RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #65 (DECEMBER 9TH 1996) – “ROWDY” RODDY PIPER AND FOUR HORSEMEN TAKE FIGHT TO NWO IN NORTH CAROLINA

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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It’s time for WCW Monday Nitro in Charlotte, North Carolina which was typically a big city for WCW. This show in particular felt like a big show with the returns of Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ric Flair and Kevin Greene in “Horsemen country”. This was also the first time in a long time where the New World Order was mostly hated by the fans. They booed the heels of the nWo and cheered for the heroes of WCW as intended during this show. It just felt like the stars were aligned for a big WCW day where they can get the upper-hand on the heels for a change.

The crowd was hot, the big segments were hot and there were fabulous promos up and down the show. There were good matches baked in with some horrible matches which is typical WCW at this point. There was hardly any follow up on the big Sting angle from last week so it’s not really worth me doing a recap of that show. That show felt like filler when compared to this show.

 

Date: December 9th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Charlotte, North Carolina

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

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Rowdy Roddy Piper started off the show with a long promo to set up the rest of Nitro. This felt so strange because this was indeed a change to the formula of these Nitros. Usually they would cut to the announcers for a brief intro and then go right into the action. Instead, we just cut to Piper coming out as if this was modern day WWE. I groaned because I watched this kind of stuff on RAWs on a weekly basis for years growing up and it was so formulaic. On WCW in 1996, this was different.

Not only was it different, it actually worked in making you get invested in this program with Piper and Hogan. Piper was beloved in this area, he called out Hogan and there was the tease of a confrontation with Piper and the nWo later. Now granted, Hollywood Hogan didn’t come out even though Piper challenged him. However, Piper was such a good talker that it made you really want to see and Hogan fight at a pay-per-view. In other words, this was a money promo.

Piper was wearing a Carolina Panthers shirt, a day after they secured a place in the playoffs apparently. There was a massive reaction for Piper coming out. Piper said it was nice to be home. Even a dude in a nWo shirt was shown chanting “Rowdy” as he had come out. There were other nWo fans in the crowd which we’ll come to later.

It was a typical homecoming promo about North Carolina. He eventually switched gears to the New World Order. He mentioned a whole bunch of big guys in the nWo pounded on his leg at World War III which the fans booed. He hopped around on one leg. Piper said they wanted him to fight Hogan at Starrcade. He mentioned how he’s got 6 kids and he’s got to win this fight. There was massive “Hogan Sucks” chants in North Carolina. At least during this promo, they all loved Piper and hated the nWo.

He admitted he’s had some things he was ashamed. He said his son said maybe he shouldn’t go out and fight Hollywood Hogan as Hogan was younger. Piper went on a random tirade about how he ashamed that he boxed Mr T at WrestleMania and “they” wanted him to take a dive for Mr T. He said he doesn’t take a dive and he doesn’t do windows. He called it the most shameful thing he’s ever done. Piper said: “I’ll be damned if I take a dive for anybody anywhere.” They got a fan with a nWo country sign. He admitted that he doesn’t have a problem with nWo but he’s not with WCW as he’s Rowdy Roddy Piper. He made fun of the nWo all wearing leather but with no women. He said Hogan has been in the lead for years and is truly a superstar. He’s not taking this fight lightly. Piper called out Hogan for a fight right now…. and then Piper left the ring! Mixed messages! “I wanna fight Hogan now but I’ll see you later guys!” Then the segment ended.

This was an absolutely solid promo from Piper. The Mr T stuff was odd but the idea I guess was he’s not gonna follow an agenda and he’s his own man which is not a bad angle to go with here. As a means to make me wanna see this fight, Piper did his job fabulously. It was long but if there was anyone that could make a long opening promo work like this, it was Hot Rod.

Last note, it’s funny Piper brought up that his son didn’t want him to fight Hogan because Hogan was younger than him. I can confirm that Hollywood Hogan was in fact OLDER than Rowdy Roddy Piper! It’s incredible that they played up Piper as this old man and battered veteran of wrestling and Hogan is apparently this cool hipster youngster in response! It’s an amazing dichotomy.

 

Mike Enos vs M. Wallstreet

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WCW had to be daring the fans to turn over to RAW at this point. Wallstreet vs Enos was your opening match for a big episode of Monday Nitro? Remember when the whole point of an opening match was to get your excited for the rest of this show? WCW’s idea was to put on Enos vs Wallstreet. Take out the fact that it’s Mike Enos vs M. Wallstreet, two heel unpopular wrestlers started off this “hot” show and they put together a horrible short match.

Tony Schiavonie said this was gonna be a great match-up… HA. Wallstreet did a fireman’s carry slam. The nWo’s Ted DiBiase walked out. Enos threw a horrible clothesline at Wallstreet. Enos did a powerslam which Larry Zbyszko claimed was “a good snap”. Ted had a contract in his hands which Enos appeared to like. Wallstreet took advantage and hit a Samoan Drop for the win. Bad match.

DiBiase handed the contract to Wallstreet, which made sense as DiBiase and Wallstreet had worked together in the WWF previously with Wallstreet being I.R.S.. It make sense that DiBiase had hired help that he could trust and did business with in the past. With that being said, Larry I think brought up a point on commentary that Wallstreet already had money. I guess with the nWo, he could improve his financial wellbeing even more. You could never have too much money in wrestling and the IRS can be a valuable ally to some people! So I wasn’t that bothered by the motivations of Wallstreet.

This also felt like the first time we’ve seen Ted DiBiase since the Nitro where Eric Bischoff turned heel.

 

There was a video with Woman and Chris Benoit from WCW Saturday Night. I’ve seen this video before and this was another bit of bad taste this feud is putting into my mouth. Woman said she was a woman of her word when she said if Taskmaster kicked “him” (Benoit) one more time it was over, referencing the “Baltimore incident” that we covered last week. Woman talked about how women have rights and they could vote. Woman said she could do what she wanted and when she wanted to do it. I had no idea if Woman was supposed to be a babyface or a heel but more on that later.

Benoit said he made no mistake. He talked about being the best chess player in this game and finishes by saying: “my bishop takes your queen. Checkmate.” A morally confusing line but it was a great line from Benoit. They drunk wine together and this was shown to Taskmaster who walked away. Again, more on this later….

 

Hugh Morrus vs The Renegade w/Joe Gomes

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“Dear god, where are all the good talent at?” was my first note when I realised this match was happening. It was almost as if WCW weren’t aware there was a Monday Night War going on or they didn’t care! Hugh Morrus vs The Renegade to follow-up a “riveting match” between Wallstreet and Mike Enos. This match was also no good just like the opener.

Renegade did a hip toss. Hugh did a spin wheel kick. Renegade did a powerslam. Hugh started no selling punches which led to Renegade just punching him down! It’s not even like when Sting would no-sell punches and start firing back with punches of his own and make a comeback. Hugh started no-selling Renegade’s offense and got punched down anyway by Renegade!

Renegade did a cartwheel elbow smash. Hugh reversed a bulldog into a belly to back suplex which was not a bad spot. Hugh did the moonsault off the rope and got the clean pin which Tony claimed was called the “No Laughing Matter”. He tried another one but Joe moved Renegade out of the way.

No good’s an apt way to describe this match. I won’t say this was bad but it certainly was not good.

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Taskmaster walked down and grabbed the mic. He said he just saw that video WCW played on WCW Saturday night. He understood this was a ratings game but asked why they didn’t ask Taskmaster about playing the video? He talked about having a personal life. He doesn’t care about ratings and he demanded they give it to him first next time.

This was another crazy dichotomy which will be my word of the review. Woman cut what appeared to be an equal rights female promo about how women have rights and Taskmaster can’t tell her what to do. Chris Benoit is cutting a promo about taking Taskmaster’s wife and he’s bragging about taking “his queen.” Taskmaster, who was an evil villain that raised monsters to fight Hulk Hogan, is suddenly a sympathetic, cheated-on husband where he’s talking about his personal life. It’s just… bonkers.

I think Woman and Benoit are supposed to be babyfaces even thought they’re doing something morally wrong. They’re flirting together and cutting this promo into a camera towards Sullivan about how Benoit took his queen. I think Taskmaster is supposed to still be a heel even though his woman cheated on him with another man. If the angle was that Benoit was rescuing Woman from Kevin Sullivan, then that’s fine. I mean nothing about this storyline was particular fine when you know the destination of pretty much everybody involved.

The point is, you can do a storyline where a woman leaves her man to be with someone else who treats her like a human being rather than property. If the storyline was strictly that Benoit was trying to save Woman from Kevin Sullivan, that’d be one thing. However, Benoit is cutting a promo about “taking Taskmaster’s queen” I guess because he’s still a Horsemen even though the Horsemen are good guys right now. It’s totally screwed up. Because Benoit is bragging about this and Woman is flaunting her affairs on television directly to her ex-husband, it makes Benoit and Woman come off as the bad guys expect there’s nothing good guy about Taskmaster who is coming off as a control freak.

Is this a terrible storyline? Yes and no. The storyline they are trying to tell isn’t terrible although it’s terrible because of the long-term implications in real life for everybody. The issue I have with this storyline is there was nobody to root for in any of this. At least when Kimberly left DDP to be with Johnny B Badd in an earlier storyline as we’ve covered, Johnny saved Kimberley from DDP who was a kayfabe horrible person at the time. Kimberley was shown to be happier and the aresehole heel got what he deserved. This storyline doesn’t tell that story. We’ve got these crazy love triangle where none of them come off as justified in their actions. That’s my speech about this Chris Benoit, Woman and Taskmaster storyline.

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Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed #91 for the Carolina Panthers, Kevin Greene. Greene was well-beloved as expected by this crowd. The Panthers team was doing great and he was a part of that so hometown pride was on full display here!

Greene talked about Steve “Mongo” McMichael being a foe, referencing to when Mongo betrayed him at The Great American Bash. He said the Panthers were gonna kick a lot of ass and he was gonna come after Mongo. He told everyone that the Panthers were gonna surprise some people and they did that. He said the nWo was a bunch of crap. Greene had a line I loved where he said: “If I ever get a hold of Hogan he’s gonna be called Choking Hogan because he’s gonna be choking when I shove my fist down his throat!” This was a pretty solid promo. G

reene being allowed to cut this promo about he’s gonna kick Hogan’s ass. Kevin Greene, each time he’s on WCW, demonstrates so much charisma even though he’s not a wrestler but he was just allowed to have a good time and be a hero in his hometown. This was solid television for a few minutes!

 

Dean Malenko © vs Jimmy Graffiti for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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I didn’t like this match, mostly due to Jimmy Garffiti. This guy got so blown up that it became such a chore and struggle for Malenko to carry him through this match.

The Ultimate Dragon was now just Ultimo Dragon as they mentioned on commentary. Dean and Jimmy wrestled for a bit. Dean eventually clotheslined him down. Larry called “real men” an endangered species in the 1990s. Sonny Onoo came out after the break and kept distracting Dean.

Jimmy did a belly to back suplex. Grafitti headbutted Dean in the gut a few times but Dean eventually slammed him with a back suplex of his own. Graffiti seemed to be gassed as he got Dean on his shoulders and damn near killed Malenko dropping him on the guard rail.

Dean hit a superplex. Grafitti did the most sloppy looking super kick ever. Vince McMahon could have a pulled off a better super kick than this guy. Grafitti hit a powerbomb. Dean hit a powerbomb of his own for a 2 count. Malenko reversed a suplex into a small package for the win which was a pretty well executed spot.

Dean did the best he could but Grafitti was just not able to keep up with him on this night. However, although this is not saying much, this was the best match on the show by this point.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was Jimmy Graffiti’s last appearance on WCW Monday Nitro. He had a match on WCW Saturday Night against Chris Jericho just over a week later. He was forced to retire from a knee injury in 1997. He died of a heart attack in 2014.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sonny Onoo. Sonny lost his accent for a bit and Mean Gene called him out on him. Sonny brought this up and he talked about how great America is and you can stay home and get money in this country. He said Ultimo Dragon was gonna destroy the wannabe Dean Malenko. Mean Gene said you know what you can do with the camera? After a brief pause, Mean Gene follows this up with: “I’ll tell you in just a second.” I felt this was great. Mean Gene berating heel managers is never not funny on Nitros!

 

“The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags vs “Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart

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What a load of crap this match was. An absolutely cluttered mess. This was a vintage Nasty Boys match in the sense that they just seemed to do what they want. They got blown up. It looked horrible and it provided nothing positive in this tag team division which is looking miserable right now. The tag team division’s saving grace is that the champions The Outsiders are so over that all of this is kinda irrelevant as long as they remain over as the champions.

The team started fighting. The Nastys did a double shoulder tackle. The Outsiders came out with the belts as they watched on. The fans all reacted. Some boos, a lot of cheers but everyone was making noise for Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.

Sags did a horrible looking World’s Strongest Slam. Sags did a leg drop. Barbarian hit Sags with a chair which was not a disqualification. A favourite spot of mine was Barbarian grabbing the arms of Jerry Sags and then Meng slapping Sags’s belly repeatedly! That I enjoyed!

Meng used the chair as the referee’s back turned apparently to all of this. The referee had his back to the action for a solid minute and a half. Imagine if during a UFC fight, referee Herb Dean just distracted himself with the corner men for 90 seconds while the fighters just did whatever they wanted? Then he turns around and he just had to pretend like nothing happened? This referee didn’t hear loud chair shots that the fans clearly reacted to.

That’s one of my most hated things about wrestling. I know the explanation in wrestling is that the referee cannot call what they cannot see but shouldn’t referee do his best to watch everything that’s going on? This referee has his back turned to the other competitors who are just outside doing whatever they wanted. It makes the referees look so incompetent, it makes the rules seem irrelevant and it doesn’t look authentic as a “sport” or something competitive.

Never mind sports. Imagine if in a game of Countdown, Susie Dent in Dictionary Corner just started showing some of the contestants the answers while everyone’s backs was turned. Would this not count as cheating as the judges can only judge based on what they see? This rule is absolutely moronic in wrestling and I hate it.

Barbarian missed a big top rope splash. Sags got the hot tag I think. Everybody started fighting. Knobbs hit a middle rope diving clothesline which I was stunned he was able to do. Knobbs did a top rope splash but the referee was following Sags out of the ring. The referee just left the ring to follow other action not including the legal men in the match! Knobbs grabbed Jimmy. Then Jimmy tired to hit Knobbs with the megaphone but hit Barbarian instead. Jimmy got thrown to the outside. I think Barbarian hit Knobbs with a megaphone and won.

This was some of the dirt worst of wrestling. I feel I say that for every Nasty Boys match but the word wrestling doesn’t even apply here. These dudes just brawled and brawled. The brawling from the Nasty Boys looked miserable because they were blown up. Thank god that Dean Malenko was there to provide some “decent” wrestling I guess. Everything on this show up until this point, in the wrestling department, was misery.

All I could think was that the Outsiders was standing on the ramp watching the match. What were the Outsiders thinking when they were watching this? “Thank god we’re wrestling the Faces of Fear?” Wrestling the likes of Meng sounded like a picnic compared to having to wrestle the Nasty Boys. You’d probably get beat up but at least you’d be wrestling someone decent in the ring as opposed to the just doing blatant and miserable-looking brawling.

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Mean Gene interviewed hometown boy Ric Flair coming out to Four Horsemen music. Ric bowed down to Kevin Greene. Ric said he may not like him “brother” but he was the man. That’s always something about Ric Flair which I always loved. If Hulk Hogan used the word “brother” more than anyone in wrestling, then Ric Flair was second on that list of “brother usage” in promos. In literally every other promo, he dropped the word “brother”. Here, he’s taking about how he doesn’t like Greene but he’s the man and calls him a brother! Even his biggest enemies he will call brother as just a wrestling thing! That is something that only Ric Flair could pull off!

Ric wanted Piper to come out to a great Charlotte welcome. Piper came out and the two hugged. Ric said Piper was truly an icon to the sport of professional wrestling. He said Piper came to Charlotte in 1981 in a greyhound bus but 3 weeks later, after travelling with Flair, there were women all over calling him Hot Rod! He put over Piper like a million bucks while he’s out there with him! He called Piper a big time player as Piper was just laughing his ass off at this promo.

Flair said Hogan sucked. This felt like a child learning to swear for the first time. Because afterwords, Flair just kept repeating: “Hogan sucks” because he had the opportunity to says the word “sucks” as much as he likes now as they’re leaning towards more crash television! Ric said Piper was here to rectify the situation and whatever he needed, it was his with the Four Horsemen. He wanted to see Piper kick Hogan’s ass brother.

Piper was just howling during this promo. Piper said they don’t come no finer than Ric Flair. Piper said this was his last shot. Piper said they’re calling  him a gimp and he appreciated Flair’s assistance, but he doesn’t want anyone’s help. If he can’t do it by himself, he won’t be able to live with himself. They all left. This was absolutely fabulous. Every moment of that promo was such a joy. Piper looked like he was having the time of his life. Ric was going nuts putting over Piper. The fans were going nuts. This is true professional wrestling in the sense that you had two larger than life personalities out there cutting promos, putting each other and themselves over and being wacky enjoying themselves! This was tremendous.

 

Bobby Eaton vs Chris Jericho

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A very short match. Jericho hit a lionsault for a 2 count which felt so weird against Bobby Eaton of all people. Jericho hit this move as just a regular move in his arsenal when it would become almost a finisher for him in the WWE. Actually, I’m pretty sure the Lionsault was the move he hit when he “beat” Triple H for the WWF title on a historic episode of RAW in 2000!

Eaton dropped Jericho with an electric chair drop. Eaton missed an “Alabama Jam” leg drop from the top rope. Jericho did a super kick and a top rope dropkick for the clean victory. I would have liked for them to get more time to see what they can really do together.

Jericho cut a insert promo saying he’s not done with Nick Patrick. The announcers hyped up Jericho as becoming a superstar some day and… they were pretty much spot on with that prediction!

 

They recapped Sting dropping Rick Steiner a few weeks ago and then what happened last week, when Rick and Sting had their fight,

Mean Gene interviewed the Steiner Brothers. Rick said the Steiners are sick of waiting to see what’s Sting was gonna do next. Scott said we’re waiting on you. Scott looked massive during this promo. His left arm looked absolutely massive as physically he’s on his way to becoming Big Poppa Pump.

 

Sgt Craig Pittman vs Arn Anderson w/Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra McMichael

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Lex Luger vs The Giant was booked for Starrcade. Pittman appeared to randomly be a heel again although it was never particularly explained why. They just mentioned a change in attitude as announcers are prone to do when someone turns heel. Taskmaster called out Arn during an insert promo and said Arn and him were gonna heat up his life next week. What a weird way to put it. Arn and Taskmaster are gonna “heat up his life” by having a wrestling match?… OK.

Arn and Pittman wrestled and then Arn knelt down in the corner to ask STEVE MCMICHAEL for advice on wrestling! Unreal!

Arn wrapped Pittman’s leg around the ring post. Pittman went for the code red armbreaker but Arn got the ropes with his legs. Mongo hit Pittman with a briefcase as the ref was distracted with Debra. Arn hit the DDT for the win. A nothing match which only led up to the Horsemen cheating anyway.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Arn, Mongo and Debra. Arn talked about Benoit being in Germany but where is Woman… did you not hear the promo from WCW Saturday Night? I thought it was abundantly clear that Woman was still in Germany WITH BENOIT as they are cheating on Taskmaster!

Debra screeched about telling Arn about “this tramp” and girls in the beauty pageant for some reason. She talked about being the most powerful horsemen because she was the most beautiful or something. Mongo cut a promo about Arn beaten Pittman all by himself. I actually liked that line because if the heel contradicted himself, it’s even better. Mongo knew full well he helped Arn win but still put over Arn by saying he did it by himself! Arn told Benoit to come home and he had a bone to pick with Woman.

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs Jeff Jarrett in the first round of the United States Heavyweight Championship Tournament

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OK, so allow me to quickly explain the bracket for this tournament. We’ve never seen the bracket so I had to Google what was going on with this bracket because this really confused me. They claimed Diamond Dallas Page vs Jeff Jarrett was the semi-final of this tournament. I thought this was bullshit because I seemed to recall three first round matches on Nitro already for this tournament, which neither DDP or Jeff Jarrett was apart of. Therefore, how was it possible that this was semi-final featured Page and Jeff?

I had to look this up and this wasn’t TECHNICALLY a semi-final match but this was treated as a semi-final match. On one side of the bracket, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero both qualified and will face each other later in their semi-final match. The other side of the bracket saw Arn Anderson and Lex Luger both eliminated following a double count out and this match with Page and Jarrett. Therefore, whoever won this first round match would proceed to the final and get a bye past the semi-final because of double count-out. Only problem? They never explained any of this. I had to look this up! If you were watching at the time, this would have taken you completely off guard. If they could have just shown a bracket at any time during this tournament, it would have made it a lot easier for fans to keep up with what was going on.

As a match, this was actually a pretty good match. You’ve got DDP who was a heel but becoming a fan favourite and Jeff Jarrett who was a babyface but hated by the fans. Therefore, why not switch it up? Jeff was playing the heel and DDP was the babyface in this match. It worked and it played into the finish really well which we’ll get to.

DDP did a back suplex. DDP did slick look tilt-a-whirl side slam. Jarrett knocked DDP down with the enziguri. Jeff did the Flair strut and the fans booed which Tony actually acknowledged.

DDP did a sunset flip for a 2 count with Jeff exploding out of it with a clothesline. Jeff did a fist drop. DDP tried a small package. DDP tried to fight back but Jeff dropped him with a face slam. Jeff continued to get the heat. Jeff tried a sleeper hold with DDP fighting back to his feet. DDP hit a big lariat to a big pop.

DDP ran wild with some punches. DDP did a flying lariat. The Outsiders showed up to distract Jeff. As Jeff got on the middle rope, Hall grabbed him and dropped him with the Outsiders Edge as DDP capitalised with the pin.

I would have preferred that DDP got the clean pin but this progressed the DDP/nWo storyline, because DDP was unaware of the Outsiders interfering, so I’ve got no problem with it. This was a fine main-event match for this episode of Nitro although there is more to come.

 

Mean Gene interviewed DDP. He said he doesn’t need the Outsiders as he has the mostly deadly finisher with the Diamond Cutter in his arsenal. He told the Outsiders to do their thing while he does his. DDP brought up being most improved wrestler in the PWI which I was stunned that WCW actually acknowledged on air! DDP talked about being with a girl and he would tell the broad to stop calling him, so he told the Outsiders to stop calling him. He said nobody wanted the US title more than DDP.

Taking into account Piper’s promo, talking about how there’s no women with the nWo (except Elizabeth I guess), Ric Flair’s comments and DDP comparing the nWo to a “broad” that won’t stop calling him, this was quite an attempt to get the fans to turn on the nWo! They did everything in their power to get the fans to think the nWo was uncool and this strategy worked in North Carolina!

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It was supposed to be Rick Steiner vs Scott Norton as the main-event. Instead, Rowdy Roddy Piper came out walking “with a purpose” as the announcers said. Piper grabbed a chair and sat down on it. He said the time for talking is over and it’s time to do some fighting. Piper told Hogan to get his “big bum” out of here. Eric Bischoff showed up instead of Hogan.

Piper rocked his chair back and forth and growled as Bischoff sauntered his way down to the ring. Piper threw trash at Bischoff. Piper slapped Bischoff on the ass and told him to get Hogan. I love the irony of Piper calling out the nWo for not having any women with them earlier and here, he’s slapping Bischoff’s ass and wearing a skirt. With this in mind, I’m not exactly sure what Piper was trying to imply with that earlier promo.

Eric Bischoff said the nWo was not here. Eric claimed he was Piper’s friend as he tried to protect Piper from himself by keeping him away from WCW. Bischoff circled Piper as he was cutting this promo. Bischoff said the 14 inch pythons are gonna crush him. Eric called Piper a gimp and walked with a pretend limp. Piper smacked Bischoff on the back of the head which the fans buzzed over. Piper grabbed a chair but the nWo surrounded the ring.

Piper kept kicking at Bischoff as the fans are going NUTS FOR THIS. Kevin Greene came out to help Piper as the fans are going even more crazy for this. Piper was just kicking away at Bischoff whenever he could during this! The nWo did the two sweet and left.

They showed an “after show exclusive” on the WWE Network as Mongo and Arn both come out and kick away the Outsiders. THE GOOD GUYS WINNING IN THE HOMETOWN OF NORTH CAROLINA! Bischoff held his head as was led to the back. Nash told them to suck it as the nWo and WCW had a showdown. DiBiase watched on as the nWo fell back. Piper and Arn hugged as WCW win the day! I was hoping Greene was gonna clothesline Mongo or something to play into that storyline. That didn’t happen but Greene did point at Mongo saying he had something for him. So at least this was not a complete derailment of that storyline!

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I enjoyed this episode of Nitro. Not majorly great on the wrestling side of things but the non-wrestling segments involving Piper, the nWo and the interviews were all real slam=dunks. It made it seem like a hot wrestling show even if the matches weren’t so hot. The main-event match was good and this was a show where the crowd more than anyone made the show great. If this was just a regular crowd, it probably wouldn’t have worked. In North Carolina, this WORKED. This show gets a thumbs up from me!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #64 (DECEMBER 2ND 1996) – STING VS RICK STEINER

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 countdown has begun. On the night after World War III, the nWo’s Eric Bischoff gave all of WCW an ultimatum. He told the WCW roster to convert their contracts to nWo contracts in 30 days as if you’re not with the nWo, you were against them. Marcus Bagwell of the American Males was the first man to take up the offer, unbeknownst to his tag team partner Scotty Riggs. Bagwell solidified his heel turn by taking out Riggs as the nWo is about to have a massive surge of new members.

 

This episode of WCW Monday Nitro I had no problem with. This was a Nitro featuring a lot of squash matches which I at least appreciate, because those matches were designed to put people over. We had people beating people who no real shenanigans involved. Even if there was, this week they were pulled off really well. Sting vs Rick Steiner was somewhat confusing and a disappointing pay-off to Sting being in the ring for the first time since Fall Brawl. The Outsiders were funny on commentary for the second hour and there was some good matches in the middle of this. I enjoyed this episode a lot more than last week.

There was also ELEVEN MATCHES so I think this is something we should appreciate while it is here. In a few years, we’re gonna be watching Nitros with hardly any matches at all in the span of three hour wrestling shows. 11 matches in two hours will feel like a pay-per-view compared to Nitros we’ve got coming up, especially in the Russo era.

 

Date: December 2nd 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Daytona, Ohio

Rating: 3.4

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall (More on this later…)

 

The Steiner Brothers interrupted the announcers as the show started. Scott Steiner had returned as he had previously been injured. He may still have been injured although he said he was here to have Rick Steiner’s back. Scott yelled that he considered Sting a friend. Scott saw what Sting did to Rick and he’s here tonight to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Rick said he’s gonna make sure it’s over and called Sting out. They recapped what happened last weeklast week with Rick and Sting as Sting laid out Rick with the Scorpion Death Drop. A short but sweet promo. They came out, took a minute or two to call out Sting and why they were calling out Sting, made their point and then they left. Simple build that got the ball-rolling with this episode-long storyline between Sting and the Steiner Brothers. They didn’t need a boring 20 minute promo. They got the job done in about three minutes.

 

Glacier vs Hardbody Harrison

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We had THE RETURN OF GLACIER. After all of this time and the five months or so building up this guy, Glacier arrived and then he was off television again for a month or so! Larry alluded to “some type of training” which I’m assuming was the WCW Power Plant! Anyway, so our favourite martial artist was back with a new Glacier theme song this week.

Hardbody cheap-shotted Glacier as he bowed to the referee. Glacier took him down and then unloaded with kicks and facepalm chops to the chest. Glacier did a leg sweep. Glaicer did a roundhouse kick and got the pin.

It was strange because as we covered the WWF moved RAW an hour earlier to go head-to-head with Nitro’s first hour. Because of this, we saw a lot more big angles happen in the first hour to counter RAW. Eric Bischoff’s big angle happened in the first hour last week as well as Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson. This week’s opening match on Nitro was GLACIER VS HARDBODY HARRISON! I’m guessing WCW didn’t care about the ratings this week!

Even with this, Nitro still crushed RAW 3.4 to 2.3 in the ratings of this week.

 

Renegade and Joe Gomez vs “The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rougeau and Carl Ouelett w/Col Robert Parker

To follow up such stars like Glacier, they had Joe Gomez and Renegade in tag team action against the Amazing French Canadians! The match itself was pretty sloppy. Renegade really had a bad night in particular. He and Gomez came out to massive boos.

The Canadians threw Gomez over the top rope while the referees back was turned and Parker then got some kicks in. Tony said he threw his cigar at Gomez as well. The Canadians did a double STO.

The Canadians got the heat on the faces. Renegade made the save and then made his own hot tag. There were some horrible spots on display. These lads were on different pages for such things like clotheslines. Renegade did a cartwheel elbow smash. The Canadians regained control with a clothesline by Jacques. Jacques did a piledriver. The Canadians did the elevated senton for the victory. A second clean victory on this episode of Nitro.

 

Mean Gen Okerlunde interviewed Arn Anderson. Mean Gene asked about Rowdy Roddy Piper. Arn talked about the perception of Hogan that Piper couldn’t beat him but reminded everyone that Arn himself beat Hogan two weeks in a row on Nitro which is true. He said Ric claimed the toughest fight in his life was with Piper. Arn talked about the hearts and the guts of Piper. Arn said he didn’t see fear and he saw a man focused. He said the nWo took their best shot at World War III but that gave Piper an edge.

Arn said anything that comes to Hogan now is called a “receipt”. Arn claimed Piper is more man and he’s a better wrestler. He’s putting Piper over like crazy with this promo as big nWo chants break out in the background! Arn said you don’t a jump a dog in its own backyard and you don’t mess with family. He said the Four Horsemen had Piper’s back next week as next week’s show will be in North Carolina. He said North Carolina is not such a friendly place. This was a good promo at the end of the day but this crowd didn’t care for it. They all loved the nWo. Arn could have cut the greatest promo in the world and it didn’t matter to these fans as they were all about nWo and hated WCW.

 

“Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng vs “The Scott and Roll Express” Robert Gibson and Scotty Riggs

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You talk about a random tag team? Last week, Marcus Bagwell turned on American Males tag team partner Scotty Riggs. Riggs was back in tag team action as they barely mentioned the American Males breaking up on commentary. Riggs teamed up with ROBERT GIBSON of all people against the Faces of Fear. God bless them for trying but this team did not work in the slightest. They announced The Outsiders vs The Faces of Fear for Starrcade which actually sounded a lot of fun actually.

I love the spot in this match of Riggs having a wrist hold locked on to which Barbarian did a scoop slam but Riggs rolled through with the hold still applied. There were big Bagwell chants during the match from a very pro-nWo crowd. I love how the Faces of Fear did their backdrop powerbomb again and Barbarian almost lost his grip but he powered through, got Riggs up and slammed him down with a massive powerbomb. Fans popped big time for that big move. Barbarian did a tremendous job in saving the spot.

Faces of Fear beat up the good guys for a while. Meng did a piledriver. This was Riggs basically playing the roll of Ricky Morton during a Rock ‘N Roll Express match. Riggs tried a sunset flip, Barbarian remained standing and tried an arse drop but Riggs moved out of the way so Barbarian landed right on his backside.

Gibson got the hot tag as usual. When I say Robert Gibson did a the hot tag, this was one of the worst hot tags I’ve ever seen and this is from the man who personified “the hot tag” in wrestling. Gibson tried what appeared to be either a DDT or a neckbreaker while Barbarian was prepared for a sunset flip and they completely screwed up the spot. The finish was Barbarian do a big boot and pin Gibson. They made the babyfaces look like complete geeks. Riggs got beat up for 10 minutes, Gibson was in for 30 seconds and got big booted and pinned. What a useless tag team.

Riggs used the chair to attack the Faces of Fear after the match. This was also lame. Was there any need for Riggs and Gibson to get their heat back after the Faces of Fear destroyed them? The Faces of Fear are going for the tag titles. I guess they felt the need to give Scotty something after his partner turned on him last week. In actuality, it did jackshit for Scotty Riggs to get him over as he just spent 10 minutes getting destroyed. This was poor.

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At World War III, they alluded to a fight that Chris Benoit and Taskmaster had in Baltimore but we’d not be shown what happened. They just mentioned something that happened in Baltimore. They finally showed what happened at Baltimore this week with Benoit and Taskmaster having a match. I guess this was a house show, where the return grudge match between Taskmaster and Benoit took place. It was bumped from the World War III show so they did it here.

Benoit looked like he beat the piss out of Taskmaster during the match. They fought in the crowd. Benoit took a bump landing face first down the steps which I encourage all aspiring wrestlers to never ever take. This looked incredibly nasty as he went downwards and looked like he let his face hit one of the steps.

The Dungeon of Doom kicked Benoit’s arse in the bathroom. The entire Dungeon of Doom kicked his arse in the ring but Woman stopped him. Woman attacked Taskmaster but she was held back as Taskmaster beat up her new man. This was the event that Woman alluded to during her promo last week.

 

Taskmaster vs KC Sunshine

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I had to look up the name of the enhancement talent that Taskmaster was in the ring with this week because they never even mentioned his name. All I know was this guy looked like the straight-to-DVD version of Dolph Ziggler. This guy had long hair, zebra trunks and off cut off denim jacket. Therefore when Ziggler had that look in I think 2015, we know where he got the inspiration for that!

This went almost exactly like every Taskmaster squash match went. Taskmaster just beat his arse for a long time. He threw him out of the ring by the hair. Taskmaster attacked him with a chair. He continued to beat up this guy for a long time. A bottle of water got thrown at Sunshine’s head. No disqualification for any of this.

Taskmaster did the running knee to the tree of woe and a Double foot stomp for the three count and clean win. We are FOUR FOR FOUR on clean wins on this night.

I was stunned this match was not thrown out. Taskmaster threw a bottle of water at Sunshine’s head as a weapon. I mean technically this probably shouldn’t be a clean victory as Taskmaster used a weapon but this was not presented as a illegal move. The referee didn’t care what Taskmaster did. This was presented as a squash so therefore, this would be classed as a clean win.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Taskmaster. Taskmaster said he thought he was the greatest chess player to ever play this game. Taskmaster said Benoit hurt him mentally and right in his heart. Taskmaster said Mean Gene had his own problems in the past like this to which Mean Gene did not disagree with! Taskmaster said there’s a lot of Benoit in Taskmaster. He warned that this sweetness wears off and, with the curse of hindsight, Kevin Sullivan was never more on point than he was with that line.

Taskmaster said one of them would be buried alive. His closing line from this promo was that now the equation would equal three. I have no idea what that line meant or that was supposed to mean. With a lot of Taskmaster promos in the last few months during this storyline with Benoit, you can put the pieces together as to what he is suggesting and they’re not flat out telling you that Taskmaster was married to Woman and she had fallen for Benoit. However, while going out of his way to not outright tell us that is the storyline, Taskmaster was saying a lot of lines that really didn’t make sense. He tried too hard almost to blur the lines with this promo.

 

Dean Malenko © vs Billy Kidman for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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Maybe I’m alone but I saw a pretty good match here. Kidman was still new but he sold like crazy for Malenko. The announcers read a letter from the WCW Committee which explained that Eric Bischoff did not have authority over the WCW title changes so at least that explained why the nWo’s The Giant was not just given the US title by Bischoff. The Giant was carrying the United States championship at this time but was never considered the champion. Eric had control but not control over who is the champion. WCW makes those decision which I’m guessing is why the Outsiders are defending their titles against Faces of Fear at Starrcade.

There was some great action as Kidman was competitive with Malenko for a while. Then Malenko killed Kidman with a powerbomb on the outside.

Sonny Onoo came out take photographs of what was going on as Tony remind3e him that you can get video cameras to film it. My suggestion was that alternatively, you could watch WCW Monday Nitro on television or DVR it! As it turned out, there was a reason for the camera which I guess played into the finish.

Dean did a naughty belly-to-back suplex. Dean did a jumping brainbuster which the fans popped for a big pop and a near fall. He held Kidman in the air for a long time and then Malenko jumped and came crashing down with another human being on his shoulders. Even as a cruiserweight, Malenko was still presented as a strong fellow. Kidman allowed himself to be powerbombed here and brainbustered there as Malenko looked like a legitimate champion.

Kidman started a comeback with a dropkick and northern lights suplex. Kidman reversed a powerbomb into a backslide. Malenko and Kidman kept reversing small packages for 2 counts. Dean did a superplex.

Sonny took a photo right in Malenko’s face which was apparently done to flash him right in the eyes. Kidman tried a shooting star press but Malenko got the knees up. Malenko tapped out Kidman with a Texas Cloverleaf. There was an shenanigans but Malenko still pushed through and won. It wasn’t like Malenko was completely beaten after the distraction spot. Malenko got over it, killed Kidman and retained the title clean. I enjoyed this.

I mean they didn’t need that spot with Sonny if Malenko was just gonna beat Kidman clean anyway but it wasn’t like it hurt Malenko either. It was just part of the Dean Malenko/Ultimo Dragon storyline as they’re hyping up a match for Starrcade.

 

Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart vs Jeff Jarrett

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This was very much the repeat of the match these two had a few months ago in Memphis and had the same finish too. It worked really well with that crowd and worked well here too.

Mike Tenay clarified that Piper was not representing WCW but WCW was still behind him. I guess that kind of explains away some of the ambiguity as to where Piper’s loyalties lie. I went on a tirade last week about WCW not making up their minds about if Piper, in storyline is “WCW” or not. Judging by that statement, Piper doesn’t consider himself WCW but the WCW guys consider him WCW as he’s fighting the New World Order. That’s all fine although that still does not quite explain why Eric Bischoff thinks he can fine Piper if Piper is not under contract with WCW.

Bubba caught Jarrett and did a powerslam. The match quickened up a little bit as Jarrett did a running DDT. Jeff stomped on Jimmy’s hand which allowed Bubba to get the heat. Jimmy got his revenge on Jeff by choking Jeff when the referee’s back was turned. Bubba accidentally clocked Jimmy in the face on the outside and Jimmy did fabulous facial expressions! Bubba had a great right hand and Jimmy sold for it beautifully!

Jarrett did a top rope crossbody. He tried a figure four leg lock but Bubba kicked him away. Bubba was thrown Jimmy’s megaphone, he tried to use it but Jeff moved. Jeff tried a roll up but Jimmy distracted the referee so Jeff only ended up getting a one count. Jeff dropkicked the megaphone into Bubba’s face to get the pinfall and win.

Almost exactly the same finish as the previous match between these two but you know what, it worked. You’ve got two guys who are dependable in that ring and they were successfully in carrying out a simple old-school match. It made Jeff look like a great babyface and Bubba and Jimmy looked like stupid heels which is what wrestling is all about. This gets a thumbs up!

I guess the clean victory streak ended here because there was all kinds of shenanigans and Jeff dropkicked a weapon into Bubba’s face.

 

The Steiner Brothers got in the ring. Rick called out to Sting and wanted him to show his face. Sting appeared up in the rafters. Rick yelled at him to fight him one on one. Sting nodded and apparently, accepted a challenge for tonight. Rick actually had a smile on his face as he got giddy at the thought of wrestling Sting. This would be Sting’s first wrestling match in since Fall Brawl 1996 where he walked out on WCW.

 

The nWo arrived as we were in hour two of Nitro. Eric Bischoff, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Syxx and Vincent were there as Nash chased off the announcers and the announcers bailed for their lives. Bischoff, Hall and Nash got on the headsets and took over commentary. Bischoff said they couldn’t miss Sting coming out to “punk” Steiner later. Bischoff said he’s trying to protect Piper from himself and talked about how that’s why he tried to keep Piper from WCW. They showed clips of Hogan beating up Vader a few years ago, the nWo jumping Ric Flair a few weeks ago and beating up Savage and spray-painting around his body as Elizabeth watched on. Bischoff told Piper to stay at home.

Yes, the nWo took over commentary for the rest of the show. The crack between Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in the second hour was some of the best commentary I’ve heard on a wrestling show in years (with the exception of Chris Jericho on AEW for example). Hall and Nash just had the time of their lives on commentary, being able to say whatever they felt like. Hall made some quality jokes throughout the night. They also did a good job in putting over the talent. Everyone of the wrestlers they wanted as members of the nWo in storyline so they put them over. They put them over way better than a lot of other announcers would have done. This was fun television for the last hour of the show, at least with commentary.

 

Squire Dave Taylor vs Eddie Guerrero

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Taylor beat up Guerrero with some uppercuts as Hall and Nash talked about having some sushi. Nash and Hall talked about expanding to Europe and other areas in the world which is why they wanted Dave Taylor in the nWo!

Taylor ran wild with headscissors takeovers. Taylor locked on a standing Kimura. Eddie did a headscissors takeover but Taylor somehow landed right on his back coming down. Eddie hit a frog splash and got the clean pin.

By the way referee, Mark Curtis did a massive jump high in the air and came down to do the three count for Guerrero! I felt this was a short but fine match between Taylor and Guerrero.

 

Arn Anderson vs “Jumping” Jim Powers w/Teddy Long

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Hall made a crack about North Carolina being the Queen City and Piper walking around in a skirt. It felt weird that Teddy Long was coming out to manage someone for a match and Nick Patrick was NOT the referee. Patrick’s not been on television ever since World War III where Chris Jericho beat him up in a match. Ironically, Chris Jericho has also been nowhere to be seen on television since the PPV either!

Arn worked on Powers, smashing away at Powers. Arn drove knees into the arm of Powers. I love how Eric Bischoff basically played the role of himself as announcer as he was previously on Nitros and Hall and Nash were there making cracks about almost every wrestler and even announcers like Dusty Rhodes and Larry Zybszko.

Powers made a comeback but Arn planted him with a DDT and got the clean pin. There was not much to this match other than a squash victory for Arn which was rare on Nitro. Arn did get clean wins in the past but this was a completely convincing victory. Powers got hardly anything for this match.

 

Chris Benoit vs Lord Steven Regal in the first round of the United States Heavyweight Championship Tournament

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Some of my favourite moments of commentary during this match was when Hall and Nash were making jokes about Benoit being unable to go into bathrooms because of the beating the Dungeon of Doom put on him in a bathroom. They talked about how Benoit had to learn bladder control and “having the bladder of a gladiator!” I laughed.

Regal got busted open early on in the match. Regal and Benoit were just smacking each other back and forth during this match. They headbutted each other and face-palmed each other. This was the definition of “laying it in” as the old saying goes. There was a wide shot for the rest of this match where Nash explained that they were looking for Sting in the rafters and Regal just had an abdominal stretch locked on. It was explained to me after watching this that they did it because they didn’t want to show blood.

It was strange because this camera shot actually didn’t look half bad. There was a sense of rawness from just having one wide shot of the action. There wasn’t a 1000 cuts from so many angles. You saw the whole match and the fans watching on. It was different, I will give them credit. The Outsiders, while funny on commentary, did not make things any better by constantly making us aware of it!

Benoit fired back with a chop and a scoop slam. Benoit did a diving headbutt which Hall called out was reckless as it can hurt him too. Benoit and Regal kept reversing tombstones until Benoit dropped Regal who looked like he had hardly any grip. He had to trust Benoit with his life and thankfully, the move was pulled off fine.

Benoit tried a dive to the outside I think but Regal moved out of the way. Regal did a top rope butterfly suplex. Benoit did a German suplex. Benoit did a dragon suplex and scored the pin to advance in the US title tournament. This had to be the record on WCW Nitro for longest match dedicated to one camera angle.

A very solid wrestling match with Benoit and Regal. No matter what the camera shot was like, Benoit and Regal was always going to deliver. I just love how Eric Bischoff then said that they were taking it to Mean Gene Okerlund, and I think Hall asked for them to stick to the wide shot instead!

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They cut to Arn and Steve “Mongo” McMichael with Debra as Benoit joining them. Mean Gene interviewed the Horsemen. I absolutely hated this segment. It felt like all four people being interviewed by Mean Gene had their own agendas for this promo and they didn’t mesh well together at all. Arn wanted to keep everything on track with the storyline and asked Benoit about Woman, Benoit just repeated that Woman was a horsemen, Mongo went on a tirade about football and Debra cut the most random promo about her beauty pageant career. Like… what?

Arn talked about losing last week and dropping someone this week. Arn said he’ll never call Lex a quitter or a coward but the Four Horsemen would take the role as leaders. Arn asked where Woman was. Benoit said Woman was taking care of horsemen business. Arn said if she was, she would be here. Benoit insisted Woman was as much as horsemen as everyone here.

Mongo said he was not gonna yell. Mongo talked about dissension and then Debra randomly complained about Woman walking about how great Chris is. This woman jealously angle just seemed to come completely out of the blue because it’s not like they’ve teased this or anything. It just felt like Debra was “going into business for herself” if you could believe it or they just wanted to have women bitching at each other for the hell of it. Debra went on a random rant about being Miss Alabama and Miss Texas and all of this. Debra’s point was Benoit had to rise above it…. I had no idea how her beauty pageant career had anything to do with CHRIS BENOIT and WOMAN. Arn talked about how Benoit was handpicked and if he says she’s a horsewoman, that’s all he needs. Mongo then yelled out to the crowd after he said he was not gonna yell!

This segment… SUCKED and I can’t believe I’m saying that about a Four Horsemen interview but it was true.

 

Lex Luger vs Rocco Rock w/Johnny Grunge

Rocco beat up Luger for a while. Rocco continued to get the heat for a long time. Luger started a comeback. Rocco got turned inside out by a clothesline taking a complete Rikishi bump for Luger. Grunge held Luger but Rocco accidentally knocked Grunge off the apron, Luger locked on the Torture Rack and got the submission win.

Rocco got thrown into Grunge and Luger chased them off. Those are all my notes on that match.

 

Sting vs Rick Steiner w/Scott Steiner

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This really felt like WCW had completely no idea what to do with Sting now. They had this “match” take place and I had no idea what was going on with Sting. I’ll just go ahead and break down what happened.

Sting appeared and came through the crowd with a black baseball bat this time. He had a red baseball bat when he confronted Lex Luger. Sting taunted but Rick took a cheap shot at Sting as Scott threw Sting back in the ring. Rick Steiner did some forearms, Sting ducked and hit a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting doesn’t do anything for a while. Sting grabbed the bat as Scott tended to Rick.

Sting pointed the bat at Rick as Sting pushed Rick away. He handed Rick Steiner the bat. Sting turned his back as if to give Rick a “free shot”. Rick tried to use the bat but Scott stopped him. Sting walked down as the nWo thinks he’s gonna sign with them. Sting points the bat at the nWo and then walks back to the ring as Hall thinks he’s gonna “whack them”. Sting then just leaves on his own path through the arena although Bischoff was still confident that they had him signed.

I have no idea what this was supposed to be. I guess maybe to establish Sting was a lone wolf. However, it’s not like he beat up the nWo or anything. He just did a bunch of random things for the sake of being random. I have no idea what story they were supposed to tell with this Sting/Steiners angle.

Last note about the commentary. I love how the Outsiders put Scott Steiner over saying they’ve been in planes and cars smaller than Scott Steiner. Scott was getting massive at this time.

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That was WCW Monday Nitro. A lot of wrestling but not a lot of effective wrestling. A lot of the matches were very short or very pointless. The Regal/Benoit match saved the show in a lot of ways by delivering a good match. The storyline with Sting and Steiner Brothers really didn’t help the show at all and the pay-off didn’t deliver. The show served a purpose in getting people over clean wins, which is fine, but the lack of competitive matches did hurt the episode. Not a strong episode of Nitro but watchable.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW WORLD WAR III 1996 (NOVEMBER 24TH 1995)

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

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It’s that time of year again where World War III breaks out in World Championship Wrestling. Last year, I reviewed this pay-per-view and my interest in the concept of the World War III battle royal got me interested in the overall show. This year, I was not as enthralled by this PPV. In my opinions, this was one of the weaker pay-per-views for WCW in 1996.

That feels like a fairly harsh comment but there has been a high standard set for pay-per-views since The Great American Bash 1996 which was highly regarded as one of their greatest pay-per-views of all time. Every other pay-per-view since that show has been great but this one did not live up to the standards set. This pay-per-view had one outstanding match, a few matches which you either loved or you hated and a horrible main-event with the World War III battle royal.

This was not as bad as the WCW Slamboree 1996 pay-per-view which, in hindsight, felt like one of the worst wrestling pay-per-views I’ve ever watched. However, when a Rowdy Roddy Piper segment is given roughly 30 minutes and the convoluted battle royal is given 30 minutes, the pressure is on everything else to deliver and steady the ship. I think the opening match was the only one which I think could be considered a pay-per-view worthy match. The Malenko vs Psychosis match was fine but it was nowhere near as good as it could have been. Everything else was passable at best.

 

Date: November 24th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Norfolk, Virginia

Attendance: ‎10,314

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan

(NOTE: Mike Tenay, Lee Marshall and Larry Zybsko were also commentators for the battle royal.)

 

 

The Ultimate Dragon © w/Sonny Onoo vs Rey Mysterio Jr. for the J-Crown Championship

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A fabulous match to start off the show. I did check the rating for their last pay-per-view match at Hog Wild. This match far surpassed that one. Dragon was absolutely incredible and Rey sold like crazy for him. I liked the finish a lot although I think given a little bit more time, this would have been one of the best WCW matches of 1996. I’m sure if I go through the ratings I’ve given during the year, it will probably end up being one of the best WCW matches of 1996! However, I was really hoping for a bit more time to heighten the drama. Call me needy but there were signs where I think this match was meant to have more time but it got cut for some reason.

Dragon wrestled Mysterio down and worked on the arm, driving knees to the arm then locking up. Rey responded by going for Dragon’s legs to which commentator Dusty Rhodes yelled “break a leg!” They wrestled for a wrist lock. Dusty noted that Dragon was working like Malenko, who BEAT Mysterio at Halloween Havoc. This was good continuity because clearly Dragon, in storyline, took notes from the Havoc match heading in this title defense against Mysterio Jr.

Rey and Dragon did flips and tried kicks in a great spot which the fans applauded for. Dragon unloaded with kicks in the corner. Dragon dropkicked Rey to the floor. Sonny followed this up with a kick to the gut as the ref’s back was turned. They did bring up what happened last year with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan working with Sonny Onoo and the Japanese last year at Starrcade. A nice reference from the commentators.

Dragon hit a picture perfect German suplex for a two count. Dragon threw Mysterio so high in the air to which Bobby yelled: “hey Rey, can you get the lights?” Dragon did a brilliant inverted torture back backbreaker. I’m pretty sure the one he did to Rey at Hog Wild looked miles better but this one was pretty sweet in its own right.

Dragon locked a single leg Boston crab. Dragon did a powerbomb followed up by an Alley Oop into the ropes which was a combination I’ve never seen before but it looked incredible. This is a spot that only someone like Rey could take!

Dragon did a giant swing to Rey Mysterio as Dragon got dizzy himself which the fans laughed big time at. Dragon did a fisherman suplex for a 2 count. Dragon DROPPED Rey with a brainbuster. Dragon tried another one but Rey reversed it into a 2 count.

Dragon did a naughty jumping tombstone from Rey for a 2 count. Rey got Irish whipped into the guard rail. Dragon did a second tombstone on the floor. Dragon followed this up with a dive. These men just did move after move onto each other. It felt they were doing too many moves given the time they were given but each of the moves they did were pulled off really well.

They showed the backs of the announcers as the action between Rey and Dragon spilled to the floor and Dusty, who was wearing a red jacket, yelled “whose the guy in the red jacket?” It was just funny that Rey and Dragon are doing all of these spots on the outside and the commentators had their back to the action the entire time! They weren’t allowed to turn around and get an up-close look at the action as they just stared at their monitors!

Dragon did frankenstiener from the top rope for a 2 count. Dragon hit a running sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count. Rey did a fabulous springboard moonsault for a 2 count where he launched off the top rope, went diagonally to the middle rope and bounced off for the moonsault. It looked so slick.

Rey did a flipping seated senton to Dragon on the outside. As I mentioned earlier, there were some brilliant moves in this match. Rey did a sunset flip, Dragon did a bridge pinfall both for a 2 count.

Rey did a cartwheel into a hurricanrana for a near fall. Fans seemed to buy that move as the finish. Dragon hit a dragon suplex for the 2 count. Rey tried his Frankensteiner finisher but Dragon caught him, bounced Rey off the top rope and hit a sit-out powerbomb for the clean pinfall victory to retain the titles.

Tremendous action, top notch spots, great chemistry and a great way to open the show. I think if you’re big on spots, this match is an excellent match to watch because these two did sensational stuff in that ring. I felt given a few more minutes to pace themselves better, this would have a sure 4 and a half star match or even a perfect match for that matter. However, I just don’t think it got enough time to solidify itself as a near perfect match. If you’re really big on a spots, then I’m sure you’ll have a different opinion.

Match Rating: ****1/4

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Diamond Dallas Page. DDP said everyone wanted to get a hold of the best. DDP tried to talk about other stuff but Mean Gene said Page has got to address the people about the New World Order being interested. DDP said he doesn’t care about the life of Eric Bischoff, who had joined the New World Order on the most recent episode of Nitro. DDP says what affected me was the World War III battle royal, which he was a participant in. DDP talked about winning battle royal. and when it’s all said and done, there can only be one. Mean Gene noted that DDP did not answer his question about the nWo but this was solid promo. Clearly Page was conveniently dodging the subject to focus on winning this main-event. Page actually mentioned that he won the Slamboree battle royal and held the Lord of the Ring, to suggest that he could possibly pull off a big win again.

 

Chris Jericho w/Teddy Long vs Nick Patrick in a one arm tied behind the back match

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This match was everything it needed to be when it comes to this storyline. Jericho working with one arm was still better than half of the wrestlers in the World War III battle royal. Nick Patrick, for a man who does not wrestle and is a referee, was a phenomenal seller for Jericho. He bumped left and right for this man, getting the right balance between comical overselling and embarrassing overselling. Patrick’s been a great character in the story and the match was booked really well with the storyline in mind.

Nick Patrick was dressed in black and white boxing robe, a neck braces and sunglasses with a scolding look on his face. Thunderous boos coming out for this man! I loved detail of the black and white boxing robe as a nod to the allegations that Patrick was working for the New World Order. I don’t think the announcers mentioned this once but it was great because it allowed you as a viewer to put 2 and 2 together rather than Tony Schiavonie telling you what the storyline is for example. This was not Michael Cole hammering the storyline into your head verbally. You could figure this out on your own.

It was mentioned that Patrick did used to wrestle so at least he has some wrestling credentials about him. Therefore it was somewhat believable that Patrick would be able to get some heat on Jericho.

Patrick being in tough guy mode against a one-armed man was brilliant! Patrick pushed Jericho. Jericho did a one arm push and Patrick does a brilliant sell for Jericho. He takes a big backward bump, with his arms in the air and the fans ROAR with approval! It was the best!

Jericho hip-tossed Patrick out of the ring with one arm and Patrick demanded Jericho to “watch his neck” which I enjoyed. Jericho started a “PATRICK SUCKS” chant. Patrick did the test of strength spot where they put their hands out. He mocked Jericho for not having the other hand available so Jericho does a hammerlock with one hand and Patrick screams with agony!

Jericho kicked away at Patrick as Patrick looked like he was having a seizure on the floor! If you’re gonna do over-selling in wrestling, do it right. Patrick was a great over seller here! He’s a cartoon character and he’s a referee so it was perfect that he would do over the top selling in this match!

Patrick pushed Teddy Long at ringside and Teddy LAUNCHED Patrick with a shove of his own which the referee scolded Teddy for. I actually thought this was gonna end in a disqualification but no, the match continued. Patrick was able to slap Jericho. Jericho retaliated with a slap of his own and Patrick fell over like a inflatable doll with his hands up in the air and just tumbling down to the mat! He just got flipped perfectly from horizontal to vertical in a 90 degree angle!

Jericho clotheslined the ring post so Patrick got the heat on a one-armed man. Patrick wasn’t particularly bad. Patrick did some snapmares and he threw some great right hands as he got the heat on Jericho. Patrick was constantly thrusting his arms in the air as he got punched in the face! Jericho made a comeback. Jericho was somehow able to do a one-arm back body drop to Patrick.

Patrick did a horrible looking Shawn Michaels forearm and it actually made it better that it was so bad, because it’s Nick Patrick who was NOT Shawn Michaels! If this would have been a great forearm, it would have ruined it! Speaking of Shawn Michaels, Jericho pulled off a super kick, as a tribute to his future employers The Young Bucks. and got the clean pin.

As a way for the heel referee to get his comeuppance this was booked really well. Jericho didn’t come off as a geek. Patrick’s over-selling was not too much. Patrick was not out-wrestling the man. We got a clean win and a happy ending for the wrestler who was getting screwed by the evil referee.

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I’ve got to get this off my chest before we get into the next match. The idea behind this blog series of mine was to watch stuff from the past and see what we can learn from for the future of wrestling. What old stuff can we incorporate into modern wrestling. This is something that has been lost to time. Nick Patrick has been winding up wrestlers and fans for months with his antics. He finally is thrown in the ring to get his arse kicked and the good guy won as the crooked referee got what he deserved.

If this was WWE in 2020, Nick Patrick would have won this match without a doubt. What would have happened was either Patrick would win by disqualification because Teddy Long pushed him in that spot earlier or someone else would have laid out Jericho allowing Patrick to win. They did the same thing with the Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler match at WrestleMania 27, where the announcer beat the wrestler after a BS ruling where the heel won on a technicality instead of Lawler beating him and Cole getting his comeuppance. If they would have done this Patrick match in WWE in 2020, it would have been the exact same thing to get heat. At least WCW in 1996 had the clue and bright idea to have Jericho go over when he needed to. THUMBS UP!

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Mark Madden and Marcus Bagwell were shown answering questions on WCWWRESTLING.COM.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Ric Flair who was not wrestling on this show as he was injured. I had serious buffering problems at this time, even after I restarted the Playstation 4 I was watching the show on, so I decided to pick this up the next day. This ended up being a pay-per-view that took me two days to watch which really took me out of the game.

Ric said the theme of the event is World War III but in reality its WCW on tour. He made it clear that the nWo are entitled to walk down their own way of life, but guys like Flair, Arn Anderson, Sting, The Steiner Brothers, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Chris Benoit were “W BY GOD C W.” He promised that the nWo would belong to WCW which I guess ended up coming true, because Ric Flair would be the WCW President in 1999!

 

The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett in a return grudge match from Halloween Havoc

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An absolute nothing match. I don’t understand why they felt the need to do this match again on pay-per-view. It wasn’t good the first time but they did it again. There was no Ric Flair to help get the fans behind Jarrett. The fans loved the New World Order on the show so of course Giant was cheered. This to me accomplished nothing and really, both men became irrelevant due to Sting showing up again. They did this horrible match just to lead to Sting coming in and dropping Jarrett with the Scorpion Death Drop.

The Giant still has the US title that he stole from Ric Flair but the commentators confirmed that because the Nature Boy had not defended the title, Ric Flair was no longer the US Heavyweight Champion. The title was vacated and The Giant was not the champion either. Jeff fired away with punches but Giant pushed him away to a big pop. Jeff kept trying punches in the corner but one big clothesline from Giant was enough to turn the tide in the match.

Jeff continued to try and bring Giant down but Giant pushed him away with his foot. There was a giant elbow drop from the big man. The Giant did a foot stomp where he had his foot on Jeff for at least three seconds before he even applied pressure. Jarrett’s shoulders were on the match so that should have easily been a three count!

As Giant was getting the heat on Jeff, the fans react to someone in the rafters who was in fact Sting. Giant did a leg drop and then Sting got down from the rafters and made their way trough the crowd. The fans are paying no attention to the match by this point.

Giant did a backbreaker. Giant missed a Vader Bomb. Jeff did a top rope crossbody for a two count. The police flanked Sting as he came down. Giant got sent over the top rope by Jeff but then Sting got in the ring and did the Scorpion Death Drop on Jeff as the fans cheered. There’s a big thud of Sting hitting a move on Jeff and the referee Randy Anderson, who was distracted, was a couple of inches away from Jeff and Sting and he couldn’t hear a thing and continued to count out Giant! Even if the referee got out of the ring to count out Giant, that would have been better than the referee somehow not being able to hear Sting attacking Jeff Jarrett DESPITE BEING IN THE RING AS WELL!

Giant got in the ring and scored the pin from a chokeslam. A bad match with a bad finish as Sting was the only thing noteworthy about this match.

Match Rating: * (I’m not sure why I’m being so generous)

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Then we got a long contract signing with Rowdy Roddy Piper and Hollywood Hogan. I’m a huge fan of Piper and this was a good television segment but it did not need to take place on World War III. They had Chris Benoit vs Taskmaster and Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson originally booked for this pay-per-view but they were cut I guess for this segment. This thing took way too long for a pay-per-view. It was great and Piper was tremendous in selling the nWo beatdown he would get. He and Hollywood Hogan were great characterS but this bored me half to death at times. I really wanted to see more wrestling on this show but instead I got this.

Piper appeared with the contract in his hand for the match with Hollywood Hogan. Some dude was in the ring with a table and a cloth over it with the camera man getting in shots of Piper. Piper said there’s no sense in waiting. He told Hogan to get out here. Coming out to meet Piper was Ted DiBiase, Vincent, The Giant and… ERIC BISCHOFF in nWo gear. For those unaware, Eric Bischoff revealed himself as a member of the New World Order on the last edition of Nitro. This was Bischoff’s first appearance since joining the group. It was Bischoff with a leather jacket and nWo shirt underneath.

Bischoff said that Hollywood was a little busy as he’s got scripts to look at. Bischoff said Hogan gave him his power of attorney. It’s funny to me that they do this angle where Hogan gives Bischoff the power of attorney powers. A year before this, he did the same thing with Jimmy Hart and that led to Hogan losing the title to The Giant which led to the World War III battle royal last year! It all comes full circle!

Bischoff was happy to look into the contract and sign the contract for the Hogan if it is suitable. Piper said he taught Vincent to fight and told him slow his roll. Piper said he’s been doing this for 28 years but he’s never had his hair done or nails done. Piper said if Bischoff thinks Piper is gonna trust a “flake” like Bischoff, think again. Could you imagine if Piper threw out this line in 2020?

Bischoff said he could fine Piper for that line. How could this even be possible if Piper is not associated with WCW? They explained on the Nitro after Havoc that Piper was not associated with the company so how can Bischoff possibly fine Piper if Piper doesn’t work for WCW? Was Bischoff lying? Had Piper signed with WCW full-time and they just didn’t tell us or was this just a cock-up by Bischoff? I suspect this was just Bischoff saying whatever he wanted but the line just made no sense in the context of the storyline.

Piper asked how much would the fine be if he knocked him out. Piper said he will fight Hogan. He’s going for the fight regardless of the nWo as even if they showed up as he doesn’t care about disqualifications. I’m guessing this made the match no disqualification although it was hard to tell what type of match Piper wanted based on his promo.

Then HOLLYWOOD HOGAN arrives with Elizabeth, The Giant again, Syxx and the Outsiders. Hogan said Piper had a problem. Piper responded that he always had problems but that’s never stopped him. He told Hogan to get his butt in the ring, sign the contract and quit talking. Everyone got in the ring. Hogan said he’ll sign but he’s got a real big problem. Hogan said he’s used to dealing people that are number one contenders, on his level and up to his speed. When Piper was his equal, he couldn’t get it done. Hogan said since Piper’s “Mr Self-Righteous, Mr Straight Man”, he asked Piper to show everyone his “hip”. He showed a hip but Hogan wasn’t happy. Piper showed the other hip with a big scar on it as Piper had hip surgery which the scar clearly showed.

Hogan said he didn’t pick on cripples but since the whole world seems to like him and everyone wanted to see the war to settle the score, he would fight him. He signed the contract. Hogan said Piper’s not gonna have a leg to stand on because he can’t wait to beat on a gimp. Piper punched Hogan but the nWo ganged up on Piper, so Hogan punched away himself. Piper clawed through to attack Hogan.

The nWo expose the scar from hip surgery and then Hogan did a chair shot to the scar and one of the worst chop blocks in the history of wrestling. Hall grabbed the leg. Hogan grabbed the spray paint and spray painted the leg of Piper with “nWo”. Hogan says he will break Piper in half and called him a piece of crap. He spit on the chest of Piper and the nWo celebrated.

Piper clawed himself up and knocked over the table. This spooks out the nWo who leave. Piper grabbed the mic said if that’s the best you can do, Hogan’s in trouble because there’s no retreat, no surrender on him. So the match was booked Piper vs Hogan for WCW Starrcade. Dusty decreed the fight of all fights has been signed. Piper crawled his way through the curtain.

The segment itself was really good. The back-and-forth between Piper and Hogan was really good. I even liked Bischoff’s role in this. The beat down of Piper looked really good and I liked the spot where they attacked the hip of Piper. It was done in a safe manner but it looked like it would have wrecked Piper. Piper did tremendous selling of this beating. As a segment it was great. My issue was with it being on a wrestling pay-per-view. With that being said, it was a great segment. I’ll give credit where credit is due.

Segment Rating: ****

 

“The Amazing French Canadians” Carl Ouelett and Jacques Rogueau w/Col Robert Parker vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Sister Sherri. If Harlem Heat wins, Sherri would get five minutes in the ring with Parker

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An absolute nothing match with what I thought was a decent enough finish. I didn’t have much expectations for the match going in and it pretty much met my expectations. It was boring as a suspected, it had a bunch of goofy shenanigans which I expected and there wasn’t much wrong with the match. There wasn’t much right with it either so I can’t say this was a good match.

Bobby makes a joke about how Parker was gonna find a place in Quebec… in South Quebec. Tony just responded: “very good”.

The Canadians sang the national anthem for the “greatest country in the world” Canada. Ray responded saying: “listening to that is breaking my heart.” I was actually surprised but in the middle of this blood feud involving managers, the Harlem Heat at least had the courtesy to let the Canadians sing the national anthem uninterrupted!

Not much happened in the first few minutes of the match. Harlem Heat gained control of the match for a while as Booker hit an axe kick. Somehow Jacques and Booker screwed up a “pulling down the rope” spot where Booker was supposed to slide over the top rope and to the floor but got stuck on the top rope. This caused the Canadians to get the heat.

Bobby brought up the good point that the Canadians must have been told by Parker everything about Harlem Heat because he was with them for a long time. Therefore, that would give the Canadians the advantage as they know their strategy. Booker tried a roll up but got turned inside out with a clothesline for his troubles by Carl. Stevie got the hot tag. He ran wild on Jacques and Gorilla Press slammed Jacques into Carl. Carl got Irish Whipped into the referee.

The finish saw the Canadians go for a piledriver. Carl whipped out a table. The last time we saw a table spot on Nitro, Johnny Grunge used the table right in front of the referee and was not disqualified. That referee allowed it then because he did nothing about it at the time. In this match, they had to go through the trouble of doing a ref bump so the Canadians could use weapons! Why would you even bother? Public Enemy use weapons all the time in normal tag matches anyway! Why bother with bumping the referee?

They brought in two steel steps. They stacked the steel steps on top of the table in the corner in an completely clunky looking spot that could have ended horribly. It didn’t particularly end great. I don’t remember who went up to the top of this set-up but the Canadians tried an elevated senton form the top of the steel steps but Booker moved and they land from all the way up at the top of the weapons to the mat. That must have sucked! Booker hit the Houston Hangover for the clean win.

I liked the finish for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Harlem Heat got a clean win. After years of Harlem Heat being the heels and having every screwjob finish you can think of, they have a big PPV match as babyfaces I guess and they win clean. Secondly, the finish showed the dangers of going for big spots from above. Granted, Booker hit the Harlem Hangover from the win. However, I think it was Carl went all the way high up for a big move and missed and ultimately paid the price for it. Good finish to an otherwise below average tag team match.

Match Rating: **

 

Sister Sherri vs Col. Robert Parker

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I’m not sure if this was ever explained on television, because this took me off guard, but the Sherri vs Parker took place immediately after the tag match. Now before I actually get into what happened, allow me to remind you all that the storyline between Sherri and Parker has went on for more than one year. They had the break-up angle a few weeks ago and now Sherri is gonna get her hands on Parker. She gets FIVE MINUTES in the ring with Parker. Let’s all remember that.

Sherri ran wild on Parker to start off the match. She smashed his head into the turnbuckle and then threw him over the top rope. Sherri did a clothesline to which DUSTY POPPED FOR as he yelled“SHE CLOTHESLINED HIM”. In defense of Dusty, these were some pretty good clothelines that Sherri was pulling off in the ring. Dusty was going nuts.

Sherri did a top rope crossbody and she went for the cover but Parker kicked out. Let’s analyse this for a minute! Remember that Sherri had the opportunity to beat up Parker for FIVE MINUTES and Parker doesn’t want any part of Sherri as the finish clearly demonstrated. Why did she go for a pin if she has five minutes to get revenge on Parker and kick his arse? Why did she bother? Why did Parker even kick out? Why didn’t he just take the pin and then Sherri can’t beat him up anymore? WHY WAS THERE A KICK OUT IN THIS MATCH? That’s not even the least of our worries.

The finish saw Parker run to the back as everyone chased after him… AND THAT WAS IT. Sherri was supposed to get five minutes with Parker. The match lasted…. 1 minute and 30 seconds. After ONE YEAR OF BUILD for this storyline, they have a match together on PPV and it lasts less than 100 seconds. Give me a break. Why did you waste my time for more than a year to just have this crappy finish as the big pay-off to the storyline?

Match Rating: -* because the structure of the match offended me. If you have a match that offends me as a wrestling fan for investing in it, you get a minus star rating.

To their credit. Dusty was still howling at ringside after the match. So at least the American Dream loved it.

 

 

Mean Gene talked about WCW Hotline and advised that another superstar would becoming to WCW in the near future. He interviewed Lex Luger. Luger said he doesn’t know what to make of what happened with Sting and Luger on Nitro. He said the baseball bat reeks of nWo but he doesn’t want to believe it and the fans didn’t want to believe. He called Sting a man of no words. Lex Luger was the odds on favourite to win as he’s been racking big man recently on Nitro. He said he feels on a roll and restore honour to WCW and he wants the title shot really bad. This was a fine Luger promo as usual.

 

Dean Malenko © vs Psychosis for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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I think this had the potential to be as good as Rey Mysterio Jr. vs The Ultimate Dragon but it just wasn’t anywhere close. I thought it was an average Dean Malenko match, which are good matches by default, but this was not a match that played to Psychosis’ strengths at all. Malenko was good at being Dean Malenko but this didn’t do much to elevate Psychosis.

Apparently this was the first time this two had been in the ring together according to Tony. Dean tried an STF early on but Psychosis got the ropes. The announcers talked about how Regal apparently went to a time limit with Psychosis on WCW Saturday Night. and then Regal said Psychosis would win the cruiserweight title.

Dean tried to tie up the legs, but then grabbed the arms and turned it into a bridge. That was awesome. They traded arm drags. It was a very slow-paced match, which more mat based than high flying. For Psychosis that look out the lucha libre spots which hurt him.

Dean swept the leg and clutched onto it with a leg scissors. Psychosis returned the pressure. Eventually, they both rolled into to the ropes. They did a spot where Psychosis tried a springboard but Dean kicked at his leg so the luchador missed.

Then Psychosis tried a dive to the outside but lost his footing. It looked like a botch but this appeared to have played into the storyline to Dean working on the leg of Psychosis. Because Psychosis tried to do the spot so fast, it was hard to tell. I guess he knew his high-flying spots were so limited when the match was planned out so he wanted to get through the spots quickly as possible so he could get all of his spots in. I’m not entirely sure.

Dean tried a headscissors but the luchador got the rope. I like how instead of doing a simple leg drop, Dean bounced off the rope, jumped onto the middle rope and then came down with a leg drop. Dean needed that extra bounce for a little bit extra impact.

Dean wrenched on the leg like singe leg Boston crab Liontamer. Dean did the powerbomb and went for the Texas Cloverleaf but Psychosis got the rope. There seemed to be some miscommunication where Dean did a dropkick but Psychosis didn’t seem to sell it at first. They tried a monkey flip but both men got sent over the top rope.

Pscyhosis dropped Malenko with a backbreaker. Psyschosis did a corkscrew to the floor which did look awesome. Pscyhosis did a springboard leg drop for a 2 count.

OK, now to discuss a big pet peeve of mine. Malenko worked on Psychosis’s leg the entire the match up until this point. Psychosis then ran wild. He does all of these athletic spots and lucha libre spot with seemingly no difficulty. The announcers then kept talking about the damage to the legs of Psychosis after Psychosis went like 5 minutes without selling the leg at all.

If you’re going to lay out a match where a luchador will get his legs taken out to prevent him from flying around, make sure the man sells his leg. Psychosis was out there pretending like the first ten minutes or so never happened. If your leg is hurt, you can’t run around and do all of these high spots. Heck, I went to the gym for the first time in three months recently after this lockdown and my arms ached because I haven’t done intense workouts like that in so long. My arms hurt so my ability to certain things was limited. Psychosis is pretending like the ten minutes of Malenko destroying his leg were not a concern at all. Get out of here.

Psychosis did a top rope frankensteiner. Psychosis tried a suplex but this was reversed into a small package. Dean tried a tombstone to which Pyschosis reversed this and then Dean reversed that reversal to deliver the tombstone but it was for a two count. That was an awesome spot. Dean did a roll up with a bridge for the clean pinfall victory.

I feel bad for not liking the match more because I really should have. I love watching Malenko getting the heat on someone. There were some awesome spots in between. However, when things like Malenko getting the heat are made irrelevant by Psychosis no selling it and there’s a few botched spots in between, it’s hard to go out there and say this was a great match. It wasn’t. It was a good match I guess but it had the potential to be more.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

“The Outsiders” Kevin Nash © and Scott Hall © vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags vs “The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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This match was simultaneously the match I wanted to see from these teams and the match I didn’t want to see from these teams! We’ve got three big hard-hitting teams fighting for the tag titles. They had TREMENDOUS brawling where they clobbered into each other like mad men. It’s everything I wanted on that front. It also had triangle tag team match rules to contend with and it felt like whoever put this match together had zero idea of how this type of match should be booked.

I think WWE nowadays currently uses a formula where in a triple threat tag, one member from each of the three teams are legal in the ring wrestling in a triple threat style which negates the problem I’m about to talk about. However, typical triple threat tag matches have two men in the ring from two teams with everybody else around the ring. You can tag out to ANYBODY whether it be your partner or one of the other tag teams.

This rule of the match made this match so difficult to keep up with. These men running in to fight each other was all great but it made this match so difficult to keep up with. Dudes would just in and attack each other. It even got to the point when two members of the same team got tagged in at the same time, which I will get into. It made this title match a mess of a match structurally.

The Nasty Boys actually attacked the Outsiders before the Faces of Fear even came out. Even before the match started, the fighting just starts between these teams. The Nasty Boys actually kicked their arses and sent them packing which was shocking to see. They portrayed the Nasty Boys as such geeks when they were trying to join the nWo and now they’re beating up Nash and Hall like it’s just another day in the office.

The Faces of Fear’s music played and they came out to fight. There was a bandage on Brian Knobbs had on his head as Bobby claimed Knobbs was a brain donor. The Faces of Fear charged at the Outsiders as Scott Hall got beat up by the Nasty Boys. Everybody gets in the ring to fight. The Faces of Fear and Nasty Boys then beat each other up. Then the Outsiders just stood watching it, with Scott Hall even shrugging his shoulders like “why should we get involved? There’s no need for us to get involved. Let these two teams beat each other up and we’ll pick up the scraps.” The match did start off with an awesome fight with the three tag teams. I’m not going to lie.

The Faces of Fear just started clobbering Knobbs so Jerry Sags just ran in and fists continued to being thrown. The Outsiders just applauded on as these two other wild tag teams beat each other up. Kevin Nash tagged himself in. Nash drove knees into the gut of Knobbs. Hall tagged in. I guess Meng tagged himself him because then he beats up Knobbs in the ring randomly.

The Barbarian and Hall fight. Barbarian beat up Scott Hall for a while. Meng got tagged in as he beat up Hall for a while. Hall tagged in the Nasty Boys. Everybody started fighting everybody and got into a wild brawl. The fans popped for a lot of the brawling too. It ended up with the Nasty Boys and Faces of Fear tangled up in like a rugby “scrum” according to the announcers as the Outsiders smiled on.

Nash and Barbarian fight ast he two tallest men in the match. Then suddenly, Barbarian and Meng are both tagged into the ring to face each other… even though they are team mates. It’s explained that Meng has to tag out to Brian Knobbs because two members of the same tag team can’t wrestle each other! Let’s all remember that ladies and gentlemen.

Then Outsiders and Faces of Fear get into a big fight. The match kind of died down for a while. Meng hit a piledriver. Meng voluntarily tagged Scott Hall for god knows what reason. This always bothered me. If I was in this match and the rules was that I had to be tagged in order to be legally able to get the win, why would I tag out? Why would I tag out to another tag team? All the Outsiders and Nasty Boys would need to do is not tag in the Faces of Fear and they can have a clear cut winner and you’d prevent someone else from winning.

Apparently Sags low-blowed Hall which was not a disqualification. Knobbs tried to Irish whip Meng but Meng just punched him right in the gut! You could hear the sound of this punch from the rafters! It was just a hard smack/

Then Knobbs and Meng tag both members of The Outsiders because I guess they wanted Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to fight. When Meng and Barbarian were tagged in earlier on in the match, I thought back to a match at WWE SummerSlam 2015 where the New Day were both tagged in during a similar match and tried to pin each other. I felt that was a cool concept, even if it didn’t make any sense. They exploited the rules to their advantage. Then the announcers explained that Meng had to tag out so I assumed that spot wouldn’t happen.

Therefore, the Outsiders are in the ring together. The tag teams both leave the apron to make sure the Outsiders fight each. These two other tag teams came off as the dumbest geeks on the planet. Because Tony explained that if the Outsiders pin each other they retain the tag titles. Well lo and behold, Nash laid down for Hall as they try to pin each other to retain the titles. Thankfully, the other tag teams broke it up. You allowed these two to try and pin each other and you genuinely believed they were gonna fight? Why would the Outsiders just start fighting each other? That wouldn’t have made even less sense. Why would they fight each…for pride? THEY’RE THE NEW WORLD ORDER. So of course, they try to pin each other and the other WCW tag teams come off like geeks. All four of them. Meng, The Barbarian, Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags.

Jimmy Hart gets on the apron. Tony asked: “whose legal” and then Bobby responded: “Jimmy Hart I think”. Hall used Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and Nash hits a jackknife powerbomb for the win. The match got a bit ridiculous although started off well. Things were falling part, it was hard to keep track of who was legal. It was a train-wreck but the crowd were very much into it and there was some decent action.

Match Rating: **

 

The WCW World War III Battle Royal to determine the number one contender for Hollywood Hogan’s WCW World Heavyweight Championship

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Carl Ouellet vs. Konnan vs. Rick Steiner vs. Ron Studd vs. The Barbarian vs. Mike Enos vs. Kevin Nash vs. Arn Anderson vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Chris Benoit vs. Lord Steven Regal vs. Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Jimmy Graffiti vs. Booker T vs. Lex Luger vs. Big Bubba Rogers vs. Meng vs. Kevin Sullivan vs. The Giant vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Chris Jericho vs. Alex Wright vs. Scott Norton vs. Scott Hall vs. Jacques Rougeau vs. Mr. JL vs. Pez Whatley vs. M. Wallstreet vs. Scotty Riggs vs. Hugh Morrus vs. Disco Inferno vs. Galaxy vs. Syxx vs. Ultimate Dragon vs. Bobby Eaton vs. Jim Duggan vs. Ice-Train vs. Ciclope vs. Villano IV vs. Stevie Ray vs. Squire David Taylor vs. Steve McMichael vs. Bunkhouse Buck vs. Kaos vs. Ruckus vs. La Parka vs. The Renegade vs. Johnny Grunge vs. Prince Iaukea vs. Jim Powers vs. Sgt. Craig Pittman vs. Joe Gomez vs. Tony Rumble vs. Jack Boot vs. Mark Starr vs. Road Block

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What a miserable battle royal and what a miserable viewing experience if you watched this back like me. It was the worst experience in the world trying to take notes and properly review this battle royal. There was six announcers out there and even they had a difficulty figuring out what was going on. Calling a match with 20 people in one ring would be hard enough. These announcers had to simultaneously call 60 wrestlers fighting each other within 3 rings.

The rules were like last year. You have 60 wrestlers divided into 20 wrestlers in 3 separate rings. Once one of the rings were down to ten men, those men would jump into Ring #2 I believe and then eventually, one man would be left standing in one ring to win the match.

I did make a list of the announcers predictions in case anyone was wondering Marshall picked Kevin Nash, Larry said Lex Luger, Dusty and Mike Tenay also said Luger, Bobby picked Dean Malenko and Tony Schiavonie picked The Giant.

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Let’s talk about the way they presented this match because it is important to the start of this match! There was split screens for all three rings so all the action could be shown at the same time. Chris Benoit comes out all bruised up. Lee Marshall talked about what happened in Baltimore like we’re supposed to have any idea what happened. I have no idea what happened in Baltimore. I just know Benoit and Taskmaster were supposed to have a match but it got cut. Marshall I guess explained that Taskmaster beat him up the night before or whatever.

Taskmaster ended up bring the last match to come out. At Ring #3, Benoit jumped Taskmaster outside of the ring. The Faces of Fear and Four Horsemen all fight on the outside except for Jeff Jarrett which I will get to later. Benoit and Taskmaster punch at each other and fight in the crowd as everyone gets into the crowd to break it up

The match started in the three rings. Rather than show the split screen of three different rings, they have to have only one of the screens show the battle royal. The other screens are showing this fight between Taskmaster and Benoit in the crowd! WHAT?

They fight on the steps. Benoit sends Bubba crashing down the stairs. It’s just Benoit up there, I have no idea where Arn and Mongo were because they were fighting with Benoit earlier. They eventually reappear. Taskmaster used the Canadian flag as  a weapon. Mongo fought with Taskmaster. Other Dungeon members ganged up on Benoit. Konan beat up Benoit on the table as the Faces of Fear use a chair.

Lee Marshall suddenly got attacked amongst the conflict! If it’s not bad enough that a ten man brawl breaks out on the outside as fifty men fight within 3 rings, an announcer has to take a bump! So much happened and it did nothing to elevate this battle royal! Remember when Tony was such a pussy on Nitro and didn’t want be out there being pushed around by Nash and Hall. Lee has taken a beating like a champ and it’s not even from the nWo!

Anyway, the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen were disqualified. 1/6 of the field of this battle royal was eliminated without being thrown over the top rope! This was one of the worst moments of any battle royal in the history of battle royals! It made me hate World War III battle royals with a passion and I had little desire to watch the rest of this battle royal! However, I stuck with it!

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Tony Rumble was eliminated from Rumble #1, Ciclope I think was shown eliminated but the announcers didn’t even know if Ciclope was eliminated. That’s how much they knew about what was going on. None of the announcers knew what was going on until it came down to ten men. Marshall scolded Larry for just standing there as Marshall got his arse kicked.

Mike Enos was eliminated but this was never shown. La Parka was eliminated by Lex Luger as one of the first eliminations of the match.… La Parka got a big win on his Nitro debut and he was one of the first guys eliminated. That tells you how much that victory elevated his WCW career!

Jimmy Grafitti, The Renegade and Galaxy were all eliminated by the nWo I believe. Juventued and Jericho wrestled for the suplex to the floor but Jericho threw him back into the ring despite the objective of the match being to throw men OVER the top rope.

The nWo wasted little energy but gathered in the corner, taking cheap shots when they could. There were only four members of the group in this match. No idea what happened to bogus Sting or why Vincent wasn’t wrestling.

Luger eliminated Kenny Kaos. The Giant eliminated Joe Gomez. Mike Tenay said Ron Studd was being a big factor in whatever ring he was in. I don’t think he’d eliminated anyone by this point! At this point, at least each ring was not as clustered as they were at the start of the match.

Disco Inferno was running around at ringside so I assumed he was eliminated but then he got back into the ring. So… if there’s one thing this match didn’t need is Disco randomly running around and me not knowing if he was eliminated or not. The Giant and Roadblock had a showdown as Giant kicked him and then clotheslined him over the top rope to a huge pop. Mr JL was also eliminated.

Disco tried to gain favour with Rey but then suckered him for a beating. Scott Hall interrupted and then Rey took advantage to clobber Disco. Rey pushed Disco under the bottom rope but Disco was not eliminated

In Ring #1, everyone ran wild on Ron Studd with Stinger Splashes and punches. Luger hit one big forearm and then he collapsed. All of the men in the first ring jumped onto of Ron Studd for god knows what reason. I was hoping for a roar spot but I don’t even think we got that. The action in Ring #1 just slowed down to a standstill!

Ouelett, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rogueau were all eliminated while the patriotic Canadians and American fought each other. Eddie Guerrero and Steven Regal both seem to be eliminated although the announcers couldn’t confirm this. They didn’t have a clue. The American Males were definitely eliminated and they bickered at each other on the floor.

Dave Taylor was eliminated by Alex Wright and M. Wallstreet eliminated by DDP. Marshall claimed Scott Steiner was out and I was completely taken back because I HAD NO IDEA Scott was in this match. I was amazed that he was in the battle royal and I missed him. As is turned out, Scott Steiner wasn’t even in the match! Either Marshall just made it up or meant to say Scott Norton but screwed it up. That’s how bonkers this match was. The announcers appeared to just be guessing who was in this match!

Juventud Guerrera was eliminated. Eddie was still out there so I had no idea what was going on. Tony asked does anyone know what’s going on. DDP and Eddie are fighting on the outside. REGAL WAS STILL IN THE RING. At this point. I was just clueless as to who was actually eliminated. The announcers had no idea who was eliminated. Suddenly all the men wrestled in the same ring to make things even more cluttered.

JACK BOOT got eliminated who I swear was eliminated earlier. I could have sworn he was one of the first people to be eliminated but apparently not! Johnny Grunge got eliminated. The nWo stayed close together in one corner. Jack Boot and Grunge fought on the outside.

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Jeff Jarrett eliminated Dean Malenko. Speaking of Jeff Jarrett. On the Nitro before this PPV, Ric Flair claimed Jeff Jarrett was a member of the Four Horsemen and the other Horsemen just had to accept it. Jeff’s first outing as a Horsemen endorsed by Ric Flair was that he did nothing while the other Four Horsemen were beat up seven men at the start of the match. He selfishly stayed to try and win this match! What a Horsemen he turned out to be.

DDP threw Pittman over the top rope. Booker T was eliminated by someone. Rick Steiner almost eliminated Disco but he held on. Nash finally eliminated Disco. Buckhouse Buck gone, Stevie Ray gone, Ron Studd was eliminated by Lex and Wright, Rick Steiner eliminated. Ultimo Dragon was eliminated by Mysterio with a headsicssors. Luger eliminated Wright. Jericho eliminated. Rick Steiner tried getting back in the ring. I was still in the dark as to who was eliminated or not as Rick is just trying to get back in the ring!

Ice Train, in a sweet looking Big E singlet, was eliminated. There was then a nWo vs WCW showdown as the spit screen finally ended. Hall spat at Jeff. DDP was in the middle and he charged at Eddie. DDP Irish Whipped Eddie into Regal who tossed out Eddie. Giant lifted Rey with one hand and thew him into Eddie which the fans popped big for. That was impressive.

Scott Hall tried an Outsiders Edge on Jarrett I think but Regal saved him. Nash clotheslined Jeff over the top rope anyway. Regal eliminated DDP but eventually the nWo eliminated Regal. At least the WCW Television Champion Steven Regal got a great performance in and made the finally six of this match!

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It was down to Luger all on his own against Giant, Hall, Nash and Syxx. 4 on 1. Luger ran wild with clotheslines. Giant got stuck on the top rope and Luger lifted him up temporarily for the Torture Rack but the nWo made the save. Hall was eliminated when Luger reversed the Outsiders Edge, Syxx was eliminated with a  Gorilla Press. Luger did a Torture Rack on Nash but Giant knocked both Luger and Nash over the top rope to win the World War III battle royal.

The finish was tremendous. Lex Luger overcoming all the odds and looking an absolute killer, even as he was about to be overwhelmed, was great to see. He got so over with this crowd. He nearly beat all the nWo by himself, just like Sting at War Games, but he was overwhelmed. If Sting was in the ring and if he and Luge were on the same page, maybe they could have won this World War III battle roya. However, one man could not beat four so the nWo. I thought it was awesome when it come to the final five.

Bobby Heenan claimed this was the greatest battle royal he’d ever seen which was incorrect. Thee were fireworks galore as the nWo win World War III.

One of the worst battle royals I’ve ever seen although the ending was pretty great and at the end of the day, the finish was what the people remember from this battle royal. ON those grounds it gets half a star as it was the one redeeming quality of this match.

Match Rating: 1/2*

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That was World War III. I just got depressed after that battle royal was over because I realised there was two more World War III PPVs that WCW produced so we’re gonna get to watch two more of these battle royals yet again. Thank god for Ultimate Dragon vs Rey Mysterio this had all the potential to be an all-time horrible PPV. However, I think that match and the finish to the battle royal saved the show in a lot of ways.

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #62 (NOVEMBER 18TH 1996) – RODDY PIPER REVEALS THAT ERIC BISCHOFF IS IN THE NWO

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

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Since Halloween Havoc 1996, Eric Bischoff had been trying to sign the “match of the decade” in booking WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan vs “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Piper was not “associated” with WCW but Bischoff claimed to have met with Piper to try and sign the match. Hogan had been calling Piper a coward and Piper had not appeared on television since the PPV. However, it was promoted that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper would be on WCW Nitro this week.

…oh yeah and this is the go-home show for WCW World III. They’ve mentioned that once or twice I guess in the last few weeks.

 

I could go on a big tirade about how badly they’ve promoted their World War III PPV this year but I won’t do that. I will forgive them for that on the grounds that this was a pretty good episode of WCW Monday Nitro. This was the best one in a long time. There was not a lot wrong with the episode and it featured a legendary WCW moment as Rowdy Roddy Piper confronted Eric Bischoff at the end of the show.

 

Date: November 18th 1996

Brand: WCW

City:Florence, South Carolina

Rating: 3.2

Commentators (First Hour): Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

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First thing they show on Nitro is not even the intro video for WCW Monday Nitro. The first thing they show is the Outsiders standing in the ring with chairs and the Nasty Boys and High Voltage both laid out, sparing us from seeing that match. I think there was another luchador tag team out there was well. I think what happened was High Voltage was wrestling a dark match but the Nasty Boys beat up those guys but then Outsiders beat up the Nasty Boys. It was crazy because they do kind of explain that later but without that, we just see the Nasty Boys randomly on the show after they were barred from the show last week! It was completely upside down with the storyline.

Kevin Nash grabbed the mic and said it was nice to see Larry Zybszko dressed up this week after Nash buried him for what he wore last week. Nash and Scott Hall intimidate Tony Schiavonie as they yelled about how they can be funny or deadly. Nash mentioned Tony’s bad neck and asked if Tony ever wanted to pick up his kids? Sounds like a threat to me.

Hall said they’ve heard how scary the Faces of Fear are and they are the two toughest guys in the business but he told “those two highlanders” to come out here and they would slap the coconut crap out of them. Hall said if the Faces of Fear won’t come to us, we’ll come to them. Nash and Hall walk to the back. FIGHTING WORDS.

So out of nowhere, Meng and The Barbarian appear out of thin air and bring the fight to the Outsiders! These two tag teams had a GREAT FIGHT! Kevin Nash would garner a reputation of being lazy in the near future but at this time, he, Hall and the Faces of Fear worked their asses off to put together a wild brawl! Nash and Meng used trash cans as swords as they battled! It was a hell of a brawl as Hall goes head first into the fire exit door! The Outsiders are selling like crazy for the Faces of Fear and it was GREAT!

They explain later what happened before the show started. It was shown that I guess the Nasty Boys were beating up High Voltage and “two Mexican friends” when the Outsiders attacked with chairs. Tony berated Larry as a wrestler for not stepping in and said he can’t be dealing with this as he has a family. Therefore, he was leaving Larry to it and Tony walked out for the rest of the show.

A unique way to start the show but I think the brawl between these four huge men that spilled out to the back really made it worth it. To give WCW credit, watching this fight really made me want to watch The Outsiders vs Faces of Fear at World War III! They’re doing Outsiders vs Faces of Fear vs Nasty Boys at the PPV so this was done with that in mind and I got excited for watching this match! Therefore, this was a success! HUGE THUMBS UP for the opening segment.

 

La Parka vs Juventud Guerrera

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We got THE DEBUT OF LA PARKA as he was booked against Juventud. I liked this match. The pacing was weird but this was exactly the type of match I expected it to be with a whole bunch of lucha spots from both men. They delivered that so I was content.

This is weird to admit but when I was younger, I had a Batman buckle belt exactly like La Parka had on for this match! This was weird booking when Juventud Guerrera, the loser of last week’s match against Miguel Perez, was back this week but Miguel Perez wasn’t. Shouldn’t the winner get booked for the next Nitro rather than the loser? What’s the incentive for Juventud to win if he just gets another match the next week anyway? It felt odd.

Juvi worked on La Parka. They exchange chops with La Parka delivering a kick to the face to floor Juvi. Mike Tenay joined Larry to save his arse on commentary but to be honest, this commentary was pretty bland especially with Tenay. I didn’t get much from them for the rest of the hour.

Juvi floored Parka with a clothesline. A bunch of lucha libre spots leads to a backbreaker for a two count. La Parka does a suicide dive into the guard rail. Juvi did a springboard hurricanrana to La Parka, who was seated on the top rope. That spot was actually pulled off really well.

Juvi did a springboard moonsault which appeared to look like a springboard pele kick because his feet landed right on Parka’s face! That can’t have fun for poor La Parka!

Parka cut off Juvi with a dropkick when Juvi went for a springboard splash. Parka did a crossbody to Juvi on the floor. Parka hit a powerbomb. Parka did a Romero Special but Juvi broke it up by just raising himself up from the hold and then just falling on top of La Parka to turn the match around! It was so basic but the fans yelled “ohhh” and reacted because Juvi landed right on the gut of Parka!

Juvi smashed Parka’s head into the turnbuckle. A part of me thought I missed an episode because they just randomly bring up that Roddy Piper would be here. That just seemed to be brought up out of nowhere after weeks of “negotiations” and Eric Bischoff supposedly being stone-walled.

Juvi did a top rope frankensteiner for a 2 count. Parka did a senton of the top rope but Juvi moved out of the way. Parka got small packaged for a 2 count. In the middle of these high-flying spots and lucha libre spots, Juvi did a random DDT! A part of me thinks they were supposed to only get a few minutes like the Miguel Perez match last weekbut they ended up getting more time at the last minute, so they just ended up doing a bunch of other spots without any real plan!

Juvi did a tornado DDT or a “rolling DDT” for a 2 count. Some fans actually started booing as I think they wanted the match to be over. Juvi tried a spinning frankensteiner but he fell down and La Parka does a tremendous springboard corkscrew for the victory.

This was a fine match with a great finish. Not much in psychology but the execution for a lot of the moves were on point. The fans popped for Parka winning so I will go ahead and say this was a success.

 

 

Dean Malenko © vs Ultimo Dragon w/Sonny Onoo for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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This was a weird one with the timing as well. It’s the J-Crown Champion from NJPW Ultimo Dragon facing the WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko for his title and it got… FOUR MINUTES! A few weeks ago, they had an episode of Nitro which saw Marcus Bagwell and Brad Armstrong get a long time for a match followed up by a Cruiserweight title match which lasted four minutes and got a bad ending. This show followed the exact same formula. Parka and Juventud got a lot of time and this big champion vs champion match got four minutes and a DQ finish! It was crazy with the time management for the show!

Although this match got four minutes, this was a great four minutes with Dragon and Malenko. They pulled off some amazing stuff and it was like a small teaser to what would have been a five star classic between these two at this time! This is a spoiler but apparently this match happened again at Starrcade 1996. We’ve got that to look forward to!

There was a good bit of mat wrestling to start of the match. Dragon and Maleno battled for the arm but then Dragon switched and worked on the leg of Malenko with a toe hold. Dean trying a kick but Dragon sweeping the leg was a spot that was pulled off beautifully. This was a small move but it worked out really well in execution!

Dragon did a cartwheel elbow smash. I love how after a massive exchange and a dragon suplex, Dragon tried a leapfrog and Dean just stood there and walloped him with a big clothesline! Some tremendous wrestling on display and in the middle of this, Malenko clotheslined Dragon out of his boots!

Dragon Irish-whipped Dean into the guard rail. Dragon missed a top rope moonsault. Dean tried a Texas Cloverleaf. Sonny Onoo got on the apron and got thrown in the ring. Dean then tossed Dragon over the top rope for the disqualification finish. Out of all the matches we’ve seen on Nitro in the last four weeks, this is the match with the disqualification for one man throwing another man over the top rope?

This was a lame finish to an otherwise awesome match. To be fair, they mentioned on commentary that Bobby Heenan picked Dean to win the World War III battle royal and he threw the J-Crown Champion over the top rope here. It at least demonstrated that Malenko can throw a man over the top rope so at the very least, they are teasing that Malenko may be able to do that to anyone that steps in his path at World War III to win the battle royal. That I very much appreciated.

 

They did show the finish of the Harlem Heat and Canadians match from last week where Parker was thrown into the ring by Stevie Ray but eventually, the referee just called off the match… seemingly for no reason.

 

“The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rogueau and Carl Ouellet w/Col Robert Parker vs “The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs

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There wasn’t much to this match other than to continue to slow build for an American Males break-up. There was no Harlem Heat there to promote the Amazing French Canadians’ match with Harlem Heat at World War III. Speaking of which, it was revealed if Harlem Heat won the match at World War III, their manager Sister Sherri will get 5 minutes in the ring with Col Robert Parker. My apologises, I guess that is the pay off to this year long storyline with Parker and Sherri. A random five minute match.

Bagwell waived the American flag coming out and gaining patriotism points with the crowd. Bagwell ran wild on the Canadians and then Riggs came in as they worked together to dispose of the Amazing French Canadians. Jacques stopped the match just so he could do some kip-ups, he encouraged Riggs to do some and then kicked him to gain control!

Riggs did a monkey flip to Jacques and Jacques almost landed right on his head. In response, a later spot see Jacques try a monkey slip but Riggs does not fall for it and punches him in the face. Of course he sees the danger in doing this spot! He damn near destroyed Jacques’ neck with the same spot earlier on in the match!

Bagwell and Riggs bump into each other for a spot and then yell at each other. To be honest, I had no idea why Bagwell was in the ring other than to crash into Riggs. It was hard to figure out what Bagwell and Riggs were going for before they crashed into each other.

Rogueau scoop slammed Ouellet into the back of Riggs which looked unpleasant for Riggs. The spot I usually see with the Amazing French Canadians is Jacques scoop-slamming Carl into an opponent who are usually laying on their back. Riggs was sitting up and so this big man was thrown right into the back of Riggs!

They do a quick double STO to Riggs as they continue to get the heat. Ouellet punched Rogueau by mistake and then Riggs was able to get the tag to Bagwell. Bagwell ran wild on the Canadians. Riggs kneed Rogueau into the head of Bagwell and then Jacques was rolled onto Bagwell for the pin by Carl.

This was a creative finish to an otherwise bland match. I didn’t think it was bad but there really wasn’t much going for it in my eyes. I love how the American Males were arguing after the match and Riggs’ big complaint was that Bagwell celebrated too much during the match! What a buzzkill this Scotty Riggs turned out to be!

 

They showed the WCW website and there was a red creepy web page they had called the WCW Dark Room. What on earth was up with that? It was like the website had suddenly changed into a website for a cult that ended up on WCW television!

 

Hugh Morrus vs Lex Luger

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This was a bad match. I don’t expect much from Lex Luger’s matches but at least they would be the Lex Luger formula for a match. They can at least accomplish the goal of getting Lex Luger over. The fans loveD the Torture Rack so you build towards that finish and then Luger delivered the move. I will get to the finish in a little bit but this match really let me down.

I love how Tenay talked up Lex Luger’s win streak when 3 weeks ago, he walked out of a match with Booker T because he saw his friend Sting in the crowd! He’s on a great roll but if he sees his friend in the crowd, he’s vulnerable. It’s like Sting is his kryptonite right now!

Hugh beat up Luger for a while as Arn cut an insert promo. Luger no-sold a slam and then taunted at Hugh by flexing his muscles. Luger hit a suplex and slammed Hugh with a hip toss.

One thing that bothered me was that Hugh did a knee to the back of Luger and Luger doesn’t feel his back to sell it. He just wobbled like a penguin to the corner and doesn’t even try to sell it. Luger really has a hard time trying to sell and usually I will try to block it out in my mind, but it really irritated me here. Then Hugh did a polish hammer and Luger fell down and became unmoving…. It was so inconsistent of how he sold during the match and it was really jarring.

Luger made a comeback with 3 clotheslines and did a back elbow to change things up! Hugh did his own clothesline but then he missed a big splash. Luger motioned of the Torture Rack, the fans went crazy as Luger is able to get another big man up in the air for this move. However, he’s unable to get Hugh properly up for the move. This is a conspiracy theory and I don’t have much evidence to go on but I’m fairly certain Hugh dead-weighted him. Luger got the man on his shoulders just like he’s done with other men way bigger than Hugh Morrus, but Morrus slid to the other side of Lex’s shoulders. Luger just then carried him like he’s about to do a shinbreaker. He dropped Hugh and then the referee decided that Hugh had given up.

Luger was pissed off in the ring that he wasn’t able to do the spot properly. I think Luger wanted to do what he did with Roadblock a month ago and try the spot again but this referee decided “he got him up, let’s take the match home” which did not sit well with Luger. This was a bad match with a horrible finish. I personally think this was the worst thing on the entire show.

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Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger. All of a sudden, Sting showed up through the crowd with a red baseball bat. He doesn’t have the black baseball bat yet but he did have a red one. I don’t know the significance of why it was red. Luger and Sting have a stare down. He poked Luger in the chest with his bat and pushed him into the corner with the bat. He gave Luger the bat and left. Larry then goes on a weird tirade along the lines of: “even I, as brilliant as I am psychologically, can’t figure this out.” Was there any need for Larry to say that other than to get himself over?

Luger then doesn’t respond to Mean Gene’s further questioning and then just left because Luger can’t figure out what was going on with Sting either. He looked dumb-founded. This felt like a filler Sting appearance because they certainly didn’t follow up Sting attacking Jeff Jarrett last week. It’s important to continue to establish the previous Sting/Luger relationship but this just seemed to accomplish nothing in the storyline.

 

They showed an interview with Nick Patrick and the solicitor Alan Sharpe which I think was from WCW Saturday Night. Chris Jericho and Teddy Long interrupted them. Teddy called out Alan Sharpe and claimed his law firm was called “do we cheat them and how” or something. Teddy made a comment along the lines of  Jericho could beat up Nick Patrick with one arm tied behind his back and I guess it was booked. Chris Jericho with one hand tied behind his back vs Nick Patrick booked for World War III.

 

 

Johnny Grunge vs Chris Jericho

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Ever since Chris Jericho arrived in WCW, I have had the pleasure of listening to Chris Jericho’s “All the Days” first WCW theme song. It’s a tremendous song and I was always happy listening to it. I’m not sure what happened here but all of a sudden, on the WWE Network, they played Jericho’s WWE Break the Walls Down theme as he came down for this WCW match. They couldn’t just play the All the Days song again? They had to put on the clearly out-dated future WWE theme? That song doesn’t sound like it belonged on a WCW show from 1996 because it clearly didn’t fit the era. If this is going to be the case for the rest of Jericho’s WCW run while I watch Nitro on the WWE Network, I’m going to be really upset.

Jericho worked on Grunge for a while and then Nick Patrick came down, still with a neck brace and also wearing sunglasses and all black. I will get into this later but Nick Patrick wearing a neck brace and still accepting a wrestling match with Chris Jericho is unintentionally hilarious when you think about it!

Jericho tried a top rope moonsault, landed on his feet and then Grunge floored Jericho with a lariat. Jericho did a “jump spin wheel kick” to Grunge and then followed this up with a springboard dropkick.

Grunge got mad and grabbed a chair but Jericho slid between the legs and dropped Grunge face first into the apron. Grunge did a clothesline to a seated Jericho, who was sat on a chair Grunge brought into the ring.

Then we got another horrible finish. First, Grunge grabbed a table and set it up….. SINCE WHEN ARE TABLES ALLOWED IN A MATCH? I know the Dudley Boyz did spots like this for years but this is not, at least it was not announced as, a hardcore match. Grunge is just allowed to use the tables for a spot which is even more illegal than Malenko throwing a man over the top rope.

Grunge smashed Jericho’s head into the table and it’s not a disqualification. Heenan said if Patrick were in the ring he would have disqualified them and Eric Bischoff’s grand rebuttal for this excellent point was… “he hasn’t used it yet.” He said this about 5 SECONDS after watching Grunge use the table to his advantage. I’m so glad now that Eric Bischoff will be a heel from here on out because that was a ridiculously babyface defence of this referee! Goldfish memory on display by Bischoff!

Grunge tried a chair leg drop but went crashing through the table and Jericho did a top rope dropkick for the win. The match was fine minus the blatant use of weapons and I hate that this was all allowed during the same show where you can’t even from a man over the top rope without getting disqualified. This… SUCKED.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Jericho. Teddy Long came out. Teddy said the match might be too much for Jericho and it is played up that CHRIS JERICHO may lose this match to REFEREE NICK PATRICK. Even if Jericho had a hand tied behind his back, he’s wrestling a referee who was wearing a neck brace. Yes, Patrick had apparently had legitimate experience as a wrestler and it is likely that Patrick is faking his injury as part of this storyline. However, how Jericho would be so incapable in the ring against a REFEREE is absolutely ridiculous. How bad much Jericho be in storyline where as soon as he loses a hand, he cannot beat anybody? By that logic, I would have been able to beat Chris Jericho in 1996 and I was two years old at the time!

Jericho put over Teddy as a intelligent man. Jericho said the match was the only way we’d get a coward like Patrick in the ring with him and accepted the match for World War III.

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The nWo arrived with Hollywood Hogan, Miss Elizabeth, Vincent and Ted DiBiase. Heenan bailed but returned later. Hogan grabbed a mic and said it’s time for Hollywood. Hogan demanded Bischoff tell everyone that he’s the biggest star and he’s a bigger star than Piper. He demanded that he tell them that he’s a bigger icon than Rowdy Roddy Piper. Bischoff quietly said it and then Hogan demanded he tell everyone that Piper is scared of Hogan. Hogan told Bischoff to say Piper is 100 times richer than Piper which probably was true at this time! If you consider all the money that was thrown at Hogan at this time for movie roles, television and his big ass WCW contract at this time, this was most likely a true statement! Bischoff relented and said it. Hogan said now that the nWo is running the show, carry on.

…in hindsight, why did this happen? I’m gonna jump ahead to the finish of the show but Eric Bischoff was later revealed to be aligned with Hogan. Therefore, why did Hogan and Bischoff feel the need to put on this facade where Hogan forced Bischoff to talk about how great he is? If he wanted Bischoff to tell everyone how great he is… HAVE HIM TALK ABOUT HOW GREAT HE IS. It’s Bischoff’s show, so he can do what he wants! I’m sure Bischoff will spend the next 3 years talking about how great Hogan is so why not do it here on the night he’s gonna turn heel anyway?

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Then Mean Gene Okerlund popped up on the ramp to speak to Diamond Dallas Page again. Mean Gene repeated the line from last week claiming DDP would be the 8th man of nWo if DDP accepted the Outsiders’ offer so they are getting the number for the amount of members wrong. Unless Miss Elizabeth and possibly nWo Sting are not officially part of the group, I have no idea why they keep saying DDP would be the 8th man.

DDP started to cut a promo but the nWo arrive. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, The Giant and Syxx were there. I’m guessing the Outsiders won the fight with the Faces of Fear from the start of the show because they were back on the show but the Faces of Fear weren’t. Hall asked if DDP had got his wake up call yet. DDP didn’t like the comment about Bischoff last week. Nash is talking again about how DDP didn’t get it with regards to why Bischoff was so important. Giant said we should punk him out so I’m guessing The Giant is not clued in on the plan to get Eric Bischoff in the team. Nash said something very beautiful was gonna happen tonight which was apparently a quote from Space Odyssey 2001.

 

Bobby Eaton vs Jeff Jarrett

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Bischoff’s explanation of why nWo are allowed time was that the more WCW censored them, the more people will want to hear more from them. This made little sense to me but obviously the line made a lot more sense at the end of the night.

Eaton and Jarrett wrestled and were among the dying breed of bleach blonde hair wrestlers in WCW! Jarrett worked on Eaton on the outside. Jarrett hit a suplex in the ring and went for the Figure Four Leg Lock as Ric Flair with a cast came out in a Christmas sweater as Jarrett secured the submission victory. This was short for the purposes to get Flair on the screen and to at least give Jarrett momentum heading into the rematch with The Giant at World War III.

Mean Gene interviewed Ric and Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett said we had to unite. They brought up how Sting dropped Jarrett last week. Jarrett said he chopped down Giant at Havoc to which I have no idea what was talking about. I seem to recall The Giant kicking Jarrett’s arse and Ric saving Jarrett from getting chokeslammed!

Ric got on the mic and for the first time on Nitro screamed “MEEEEAAAN GENE!” for WCW. It was glorious as Flair was so happy to be there! Ric said Jarrett is good to go. Ric said Dr Jim fixed him up and the Nature Boy will be back soon. Sting was up in the rafters watching this. Ric said Jeff Jarrett was in the Four Horsemen because the Nature Boy said so and so the other Four Horsemen members had to accept it. Ric and Jeff both strut their stuff and party and this worked with the South Carolina fans big time.

 

Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart vs Jim Powers

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Bubba hit a Boss Man slam for the clean victory. The match was OK. Very forgettable. Bubba celebrating with Jimmy in his arms was awesome. Those were my full notes of this match!

This was a filler match if I ever saw one. It wasn’t bad but all of my other notes about it were about things not to do with the match!

With that said, it was interesting that there was no Teddy Long with Jim Powers this week so I’m assuming Teddy is with Jericho until after World War III.

Bischoff tried to downplay Piper, saying it was unlikely he was gonna be there for Nitro. He mumbled about movies and management and whatever. You could tell that the second hour meant nothing to Nitro (well except the main-event angle) as JIM POWERS VS BIG BUBBA was the semi-main-event match of Nitro!

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman vs Eddie Guerrero

This match was a big reason why I loved this show. I have seen Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero wrestle at least a thousand times by now! It’s not that much on this series but I watched this match so many times and this match was a thing of beauty. It was a wrestling clinic when it needed to be, it was a fight when it needed to be and it delivered a winner and a loser! There was no shenanigans with Woman, Taskmaster, the Guerreros or even the referee. This was a true wrestling match and these two delivered as always.

Benoit tried a crossface early on to no avail. Eddie turned things around. Benoit was able to turn things right around himself and he grabbed Eddie and started slapping him as he yelled at him. The intensity of Benoit was always high to an extent but with Eddie, the intensity from him and Guerrero was always really high for these matches and it really introduced a level of realism to an otherwise fake wrestling match.

Benoit did a Northern Lights suplex. He went for the cover and when Eddie kicked out, Benoit immediately grabbed Eddie’s wrist for a wrist lock. This was not a typical match where they do a kick out and then lay there for a minute until the next spot. Benoit went for the cover and almost RIGHT AWAY moved onto the next hold. It was sublime.

It was so clear as Benoit was working on the arm of Guerrero. Benoit tried a powerbomb but Eddie rolled him up for a near fall. Eddie fired back. Benoit and Eddie crashed to the mat with a superplex as they came back from the break.

Benoit tried a powerbomb but Eddie turned the momentum into a hurricanrana to the outside. Eddie and Benoit fired away at each other on the outside with punches as Eddie showed some Latino Heat. Woman got in the way and Benoit took advantage of this distraction.

Eddie small packaged Benoit for a  2 count and Eddie hit a belly to back suplex. Eddie went for a splash but Eddie saw Benoit move and stopped himself. Eddie did a frankensteiner which Benoit reversed into a sunset flip for the pinfall victory.

Great match as usual and a clever finish. Everything they did was on point and I would HIGHLY recommend watching this wrestling clinic displayed by Benoit and Guerrero as usual. A tremendous wrestling main-event.

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Moving on to a tremendous main-event angle! Eric Bischoff got in the ring to cut a promo. Eric apologised for what Hogan made him do tonight and WCW were gonna do everything in their power to sign Piper for a match with Hogan. He said WCW will try to reach him through his attorneys and management to get him. Then bagpipes play and it is Rowdy Roddy Piper on the stage! Eric is taken back but not overjoyed either.

Piper had a microphone as fans go crazy for him. Piper said it’s nice to be back. He came here to tell some truth. Piper said he’s never heard so many lies in his life other than when he himself was saying them! Piper said he was king of the frat house as he talked about Charlotte, North Carolina. He said he was PO’d. He understood someone was calling him a coward.

He quotes LL Cool J, who he described as a “rapping kind of guy!” The line was: “You slap Roddy Piper and you didn’t get a hassle” and then he turns around, pointed at Bischoff and declared: “you’re a liar”.

Piper wanted to talk about “jerks and lairs” and then turned to Bischoff. He shook Bischoff’s hands. He questioned Bischoff about his claims of travelling to meet with Piper. He goads him into saying that he took a coach to visit. Piper responds with a line which I always remember from when I watched this angle for the first time. I made it clear when I started this series that I’d never watched the original WCW shows at the time but I have watched angles here and there. I watch this angle and I always remember the line where Piper then asked Bischoff: “Was the road crooked, or was the road straight?”

Piper grabbed Bischoff and called him a piece of shit before the nWo arrive to save Eric. Bischoff. They grab Piper as Bischoff hugged Hollywood Hogan. Bischoff changes his swagger and Hogan reveals everyone is working for Bischoff. Hogan then said Bischoff was working for the nWo so it wasn’t particularly clearly who was actually in charge of the group! Long story short, Bischoff was working with the nWo the entire time.

Piper tried to claw at Bischoff but he wasn’t able to do it. Hogan called Piper a loser. He said he was never been anything in the business until he wrestled Hogan. Hogan called Piper a coward. Hogan took off his belt as Piper tried to get at Hogan but police and security try to pull Piper away this time. Piper breaks away from the security but he is literally pulled away by his coat. The Giant VAULTED out of the ring during all of this in an incredible feat of athleticism form the big man. The nWo leave and Piper agreed to fight, he’ll have a contract at World War III and he tells Hogan to kiss his ass.

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This was a famous segment! The reveal that Eric was in the nWo all along. It was clear that this was in the works for some time to reveal Bischoff as being a part of the group. Heenan questioned him about some of his decisions last month and him being with the group is a logically way to explain how the nWo had gotten so far with their take over of WCW. They had a man on the inside in the WCW President Bischoff.

The crazy thing is, Bischoff completely transformed into the cocky asshole Bischoff that I always remembered growing up from watching him in WWE. He was the RAW General Manager when I first started watching wrestling and for the last year and a half when doing these reviews, I’ve seen him as this regular babyface commentator. As soon as they pulled the trigger had him turn, it was almost like he fit right in. He now had the means to say whatever he wanted and act the way he wanted on television!

The one thing I wanted to add before I finish this review was this show was great in terms of actually putting together a weekly television show. When the smoke cleared, this did nothing to promote the WRESTLING PAY-PER-VIEW they had set for the Sunday. There was hardly any mention of the World War III battle royal. The Piper thing only set up a segment for World War III to sign a contact for a match on a different show. Benoit vs Guerrero, as good as it was, never played into the PPV. The Giant and the Outsiders have matches booked for World War III but there’s no other mention of nWo involvement in the World War III battle royal.

All of this stuff is great for weekly ratings but as a means to sell PPVs, I don’t think this did what it was supposed to do. I did check and apparently, there was a big dip in PPV buys for World War  III than the pay-per-view before Halloween Havoc. Of course it did. As much as I personally hated the Randy Savage/Hollywood Hogan program, they dedicated so much of Nitro to this stupid storyline that people wanted to watch that match. They put in the work to promote Halloween Havoc as a big deal. For World War III they have not done that, which is sad.

 

The next review coming up shortly is World War III on the blog. We will review the entire show including Rowdy Roddy Piper signing the contract to face Hollywood Hogan and the World War III battle royal to determine the number one contender for Hogan’s championship at a later stage. Be sure to watch out for that on the blog by following it to get updates for future Nitro reviews. Leave a comment and spread the word if you can as we’re still on this journey to review every WCW Nitro episode and pay-per-view since the very first Nitro! The WCW Nitro review reading order is available below!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #61 (NOVEMBER 11TH 1996) – STING DROPS JEFF JARRETT WITH HIS FIRST EVER SCORPION DEATH DROP

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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I have no idea how to grade this episode of WCW Nitro I’m about to review other than it was completely different then last week. Some things stayed the same with the Hollywood Hogan closing segment for example. There were new faces and new developments with the likes of Sting. Even with some concepts that had been used before, they seemed fresh when used again this week after so many weeks of the same boring other stuff. I will at least give this episode of Nitro some credit. They changed things up a little bit. That made for a more enjoyable show in my eyes.

 

Date: November 11th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: St Petersburg, Florida

Rating: 3.7

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

A couple of notes before we get into the show. I mentioned that things felt different on this episode of Nitro. A big reason for that was what happened last week on WWF Monday Night RAW. We reviewed the episode of RAW where Brian Pillman pulled out a gun on live television and Steve Austin tried to break into his house. The big reason why RAW did that was to do a huge angle as they had move an hour earlier to go up against Nitro’s first hour instead of Nitro’s second hour.

We’ve seen it on Nitros where the big angles would happen on the second hour to go up against RAW but now WCW had to change it up. Literally in the first hour, the big angle of the show took place where Sting finally got into the ring and attacked somebody. We will get more into that with the review.

The second note I wanted to make was despite what happened with Brian Pillman, the ratings went up for Nitro! The WWF gained viewership as well but it is telling that WCW did not lose any viewers for Nitro. If anything, with both shows gaining more viewers, it just seemed a lot more people were becoming interested in wrestling. Maybe word got around about what Pillman did so old WWF fans started watching RAW again and maybe some RAW fans had enough of the RAW antics and decided to watch Nitro. It’s interesting to think about with those ratings in mind.

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman vs Jeff Jarrett

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They mentioned at the start of the show that there was no Sting up in the rafters and security had been looking for him. They also showed the Jeff Jarrett promo from last week where he called himself the lead horse and he called out Sting. That promo was the whole premise for this match happening between Four Horsemen member Chris Benoit and the man wanting to join the horsemen Jeff Jarrett.

A little boy was shown in the crowd covering his ears to block out Jarrett’s music coming out which I actually thought was rather cute! Taskmaster cut a weird insert promo to Benoit about being “the man” in relation to his relationship with Woman. It was weird when you think about the Taskmaster character from a year ago when Taskmaster was like an evil wizard or something rather than this creepy possessive husband that he’s portraying in late 1996 Nitro?

Jeff and Chris wrestled for a bit and when they both stood up after a while, Benoit chopped Jarrett right in the face! This was not a chop to the chest. They got back up to their feet and Benoit unleashed a chop which caught Jarrett right in the mouth. It was hard to tell whether this was planned or not because then things broke down to a brawl on the mat as Jarrett and Benoit traded fists, which the fans popped like crazy for. That would suggest that this was planned but Jarrett’s facial expressions made it seem like he did not know this was coming. Maybe he was expecting like a slap rather than a knife edge chop to the face!

I guess that was kind of the beauty of Chris Benoit matches where there was a real sense of realism where it feels everything Benoit did was real. That seems like a silly sentence but this spot blurred the lines of what was a work and what was a shoot and it worked with this crowd once it broke down to a fight! Benoit was clearly the fan favourite out of the two at this time.

The referee did this next spot twice during the match. I’m not sure who this referee was but Jarrett did a move on the ropes and the referee did the count to four and then he wrestled Jarrett off of Benoit to break the hold. Then Benoit would later work on Jarrett in the ropes, the referee did the count to four, tried to pull Benoit off of Jarrett and then RE-STARTED THE COUNT before Benoit eventually broke the hold. For god’s sake, make up your mind as to how you want to enforce the five count in these matches.

Jarrett suplexed Benoit out of the ring. Jarrett taunted and then out of nowhere appeared the man called Sting. The fans went bonkers as Sting got into the ring and dropped Jarrett with his first-ever Scorpion Death Drop to a thunderous pop. The match was thrown out. Benoit was hesitant to get in the ring but Sting eventually left the ring himself. Woman talked to Benoit and said: “we don’t know about that guy (Sting) but we know Jarrett is WCW.” Woman tried to talk Benoit into picking him up but Benoit reluctantly grabbed him up by the hair to lift Jeff up. It was an aggressive pull up but it was at least an attempt to show concern for Jarrett.

This angle was weird because Sting took out Jarrett and the announcers can’t figure out why. They’re speculating left and right as to why Sting did this and whether he was with the nWo or what was going on. It’s weird because it was apparent to me as to why Sting attacked him. They even SHOWED THE PROMO from last week where Jarrett called out Sting and said Sting dropped the ball or whatever Jarrett said last week. Sting retaliated and dropped Jarrett and left. It was pretty obvious to me but I guess folks like Tony Schiavonie and Eric Bischoff couldn’t figure this out!

I thought this was a great moment. This plaeds into the angle that Sting could strike at any time. He could attack anyone at any time. Last time he attacked anyone, it was the nWo Sting. Now he’s taken out WCW’s Jeff Jarrett. It plays into his lone wolf gimmick and the fans went bonkers for him. They’ve been wanting to see Sting in the ring and they got that, whether he attacked a WCW guy or a nWo guy. He delivered and the fans appreciated it. This gets a THUMBS UP!

 

Some dude walked up to the announcers with an envelope as the security took him away. Tony opened up the package. They were told to play this tape from 1992 in Europe. I guess this is about Rowdy Roddy Piper although it wasn’t clear at this time what this tape was about. I guess it took WCW the entire show to be able to play this all important video package or that they just wanted to build up suspense!

Like imagine this wasn’t a Piper segment and it was something completely different! WCW doesn’t even know what’s on that video! It’s possible that WCW had to play the video backstage FIRST before they could decide to show it on Nitro, so maybe that could explain away why they didn’t it right away!

 

They show Ric Flair at a Health Centre. This was great because they have this cheesy ER/General Hospital song playing as they show a “Dr Andrews” talking to Ric. This was straight out of the 90s and it looked so corny. They then show a close-up of the doctor turning to face the camera. He turned his head like this was a roll-call or part of a television intro where super models turns their heads to the camera for example. This doctor turned around and did like a half smile in what was the least coolest close up in TV intro history! I died with laughter when I saw that. 

The doctor explained that Flair had a tear in his rotator cuff which helps you raise your arm. They explained what they did and stated it would take about 4 months for Ric to recover. They explain Ric’s arm was twice as thick as average arm because he was lifting weights. The explanation was actually interesting as they talked about the extent of the injury but the music was glorious. This was a fine injury update video!

 

Malya Hosaka vs Zero w/Sonny Onoo in the WCW Women’s Championship Tournament

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STILL NO BRACKET FOR THIS WCW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT. NOT… ONE on an episode. So yes, I will assume this was a first round match but they never explained it or even showed a bracket.

They explain Zero won a tournament in Singapoore to win the title she was bringing out with her on this episode. Zero came out and the first thing Larry said was: “is that a lady?” If this tournament goes one match without making a joke about the women, I’d be stunned.

Hosaka tried a few dropkicks which were no sold by Zero but Zero knocked her down. Zero did a suplex and followed this up with a drop kick. Hosaka tried a sunset flip but Zero dropped her weight into the chest to stop Hosaka. Zero did a throat thrust and delivered a short arm lariat for a two count. I guess it was explained Zero pulled her up after the referee counted to two. Zero did a slightly more brutal looking version of the Razor’s Edge for the win via pinfall.

As establishing a top contender in the women’s title tournament, this was an effective way to do it. No shenanigans from the manager or the referee. Zero beat her arse, hit a big move and won! That creates interest in seeing the two tournament favourites Zero and Madusa face each other and find out who would win. THUMBS UP for a great way to build up a top contender.

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Mean Gene Okerlund was back. I was so happy to see Mean Gene back. I mentioned last week about how if only Mean Gene were here, he could have helped Jarrett out with his promo from last week. Well, he was back doing interviews!

Mean Gene said it’s good to be back and so he must owe someone money! Mean Gene brought out and questioned Diamond Dallas Page and the nWo’s interest in him during the last few weeks. DDP said he didn’t need anyone help because if anyone makes one mistake he’ll hit the Diamond Cutter. DDP admitted he used to manage Scott Hall and tag with Kevin Nash but that does not make them in a position to get them involved in his matches.

The Outsiders arrived. Hall said DDP needed to think about the present and the future. He told him to jump aboard the black and white express. Hall said DDP can be nWo 4 Life. DDP said if he joined he would have been the 8th member which surely is not the case by this point. I’m pretty sure Vincent was the 8th member and then Miss Elizabeth joined. I think we are well beyond 8 members at this time.

Nash said wrestling is as political as it gets and when you consider the source of that line, there was no question that Nash was spot on with this line! Nash alluded to Bischoff living near DDP which I guess was why DDP was getting opportunities in WCW. It wasn’t particularly clear at this point why he brought up Bischoff although this could easily be foreshadowing from Nash regarding the nWo. That line just seemed very weird on its own.

Nash said they couldn’t come to DDP first because of politics and I guess they needed Hollywood Hogan first for their evil plan. Nash said: “you don’t get it and you’re never gonna get it.” I actually thought this was a good back and forth between DDP and the Outsiders. DDP’s not interested in being 8th best and Nash is trying to politic his way to getting DDP on their side. Nash was trying to big up DDP and get him on board but DDP was seeing right through him and how much Nash actually wanted DDP on the team. This was good!

By the way, these are all the nWo members I think are with the group at this point. Unless there are some new members which I don’t know about, this is where the New World Order stands:

  1. Scott Hall
  2. Kevin Nash
  3. Hollywood Hogan
  4. Ted DiBiase
  5. The Giant
  6. nWo Sting
  7. Syxx
  8. Vincent
  9. Miss Elizabeth

I mean it’s possible DDP was talking about himself being the Outsiders’ eight choice without counting themselves! If Hogan was their 1st choice, DDP will have then been the 8th choice if they were not counting themselves. To call DDP the eight member though, that doesn’t make any sense.

 

Rey Mysterio Jr vs Ciclope

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This was a great match but these men really did a number on themselves with some of the spots they did. It’s safe to say they got roughed up during this match!

Ultimo Dragon was out there with 4 title belts that he had on himself. I’ll talk about this briefly. Ultimo Dragon had won the J-Crown from NJPW. He won a tournament in August 1996 and the titles were incorporated from a bunch of promotions including NWA, NJPW, CMLL and WCW. They unified 8 different titles from different promotions! Believe it or not, part of the J-Crown was the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship!

So Ultimo Dragon was the J-Crown with all the titles and on WCW Nitro, he was appearing on Nitro episodes with the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship! It’s so crazy because we’ve covered an angle where Madusa threw the WWF Women’s title in the trash can and the WWF did an angle in 1991 where Ric Flair walked onto WWF television with the WCW World title. Dragon is casually the WWF Light Heavyweight Champion while working for WCW and the WWF had no idea! As far as I can tell, the WCW announcers didn’t even mention it! It was just crazy to think about.

The WWF eventually figured out was what going on and the WWF demanded the reigning champion later, Shinjiro Otani, to return the title because the WWF wanted to do their own WWF Light Heavyweight title themselves! It’s crazy as to how micro-managed and controlling of their own content WWE is in 2020 and in 1996, the Light Heavyweight title was being won by WCW contracted wrestlers and they didn’t bat an eye for a long time!

Rey and Ciclope wrestled for like one minute before the announcers explained who Rey’s opponent was in the ring. Ciclope worked on the arm of Rey but Rey used his agility to get out of it but Ciclope knocked him right back down. Rey did a springboard hurricanarana and hit a sweet suicide dive into the guard rail.

Rey went for the frankensteiner but Ciclope absolutely levelled him with a clothesline. Ciclope did a sunset flip powerbomb on Rey to the floor which must have messed Rey up big time but it only got a two count.

WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko came out ironically in black and white although this wasn’t brought up on commentary! The commentators was too busy asking if Ciclope’s name wasn’t pronounced Cyclops Pay instead. The prioritises of this announce team was incredible to hear!

Ciclope did a drapping DDT from the apron. Psychosis, the number one contender to Dean Malenko’s title for World War III, came out behind Malenko. Malenko refuse to look back and Psychosis just puts his hands up! Dean did not give a damn about this contender and it was so unintentionally great. You have Psychosis as the number one contender and Dean saw him as just a non-threat! What a burial of poor Psychosis!

Ciclope did a waist lock powerbomb for a two count. Rey came off the rope as a springboard and Ciclope caught him and dropped him RIGHT on his head with a catching tombstone! It looked naughty but I am extremely impressed they were able to pull off such a move. Rey did an reverse frankensteiner off the top rope crashing the floor! A bunch of crazy spots one after another from these two took place. Rey then did a frankensteiner into the ring for the 3 count! A hard-hitting but solid cruiserweight match.

Malenko eventually turned around and noticed Psychosis. So Malenko stood their for 3 minutes without acknowledging his upcoming challenger…. and then nothing happened! They both just went to the back and we continued on with the show! That was a bizarre aspect of this match!

 

They showed that WCW’s website had being hacked during the week. Obviously that was a storyline hacking of their website but if this were real, do you really think the company would gladly promote it like WCW did! “Fans, our website is so crap that we were able to be hacked on WCWwrestling.com” or whatever the website was.

A bunch of geeks come out with nWo signs as Syxx and the Outsiders follow them. Syxx was carrying an Cable Ace award. Scott Hall cut a promo saying the nWo are the reason TNT is the hottest show on cable. Hall and Kevin Nash wanted to make this show nWo Nitro. Hall said the Outsiders were coming for the Cable Ace awards as they had that event in November. He said nWo is the reason for the success of Monday Nitro. They promoted the  nwowrestling.com website that came online. Nash made fun of Larry’s outfit which he was right to do! This was a shocking bit of clothing from the “Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko! Nash revealed plans to get a production team going and vowing to turn this into nWo Nitro. Hall threw a tooth pick at Larry as they left.

 

Scott Norton vs Lex Luger

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This was the first match of the second hour and to kick off the second hour was the return of Scott Norton. They revealed Scott Norton had just won a tag team tournament in Japan, to which Tenay said was “over the Orient”. Bischoff talked about Sting.

Arn Anderson talked about facing Lex Luger again at the World War III PPV. Currently, the World War III consists of at least two rematches from Halloween Havoc. It was Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson again and The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett again. Even Chris Benoit vs Taskmaster was booked for World War III which was a repeat of The Great American Bash.

There was one awkward spot in this match where Norton did a backbreaker and both men just fell down to the mat. Sting re-appeared in the rafters. Luger tried a clothesline on the outside but ended up crashing arm first into the ring post. Norton got the heat. Luger did a back suplex to get back in the match. He knocked Norton down with a forearm.

Luger was selling his arm for a long time during this match, clutching his arm as he ran across the ring for example. Norton tried big splash from the top rope but Luger evaded this. Luger was able to get big Norton up on his shoulders for the Torture Rack for the win. A typical Lex Luger vs big man match and Luger racked up another clean victory. As a means to build up Lex Luger as a big babyface at a time where WCW needed big babyface, this was a good way to do it. I didn’t think the match was that good but the finish was what it needed to be.

I don’t think beating Scott Norton for his first match back was particularly a great move but if you’re in a competitive match with someone like Lex Luger and lose, I don’t see that being hurtful to Norton. Losing clean in a competitive match is better than having a match with an overbooked finish that nobody could possibly care about.

 

Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger. Luger said he didn’t have any more answers than anyone else in the building about Sting. There was no calls answered, no messages answered. Luger said he’s racked some of the biggest and the baddest in WCW. WCW is in its darkest hour as nWo had the tag titles, world title and wanted their own show. Luger admitted he made a mistake in not trusting Sting but WCW wanted him back and wanted him to stop doing what he’s doing. A great promo by Luger. Say what you will about Lex Luger, the “Total Package” hardly ever cut a bad promo at this time. He was a very good talker.

 

“The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rougeau and Carl Ouellet w/Col Robert Parker vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Sister Sherri

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This was one of the worst segments I’ve seen on Nitro so far in this Nitro review series. Before we get into it, I’ll explain what the match was because this is important. It’s the American French Canadians vs Harlem Heat. For a year, they did a storyline where Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri were together. This was the storyline since I think the first ever WCW Nitro, maybe the second, where Parker was courting Sherri.

They dedicated an entire year to this storyline so you’re thinking that they would be a big pay off. The PAY OFF for this angle took place on WCW Saturday Night where Parker came down to ringside for a Harlem Heat match but Sherri punched him down and Harlem Heat beat up Parker before he could retaliate. AND THAT’S IT… because Col Robert Parker was already aligned with the Amazing French Canadians on Nitro, dressed like them, to go up against Sister Sherri and her tag team Harlem Heat.

First of all, the idea that this year long storyline ended on WCW Saturday Night of all places and just ended like it was nothing was incredible. It wasn’t like Parker cheated on Sherri or vice versa or that there was any significant incident which caused the break up. Harlem Heat lost the tag titles, they had a few squabbles and then Sherri is just done with Parker. If you were invested in this storyline, they basically gave you a giant middle finger.

Now they have a tag team match and The Amazing French Canadians jumped Harlem Heat before the bell. The tag teams fight for a while. Booker hit an axe kick as they cut to the back during this match. Who should be in the back trying to get into the arena but… THE NASTY BOYS.

The Nasty Boys were at security, trying to get into the show. They did a split screen so they could show both the match and the Nasty Boys angle. The Nasty Boys were asking to see Doug Dillinger head of security of WCW. Doug said they’re not coming in. The backstage stuff was so loud and I think was on a bigger screen as this was going on. After all this attention to the Nasty Boys, the resolution was that the Nasty Boys got told they were not coming in and then they leave.

As we cut back to the match full screen, Sherri is shown in the ring somehow as Nasty Boys left the arena. Parker and Sherri  I guess got into the ring as the match just got thrown out. I have no idea what in the heck happened in this match. Sherri shouted that she wanted to kill Parker and that was that.

No, I did not care enough to got back and re-watch the match. In 1996, people didn’t have the ability to rewind the match so why should I? Firstly, was it really that important that you dedicated split screen to showing an angle where the Nasty Boys were not being let in for I don’t even know what reason. This had nothing to do with the match. Secondly, the match just ended I think just because the managers got into a fight and that’s that! The tag teams were second fiddle to this storyline. It was a miserable bit of television. HUGE THUMBS DOWN.

In case was wondering, when the Nasty Boys were leaving apparently the Booty Man/Brutus Beefcake was outside of the arena with them and NO ANNOUNCER MENTIONED THIS! This was easy to miss but he was a random long haired dude in book I guess also trying to get in the show.

 

Konan vs Chris Jericho

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Nick Patrick was the referee because of course he was. He’s feuding with Chris Jericho so despite this clear conflict of interest, he’s refereeing Jericho’s matches.

Jericho and Konan did some great cruiserweight spots together. Jericho ran wild with wheel kick and clothesline went for a cover but Patrick took an eternity to make the count, frustrating Jericho. Jericho missed a springboard splash to the outside.

Konan locked on a submission as Konan got the heat. Jericho tried to fight back but a simple dropkick to the knee was enough for Konan to regain control. Konan hit a powerbomb and Patrick did a unintentionally slow 2 count. Konan is the heel and the apparently heel referee Patrick counted at the same speed for Konan as he did when he counted down Jericho’s pinfalls.

Konan locked on the armbar. Jericho did a Brock Lesnar like German Suplex where he folded Konan inside out and sent him to the other side of the ring. The least majestic german suplex I’ve ever seen Jericho do in his career but it still looked great! Jericho got a roll up for a 2 count.

Konan dropkicked Jericho into Patrick and so Patrick called for the bell as he declared that JERICHO was disqualified and Konan was declared the winner. The nuclear heat Patrick got after this disqualification was scorching. Not quiet the heat he got when he did a DQ for the Steiners vs Sting and Luger but the fans were irate.

It was the finish I expected from Patrick but the match leading up to that point was pretty great. These two worked well together and heck, the finish played into the Patrick/Jericho angle so it accomplished something towards that storyline. Not to mention, this is the first Nitro in about two months now to not feature Teddy Long. The role of Teddy Long was given to Chris Jericho this week. At the very least, they changed up the formula a little bit by having someone else get screwed by Nick Patrick rather than Teddy Long. This was fine.

 

Juventud Guerrerea vs Miguel Perez

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There were no entrances as they just went straight into the action for this one. Miguel Perez was great in this match but he had the THE HAIRIEST BODY I’ve ever seen. It looked like Miguel forgot to take of his jumper! His shoulders and chest was covered with body hair but that did not stop him from putting on a great performance for his WCW Nitro debut.

Miguel did a springboard corkscrew for a 2 count which actually looked really cool. Juvi did a springboard dropkick to the floor. Juvi did a splash to the floor. Juvi tried a Frakensteiner from the guard rail but Miguel caught him and slam himmed down to the mat. It had a sick thud to it.

Miguel did a cartwheel dive to the outside. Miguel tried a tornado DDT but Juvi flipped out of it before the impact. Juvi tried a 450 splash but Miguel got a roll up and won the match.

That was a fun few minutes and the fans did pop for the finish. THUMBS UP! This was a success

 

Ted DiBiase and Vincent were up by the rafters. Ted asked for Sting. Ted said great minds think a like and thanked him for taking out Jarrett. He said: “We know you’ve got a lot of your mind but you’re wearing the black and white nWo colours.” Vincent unveiled the nWo t-shirt as Ted made the plea to Sting to join the nWo.

 

“Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart vs “American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs

The American Males did a stupid pose underneath some fireworks and Meng of course jumped them and kicked their arse to start of the match. It was like they were trying to do an early version of the Young Bucks’ poses but it looked so goofy and the heels jumped which I strongly cheered for!

American Males turned things around. Meng tried a springboard crossbody but to no avail. The heels eventually took over for the heat. Barbarian hit a big powerbomb on Bagwell. Meng choked away at Bagwell. There was a double clothesline from the Faces of Fear.

Bagwell knocked down Barbarian with a clotheline, Meng FLOORED Bagwell with his own clothesline and then Riggs knocked Meng down with a clothesline! I’ve seen this type of sequence before, I think they may have been the American Males vs Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, but it looked so good to me and they pulled it off really well! It wasn’t like they did move after move. It was one clothesline after another until one man was left standing! It was understated but I liked it!

Riggs got the hot tag and ran wild. Bagwell got upset because I guess he got tagged out. Bagwell grabbed Barbarian’s foot. I guess this distracted Riggs who got superkicked. Then Barbarian got the pin with Bagwell making little effort to break up the pin himself. I get the storyline they were trying to tell with the American Males breaking up but Scotty Riggs came off as a massive geek when the smoke cleared. He got himself distracted because his friend tried to trip up this monster! It was a decent up until that point.

 

Jimmy Hart then cut a promo. He ranted about Nasty Boys getting a tag title shot against the Outsiders at World War III despite not being in WCW. Eric Bischoff then chimed in from commentary saying the Nasty Boys were still signed to WCW. Well if they’re signed to WCW, then why the heck did the security stop the Nasty Boys from getting into the building? I had to pause the episode on the WWE Network think this out. The Nasty Boys still work for WCW, they’re getting title shots at World War III so why are they not allowed in the building TO DO THEIR JOB? This was dumb.

Jimmy Hart wanted to make the tag title match a triangle match at World War III to bring the titles home to WCW.

 

They then play the big video tape from the start of the show. The video was a music video with Rowdy Piper singing “I’m your man”. Piper was doing some boxing. He’s playing with a dog, chilling with some babe on the beach in what is really a typical pop star music video! It’s crazy to think about the fact in the 90s, Rowdy Roddy Piper was promoted as a Singing heartthrob!

The video was stupid but the important thing when it came to the storyline was they showed a screenshot of a Hollywood Bowl with the board showing: “the ultimate bout – Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Hollywood Hogan”. The idea was that I guess Piper has wanted this match since 1992. I’M SURE Piper and Hogan were signed in WWF together IN 1992 so I have no idea why, in storyline, it took Piper 4 years to get this match booked!

 

Hollywood Hogan came out with The Giant, Ted DiBiase, Vincent and Elizabeth in a Santa Claus outfit. Nick Patrick was still in the ring for some reason. We got the nWo spotlight. They brought Elizabeth in the spotlight so Hogan could brag about his movie “Santa With Muscles” and as soon as he was done, he commanded the nWo to get her out of here. I like how Hogan was cutting his promo, fans were throwing cups in the ring and Nick Patrick, who was denying being aligned with the nWo, was swatting these cups out of the air! HOW DARE THESE FANS throw trash in the ring as Hogan was cutting his promo.

Hogan did his entertainment cragp again. THREE WEEKS IN A ROW where the show ends with Hogan cutting a promo to put himself over, flexing, ripping off his shirt and doing a dance. This was so uncool but this was considered popular at the time, so I have no idea what to tell you.

 

I guess the best way to describe this was that this was like last week’s episode with a new coat of painting. It was very similar in a lot of ways but it was freshened up and livened up somehow with little details here and there that made it a lot more enjoyable this week. I wouldn’t say this episode was good but I get it was passable in the sense that it was easy as a viewer to watch. This was also a big ratings hit so I guess this week can be considered as a success for WCW Monday Nitro.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #60 (NOVEMBER 4TH 1996) – LEX LUGER VS BOOKER T REMATCH, HECTOR GUERRERO, WOMEN’S WRESTLING AND MORE….

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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Rowdy Roddy Piper had arrived in WCW but Eric Bischoff denied that Piper was actually associated with WCW but a free agent that was looking for “five minutes” to tell WCW World Champion Hollywood Hogan what he thought about him at Halloween Havoc. They showed the full Halloween Havoc segment on Nitro last week and Hollywood Hogan’s response to this new threat was to flex for the nWo fans.

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IT’S RAW VS NITRO TIME! This is a WCW exclusive review series but this week, we’re reviewing WCW Monday Nitro as well as WWF Monday Night RAW from November 4th 1996 as they go head-to-head. I will review both shows as they went down and then I will pick a winner and a loser! We’re changing it up for this week but there is a reason as to why we are watching RAW this week…

…this is the week where RAW actually moved its time slot to an hour earlier. They were head-to-head with Nitro’s second hour for years and remember, RAW was still a one hour show at this point.  They were getting creamed by Nitro in the ratings during the second hour so they changed it up. The direct head-to-head competition between RAW and Nitro would happen during hour one instead.

I wonder if the idea was that previously, Nitro were destroying them because they had an hour advantage leading into the second hour clash with RAW. Therefore, the Nitro fans would either stay or switch over the channel and if they’re hooked enough they would stick around for the second hour. Alternatively, something big would be promoted for the second hour on Nitro so they would feel the need to stick around to see what it is rather than watch RAW.

So now with RAW starting at the same time as Nitro, perhaps it would convince some fans to watch RAW and then watch the second hour of Nitro once the big angles of RAW are done. There’s a lot of ratings stuff to consider when they got that time slot. They got the time slot and they wanted to start off with a big angle. As I will get into when I review the RAW review, they ended up producing one of the most controversial segments in wrestling history!

I therefore feel that RAW was worth reviewing. The Nitro reviews will continue and let us get into this Nitro review first, including more follow-up to the big Rowdy Roddy Piper/Hollywood Hogan showdown at Halloween Havoc.

 

Date: November 4th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Rating: 3.4

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

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No Eric Bischoff for the entirety of this episode as he is off negotiating with Rowdy Roddy Piper during this show. It’s promoted heavily during Nitro that he will phone in with an update regarding contract negotiations for a future match between Rowdy Roddy Piper and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan.

Sting was shown actually in the rafters this time, watching the action. The New World Order’s The Giant, Vincent and Ted DiBiase looked on from the crowd. A tournament was starting from tonight to crown the first ever WCW Women’s Championship or as the announcers would call it a “ladies championship”. The title actually looked pretty cool when they displayed it at the announce table.

 

 

Brad Armstrong vs Marcus Bagwell w/Scotty Riggs

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A solid opener where I think Bagwell more than held his own against Brad Armstrong, who is way better than people remember.

They wrestled for a bit. Constant headlock takeovers from Bagwell in a struggle for control. The fans didn’t care as the fans chanted for nWo as Brad locked on a headscissors.

Brad ran wild with some arm drag which got Bagwell got mad and he slapped Bagwell to a big pop. Brad suddenly fired up and whooped Bagwell’s ass for a while, sending him crashing over the top rope with a clothesline. Bagwell was getting mad at himself with the signs of heel Bagwell starting to show during this episode of Nitro.

Bagwell sprung back into the match with a springboard clothesline. Bagwell sent Brad over the top rope with a clothesline. Bagwell was acting more of  a heel and the fans picked up on this as some of them started booing Bagwell. Bagwell did a springboard splash to the outside. I love how The Giant was shown leaving with Ted DiBiase through the crowd and he was high-fiving the fans on the way out! These dastardly villains were dishing out high-fives to try and get favour with the fans… which is working!

Brad hit an excellent tornado DDT for a 2 count. Bagwell hit a gutbuster. Bagwell and Brad both came off the ropes for the crossbody and Bagwell turned over the momentum on Brad and secured the pinfall.

I thought this was a good match. It started off tame but ended up being really good. They gave time to Bagwell and Brad and it worked out really well. If you get the fans from being bored to being excited by the time the bell rings, you have achieved. These two men worked their arses off and this match gets a thumbs up.

 

 

DDP vs Ice Train w/Teddy Long

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Tony talked about how Piper vs Hogan being signed would be THE MATCH OF THE DECADE. I have the doubts that the match will even be the match of the pay-per-view when we get around to it!

Ice Train had a towel over his head and Larry goes: “he’s so big, he couldn’t even get his coat on!” which I did laugh at.

We saw the return of the never-ending Nick Patrick/Teddy Long storyline. Last week, Nick Patrick brought in a lawyer to represent him so legal action is pending from the looks of it. If legal proceedings were going on with Nick Patrick at this time, do you think Patrick and Teddy would even be put close to each other at this time? However, for no good reason, Patrick was refereeing a Teddy Long client match again.

The Outsiders came out in the crowd and posed with the belts to thunderous cheers. They were treated like kings by this crowd. Nash was doing the too sweet signs and Hall was high-fiving guys too. Now the nWo were just complete babyfaces on this show! We will be covering Fake Razor Ramon and Diesel for the review of the RAW episode and the difference in stardom is just so grand. More on that when I review the RAW episode.

Ice Train worked on the arm of DDP but DDP fired back with some punches. Ice Train knocked DDP down with a back elbow. DDP hit a top rope clothesline.

Tony claimed Patrick was being lenient with the rope break counts when all I saw Patrick do was what every referee did and broke the count up at four. If this were real, surely the referee would just not break up the count at all and disqualify the man? The WRESTLERS have until five to break the hold, not the referees.

DDP floored Ice Train with a lariat but got a two count. DDP hit “the pancake” Styles Clash for a 2 count. DDP hit a swinging neckbreaker. Ice Train threw DDP off of him when DDP tried a cover and DDP landed right on Patrick’s back. Patrick was in such pain as the fans popped for Patrick being put in harm’s way again!

DDP was in shock and so concerned and it worked out so well when you think of the Patrick storyline! Jericho won a match against Bobby Eaton I think a few weeks ago and Jericho had to confirm with Patrick that it was actually a 2 count, because he couldn’t trust him! Here, DDP had inadvertently hurt an allegedly crooked referee and now he was in trouble! Patrick was shown to be so temperamental that he could have called for a DQ at any time, like when he did it for a Sting/Luger vs Steiners tag team match months ago! An awesome moment.

Ice Train made a comeback. He hit a powerslam for a 2 count, shades of his fellow team mate Jim Powers. I guess they’re team mates since they have the same manager in Teddy Long. Ice Train did an Earthquake seated drop to the chest and followed this up with a running body splash for a slow 2 count.

Ice Train knocked DDP down and clotheslined him over the top rope. As Patrick tended to DDP on the outside, The Outsiders ran in and clobbered Ice Train with the belts to his back as Patrick paid no attention to any of this even with Teddy Long yelling at him.

Now before I go into what happened next, remember that the Outsiders had attacked Ice Train with heavy gold belts multiple times! They used weapons to ambush Ice Train from behind. After this big beating was dished out by the WCW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, Ice Train got back up on his feet after like 20 seconds and didn’t try to sell it. 20 seconds is probably low-balling it. I looked down at my laptop to write down my notes and I looked up and Ice Train was already back to his feet like nothing had happened! As he was yelling at Outsiders fresh as a daisy, DDP hit a Diamond Cutter for the win.

It was a good match but the finish could have been executed a lot better. Ice Train could have least sold more for one. You’re getting attacked by the WCW Tag Team Champions… SELL THE BEATING.

 

They actually revealed for WCW Saturday Night that the winner of tonight’s cruiserweight title match would defend the title against Rey Mysterio Jr. on that show. Dean Malenko ended up winning tonight’s title match so Malenko’s big rematch against Rey, after beating Rey for the belt at Halloween Havoc, is happening at WCW Saturday Night? They reveal other plans for the cruiserweights for World War III but after their last match, that would seem to be the type of match fans would be clamouring to see again and possibly pay to watch. I thought that was weird.

 

Dean Malenko © vs Scotty Riggs w/Marcus Bagwell for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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Riggs followed up fellow American Males’ team mate Bagwell in singles competition, challenging for the Cruiserweight title. It was revealed the WCW Cruiserweight champion would defend the title against PSYCHOSIS at World War III.

Syxx showed up in the crowd because he was also after the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. In the ring, Riggs ran wild for a bit and did a big springboard to the outside.

This was a short match so I’ll jump right to the finish. Riggs went for a top rope move but got knocked onto the apron by Malenko. Bagwell, on the outside, threw Riggs back in the ring. Riggs yelled: “what are you doing” as Bagwell is taking it upon himself to decide for Riggs that he’s ready to get back in the ring even though Riggs was still hurt. As Riggs was yelling at Bagwell, Malenko got a Oklahoma Roll and scored the pin to retain the title.

The American Males argued after the match so yes, it is time to break up the American Males it seems. I’m actually stunned how much little time this title match got when compared to the opening match with Armstrong and Bagwell. It seemed a bit backwards with time management on this show.

 

Chris Benoit w/Woman vs Hector Guerrero

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Unbelievably, this match saw Chris Benoit face a Guerrero again but this time it was… Hector Guerrero! Not Eddie Guerrero like last week or even Chavo Guerrero. No it was Chris Benoit vs Hector Guerrero! What a treat to see this man in action. He was a breath of fresh air and he worked well with Benoit who sold for the man and made him look awesome to this crowd. They worked well together but, as usual, this great WCW match was ruined by a bad finish.

It was revealed Ric Flair will be on Nitro next week. Woman looked STUNNING on this episode and they revealed that it would be Benoit Vs Taskmaster for World War III.

Benoit and Hector did some criss-cross spots. Hector did some brilliant headscissor dropkick takeovers. They looked incredibly slick. Hector did a springboard move and the best way I can describe it is that he did a springboard Vader Bomb to Benoit on the outside. He grabbed the ropes, pushed himself off of them and fell backwards in a body splash position to floor Benoit. It looked so unique and it was pulled off tremendously by Hector.

Hector did a pumphandle backbreaker. Hector locked on a wrist lock and took advantage of the damaged shoulder of Benoit, who injured his shoulder at Halloween Havoc. Hector worked on Benoit, flipped him over and did a few little kicks to the arm of Benoit while he had him grounded. Benoit had turned things around when they came back from the break.

Benoit did a elevated gutbuster as Woman smiled wickedly to herself. Benoit locked on the abdominal stretch. Benoit beat away at Hector heading into the second hour of Nitro. Hector tried a small package to no affect. Benoit tried a tombstone but Hector reversed it for at two count. Hector fought his way back into the match with some European Uppercuts. Hector hung Benoit up on the top turnbuckle, laid down and kicked him up in the air.

Hector did the longest cradle in the world and went for the cover. I think Woman missed her cue because referee Mark Curtis did the count off this cradle and he’s hesitant to even to do the two count because Woman isn’t in the position. I assume he was clued in that Benoit was going to win but Woman wasn’t in position. Woman suddenly sprung into life and then she grabbed Hector as the ref counted three. The fans cheered as they fought Hector won. Hector got up to his feet, then Benoit rolled him up and referee counted to three before Benoit could even get his legs on the ropes for leverage. This was a screw up from everyone but the wrestlers in the ring but otherwise this was an awesome match.

One thing I want to add about this finish was that I think this was a missed opportunity to really get Hector over, at least for one night. I’m not sure for how long Hector sticks around for in WCW or even if this is just a on match appearance, but everyone was going nuts when they thought Hector had beaten Benoit. You could have built on this and made something of Hector as he had just beaten Benoit clean. Instead, they had to do a complicated finish yet again because god forbid anyone loses cleanly on this show. It would have been so much easier and so much better but they squandered it.

 

They showed Giant’s entire promo from last weeklast week… DID WE REALLY NEED THIS? It’s one thing to repeatedly show the Hogan/Piper Halloween Havoc segment which they have done in the last two weeks (which we’ll get to) but WCW really had to show this promo? The Giant just cut a promo about the Four Horsemen but it provided nothing new to the storyline so why bother putting in on the show other than to waste time? At least Piper/Hogan was the big storyline and this was an important part of the storyline with Piper’s first appearance. This added nothing new to the Jarrett/Giant program.

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Mike Tenay interviewed the remnants of the Four Horsemen in Jeff Jarrett, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Chris Benoit. Jeff called himself “the lead horse”. He wasn’t the lead horsemen or event the thoroughbred (which would have been a far better way to describe himself)… he was the LEAD HORSE. AN ACTUAL HORSE I guess!

Jeff started cutting his promo but Benoit cut him off. Mongo cut Benoit off and Mongo started ranting about Jeff. Mongo vowed Arn and Ric would be back and Mongo declared the interview to be over. They left and Jeff stayed as the fans booed. I guess the interview was not over!

Jeff talked about this and that. Nobody cared because Sting was here. Jeff talked about Flair picking him, scoring touchdowns, he talked about Sting turning his back and fumbling the ball. Of all the wrestlers to cut a promo with sports references included it’s the the old school wrasslin’ advocate Jeff Jarrett? He vowed the nWo was going down. Jarrett was just rambling on and on about all sorts. I don’t wanna say if only Mean Gene were here but if Mean Gene Okerlund were here, maybe Mean Gene would tell this guy to slow down on his promo and guide him through the interview. Mike Tenay was just a dude with an microphone at this time. It’s not really Tenay’s fault because he’s no Mean Gene but this did not dot Jarrett any favours cutting such a bad promo.

 

Reina Jubuki vs Madusa in a first round match (I’m assuming although they never showed the bracket) of the WCW Women’s Championship Tournament

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Say what you will about women’s wrestling in 2020 but at least the WWE announcers and commentators take notice of the action in the ring and take it seriously as a division. WCW put together this women’s division, they have a tournament and in the first match of the tournament, the announcers are making jokes leftm right and centre about the women.

They made jokes about what they were wearing, they made jokes about Bloomingdales and even Sonny Onoo was making plastic jokes. If you’re gonna do a WCW Women’s Division, would it be too much for you to not turn it into a complete parody of what it’s supposed to be?

Tony talked about how Mike Tenay knew the bracket but supposedly this was a top secret bracket that nobody knew about except Mike Tenay. CAN WE BE SHOWN WHAT THE BRACKET IS PLEASE?

OF COURSE… Nick Patrick has to be the referee for this match. TO BE FAIR, there was no Nick Patrick shenanigans from this match. I assume this was because Madusa was going over and they didn’t want the Nick Patrick stuff to impact the tournament. So at least that’s something that the women had going for them. They were not subjected to this Nick Patrick storyline.

Reina got the heat as she bit at Madua’s hand and then starting biting her toes. Actually, that’s a lie. She didn’t bite her toes… she bit Madusa’s wrestling boots covering up the tose! How this was supposed to hurt Madusa, when her toes was protected, I have no idea!

ZERO comes out, who was one of the competitors in the tournament, and Mike Tenay says: “you know who this is?” He said that as if every fan was supposed to know who this woman was. Spoiler, but I did not know who this woman was Tenay. If you’re a commentator, don’t just assume that your audience knows who everyone is on the show is. Zero had never been on the show until this episode. Take the time to tell us and educate us professor before making these comments.

Sonny Onoo cut a promo into the camera, says Madusa was full of peroxide and falling plastic. He said she reminded me of an American car and had an evil cackle. I don’t agree with how badly they joked about these women but to be fair, I did laugh at that line from Sonny.

Madusa tried to make a comeback but missed a top rope front dropkick. Reina hit one of her own. Reina went for the cover but Madusa bridged out of the cover to break it up. Reina’s scoop slam was reversed into a german suplex for the pin to a huge reaction. So heck, they had the babyface get the clean pin to a huge reaction to build her up towards potential fighting ZERO in the final. What a concept and it worked in getting Madusa over! The clean finish gets a thumbs up because at least it was the one positive from this match.

I also have to admit one more thing about the jokes in this match. Bobby Heenan had me in bits when they were showing the replays. They show the German suplex and Bobby goes: “the last time I’ve saw a move like this was in a Bloomindales, and end of month sale, two women were fight over some pillow cases.” I’m not laughing at that line for the possible sexist nature oF the jokes that they would be fighting over women’s clothing but the idea that women would be german suplexing each other in the middle of a clothes shop is the funniest thing to think about for me! That’s what we need to see during Black Fridays is more German Suplexes being thrown en route to grabbing discounted items!

I laughed.

 

M. Wallstreet vs Chris Jericho

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Jericho worked on the arm. They wrestled for a bit with Jericho landed on his leg as he was sent to the outside. Wallstreet worked on Jericho. Wallstreet locked on an abdominal stretch. This was pretty boring stuff from Wallstreet as usual.

Jericho made a comeback, smashing Wallstreet’s head on the turnbuckle. It was weird but it appeared Wallstreet was constantly pulling up his trousers during the match so I guess he was having some wardrobe malfunction of some kind.

Jericho did a top rope dropkick to send Wallstreet to the floor. Jericho got sent into ring post by Wallstreet. Out of nowhere, Jericho got a small package out of the win to get a pinfall victory.

Bobby theorised that Jericho got the tights because he ran away as soon as he got the pin! The match was… a match. Nothing particularly special as with the majority of Wallstreet matches at this time.

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Mike Tenay interviewed the solicitor from last week Alan Sharpe and Nick Patrick. Jericho interrupted them. He accused Patrick of working for the nWo and lying about that neck brace. The solicitor talked about Jericho’s father being an ice hockey goon for some reason. Teddy Long came out. I SWEAR THIS WAS A REPEAT FROM LAST WEEK.

Teddy talked about what happened with the Outsiders. Teddy talked about Ice Train needing medical attention AFTER ICE TRAIN NO SOLD THE BELT SHOTS! Could you not throw in this line when your own client acted like the title shots didn’t phase him? If he was injured during that match it surely THIS was because of DDP’s Diamond Cutter so what did Nick Patrick have to do with that?

The Solicitor talked about Teddy being a referee that was suspended in the past. Teddy was lost for words but Jericho cut him off and said this was a pre-mediated plan against WCW. Vincent and Ted DiBiase from the nWo watched on. This was an exact repeat from last week and it accomplished nothing.

 

Lex Luger vs Booker T w/Sister Sherri for the second week in a row

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This was repeat from last week and it accomplished nothing. To be fair, this was not an exact repeat as at least we got a finish this week. Last week, Lex Luger beat Booker’s ass and then just walked out of the match to chase after Sting.

Luger ran wild for a big reaction from the crowd. Lex Luger did a Oklahoma Slam. Booker did an axe kick. Booker got the heat as Sherri kicked at Luger on the outside. Booker hit a side kick. Booker got hung up on the top rope as the fans went nuts.

Luger made his comeback. He tried a Torture Rack but Booker grabbed the ropes. Booker cut him off with a spin wheel kick. Col Robert Parker came down and hugged Sherri as he cheered on Booker. Parker yelled to Booker, Booker grabbed Parker and Luger got the school boy roll up for the win.

Tony tried to argue that it was Parker’s fault that Booker got pinned. Bobby correctly pointed out that Booker got himself distracted by turning on Parker so yes, Booker was the cause of his own demise. Sherri was scolding Parker, who honestly looked like he was cheering on Booker.

This match was lame but at least Luger didn’t walk out like last week. That at least is the positive I will take from this match.

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Eric Bischoff was on the phone. Bischoff said things were going extremely well with negotiations with Piper. Bischoff said they had a match signed but things weren’t going well with Piper’s management, attorney and agents. He said Piper would have loved to do it but Eric got stonewalled over the weekend. He was flying to Detroit next Tuesday to talk to Piper on the set of his latest movie. Then Bischoff threw in a line saying: “his management works for him, he doesn’t work for them.” So if he wants  to do the match and his management works for him, can’t he just sign a contract to do the match?

If I were Rowdy Roddy Piper, if I was a millionaire (as he claimed at Halloween Havoc) and I really wanted to fight Hollywood Hogan, I’d force my management who works for me to make sure that match happens no matter what. I don’t care how much money I have to pay, I don’t care what contracts I have to sign, just make sure I get to fight Hogan.

Bischoff’s explanations of what’s happening with contract negotiations just plain sucked. It’d be one thing if the story was Piper wanted to do the match but Hogan didn’t wanna do the match so their hands were tied. But no… Piper is the one that is stalling from the sounds of it. At the very least, that’s how it’s coming across. Is it possible that Bischoff is lying about being stone-walled based on what happens in a few weeks time? Maybe. However, without any foresight in mind, these explanations make no sense.

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They showed the video of the Hogan/Piper Halloween Havoc segment again and I just skipped all the way to the next segment on the WWE Network which was the nWo coming out to close the show.

Hogan, The Giant, Vincent and Ted DiBiase all came out. They dimmed the lights again and put the spotlight on Hogan. He talks about the Cable Ace Awards for the November 16th but he doesn’t have his invitation. He talks about Ted Turner being at the awards. He said he wanted to be nominated because he’s the reason Nitro is where it is with its success. He was gonna crash the party if he didn’t get an award. He said the whole world is wearing black and white.

Hogan talked about wanting Piper to get in the ring with him. He said Piper had no heart. Of all the times on this show for buffering, this was the only segment where I got problems on the WWE Network. Hogan said Piper was scared to fight Hogan. He doesn’t have Hollywood’s guts. He said Hollywood Hogan was our master, he will be the world champion and it’s that time for Hogan to entertain them. He then did exactly what he did last week where he posed and danced. This was an exact repeat of last week and it accomplished nothing. Hogan came out just to rip off a shirt, pose and leave for the last two weeks… quite a gig.

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I think some of the earlier matches with Brad Armstrong vs Marcus Bagwell and Hector Guerrero vs Chris Benoit really saved the show because this was another filler episode, where really nothing was accomplished and if I missed it I would have not missed anything. There were developments with the American Males being about to break up and there was some decent action but everything else felt like WCW were standing still with some of these stroylines. It was almost a repeat of last week’s show and did not empower me to want to watch next week’s show. Thumbs down for this week’s episode with the exception of those two matches… and I guess the DDP vs Ice Train match.

Stay tuned as this WCW review series will continue and I will also review the WWF Monday Night RAW also airing on November 4th 1996. I’m not sure about quality but I’m fairly confident RAW will be the more memorable episode to watch after all of these years!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #59 (OCTOBER 28TH 1996) – THE NIGHT AFTER “ROWDY” RODDY PIPER DEBUTED IN WCW

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 Halloween Havoc 1996 went down in Las Vegas, Nevada. The New World Order dominated with a 4-0 victory in wrestling matches during that pay-per-view. The Giant defeated Jeff Jarrett by disqualification, Syxx defeated Chris Jericho after Nick Patrick shenanigans, The Outsiders won the WCW Tag Team Championship and Hollywood Hogan defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. At the end of the night, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper appeared to confront Hogan as they yelled back and forth up until the end of the show.

 

What a miserable follow up to Halloween Havoc this Nitro was. I have been very complimentary of Nitros as of late but this was a filler episode to end all episodes of Nitros. Nothing matches, nothing angles and an absolute waste of a closing segment involvement Hollywood Hogan’s “response” to Rowdy Roddy Piper’s comments from Halloween Havoc. There’s no way you watched that final segment and, even as a hardcore nWo fan, could think Hogan’s shenanigans were cool. More on that later but that segment was just adding to the pile of a not interesting episode of Nitro at all.

 

Date: October 28th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Phoenix, Arizona

Rating: 3.6

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

A few things to address before we get started. “Macho Man” Randy Savage was off the show tonight. The reason, as I discussed at the end of the Halloween Havoc 1996 review, was that his contract was coming up with WCW and he had not re-signed. Just like Mean Gene Okerlund, he was off the show until he eventually would re-sign later on. I think he’s actually back in WCW pretty shortly because I’m pretty sure he’s there for early 1997 for WCW. However, we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Also, it was explained throughout the show that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was not officially associated with WCW. Eric Bischoff and Tony Schiavonie both explained that Piper was allowed “five minutes” to come and say his peace at the PPV but he went too long in his promo with Hogan. However, Bischoff was adamant that Piper was not with WCW. He’s considered a free agent just like Sting. We’ll get more into free agents later on in the show…

 

Lord Steven Regal © vs Juventud Guerrera for the WCW Television Championship

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I can’t say there was much too this match. There were so many shenanigans going on outside of this match that there was no reason to pay attention to the match. Keep in mind that this match was for the WCW TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP.

Sting was shown up in a luxury box high above the fans watching the show. He was not quite in the rafters yet but he was high up there watching the show. Larry Zybszko said it but it really was the case where Sting looked like he had no soul with the facial expressions being displayed by the Stinger. He sat there with no expression to his face, watching the product.

The nWo’s Syxx grabbed the mic within the crowd and welcomed everyone to nWo Nitro. Syxx talked about taking over. There was a dude in a gorilla mask right behind him that made me laugh. Syxx told Sting to make the right choice.

The wrestlers were completely distracted as Regal kept looking on at Syxx as he applied a hold. A Regal tiger powerbomb was reversed into a frankensteiner. Juvi missed a 450 splash, to which Regal did a shimmy in celebration! Regal did a big dance and locked on a Regal Stretch for the clean submission victory to retain the title. A couple of sentences to describe this match for this review. What more is there to say when Sting and Syxx were just doing their own thing up in the crowd? Why would anyone care about a four minute television title match?

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The Faces of Fear were promoting the WCW Nitro t-shirt. This was a great commercial where the Faces of Fear said whatever they were saying in their native language and they had on screen subtitles. I will write down word for word what they said:

The Barbarian: Take it from us, the Faces of Fear, these are trendy shirts!

Meng: They’re 100% cotton, and the colors stay vibrant wash after wash. And they feel great.

The Barbarian: Of course, one size fits all…

Meng: …so buy the shirt! (Meng laughs… ha ha ha ha)

There’s so many layers to this. I wish I had an app or some technology to translate what they said to see if they actually said what the subtitles claimed. The idea of the Barbarian talking about “trendy shirts” and Meng talking about vibrant colors is the funniest thing to me! What’s even funnier to think about is how this all went down in kayfabe! The Dungeon of Doom were approached by WCW guys to promote the shirts and I guess Taskmaster allowed THE BARBARIAN AND MENG to do the job! The two most savage and non English speaking members of the group promoting this shirt! Unreal!

 

Tony was about to interview Regal. Tony talked about Sting and Sting had left his sky box. Tony promised the interview with Regal after the break as Regal had already made his way to the back. They came back from the break…. and they had had already moved on to the next match! Poor Tony, he had no idea what was going on! Regal surely had no idea what was going on. There was supposed to be an interview then there wasn’t supposed to be an interview! Either that or Regal just decided that enough was enough after that Syxx and Sting business!

 

DDP vs Mike Enos

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This was a decent enough match. I don’t rate Mike Enos that highly but he was completely fine here. DDP was able to get a decent match out of the guy and if you’re able to get a decent match out of Mike Enos and make him look good, at least for this match, then more power to you.

Enos played babyface for a while, sending himself and DDP over the top rope with a clothesline and getting pumped up with the crowd. DDP quickly regained the heat. DDP hit a sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count. It’s weird that I see wrestlers on this show win with all kinds of moves. Sting would change the finish every week from the Scorpion Deathlock, a top rope crossbody to small packages to win his matches. Yet in this match, DDP does near fall spots with Mike Enos of all people because he could only win with the Diamond Cutter! It’s so crazy to see that kind of psychology with just about everyone Page was in the ring with.

DDP hit a top rope clothesline as the fans got distracted by the Outsiders appearing in the crowd with the WCW tag team titles that they won at Halloween Havoc. DDP tried a Diamond Cutter but Enos cut him off and hit a belly to belly suplex. Enos hit a “reverse jawbreaker” and Enos called for the Outsiders come down to the ring. Esso dropped DDP throat first onto the ropes. Enos hit a short arm clothesline. Enos again called the Outsiders down to the ring. Enos hit a powerslam for a 2 count. Enos tried a powerslam but DDP hooked his legs on the top rope and hit a Diamond Cutter for the win out of nowhere as Tony noted that the Outsiders were cheering for DDP.

Decent match and a slick finish as usual from Diamond Dallas Page. With the Outsiders trying to recruit DDP, this appears to be the start of a babyface turn for DDP. He’s been the cockiest heel in the world for the last year but he got over so big with his Diamond Cutter and now, the push for even greater things begins for DDP! At a time where Sting is in the rafters and Savage is gone for now, this was time for WCW to build up some new babyfaces!

 

Jim Powers w/Teddy Long vs Dean Malenko

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The announcers put over big about how Dean Malenko, the mat-based wrestler/technical wrestler, was able to beat the high flyer Rey Mysteiro Jr.at his own game at Halloween Havoc, beating him in the air with a top rope gutwrench powerbomb to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. They put him over big time after his big win which is great.

AC Greene was at ringside again in a nWo shirt.  Nick Patrick was once again the referee for a Teddy Long client match… more on that storyline later when Nick Patrick does his interview with his lawyer. Powers was able to use his size to take Malenko down with a headlock takeover.

Powers ran wild with hip tosses and scoop slams. Psychosis was shown on the ramp, who was injured at this time but was interested in the cruiserweight championship. Larry said “muscles don’t make the wrestlers” which made Vince McMahon livid somewhere in 1996.

Malenko took over. Malenko got the heat on Powers. Powers did the atomic drop and ran wild with turnbuckle smashes. Powers got a few 2 counts. Powers hit the powerslam which he flat out just called the “powerslam”. It’s got to help with creativity if you have POWERS as part of your wrestler name.

He hit the move but Teddy Long was yelling at Nick Patrick so Patrick was distracted. Then Malenko got the bridge pinfall and was able to score the pin. Teddy Long and Nick Patrick argued yet again. I AM SO SICK OF THIS. Again… more on that later.

The match was fine up until the same old ending with Teddy Long and Nick Patrick.

 

Ricky Morton vs Jeff Jarrett

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I made history with this match. After 16 years of watching wrestling, this is the very first time where I have ever watched a Ricky Morton singles match! I was blown away when I saw they were gonna have Ricky in a singles match with Jeff Jarrett. Not even that, it was a decent old-school wrestling match with Jeff Jarrett.

This is the beauty of having such a big roster for WCW. If you have so many unique wrestlers on the payroll, there’s so much potential for interesting match-ups that you wouldn’t think to put on. Having looked at whatever that roster was at the time, Jeff Jarrett vs Ricky Morton would not be anywhere near my show format! However, it was on this show and I wouldn’t have thought to do that. That’s sublime actually to think so outside of the box that it catches people off guard.

There was some great spots where Jarrett kept trying to get out of an arm lock but Morton clutched onto the hold, even when Jarrett tried a scoop slam. Jarrett eventually got out of it This match was going along fine but there was one spot where they even struggled to do a suplex together. It wasn’t like a straight vertical line or a flip. Jarrett got him up in the air but Morton wavered in the air before coming crashing down.

Jarrett did a top rope crossbody but Morton reversed it and almost got the pin. Jarrett did a swinging neck breaker. Jarret tried a figure four leg lock but Morton rolled him up for a 2 count. Morton tried a sunset flip. Jarrett did the shinbreaker and then did a Figure Four Leg Lock for the win.

It was weird because Jeff Jarrett has been a blue collar babyface since he arrived in WCW. He’s in there with a fellow babyface and he worked the match like a completely heel. He was basically doing Ric Flair spots en route to winning the match.

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The Giant was out in the crowd and talked about how Jarrett thought he was the newest member of the Four Horsemen. He said the Horsemen didn’t pass the torch to Jarrett, they passed a wet mat. Giant called the Horsemen pathetic and they banded together like a pack of rats. He said they weren’t bad, they were afraid. They fight scared, they walk scared and they were scared. Their was day was coming. He talked about Jarrett and said his hands were gonna wrap around his neck as he lifted him up and BAMN… the end of Jeff Jarrett. He told everybody to check the closet, look under the bed and say their prayers because there’s a monster behind your back. A SOLID PROMO.

This was a true redemption promo from The Giant. He cut a bad promo in my eyes at Halloween Havoc but this was one was quite the opposite. He showed a lot more passion, a lot more fire and he sounded a lot more confident on the mic. Everything he said was true in the confides of the storyline. The Four Horsemen ganged up on Giant five on one at the PPV and Giant called them out for banding together “like a pack of rats”. He was just allowed to be his old self again with this promo. So I don’t know if Giant himself was just in the mindset of “I’ve got be my old self again to make this work” or whatever. It worked tonight with his promo.

Jarrett called out Giant to come down to the ring but Giant had left by this point. Jarrett said The Giant would not chokeslam him and he didn’t do it at Halloween Havoc. So in Jarrett’s mind, his claim to fame from Halloween Havoc was that Giant didn’t chokeslam him. Keep in mind that The Giant beat his ass for 12 minutes or however long that match was and Jeff would have been chokeslammed if it weren’t for Ric Flair. However, he was just happy he didn’t get chokeslammed. He came off as such a geek. Shouldn’t you be annoyed that you didn’t get the job done because Ric Flair got involved in your match?

Jarrett had one challenge to Hogan and the nWo. The walls will crumble but WCW had to unite. He talked about Dungeon of Doom, Lex Luger, Sting. He rambled on about being a leader. Jarrett said Hogan will go down. He threw in a line where he claimed WCW was here since 1905 and WCW would remain for a long, long time. Now I checked and it appears Mr Ted Turner founded WCW in 11 October 1988 so I have no idea where Jarrett got 1905 from or what he was trying to reference to here.

The promo drifted off in the middle. This was a pretty crap promo from Jarrett as a rebuttal to a slam-dunk of a promo from The Giant. He did not come off good when this segment was over.

 

“High Voltage” Robbie Rage and Kenny Kaos vs “The Amazing French Canadians” Jacques Rogeau and Carl Oulette

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These two teams fought for a few minutes with the fireworks going off for hour two during the match. None of it really mattered as the Nasty Boys ran in and beat them both up as the fans chanted for the Nasties. They hit a double powerbomb as they left both teams laying. This accomplished nothing other than to get, of all people, the NASTY BOYS over after they were made to look like complete geeks by the nWo a month ago.

Jerry Sags got the mic and talked about Hogan asking the Nasty Boys to join the nWo which was a big Hollywood Hogan lie. Sags said he and (Brian) Knobbs don’t need to belong. Sting doesn’t need to belong, Piper doesn’t need to belong. Knobbs said we may not be liked, we may not be wanted but one thing we are is nasty. They were nasty before the nWo was even a thought, before WCW was even a thought as they were born nasty. Knobbs made a reference to Buffer and yelled: “let’s get ready to rumble” to end the promo.

So the Nasty Boys are also supposedly free agents themselves just like Piper and Sting because, in kayfabe, they don’t belong anywhere! “We’re free agents because we’ve got nowhere else to go!”

 

ARE THE NASTY BOYS FACES OR HEELS?:  TWEENERS

I’m pretty sure this is the third instalment in this mini-series within the series where I assess where the Nasty Boys are faces of heels! At the very least, I can confidently say that they were definitely tweeners here. They laid out the babyface and heel tag teams regardless of their allegiances. They called themselves free agents and rid themselves of the nWo. Therefore, I think it is very safe to assume that the WCW officially are treating them as tweeners in the mean time. There was no clear indicator to suggest they were good or bad. They were just NASTY!

 

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Jimmy Graffiti

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A good cruiserweight match yet again on Nitro. Jimmy Graffiti following up his performance with Dean Malenko last week to have a good match with Rey Mysterio this week.

Graffiti did an electric chair drop. Rey did a monkey flip. A cool spot saw Rey do a flip and then Grafitti tried a flip but got dropkicked for his troubles. Mysterio did a springboard moonsault into the ring. Rey took himself and Grafitti to the outside with the hurricanrana.

Graffiti took over with a hard Irish whip into the steel rail. Graffiti locked on a rest hold. Rey did the frankensteiner roll up for the win. I didn’t make a lot of notes for the match but there was enough entertaining stuff there to appreciate. Not as long as the Malenko match from last week but it was fun in its own right.

 

Lee Marshall did his 1-800-Collect deal from the grand rapids. AC Greene, wearing a nWo shirt, was shouting out to Nick Patrick in the ring.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit w/Woman

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Maybe I’m alone in this but I really liked this match. I’ve seen people said they hated it because of the injury angle. I’m not sure about Chris Benoit but I’ve read that Eddie Guerrero legitimately got a rib injury on the night before so they played up an injury angle for both men. If you were gonna book a match where both men were meant to be injured, this was probably the best possible match you could have done.

Benoit and Eddie were both taped up for this match. Seeing Patrick being the referee for this bothered the hell out of me but at the very least, the Patrick shenanigans were kept to a minimum. Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Debra showed up on the ramp in support of fellow Horsemen Benoit.

Chris and Eddie were writhing in pain, with Eddie being barely able to move and Benoit screaming with agony feeling his ribs. This was like selling 101. How many matches do we see nowadays were we see dudes and women doing spots for like five minutes and then feeling their ribs I guess to “sell” their injuries? Listen, if you’re injured YOU’RE INJURED. You will not be able to do things at 100 miles an hour because you’re wounded. Eddie Guerrero could not do lucha libre spots because he had a bad rib. Every move was important and every bit of motion each men did impacted them, both positively and negatively. They sold for like 15-30 seconds after every move and you as a viewer would show concern for their well-being. I enjoyed this.

This was not a technically brilliant match but this was a FIGHT. This was like every Randy Savage vs Ric Flair match ever, and it was great to me. For example, a simple arm drag to get out on an abdominal stretch saw Guerrero in so much pain afterwards as he stayed on the floor and Benoit just continued to stomp on him. So simple and so effective to tell the story.

They chopped away at each other in the corner. Benoit and Eddie took each other out with a double crossbody, with both men smashing head first into each other. It was almost like a crossbody headbutt from both men!

Woman got on the apron to distract the referee Mongo got into the ring. Please keep in mind that Eddie has bad ribs legitimately heading into this match! Eddie covered his head, because Mongo kept hitting dudes in the head as of late with this blasted briefcase that he still has. This time Mongo hit Eddie in the ribs instead and Benoit got the pin. This was a lame finish to what looked to be a really interesting layout for a match. Mongo ran in to do a cheap briefcase spot for no other reason other than to get himself over on television. Bad finish to an otherwise great match.

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Tony interviewed Nick Patrick and his attorney Alan Sharpe. Alan said Mr Nick Patrick has been an honest hard-working official at WCW. He gave professionalism to this sport. He was questioned for his refereeing in a highly controversial match between Savage and Hogan. It didn’t have to happen and he blamed Chris Jericho for this. Jericho supposedly attacked Patrick at Halloween Havoc I DON’T REMEMBER THIS. I don’t remember if it was the push Jericho gave him at Halloween Havoc or something else that happened but supposedly Jericho put his hands on Patrick and now it was his fault that Patrick was a bad referee in the main-event! I would love to see what evidence this Alan Sharpe would have used in court to validate this claim.

Chris Jericho came out and said there’s nothing wrong with Patrick’s neck. Jericho said everyone knew he was a paid employee with the nWo. Alan accused Jericho of having anger management problems. Teddy Long came out. Teddy said people like the attorney are like scam artists. Alan accused Teddy Long of slander and mentioned that Teddy was gonna get “pulp fiction” or something. They bicker and bicker and… this segment sucked.

This Nick Patrick vs Teddy Long storyline needs to die in a fire. I have seen it so many times. I realise this is not the longest on-going storyline for WCW at this point! The Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri stuff has been going on for A YEAR which we’ll get too. However, this feud between the referee and manager is just going absolutely nowhere. Yes, I am fine with a slow build for a program. There’s a difference between a slow build and what Patrick and Teddy were doing. This was the same thing OVER AND OVER again.

If you’re going to do a slow build, at the very least there needs to be SOME DEVELOPMENTS over time. I will compare this to the Bayley vs Sasha Banks 2018 feud where it felt like that feud lasted an eternity. That feud was so bad because there would be new “developments” or some big angle between the two every week and there was no direction. Sasha was mad at Bayley just because, Bayley would walk on Sasha just because, they would fight just because, they would get back together just because, they would do a segment with Dr Shelby just because and it made you hate both characters who were both acting irrationally in this screwed up friendship.

To WWE’s credit, they’re doing the slow build a lot better in 2020 with the same two women. However, going back to Patrick and Teddy, it’s not like there’s big angles going on each and every week. It’s the same thing over and it is another example of characters acting irrationally with no direction. There’s a fine line between doing new things every week and doing things every six weeks. You have to plan towards a destination but for the fans to get invested, the stories told each week must be relevant to the destination.

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In a logically world, if Teddy Long had such a problem with Nick Patrick, it wouldn’t even get to the point where it has gotten to. Teddy would have at least put a complaint in against Nick Patrick, ask for a different referee or actually become a referee again himself to show Patrick how it’s done. If you’re Nick Patrick, and you have this prick of a manager getting involved in your match, you can throw him out of the match (which you have the powers to do), you can petition with the WCW board of directors to get his manager licence suspended or you could ask not to referee matches with his clients if you think there is a conflict of interest.

There’s no clear explanation that’s ever been given as to why Nick Patrick almost exclusively referees every Teddy Long client match. Therefore, there’s no reason why any of this is happening. Now granted, they’re doing a great job in not outright telling you that Nick Patrick is a crooked referee. Everything related to Patrick’s refereeing is circumstantial. There’s been no evidence of Patrick taking a bribe from the nWo or the heels or from anyone. In kayfabe, because we have no reason to believe otherwise, Patrick is just an incompetent referee!

We think he is intentionally screwing over the babyfaces but the fans and we as the viewers have not seen any physical evidence of him being in anyone’s pockets. You have that angle…. great. However, there is no need for this Teddy Long storyline over and over again. You just don’t.

….so yeah. That last segment was really bad.

 

Booker T w/Sister Sherri vs Lex Luger

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Luger and Booker botched a Gorilla Press spot where Booker slipped from Luger’s grip. All the big men Luger’s done that spot with and it’s Booker that is the man he screws up this spot with. Booker was tall in his own right. He was not as tall as a lot of men in WCW or not even as wide but he was large compared to the average person.

Luger sent Booker outside with a clothesline. Sherri kept arguing with AC Greene in the crowd. A lot of this match was Luger beating on Booker and the fans were behind Luger during this. Luger did a reverse elbow as the show went to the break.

We came back and Booker had the heat on Luger. Luger turned Booker inside out with a clothesline. Booker hit a scissors kick for a 2 count. Booker hit a few side-walk slams. Booker tried the Houston hangover but Luger moved out the way… well he almost moved out of the way. He looked like he was clipped him in the head as Booker came own,

Luger fired up and went for the Torture Rack but he stopped. He looks towards the crowd and through super-human vision or x-ray vision, he was able to see Sting all the way up in the crowd watching this match. This was not quite the Wall/Hulk Hogan moment from 2000 but Luger saw Sting from so far away in the ring. Keep in mind that WCW were selling out big buildings at this time! So Sting is right up at the very top of the building and Luger can just see him!

Luger bailed and ran up to meet Sting in the crowd. Sting turned his back on Luger as Luger chased after him. Booker was declared the winner by count out. I should have known when the announcers made a big deal about how Lex Luger was on a roll that some silly finish was coming. Well here it is… Luger bailed on a match because he saw his friend who may as well have been on the moon with how far away he was! Slow, nothing match with a silly finish but at least the crowd was into Luger at this time.

 

They showed the ENTIRE Piper/Hogan confrontation from Halloween Havoc which I think was because not everybody watching the PPVwas actually able to see the whole confrontation. The segment was so long that it just cut out for people across the country so to be fair to them, they at least showed the whole thing on Nitro.

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The nWo arrived with Hogan, Vincent, Ted DiBiase and The Giant. The lights were dimmed and Hogan got a spotlight. Hogan had demanded television time earlier. Hogan said we told you what was going to happen and there was no question in anybody’s eyes that the nWo is the only superior body in wrestling. He said they have conquered and won.  Hogan said: “The Nacho Man, if you’re watching from your hospital bed I have nothing but the utmost respect. But with all of WCW on your back, you couldn’t get the job done.”

Hogan said he was gonna take good care of Elizabeth for Savage. The Outsiders won the tag titles which put the icing on the cake. He said he saw the fear in Piper’s eyes. DiBiase then started talking and they referred to having something big planned for this moment which I guess they had planned for a while based on what they were saying. DiBiase’s idea was he decided to have Hogan entertain the loyal nWo fans. Hogan’s “entertainment” was that did his pose and ripped off his shirt to I guess give the fans a show. That was everything that happened in that final segment. Hogan talked for a few minutes, DiBiase talked and then Hogan just did his spiel. This was like a dark segment of a wrestling show that ended up as the main-event of the show by mistake.

This was the BIG FOLLOW UP to “ROWDY” RODDY PIPER DEBUTING IN WCW. The nWo didn’t even do a beatdown or have a big party or anything. Hogan came out, said a few things, flexed and left. What on earth was this segment?

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I stand by my earlier assessment. There were some bad aspects to this show. There were a few decent matches but otherwise, there was nothing noteworthy that happened and Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero match wasn’t as good as you were expecting because they both had to work “hurt” as part of an angle. Surprisingly, this show did a 3.6 in ratings which was way more than the 3.2 last week. Quite an increase for I have no idea what reason. I’m guessing it’s down to it being the Nitro after the PPV. This was a filler episode of Nitro and it still crushed WWF Monday Night RAW in the ratings war.

SPEAKING OF WWF MONDAY NIGHT RAW. We will be doing something a big special for next week’s review of WCW Monday Nitro. For the first time since I think June 1996, we will be reviewing both RAW and Nitro head-to-head! I will be reviewing the November 4th 1996 editions of both shows to compare them because in case you were not aware, next week’s RAW is a pretty infamous episode!

This is a bit of a spoiler but this was the episode of RAW in which Stone Cold Steve Austin goes to Brian Pillman’s house! I’ve watched the segment of what actually happened. Austin invaded Pillman’s house and Pillman tried to defend himself. For the purposes of not spoiling things for people that have never seen this, I won’t go into any further detail. However, I feel I almost had to review this angle with Brian Pillman.

The Brian Pillman thing felt like the culmination of everything we’ve seen from him in WCW in this series where he was transforming into the loose cannon, everything he did in ECW and now the stuff he did with Austin. So yes, I think this is a RAW episode worth reviewing.

MAY THE BEST SHOW WIN!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW SLIM JIM’S HALLOWEEN HAVOC 1996 (OCTOBER 27TH 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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The threat of the New World Order has grown larger and larger as the members of the group have grown larger and larger. In the last two months, The Giant, Ted DiBiase, Syxx, Vincent and a fake Sting have joined Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall’s conquest to take over the world. This included NASCAR racing and movie sets as shown in the last few months on Nitro.

A surprising new addition to the group was Miss Elizabeth, who it was revealed signed with the nWo which also messed with the psyche of “Macho Man” Randy Savage. In the week before Halloween Havoc and his title match against Hogan, Savage talked about life being fragile with an ominous threat heading into the big title match.

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Yes, we have made it to Halloween Havoc 1996. We’ve entered the unstoppable reign of New World Order at the top and that was not made any more clearer than this pay-per-view. We’ve had Nitros where the nWo took over the show and we’ve had the nWo win impossibly handicapped situations but this was the big one where the nWo DOMINATED.

It wasn’t even just the New World Order that dominated to show either. If you look at WWE booking in 2020, all WWE cares about is getting heat for the heels. There are so many few babyfaces that get organically over as main-eventers in that company because the mindset is constantly to beat the good guys I guess because they did that to Daniel Bryan and he got unintentionally over.

However, I think I have found a source of inspiration for modern day writers of WWE television. This was a WCW PPV where there were no happy endings whatsoever. None. Every heel on the show was victorious in this PPV except Lex Luger. Even when Lex Luger beat Arn Anderson later on in the show, he refused to let go of the hold (which is a heel move) and the heel got a sympathetic stretcher angle. So there was no happy endings during this show at all.

However, if you’re not really obsessed about the booking of the show, this was a good pay-per-view. The opening match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship was awesome. The match was worth the price of admission and it wasn’t even the only good match on the show. We had some good matches across the board as well as the historic debut of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at the end of the show. A notable and enjoyable pay-per-view.

 

Date: October 27th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Las Vegas, Nevada

Attendance: 10,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes

 

One of the first things I heard was a massive beep which scared the death out of me as the show started. I had to pause the WWE Network because I thought it was something else but no, it was some horrible in-show sound as the show started. It was some kind of horrible beeping.

 

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

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For those who need a recap, Rey won this title from Malenko on the Nitro after Bash at the Beach. Malenko then beat up Rey and took his mask from him, carrying it down to the ring with him as a trophy. Here, we had the big rematch with the championship on the line. Rey had been the champion for 111 days heading into this match. Mike Tenay was on commentary for this one as is the case for seemingly every cruiserweight title match on WCW PPVs.

Dean attacked Rey before the bell and slammed him right on his shoulders with a back suplex. Dean hit a hard spinebuster and tried a Texas Cloverleaf but Rey spun out of it. There was about 90 seconds of awesome spots with some moves I wasn’t able to take down in my notes as it all happened at such a high pace. Dean did a snapmare but Rey landed on his feet. Rey did a springboard moonsault and Dean CAUGHT HIM in mid-air in a powerslam position. The fans were in bewilderment over these spots and words do not give it justice. If you go back and watch the first two minutes of this match, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking.

Malenko grabbed the mask he stole from Rey but Rey dropkicked him off the apron. Rey did a dive and then took off his own mask and replaced it with the mask Malenko stole from them and worked the match with a new mask on. I actually think that’s a cool concept that plays into the stolen mask storyline. Rey at least got some level of revenge.

Rey tried a headscissors but Malenko did a side-walk slam in a clever spot. Dean stopped him in mid-momentum and just dropped him with a slam. It looked sublime. There was one dangerous spot where Malenko got Mysterio in a suplex position but he threw him at the ropes. However Rey landed legs first on the ropes and he looked close to crashing head-first into the mat. It’s the curse of being so small that guys are able to throw you all over the place as Dean launched this man through the air and it nearly backfired in an ugly way.

Dean locked on a half-crab like submission. Malenko pulled on the leg and arm of Rey while putting his foot into the back of Rey for a further submission as Rey yelled about his back. Dean hit a back suplex from the top rope for a two count.

Dean locked on a neck scissors submission and it was clever because it didn’t look like he was squeezing Rey’s throat. Dean had his knees on either side of Rey’s head and looked he was squeezing his head with his knees like a vice grip. There was a different way to apply the hold other than just choking him with his legs. I liked that.

Dean missed a punch and Rey almost got the pin with a small package but Dean kicked ou.. Dean went back to work and did a backbreaker submission. Dean transitioned this into a camel clutch. Vintage fabulous submission wrestling from Dean Malenko being displayed. Dean did a slick looking tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Dean drove Rey’s back into the ring apron and threw him back into the ring after the match spilled out of the ring. Dean locked on a rear naked choke. Dean followed this up with a standing sleeper hold.

Rey fought back to his feet but Dean knocked him right back down with a kitchen sink. Dean did the quickest looking Northern Light suplex I’ve ever seen. It was a quick flip for Rey as he slammed down to the mat hard. Rey fired back to his feet. They battled on the top rope and knocked each other down to the floor.

I love how Rey got on Dean’s back and then he clobbered Dean’s face with big forearms to the face of the challenger. It looked great. Rey fired back with a springboard summersault senton.

Rey did a springboard corkscrew to Dean which Dean appeared to almost not be ready for as he briefly walked away from the ring. However, he was able to recover the spot. Rey did a West Coast Pop but Dean kicked out as the announcers noted no-one had ever kicked out of that move. Rey tried it a second time but Dean but him off with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall which the fans bought as the finish. I bought this as the finish to be honest. A great near fall. Dean eventually got the victory with a gutwrench powerbomb from the top rope. That was an awesome match.

It was a great because…. THE BETTER MAN WON. It was not like they went back and forth or Rey was dominating him but Dean got a cheap win. Dean beat him outright clean and it was tremendous work. Go out of your way everybody to watch that match.

Match Rating: ****1/4 (Same rating as Wrestling Observer Newsletter and I totally agree)

 

Lee Marshall interviewed Jeff Jarrett. Jeff said the nWo didn’t impress him with monster trucks and jumping Flair. He said they haven’t done anything in the ring and he vowed Giant wouldn’t chokeslam him. Ric Flair walked in. Flair was on vibrate as he cut this promo about Savage and Jarrett taking out the nWo “all night long”.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs DDP in a battle for the ring

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Nick Patrick was the referee for this match. This match revolved around the lord of the ring title, which Eddie defeated DDP for at Clash of the Champions. Eddie never actually had the ring as DDP stole it and walked away despite not actually being the lord of the ring anymore. Now, DDP was claiming he didn’t know where the ring was. However, the ring was still on the line for this match. I hope that catches everybody up if you’ve not been reading the WCW Nitro series for this blog and you happened to find this review on its own.

Things were heated as DDP spat at Eddie and Eddie punched away at DDP on the floor. They wrestled for a bit. Eddie took over DDP with a headlock takeover. DDP did a front face lock. DDP got stuck in the middle of the ropes and despite Patrick’s warning, Eddie pushed Patrick away and kicked DDP down to a big pop.

Eddie did a springboard senton. Eddie chopped DDP with sweat hitting the camera which is a trope with television and wrestling I’ve always enjoyed! The action was so intense that sweat was thrusted into the camera lens!

DDP tried a pin with his feet on the ropes but Patrick stopped him. DDP threw Eddie into the air and Eddie came right back down on his stomach with a “nose dive”. DDP did a waist-lock gutbuster. DDP did an abdominal stretch but Eddie got out it. DDP did a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.

DDP actually pushed Patrick and Patrick pushed back to a ridiculously huge pop and Eddie tried a pin but got a two count. That was crazy to me that Patrick was monstrously hated during these WCW shows as of late but following one tease of a babyface turn, the fans lost their minds! These fans had hope for Nick Patrick!

Patrick chewed out DDP as DDP begged him off. Page shuck Patrick’s hand as he and Guerrero traded punches. DDP and Eddie traded roll ups. DDP missed a lariat as Eddie dodged but then DDP came back across with another lariat which the fans popped for. DDP did the slip-on-a-banana peel spot and almost landed right on his neck with even DDP feeling his head afterwards.

Eddie did the 10 punches in the corner and an uppercut to floor Page. Eddie did a top rope crossbody to the outside. DDP did the “flapjack” Styles Clash facebuster for a 2 count. DDP hit a spinning sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count.

Some fan I think yelled that DDP was nothing and DDP responded: “your mother’s nothing”. DDP hit the Diamond Cutter and Tony said that Eddie may have blocked it with his hands coming down, because I guess Tony believed Eddie was going to kick out and so he was covering DDP’s tracks. But then, DDP got the pin anyway! That was an awkward call from Tony! Eddie somehow blocked a DDP and got pinned in Tony’s eyes!

Patrick then went into his pocket to get the ring, gave the ring to DDP as he regained the ring. It turned out Nick Patrick had the ring all along.

This was a fine match. I’ve kinda changed my mind on the rating of this match a few times. A part of me thought it was great and another part of me thought it was a nothing match. It felt that the match didn’t really have a structure a lot of the time but there was some good drama near the end of the match. I liked the Nick Patrick hope spot and a lot of the moves were done really well. Therefore, I will give this three stars out of five. Not an exceptional match, but a decent enough match to watch in my eyes. Feel free to disagree but I didn’t see a lot of problems with this match.

Match Rating: ***

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THIS WAS SOMETHING ELSE. Mike Tenay interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage to reveal the winner of the Slim Jim Sweepstakes for Halloween Havoc. The last time we saw “Macho Man” Randy Savage on WCW Nitro, he alluded to wanting to end the life of Hollywood Hogan at Halloween Havoc. He said life was precious,  he was all disturbed, very not Macho Man like and he was dressed in black. He was a changed man heading into this match.

Now we’re here at the PPV, with the main-event of the show centred around a blood feud and, because they have a Slim Jim advertisement deal, Savage started acting like typical Randy Savage. He’s all amped up and goofing around, 6 days after being morose and threatening to kill Hulk Hogan! This was quite a change of tone for the Macho Man. It’s funny what money will do to a man!

He was goofing around as he pulled out a name from this paper mache.  Joan McChellick was apparently the winner. Savage wanted to go on a date with the winner of the monster truck! It’s crazy that he’s making his moves on random women he’s never met before after like 2 months of this angle where Savage was obsessed with Elizabeth! I get you’ve got to do promotions with the sponsors like Slim Jim but give me a break. They sacrificed two months worth of storylines just so Savage can promote Slim Jim and give away a monster truck! This… was bullshit. 

 

We got a whole bunch of time-wasting angles between the DDP vs Eddie match and the next match. They plugged the WCW website and Chris Jericho doing CompuServe. I will be honest, I totally forgot that Jericho was wrestling on this show at this point. I say this because Jericho was in his ring gear doing the CompuServe thing and my notes read: “I’m assuming Jericho worked a pre-show because he was in his ring gear!” This was already promoted to me last week but he was wrestling Syxx on this show! I apologise to Chris Jericho from 23 years ago but surely Jericho would have a shirt on at least before his big match or when coming down to do CompuServe. He didn’t need to do this CompuServe thing topless!

Mike Tenay interviewed Dean Malenko after his big victory. Malenko mentioned that he said he was gonna be more focused than ever and he was not gonna leave this building without the title. He was a man of his word and Malenko said this is what he wanted, this is what he got and this is what he’s gonna keep. He said he was gonna take on all comers. This was a solid promo. I know Malenko has this reputation of not having a personality but he did a fine interview here. He got straight to the point as he told everyone to bring it on! A great way to hype up the new Cruiserweight title reign for the Man of 1000 Holds!

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Ted DiBiase cut a promo with The Giant from the crowd. He cut a promo about Jeff Jarrett as The Giant was posing with the WCW United States Championship despite not officially being the champion. The Giant said he was gonna stick Jarrett to the wall, the ceiling, the floor and he was gonna chokeslam him right in the middle. He said when it’s all over, they’ll be no Jeff Jarrett or Horsemen. I wrote down “Everyone was gonna go to the glue factory” but I have no idea who said that line!

Remember a few months ago when The Giant was the WCW World Heayvweight Champion and he was cutting all of these great promos? He had such personality, he roared and he came off as a big deal. He’s now with the nWo and he’s cutting bland promo after bland promo and it’s not really The Giant’s fault. He’s the big man backing up Hogan but he has no direction or not character other than being Hogan’s bodyguard. He couldn’t do his Dungeon of Doom material and he couldn’t do “shoot” promos or clever promos like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Now he’s in a position where he can’t showcase his charisma which we knew for a fact he had based on those promos from before. This was a let down of a promo.

 

The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett w/Ric Flair

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Going into this match, I didn’t expect much and the match very much met my expectations. You have Jarrett who is new to the company versus a green Giant. It’s the same Giant match we always see whenever he has to work a long match with a decent-enough worker. This did not need to go 10 minutes and Jarrett was not going to get a good 10 minute match out of the guy. It was also not gonna even lead up to a clean victory either way so what’s the point?

Tony explained his disgust in Nick Patrick for holding up the United States title that Giant was carrying to which Bobby responded that if The Giant told Tony to raise the belt, Tony would raise it. This was a solid point.

Ric Flair came out and they cut to the entrance ramp, and the first gravestone shown on camera as Flair comes out is a gravestone is called “Rick”. You cannot tell me that wasn’t just an elaborate rib on Ric! The FIRST GRAVESTONE they show and it’s Rick! I couldn’t tell you what the significance of these graves were as part of the Halloween Havoc set and I didn’t spot a pattern.

One of the commentary highlights of this show was Bobby explaining something and Dusty Rhodes yelled “I just said that” and Bobby responded, “yes but I’m doing it in English”. I love the chemistry between Dusty and Bobby during their exchanges. The fact these two only did PPVs together for WCW is a crime! Tony actually chime in saying: “That’s a good thing about your guys working together – it’s in stereo.” Bobby responded: “One in English and one in Cowpasture.” Tremendous banter.

Ric Flair was going crazy on the entrance ramp as Jarrett was out-manoeuvring Giant. Jarrett tried a head lock and then Giant lifted him high in the air threw him across the ring! Giant got some distance with this throw too and it looked very effective. Tony questioned why Jarrett would try a headlock on The Giant.

Giant threw Jarrett across the ring. Jarrett tried a sleeper hold on Giant’s back and Giant was struggling to get Jarrett off his back but he eventually crashed into the turnbuckle to get Jarrett off of him. There were big nWo chants. Giant was wobbly because of Jarrett but he eventually cut Jarrett off with a big boot to a big pop. It was a pretty decent looking big boot from The Giant too.

Ric Flair got in the ring and attempted to get a chair in the ring but was thwarted. Giant did a headbutt to the groin of Jarrett but referee Nick Patrick did not call it. Giant did a backbreaker submission.

Ric Flair grabbed a mic and commanded Jarrett to kick his nWo ass. Giant caught Jarrett in mid-air and did two backbreakers while staring right at Flair. This was a pretty boring match to be honest. Giant tried a bearhug, which was the moment where this was confirmed to be a boring match!

Jarrett tried a scoop slam but Giant was too big. Jarrett was able to floor Giant with a top rope crossbody but Giant threw Jarrett off of him when he went for the cover. Jarrett tried a Figure Four Leg Lock but Giant kicked Jeff out of the ring.

Giant tried to charge at Jarrett but Jarrett moved and as Jarrett moved out of the way, Giant crashed into the ring post. Jarrett did a Figure Four Leg Lock on the outside but Giant reached across to Jeff with a hand for the chokeslam but before he could deliver, Flair took off his jacket and did a low blow for the disqualification.

I hate this type of booking. WCW threw in two guys they were trying to protect but because of this, they didn’t want anyone to lose. Therefore, they did a disqualification despite it being clear that The Giant was the better man. If you have such a problem with picking a winner and a loser, why bother doing the match? This did nobody any favours. What the heck did Jarrett get from this match? Giant kicked his ass for ten minutes and he was saved by Ric Flair, who is INJURED! Why couldn’t you have just let The Giant get the win?

And if that wasn’t bad enough, The Four Horsemen ran down afterwards to help Flair and Jarrett from The Giant. Jarrett and Ric had a two-on-one advantage against The Giant and then more men came out to help those two guys. Keep in mind, Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett were supposed to be the babyfaces. Jarrett came off like such a dork and The Giant came off as a monster babyface beating everybody up! Then Tony had the temerity to berate Giant for running away… from an unfair fight! The nWo, despite being heels, were booked as so superior to these WCW geeks.

HUGE THUMBS DOWN for everything about this match. On the bright side, at least both men tried and worked hard to try and get something out of nothing. Therefore, I will give them that credit.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Ted DiBiase was with Syxx and Vincent. DiBiase said the Horsemen knew the post-match save was the only way Jarrett was gonna get out of that ring. He admitted Jericho was a great athlete but he was a great athlete at the wrong time. He was in there with the best cruiserweight in Syxx tonight. Syxx said Jericho would be crucified for the sins of WCW which is straight out of Stephanie McMahon’s vocabulary. He yelled the nWo is 4 life. I was not a fan of Syxx’s verbiage but Ted DiBiase cut a hell of a promo here.

 

Syxx vs Chris Jericho

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Bobby Heenan talked about Syxx making his wrestling debut and I swear Syxx wrestled on that nWo take over show a month ago.

Syxx and Jericho wrestled for a bit fighting speed with speed. If you have two quick guys in there and if they can keep up with each other, you’re very likely going to have a good match and this was a good match when the smoke cleared. Konnan, Taskmaster and Big Bubba were at ringside. Jericho ran wild with a monkey flip and arm drags for a while. Syxx dropkicked Jericho off the top rope and onto the floor.

Jericho tried again to get in the ring but Syxx dropkicked him off the apron and then did a dive to the outside. Syxx stomped at Jericho in the ring and did some kicks in the corner. Syxx did a rest-hold. Syxx tried a spin kick but Jericho caught it, so Syxx kicked him with the other leg which I actually think was really well executed.

Syxx did an elbow drop from the top rope onto Jericho, who was draped on the apron. Syxx missed a dropkick in the corner. Jericho ran wild for a bit to some boos from the crowd as they loved the nWo.

Jericho did a top rope crossbody to the outside. Jericho did a top rope back elbow for a two count. Jericho caught Syxx off the top rope with a dropkick. Jericho went for a cover and Patrick ran around for like 5 seconds before eventually went down to count the pinfall.

Jericho did a lionsault and a bridge pinfall and got a one count which the fans and the announcers disputed as a slow count. When they showed the replays of the slow counts, the slow counts didn’t even look that slow which is a problem with this storyline. If you are told to do a slow count, make sure the count is slow. Don’t do a regular count as it flies in the face of the storyline you’re trying to tell. Just wait for Starrcade 1997 as Nick Patrick’s will get a big moment when it comes to the speed of his counts!

Jericho did a springboard moonsault and again Patrick did what was supposedly a slow count. Syxx did a side kick and Patrick counted down the pinfall as normal for the win. Jericho chased Patrick out of the ring as Patrick carried Syxx to the back. A good cruiserweight match with not a lot to complain about. Jericho and Syxx worked pretty well together in this match.

Match Rating: ***

 

Lex Luger was interviewed by Mike Tenay. Luger said it didn’t need to come down to this but Arn pointed the finger at Luger for WCW’s loss at Fall Brawl. Luger said he accepted the blame but Arn wouldn’t accept that. He said Arn questioned his fortitude but now he’s gonna see a torture rack you’ve never seen before. He’s sick and tired of everyone running each other down in WCW. Luger said he’s gonna beat Arn, rack him and take him out and hurt him.

 

Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson

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This was a match that was saved mostly by the finish because this was a boring match. Arn tried all he could and it didn’t work but they did deliver a poetic finish in the confides of the story and it turned the heel shenanigans against the Four Horsemen.

Tony talked about Luger losing but not quitting at Fall Brawl when I seem to recall Luger tapping out after Hogan and Sting locked on a double submission in the War Games match. How that is not considered quitting, I don’t know.

They fight for a bit. Luger powered up Anderson and dropped him with a Gorilla Press. They followed up with a double axe handle from the apron. The Dungeon of Doom was cheering Luger to rack him which was an interesting dynamic. Luger used to be a Dungeon of Doom member but the Dungeon hated Arn and they were feuding with the Four Horsemen in Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael.

That’s actually a great aspect of WCW’s use of stables at this time. The Dungeon and Horsemen had been feuding since Brian Pillman feuded with Taskmaster back in February and after all of this time, they still hate each other and there’s still feuds going on between the groups. That’s great for the members of those groups and there’s a lot of layers to the program.

Arn got hung upside down and the fans are going crazy as Luger had him in peril. Just imagine what Luger was gonna do now that Arn was defenseless. Instead, Luger just throws a few slow punches and then after, the buzz just went away from this match. A better worker would have gotten so much more from this spot and that is frustrating.

Arn hit a spinebuster. Arn beats on Luger for a while. This was a boring match and some fans start to boo because nothing was happening for a long time. Arn tried a DDT but Luger grabbed the ropes to keep himself standing.

Luger started fighting back. Arn shoved Luger into the referee to knock him down. Arn grabbed a chair and tried to use it but Luger dodged. Arn tried a piledriver but Luger catapulted Arn into the ringpost. Luger suplexed Arn on the floor.

The referee Mark Curtis was still dazed. Luger then hit Arn in the back with a chair multiple times as the referee was still unable to see it. Arn was limp as Luger called for his finisher and Luger secured the submission victory with the Torture Rack. Luger refused to let go of the hold as the referee tried to break the hold.

So yes, after Arn yelled at Luger for giving up at Fall Brawl, Arn was the one that gave up from the Torture Rack himself. This was retribution for the babyface and when you’re able to make a heel eat his words, that’s a thumbs up in my eyes. One of the stronger finishes of the show to an otherwise boring match. However, this match did not need to be 12 minutes long.

Match Rating: **

 

Arn was being attended to as Jarrett and Flair both came out. They actually brought out the stretcher. Arn grabbed the arm and “rib cage” as he was being taken out.

 

Lee Marshall played Mean Gene and hyped up the WCW Hotline to apparently have the scoop about Sting. He interviewed Harlem Heat, Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker. Parker talked about how the Outsiders needed reprimanded. He said they were riding on the coattails of the greatest tag team in WCW. Sherri said this is what the Harlem Heat lives and breathes for. Booker said the nWo were a couple of wannabe thugs and they were gonna jump them Harlem Style.

 

“The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart vs Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Debra McMichael and Woman

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I will start of this review by talking about our main man Steve “Mongo” McMichael, I’ve really liked his character as part of the Four Horsemen. I don’t rate him as a wrestler but there were times where he at least knew how to carry himself as a star. The example I will provide was from the Four Horsemen’s ring entrance. Benoit came out with Woman by his side and Mongo came out with his wife Debra by his side. They both get on the apron, Debra and Mongo both took off their jackets off and a random woman was outside catching these massive jackets and coats almost effortless. I loved that!

Meng tried a kick but Mongo evaded it by cowering the corner. They locked up but smashed into a each with shoulder tackles. There was a great spot where they Meng and Mongo both roared crashed into each and Mongo did a tremendous shoulder tackle to floor him and send him flying. He jumped high in the air and Meng went flying in the air backwards to sell the pure force of Mongo. It was so cartoonish but I loved it. It was as ridiculously and over-the-top as it needed to be!

Benoit and Barbarian got tagged in and fought. Benoit hit a northern lights suplex for a 2 count. Benoit tried a headbutt but this was a mistake as Barbarian no-sold it and took him down!

In another great spot involving Mongo was when Meng challenged Mongo to a sumo match. Mongo obliged and then they had a full-on sumo wrestling battle slapping each other! They slapped at each other and they wrestled with Meng winning! Think of it as E. Honda from Street Fighter, who did these slaps to palm away his opponent! This was a better sumo match than the WrestleMania 21 match between Akebono and Big Show which included a LEGITIMATE champion sumo wrestler!

Mongo then took out the Faces of Fear with chop blocks for a while but then Meng cut him off. This was Mongo playing to his strengths, acting like an American football player to take down the monsters. I like that.

They did a double headbutt and Mongo just fell to the ground. It was a pretty funny bad sell where he just fell to the ground like this was a trust exercise! Barbarian did a scoop slam to Mongo. Mongo did a dropkick and did it a second time but Meng just moved out of the way and continued with the beat down on Meng.

Meng tried a senton but Mongo moved out of the way. Benoit got the tag. Meng and Barbarian did the back drop/powerbomb combination to a big pop. This was even better than when they did it against the Fantastics. How does no one in wrestling nowadays try that spot? Surely the War Raiders or Authors of Pain should be able to do it?

There was one awkward spot where Meng chopped Benoit and Benoit stood his ground as if to no-sell it and then crashed to the floor after like a delayed reaction. Communication seemed to be off for that spot.

Barbarian did a top rope belly to belly suplex and Benoit got throw HIGH and LONG to the other side of the ring. How a suplex can be so high and so far away is mind-boggling to me. They did really well with that spot.

Faces of Fear did the double headbutt but Mongo broke up the pin. Barbarian did a suplex into a Meng top rope splash but Mongo got involved to break it up. He pulled out Benoit and hit Meng in the face with the briefcase. Benoit hit the top rope headbutt and got the pinfall.

I actually did not see much in this match from watching it but upon writing this review, I realised this match was actually quite great! I think I would have shaved off a few minutes to make it a bit crisper but man, there were some fabulous spots ranging from comedy to full on serious. This match, in a weird way, had a bit of everything. For god’s sake, Mongo had a sumo wrestling match with Meng and it fit right in!

But of course, there were no happy endings on this show. The defacto babyfaces of this feud, the Four Horsemen, were beat up after the match. The Faces of Fear beat up Mongo and Benoit as Benoit made a comeback. Dungeon grabbed Women but Benoit made the save. Benoit however was being fed to the wolves as Mongo was laid out with a piledriver earlier on in the brawl. Benoit fought off everyone by himself briefly but Meng cut hims off with a superkick. Taskmaster beats up Mongo with a briefcase. Barbarian hit Benoit with a big boot. Bubba hit a spinebuster.

Arn was injured and Flair was with Arn and he was injured too so there was nobody to help these guys. Taskmaster went up to Woman. He took off his shirt. Taskmaster said Benoit wasn’t the man, he’s the man. The beatdown itself was actually a solid beatdown. However, in the middle of a show where all the heels were winning and there so much misery, all I wanted was to see was a babyface win a battle. Was that too much to ask, even in the nWo era?

Match Rating: ***

 

Ted DiBiase came out. He says its 2-0 to the nWo. The next match was for the WCW tag team titles but they were soon to be the nWo tag team titles. He said ever since they’ve come in, they had not failed to deliver anything they had set out to do. Ted said they don’t need a second time as they can get it done the first time. Ted DiBiase was a very solid hype man for the New World Order in this role. There was a part of me that felt Ted DiBiase would soon feel out of place for but now, he’s very solid in his role as a hype man. How long that lasts remains to be seen.

 

“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray © w/Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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MASSIVE NWO CHANTS broke out during this match. To fan the flames a little bit, Tony said: “there’s a lot of punks in the world and there’s also a lot of WCW fans” when the announcers were talking about the fans in nWo fans. What a way to convince the nWo fans that the nWo is evil by calling those fans punks. Quite encouraging Tony.

Before a title match, it is common tradition where the referee will show the titles to the competitors and hold the titles in the air for the fans to see. When showing the titles to the Outsiders, the Outsiders grabbed the belts to pose with to massive cheers. It’s funny because (SPOILERS) the Outsiders won the titles anyway, so this really accomplished nothing other than get a cheap pop. Once upon a time it was a big deal to hold the titles for the first time. Here, the Outsiders already grabbed the titles literally minutes before winning them!

The fans looked to one side where I guess there was a fight in the crowd. You have to wonder how many fights broke out in the crowd during this period because this isn’t the first time where I see the fans in WCW look to the crowd for seemingly no reason. Some times I see this happen on Nitro because I expect nWo but no, it turned out it was a fan fight. I wonder if the WCW vs nWo storyline legitimately caused fights among fans.

Hall worked on Booker in the ring but Booker reversed the pressure and did a side kick as the fans paid little attention to the first few minutes of the match. Booker tried a leapfrog but Hall evaded it and did a straight up punch to a big pop.

Booker did a hip toss over the top rope which was not a disqualification as “the momentum took him” over the top rope according to Dusty. That it such bad logic. So if I did a powerbomb to someone over the top rope in WCW, that wouldn’t be a disqualification because his momentum took him over the top rope? I just dropped him but gravity brought him to the floor. If you’re going to do the rule at all, at least abide to it or tell your wrestlers to not do over the top rope spots.

A hoss fight began as Kevin Nash and Stevie Ray were tagged in to BIG DIESEL CHANTS. Nash overpowered Ray initially with punches and knees to the gut and in the corner. Ray shoulder-tackled Nash down and then spat at Hall. Ray kicked away at Nash with garbage being thrown in. Sherri raked the eyes of Nash. Booker did a scissors kick. Nash took over and did a side-walk slam to massive cheers, even from some women in the crowd. Hall did a sloppy looking bulldog where Hall didn’t even grab his head coming down.

Booker did a rest hold. Nash took a cheap shot at Booker from the apron to massive cheers as Outsiders gain the advantage. The fans were quite approving of this blatant cheating! Nash did a snake eyes and Hall followed up with a clothesline while the referee was distracted. Razor did a chokeslam with Ray breaking up the pin. Booker tried a crossbody and Hall caught him with ease and did a fallaway slam. It was a very well done spot from both men. Scott Hall had arguably his best performance in a WCW ring so far during this match.

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As I review this show a few weeks after the #SpeakingOut Twitter campaign centred around abuse towards women in the wrestling business, they do a spot in 1996 where Sherri slapped Scott and Scott grabbed her to thunderous cheers and then kissed her for the biggest pop off the night. This would not play well in the year 2020. This big, jacked-up man physically grabbed this woman, imposed his welll and forced himself upon this woman to get a kiss. These fans were very much approving of this at Halloween Havoc. In storyline, Scott Hall sexually assaulted Sister Sherri. If you do not wish to see anymore of this in wrestling, I would recommend probably not watching WCW, ECW or WWF programming from 1996 to about 2009 on the WWE Network! This is just one spot among decades of on-screen abuse towards women.

This does not get any better on-screen in wrestling and when Vince Russo comes along in WCW, you’re really not gonna like this. It’s disgusting enough on the screen and it’s even worse that these wrestlers bring it home with them. No, I am not suggesting Scott Hall also did this but heck this was established as the norm in wresting for years from this point. I’m sure a lot of young wrestlers watched all of this and the Attitude Era and just assumed it was OK, which IT’S NOT.

Right after this, there’s an understated spot where Sherri came off the apron with a double axe handle to Parker as she kicked off about what happened and him not doing anything about it! That was awesome!

Hall dropped Booker crotch-first on the top rope and Dusty goes: “you’re nuts if you think that doesn’t hurt.” Good form Dusty.  Stevie got the tag and ran wild with punches and clotheslines. Ray grabbed Hall of a Gorilla Press and threw him into Nash which I’m actually surprised they were able and willing to do. They put over Ray pretty well here. Nash got clotheslined to the outside. Booker hit the Harlem Hangover.

This was poetically the best possible finish for this match. I’ve ranted and raved for about a year now about these over-booked finishes for Harlem Heat involving managers and all kinds of shenanigans. It happened all the time. This time, the nWo turned the tables on them as they secured the win by cheating for a change. As the referee is distracted I believe, Parker tried to hit Nash with a cane. Nash intercepted him so basically Parker let him have the cane without a fight and then Ray got laid out with the cane and Hall got the pin to win the tag titles to a thunderous reaction.

With Harlem Heat as the babyfaces and the Outsiders as the heels and the Outsiders being cheered throughout, there was some screwed up psychology. However, this finish was perfect in the sense that Harlem Heat got a dose of karma. They got a dose of karma, they were “out-cheated” and now WCW have lost the tag titles too! This was unintentionally great!

Booker’s facial expressions were awesome as he was in shock, mouth agape in awe as he checked for his brother’s breathing as the Outsiders celebrate as they say: “the takeover is just about complete”.

I very much enjoyed this match with the exception of one uncomfortable spot.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Hollywood Hogan did his pre-match promo with Giant behind him. Hogan had the worst haircut of his life and think of the ground that covered although the truth would be revealed later on in the match. However this Bart Simpson look did not look any good. He mentioned he’s just done with 3 Ninjas and a new film is coming up with Santa with Muscles. Hogan called Savage a long lost love-sick puppy. He said this was nWo rules and it’s time for Hollywood.

 

Hollywood Hogan © wTed DiBiase  vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Now I will first address before this reviewing this match that there was a lot usual WCW backstage politics that led to this finish. If you’ve watched everything Hogan did to Savage in the last 6 weeks or so, he almost had to win this match. Hogan had tortured Elizabeth, put her through hell and now this was his time to kill him. There were contracts and a lot of stuff that happened which led to this finish but let’s review this match in a vaccum.

I say that because every other WCW at this time was watching this match in a vaccum. They had to watch it based what had been presented to them in the last three months or so and they had to watch this conclusion to such a deep storyline with Hogan, Savage and Elizabeth.

Michael Buffer did the ring introductions Savage’s theme song cut off Buffer’s ring introductions but then the production team wised up and shut it off as Buffer finished Hogan’s ring introduction.

Savage brought out a “Macho Man” monster truck which actually did look pretty sweet. One of the better looking monster trucks WCW has trudged out in front of the fans. Savage grabbed the mic to tell Hogan to get his “goons” out of here so he can kick his ass. The referee obliged and I guess threw Giant out. Hogan whispered into Giant’s ears as Giant walked out as I guess he told Giant not to fight it.

Hogan still had his sunglasses on in early parts of the match. Savage is just standing there in the ring as Hogan just walked around… RIGHT AFTER an episode of Nitro where he implied killing Hogan. Hogan is doing his thing and Savage is just… STANDING THERE.

Just like The Giant match where Hogan tried to hide and run from Giant, this match startED the same way. They mentioned that the monster truck was the one given away then correct themselves saying they were given a road legal one… in other words a less cool one was given to the winner.

A whole bunch of nothing happened for like 5 minutes. So I’ve seen a whole bunch of matches with Ric Flair and Savage where he and Flair fought and tried to kill each other. They scratched, clawed and chopped the hell out of each other because they hated each other’s guts. Here Hogan hid and run away and Savage did nothing. He just stopped and stalled in a match against a supposedly. crazy Randy Savage.

Hogan beat up Savage for a while talking trash and saying Savage was nothing. Savage fought back and did punches and a double axe handle. He then grabbed Hogan’s sunglasses. Hogan begged Savage off. Savage grabbed Hogan’s hair and pulled the wig off of Hogan and puts it on. Hogan looks around all panicked at the loss of his wig with some incredibly facial expressions! This was quite great.

Hogan headed to the back. Savage cut him off and fed his wig back to Hogan! Savage beat him u[. Savage grabbed and hit Hogan with a chair on the outside. It was established that you can use weapons on the outside because it’s there’s no disqualification on the outside but yet when Savage used it a second time, the referee cuts him off and Hogan blindsided him. Anything can happen on the outside but yet the referee wouldn’t allow Savage to use the chair a second time? Seems like flawed logic to me.

Hogan then used a chair. As Ted DiBiase distracted the ref, Hogan used the chair again. Maybe there’s some one chair shot rule I’m not aware of. Hogan beat him up on the outside. Then Elizabeth, not in black, came out in a fancy colourful dress. Hogan choked away at Savage. Hogan yelled at Elizabeth but Savage gets a roll up for a near fall. Hogan’s turnks are pulled down by Savage therefore showing his bare ass! He has finished his transformation to a slightly more diabolic Ric Flair now!

I love Hogan’s mood changing. He was all about making jokes and cocky at the start of the match but when he got embarrassed, he gets pissed off and frustrated. Great heel characterisation! It’s all jokes and games until the heel doesn’t get what he wants and therefore, the heels pouts like a child! Savage clotheslined Hogan to the outside.

Hogan grabbed Elizabeth on the outside as a human shield. Savage did a scoop slam and knocked Hogan to the floor Hogan again grabbed Liz as boos from the fans rain down. Hogan threw her and takes advantage with a clothesline. Hogan did a big boot but then Elizabeth entered the ring to boos. Hogan went for the Leg Drop but Elizbaeht threw herself on top of Savage.

Hogan grabbed her. Hogan goes for a Leg Drop again but he missesd. Hogan got a weapon from DiBiase, Elizabeth intercepted it from Hogan, the refereee gets taken down with a clothesline. Nick Patrick and Mark Curtis come down. Savage did a clothesline and Savage did the elbow drop. Nick Patrick did the 2 count but then his neck gave out. Savage pushed Patrick and took off the neck brace. Hogan tried to use “the object” but Savage blocked it. He used it. DiBiase stops Savage from doing the elbow drop. The Giant saved DiBiase from Savage. Giant did the chokeslam on the floor. With The Giant clearly in the ring, Nick Patrick strolled over and did the 3 count as Hogan retained the title.

Tony flat out said: “we’ve been ripped off”. 

Match Rating: *

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There was a lot of shenanigans in this match and it was an incredibly over-booked, storyline finish. However, this was one of the better ones where it came off like Savage was fighting to the bitter end. It wasn’t just like a bunch of things happening leading to the finish. The nWo were doing everything in their power to win and Savage and Liz were doing everything could to stop Hogan. In the end, the heel advantage was just too great and Savage was defeated.

I will now talk about the backstage stuff. I read the Wrestling Observer Newsletter from November 1996 I believe. There were a lot of contract negotiations being thrown around at this time. Long story short, Bret Hart had just re-signed with the WWF for a 20 year deal or whatever the situation was in one of the biggest contracts of all time. The WWF wanted to capitalise on this. They supposedly made big offers to Hogan and Savage, so they could continue their feud in the WWF. Savage’s contract was coming up and I think Hogan’s contract may have been expiring as well. WWF probably would not have had the money to attempt to buy Hogan out of a big deal he had with WCW so that’s more likely. The WWF were close to going out of business at this time.

Hogan re-signed with WCW but Savage had yet to re-sign at this time. Therefore, his contract was in limbo and so therefore they took the precautions of having Hogan beat him. Savage was not under contract, although he did work a few commitments after this show including house shows. Acting fast, with no new babyfaces to feud with Hogan, WCW went ahead and signed up a new superstar to feud with Hogan heading into Starrcade. Speaking of which…

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Giant brought down a big jug of ice that he was careful carrying when walking towards the ring. He got to the ring and KNOCKED IT OVER! Poor Giant! He was doing so well not to spill it! He came in the ring and threw ice on Hogan to wake him up as the nWo celebrate. I guess Hogan was knocked out which was why he did that.

Hogan said he’s the king of Hollywood. Hogan is tired of Ted Turner, he’s taking over WCW and anyone who got in the ring with the nWo or Hulk Hogan was going down. Then bagpipes play as Giant prepared to fight. Hogan doesn’t know what’s going on and out comes ROWDY RODDY PIPER!

Hogan rubbed his face with a shocked looked as he’s freaking out as Tony called him a chicken! Piper grabbed a mic. I’m a huge fan of Piper promos, especially watching them back now years after his death. However, what on earth was going here?

My only explanation was that Piper, because he’s Piper, just said whatever he wanted and HOGAN OF ALL PEOPLE had to get him back on track because they were running short on PPV time. Piper rambled on and on about how he’s a millionaire, he made Hulk Hogan and told Hogan to admit he was here because of all these people. Hogan shook his hand and said he and Piper were “neck and neck” and then he made a crack about Piper wearing a kilt. They yell and yell about god know’s what and the PPV cuts them half way through!

This was to build up a world title match between Hollywood Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper! It wasn’t even that Piper was a bad talker during this promo. He wasn’t. He had a lot of fire and passion and that was about it. He just went on about all sorts of things that had nothing to do with the New World Order. Then he and Hogan just argued like they were on The Real Housewives or god know’s what. Just a mess of an exchange to end this pay-per-view.

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To sum up this pay-per-view as whole, they had a lot of good matches and an incredible opening match. No happy endings to be found, with good guys going over, and a bad ending to the show with Piper and Hogan rambling about…. I don’t even know what they were talking about! I would say that the only two matches you should really go out of your way to watch is Malenko vs Rey and Faces of Fear vs Benoit and Mongo because of how wacky it was. Everything else was really passable and even the nWo shenanigans were not that exciting to me. I will give this PPV a thumbs up on the grounds that although there was nothing exceptional, there were some good matches up and down the show which is really I could ask for… and possibly a Slim Jim.

 

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #58 (OCTOBER 21ST 1996) – STING RETURNS AND MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN BLACK AND WHITE

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

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We’re very close to Halloween Havoc, with the New World Order leader Hollywood Hogan defending the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth is once again in the middle of another Hogan vs Savage storyline in wrestling, with Elizabeth putting together a video apology last week for the Macho Man for singing with the nWo. This heartfelt apology rocked Savage who left the building distraught and possibly throwing him off his game ahead of his big title match against Hogan.

 

This episode I’m about to review I felt was a decent go-home show for WCW Halloween Havoc 1996. Good matches up and down the card. There weren’t many things done to build towards that pay-per-view and even the closing segment with Savage and Hogan was off to me. Keep in mind, that closing segment ended with Savage suggesting that he was going to kill Hollywood Hogan at the PPV! I’ll talk more about the Elizabeth stuff later but this seems like a complicated way to get Savage in a position of wanting to kill Hogan at the PPV, with Elizabeth being in business with Hogan. It felt anti-climatic despite the stakes being raised.

 

Date: October 21st 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Mankato, Minnesota

Rating: 3.2

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

 

Bobby Eaton vs Chris Jericho

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I thought this was a solid opening match. WCW have really stepped it up in the last few weeks with the opening matches for WCW Monday Nitro. It was Malenko vs Brad Armstrong last week and it was Jericho vs Bobby Eaton this week. I think in Bischoff’s mind at this time, it’s very clear that the second hour was the more important hour for him. The big angles were done on the second half of the show involving Hogan and Savage for example. However, putting a solid opening match to kick off Nitro was a great way to get the fans hyped up for the rest of the show and appealed to traditional wrestling fans. They tuned into Nitro wanting good wrestling and they got some!

They announced Savage vs Chris Benoit for later on in the show and Sting was set to appear on this episode of Nitro. It was somewhat ambiguous at this point as to which Sting was actually going to turn up for Nitro – the real Sting or the nWo Sting.

I guess Eaton was no longer with the Blue Bloods with Larry claiming he was “thrown out” of the Blue Bloods. They didn’t even show us what happened but I’m guessing based off Regal winning the TV title and Taylor and Eaton brawling a few weeks ago, they cut the man loose from the group.

Syxx and nWo Sting were amongst the crowd with a nWo banner in the background, Syxx was filming the show… for god knows what reason. The commentators explained Syxx was “scouting” Jericho ahead of their match at Halloween Havoc but I’m fairly certain that the New World Order will have owned televisions and would have the money to watch them for the sake of scouting.

Jericho used the speed to gain the advantage over the bigger Bobby Eaton. Jericho locked on a surfboard stretch submission. Eaton did a powerslam where I think Jericho tried bouncing INTO the rope and then bounced off the and stumbled as they did the spot.

Jericho wrestled down Eaton with a hammerlock. Jericho did the springboard dropkick. Eaton turned things around and worked on Jericho with an arm lock of his own. Eaton and Jericho knocked each other down to the floor with a punch at the same time which looked quite comical. They brawled on the floor with Jericho trying a back elbow but smashing his elbow into the ring post. Jericho backdropped Eaton on the floor.

Eaton hit a swinging neckbreaker and tried a move from the top to which Jericho cut him off but then the Canadian got knocked right back down again to the mat. Eaton did a top rope knee drop “on the shoulder” of Jericho but Jericho kicked out. Jericho did a side kick “enziguiri “ of some kind. Jericho did a top rope dropkick and frantically rushed over to score the pinfall for the win.

I love how Jericho had to go up to referee Nick Patrick just to check with him if it was a three count, given Patrick’s recent history with his refereeing. I thought this was a fine opener.

Eaton actually raised Jericho’s hand after the match showing signs of a babyface turn.

 

Tony Schiavonie interviewed Jericho after the match. Jericho said it was only six days before Halloween Havoc and said Syxx would be coming out of the PPV with a loss. He said he will come out with a victory and we’ll see who the better man is. A lot of yelling from Jericho. Far be it from me to critique the promo capabilities of Chris Jericho but I was not enthralled by the generic good-guy promos from Jericho at this point.

 

We got a Rey Mysterio Jr. video package. Some of the video effects used were seizure-inducing. Black and white effects really hurt my brain as they were showing all of these cool moves from the WCW Cruiserweight Champion Mysterio but the visual effects brought down the video package quality.

 

Dean Malenko vs Jimmy Graffiti

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Another great Nitro match featuring “The Man Of 1000 Holds” Dean Malenko as he wrestled Jimmy Grafiti. Jimmy Graffiti was dressed as Johnny Grunge, with a head like The Sandman but kinda worked like Super Calo. He and Malenko put on some great stuff together on this Nitro. It’s said that any TV opportunity is an opportunity and Graffiti worked his ass off for this one and that has to be respected.

Very good chain-wrestling to start off the match and after a while, Jimmy hit a decent looking float-over DDT. Graffiti hit a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Grafitti hit a side-kick. Some very crisp looking moves hit by Graffiti during this match.

Malenko hit an uppercut but Graffiti fell through the ropes and almost landed right on his head on the floor. I watched that spot a few times and Graffiti was very luck to walk away from that spot seemingly un-phased.

Dean did a chin-lock. The nWo Sting was shown with the video-tape and Larry called him “Stink”. Dean slammed Graffiti with a back suplex. Grafitti tried a bridge pinfall attempt but Dean kicked out. Dean hit a side kick for another 2 count. Dean hit a delayed suplex. Grafitti tried a Magistral roll up but got a 2 count.

Malenko crashed over the top rope with Graffiti following a crossbody and Graffiti landed head first into the apron. It looked nasty. I mentioned he got lucky following out of the ring earlier but here, his head smashed into the apron with a big thud when coming down. It also wasn’t like it was the top of his head, the side of his head smashed the apron. That was ugly.

Graiffit tried a dropkick off the top rope but Malenko reversed into a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory. Sloppy in parts but a another fine match to follow up the Jericho/Eaton match.

The irony of the “Power Pin of the Week” was the fact that it featured Dean locking on a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory! What a POWER PIN!

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs Sgt. Craig Pittman w/Teddy Long

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Nick Patrick, of course, was the referee and still wearing his neck brace. He refereed the opening match too. This was the continuation of the Nick Patrick vs Teddy Long storyline with one of Teddy’s clients in the ring with DDP who had previously put his hands on Teddy on Nitro.

DDP spat at Teddy before the match started. Teddy summoned Pittman towards him on the apron and then DDP jumped Pittman to start the match. Bad strategy from Team Pittman where Teddy allowed Pittman to have this back turned to a cheating scoundrel like DDP!

DDP caught a kick and hit a Discuss Clothesline. DDP did the elbow drop to the gut but Pittman sold it as if DDP hit him in the balls, therefore calling Patrick’s refereeing into question yet again.

DDP hit a Styles Clash-like facebuster. Pittman kicked out but DDP got thrown into the referee who sold his back. Pittman locked on the code red armbar but referee Patrick was distracted with Teddy Long. Pittman yelled that DDP had given up but Patrick didn’t see it. DDP then hit a Diamond Cutter for the win. Teddy and Patrick yelled at each other even more, Pittman got mad at Teddy Long and this storyline needs to go away.

I mean seriously, where is this storyline going? Other than Nick Patrick working for the New World Order, this Nick Patrick storyline just keeps going and going and it is really starting to jump the shark. WCW are just throwing Patrick in there for every match where the wrestler is managed by Teddy Long. You have DDP and Craig Pittman trying to work a match but they are the backdrop and extras to the Nick Patrick/Teddy Long feud. Once again, the referees and managers are more important than the wrestlers in the ring. That I hate about wrestle. It’s not even like Teddy or Patrick are adding any further to the storyline. They’re just bickering back and forth with no end in sight.

 

Tony interviewed Nick Patrick. Patrick claimed he did not hear DDP give up in the previous match. He blamed Teddy for being the reason that he did not hear him as all he saw was DDP getting to the ropes. To be fair to Patrick, how many times does Teddy Long get up on the apron to chew out the referee when really he should be there to help his clients? Teddy Long distracting the referee which cost Pittman the match so of course, Pittman chewed out Teddy after the match as well and got frustrated with him.

Patrick insisted that he was not the nWo referee claiming he was in twice the better shape than that referee. Patrick warned Tony about what happened the last time an announcer came at him with accusations in reference to “Mean Gene” Okerlund. I was wondering where Mean Gene went because he seemed to disappear from the face of the earth but it turns out his WCW contract expired at this time. In case anyone was wondering what happened to hi.

 

They recapped the nWo attacking Ric Flair two weeks ago and the recap of Jarrett’s promo last week which it also said took place “two weeks ago” so that was an error. Those two events did not happen on the same episode.

 

Jeff Jarrett vs Ron Studd

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They explain that Ric Flair had a MRI on his shoulder so he’s out of action for now. Ron Studd was on jobbing-giant duty tonight as he faced Jeff Jarrett, who would be fighting The Giant at Halloween Havoc in Ric Flair’s place. This was the continuation of Ron Studd’s role of being the giant to lose to a babyface ahead of a match against The Giant.

It’s sad because any wrestling promoter would kill to have a guy as tall as Studd in their ranks. You know how Vince treats giants and a giant ninja has just debuted recently with Akira Tozawa on RAW in 2020. They did try with Studd as the Yeti but now he’s back to being a random lower-midcard guy as a set-up guy for future matches with The Giant. First Chris Benoit, then Randy Savage and now Jeff Jarrett. It would be difficult to push him as a giant with The Giant and Kevin Nash already in the company for the nWo so Studd is just in this position. To be fair, at least Studd has a purpose in WCW unlike the 100s of other wrestlers signed to the company that are just signed for the hell of it. At least he has that going for him.

Ric Flair made his way down to the ring in a suit which he explained were his street clothes…which I totally believe! He’s Ric Flair! He’s always stylin’ and profilin’! Ric commanded Jeff Jarrett to do his strut to mostly boos but some cheers. Then Ric Flair showed him how to do it. He took off his jacket, slicked his hair and did his own strut as the fans went nuts. Fans booed Jarrett and chanted “Nature Boy” with Ric then going into full Ric Flair mode with his stylin’ and profilin’. It’s an awkward position for Jarrett to be in because they were trying to get him over but when Ric Flair came out and ain’t nobody gonna get cheered more than Ric Flair. Therefore, when Jarrett is doing the struts and he was trying to be Flair, the fans turned on him. Why have a cheap imitation when they had the real Ric Flair?

Flair and Jarrett. shook hands as he left Jarrett to it. Jarrett beat up Studd in the corner. Studd tried a suplex but Jarrett grabbed the rope to block it and then Jarrett did a suplex of his own to Studd as the fans actually popped for. Jarrett did a Figure Four Leg Lock on the big man and got the submission victory. It sucked to be Studd but at least this was effective in showing to the viewers that Jarrett could chop down and beat a large man in preparation for a match with another large man.

 

Tony interviewed Jarrett. Jeff said it’s time for him to put up or shut up. He said it’s time for everyone whose ever watched Ric Flair and who respects Flair to be the hunters instead of the hunted. Jarrett said there’s a big bullseye on Giant’s leg and he’s putting on the Figure Four. He said: “You’ve chokeslammed them all but you haven’t chokeslammed Jeff Jarrett.”

Flair interrupted and said he sat home last week and saw a man talk good about Flair. Flair said the nWo outsmarted outflanked and played the game dirtier than the Four Horsemen at War Games. Flair said he would be in Jeff Jarrett’s corner. He said the day he get back in with Jarrett and The Four Horsemen, he will kick the nWo’s ass.

 

Lex Luger vs Roadblock

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THE DEBUT OF ROADBLOCK. It’s almost like a balancing act with how wrestlers are signed with WCW at this point. For every new cruiserweight like Jimmy Graffiti or some great worker like that, they have to sign a big stiff for the big boys of World Championship Wrestling. Roadblock looked massive! He was as wide as a roadblock, he had a road block sign on his shoulders and had an ugly expression on his face. That’s not to say that he’s ugly but the way he gritted his teeth and snarled I enjoyed!

I love how Roadblock ran the ropes first and foremost! He was in the ring with Lex Luger. He ran up and charged at Luger to start the match with his hands in the air to start off the match! It was such a funny run as he charged at the Total Package.

Luger clotheslined him out of the ring. Luger did a scoop slam. Arn was cutting an inset promo about how “those impressive things “he was doing in the ring wouldn’t help him against Arn at Halloween Havoc and at the time of the promo being played, Luger was doing barely anything “impressive” in the ring!

Roadblock did a clothesline. There was an awkward spot where Luger took an Irish whip into the corner and then just turned around! He didn’t even try to do it naturally. He went back first into the turnbuckle and then span around like a Bayblade and then sold the move!

I loved this finish. I don’t think this finish was planned out this way but ended up being perfect with getting Luger over. Luger tried a Torture Rack but Roadblock, because of his size, slipped off of Luger’s shoulders. Luger tried again but Roadblock slipped off again. It was looking like a disaster but Luger started amping up the crowd! He rallied himself up and the fans as he was determined to get this big man up for the Rack. He throws his hands up. He tried the Torture Rack more time and he pullED it off to a big pop and Roadblock submitTED! Then just drops Roadblock down to the mat when he was done!

Whether this was a botched finish or not, this worked out perfectly for Luger. The storyline going on last week was Luger was selling his back because of a chair attack from Arn the week before. Therefore, they put him in the ring with this big guy and Roadblock kept slipping off his back because he was so big and Luger couldn’t keep him up. It played into that. After two attempts, the fans got fired up as they wanted Luger to get this man up for good and he delivered with a great pay-off. This was unintentionally one of my favourite matches of the night!

 

“The American Males” Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri in a non-title match

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There’s not really much I can say about this match other than the finish. This was your typical American Males match with them working very fast and this was your typical Harlem Heat match with shenanigans. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bagwell hip tossed Booker clean over the top rope as Bobby Heenan correctly pointed out should have been a disqualification. Tenay tried to explain this away as he talked about the momentum and Bobby cut him off and said: “Mike, Don’t think.”

Bagwell turned Booker inside out with a clothesline. As Booker hit a powerbomb, the Outsiders come out also to videotape Booker and Ray. Booker got cut off the top rope with a dropkick. Riggs got the hot tag and ran wild on the Harlem Heat.

Now to the finish, American Males were running wild in the ring but referee NICK PATRICK stopped Bagwell and took him to one side. Riggs punches Col. Robert Parker off the apron. Booker laid out Riggs as his back was turned. Booker went for the cover and Bagwell froze for 2 seconds as the referee counts to two, then he jumps in at the last minute to break it up but supposedly that was a three count and Harlem Heat won the match.

Over-booked tripe for a Harlem Heat match once again. It was honestly like Bagwell was frozen in a block of ice and then thawed out as Patrick got to “two” on his count. Bagwell had all the time in the world to break it up but because Patrick had to be distracted for Harlem Heat to do their spot, Patrick had to turn around and then do the count before Bagwell broke it up. This was a disaster and a miserable finish. I cannot wait for Harlem Heat to lose those titles. I’ve had garbage finishes in title matches for more than a year now with this team and now I want something different with this tag team division. THUMBS DOWN FOR THIS FINISH.

 

“The Fantastics” Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rodgers vs “The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart

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This was a great way to get Faces of Fear over for their match with Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael at Halloween Havoc. Take a random tag team in the Fantastics and have these two monsters destroy them for five minutes. AEW does this well in 2020 but I love the idea of establishing a dominant force by having them destroy enhancement talent. They don’t need to beat one of your other star tag teams. This was the problem with Nitro doing Harlem Heat vs Faces of Fear last week. Nobody could be booked to lose without losing momentum so they had the Outsiders interrupt the match and caused the match to be thrown. This would have been a better option.

Hire a few guys on the cheap and have them sell for the big stars and get them over. It’s good for the stars you wanna get over, it’s good for the enhancement talent because they have the “rub” of being in the ring with a star and it’s a better financial move to make in the long run. Maybe enhancement talent isn’t the word to describe the Fantastics but they were compared to the Faces of Fear in WCW’s eyes at the time.

My favourite spot of this match was when The Faces of Fear did a back drop from Meng into a powerbomb from The Barbarian in an awesome spot in one motion. The Faces of Fear don’t strike me as “spot” guys if that makes sense. All I’ve seen is big power moves from these two monsters as they destroy people left and right. Then suddenly they do this complex spot and they pull it off! I was blown away by them.

I love whenever Barbarian does a backbreaker to someone. It’s not just a motion where they go up and go down. Barbarian lifts him high in the air and slams him right down on his knee. The Barbarian was quite great in the ring.

The monsters destroy the Fantastics with Meng delivering a piledriver. There was double diving headbutt from Faces of Fear on the floor and then they got one of the babyfaces standing up and did a double headbutt while they were on their feet! Bischoff is constantly talking about how these Fantastics have no chance.

Fantastics get the hot tag. Rodgers ran wild. They slam Barbarian with a double back suplex and then do a double top rope dropkick for a 2 count. Barbarian caught Rodgers I believe from the top rope, Meng then booted him and they score the pin.

The Faces of Fear with a fun dominating display and this was a fun five minutes!

 

They recap the Elizabeth video package from last week. I loved the irony of this. Eric Bischoff made sincere apologises to Savage and his family for showing the video package. He’s extremely apologetic and all morose with his delivery as he is sorry for showing the video package and making Savage “an emotional vegetable”. He’s so sorry… but he showed the video again anyway! “Hey Savage, I apologise for this video but I will repeatedly show it as a way to pop a rating!” was basically what Bischoff did here! Bischof claimed he had footage about how low-class Hogan could be that he would show later on. 

 

nWo Sting vs Mr JL

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So Eric Bischoff had been teasing all night that Sting would be here and I don’t remember when it was but then Bischoff got word that it might not be the real Sting. Then, wrestling Mr JL, was the nWo Sting who actually still came out to “The Man called Sting” theme that Sting came out to.

They explained that Elizabeth’s contract would be up in November with WCW which is why I guess she joined the nWo so at least, she would still be signed with the nWo.  The nWo arrived with Vincent, Ted DiBiase, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx and The Giant.

Sting did the World’s Strongest Slam front slam. Sting did the Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Deathlock but the match is interrupted by, believe it or not, THE REAL STING. For the first time in WCW, Sting was here in WCW while wearing the black and white. It was not quite the vintage black and white face-paint he would sport later on in the feud with the nWo. However, he was wearing black scorpion trunks and white face pain and a black trench coat He dropped nWo Sting with the Scorpion Deathlock and he beat him up for a while.

The nWo just stood around the ring as Sting did a Stinger Splash and did the Scorpion Deathlock. The nWo then get into the ring surrounding the real Sting and Ted DiBiase told everyone to say hello to the real Sting. DiBiase offered Sting a place in the nWo. He said if they join them, he would be joining a family. Nash said it’s time for him to break on through to the other side. Hall said Sting had been carrying the WCW banner for 9 years but what does he have to show for it? Hall said he knew the fake Sting would get to him and said there would be no stopping them if the real Sting joined too.

Sting said he may or may not be in their price range or maybe he could be. Sting said the only thing for sure about Sting is that nothing is for certain and then he left. Ironically, after the nWo talk about nWo Sting just being bait and doing nothing to help the fake Sting, Fake Sting still posed with the nWo after the nWo did nothing to save him! It’s weird because the nWo talked about being a part of family if Sting joined and nWo Sting was already in the group and they left him to get his ass kicked! I get the nWo are heels but if this was supposed to sell Sting on the idea of joining “a family” than this was a horrible sales pitch! Such disregard for people who are ALREADY with the New World Order!

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The main-event was supposed to be Randy Savage vs Chris Benoit. Benoit made his was down to the ring just like Mike Enos last week. “Macho Man” Randy Savage came out in what was described as his “street clothes” which was in full back. I can suspend my disbelief that Ric Flair would walk down the streets all suited and booted… because he’s Ric Flair! It was impossible to believe that any normal human in the world would wear this outfit Savage had on in the streets! He looked more like the Undertaker than a regular guy street clothes!

Eric Bischoff said he apologised for last week but now he’s got more footage to show! Yeah Bischoff is aware of the effect his music had on Savage but yet he’s got another video to show anyway RIGHT BEFORE his match with Chris Benoit!

The video showed Hogan on the set of the 3 Ninjas film referred to last week. My description of Hogan’s look in my notes noted that he “looked like a shitty version of Shao Kahn” from the Mortal Kombat series! Ironically, there is a blog post on the Armbar Express from my early days blogging about a ScrewAttackDeath Battle video featuring Shao Kahn which you can read more about that on this link!

Hogan complained to his director and claimed the nWo would betaking over produciton of the film. When in the world when making the movie could someone just take control of producing the film like this? Even when Joss Whedon replaced Zack Snyder from Justice League, it’s not like Joss just walked up at the set and said he was taking over the project! There was a process to this change in the movie! The Giant was apparently going to direct the film and Hogan was gonna produce as he said: “welcome to the world of Hollywood Hogan.”

Elizabeth was on the set with the nWo as she supposedly had a cameo I guess agreed to her in her nWo contract. Hogan pressured Elizabeth to tell Savage she loved him. Giant yelled at the camera man “what you’re doing boy?” as Hogan got upset with Elizabeth. Giant sent Elizabeth back to the trailer as Hogan berated her. He said: “What Hollywood wants, Hollywood gets.” Hogan said she wanted some acting lessons Hulk Hogan style.

Eric asked for Savage’s thoughts as they cut back to them at the arena and Savage eventually broke his silence. He said: “it just occurred to me how fragile friendships and relationships can be. Eric, you and I both know how fragile business can be.” He ends with promo with saying: Hulk Hogan, life is fragile” and he waleds away. So yes, it was played up to suggest Savage was going to KILL HULK HOGAN at Halloween Havoc! To be fair, Savage did release a rap video many years later about wanting to fight Hulk Hogan in real life! Maybe this was just life imitating art!

That was a horrible segment. When building up a babyface Randy Savage against a heel Hollywood Hogan for Halloween Havoc, it shouldn’t be this difficult. Hogan turned on Savage at Bash at the Beach, Savage went nuts and wanted revenge. Of course the Elizabeth stuff from WWF is an aspect of this feud but you don’t have to directly address it. Here, they address Elizabeth and it watered down what should have been a great personal rivalry when Savage should do everything he can to try and kill Hogan. They inserted Elizabeth into the middle and it took away from the personal rivalry aspect of Hogan vs Savage.

They had to write the storyline around her which I think took away the heat from Savage and Hogan. I have not been a fan of this storyline but heck, maybe Halloween Havoc delivered in a big way. We will wait and see.

 

The WCW Halloween Havoc review is coming up next on this blog. In the mean time, enjoy time indoors during this crazy time to read up on my thoughts about every WCW up until this point! Be sure to follow the blog as we’ve got more Nitro reviews and PPVs to come for the foreseeable future!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #57 (OCTOBER 14TH 1996) – MISS ELIZABETH APOLOGISES TO “MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE AND NWO TURN ON THE NASTY BOYS

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 time given to building up programs outside of the main New World Order storyline, including Arn Anderson attacking Lex Luger with a chair and the debut of Jeff Jarrett. We also saw developments of the nWo, Elizabeth and Randy Savage storyline. Savage refused to hear anything Elizabeth had to say after it appeared Elizabeth had joined the nWo. It all came to ahead at the end of the show, where the nWo laid out Ric Flair backstage and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan blindsided Savage which led to a further beat down ahead of Hogan and Savage’s match at Halloween Havoc.

This week was very boring at times but did have some bright spots in midst of what was a flat edition of WCW Monday Nitro to me. If it weren’t for the opening match, the Jeff Jarrett match and the Elizabeth video package, this would have been right up there with one of the worst episodes in a long time. However, those segments were so effective that they really saved the show in many ways. That’s my initial review but let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this edition of WCW Monday Nitro…

Date: October 14th 1996

Brand: WCW

City: Memphis, Tennessee

Rating: 3.3

Commentators (First Hour): Tony Schiavonie and Larry Zbyszko

Commentators (Second Hour): Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay

Dean Malenko vs Brad Armstrong

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This was a hell of an opener. Excellent technical wrestling from both men and it was such a joy to watch this match to build up excitement for the fans and kick off Nitro. Dean Malenko was great getting the heat, Brad was an excellent babyface in peril and criminally underrated over the years. This match sure delivered.

Malenko still had WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr.’s mask as he had unmasked Rey week’s ago ahead of their match at Halloween Havoc. The referee for this Nitro match was Nick Patrick who, after all of this time, was still committing to wear this neck brace. Nick Patrick has been in a neck brace for about a month now following Savage beating him up on Saturday Night, and they haven’t strayed from this storyline where Patrick claims he’s injured. I give them a lot of credit for committing to this angle with Patrick in a neck brace.

They showed a clever finish from Dean and Brad’s last match where Malenko rolled up Armstrong but Brad grabbed the arm’s of Malenko and was able to pin him to the mat.

For this match, Armstrong and Malenko battled for control early on. HUGE NWO CHANTS BROKE OUT during the match. I’ll get into this a little later about Memphis’ appreciation of the nWo…

The cruiserweights wrestled for a hip toss which ended up with a rope break, after which Malenko cheap-shotted Armstrong. Malenko locked on an abdominal stretch for a while. Dean hit a sweet looking tear drop suplex. Watching Malenko getting the heat on someone at this time was such a treat because it was such a varied moveset that he displayed. He’d go from a long hold to just beating his opponent’s arse with punches and elbows and it was so effective just how he transitioned from one type of a wrestler to another. In case you hadn’t figured it out, Dean Malenko was a good wrestler back in the day! It’s shocking to hear, I know…

They traded roll-ups for a while, with Armstrong getting back into the match with a top rope dropkick. Armstrong did a Russian Legsweep and followed this up with a side suplex. Dean tripped the leg of Brad and got a small package pin and scored the victory where he trapped Armstrong’s legs to score the pinfall. Solid professional wrestling. Gets a huge thumbs up.

A black limo arrived at the arena where the nWo arrived on the scene. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, nWo Sting, Syxx were there in this limo with Hollywood Hogan, The Giant, Vincent and Ted DiBiase arriving in another limo. They all high-fived and celebrated as they made their way to the arena. They cut back to the fans and the fans are chanting for Hogan.

They recapped WCW Saturday Night where Hacksaw Jim Duggan wrestled M. Wallstreet. For the finish to this match, Hacksaw knocked Wallstreet into referee Nick Patrick. Duggan hit Wallstreet with the tape and Patrick without even looking, counted the pin. When Duggan celebrated with the tape, Patrick reversed the decision and awarded the match to M. Wallstreet. Larry correctly pointed out that “it was by the book” which was a weird stance during a storyline where Nick Patrick is supposed to be corrupt. Nick Patrick DID THE RIGHT THING and supposedly he was a heel!

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs M. Wallstreet

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To recap, this match aired on WCW Saturday Night. For some reason, they had to do it again for WCW Monday Nitro. Keep in mind that I’ve seen this match so many times on WCW Nitro already and now, we’re watching it again. It’s hard to imagine that Wallstreet wrestled anyone else in this company other than Hacksaw.

There were big USA chants. Duggan ran wild early on with a hip toss and a clothesline. Wallstreet did a headlock. Duggan fired back but Wallstreet cut him off with a kitchen sink. These two men, for all their matches, still seemed like they were on different pages at times with some of the spots they did. That kitchen sink I mentioned looked like Wallstreet was too fast to do it and so Duggan keeled over in the slowest manner possible. It looked like Duggan was set in slow-mo.

They went back to the chin-lock and… this was a lame match. This was technically not bad by Wallstreet but long arse chin locks was becoming vintage Wallstreet at this time. Think of Wallstreet like Randy Orton but not as athletic. It’s just boring stuff from Wallstreet during a time where WCW were allegedly in a wrestling ratings war. With something like this, you can tell WCW were not bothered by the first hour.

Duggan punched his way back to his feet but Wallstreet cut him off again. Wallstreet tried a double axe handle I think from the top rope but Duggan put his boot up. Duggan tried to use the tape but Wallstreet cut him off. Wallstreet tried to use the tape himself but Duggan hit the lariat and won.

So at least in this instance, cheaters never prospered and Wallstreet got punished for attempting to cheat. That’s fine, even if Duggan attempted to cheat first, and this is all OK. There is at least some morality to the story of this match. With that being said, the match sucked and I never want to see it again. You have top quality cruiserweights in your roster filled with literally hundreds of wrestlers. Use them.

Hugh Morrus vs Jim Powers w/Teddy Long

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I love how for every Jim Powers match now on Nitro, Nick Patrick happens to be the referee since Patrick is feuding with Powers’ manager Teddy Long! Obviously this is being done with Jim Powers, Ice Train and every other client Teddy Long was managing at the time because of the program with Patrick. However, if this were real, would it really be this coincidental that Patrick is referring all of Powers’ matches?

If Teddy really had a problem with Nick Patrick, how come he never asked for another referee before the match? Then again, this is also a company that is having an injured referee in Nick Patrick referee two matches in a row as he’s did last week. So clearly the WCW Board of Directors do not view referees favourably in WCW. MORE ON THAT later…

Patrick patted down Powers as Patrick and Teddy continued to bicker. One last thing before I get into the match. Not to mention, couldn’t Nick Patrick just ask Teddy to be banned from ringside if Teddy is becoming such a distraction? Or, if he feels Teddy is interfering with the match, throw him out and send him to the back. At the very least, Patrick would be justified in doing that because it’s not like Hugh Morrus came down with Jimmy Hart or anybody! HECK, they flat out talked about Hugh Morrus coming out on his own as a singles competitors as of late without the Dungeon of Doom! If that’s the case, then shouldn’t Patrick have the authority to throw out Teddy Long who he is feuding with to not affect his judgement?

The match started of fine as Powers was able to power Hugh down with a crossbody. Powers did a hip toss and a clothesline as Hugh got sent to the floor. The match gets boring after a while as Morrus just did moves forever to get the heat. Compared to Malenko where he displayed a varied heat segment of his match, Hugh did a bunch of clotheslines applied a bunch of holds, a few scoop slams and it’s just typical nothingness from Morrus. It was the most basic wrestling possible that I could possibly accomplish after 6 months of training. I was not impressed.

Powers got back in the match and did a sunset flip but only got a 2 count after Patrick took a long time to do a 2 count. Powers did a powerslam as Patrick was again slow to do the count to which Hugh even kicked out at one for this move. The announcers are getting pissed, Teddy was getting more pissed and the fans got mad as this was getting in the way of the match. Patrick got knocked into the ropes and when Powers went for a small package, Patrick was even slower to do the count. There was NUCLEAR HEAT for Patrick at this point!

The fans wanted Patrick’s head as did Powers, who got a hold of Patrick but Hugh cut him off. Hugh hit a moonsault and then Patrick, after barely being able to do a proper count, did the count completely fine for the heel as Hugh Morrus got the pinfall victory. The storyline of the match was really well done. Patrick was tremendous in his role as a blatant heel refereee as he slowly made it worse and worse for the babyface but then his true colours showed when he pinned down Hugh as normal. I enjoyed this.

Teddy and Patrick tore into each other after the match as they yelled back and forth.

Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs Lex Luger

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This was another boring match. There were aspects of the last two matches I enjoyed but as a whole, those matches were very flat. The Duggan/Wallstreet match was saved by a decent finish, the Powers/Morrus match was saved by Nick Patrick but everything else was boring about those two matches. This was just another boring match because they had to tell the story of Luger being hurt after what Arn Anderson did to him last week. Lex Luger selling for Valentine was horrible to see.

Luger was all bandaged up after what happened last week, with Arn beating up Luger with a chair. Valentine got the advantage early on as Valentine worked on the arm. Luger tried a suplex but was not able to do it as his back gave out. Valentine worked on Luger.

Arn watched the match on the monitor as he urged Valentine to stay on the back of Luger. Arn was SAT DOWN watching the match on the monitor, rather than standing to the side and watching the monitor. He was shown to actually be watching the match unlike in some other promotions in 2020.

The nWo arrived with Vincent and Ted DiBiase as Valentine continued to get a heat. Hollywood Hogan had supposedly demanding to make a live announcement later on in the show.

The match was still pretty boring as Valentine just beat on Luger. Luger eventually fought his way back to his feet and Luger did an atomic drop and did two flying forearms but was still not able to get the win.

Valentine tried to get the pin with his feet on the ropes but the referee either caught him or Luger kicked out. I didn’t write down what happened I’m afraid. Whatever happened, as Valentine argued with the referee afterwards, Luger snuck up from behind with the Torture Rack as Valentine quickly submitted. That spot went pretty smoothly all things considered and the fact they that they had to tell the storyline of Luger trying to sell his back. This match was pretty poor but at least the finish was done well and there was a semblance of ring psychology.

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Tony interviewed Nick Patrick. Tony brought up a great point where he mentioned if Patrick was not 100%, maybe he shouldn’t be in the ring refereeing. At the very least, he should not be refereeing two matches in a row like last week! If you remember last week, Patrick had lobbied for a $1 million fine and a suspension for Randy Savage after Savage put his hands on him a few weeks ago. Tony broke the news to Patrick that Savage would get a $500 fine and would miss the first five matches on 1997.

Patrick was very upset by this as he called WCW spineless jellyfishes. Patrick yelled that WCW were in a war with nWo but they’re also gonna have a legal war with his legal staff. They then show footage from WCW Saturday Night, where I guess the nWo got their own segment of that show. A nWo referee was shown in a mask. The masked referee, acting a lot like Nick Patrick, delivered a great right hand and took a swing at the nWo’s opponents which led to them getting the win. Patrick insisted that this man wasn’t him as he’s in much better shape than that guy! I loved his defence and then he immediately pointed the finger at Randy Anderson!

He warned everyone to back off him and the legal team would be back in touch. This was such a great promo by Patrick and I’ve really turned the corner on this storyline. It’s awesome because let’s just pretend that Patrick wasn’t actually corrupt and he was just incompetent. If Patrick was just an idiot that was making mistakes and then when he got attacked by a wrestler to which WCW did nothing about it, then this would be perfect validation for him to join the nWo officially.

It’s clear to everybody at this point that this was Patrick as the nWo referee and Patrick WAS a corrupt referee but in the off chance that he wasn’t, this was great story-telling. If he was corrupt then him trying to paint WCW as the bad guys is a great way to perhaps convince other referees or other wrestlers to join the nWo because this clearly shows WCW doesn’t care about Patrick. There’s so many layers to this storyline and Patrick is tremendous in this role.

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Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan were at commentary for the second hour but there was no Eric Bischoff. It was supposed to be Randy Savage vs Mike Enos and Savage came down but Eric Bischoff stopped Savage from coming down to talk to him. Savage grabbed the mic and yelled “oh yeah”. Eric wanted to talk to Savage but Savage said he knows nWo is in the building. Savage yelled at Hogan I believe to get his ass outta here so he can kick it.

Bischoff wanted Savage to have a look at a video package, where Elizabeth talked about how she felt. This was one of the better performances of Elizabeth’s WCW run so far. This was great by her own standards but OK to everyone else’s standards which is the best way I can put it. Elizabeth said the things she did in anger were actually done by a coward. Elizabeth said she’s alone again as she welled up. She said sorry and wished he could find some way to forgive her. Elizabeth talked about the bad choices she’s made including signing with Hogan and allowed him to use her to get to Savage. Fans booed in the background as Elizabeth said all of this. 

She said: “I feel the same way about you today than the day I said I do” and the video stopped Then they show Randy Savage watching this. Savage’s facial expressions as he is completely distraught by this video was unbelievably great. His lips quivered and it’s such a variety of emotions with sadness, anger and confusion.  Through no words, he sold this storyline better than Elizabeth. He’s just dead quiet as he looks so lost and he grabbed his face, and pushed Eric aside. Savage started crying but he does start to make his way down to the ring bu then he changes his mind and walked to the back. Savage then squatted as he looks like he’s about to collapse. He goes into the limo and left. I believe Eric said “shit” quietly as Savage left although I didn’t quite get that.

Savage was on another planet awesome… without saying a word and it was captivating. If you watched the Dark Side of the Ring episode with Liz and Savage and if you listen to the stories about how they broke up in 1992 I believe, there’s a sense of realism to what Savage was feeling at the time of Elizabeth saying she’s sorry. Even without that documentary or anything we know now with hindsight, it connected with the audience. We all know the story of Savage and Liz from the WWF and Elizabeth has been with Ric Flair for the last 6 months or so, so this is not like this is “insider” or shoot comments Elizabeth was making. It was real to real-life and it was real to the kayfabe storyline and it worked. This gets two thumbs up. The best segment as part of this Elizabeth/Savage storyline by a huge margin.

Mike Enos got paid for this by the way, to come out and then watch Savage leave. Quite a pay day for Mike Enos.

Eric joined the announce booth after the break. Bobby correctly scolded Eric for bringing the video up right before Halloween Havoc to mess with him ahead of his big match.

Eddie Guerrero vs Cheetah Kid

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I have no idea who the Cheetah Kid was by the way. I went to the internet to try and find out more but I was still not able to find a name. Prince Iaukea WAS the name that I found more than anyone’s but it’s hard really to say. All I know was that this was another generic luchador that WCW invented. From Mr J.L, El Technico two weeks ago and now this guy.

Eddie called DDP a one-move wrestler during an inset a promo. He said: “You can break a leg, you can break an arm but you can’t break my spirit.” This was a great promo by Eddie to build up his match with DDP at Halloween Havoc. 

Cheetah Kid worked on Eddie and hit a powerbomb. Cheetah tried a second one but Eddie reversed it. Eddie did a frankensteiner and hit a frog splash for the win. There’s not a lot I can say. This was a pretty short match to review but everything looked fine.

Lee Marshall called from Minneapolis as WCW was gonna be in Minneapolis with the 1-800-collect road report. That’s what I want to see more of in wrestling. This is probably not possible right now because of the Covid-19 outbreak but if you’re AEW, have Taz go down to Nashville or wherever Dynamite is at next and hang out at a local restaurant to promote the town. The Taz Report each and every week on AEW Dynamite.

Jeff Jarrett vs Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart

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This was the best match on the show. This may not have necessarily been the best technical match on the show but in many ways, this is the match that personified old-school wrestling or what people remember of old school wrestling. You’re in a big wrestling town and you have a hometown boy in Jeff Jarrett. You have a big heel in Bubba trying to dash the town’s dreams. The hometown boy overcoming all of the odds and winning to thunderous applause. This did everything it set out to do to get Jeff Jarrett over.

I mentioned that Jarrett’s debut last week was one of the worst babyface performances of all time. This was like a polar opposite where they found the right time and the right town and Jarrett was so over, with a match booked with the purposes of getting him over as a babyface and it worked.

Eric said Bubba was from The Faces of Fear. I have no idea what that was about so either they renamed the Dungeon of the Doom to “The Faces of Fear” or Bubba is just with the Faces of Fear tag team as a stable member. I think Eric made a mistake and he meant the Dungeon of Doom. I guess Eric was too excited about that Faces of Fear vs Harlem Heat main-event later on in the show.

As mentioned, there was a strong reaction for hometown boy Jeff Jarrett. There was Big Double J chants. At the very least for Jarrett, he did the strut and the fans went crazy for him this week.

Jeff delivered some beautiful right hands. Jarrett had one of the great underrated right hands in the wrestling business. It is right up Jerry Lawler’s avenue with the way these right hands were delivered. Jarrett chased Jimmy around but Bubba hid behind the steps and cut Jarrett off.

Bubba tried a slam on the steel steps but the referee got in the way, so he settled for a backbreaker. Jimmy got kicks in on the outside at Jarrett as he yelled about this being his town to which Tenay concluded that this was about jealousy. Jimmy Hart had been big in Memphis before so this was why he took exception to Jarrett.

Bubba locked on a chin lock. Jarrett tried to fight back but Bubba cut him off with a great big boot. Bubba tried a stinger splash but he got caught on the top rope as Jarrett kicked away at him. Jarrett went for a Figure Four but Jimmy got on the apron and Jarrett punched at him as Jimmy bounced his way to the outside. It was such a funny sell.

Bubba accidentally hit the ref as he tried to ground and pound Jeff, with this being Jeff’s first experience in Double J, Double M-A! Quite the foreshadowing to an MMA storyline for another company 15 years later that Jarrett happened to be the founder of! Jimmy threw the megaphone in the ring but Jarrett dropkicked it in Bubba’s face and got the pin and the fans cheered.

This was brilliant professional wrestling. This was not a technical masterpiece but this is everything the fans remember about the good times of old school wrasslin’. This was traditional wrestling as the fans went nuts for the hometown boy, they put him over like crazy and this was awesome. I might be in the minority but this was the best thing on the show for me.

Tony Schiavonie revealed Jarrett will wrestle The Giant at Halloween Havoc as a replacement for Ric Flair. Jarrett said he was gonna make an impact. Say what you will about Jeff Jarrett, but he was not wrong. Jeff Jarrett did make an Impact… give it 10 years later! He called himself an Impact Player. He wasn’t the biggest but he was the smartest and he would chop Giant down to size and lock on the figure four. He said the nWo was gonna respect Ric Flair, WCW and the wrestling heritage. All the nWo were gonna respect Jeff Jarrett. He was so over tonight and this was a fine promo from Jarrett.

“Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray w/Col Robert Parker and Col Robert Parker vs “Faces of Fear” Meng and The Barbarian in a non-title match

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I don’t care what anyone thinks. This match was boring. They threw two heel tag teams in there and there was no face/heel chemistry to streamline the match. You don’t necessarily need that in a match but it would help to some extent in order to help the fans get into the match a little.

It was incredibly weird seeing comedy acts like Col Robert Parker embroiled in a feud with the nWo at this time! Harlem Heat were defending the WCW tag team titles against the Outsiders at Halloween Havoc so by association, Col. Robert Parker was feuding with the nWo! They point out that Harlem Heat could get hurt against Faces of Fear and to prove their point, Meng beat Booker’s arse in the corner! He just threw wild punches at him in the corner!

Not to mention, Harlem Heat only won the titles becauseFaces of Fear attacked the leg of Johnny Grunge of the former tag champs and they capitalised on that injury. So yes, it is established in this universe that it is dangerous to wrestle even in a non-title match. This was great work to put the match over by Bobby Heenan who mentioned this. This was not just a regular, random match. They wanted to sell the idea that this match was important. I at least give them credit for that because not many wrestling promotions do that nowadays.

Benoit and Mongo come out with Debra as Mongo talked trash at Faces of Fear. It’s a pretty bland match for a while. There’s no clear heat segment with two heel groups although I guess Harlem Heat where the defacto babyfaces feuding with the nWo. Barbarian and Stevie Ray somehow pulled off a top rope belly to belly suplex which I did find to be impressive.

Sherri screamed at Meng and Meng responded by shaking his hips and dancing in front of Sherri to huge laughs from the crowd. Meng playing the role of Big E by swivelling his hips I enjoyed.

Meng hit Stevie Ray with a naughty sit-out powerbomb. Faces of Fear hit the double headbutt. The fans go crazy as the match ended in a big brawl in the ring as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash arrived on the scene with cans of spray-paint. The match is thrown out as the wrestlers stopped fighting as they challenge the Outsiders to come over the barricade… for a unfair fight! The Outsiders were in a 2 on 4 disadvantage so why would they take them up on this offer? Barbarian even grabbed a chair. Outsiders wisely don’t fight them because they are outnumbered and live to fight another day. Eric then randomly goes on a tangent begging for Sting to come back as a leader.

This was… all kinds of odd

Halloween Havoc hyped up Giant vs Ric Flair for Halloween Havoc, right after Jarrett was booked with Giant for the PPV. I have no idea what was going on with that.

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The Fans go crazy again as Hogan finally arrived with the entire nWo making their way down to the ring including Elizabeth. Even Elizabeth is dressed in black. Before I get into Hogan’s promo, I will go back to the point I made during the opener about fans loving the nWo. Jeff Jarrett cut this big promo last week about how Hogan wrestled in Tennessee and disrespected tradition. It was every attempt to stand up for old school wrasslin’ and paint Hogan as the “anti-christ of professional wrestling” as Vince Russo used to call himself. However, these fans did not care which should tell you how over the nWo were at this time. 

Think of this like the CM Punk chants that as of last year still happened during WWE shows when Punk had not been with the company for five years. It’s weird to make that comparison but in the opener, the fans chanted nWo during a random cruiserweight match like CM PUNK would just be randomly chanted during a terrible RAW segment for example. They wanted more of the nWo… AT THIS POINT.

Hogan said it was nWo time brothers as the fans cheered! Hogan said all for one and one for all. Hogan said he hoped Savage would have some dignity and then Hogan talked about filming a movie “the three ninjas”. I checked and it appears the movie he was referring to was: “3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain”. I have a weird desire to watch this movie because having looked at the Wikipedia entry, this was what I got:

“The film had universally negative reviews and is generally considered to be the worst of the four in the series. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 0%, based on 6 reviews.”

What’s weird about this film was that it got released in April 1998 and Hogan was filming for this movie back in October 1996. After all of that work, it grossed domestically $375,805. So clearly, this film needed some work.

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Hogan said he can push Savage’s buttons to run and hide from the greatest actress in the world Elizabeth. Following this comment, Elizabeth tried to slap him Hogan but Hogan grabbed her. Hogan said he doesn’t think Savage is worthy for a title shot. The Nasty Boys come out in nWo gear with a piece of paper as they high five. Hogan said they had never done him wrong and he loved them like his own family. As soon as he said “his own family” it became clear what was going to happen to the Nasty Boys.

Hogan said: “If there’s anything I can do, just call on me.” Knobbs yelled about the contract, saying he should get more money. Hogan told him the turn the page. Hogan said he himself didn’t sign the contract. He says they shouldn’t have the nWo shirts on if he didn’t sign the contract. He said: “You don’t wear these colours unless we tell you too” after which the nWo kick their arses as Hogan said get him boys. They rip off the shirts and spray paint their backs. They rip up the contract. Hogan yelled that the reason Savage’s life fell apart is because of Hollywood Hogan. He said: “The bottom line is before the marriage was destroyed, night and day Elizabeth dreamed about me. After Halloween Havoc is over, I’ll still be her man.” Hogan said he was gonna fly back to Hollywood, finish his film and take Elizabeth with him. He said he was gonna make sure Elizabeth was gonna love it. Hogan said Elizabeth was gonna be with him night and day.

It’s weird seeing Hogan as the slightly more evil version of Ric Flair. My weird analogy of this is Ric Flair is your typical “fun” womaniser (EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer of this blog is no way promoting womanising as “fun”, this is merely for the purposes of this analogy) and Hollywood Hogan was like The Joker with Elizabeth being Harley Quinn. Ric Flair just wanted to party, take women to space mountain and have a good time while Hogan wants to possess Elizabeth like property but he’s still trying to talk like Ric Flair. It’s weird seeing Ric Flair being “the lesser of two evils” between himself and Hulk Hogan!

Nash and Hall take over the announce booth. Hall said Harlem heat were gonna find out what the nWo was all about at Halloween Havoc. They showed the clip again of Savage distraught after the Elizabeth segment as the show goes off the air.

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I stand by my comments earlier that this show was boring. There was nothing really about this show that was bad, other than two or three of the boring matches in a row in the first hour. I felt Luger vs Valentine and Duggan vs Wallstreet were bad but they were more boring than bad. There was still a lot to like about the show and I actually didn’t mind the nWo shenanigans this week. There was a pay off to the Nasty Boys joining the nWo storyline, there were some solid matches and I like a lot of the main storylines they’re putting together at the moment. Therefore, I would consider this show more of a success this week on the grounds that the fans were super into the show as a whole.

At the end of the day, that is what was important so I would give this show a thumbs up on those grounds although I personally considered it boring. I’m sure the stuff I found boring, someone will probably watched recently as well and found it great so I’d recommended watching this yourself and formulating your opinion. Feel free to leave comments on this blog post and tell the Armbar Express what you thought about this episode of Nitro!

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