Yeah, Uncensored saw the ratings go down by 0.5!)

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

 

Randy Savage vs The Belfast Bruiser

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I have to get a small rant out of the way. It’s gonna be very brief as it’s not that big of a deal. They mentioned that all of a sudden, there was a cruiserweight tournament going on, I guess to crown the first WCW Cruiserweight Champion. There was no mention about it beforehand on Nitro. The last time we heard about the cruiserweights was that they were coming. They’ve been a non-factor on Nitro for a long time. Then all of a sudden, the announcers start talking about Mr JL beating Dean Malenko in the first round of the cruiserweight tournament.

This is LITERALLY the first time this tournament has been mentioned on Nitro. Was it not possible for them to mention earlier that they were doing a cruiserweight tournament to try and build anticipation for it? They randomly mentioned later on in the show too that Jushin Liger, Chris Benoit and Psychosis all advanced in the tournament. I’m just trying to put this all together. I don’t think they even showed a bracket for the tournament on Nitro. Even if these matches were happening on Saturday Night or WCW Pro or whatever was around, these guys at WCW are talking about this tournament like all the fans watching Nitro are meant to know about it.

Call it nit-picking, but this bothered me when watching this show.

Randy Savage vs The Belfast Bruiser was a match that was well suited for both men. A scrappy beat-em up fight in the confides of a wrestling match.

Spots included Bruiser slamming Savage right into the turnbuckle. Bruiser slammed Savage into the guardrail. Bruiser roughed Savage up and sent him over the guard rail and into the crowd. Bruiser was proper laying a beating in on the Macho Man and it made the Belfast Bruiser come off as a worthy opponent for Savage.

Savage would just do whatever he could to get back into the match such as grabbing the leg but Bruiser just stomped away at him. The fans rooted for Savage as he worked his way up to his feet. Bruiser went into the ring post elbow first and Savage out of nowhere hit the elbow drop for the win.

It was a little lame that Bruiser took the whole match and Savage just hit an elbow drop and won but you know what? Savage had to dig down deep to beat an opponent the announcers actually said was undefeated so I’ll allow it. It wasn’t like Bruiser was buried. It was a serious match and Bruiser came off like a threat. In a weird way, it helped the Bruiser that Savage had to resort to his biggest move to get the job done when he got the slightest opening. He wasn’t taking it easy on Bruiser so it made Bruiser come off as a problem for Savage. This was a good opener and it gets a thumbs up.

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Ric Flair with Woman and Miss Elizabeth. Flair talked about how they were going to slay a real life, walking, talking, fire-breathing giant. Ric Flair was defending the title against The Giant on this show. He wanted to assure the world that he would look down at the Giant and sing that he had the whole world in his hands. Flair said it’s not easy being the Nature Boy as he’s got the women and the title! Mean Gene talked about Lex Luger, who turned on the heels the night before, and Ric said he hadn’t really looked at the package for what he was.

Flair said: “For the judgement you made last night. you are on the long list of people that won’t be able to style and profile!” According to Flair, Lex Luger lost his PARTYING privileges for attacking him! In a fascinating in hindsight moment, Ric asked Elizabeth: “who is more man? Me or Luger.” Liz responded by saying “you are Ric.” With the benefit of hindsight, that was an unbelievable moment. Remember when Edge and Christian were doing a segment with Mick Foley where Edge said Lita looked hot from a distance? These comments in hindsight are just incredible! 

Great promo from Flair as Eric Bischoff then explained Elizabeth had Savage’s money in her hands. I remember seeing money in her hands during that promo but the way it was worded suggested that on screen, she had all of Macho Man’s money in her hands! If that was the case, then that’s not a lot of money! I do think Bobby goes on to explain she had $2 million so I guess Liz had the rest of it in the back or something. Bobby does actually deliver the following joke: “What do you call a woman with $2 million? Divorced.”

 

Konnan © vs Mr JL for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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This match was certainly not the length of the Eddie Guerrero vs Konnan match from the night before. This one lasted less than seven minutes and it was… fine. Konnan chopped away JL to kick things off.

JL takes control of the match with the headscissors to send Konnan to the floor. Konnan takes over and works on the arm. Mr JL was coming back from an arm injury from his unfortunate match with Dean Malenko from before so this was at least good demonstration of ring psychology.

Konnan does a monkey flip but JL lands on his feet. Bischoff said they got word that Macho had went ballistic backstage. Konnan did a weird look surfboard submission. Mr JL did a top rope dropkick and Konnan held the knee.

Konnan did a Gutwrench Powerbomb. They traded roll ups. One of the announcers mentioned that Konnan was “showing signs of fatigue” which was actually true with this match as well as the match with Guerrero!

Mr JL did a top rope DDT for a near fall to which Bischoff accused referee Nick Patrick of doing a slow count. Why would you not put over the fact that the champion kicked out of such a devastating move and just nit-pick at the referee’s judgement? Was it not possible for Bischoff to say something like “I can’t believe Konnan kicked out of such an impressive top rope DDT” rather than cry about the referee? Konnan did an Alabama slam for the pin to retain the title clean.

The match just seemed like it was just there but it was still fine for what it was. Konnan at least got a clean win under his belt as champion which was fine with me.

 

The Booty Man vs Disco Inferno

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I cannot believe that after they purposely went out of their way to mention that they have talent like Chris Benoit, Jushin Liger and Dean Malenko that they then put on The Booty Man vs Disco Inferno as an actual match on Nitro. Thankfully, there wasn’t much to it. It went less than 80 seconds and Booty Man hit a poorly executed high knee for the win.

Really the story for this one was in the minor details, and I’m going to list them off and move on!

  1. Disco claimed when they cut to a close up of him that it was $49.95 to buy his CD he had around! I know he’s a heel but that’s a rip-off!
  2. This really was the battle between cheesy, bad theme songs. If Disco Fever wasn’t bad enough, we had The Booty Man’s “Shake Your Booty” theme song which is right up there with the worst theme songs of all time including Candice Michelle’s theme song from 2007. I did discuss that theme during the SummerSlam 2007 review I believe which you can find at this link.
  3. Disco went into a tantrum after Booty Man slapped his booty… weird but OK.
  4. Of course Booty Man’s offense at the start was an atomic drop to the ass of Disco Inferno.
  5. Booty Girl was now the BOOTY BABE.
  6. Booty Man rubbed his ass and then punched Disco in the face with that hand… this match was just all kinds of weird.
  7. Booty hit a crappy looking high knee for the win

That’s literally the key details and they really didn’t have anything to do with the match. It was random and it killed like 4 minutes of TV time.

 

Sting © and Lex Luger © vs “The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs for the WCW World Tag Team Championship

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Bischoff told Bobby to look out for the drop kick… great foresight into 75% of the American Males’ offense during this match against the WCW tag team champions.

Luger and Sting had this thing where Luger would go to the fans and cheer during their entrance when Sting looked at him but Luger woukd revert to his heel self when Sting wasn’t looking! Fine heel shenanigans which was weird considering I guess he was a babyface after what happened at the PPV.

It appeared that Luger and Sting were on the same page. Mongo was still untrustworthy of Luger. Riggs ran wild WITH DROPKICKS would you believe it. Luger was frustrated by this and went to work with clobbering blows. Luger took a cheap shot at Bagwell and a brawl broke out which Sting and Riggs broke up. I’m not sure where this storyline goes with Luger but I do like Luger struggling to phase out unsportmanship and heel tactics. The American Males run wild and he loses it but Sting still has to calm him down. That I like.

Bagwell got tagged in an Luger backed away from Bagwell – TINY BAGWELL that Luger beat months ago in a squash! Bagwell and Sting actually worked well together when Sting got tagged. Sting reversed a scoop slam and went to work. Bagwell applauds that Sting was the better man and tagged Riggs back in.

Luger tagged in and went to work on Riggs. A lot of frequent tags during this match which is certainly not a bad thing. Luger suddenly went crazy on Bagwell and this got a lot of heat with the fans. Luger yelled at Bagwell as Sting showed concern about his partner’s mental state during the match. Riggs and Sting did some spots.

This was the finish. Sting did a crossbody which missed Riggs by a whole foot and then makes the cover. Bagwell just stands there and watches as Sting gets the win. No effort to break up the pin, there was nothing to say this was heel move or anything. He stands there and just watches that pin and doesn’t attempt to break it up. I guess something was mistimed. Luger tried to walk off with all of the belts but Sting pulled him back saying: “Hey! Give me my belt!” Sting then gave props to the American Males and they celebrated in the ring without Luger.

This match was OK. Sting was in there with Lex Luger and the American Males. None of these men were terrible but they weren’t particular good either so… you get exactly what you’d think this match would be.

 

Ric Flair © w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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In case anyone doesn’t recall, The Giant is getting this title shot because he beat Loch Ness at Uncensored.

REMEMBER when Jimmy Hart was managing Ric Flair? That was only a couple of months ago and now he’s “at odds” with Flair as his main man The Giant is getting a title shot! Hart’s also managing like 5 other heels so I guess the simple explanation is that there’s no honour among thieves!

Elizabeth threw Savage’s money away at the fans. Savage tried to get to Flair on the ramp but Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Eddie Guerrero and a few other babyfaces hold him back. Woman gets a slap in but I loved Savage going all nuts just trying to get to Flair! Savage was seething trying to get at Flair and Elizabeth!

The Giant towered over Ric and put hits hand on Flair’s throat to start the match but Flair slapped it away and got pushed away for his troubles! Savage I guess was in handcuffs and forced out by police and security according to Bischoff.

Flair couldn’t do a thing to The Giant early on. The Giant Gorilla Pressed and TOSSED Flair across the ring. It wasn’t like The Giant was just slammed him down…  he THREW Flair like a ball to the floor. Ric Flair was happy for Giant to launch him across that ring when they were putting this match together!

Flair tried to escape but he was too tired and Giant caught up and carried Flair to the ring. Flair chopped at Giant but Giant no-sold these attacks. Flair then sat down and cradled in the corner!

Pardon my French in advance but The Giant did a suplex and Flair just yelled “AH FUCK!” I laughed, and laughed, and laughed at hearing Flair yell the word FUCK uncensored… pardon the pun.

Flair did a DIVE off the top rope and Giant caught him did a backbreaker and slammed. I love that THE ONE TIME Ric actually did a successful leap off the top rope, The Giant catches him and slams him down anyway! Even when Flair pulls it off, he still fails as it accomplished nothing! THEN EVEN MORE SPECTACULARLY, THE GIANT went for a top rope splash! This was not Eddie Guerrero going for a splash… this was THE GIANT! Amazing how agile this guy was when he was younger. This put Sting to shame. Giant launched his ass across the ring and missed in amazing fashion. This was the pure definition of falling with style!

Giant repeated the over the top rope spot from the night before which I’m stunned he did again THE NEXT NIGHT after he did it the first time! Flair choked Giant with wire as the referee was distracted. Flair choked Giant over the the top rope and just hung him out to dry. Flair did the double eye poke to the big man. Giant is reduced to his knees as Flair punches and chops away but Giant continued to push him away

Flair does a direct kick to the groin to finally floor the big man! Woman choked away at Giant as the ref was distracted. A piss poor referee getting distracted during RIC FLAIR VS THE GIANT… the slowest paced match imaginable. I understand there’s three managers out there but this was not like a tag team match or whatever between cruiserweights. This was the old school methodical Ric Flair vs the lumbering Giant!

I’ll tell you what this was like. I was watching The Lucha Bros vs The Private Party from AEW and I looked at the referee who I think was Aubrey Edwards. She was calling this match or the SCU vs Dark Order match. Anyway, there’s this fast-paced match going on and I was thinking, how can a referee keep up with this match going this fast? Fenix and Pentagon are just doing these spots like poetry in motion and so fast and the referee has to keep track of all of this. This referee on Nitro, I didn’t write down who it was, was getting himself distracted during The Giant vs Ric Flair. How did he pull that off?

Giant pushed Flair off the top rope. Giant pulled down the straps as Flair begged him off. Giant chokeslammed Flair and the girls ran into the ring. Arn Anderson and Taskmaster both come out. Arn hits The Giant with the chair while the referee wasn’t looking. Taskmaster grabbed the chair from Arn. The Giant turned around and saw Taskmaster with the chair and chokeslammed him. Arn laughed at Giant so he got chokeslammed. THE REFEREE then called for the bell as Jimmy Hart, Woman and Elizabeth scream about their fallen comrades.

Bruce Buffer officially declares: “Due to things getting out of control, it is a no contest.” If The Giant ends up winning this title from Flair then why did you do this? The Giant getting a big monster moment where he unleashes hell on everyone in his path I liked but a no contest/DQ after a long match where The Giant beats up Flair just made this match seem like such a waste.

With that being said, I did like the match. Simple Ric Flair match where… he literally could have wrestled a broomstick and it would have worked. Giant was 6 months into the business and he had a good simple match with Flair that just happened to have a crappy finish in my eyes.

 

Not a bad episode of Nitro. Much better than the last couple of weeks. There wasn’t much that was great about it but there wasn’t anything like so horrible that I couldn’t bare it. There was a bunch of matches put together, cutting out illogical or convoluted stuff and sticking to the action in the ring. It wasn’t particular great action but it more felt like a wrestling show then the majority of Nitros lately. This show gets a thumbs up.

Promoted for next week was Hulk Hogan’s big return to Nitro as he would team with The Booty Man to face Arn Anderson and Taskmaster. Hogan was off of this episode for some reason. I can only speculate that maybe WCW expected the ratings for this episode for Nitro to tank because of Uncensored so maybe they were leaving Hogan for the next week to try and pull a big ratings for next week’s show, which happened to be the Nitro/RAW after WrestleMania.

We will see what they do in the next episode but in the mean time, feel free to have a look at review from previous Nitro episodes and stay tuned for my review of Episode #30 of Nitro which I’m planning to upload onto the blog in a couple of days! Don’t forget to follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter for tweets from yours truly an update whenever Express posts are uploaded. Alternatively, follow us on WordPress for updates too!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW UNCENSORED 1996 (MARCH 24TH 1996)

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

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Wrestling history is something that I feel any true wrestling fan should be willing to relive and go through. If you’re a younger wrestling fan or if you’ve just started watching wrestling, utilise the WWE Network and explore the huge collection of wrestling history from the old days of the WWF, ECW, NWA, WCCW, along with many other promotions and yes, WCW. It teaches of the things that have worked before in wrestling that can work as a concept for traditional wrestling booking. WWE, AEW, MLW, Impact Wrestling, AAA, NJPW, ROH and so many other wrestling promotions out there can learn from the past. You can find out what worked and what didn’t work, using this knowledge to your advantage when booking for the future. This show was an example of what didn’t work…

I cannot even begin as I usually do with these PPV reviews. I’d usually start with a brief summary of the storylines going in and trying to hype up the review. As good in places as the PPV was, the thing I will always remember when thinking about this PPV is the main-event. The Doomsday Cage match with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage battling Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, The Barbarian, Meng, Lex Luger, The Taskmaster, Z-Gangsta and The Ultimate Solution… this match was the worst wrestling match I’ve ever seen.

I thought back to legendary horrible matches of the past like Jenna vs Sharmell from TNA Victory Road 2009, Sting vs Jeff Hardy from TNA Victory Road 2011 or even that one match with Kaitlyn and Maxine from NXT which was ungodly terrible in its own right. None of those matches can come close to this match on the grounds that at least those matches were short… this Doomsday Cage match was an illogical, clunky disaster of a main-event which went on for 25 minutes.

What’s most amazing about that was that this match wasn’t even in the longest match on this show! The Road Warriors faced Sting and Booker T in a 30 minute tag team match right before this. That match itself was also memorable but it pales in comparison to how much this Doomsday Cage match will be remembered for infamy.

It’s a shame because the first three matches on this show were fine. I enjoyed the first three matches so I figured this was just a good show that was ruined by a bad main-event. No. They followed up the first three matches with a slow boring match, a two minute monster match, an even longer slow boring match and then ended with a horrific main-event.

I have a grander rant planned for the main-event of this show and this review but I will review the show in full, as I believe in giving credit when credit is due. So let’s get going….

 

Date: March 24th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Tupelo, Mississippi

Attendance: 9,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

Speaking of giving credit where credit is due… the commentary team was fantastic during this PPV. With the exception of the main-event where I think they just didn’t care, they called a blinder of a wrestling show. Tony Schiavonie, who I’ve been a little harsh with as of late (with these reviews especially. He’s fine with AEW at the moment), was on top of his game for this wrestling PPV. Dusty Rhodes was great with his input and Bobby Heenan was great at being Bobby Heenan. They showed a legitimate passion for the product and interest, providing insight that the average wrestling fan won’t be able to pick up on. They put the talent over when they could and they cared about what was going. They were brilliant on this show all things considered.

 

Konnan © vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

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The announcers point out that this was the first and only title match of the evening for this pay-per-view. I understand it is the United States Championship but the idea that the one title match booked for a pay-per-view is on first is laughable to me. You want me to care about this championship match and your plan is to put it on first? This would be like if the UFC put on all of the title matches at the start of the show. It would kill interest in those titles if they are presented as after-thoughts.

With that being said, this was a huge improvement on the US title match from Superbrawl. Eddie worked hard here and it does help when you’ve got a guy like Eddie Guerrero in there with Konnan.

With that being said, having Konnan and Eddie Guerrero go 18 minutes was a terrible idea. Konnan had this big reputation of not being able to do long matches and this did not help that reputation. His conditioning was just not there to keep up with Guerrero and so we got stalling, clumsy spots and I feel the crowd got killed by the end of this match. The fans were hot for the start of it but dead by the end which would suggest this match was a failure.

They do some crisp matt wrestling from the get-go though. I enjoyed it initially and this was followed with Eddie doing a lovely arm drag, flying high in the air and coming down to Earth and sending Konnan flying.

Eddie put pressure on the legs of Konnan by doing like a handstand, putting all of his body weight on the legs as Tony puts it. I loved it because it was not a deliberate attempt by Guerrero to show off as it was just a move to get more from a basic wrestling hold. This wasn’t even a hold too… he did a handstand!

Konnan rolled in for something but he and Eddie weren’t on the same page and he kinda rolled into the ropes. They traded roll-ups and Konnan got a heel hook locked in on the mat. Konnan actually twisted the foot of Eddie for some twerk which I thought looked good. Konnan did a Boston Crab but it didn’t look good. It looked like it did nothing as Dusty even told him to put some of his back into the move for pressure.

Konnan and Eddie did some pretty great lucha libre, fast-paced action and it fired them both up as the fans chanted for Eddie. You could tell that the announcers were really into this match. The wrestlers went to the corners to pump up the crowd which was OK… at this point.

Eddie applied a camel clutch which looked a little awkward as Eddie was very small at this time and Konnan had a wide chest. Eddie eventually found a way to ground him and put some twerk on the camel clutch. There was some obvious stalling apparent here as they went to work the crowd so I wondered at this point if I was in for a long match.

Konnan had some great arm drags being displayed in this match. They traded head locks and arm locks in the ring as the camera crew apparently got bored, and cut to a shot to the stage.

Eddie fought out of an arm lock with a quick arm drag. Konnan walked around on the floor for the while as the fans start to get restless and boo. At this point, the fans just wanted some action and clearly this was a spot to suggest that Konnan couldn’t deliver this action.

Konnan did a monkey flip and Eddie Guerrero did the most majestic landing on his feet from a monkey flip I’ve ever seen. It was beautiful if you can go back to watch this match. I think it is in the second half of the match and Eddie just went high in the air and landed with such finesse.

Eddie suddenly ran wild with a headscissors and a gorgeous dive to the outside. They wrestled on the mat again. Konnan did a weird submission where he was on his back grabbing the legs of Eddie but wrapped his own legs on Eddie’s head. The difference in wrestling ability between Konnan and Eddie was very apparent. Eddie was too fast and Konnan wasn’t able to keep up but he was still trying to keep up with Eddie.

Konnan hit a sit-out powerbomb for the near fall. Eddie got pushed off the top rope by Konnan. Konnan barely connected with a dive. Eddie hit a big superplex

It was clear to me that Konnan just struggled with long matches while Eddie was totally at home. Eddie paced himself well where he could go in there with anyone for 20 minutes and look great. Eddie went for a hurricanrana but I guess Eddie landed on Konnan’s head crotch first and got low-blowed, as Konnan just covered him for the win.

Eddie refused a handshake and this was a bad finish to an otherwise decent match. This wasn’t a blow-away match or anything and as an opener, this really didn’t work in getting the crowd pumped up. If anything, it did the opposite because the fans weren’t into this match by the end.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Col. Robert Parker and Dick Slater. Col Parker thanked Dick for training as he was set to face Madusa tonight. Parker said he’s doing this for his family, for Mean Gene and Mississippi. He said he was gonna get that girl and “rub her face in it really good” which was a weird way of putting it. He called the male fans cowards. Dick said when the colonel whips Madusa, it was gonna be great. Col Parker said he’s gonna teach Madusa what a man stands for. I love Col Robert Parker’s heel mean promo where you’d really want Madusa to kick his ass. ON PAPER… this was a fine way to make you hate Parker and make you want Madusa to kick his ass. Keep that in mind.

 

Steven Regal vs The Belfast Bruiser

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This match was a thing of beauty and by a thing of a beauty, I mean one of the stiffest matches I’ve ever seen! Remember when the Belfast Bruiser (a.k.a. Fit Finlay) debuted and he called out Regal? I mentioned that I could not wait for that match. I finally got my match and it was… glorious. This was the best thing on the entire show. It was a glorious… FIGHT between Regal and Bruiser. Two heel tough guys who beat each other up for 17 minutes and the commentators were into it and loved it. I loved it and the fans started to love it by the end. Then we got a crap finish which we’ll get to.

NOTE: If you’re new to the blog, I’m calling Belfast Bruiser just Finlay for the simplicity of writing this review. He was officially billed as the Belfast Bruiser but I’m just going with Finlay for these reviews.

Finlay threw his jacket at Regal to kick things off. Regal hit an absolutely fantastic hip toss as they got into a fight. A beautiful fight with uppercuts and knee lifts. Finlay was as ugly and tough as they come. He hit a beautiful clothesline which floored Regal and when I say he hit a beautiful clothesline, he SMACKED Regal across the chest and forced him to go down. This was not Regal needing to fall down in time. Finlay clobbered him and Regal went down as he was supposed to! This was great!

Regal locked a front face lock as Finlay and Regal growled during the hold! Regal locked on an abdominal stretch and Finlay’s response was a simple knee to the face! Finlay worked on the arm of Regal, ramming it into the ring post and then stomping on the arm,

Finlay had an arm wrench locked in but Regal fought his way up to his feet with strikes. Regal hit a fantastic dropkick on Finlay who was bouncing off the corner!

There was not one guy getting heat during this match. This was not a case of my turn, your turn. They WRESTLED for control throughout this match. They were both heels as far as I could tell and they were both two mean guys who were doing anything to get an advantage and it was great. This was not a routine face vs heel where a heel gets the heat and the face makes a comeback. This was refreshing to watch.

Finlay hit a big senton to a floored Regal.  They punched and threw elbows at each other. Finlay exploded out of the corner with another beautiful clothesline. Finlay had some of the best clotheslines I’ve ever seen. He slammed Regal’s face on the mat. Regal booted Finlay right in the face! I loved just how ugly this match was! This was not pretty and it was not a performance. This was a fight!

They battled for the suplex off the apron and Regal won. Regal even pulled off an elbow drop from the apron. Some fans then started booing this match. I’m not going to advocate violence but if anyone would care to lend me a time machine, I’ll have no problem travelling back in time to sort out these fans! How could you possibly boo this match?

Dusty pointed out that “pain was being dished out by these guys.” EXACTLY. They were looking to HURT each other and that’s the name of the game. As Dusty said that, Finlay booted Regal right in the back! I loved every minute of this match.

Regal instructed the referee to move out of the way and Regal used this chance to boot Finlay right in the balls! Regal did a wrist lock but Finlay got his leg on the rope. Finlay pulled out pokes to the eyes like there was no tomorrow to get the upper-hand.

Finlay drove Regal’s face into the mat with his knee. Regal applied another wrist lock while pressing his knee into the back of the head of Finlay. Finlay then just literally threw Regal over his shoulders! This wasn’t a back drop. He grabbed Regal’s legs and launched him over his shoulders and threw his arse in the air! It was so great.

Regal started mouthing off and Finlay responded with a closed fist punched to the face and the announcers just started howling with laughter! They loved this. I loved this. Dusty is losing his mind at commentary over just the straight closed fist to the face of Regal!

Then we got the finish… The Blue Bloods came down and attacked the Belfast Bruiser for the DQ.  They got up the Belfast Bruiser and Regal Slapped Belfast Bruiser right in the face. Finlay then hauled his arse up that ramp to beat up some of the Blue Bloods.

WHY… would you do a DQ finish? You have a match that the fans are getting into, the commentators are getting into it so much that you know is good watching and you’re just gonna do a DQ finish? Keep in mind, they promoted this entire PPV telling you the fans beforehand that every match was going to have no disqualifications. Yet in the second match and the best match, there’s a disqualification? Give me a break.

Match Rating: ***1/2 (It was a beautiful match minus a horrible finish)

 

I was reading a review of this show before I started writing my own and the dude who did this review (and I don’t have a link sorry) flat-out said there was not one good finish on this PPV. Other than the DDP vs Booty Man match where I could possible argue they had a good finish, he was pretty much spot on. There was some awful finishes on this show.

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Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart and The Giant. Jimmy said nobody gets their hand on Jimmy Hart and gets away with it so I guess Loch Ness beat up Jimmy or something during one of the WCW Saturday Night shows. The Giant said to Loch Ness: “I’m gonna smoke you like bacon on a grill.” He told Mean Gene to tell Ric Flair he’s gonna tear him limb from limb. The Giant says the title was his and that’s all that’s got to be said. Simple but effective. The winner of The Giant vs Loch Ness match on this show got a title shot on Nitro. Mean Gene called Bobby the weasel to which Bobby just yells “BALDY” in such a bitter fashion! Bobby Heenan being Bobby Heenan was wondrous!

Mean Gene followed this up with an interview Loch Ness. He was billed as nearly 700lbs and I don’t remember if that was true or not. Loch Ness said that weasel face Hart got him from across the ocean. Loch Ness said Jimmy promised him a shot of Hogan in the Doomsday match but he got pulled out of the match. Tonight, he said he would take it out on his man The Giant. He said when he drops 700lbs, The Giant won’t get up. That he guaranteed. Mean Gene, standing right next to a 700lb monster, then tells Loch Ness that he’s got introduce him to a guy who is a dentist… and Loch Ness stares a hole into Mean Genes’ soul like he’s going to eat him!

Mean Gene demonstrated the biggest balls in the world, in kayfabe, with that line! Mean Gene casually cuts away to something else as Loch Ness stares him down. I thought this was great! I liked Loch Ness’ promo. It was concise and it was effective and sounded believable. You could believe that when Loch Ness drops all of his weight on The Giant, The Giant ain’t coming back up. You’ll have to stick around and see if he actually gets up from an elbow drop. I thought this was good

 

Madusa vs Col Robert Parker w/Dick Slater

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There was a big female pop for Madusa actually. Madusa was relatively over with this crowd so the Col. Robert Parker promo was effective in getting this crowd to get behind Madusa!

Col Robert Parker was suited and booted as he does an intentionally horrible job at bouncing off the rope before the bell sounded. Parker locked up with Madusa and powered her into the turnbuckle. Yes, Parker was winning on the former WWF women’s champion with a lock-up. My mind was blown as the whole story should be that the manager is the coward picking a fight with a woman but yet he cleanly wins the initial lock-up!

Madusa powered Parker into the corner herself and sent him flying with an arm drag to which Dusty sniggered at. The snigger was exactly like a friend of mine from work! Dusty was loving it!

Parker got Madusa for an aeroplane spin but then she reversed this into a sunset flip. She slammed Parker and Parker sold this like he was a fish outta water. The fans were proper into this match. Dick came out and encouraged Parker to go back in the ring…. again, there were issues with phrasing during this review!

Parker choked Madusa and slammed her down. Yes, he was OVERPOWERING MADUSA all on his own by this point. This was not like Madusa was mostly destroying Parker and he got a few lucky shots in. He was wrestling on par with supposedly the best female wrestler in WCW! Amazing.

Parker missed an elbow drop. Madusa did a standard dropkick and then did a front dropkick from the second rope. Madusa did a dive but Parker caught her and then they just fell down.

Madusa somehow pulled off a German Suplex but Dick Slater broke it up. This was the finish… Parker covered Madusa and pinned her. That’s it. He laid on top of her and pinned her. He didn’t hit a move. He didn’t do anything to her. He laid over, put all of his weight on Madusa and pinned her. Maybe Dick did something to Madusa but there was no clear sign of interference. Col Robert Parker pinned Madusa clean.

If you think to all of the trouble WCW went too when getting Alundra Blayze from the WWF. They had her drop the WWF women’s title in a trash can on national television, which was followed by a lawsuit. What have they done with her since that time? She lost clean in her first Nitro match against SISTER SHERRI and she lost her first pay-per-view to Col. Robert Parker. These two were both managers and they both beat Madusa CLEAN.

They had such a golden ticket in their lap with Alundra Blayze of all people. You could have developed a legitimate women’s division which is something the WWF didn’t really have anymore. You had girls coming in from AJPW who were brilliant in WCW, you could have brought in other good wrestlers for that division and you could have made Alundra a star in her own right at WCW. This was such an opportunity and they have shown to blow it a couple of months in. It’s remarkable.

Match Rating: **

 

Lee Marshall interviewed The Road Warriors. Animal said they wanna kick everyone’s butt. He said Sting and Booker T are gonna find out why they’re called the Chicago Big Bullies. Hawk said they’re gonna remove their brain stems which was a sick burn I guess in 1996. They said they get the job done when they say they will. They said it’ll be an all-out blitz and nobody cares, except for the Road Warriors. A weird promo and Lee Marshall didn’t really help with his introduction before this promo. He didn’t come off as a legitimate interviewer as he just came off as a character with a dramatic introduction about the tag team division. It was just very weird and it didn’t work at all.

The announcers at the booth did explain Booker T is siding with Sting for this tag team match because Harlem Heat want a shot at the tag titles.

 

The Booty Man w/The Booty Girl vs Diamond Dallas Page in an I Quit Wrestling match. If DDP wins, he gets his money back and the Booty Girl. If DDP loses, he quits WCW

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DDP came out in scruffy clothes as they explained that DDP was down on his luck and had no money.  DDP yelled at the fans. DDP kept refusing to get in the ring and kept yelling at the fans. One guys actually flexed in front of him, getting into the show themselves!

DDP and Booty went to the turnbuckles for cheers and boos and the fans were into this fun at least. DDP did an incredible sell early on, falling on his head as Booty Man did a shoulder tackle to him.

Dusty’s commentary included a line where he said: “Booty’s always got a good game plan.” Interesting choice of words! DDP yelled “shut up you fat pig” at a fan while Booty had him locked in a hold. Booty started strutting his stuff. DDP charged him to which Booty punched him and sends DDP flying out of the ring over the top rope.

DDP wanted to leave but Booty Man went after him and pulled him back into the ring. So… the story of the match is that if DDP walked out, DDP would quit wrestling right? Then why would Booty Man bring him back into the ring? Let DDP walk out of the ring and walk out on the company. Why would he bring him back into the ring?

Booty smacked DDP’s face into the three turnbuckles as he rolled onto the floor… PHRASING! Kimberley a.k.a. The Booty Girl came out in this ballerina dress. JEEZ LOUISE. The announcers were blown away by her and for good reason. She looked stupendous in this outfit. She was an absolute treat on WCW.

DDP and Booty did some criss-cross stuff. Booty Man did an Irish Whip. What resulted was that DDP fell down and Booty Man keeled over to which Tony just asked: “what was that?” I they were doing an arm drag spot (at least DDP was) but maybe Booty was going for a shoulder tackle and the communication got lost somewhere, maybe in the Jersey Shore.

DDP slammed him with a back suplex and taunted and even fellow heel Bobby Heenan is telling him to not waste time.  DDP had a sleeper hold. Booty fought out of it but DDP knocked him down with the knee as Booty Girl said twice “he’s so cute.”

DDP then grabbed Booty Girl and kissed her to which Booty Girl slapped him, Booty followed this up by hitting the High Knee and won. The finish came out of nowhere. We had 15 minutes or so of non-action. They rushed to the finish and Booty Man won but I woud argue that maybe it was a decent finish, because at least the heel who was a prick to his girlfriend got what he deserved by the babyface couple. Booty Girl got a slap in and then Booty Man pinned him and won.

However, this match was such a snooze fest. Remember when DDP and Johnny B Badd some of the best matches on the PPVs? Now DDP was in one of the worst matches of the PPV and that’s really sad.

Booty Man gave Booty Girl a kiss and Booty Girl was literally blown away by it.

Match Rating: * and that’s been generous. This was long And boring but a satisfying ending

 

Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart. Jimmy said this would be his last night with Lex Luger. Jimmy left distraught as I figured maybe Luger didn’t want Jimmy around him as he tried to win favour with Sting his tag team partner. Luger said the Doomsday Cage match was the most dangerous match he’ll ever be in. If he’s referring to it being dangerous to his career, he may have a point! After all, two of the men in this match had their last ever wrestling match in this Doomsday Cage match! Luger said he had to watch his partner in action and he admitted it broke his heart for him not to be teaming with Sting. He said he had his back and being the competitor he is, he’ll step in the Doomsday Cage match. This was a fine promo and the Lex Luger character in the last month has been very solid.

 

The Giant w/Jimmy Hart vs Loch Ness in a number one contendership match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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When I saw this match was going to happen on this pay-per-view, I could only speculate about how bad this match was going to be. The Giant, 5 or 6 months into the business, vs Loch Ness who could barely move. I figured this would be as big of a disaster as the Doomsday Cage match… this match ended up being fine.

It was not good but it was not a disaster. It was exactly as you’d figure this match would be. It went 2 and a half minutes and did not need to go a minute longer. This was the only match on this show that had the appropriate amount of time given to it! Time management on this show was horrible. Konnan got too long of a match, Booty Man got too long of a match, the Chicago Street Fight go 20 minutes too many and the Doomsday Cage match got 25 minutes too many. This one, in terms of the time, went as long as it needed to be.

The two monsters stared each other down. They locked up and The Giant ran wild with knees and like 5 chops. The Giant pushed his leg into the throat of Loch Ness.

Loch Ness fought back with some big big blows. The Giant threw some sloppy kicks again like he did against Hacksaw Jim Duggan a couple of weeks ago. The Giant goes for a big Stinger Splash and The Giant flies over the top rope and onto the floor. The Giant was going all out for this spot, which I assume was the only time he ever attempted this. This was Triple H going over the top rope from a catapult, except this was THE GIANT! He was too big to do a spot like that!

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Loch Ness hit a big elbow drop but instead of going for the cover, he went for one more but this time, The Giant moved. The Giant hit a clothesline and hit a super kick. The Giant did a horrible leg drop and won. The Giant yelled about Ric Flair after the match.

Match Rating: ½* mostly because of that bump to the outside. I give credit where credit is due and I appreciate the effort.

 

Lee Marshall interviewed Sting and Booker T. Booker mentioned that he and Sting talked about what was at stake. Booker talked some trash. Sting yelled at Booker saying that he needed him fired up and shoved him to get him hyped. He told Booker to knock out the Road Warriors. Sting said they were coming for them. Booker said it was gonna be nothing but a thing like a chicken wing. They were both pumped for this big match. This was a fine promo.

 

Sting and Booker T vs “The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk in a Chicago Street Fight

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In my treasured notes, I’ve written 155 words for this match! These notes mostly consisted of the words “they brawled” as these two tag teams had a 29 minute match which had no right going any longer than ten minutes. The concept of the match and the concept of this being a war between these two tag teams was something I had no problem with. As a match though, they just kept brawling and brawling and brawling and it was so uneventful.

I’m not going to go through a play-by-play of everything that happened in this match because if I did, I’d still be writing this review for the next 10 years.  The crooks of this match were that there was so much “muscle groin” offense as Mongo called it last week. Animal got attacked in the balls at least three times. Hawk got crotched, Booker got crotched, Sting got crotched I think. It was legitimately dick-based offense throughout this entire match!

There was so much choking and chair shots and casual chops and punches being thrown that although it’s crap in execution, it’s good in theory in the sense that they represented that this was a FIGHT. The only problem is that was all they did. It was good for a lot of it but I don’t remember any other moves they did to each other. There was certainly not a tag team move and here’s the thing. As a review on this link points out, the storyline of Booker and Sting having to “work together” is negated by a tornado tag team match when they are both off having their own brawls with other guys. They never needed to work together.

A couple of things to point is that Animal got crotched by Booker. Booker got a cover and Animal put his leg on the rope and the referee NICK PATRICK calls for a rope break in a CHICAGO STREET FIGHT. To everyone complaining about a recent AEW match a few weeks ago where they called for a rope break during a No DQ match, Nick Patrick did this throughout this match about 23 years ago. That’s the first thing.

The second thing was that Booker T was in mid spinaroonie and one of the Road Warriors laying around on the floor got in his way, which just tells you how clunky this match was. People were just in each other’s way and it did the match no favours.

Something else I want to point out as I’ll give credit where credit is due is that Animal choked at Booker and Booker hit a low blow in response. Booker pulled out a heel tactic but it was totally justified in this match as it was no disqualification and the Road Warriors were using dirty tricks for the last couple of weeks on Nitro. This spot I liked.

The weird thing is… the crowd and the commentators were into it. The announcers were trying their best to put this over and the crowd was into Sting as normal. It worked with the audience.

I’ll jump to the finish. Booker seemingly walked out on Sting as he waved off the match but Animal went after him. It was down to Hawk and Sting in the ring. Animal was shown backstage looking for Booker. They brawled backstage. Luger backstage accidentally got attacked by Animal so he and Stevie Ray and Jimmy Hart jumped Animal. They taped up Animal to a post as Luger continued to stomp away at Animal.

Sting tried a Stinger Splash on the outside but missed and hits the barricade. Booker came back and hit a side slam. Booker missed the Harlem Hangover. Stevie Ray came out and hit Hawk with a chair and Booker got the pin to FINALLY, FINALLY end the match.

Match Rating: ** (I didn’t totally hate it because it came off as a legitimate war. It was like a legitimate street fight. This was a true street fight in its nature and it worked out to a degree. It was longer than it had any right to be but what the hell, it worked with the crowd and the commentators were into it. It worked but it was WAY TOO LONG.)

 

Let’s all remember what Tony Schiavonie would say next, building up the Doomsday Cage match main-event.

Tony said: “The rules I understand are very simple.”

The rules were supposedly that Hogan and Savage must clear every stage of the Doomsday Cage and pin the opponents to move onto the next stage. I don’t think they even mentioned how to win the match. However, keep those “rules” in mind.

 

“The Mega Powers” Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs “The Alliance To End Hulkamania” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Taskmaster, Lex Luger, Z-Gangasta, The Ultimate Solution, Meng and The Barbarian in a Doomsday Cage match

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I didn’t write down all of Michael Buffer’s ring introductions although there’s a few lines I have to note before we get into the match. Buffer starts with the following introductions: “Welcome to an event like no other.” Writing this review, all I could think was that he was spot on! Nobody had or will ever do a match like this ever again. Maybe WCW did it in 2000 but that’s the closest anyone will ever come!

Notable introductions for the heels included “From some unknown part of the planet” for Meng and “From Hulk Hogan’s past” for Z-Gangsta. All the heels had ridiculous ring-introductions from Buffer but those two were noteworthy.

I don’t even know how to describe the structure of this Doomsday cage. There were at least 3 cages stacked on top of each other with scaffold holding the whole thing together. The only problem was that the actual cage with a ring to wrestle in was at the bottom. In this match, Hogan and Savage STARTED from the top and had to fight their way down. So therefore, all of the heels in the cage had to walk around menacingly on the metal floor which looked so unsafe. Most of the time, the heels were just clinging to the side of the cage for dear life. They did not trust that cage floor enough to take bumps.

It started with Hogan and Savage vs Arn and Ric on the top cage. Out of the eight men that made up the Alliance to End Hulkamania, the first two you’re going to feed to Savage and Hogan are ARN ANDERSON AND WCW WORLD CHAMPION RIC FLAIR? The two best workers of that team would be the FIRST OBSTACLE for the Mega Powers and would be eliminated first. It’s not like they left them for the final showdown at the end. They were gonna be beaten up first!

They fought on the top of the cage. They did not want to do a single wrestling move on that scaffold cage. I think I saw Arn try one bump. I did love Hogan grabbing Arn or Ric and yelling “get him Macho” as Savage laid in punches!

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There was some miscommunication where Savage did the same thing, grabbing Arn for Hogan to punch him and he had him held there for legitimately 30 seconds. I assume Hogan was so into his own stuff with Flair that he just totally forgot about Macho Man. Hogan started no-selling the chops of Ric, as Savage choked Arn. Bobby declared that “this is great television history” which was surpassing the Super Bowl. This is… factually incorrect. I don’t even consider that an opinion! They’re still doing Super Bowls! They’ve never done a Doomsday Cage match again since this match!

Arn did a slow Figure Four Leg Lock on Hogan while Ric did his own on Savage. At almost the exact same time, Savage and Hogan turned the tide on their opponents so at least their spot co-ordination was on point for this one. This would be an even greater spot, if the wrestlers weren’t so high up and the fans could’t see a thing. The fans could not see a single thing. They had no idea what was going on so there’s was little reaction to this spot or anything they did in that cage.

Ric passed something down below to Taskmaster. I think Ric dropped it to the floor as Taskmaster is shown looking down when they cut to a wide shot. Even Ric passing a weapon down to Taskmaster got screwed up. This whole match was falling apart.

Hogan and Savage whipped out white powder, threw it at Arn and Ric and escaped to the next floor. Then Tony just revealed that Ric Flair and Arn Anderson were eliminated. What? Hogan and Savage escaped the top cage after 5 minutes of brawling and Ric and Arn were just eliminated? It’s not even like they pinned Arn or Ric as the rules earlier said you had to pin a guy to move onto the next stage. The faces just got up and left, and so Ric and Arn were done! There was NO REACTION because the fans had no clue what the rules were and what was going on. I only know Ric and Arn were eliminated because Tony told me. The fans couldn’t hear the announcers so they didn’t know what was going on!

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Jimmy passed something to Taskmaster, which I think was whatever Ric dropped earlier. In the end, I don’t even remember what the weapon was. I just know Taskmaster and the referee ended up fighting over it which we’ll get to.

They move onto the next stage as The Faces of Fear work on Savage, while Taskmaster and Luger beat up Hogan. Hogan locked the Faces of Fear in one of the cages and left Taskmaster alone with Hogan and Savage. Taskmaster and the referee in the middle of this, wrestle over some weapon Taskmaster wanted to use in the middle of this. On a show where it was promoted as no disqualification and in the middle of a no disqualification cage match, the referee stops Taskmaster from using a weapon! This is not even the referee calling for a DQ in a Hell in a Cell match. The referee is screwing the heels by not letting them use a weapon which they are ENTITLED to use. In the Chicago Street Fight, Bobby Heenan flat out said you could get away with murder! This was an unbelievable logical catastrophe.

Hogan and Taskmaster battled on the scaffold as Dungeon of Doom and Arn tried to get to Taskmaster. Yes, the eliminated Arn Anderson tried to get at Hogan. Hogan tried kicking Taskmaster off the scaffold and Taskmaster hit a low blow to save his own life. Taskmaster tried to dump Hogan off the scaffold in revenge… all of this attempted murder is going on and nobody cared. This is right after the referee stopped Taskmaster from using a weapon.

Luger battled Savage as Hogan and Taskmaster just escape the cage and brawl outside of the cage. That’s dumb enough but then Savage and Luger both just escape the cage from another side to brawl with Hogan and Taskmaster on the ramp. So after being in the dangerous Doomsday Cage, four guys are just fighting on the ramp.

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The rules were just… there were no rules. There was no structure to this match. I’m 90% certain they just made it up as they went along because Hogan and Savage have escaped the cage but are still fighting with Luger and Taskmaster. I guess the Faces of Fear were just eliminated. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson suddenly vanished. Hogan and Taskmaster run down to the ring. Hogan takes Buffer’s mic and batters Taskmaster. It’s suddenly a tornado tag team match outside of the cage. What was going on? None of this made any sense… and then it just gets worse.

Hogan hits the big boot. He beats up Taskmaster in the ring. Then Hogan beats him up outside of the ring. Hogan fought back at the cage. Hogan then SNEAKED UP and attacked Luger to save Savage. Yeah, 6’8 HULK HOGAN sneaked up on someone like a dastardly villain!

All I could think was where was the Faces of Fear and Arn? If Luger and Taskmaster could just escape, where the hell were they so they could beat up Hogan and Savage? Tony even asked: “where was Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution?”

The fans finally cheered as they could see Hogan and Luger fighting in the ring. Tony just declares that everyone else is gone and eliminated. Taskmaster low-blowed Hogan in the ring. Hogan hit Luger with a chair a couple of times. Luger and Taskmaster turned things around. Savage chokes away at Taskmaster, which is apparently all these two could do together because every time I see Savage and Taskmaster that’s all I see them do is choking and punches to each other. Hogan and Savage did stereo punches to Luger and Taskmaster. At this point,  Jimmy Hart led Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution down to the ring.

In case you were wondering, Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution weren’t even in the cage to begin with. Why they weren’t in the cage to begin with, if they were such big threats to Hogan, is a question that I’m sure only someone like Eric Bischoff could explain. The monsters brought Hogan and Savage back to the cage. They brought him back into the actual cage including the ring. The fans chanted for Hogan as Hogan, Savage, Z-Gangsta and Ultimate Solution squared off.

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Hogan kept getting pushed back by Ultimate Solution. Then all of a sudden… weird blue and red lights surround the ring so if the fans could see anything before in this cage, they couldn’t anymore because of this stupid lighting. It was like the Seth Rollins/Fiend Hell in a Cell match from a couple of weeks ago where the red lighting meant the fans could barely see anything. The parallels between 2019 WWE and 1996 WCW is astonishing,

Savage got Z-Gangsta wobbly with a double axe handle. No mention of the fact that Savage teamed with Z-Gangasta a.k.a. Zeus to battle Hogan before. Z-Gangsta did a dreaded bear hug. Hogan punched Z-Gangsta but Z-Gangsta no sold it as Hogan showed concern. Z-Gangsta started choking Hogan down. Hogan is literally down for a three count during this choke with his shoulders on the mat and the referee just stands there and watched Hogan and Z-Gangasta. He does not count or anything. This referee screwed the heels at least twice to my knowledge!

Ultimate Solution catches Savage in mid-air with a bearhug. THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN ARN ANDERSON AND RIC FLAIR are suddenly back in the cage and beat up Hogan and Savage! This was the most miserably plot-hole filled match in wrestling history. By this logic, the heels should have gotten every heel they could find back in that cage. Lex Luger had just disappeared. The Faces of Fear disappeared. For god’s sake, THE GIANT is with the group at this point right? THIS MAKES NO SENSE. Ric and Arn are just back out there like nothing happened as if they were not eliminated earlier. Keep this in mind by the way. I know I’ve said this like 5 times during this PPV review but this is the most important one. Seriously, let’s remember that Ric Flair and Arn Anderson were eliminated earlier.

Jimmy Hart cackles like a mad man. The two monsters just stand there as Arn and Ric do the actual wrestling. Z-Gangsta does these clobbering blows to Hogan. He does them like the Triple H poses in the corner and goes aaaaarrgggh (like he’s gonna sneeze) and then threw his arms down like he’s closing the boot off the car! One of the funniest punches ever thrown in a wrestling ring!

Hogan then runs wild with FRYING PANS! I kid you not. The Booty Man comes down, gives out frying pans to Hogan and Savage and then I don’t even remember seeing Booty Man again! He’s out there for his friends and could have helped them in a 2 on 8 situation but no, he gives them the weapons and fled like a coward. What an ally that Booty Man turned out to be!

Luger comes down and runs wild with these frying pans on the babyfaces. Tony Schiavone then said: “LEX LUGER IS OBVIOUSLY THE FRESH MAN, HE’S NOT BEEN HIT WITH THE FRYING PAN.”

At this moment, I had to pause the show. My brain could not take any more of this. I didn’t go for a walk but I needed to refocus my scrambled brain. At this point, I just concluded this was one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen. With the finish that followed, I soon concluded that this WAS the worst match I’ve ever seen.

I restarted the show. Luger gets a weighted coal-miners glove. Luger throws a punch at Savage but Savage ducked, Luger could see that Savage ducked and then Luger hits Flair with one of the most deliberate fake punches you’ve ever saw. I assume this is Luger turning babyface but it was hard to tell with what was going on. Lex Luger spent the entire match beating up Hogan and Savage. He was clearly a heel earlier on in the show against the Road Warriors. All of a sudden, he lays out Flair.

THEN, HULK HOGAN KICKS LEX LUGER’S ARSE. FOR NO REASON! Lex Luger was on his side and Hulk Hogan just beats his arse because Hulk Hogan’s character in WCW is that he’s the biggest dick in all of the land. Then Hogan tries to escape the cage to I guess win the match which again, we’ve just watched them brawling for 10 minutes outside of the cage. Why would Hogan try to escape the cage? Savage picks up on this and figures he needs to pin someone and so Savage pins Flair to WIN THE MATCH.

Ric Flair was eliminated earlier on in the match and then Savage out of nowhere is able to pin him to win the match all together? WHAT? Not to mention. I have no idea what the original plan was for the finish but the idea that out of all of the geeks in that heel stable, you had to pin the WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair? You couldn’t pin THE BARBARIAN, MENG or one of these geeks monsters we’ll never seen again? JEEZ LOUISE, this is the worst match I’ve ever seen.

Dusty finishes the show saying: “This PPV will go down as something never before seen.” My notes finish with the following line – This was an utter piece of shit.

Match Rating: -***** (MINUS FIVE STARS)

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I do believe this is the first time in the history of this blog I’ve ever given out a -5 star rating. When I give out this -5 star rating, it takes everything into consideration. The rating represents the build-up to the match, the weeks of convoluted tag team matches and so much more. This was everything that led to this debacle and the match itself which beggars belief. This represents everything a lot of wrestling fans look at when they see WCW. The absolute dirt-worst before the nWo arrive and although I figured this Doomsday Cage match would be bad, I had no idea.

With everything that was wrong with this though, I will briefly play the role of Mr Positive. This match felt like a necessary evil for WCW. I think this was likely the trigger for Hulk Hogan to finally figure out that it was time for a change. People did cheer Hogan during this match but this sort of old-school Hulk Hogan versus monsters booking just wasn’t working anymore. There’s a certain charm to it but ultimately, the audience was never gonna totally accept this rubbish for much longer especially when they’re in the middle of a wrestling war with the WWF. Hogan got one last babyface match to get this out of his system and then it was time to change up his character.

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As a wrestling show, this was half a decent show and half a disaster. That’s the best way I could put it. I figure if you just watch the first three matches, it’d be OK. If you just watch the last match, it’d be the worst pay-per-view ever. If you look at the finishes of the matches, it was a horrible pay-per-view up and down. If you look at the historical significance and how it inadvertently changed the way WCW booked its product, it was a necessary evil. Shortly afterwards, a new necessary evil would emerge in WCW and the wrestling industry would never be the same again.

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #28 (MATCH 18TH 1996) – THE ALLIANCE TO END HULKAMANIA RECRUITS ZEUS FROM NO HOLDS BARRED

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

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Last week saw the rivalry between the Mega Powers and the Dungeon of Doom continue, with a six man tag team double strap lumberjack match. Confusing on paper and even worse in execution, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and The Booty Man defeated Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster once again to get more momentum going into a big Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored.

This week, we’ve got the go-home show for Uncensored 1996. It turned out to be a rather infamous event but this show was a horrible preview of things to come. I thought last week’s show was pretty bad but this was worse. I will make it perfectly clear that the main-event from last week was worse than anything on this week’s episode of Nitro. However, at least last week had some redeeming qualities about it. I liked The Steiner Brothers’ big return and The Giant vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan. There were hardly any redeeming qualities on this show. Nothing worth going back to watch and the closing segment was just… it felt really flat to me. As a closing segment to hype up Uncensored, this didn’t do it for me.

Anyway, let’s run-down the show…

 

Date: March 18th 1996

Brand: WCW

City:Chattanooga, Tennessee

Rating: 3.6

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

 

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The show does not start with WCW cutting the announcers as they usually. It cut to Loch Ness and The Giant having a “brawl” and when I say a brawl, it was the equivalent to Godzilla slowly beating up a building. Loch Ness can barely moved and he is just leaning and grabbing the handrail as The Giant threw kicks and punches (better than his kicks from last week). Jimmy Hart, the smallest guy imaginable in this scenario, tried to get between them. The Giant threw knees as Lex Luger comes out. Lex Luger walks by as Giant continues to kick Loch Ness’ arse. It turned out that Lex Luger was actually supposed to be defending the WCW TV title against Loch Ness!

 

Lex Luger © vs Loch Ness for the WCW TV title.

Loch Ness is exhausted leaning on the handrail as the referee starts counting him out. Lex Luger implores the referee to count him out and Loch Ness is unable to move at all, so he gets counted out and Lex Luger retained the title!

This led to an awesome Lex Luger moment! Lex Luger has been pretty great in the last few weeks. He starts celebrating like he just won a gold medal. Then Jimmy Hart jumps into the ring and is all excited, RIGHT AFTER two of his guys have had this massive brawl! I don’t know why, but I found that hilarious. He managed every heel so even though two of these monsters are killing each other, he’ll go celebrate with Luger when he retains his title!

Luger backs Jimmy Hart away again. Luger comes to the booth and cuts a great promo. Luger grabs a mic and says he’s on a roll! Lex Luger says he’s ready and he’s peaking at the right time, calling out Hulk Hogan. I thought Luger had a great little moment here.

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Eric Bischoff then reveals they have a stand-by match. I love the idea that they even had a stand-by match because this implies that in storyline, they expected LEX LUGER and LOCH NESS to go like 10 minutes or something! Loch Ness I don’t even think has wrestled 10 minutes in his combined WCW career yet by this point!

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage are being interviewed by Tony Schiavonie. Hogan said this place was on fire. Hogan predicted the same momentum as the last few weeks. Savage and Hogan said they’re gonna go to the top together and they’re gonna go to dust together. Savage cuts a crazy promo himself. Hogan said there’s no titles on the line at Uncensored as they’ll wreck havoc wherever they go. Hogan said he heard what Taskmaster said… they never during the promo what Taskmaster actually said. I had no idea what Hogan was on about. Hogan says bring all of your horses, bring all of your men and the Mega Powers will kick your ass again. I actually loved that line to close the promo and Hogan and Savage had tremendous tag team promo chemistry. They were both so crazy with their delivery that they played off each other very well.

 

“Public Enemy” Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge vs “The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner

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The closest thing to an average match on the entire show. Public Enemy does this stupid wave dance as they make their entrance… and it’s over with the crowd. The fans in the building are all doing this wave and going nuts for Public Enemy. It’s almost astonishing what was considered cool in 1996!

With that being said, I was at an England Rugby match against Italy right before the Rugby World Cup this year. I think it may have been the match before the World Cup for England and there’s 50,000 people there for this match. In the middle of it, a wave breaks out. This wave breaks out and it does a complete lap of the crowd four times it went on so long. Maybe it’s a crowd thing that they just felt the need to entertain themselves!

Public Enemy grabbed tables. Rocco did a beautiful arm drag reversal from a tilt-a-whirl which I actually thought was pulled off well. Scott was about to put Rocco through a table with an elbow drop but Rocco moved out of the way. Rick Steiner did a suplex as Bischoff breaks the news that NBA star Dennis Rodman has been suspended for 6 games… whoop de doo.

Grunge did a bulldog to Rick Steiner onto a chair which was not a disqualification. There are bigger fishes to fry with this later on in the show but, why not try to enforce the rules a little bit?

Booker T is revealed as Sting’s partner against the Road Warriors for their match at Uncensored. Rocco did a DDT. Rocco flew off the top rope and Rick BARELY caught him with a powerslam. Rocco pulled off a springboard moonsault.

Scott hit a big belly-to-belly suplex and made the tag to Rick Steiner. Rick and Rocco brawled to the floor. Scott does the punches in the corner. Rocco goes for a dive through the table but Rick moves and Rocco goes right through the table as Scott and Rick hit their finish the Steinerizer for the win.

Now, I get Public Enemy are the hardcore tag team in WCW… but when are tables allowed in a match? I understand they didn’t hit the Steiners with tables and chairs but they used them to their advantage when it is against the rules in a tag match to use them. No matter if you hit them with it or you just use it, it is against the rules of a regular tag match to use a weapon to your advantage. END OF STORY.

Rick and Scott yelled at the Road Warriors as Bischoff refers to WCW Nitro as “the hottest show on the planet”… incorrect. Unless the standards of television were really bad in 1996, I find this very hard to believe.

 

Arn Anderson w/Woman vs The Booty Man w/The Booty Girl

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Arn Anderson tried so hard to get a good match out of the Booty Man. He tried his hardest to sell for the guy but it was hard to care. The Booty Man didn’t do a thing for me as a babyface. He was very bang average as a wrestler. I found it hard to get into him. This was the second closest thing to an average match on the show.

I will say that I loved that Arn went to throw a punch during the match but then he just collapsed to the mat Flair-style. Arn was trying really hard to get this guy over. Kimberley is with The Booty Man as… THE BOOTY GIRL. I’ve said this a few times but what a strange time the 1990s was for professional wrestling. The edgy content hasn’t even arrived for the WWF or WCW yet and they’re just casually dropping the name BOOTY GIRL as a name for Kimberley.

Arn got the heat. Arn worked on the arm of Booty. Booty runs wild as some fans actually boo.

I’m going to recap the finish but I’m going to leave in the notes as exactly as I wrote them. After I wrote what happened next, I could not believe my eyes as to what I wrote. As a wrestling blogger for about 7 years now, this was one of my crowning moments for the Armbar Express.

Booty throws punches when the Booty Girl arrives. Woman grabs the shoe and goes towards Booty. Booty gets in between them as Arn flies in with a double axe handle. Booty hits the high knee for the win.

In these notes, I would often refer to Booty Man as Booty for short. Writing THE BOOTY MAN over and over is just hard to do fast. So yeah, I just call him booty. Just that it led to the sentence “Woman grabs the shoe and goes towards Booty” is just remarkable. The only problem is that those notes are completely accurate. That’s what happened!

 

They broke down the Uncensored card during this match by the way. Booty Man is facing DDP at Uncensored. Eddie Guerrero is facing Konnan for the US title. Sting and Booker T are facing the Road Warriors. Madusa is facing Col Robert Parker. The Giant is battling Loch Ness. The main-event, of course, is the Doomsday Cage match.

 

“The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags

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I’m 90% certain this was the worst match on the show. After the Road Warriors have their best tag team match in a long time against the Steiner Brothers last week, they had a tag team match that completely fell apart against the Nasty Boys. The tag teams brawled from the get-go. Knobbs goes for a double axe handle to Animal on the floor and just falls down. The least elegant double axe handle I’ve ever seen and that set the tone for this match in many ways.

Bsichoff advised that the Nasty Boys were FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES against the Road Warriors… IN A REGULAR TAG MATCH? I mean this was not a regular tag match. They were brawling but I don’t even know why they were brawling. It was very sloppy stuff as they just brawled. Knobbs goes to the top rope but Hawk pushes him off. Knobbs bumped all over the place and bumped into the guard rail. It looked like it really hurt Knobbs as he was grabbing his gut during the match. The tag teams smack each other with those chairs again as Nick Patrick tries to get in between them.

It was here where I started to question whether every match on this episode of Nitro was No DQ because the refs aren’t doing a thing about any of this. They use weapons and there are no disqualifications at all… at least in the first two tag team matches.

They eventually get into the ring and start to wrestle for a change! There is some huge miscommunication between Knobbs and Hawk in the ring. I don’t think they had a clue what to do or Knobbs was hugely injured from the guard rail spot from earlier so they had to think of stuff on the fly.

They mentioned on commentary that Mean Gene Okerlund was off with a flu. Hawk kicked Knobbs I think in the groin or what Mongo called them: the groin muscles. Again, this was not a disqualification. Animal hits a powerslam. Animal goes for a big splash but Knobbs gets the knees up. Saggs gets the tag and this leads to nothing.  They all brawl in the ring. Knobbs looked like he could barely move.

The Steiners come out to brawl with both tag teams I think… RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REFEREE. The ref doesn’t even call for the bell. They all fight each other and in the middle of this melee, Animal hits  Knobbs with the spike shoulder pads while the ref gets distracted. The ref then comes over and counts for three. Again… a massive mess of a match.

I have a few problems with this match other then how bad it was. Firstly, The Road Warriors couldn’t beat The Nasty Boys clean going into the tag team match with Sting and Booker T? It was so important to protect the Nasty Boys here? Why bother doing a run in during this match?

Secondly, WCW were promoting Uncensored to be no disqualification all over the PPV. To build to a PPV where there are “no rules”, they had a number of matches where the wrestlers did what they wanted and the referees didn’t care. Why would people want to watch the PPV when they could watch No DQ matches all the time on free WCW television? This sucked.

 

 

 

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Taskmaster in a tornado tag team match

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I hadn’t even got to the main-event and this review was hard to write. This show was just so draining to talk about and then we got this main-event.  If you take the messy and sloppy aspects of the six man tag team matches as of late with these two factions and made it into a tag team match, you basically got this match. Not a lot of wrestling and hard to keep track of what everyone was doing. As shown later, the announcers couldn’t even keep track of what everyone was doing.

The match started. Hogan and Savage take over as Hogan chased Flair to the outside. Flair cuts him off with the eye poke. Hogan grabbed a big green hat, pulls it over Flair’s head and smashes Flair’s head into the turnbuckle.

For like 90% of the match, they only showed Flair and Hogan on television while Taskmaster and Savage are just brawling elsewhere. Hogan and Flair brawl. Hogan pushes Flair off the top rope as Savage and Taskmaster brawl on the outside. Savage eventually holds Taskmaster up in the ring and Hogan delivers a big right hand to knock him down.

Hogan chokes Taskmaster with some wire as Woman rakes the eyes of Savage as they had a split screen on the go. Hogan ran wild on Taskmaster and Flair. Savage then floors Flair with a clothesline. Savage punches away at the Nature Boy. Tornado tag matches are fine to do but these guys really aren’t having a tag match. There’s just a bunch of stuff happening as they all took turns brawling with each other. To borrow Arn’s line from last week, this match did not resemble professional wrestling at all.

Flair goes for the Figure Four on Savage as Hogan doesn’t even try to save Savage. Hogan just goes for his own Figure Four Leg Lock on Taskmaster as the battle of the Figure Four Leg Locks begin! Eventually Savage reverses Flair’s Figure Four and gets out of harm. Flair pushes the ref and the ref pushes back which is a spot only Ric Flair can pull off this well.

Savage goes to choke Taskmaster’s neck but he ends up grabbing his shoulders so it looked like he was given him a back massage instead! Flair does a back suplex but Hogan no-sold this. Hogan sends Flair over the top with an Irish Whip. Then Flair hits Hogan with a low blow while they were fighting on the outside. and of course, the announcers miss this. Not one of the three announcers were able to see Ric doing this.

I was begging for this match to be over as this was no good. Hogan fired back. Taskmaster gets knocked into Flair. Flair hit Hogan with Woman’s shoe again. This time Hogan kicks out and powers up!

Hogan Hulks up on Ric Flair as Savage and Taskmaster are just in the way. Then Arn Anderson comes down. Hogan hits the big boot. Arn trips Hogan. Then BRIAN PILLMAN runs in and attacks Hogan and Savage as the ref calls for the bell. After everything we saw in the earlier tag team matches, we got a disqualification in the Nitro main-event.

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I understand it just becomes like the gimmick of WCW Nitro where all the main-events ended in a disqualification. However, we had a show where all the tag teams did whatever they wanted with chairs and tables and it was no disqualification. In fact, the Steiner Brothers did a run in and it wasn’t a disqualification. Brian Pillman runs in and suddenly it’s a disqualification.

You know what. I’m going to establish this now… this was the worst episode of Nitro I’ve seen so far. There was no sense in the finishes, there was no consistency and the talent was just not there to pull this off. You have guys like Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit on the payroll but first, we gotta make sure that The Booty Man is in there instead. This show needed some serious change.

I will say that Savage and Pillman go on to have a hell of a brawl where they just claw at each other, which I think ended up busting up Savage a little bit. Speaking of The Booty Man, he runs down. Who should make the save for the heels but ZEUS and some other big guy. This was Zeus from the No Holds Barred movie with Hulk Hogan and he was back in professional wrestling with the Dungeon of Doom.

The babyfaces then leave the ring. Rather than staying and fighting, these three cowards walk out at the mere presence Zeus and this other guy, which we’ll get to. I loved Zeus’ face which… you could not take seriously but it was cartoon-like and it fit right in! The babyfaces FLED from the ring as Flair calls out Hogan but Savage backs Hogan off as they leave.

Tony Schavione interviews the group of heels. Taskmaster said they’ve upped the ante. Jimmy Hart said Hogan and Savage were Dumb and Dumber. All the heels said some stuff and rambled on. Arn had some statement where he said he was undefeated on Nitro before The Booty Man beat him. I call B.S. on that one based on the fact that Hogan pinned him 3 weeks ago. Now granted, Arn is a heel so his lies would make a bit more sense when you consider that he’s a heel that’s supposed to be delusional. That at least makes sense to me!

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OK, so as for the new two recruits to the heels’ stable. This stable I believe was officially called the Alliance to End Hulkamania. The two guys introduced here were set to face Hogan and Savage at Uncensored. I’ve lost track of all the guys that Hogan and Savage were meant to be fighting at Uncensored. Apparently, Brian Pillman was supposed to be in that match as well but he ends up not showing up. Anyway, the thing with these two are that these would be wrestling their final wrestling matches in their careers on this show.

Believe it or not, Zeus was going by Z-Gangsta in WCW! He wrestled exactly five times in his wrestling career. He wrestled in tag matches against Hulk Hogan for WWF as part of the No Holds Barred movie build. He wrestled this match in WCW. Believe it or not, he wrestled ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER IN 1990. In WWC Puerto Rico, they had a match. This match is on YouTube so I do plan on watching this match! I am a glutton for punishment but I must see this match! Zeus in his prime I guess!

The other guy’s name was Jeep Swenson. As unbelievable as some of you may find this to believe, he was initially called the Final Solution. This was actually the name of Adolf Hitler’s plan in World War 2 to destroy the Jews so, as you could imagine, this caused some complaints so they ended up changing the name. He then became the Ultimate Solution for this match.

Swenson actually passed away a year later with heart failure. He actually had a role as Bane in the also infamous Batman and Robin movie too. These guys were right up Hogan’s street in terms of big, mean dudes for Hogan to conquer. I think this doomsday cage match could turn out to be one of the worst matches I ever watch. If this show is anything to go by or if any of the previous six man tag team matches in recent weeks are anything to guy, this will be nothing short of a disaster. Keep in mind that those matches that came beforehand did not include Z-Gangsta, Ultimate Solution and Lex Luger who would also be in this match.

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The plan is to watch WCW Uncensored in full although I did consider watching just the main-event. However, I am going to watch the PPV and try to stick to watching every PPV as I’ve done before. The real attraction will be this Doomsday Cage match main-event. I will see you with my review of WCW Uncensored 1996.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #27 (MATCH 11TH 1996) – THE STEINER BROTHERS DEBUT ON NITRO AND MAIN-EVENT IS A MASSIVE TRAIN WRECK

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

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In the last episode of WCW Nitro, we got our big six man tag team match with Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and THE BOOTY MAN battling Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster. After weeks of Arn Anderson getting the best of the Hulkster, Hogan finally scored a big pinfall victory over the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson. The celebrations were short-lived as with literally 30 seconds of television to spare, Miss Elizabeth “handcuffed” Hogan to the corner as Ric Flair whipped the Hulkster to end the show.

 

 

Date: March 11th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Winston-Salem, NC

Rating: 3.2

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

 

There’s been two weeks since the last episode of WCW Nitro. There was no Nitro for March 4th 1996 so RAW was left unopposed. However, Nitro was back and it was back with a rematch from two weeks ago. Hogan, Savage and Booty Man would face Flair, Anderson and Taskmaster again but this time was different… in so many ways. They would be “wrestling” in a six man tag team double strap lumberjack match. Quite the mouthful. It was complex in writing and even more complex in execution. What a disaster this main-event would be. I think this was a pretty poor episode of Nitro accompanied by a disastrous main-event. Anyway, let’s delve into the show and see why I thought it was so bad.

 

As Eric Bischoff dubbed WCW Nitro as the “war zone”, which was ironic considering RAW would go onto call their ring “the war zone” themselves, they reveal that there is a new WCW Television Champion apparently crowned in the 2 weeks since the last episode. The new champion was in action later which we’ll get to later…

 

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

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I’ve listened to reviews of this match and read reviews online and I maybe the only person who actually thought this match was alright. Obviously, it’s HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN VS THE GIANT. I wasn’t expecting like a Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega classic or something. You’ve got Hacksaw Jim Duggan and you’ve got a still green Giant in there against each other. However, I think this was the best match you could have done with these two given the circumstances. The Giant I think is shown to very cautious in his matches, which is a great trait to have as a wrestler. Hacksaw got a very basic but effective match out of the guy, which worked with the crowd.

Hacksaw fired away at Giant to little effect but by god he was trying his hardest and then The Giant just hit two big gut punches to Hacksaw!

Hacksaw tried a double axe handle off the apron but Giant caught him and drove him back-first into the ring post. There was a Brian Pillman sign shown as Brian Pillman himself was in the crowd apparently. Bischoff left the booth to attend to this so, regardless of what happens with Pillman in the future as we’ve discussed before, Bischoff looked to still be pushing this angle hard with Brian Pillman.

Giant did a bearhug as Pillman was shown being dragged away by security. Bischoff gets back to the booth and said: “back to the match.” Hacksaw bit Giant to escape the bearhug. Giant did a big charge and then delivered sloppy kicks to a grounded Hacksaw. The Giant’s kicks didn’t really look like kicks. He just stuck his leg out but his leg didn’t bend at all and it stayed straight as he kicked Duggan. Giant was still rather green with 5 or so months of experience under his belt but mostly I can see just bits and bobs he needs to work on in his game. Spoiler alert, but he eventually becomes a better wrestler!

Giant did a big stinger splash to the corner but Hacksaw moved. Hacksaw actually clotheslined Giant over the top rope but Giant was still standing as the fans popped a bit. The Giant did another bearhug.

In case anyone was wondering or you did not read my Hell in a Cell review last week, I did watch NXT and AEW last week. In fact, I watched NXT, AEW and SmackDown!’s debut on FOX on the Saturday after and then I watched this episode of WCW Nitro on the Sunday. What a change of pace to go from the likes of Adam Cole vs Matt Riddle to The Giant vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

The Giant then lifted and placed the referee out of the way but then Hacksaw knocked Giant down with three shots to the head. Jimmy Hart got in the ring and Hacksaw punched him down to a big pop. The Giant then out of nowhere chokeslammed Duggan and pinned him for the win.

I liked this match. Hacksaw was such a great babyface even against the almighty Giant. It had some bumps in the road but it was effective with this crowd so if you judge matches by crowd reactions this was a THUMBS UP.

 

Scheduled next was The Nasty Boys vs The Road Warriors but instead, we hear motorcycle engines and no Nasty Boys. Driving down the ramp in motorcycles were in fact THE STEINER BROTHERS. The Steiner Brothers made their big WCW return as the fans went nuts with dog barks. I have to say that this was a welcome change. The tag team division for WCW has been rather lacklustre since we started reviewing WCW Nitros…. so seeing the Steiners back with WCW was a much needed shot of adrenaline to this tag team division.

 

“The Steiner Brothers” Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner vs “The Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk

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As luck would have it, the Steiner Brothers come back and they have a good match with the Road Warriors! It was like they showed up and the tag team division was miles better right away. The Road Warriors have had some average to below average matches since returning to WCW but they had a good match here. They sold for the Steiners’ suplexes and they worked their asses of in this match, including Hawk of all people.

Hawk chopped away at Scott Steiner and Scott Steiner sold like crazy. Like Hawk would hit a chop and Steiner would thrust his entire body back to sell the impact of this move. It was great.

Scott hit a big belly-to-belly suplex and the fans went nuts. Steiner hit a pumphandle drop, and the fans popped again. Hawk hit a big clothesline off the top rope and the fans popped again. The fans were really into this match and the Steiners especially. The fans wanted to see this match and every move was seen as a big move to them.

Hawk hit a big boot and a neckbreaker. Scott hit a big Tiger Powerbomb. Rick got tagged in as the fans barked in response! Animal got tagged in. Animal hit a powerslam and a scoop slam. Rick knocked down Animal with two clotheslines and Rick hit a huge German suplex to return the favour.

Rick actually hit a belly to belly off the top rope. Scott again delivers with another belly to belly suplex. The tag teams continued to battle. Steiner locked on the Steiner Recliner. Hawk broke this up but then Scott just went right back to work with the Steiner Recliner!

It’s a nit-picky thing with wrestling but I don’t like the part in a tag match where the partner in trouble would get hit with a big move. The tag team partner jumps in to break up the pin and then the tag team that’s winning the match would just go try something different. Like if this was WWE in 2019, after the Steiner Recliner would be broken up then the Steiners would try something different because that’s how the match would be put together.

In reality, in this match anyway in 1996, Scott knows this move is effective as Hawk broke up the submission. Hawk was concerned Animal might tap out. What does Scott do in response? He goes back to the devastating Steiner Recliner. I don’t get the need that once a move is broken, the tag team cannot possibly go for the move again. Why not try again with the Steiner Recliner? It’s a weird thing but it’s effective when a match can demonstrating wrestlers being smart in the ring.

Animal and Scott did a double clothesline and both went down. Hawk vaults into the ring off the hot tag and runs wilds on the Steiners! Yeah Hawk, who could barely do anything in the past couple of weeks, vaults into the ring and starts whooping ass!

Hawk hits a powerslam as the Road Warriors continue to run wild. They hit the doomsday device and Scott breaks up the pin. Scott sends Animal crashing into the guard rail. Rick hits a German suplex and the Steiners went for the Doomsday Device themselves but Animal broke it up.

Scott hit a top rope clothesline and so Animal followed up with his own top rope clothesline. The two tag teams continue to battle as Scott hit a Frankensteiner.  The Steiners hit a Doomsday Device bulldog, which I believe is also called the Steinerizer, but then Animal hit Rick with the spikes off their shoulder pad which led to Hawk getting the pin.

A great match with a bit of a crap finish. The Road Warriors are supposed to be babyfaces and the main-event of the show would confirm that they’re supposed to be babyfaces but yet they cheated to win here. Mixed messages but an otherwise good match.

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Steiners after the match. Scott said they’ve been hunting the Road Warriors for 4 years and they left the US for 4 years for the Road Warriors to come to them!  I was going to laugh at the idea that the Steiners have been hunting the Road Warriors for 4 years but if you think about it, the Road Warriors only arrived in WCW a couple of months ago. Therefore, the Steiners’ story adds up where you could believe “oh there they are. Let’s go to where the big boys play and face the Road Warriors!” That I least give credit for.

Scott said the way the Road Warriors won was disgraceful. Mean Gene asked about the Nasty Boys and Scott said they came where the competition was and the Road Warriors hadn’t seen the last of them. Rick complained about the cheap shot and yelled that this wasn’t the end.

 

Lex Luger (c) vs Alex Wright for the WCW Television Championship

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Yes, Lex Luger is the new WCW Television Champion. Apparently he beat Johnny B Badd for the title who is now for real out of the promotion. Apparently Johnny B Badd “didn’t feel up for it” according to Bischoff so Alex Wright is facing Luger tonight. This match happens which I’m pretty sure was just an excuse for Eric Bischoff to bury Johnny B Badd for 5 minutes. He made comment after comment about Johnny B Badd during this match.

They plugged an advertisement for the WCW hotline where Bobby Heenan and Mean Gene were creeping up on other wrestlers trying to find the scoops which came off as so creepy to me. If it was just Bobby Heenan, the advertisement would make sense as Bobby is “the weasel” according to everyone in the company. Mean Gene doing it to promote a hot line? I dunno. It kinda came off bad to me… pardon the pun.

Bischoff buried Badd for not being “up for it” as Wright does a big dive to Luger on the outside. Apparently Luger was out of the tag team title match with Sting at Uncensored so this means that Sting is without a partner for the Road Warriors match. With that being said, Sting and Luger are still the tag champs.

Wright fired up at the start of the match but Luger took control of the match after a couple of minutes. Luger gorilla pressed Wright and slammed him down.

Wright did a springboard crossbody but Luger caught him during the second attempt and dropped him on the top turnbuckle.

Luger then mocked Wright for trying again and even started bullying him, getting really angry as he did it. Wright eventually kicks away at Luger and fires back with punches and European Uppercuts to get back into the match.

Jimmy Hart ran in with the interference and Wright pushed Hart off the apron. Luger dropped Wright on the top rope for the pinfall victory. That was the finish! Luger didn’t lock on the Torture Rack. He pushed him off the top rope, got the pin and won! Your average Lex Luger vs little man wrestling match to me. Nothing special.

Luger then yelled at Jimmy as he didn’t want Jimmy out there.

 

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Booty Man vs Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster in six man tag team double strap match with lumberjacks with straps at ringside

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This match was such a train wreck. On paper it sounded convoluted and over-the-top and in execution it was even worse. You got six men out there for a “double” strap match with lumberjacks on the outside also with the straps. This felt harder to keep track of than the 60 man battle royal at World War III and this was just a six man tag team match. The six men in the ring are brawling, the men on the outside are brawling with each other, Kimberley came out randomly yet again and keep in mind, they couldn’t even keep last week’s six man tag team match straight about who the legal men were. In this match, it was tornado rules and everyone got in each other’s way constantly.

I do love that the lumberjacks were actually dressed like lumberjacks including Meng of all people! I think if any wrestling promotion is going to put on a lumberjack, it should be a requirement that they are dressed as lumberjacks. Seeing Meng as a lumberjack with a big grin on his face and ready for this match was such a sight to see. For god’s sake, have some fun with the lumberjack match gimmick!

The six men in the ring all brawl to kick things off and The Giant then grabbed Hogan. Then The Giant and Loch Ness start to fight over who gets Hogan and they have a great big brawl to the back! It was an ugly brawl which did not really look good but I got so excited for like 5 seconds! Then things just completely fell apart.

There’s brawling everywhere. The six men in the match brawl and the lumberjacks are all attacking each other with straps on the outside. KIMBERLY appears again, looking like she’s smitten. Ric tried to flee but Road Warrior Animal brought him back to the lumberjacks. I got so confused as it appeared that they turned heel for cheating against the Steiners but apparently they were on Hogan’s side against the heels. WHAT?

So much stuff happened that I couldn’t keep track.  They just all fought in the ring. Again, lumberjacks brawl on the outside. Why were the lumberjacks just BRAWLING with each other on the outside? I understand it’s faces and heels on the outside so maybe they don’t like each other but their job is to throw guys back in the ring if they leave the ring and they were too busy fighting each other not to do that.

The heel lumberjacks gang up on Hogan and tried to choke them out. Kimberly is shown still standing there on the entrance ramp. Regal, Meng, DDP and Malenko all whip at Hogan and then Hogan makes his own comeback on the heels.

I’m sure Hogan whipped Savage by accident during all of this as again, everyone was just in each other’s way. The lumberjacks brawl AGAIN. Even if you’re going to do a spot where the lumberjacks brawl with each other, isn’t it best to leave that until the end of the match and build up to it? Maybe you could build tension between the two factions of lumberjacks and then after a while, they start to the brawl.

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PERFECT EXAMPLE: They did a Roman Reigns vs Erick Rowan lumberjack match on SmackDown! last week where it went as normal, they all brawled and then Roman took them all out with a big dive to take them all out and turn the attention to the ring. FINE. That’s perfectly fine in a lumberjack match where the brawling on the outside is an important part of the match. In this lumberjack match, the lumberjacks brawl for no reason and it doesn’t play into the match at all.

Hogan ties up Flair with the straps and throws Flair across the ring but Flair pokes Hogan in the eye for get out of it. Savage kicks at Steven Regal for no reason. Hogan whips at Flair. Hogan then hits a big boot and leg drop out of nowhere and pins Ric Flair as Hawk no-sells the Faces of Fear whipping him in the chest. I guess the heel lumberjacks and heel tag teams all flee. Then Flair suddenly is up on his feet on running away right after Hogan’s Leg Drop! Flair doesn’t even sell the Leg Drop of Doom and just runs away… and then he comes back to cut a promo. This was… a disaster.

 

As mentioned, Ric Flair along with Arn and Taskmaster cut a promo on the babyfaces. Taskmaster cuts a promo on Hogan. He said Hogan will have to go through 4 cages for I believe the Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored. He mentioned Hogan has to go through Arn, Taskmaster, Luger and Flair. I was so confused because they said earlier that Lex Luger was not able to team with Sting, I assumed it was because he’s the TV Champion now. But no, he can’t team with Sting because he’s in the Doomsday Cage match! Keep in mind, Lex Luger wrestled in multiple matches at Starrcade. All of a sudden, he can’t wrestle more than once at Uncensored?

Arn Anderson flat-out said: “what happened tonight doesn’t resemble professional wrestling.” That’s what he said and that’s the quote. You can quote me on the quote. Arn flat out just said that the Nitro main-event didn’t resemble wrestling… AND HE’S RIGHT.

Ric Flair warned the babyfaces not to touch Elizabeth and Woman. Flair calls out Hogan and Savage saying: “look what I got” and grabs Elizabeth. Flair sings “whole world in my hands” again. Flair yells at the announcers and Flair goes crazy as they go off the air.

 

Having finished this review, this show wasn’t actually that bad. I think if you just watched the first two matches, it was a fine show. That main-event was such a disaster that it just brought the whole show down. My interest in this Uncensored show is rapidly declining. Jesus, that main-event was atrocious. I’m not sure if it rivals the WCW tag team match from Fall Brawl as at least this match was shorter. However, this was worse in terms of the fact that this was WCW’s biggest program right now. 3 months or so until the nWo arrive but we do have the Steiner Brothers at least! It’s gonna be tough for a couple of months I think!

We will see you with our review of Episode #28 of WCW Nitro.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #26 (FEBRUARY 26TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN, RANDY SAVAGE AND THE BOOTY MAN VS RIC FLAIR, ARN ANDERSON AND TASKMASTER

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

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The Booty Man arrived on the scene at WCW…. and I think that’s all that needs to be said! He sided with Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan in the battle against Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and the Taskmaster and “kicked the can” at the end of the show. Despite overwhelming odds against the heels, Hogan and Savage have a new ally in… THE BOOTY MAN.

 

Date: February 26th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Knoxville, Tennessee

Rating: 3.2

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

 

Sting vs Big Bubba

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I thought this was a good match. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t really seen a lot of him or whatever the deal is but I’ve never really associated Big Bubba a.k.a. The Big Boss Man as being a good worker. I had nothing against him but he didn’t really strike out to me as someone that would be any good but he’s had some really good matches on this series. I realise he was in the ring with Sting in this match but he had in-ring instincts and mannerisms that adds a little bit more to everything that he was doing. This was a good opener.

By the way, he was not Big Bubba Rogers on this show. He was merely billed as Big Bubba. Eric Bischoff mumbled through the RAW results as Big Bubba made his way down to the ring and took a shot Bob Holly saying “he’s still around?” This was actual mumbling. Last week, I wrote that he was calling the match so fast. This week, he responded by mumbling through the RAW results. This was probably by design to disregard the WWF as nothing but it didn’t make him look good as an announcer at all.

Big Bubba actually wins on Sting for a while at the start of this match. Big Bubba wasn’t really cheating. He was just overpowering and out-wrestling Sting for a long time and I actually like an opponent giving Sting a run for his money. This was not Sting just beating on someone. Big Bubba looked good as he was getting the heat on Sting.

Sting tried to fire back but Big Bubba caught Sting with a spinebuster for multiple two counts. Big Bubba worked on Sting despite Sting doing everything he can to fight back. Big Bubba argued with an old woman in the front row and Sting pops up with a right hand to a big reaction from those in the front row!

Sting hit a naughty looking reverse tombstone piledriver, with Bubba landing on top of his head. It was like a Styles Clash Piledriver. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a wrestler have complete faith with Sting in the ring delivering a piledriver! This could have went really bad but Big Bubba was literally leaving his life in Sting’s hands with this move!

Sting and Bubba go blow for blow. Sting tried a Vader Splash but Big Bubba got the knees up. Big Bubba tried a dive to the outside but Sting dropped him on the top turnbuckle and Sting hit a top rope crossbody for the win. I liked this match. It felt like a big win for Sting even if it was against Big Bubba as they showed Big Bubba was a legitimate threat to Sting. Sting had to dig deep to win. This has been shown a few times but Sting had another way to win a match with a crossbody which shows that Sting isn’t a one-trick pony with this arsenal. He’s a got a lot of moves that can get the job done. This gets a THUMBS UP!

 

Lex Luger, of all people, then started to steal the show! Sting and Lex Luger are about to be interviewed by Mean Gene before the Road Warriors interrupt. The Road Warriors asked where Sting’s head is at. The Road Warriors start cutting a promo on Luger and Sting, the WCW tag team champs by the way. They’ve been away from TV for a while but they were both back tonight. Animal said they were the masters of every match and Luger responded by saying they’ll wrestle the Road Warriors any time and any match as he poises with both belts! Luger is getting real confident now that he is a WCW tag team champion.

They start arguing about whether Lex Luger is from Chicago or not! Luger then leans on Sting and said: “tell them I’m from Chicago!” and they have this banter! Hawk said Luger reminded them of a washing machine as they really agitated them! What? In 16 years of being a wrestling fan, I’ve never seen a wrestler call another wrestler a “washing machine” before! That’s what Seth Rollins, babyface Universal Champion (as of me writing this), is missing nowadays! That’ll get him over!

I guess the Road Warriors challenged Sting and Luger to a Chicago Street Fight for the belts and Luger agreed to the match. Then, as soon as the Road Warriors leave, Luger turned to Sting and asked: “what’s a Chicago Street fight?” I laughed and I laughed and I laughed! Sting responded by saying: “why don’t you use your head and think about it?”

Lex Luger’s character was fabulous on this show. Luger is trying to be a tough guy for his best friend Sting and so he accepts any challenge that the Road Warriors dish out without even knowing what the match was! Luger’s a dumb heel trying to be a babyface and it was wonderful! And then, it got better!

 

Lex Luger vs The Renegade

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This was way better than you’d think. The Renegade, who is still with the company, was up against Lex Luger. This wasn’t particular good but this wasn’t really bad either. It was just there… but it wasn’t like a big calamity.

They show a WCW Magazine which included Madusa slamming Sherri’s head into the mat last month. These two wrestle for while. It’s nothing really special except that Renegade just no sells a couple of spots vintage Warrior style I guess. Renegade misses a crossbody and slams into the ropes as Luger goes to work. Luger gets a two count from a back suplex. The Renegade does a sunset flip but Luger kicks out and then comes back out with a clothesline.

Renegade does the pin power-up spot, like he lifts up Luger with the power off this kick out,… and then Luger just goes back onto him with a chin lock! All of that power… led to Luger locking on a chin lock!

Some fan in the front row had like a Bart Simpson mask on at the front which didn’t seem to fit his body at all! Bart has like a small neck since he’s a child but this big man stands up to cheer and he’s just a regular dude in a big coat!

Jimmy Hart comes down and pushes Renegade off the top rope. Luger does the torture rack for the submission win. Jimmy runs around the ring and jumps into the arms of Luger, who bounces his pecks up and down! Sting comes down to confront Jimmy and Luger and Luger covers up his pecs!.. like he’s just been caught in bed with another man! I loved that. He was out there half-naked anyway but Sting comes out to confront him and Luger feels the need to cover up like he’s just been up to no good. I LOVED IT! And then Luger goes after Jimmy!

Sting asked, not on the mic by the way, what Jimmy is doing out there but Luger insists he doesn’t know why he’s out there. He raises Renegades hand and tries to be babyface. Sting gets in Luger’s face and berates him for being with Jimmy Hart. I loved this segment.

Everything with Sting and Luger in on this show was great. We got two weeks without the Sting and Luger storyline and after two weeks, they’re back and there’s a big development in their storyline where Sting now is like “it’s him or me.” They don’t over-expose these two like they did before. Now, everything these two do should matter as part of the storyline where Luger and Sting are having friendship difficulties. You don’t over-do it but now it’s the time to flesh out the characters a little bit more. This was great.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray vs “Road Warriors” Animal and Hawk

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This was just a boring tag team match to me. Nothing really special. The teams get in each others’ faces as Nick Patrick gets between them to break it up.

Booker beats up Hawk for a while to get things going and talks trash as he does this. Hawk does a dropkick to send Booker to the floor. Hawk does a neckbreaker and follows up with a fist drop for a two count.

Animal and Stevie Ray get tagged in.  Not gonna lie: Stevie looked rather tall against Animal and as soon as I thought that, the announcers talk about the upper body of Stevie Ray!

Stevie does the release powerbomb to Hawk which I pray he stopped doing especially when he damn near killed Luger with one at Superbrawl. Booker hit an axe kick which Hawk just kicks out of… very weird to see Hawk just kick out of a move that would go on to become Booker’s finisher as a singles competitor!

Harlem Heat continues to get the heat on Hawk. Hawk tries to fight back but Hawk goes crashing into the ring post. Apparently the winners will get a shot at the tag titles according to Bischoff, right after an angle where Road Warriors and Sting and Luger agree to a Chicago Street Fight.

Animal runs wild. Animal pulls off doing a back flip off a double back suplex and does a double clothesline to a big pop! Booker breaks it up as things just quiet down all of a sudden. I got no idea what happened. Booker hits a Houston Hangover but the referee is distracted with Stevie Ray. Animal kicks a distracted Booker in the face. Hawk covers Booker as Stevie just stands there in front of it on the outside and lets it happen. Hawk pins Booker. Apparently something went awry because Stevie just stood there and didn’t even try to break it up. No storyline or anything. It was like they hit pause on Stevie Ray and he was just motionless. A sloppy finish to an otherwise boring match.

 

 

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Booty Man vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth, Arn Anderson and Taskmaster

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We had our big six man tag team match main-event. The six men brawled in the ring to kick things off. Eventually Booty Man and Arn are the two legal men in the ring.

Kimberley Page comes down onto the entrance ramp with roses. This came off as rather random so I would have to imagine that Johnny B Badd is out of the company. Either way, this led to nothing on this show.

Booty Man shook his booty as Savage suddenly enters the ring, tells Booty something and then leaves. I wonder if Booty Man forgot a spot because again, it just came off as so out of the blue…

Booty hits a “high knee”. I guess they ousted Zodiac as the Booty Man who was infiltrating the Dungeon of Doom on commentary. The Booty Man ran wild on the heels. I legit lost track of who was the legal man was as the announcers even lost track of who the legal man was. Everyone just kept coming into the ring and doing spots. Flair and Booty Man suddenly start wrestling.

Booty Man and Ric Flair wrestle for the upper hand in the test of strength. Savage rips his shirt after getting tagged in and throws it at Elizabeth I think… or Woman possibly. Savages fights all of the heels as they all enter the ring again but Savage stands his ground.

Ric posed as Hulk Hogan is tagged in. Hogan ran wild on Flair. Hogan overcame Arn and Taskmaster, sending them both over the top rope with a clothesline. Bobby was still confused about who the legal man was and Mongo said: “it doesn’t matter who the legal man is.” Yes Mongo… it does.

Booty Man tagged in and again, all the heels jump in the ring and Booty Man fights them off. Hard to keep track about the heel was that was the legal man as Booty Man ran wild. This was getting ridiculous.

Savage grabbed the hair of Woman and Elizabeth to ridiculous cheers which leads to the heels getting the heat on Savage. WWE could not get away with this in 2019! The 90s was just a weird time for wrestling when putting on your hands on women was endorsed by the fans!

Flair goes to wok on Savage on the outside. Taskmaster and Savage both tumble into each other and this gives Savage the chance to tag in the Booty Man yet again. Booty Man runs wild with a minute left on the show which got me concerned. This has also got me concerned when writing this review as I’ve felt I’ve written “The Booty Man runs wild” so often during this review! I’d hate to keep repeating myself but that’s what happened! Anyway… minute left – Booty Man gets the hot tag.

Booty Man throws all three heels into Hogan’s boot. Hogan got tagged in and Hogan suddenly hits the leg drop on Arn and finally pins Arn Anderson to a huge pop from the crowd! I thought… great. Hogan finally got his victory over Arn after weeks of Arn sneaking his way into victories over the Hulkster. Hogan finally beat the man and pinned him. He got a big victory. This was all fine… but then the show kept going with about 30 seconds left on the show.

The heels then take over after the bell. Elizabeth takes forever to handcuff Hogan to the corner to the point where I think Hogan just flat-out handcuffed himself to the ring post! The camera just solely focuses on this as this is going on by the way. Ric Flair whips Hogan with something as the show goes off the air.

Why couldn’t you have just ended the show with the babyfaces celebrating after a big win? Was it really necessary for the heels to get their heat back? Ric Flair didn’t even get pinned and he gets Hogan handcuffed and beaten with like 30 seconds left on the show. Why was it so important with so little time left to do that spot, not executed well at all by the way?

There was a massive issue with timing on this show, especially with the finish. The show was fine as a whole but I think the main-event was very much a train wreck to me. Too much was going on with the constant switches and tags. It was very hard to keep track of it all and then they had to rush to a quick finish and a goofy angle with 30 seconds left. The finish to the show left a bad taste in my mouth. I think the Lex Luger and Sting stuff was really the highlights of the show.

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A heads up for the next episode. There was no episode of Nitro for the week after this episode. I don’t remember what the reason was but they did mention it at some point. I think we’ll be at episode March 11th or something and with 2 weeks or so left before the Uncensored PPV.

I will see you with the review of the next edition of Nitro! If you read this review, thanks for reading and please tweet @ArmbarExpress with your thoughts!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #25 (FEBRUARY 19TH 1996) – HULK HOGAN VS ARN ANDERSON II AND A RIC FLAIR VS RANDY SAVAGE REMATCH FOR THE TITLE

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

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WCW were coming off Superbrawl VI, with Ric Flair being the WCW World Heavyweight Champion once again and the battle between the Mega Powers, the Four Horsemen (well three horsemen for now) and the Dungeon of Doom raged on. Savage knocked off Hugh Morrus and set his sights on getting revenge on Ric Flair and the recently turned Miss Elizabeth. Hulk Hogan battled Arn Anderson in the main-event with Anderson picking up a shock pinfall victory following interference from Flair, Elizabeth and Woman.

This week’s Nitro episode will see the Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson rematch and the Randy Savage vs Ric Flair title rematch from Superbrawl.

 

Date: February 19th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Salisbury, Maryland

Rating: 2.9

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

 

I thought this episode was a vast improvement of the last month or so of Nitros. I don’t know what it was that made me like it. There were stuff you’d normally expect but these things were sharper this week. Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson was very similar to last week and it worked. Loch Ness’ squash match this week was a sharper version of his last match from last week and it worked in making Loch Ness look like a monster. I saw a good match with Fit Finlay a.k.a. The Belfast Bruiser facing Brad Armstrong. I saw a good match with Randy Savage and Ric Flair as always. There wasn’t much wrong with it and it was an easy watch.

In no way did this feel like a chore and that’s exactly what you want for a wrestling show.

 

Hulk Hogan vs Arn Anderson w/Woman

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The screen went black somehow as Hogan ran down to the ring for this one. I have no idea what the technical difficulty was with the show here. The match started with Hogan beating up Arn before he can even take off his jacket and Steve “Mongo” McMichael, babyface announcer and the voice of the good guys, said: “Hogan is doing the right thing here.” Hogan attacked a man who couldn’t even defend himself and he’s “doing the right thing” Mongo?

Bischoff’s said Hogan’s eyes were hurt “due to attacks by heels”… ha ha. Very clever Eric. Hogan caught Arn off the top rope with a clothesline which actually looked better then you’d expect it to be with Hogan and Arn Anderson of all people. Hogan choked away at Arn and raked the eyes.

Bischoff took a shot at Vader and mentioned some altercation with Paul Orndorff. I believe they had a fight before Vader was fired or whatever. I think I talked about this on the series before near the start of it.

Hogan choked Arn with a fan’s scarf right in front of Nick Patrick… NOT A DQ. He choked Arn with an illegal weapon and Nick Patrick just stood there watching it. They plugged Uncensored in March where apparently all the matches are No DQ so I guess that spot was a teaser for that PPV!

Hogan was all over Arn as the fans chanted “Hogan sucks” until Arn finally got a polish hammer in. Hogan even struggled to sell that… possibly by design. Hogan caught Arn’s foot as Arn attempted a stomp and proceeded to push Arn over the top rope.

Arn did an Irish Whip and Hogan runs, stops, waves his arms in the air and then bumps into the corner. The weirdest run off an Irish Whip I’ve ever seen by the Hulkster.

Hogan did a Figure Four Leg Lock as Arn grabbed the referee. Savage prevented a Taskmaster run-in and then the ref called for the bell. Hogan thought he won. The match awarded the match to… Arn Anderson. For what? Because Savage attacked Taskmaster who was not in the match? In fact, NEITHER MAN involved in that run-in touched Anderson or Hogan!

Arn Anderson now holds two wins in a row over Hulk Hogan but I was really confused by that finish. Savage and Taskmaster didn’t even touch Arn Anderson or anyone. They just went in the ring and did a spot together. Somehow Hogan was disqualified for this.

Again, Hogan mostly beat the crap out of Arn and Arn escaped with the victory. At the very least, in storyline, this may build up to Hulk Hogan finally getting a big win over Arn Anderson and it’s rare moment of Hogan with his back against the corner. The heels are outsmarting him left and right. Flair beat him before Superbrawl and now Arn has two victories over him after Superbrawl. Hopefully this will lead to Hogan finally scoring that big win over Arn and getting a big win leading to a match with Flair down the road. So I like this and the storytelling in these matches with Hogan and Arn. This gets a thumbs up for now!

 

Loch Ness vs Alex Wright

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A massive improvement from their last match featuring a massive man in Loch Ness. I did love though that Eric Bischoff talks about bringing you the best every single week as there’s suddenly technical difficulties as the screen goes green and fizzles a little! I found it rather hilarious!

Loch Ness could barely move as Wright tried some dropkicks. Wright tries to choke out Loch Ness and they showed a close up the ugly looking Loch Ness with teeth missing! He was a mean ugly heel as every heel should be! Loch Ness did a bear hug and Alex Wright somehow got out of it!

Loch Ness did hardly anything and was sweating buckets. He got blown up from walking, never-mind when he was doing spots. Wright came flying in and Loch Ness booted him out of the sky. Loch Ness did a massive elbow drop as the ring shook. The fans went ooooh and the announcers really sold the impact of this elbow drop. Loch Ness did a slam and they acted like it was death to the German Alex Wright! Loch Ness won a slightly better match then from last week. Loch Ness wanted Hogan… turns out he doesn’t get Hogan but we’ll get to that at another time!

 

The Belfast Bruiser vs Brad Armstrong

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We finally got the Monday Nitro debut of FIT FINLAY. Billed as The Belfast Bruiser in this match, Finlay was so great in this match and I’d forgotten just how good this guy was in the ring. As made clear at the start of the series, I never watched WCW back when it was on air. I was 1 year old when this episode aired. My only memory of Finlay was his WWE run in 2006. To get to watch Finlay in WCW is such a treat and Finlay had a fine performance against Brad Armstrong.

NOTE: Not that I’d say this to his face but Finlay was sporting a naughty looking moustache and mullet combination! Then again it was the 90s so who am I to judge?

The fans chanted USA. I’m just gonna call him Finlay as I do the review of this match. Calling him “the Belfast Bruiser” while accurate would be very hard to stick to! Finlay worked on the arm of Armstrong funnily enough. Of course if you work on an Armstrong, you work on the arm of an Armstrong! The clue is in the name!

He wrenched on the arm and then gouged the face, following up with the elbow to the face! I loved the combination of picking apart body parts of the opponent and then getting some cheap shots in once in a while!

Finlay did a standing surfboard-like arm wrench. Armstrong tries to fight back and Finlay just clobbers him down to regain the heat! It was pretty great! Armstrong finally gets back in the match with some headlock takedowns.

Armstrong kicks Finlay over the top rope and Finlay responds by taking out the legs! Finlay thinks at this point: “he thinks he can kick me? I’ll wrap his leg around the post and make sure he doesn’t kick me anymore!” Finlay was the man!

Finlay locks on a calf crusher but Armstrong refused to give up and then does a big elbow to the face to get back into the match. Armstrong and Finlay go flying over the top rope with a crossbody. Armstrong did a big face slam and hit a big back suplex as the fans start to go nuts from BRAD ARMSTRONG! If you think of all of the wrestlers in 2019 that struggle to get a reaction for the comeback and yet BRAD ARMSTRONG is being rooted on and cheered by the crowd in a match with the Belfast Bruiser!

Finlay hits a big gutwrench suplex for the pin. I thought this was a great match as the Belfast Bruiser calls out Regal. I cannot wait to watch that match as well!

 

Ric Flair (c) w/Elizabeth and Woman vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Again, you’re rarely ever gonna find a bad Randy Savage vs Ric Flair match and this was a great world title match. Also great on this show was Elizabeth’s outfit… she came out in a skirt and jacket and she looked marvellous!

Flair grabs Woman and Elizabeth, puts his arms over them before the match and sings “I got the whole world in my hands” giving us Bray Wyatt’s inspiration for when he started using that phrase!

Nick Patrick grabs the title and hoists it up at the cameraman in the corner. When I first looked at it, all I could see was “man” on the name plate. I thought “what the?”so I rewound it and it said MACHO MAN! I looked at it and thought, did they just spoil the finish? Bischoff covers it up by saying Ric Flair kept Savage’s nameplate on the title. I have no idea if they just left it on by mistake because I find it hard to believe that this was part of a storyline that RIC FLAIR would leave another man’s nameplate on his own world title belt.

Bischoff called segments of this match like he was a auctioneer, speaking at a ridiculous pace! “Savage going for the Irish whip, he hits the Irish Whip. Flair hits an elbow” he’d say for example and he said all of that in the space of like 5 seconds without catching his breath! “Nature Boy Ric Flair. The Nature Boy takes Randy Savage on the outside…” he’d say that at the speed of light to which I yelled at the TV “SLOW DOWN!” Eric Bischoff, if you’re reading this review, could have killed ya to talk a little bit slower on commentary? This put Jimmy Hart to shame in terms of fast-paced talkers!

Savage got distracted with Woman and Flair takes advantage. Woman raked the eyes of Savage as the referee was distracted with either Elizabeth or Flair. Savage fought back but Flair cut him off with an elbow and then collapses to the ground!

Savage goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock. I love that the storyline they’re trying to tell is that Flair has everything Savage holds dear and yet Savage responds by taking Ric’s own finisher and using it on Flair! “You think you can take my things Flair? I’ll take your finisher!”

Flair begged Savage off but Savage is no fool and stomps him anyway! Savage locked on a sleeper hold but Flair reversed it with a back suplex. Flair does a suplex and then grabs his head and screams “OH GOD” which I think he was just selling his head as he wouldn’t go “OH GOD” if he was legitimately hurt I don’t think.

Flair locked on his own Figure Four Leg Lock and after a while, Savage reversed the figure four to get out of it. Savage gets a near fall with a backslide, to which Mongo goes “that was a slow count.” Flair bounces off the corner with a running chop and Savage sold this like he got shot in the chest with a sniper! Tremendous selling!

Flair and Savage threw chops and punches. Savage spits at Flair and Flair doesn’t get mad and fired up like most wrestlers… he gets on his knees and begs him off! That is a spot that only Ric Flair (and I guess Eddie Guerrero) could pull off so well!

Savage did the double axe handle off the top and then Elizabeth distracted him. Woman throws her heel to Flair but Savage intercepted it and hit Flair with it.

Taskmaster and Hogan both ran down. I think Woman hit Savage in the face to break up a pin attempt or Flair kicked out. Nick Patrick goes to make the count and I don’t think that was supposed to happen. Maybe Woman thought that Patrick would turn his attention to Hogan and Taskmaster first, which he eventually did and that would allow her to break it up. No, Patrick goes for the count and I think Woman feels she has to do something to break it up and I also think Ric may have thought he needed to kick out. Either way, this particular part of the finish got screwed up.

Arn then comes out an hit a DDT on Savaeg as the referee is somehow distracted and Flair covered Savage for the pinfall win. Good match but a hugely over-complicated and over-booked finish. You had like 5 people, other than the referee, Randy Savage and Ric Flair involved in this finish:

  1. MISS ELIZABETH distracted Macho Man.
  2. WOMAN threw the shoe to Ric Flair but it was intercepted by Savage.
  3. TASKMASTER runs down.
  4. HULK HOGAN runs down after Taskmaster.
  5. ARN ANDERSON comes out and hits a DDT on Savage.

You couldn’t have just done a ref bump and then Arn comes out and DDTs Savage and then Flair gets the pin? You had to get four other people involved?

The heels gang up on Savage and Hogan and some dude makes the save! The announcers don’t say who he is but even a millennial wrestling fan like me, who has never seen Nitro before, recognises that it is BRUTUS BEEFCAKE aka THE BOOTY MAN! Yet Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan had no idea who this guy was! BOBBY HEENAN, of all people, didn’t know who it was that came out.

The Booty Man runs them off as Elizabeth tumbles off the ramp! Poor Elizabeth. The heels commandeer the announce booth as Flair cuts a promo but the babyfaces force them to flea. Hogan and Savage goes nuts on Bischoff for some reason and Hogan finally declares “Did you see him run from the Booty Man?” Yeah, this is the moment where Hogan declares this “mystery” third man to be THE BOOTY MAN.

Hogan said: “This is the Booty Booty Man. If he can’t kick the can, nobody can.” That has to be one of the worst catchphrases in wrestling history! Hogan is cutting this big promo for the BOOTY MAN and all I can think is that his name is the Booty Man! He was The Zodiac as a member of the Dungeon of Doom but now he’s THE BOOTY MAN?

Mean Gene clarifies that there’s gonna be a six man tag team match next week as Hogan, Savage and Booty takes on Flair, Taskmaster and Arn. Booty Man shakes his ass a lot on television as Bischoff agrees to get this match done so I guess Bischoff is acknowledged as the dude running the show now? Then again, he’s always listed as an Executive Producer or something for the PPVs so I guess it was always implied to the audience anyway.

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That was Nitro. It was not boring. As a matter of fact, it was kind of fun. Finlay was a breath of fresh air. Savage vs Flair matches always work for me. They worked the kinks out for Loch Ness and I like the B plot story they’re telling with Hogan and Arn. This show gets a THUMBS UP! The first good Nitro in a long time for me!

We will see you with our review of Episode #26 of WCW Monday Nitro!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order