BUILDINGS ABLAZE! SHIRTS RIPPED APART! LUGER ROARS! WRITING ALL IN CAPS AND I DON’T KNOW WHY! IT’S CLEARLY TIME FOR WCW NITRO!
We are LIVE LIVE LIVE on Labour Day 1996, from AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION! TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO man the first hour, and we are celebrating the 1 year anniversary of Nitro. I’ve recapped them all, and it only took me 11 years! I look forward to completing the entire set of Nitro on my 90th birthday. Speaking of 90 year olds, Larry has a pointed message to the nWo. You don’t care, and neither do I. I admit to getting a chuckle out of Tony talking about “Teed DiBiase”. Larry’s head shot up as soon as he heard a golfing term.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. ALEX WRIGHT
No surprises NICK PATRICK is refereeing here, because the person in charge of referee assignments has absolutely zero good judgment when all the signs are pointing to DDP being an nWo member. Wright sends DDP over the top with a clothesline, and follows with a “look ma no hands!” plancha. Back in, a slingshot splash gets 2. DDP manages to change the momentum by ducking a crossbody, and Wright flattens himself in the ropes. That’ll leave a mark. DDP nails a tilt-a-whirl slam, but takes far too long to cover and only gets 2. After a half-hearted complaint, DDP hits a powerbomb for 2. He’s spending far less time complaining than usual, but he likely knows it’s in the bag with Tricky Nick on his side. Wright ducks a pair of wild elbows, and hits a suplex for 2. Euro uppercut sends Page backwards to the corner, where he’s hit with a 7-count of punches. Alex apparently doesn’t know the key to upward mobility is a clean 10-count. And then DDP does the usual, Diamond Cutter out of absolutely nowhere for the win at 3:44. I really liked this, and admittedly Page’s gimmick of the out of nowhere Diamond Cutter is winning me over all over again like we’re actually in 1996. I haven’t had much use for him up until just about today when reliving this stuff, but he really did improve huge between the spring of 96, and the fall when he finally found himself as a character. It’s only gonna get better from here. *1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND has another tete-a-tete with NICK PATRICK. Gene says the counts on Wright were a little slow, which at this point is just flat out BS. Patrick was fine here. Patrick mentions other referees have blown calls, and he’s sick of Gene Okerlund. He says Gene is a liar, and he’s here to enforce the law no matter who they are. Gene: “I think I’ve just been called a liar!” You think?!? This was up with the time I got mugged in New York City and shell-shocked, I sent a text to my wife reading “I think I just got mugged”.
Gene shuffles off backstage, where COLONEL ROBERT PARKER and SISTA SHERRI (aka Twinkle Eyes) are spending a little time together. In fact, the Colonel has presents for her. The boxes are filled with leather clothing, which causes her to dry hump him in front of a national audience.
HARLEM HEAT vs. GREG VALENTINE and BUDDY VALENTINO (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
Buddy Valentino?!? His name is Buddy Valentine. His whole gimmick is that he’s Johnny Valentine’s offspring. I really want to spend a LOT more time dissecting this, but stupid TED DIBIASE walks in and distracts everyone from the whole thing. Go away Ted, I don’t care if you’re financing the entire nWo operation, I need to know why Buddy was forced to change his name. Do he and Greg have unresolved family issues? Do they have unparalleled chemistry in the ring, but a deep personal hatred outside of the ring that makes this a teaming of convenience? Is he a half-brother, conceived in a fit of lovemaking between old Johnny, and an oversexed Dusty Rhodes? Why isn’t Gene trying to sort this out? If you think I WOULDN’T pay $1.49 a minute WITHOUT my parents permission for this scoop, you are SADLY mistaken. Booker wins with the Harlem Hangover at 4:13. Post-match, Stevie spits all over the camera lens between his Suckas. DUD
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND rushes on to the scene HOPEFULLY to sort out the family issues here. Instead, I feel like I’m watching the opening scene of Pulp Fiction, where we’re focused on Harlem Heat (secondary to the main plot), and we see the Valentines sulk off backstage behind them. The Heat talk smack against the Nastys, which drawsTHE NASTY BOYS out from the back. A double spike piledriver is delivered to booker, with Knobbs accentuating his force by coming off the top. Is there any wonder that neck injuries were a problem? Booker is allegedly stretchered out.
DEAN MALENKO vs. CHRIS JERICHO
MIKE TENAY smells Cruiserweights, and immediately hits the announce booth before collapsing in orgasmic bliss and lighting a cigarette. Upon reflection, the amount of talent to defect to WCW over the last 12 months is insane. If you figure Benoit was just debuting when Nitro started, Eddie was a newbie, Malenko, Jericho, Mysterio, Ultimo Dragon, Psychosis, Kidman, The Juice, and The Gambler have completely bulked up the roster, and there’s almost too many people to push. (Solution: Push the white guys.) Dean kills Jericho with a brainbuster, but death only brings a 2 count. DiBiase walks out of this match. The fans (and Tony) react, but DiBiase’s not a young man, he might just have to pee. (Hah – and Larry brings that up just after I finish typing this!) Malenko applies a figure four sleeper, and uses the ropes to cheat, which NICK PATRICK leaves unnoticed. Let’s add Malenko to our list of suspects. He has acted as a hired gun with no allegiances in recent months. I don’t trust him. A butterfly suplex gets 2. An abdominal stretch is applied, but Jericho powers loose. Malenko doesn’t let up, slamming Jericho’s face to the buckle, and throwing some open handed thrusts. A triple jump bulldog gets 2! Jericho shows some fire, sends Malenko out to the floor, drops him with a baseball slide, and comes off the top with a plancha. A missile dropkick off the top gets a close 2, and THAT appeared be a little slow from Patrick. They trade piledriver attempts, which Malenko wins by hitting a tombstone (Tony: SPIKE PILEDRIVER!), but Jericho kicks out at 2. Jericho comes back with a German into a bridge, but Malenko rolls out at 2. Spinning heel kick, Jericho shows some fire (to boos, rightfully), but Malenko reverses a go-behind with one of his own. Jericho hooks the arms on the way up, forces the momentum forwards, and wins with an Oklahoma roll at 9:02! Jericho rushes to the fans to celebrate, which would be amazing if he was a heel. ***
BRAD ARMSTRONG vs. THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart)
You know, the best part of the ridiculous talent infusion in recent months is that the Armstrongs have been relegated to a non-existence. We haven’t seen them on the B, C, or D-shows in weeks. (Unless of course they appear on Pro or Main Event, which means it didn’t happen because I don’t have those.) Giant has trimmed his split ends, taking a few inches off the top. Still, his new do doesn’t help much, because he gives Armstrong way too much offense (namely, he gives him SOME offense), before finishing with the Chokeslam at 3:46. Oh, also a limousine showed up, and the announcers confirm it’s not Ric Flair because he’s already here. Can they confirm it’s not a flurry of ladies with unshaven parts here for the Horsemen? You know the drill, no hair, no Flair. *
We have an nWo announcement but it’s the same one from Saturday Night.
The second hour kicks off as we look more at the limo. ERIC BISCHOFF and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN take over the booth in the seconds ahead of time. Mike Tenay has also been adopted, and he stares lovingly at Bischoff for an uncomfortably long time while saying nothing.
RON STUDD vs. RANDY SAVAGE
I don’t like Ron Studd. I don’t like that he stole the missing Fit Finlay’s music (hey, add him to the list of talent influx). I don’t like his stupid beard. And I ESPECIALLY don’t like that he stopped wrestling as Super Giant Ninja. Until he returns to SGN glory, I want NOTHING to do with the man. I am also willing to accept the YETTAY! Anyway, backstage, THE OUTSIDERS and HOLLYWOOD HOGAN emerge from the limo, and freak out when they see a camera might see their fourth (fifth?) guy. They slam the doors and tell the cameras to get the hell out of here (and maybe focus on the ring for a change). Savage dumps Studd to the floor, and hits an axehandle off the top onto the guardrail. Back in, Savage slams Studd, and finishes with the elbow (despite a bit of a back pull from the slam), and scores the pin at 2:47. 1/2*
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND hits the ring to talk to Savage. Savage wishes Halloween Havoc was tonight. He vows to take the title away, and that makes him happy. He’s mad the Giant didn’t beat Hogan, as he had promised, but he’s happier that all the pressure’s all on himself anyway. He tells Gene to put money on the Macho Man since they’ll be in Vegas.
STING and LEX LUGER vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS
It’s beyond my mental capacity to figure out exactly how NICK PATRICK is going to screw everyone over here, but I look forward to them finding a way.
Backstage, THE FOUR HORSEMEN rush the limo, but there’s no one there when they open the doors. Realizing the nWo 4th guy must be in the building, they head back in to look around.
So with no sports entertainment to worry about, we head back to the ring. Both teams lock up, and Patrick throws the whole thing out at 0:40. It’s a DQ apparently because Luger bumped him, and as a senior official he’s not putting up with any abuse. Which is within his rights, and it seems like a gross over-reaction for Sting and Luger to angrily chase him to the back. Replay shows Rick Steiner shoved Luger backwards, and he nailed Patrick.
THE DUNGEON OF DOOM (with Jimmy Hart) vs. THE FOUR HORSEMEN (with Woman, Elizabeth, and Debra McMichael)
DoD is made up of Kevin Sullivan, Bubba, and the Faces of Fear. Sullivan starts with Mongo, and gets flattened. Mongo goes up, but slips immediately, and winds up jumping off in no particular direction instead. Bubba comes in and takes an atomic drop. Bubba is worked over in the Horsemen corner, and Benoit is tagged in. Naturally, now that the best wrestler in this match has tagged in, the Dungeon take over the offense. Thankfully, it doesn’t last, and Benoit gives Barbarian a German suplex. He heads up, and even though Sullivan trips him up, Benoit fights loose and hits the swandive for 2.
Meanwhile, LEX LUGER and STING chase NICK PATRICK into the back, and Patrick makes a bee-line for the limo! As they approach, TED DIBIASE dives into the limo. Busted, rich guy. Sting throws a brick through the side window, and the limo beats it out of there. So, Sting and Luger steal the nearest car … the frickin’ Police Cruiser! What the hell man?!? THE OFFICER ON DUTY sends out an APB.
In the ring, Barbarian has the advantage on Arn Anderson and ties him to the tree of woe. That brings in an energetic Sullivan for the running knee, and we go back to Bubba. He pounds Anderson into the mat, and he’s seeing stars and can barely stay on his feet. Meng tags in, but he can’t get anything going, and winds up getting his hair pulled by Flair. Bischoff calls for a break.
Back we come, as Benoit heads in, who Sullivan illegally goes after. They roll around trading punches for awhile, before Meng takes control back and hits the best looking atomic drop I’ve ever seen. Barbarian delivers a vicious powerbomb, and he’s only saved by Anderson at 2. Bubba hits a spinebuster, but Flair’s seen enough and gives him the Nolan Ryan treatment. Benoit is sacrificed onto the heel side of the floor, but Flair is right there too and grabs a chair, threatening the Dungeon. Benoit is rolled back into the waiting hands of Sullivan. Benoit takes a big boot to the face, and that leads to Bubba who heads up top. The kneedrop off the second rope is blocked by a foot to the face, but Benoit can’t find the strength to make the hot tag. Sullivan comes in, and THAT gives Benoit some energy, as he starts chopping the hell out of Sullivan’s chest. He quickly tags Barbarian, who headbutts Benoit back to the ground. Meng comes to finish, but Benoit hits a crossbody off the Irish whip, and gets 2. Meng cuts off the ring, and Bubba chokes him out. Arn rushes in and gives Bubba a spinebuster, because he’s seen enough. Bubba holds Benoit’s foot with what little strength he has, and Barbarian comes in with a headbutt. Tag to Meng, and both Islanders come flying off the top with headbutts – but they miss! Benoit makes the tag to Flair and the place explodes! Flair attacks everyone in the Dungeon he can, and the entire thing breaks down. Flair is left alone with Sullivan in the centre of the ring. Woman and Benoit get into a shouting match when Woman doesn’t want to offer an assist, and Benoit threatens her so she helps Flair hold the arms for leverage, and Sullivan taps at 13:58! Wild chaotic old school fight. ***1/2
Woman and Benoit continue to scream at each other, but there’s no time to work that out because THE OUTSIDERS have attacked Arn and Flair on the other side of the ring.HOLLYWOOD HOGAN appears too, and they take on all 8 guys who’ve been in this match. Even Pee Wee Anderson is given no mercy. With no one left, THE GIANT comes in, and stares down the nWo. Except, he is right there with a Chokeslam to Barbarian, and another to Meng. The fans are ready to riot, as he embraces Kevin Nash, and we have a completely inexplicable turn of events here. Just what the hell?!? RANDY SAVAGEhits the ring with a chair in hand, and swings wildly at everything. Hogan jumps him, and Savage rips the doo rag right off Hogan’s head (hah!), but a low blow gives the nWo the advantage once more and then all take turns beating Savage into the ground. Hogan drops the leg a few times for good measure. The ring is filled with as much trash and drinks as the fans can get their hands on, while Savage gets a yellow stripe painted right down his back from Hogan.
The nWo takes over the announce booth. Hogan reminds us all he’s still the most powerful man in professional wrestling, and with The Giant they’re now the most powerful group in wrestling. Hogan says there’s not just 4 men, or even 5 men with Ted DiBiase, but at least 8. Jesus. Hogan rips the WCW logo off the front of the announce booth and forces Giant to spit on it. Giant rationalizes his behavior by saying he was invited to Hogan’s house by DiBiase, and noticed there were 20 motorcycles in the garage, tons of cars, annnnd … before we can finish our thoughts, the Dungeon and Horsemen have recovered and the fight breaks back out in the aisle. They take care of that, so that Giant can finish his thoughts. Hogan promises him a part in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, and all the cars and money he can imagine. Because the nWo is the best thing going today. Then they finish ripping the set apart, and stand happily in the carnage.
The segment was beautifully executed, and the turn was explained as best they could I suppose, but I’ll have some thoughts on this when we hit Prime, next.