WCW Nitro: November 4, 1996

Well it was bound to happen, and this week someone actually read my WCW Worldwide recap. Dedicated Underachiever asks:
Curious for an explanation…why rate the tag match three stars? There’s nothing in the review that indicates why that high a rating.
Well Dedicated Underachiever, first you need to travel backwards to 1996. It was a time when lousy tag-teams ruled the world. On one channel, you suffered through the likes of the Smokin’ Gunns, Bodydonnas, and Godwinns trading the tag-team titles all year. In WCW, as I’ve noted through my 150+ recaps just this year alone (whoa), Harlem Heat was pretty much the focal point of every show. The Nasty Boys and Public Enemy were cringe worthy. The Rock & Roll Express were roughly 85 years old. But through it all, there were the Faces of Fear. These weren’t just men. They were war machines. You think Brock Lesnar is bad ass? You haven’t seen Meng no-sell 40 straight hard-hitting moves, and respond with a flying headbutt off the top. Barbarian’s powerbombs are so strong and crisp they could cripple even the toughest modern day MMA fighter. They are the greatest tag-team in the history of planet earth, and they are automatically given a 50% mark-up just for being so bloody cool. It’s the Barbarian tax.
With a voice that could catch the attention of any dog within a 14-mile radius, TONY SCHIAVONE welcomes us to Grand Rapids, Michigan – the location of WCW Nitro! LARRY ZBYSZKO isn’t happy about being stuck “in the middle of nowhere”, and neither is STING, who is dressed like The Crow, and sulking in the rafters.

He catches the attention of THE GIANTTED DIBIASE, and VINCENT, who stare him down from the nWo section of the building. Tony speculates the nWo and Sting have finally reached some sort of contract agreement.
We have exciting news. Yes, a tournament will be started tonight to crown a NEW WCW champion. A Women’s Champion! Tony poses with the belt, while Larry whines about gas being $1.30 a gallon. Seriously.
Did you know that Roddy Piper was at Halloween Havoc? Has WCW aired the clip to prove it? Well, in case you missed it the first 74 times, here it is again. Apparently the fans on the Internet exploded, and pressured Bischoff to try and make Piper and Hogan a reality. If this was the WWE, Piper would immediately be jobbed out to whoever’s coming out in the opening match just to shut up the Internet geeks. And that person would be …
BRAD ARMSTRONG vs. MARCUS BAGWELL (with Scotty Riggs)
STING storms out of the rafters, possibly to go write angry poetry in his journal. Tony promises that later tonight, we’ll go to Portland, Oregon. Like, dismantle the ring and take the show there? I’m actually intrigued. Bagwell and Riggs clap so much that I start wishing Sid was on the roster. Just one more month of this, thankfully. (Oops, spoiler alert) Armstrong gets locked in a headscissors, but he wiggles loose. They remain on the mat for so long that the fans start booing and chanting for the nWo. Tony declares the show red hot as we head to commercial.
We return, as Bagwell bitchslaps Armstrong, and THAT wakes the fans up. Bradstreet don’t like that, and hits Bagwell with a dropkick, and clotheslines him to the outside. Marcus tries to get back in, and takes a baseball slide to the stomach. Bagwell stalks a better position, and re-enters with a slingshot clothesline. Tony starts openly wondering if Armstrong can win World War 3, as he gets clotheslined hard to the floor. A plancha connects hard, and both guys lie strewn out on the floor. Back in, they battle to the corner where Armstrong hits a tornado DDT for 2. Bagwell fires back with a gutbuster, and pounds him down with a forearm shot. The fans start booing Bagwell’s incessant clapping, as he hits a crossbody for the pin at 7:28. **1/2
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. ICE TRAIN (with Teddy Long)
Between Teddy Long *and* DDP, this is like the wet dream of NICK PATRICK. Tony shows footage from the previous week, where the nWo celebrated as Page hit the Diamond Cutter. THE OUTSIDERS make their first appearance in the crowd, posing with the tag-team titles. Page tries to put a full nelson on Train, which is like trying to wrap a pool noodle around an alligator and expecting it to successfully ward off an attack. Train knocks Page to the apron, but DDP is right there with a jawbreaker. Off the top, he nails a clothesline, and the fans are hot tonight because they boo that viciously. Page chokes Train in the ropes, but Patrick catches him. Train comes back with a sunset flip, but Page pops up and hits a clothesline for 2. A pancake gets 2. Train tries to make something happen, but takes a swinging neckbreaker. Train kicks out viciously, launching Page on top of Patrick who screams in agony (making some killer faces in the process). Train punches Page in the stomach, and hits a vertical suplex which starts the Hulk up process. A powerslam gets a pretty slow 2 count from Patrick. Train ignores it, hitting a super impressive banzai, and follows with the Track Wreck! Patrick takes forever to hit the mat, allowing Page a chance to kick out. He knocks Page to the floor, with Patrick right behind to check on the man, as Hall and Nash hit the ring and destroy Ice Train. Teddy Long shrieks at him to get back in the ring, but he’s too busy with Page. By the time everyone’s back in, the Diamond Cutter gets the win at 6:35. Does that mean Page is FINALLY officially a member of the group, or are we gonna keep pretending otherwise? **
SCOTTY RIGGS (with Marcus Bagwell) vs. DEAN MALENKO (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Are you kidding me? This ain’t WCW Prime, I cannot deal with multiple appearances of American Males. And once again, Malenko’s wasting his time with guys who aren’t Cruiserweights which is starting to piss me off. Wait, this IS a title match? Tony says it is, but that can’t be, because Riggs is like 250 pounds. Christ, WCW, really? In better news, he’ll be defending against Psychosis at World War III. Tony’s very excited for this fresh matchup, while Larry says that Riggs spent the week dropping weight just to get this title match. See, if that’s in fact true (it’s not), then why weren’t we given vignettes of that on Saturday Night or Worldwide? Did he run laps wearing garbage bags in 100 degree weather? Did he engage in hours of promiscuous sexual activity to burn extra calories, and did Bagwell enjoy it? Or did he just swallow enough laxatives to clear the bowels of a mature water buffalo? WCW, you’re missing the boat here. SYXX shows up to watch this one, as does the NWO PROPAGANDA TEAM. Riggs hits Malenko with a slingshot plancha, and then goes up to finish. However, Deano hits the ropes with some force sending Riggs to the floor – and there’s trouble in paradise because his losing ways are starting to piss one “Marcus” Bagwell off. He rolls Riggs back in the ring long before he’s ready, and Malenko finishes with the Oklahoma roll at 3:23. I hope your anorexia was worth it, Scotty. Riggs and Bagwell bicker. I don’t care. *
HECTOR GUERRERO vs. CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman)
…what? Apparently Eddie needed his family honour defended, so they sent in Hector? Woman looks amazing tonight, sporting the ever classy coat and bra combo. Wait, we can’t start because …
KEVIN SULLIVAN and JIMMY HART have something to say. Hart promises that in Baltimore, Benoit’s gonna find out what kind of man Sullivan really is. “I’ll see you in the bathroom in Baltimore.” THEY ALREADY MET THERE, IN JUNE.
Meanwhile, Hector is hitting Benoit with ranas like a circus animal. Benoit hits the floor, and Hector’s right behind with a plancha. Chris is sent shoulder first to the ring post. Back in, Hector is focused on the injury, and hits a pumphandle shoulderbreaker. He works some sort of chickenwing, but Benoit gets into the ropes to break. What the heck(tor) is with Guerrero’s offensive outburst tonight? Down to the mat now, Guerrero puts Benoit in a chickenwing face down, as we hit a commercial break.
Apparently Benoit managed to take over during the break, as he hangs Hector out with a Stun Gun. A gutbuster has Guerrero rolling in pain, and Benoit applies an abdominal stretch. Guerrero manages to hiptoss his way loose, but Chris simply hits him with another gutbuster for 2. As Guerrero manages to sneak in a small package, the countdown hits the screen to let us know that the “hour that changed pro-wrestling” is coming. Goodbye Tony.
The pyro starts shooting out of the set like wild and our new announcers are … oh goddamn, Tony’s still here because Bischoff’s not. He’s joined by “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN. Guerrero and Benoit get into a slugfest, which Chris wins by hitting a drop toe hold that sends Guerrero headfirst to the buckle. Hector snaps off a rana, and puts Benoit on the top rope. He lies on his back, and bounces Chris up and down with his legs for awhile, until Benoit pops off. Hector uses an abdominal stretch on the mat, turning it into a Kiwi roll. Woman breaks it up by pulling Hector’s hair, and Benoit quickly pins him at 9:55. That was long. *1/2
MIKE TENAY grabs Benoit and Woman for an interview, along with a suddenly present JEFF JARRETTDEBRA MCMICHAEL, and MONGO MCMICHAEL. Jarrett says he’s the lead dog and will be going after the Giant, but Benoit and Mongo don’t take kindly to that. They say they don’t need his help, and Horsemen business will be taken care of by the Horsemen. They storm off, leaving Jarrett alone with Tenay. Jarrett reminds us that WCW still has no leadership, as the camera pans to STING who has moved into the crowd to sulk with the fans. Jarrett wants Hogan, because Flair gave him the seal of approval. He promises he’ll score a touchdown for WCW, while guys like Sting aren’t even in the game. Jarrett recommends everyone take Sting’s name off the list of heroes.
REINA JUBUKI vs. MADUSA (in a first round WCW women’s title match)
I have never heard of Jubuki, but Mike Tenay has and he lists her accomplishments which I’m sure are many but I’m too busy making a peanut butter wrap to catch them. NICK PATRICK is assigned to impartially call this one. Tony questions why Patrick is assigned to this important match. Wait wait wait, of all the matches that Patrick has been assigned to in the last 4 months, THIS is the one Tony takes issue with? I don’t even have the words right now to combat all the stupid that I just got smacked in the face with. Jubuki sits on Madusa’s face (it’s not as exciting as it sounds), and bites her. For some reason, ZERO (who?!?) wanders out which Tenay says is a big deal because she (she?!?) is one of the best female wrestlers in the world. This is bad, but I thought it was Kaz Hayashi in blue facepaint. SONNY ONOO is with her, and something something peroxide America wrong, ha ha ha. Madusa hits a top rope headscissors, but Jubuki dodges a missile dropkick and hits a bridged suplex for 2. Jubuki goes up and hits a missile dropkick of her own for 2. Seconds later, Madusa uses the German suplex for the pin at (Austin) 3:16. 1/2* Madusa points at Zero. Zero points at her.
M WALLSTREET vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Jericho gets us started with a suplex, and starts working over the shoulder. Wallstreet doesn’t HAVE a sore shoulder though, so that doesn’t work, and he stands up easily to start fighting. Jericho tries a crossbody instead, following with a quick hiptoss and a spin kick for 2. Wallstreet sends Jericho to the floor, where he hits his knee. A group of fans in the front row stand up and give Wallstreet the finger for god knows WHAT reason, but I appreciate the fact that they did. Jericho re-enters with a slingshot schoolboy for 2, before Wallstreet locks him in an abdominal stretch. He cheats with the ropes, getting away with it until the 3rd try, when he just releases and clotheslines Chris for 2. Wallstreet applies a headlock, but Jericho gets loose with a jawbreaker. 10 straight faceplants to the buckle leave Wallstreet on weak legs. Jericho pounds away in the corner, but gets backdropped to the apron. Jericho gives him a quick neckbreaker over the top rope, and heads up with a missile dropkick that sends Wallstreet flying to the floor. Jericho follows, and gets tossed face first to the ring post. Jericho is rolled back in, where he packages Wallstreet for the win at 6:48. *1/2
MIKE TENAY decides now is a great time to interview NICK PATRICK and his lawyer ALAN SHARPE. Jericho happens to be on his way to the back, and stops to tell Patrick there’s nothing wrong with his neck, and he’s a paid employee of the nWo. Sharpe reminds Jericho that his father was an NHL goon, but Jericho shrugs that off saying this is between the three of them. TEDDY LONG storms out, and says Patrick’s a playa hata. Oh no he didn’t! Sharpe reminds Long that he used to be a referee that was suspended years ago. Jericho defends him saying that everyone has made mistakes in their past, but Patrick isn’t making any mistakes, it’s premeditated.
BOOKER T (with Sista Sherri) vs. LEX LUGER
This is a return match because Lex Luger left last week’s match to try and patch things up with Sting. Though, if you ask Booker T, you’d get a different side of things, as he vows to hurt Luger again just like last week. In a pre-recorded moment, Luger sends Sting his heart. He’s left messages, but he won’t return his calls. He just needs one minute. I’ve seen less pathetic teenagers getting their hearts broken for the first time. Luger hits a clothesline and ROARS. Unfortunately, matches aren’t won on roars, and Booker puts him in a headlock. Luger escapes, and hits a standing vertical suplex. An elbow sends Booker to the floor, and we need to take a commercial break.
Apparently nothing happened during the break, because Luger is still in control, hitting a running powerslam for 2. Booker nails a sweet hot shot, and Luger rolls around holding his throat while Booker calls out to the crowd. The axe kick is particularly sweet this week as Booker gets some serious air. Luger rolls to the floor, where Sherri kicks him in the ribs for good measure. Back in, Booker hits a heel kick, but misses the Harlem Sidekick. Crotched, Luger shakes the ropes like the Ultimate Warrior, and Booker’s balls are piranha bait. A powerslam sets up the Rack, but Booker dives to the safety of the ropes before it’s applied. The Harlem Sidekick hits this time, and COLONEL ROBERT PARKER comes down to ringside to make up with Sherri. Booker hits an enzuigiri, and heads up, as Parker encourages Booker to finish the job. Booker grabs him by the collar because he’s no fool, but that gives Luger a chance to hit him from behind and schoolboy Booker for the pin at 5:53. Laaaaaaaame. *1/2
STING stares into Luger’s soul from the top of the building.
The voice of ERIC BISCHOFF is brought in on the phone. He says that negotiations are going well with Piper, but his attorneys are being a pain in the ass. Because Piper’s an actor, he has various commitments to projects, and they just aren’t willing to let him play ball with WCW. Eric says he’s flying to Toronto next week, and will be sitting down with Piper one on one on his movie set, in the hopes that Roddy is willing to tell his management team to stuff it.
Hey, did you know that Roddy Piper showed up at the end of Halloween Havoc? HERE IT IS, IN FULL, AGAIN.
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN rears his bald head, joined with TED DIBIASEVINCENT, and THE GIANT. Tony astutely notes that Hogan doesn’t go anywhere without The Giant – good catch Captain Schiavone. Now leave. Hogan demands the lights be dimmed and given the spotlight treatment once again. The fans boo the crap out of him, so Hogan points to his ass. Hogan tells Piper he’s gonna show him how it’s done in Hollywood. What does that mean? Glad you asked, because …
We get scenes of Santa With Muscles. Click that link, I encourage you, and spend some time checking out those reviews in case you’ve managed to avoid this atrocity. Some of us haven’t been so lucky.
Hogan promises his movie will be an Academy Award winner. He’s a little irritated he hasn’t received his Cable Ace Awards invite, but he knows Turner will be front and centre. He says if he doesn’t win an award, he’ll crash the party and take Turner’s away. Turning his attention to pro-wrestling, he put on the greatest act of his career at Halloween Havoc by begging off to Piper. He was trying to lead the lamb to slaughter, but it turns out that Piper has no heart and is afraid to fight Hogan. And like last week, Hogan goes into his poses, with a bit of twerking thrown in. I didn’t need that.
Seeing as how that’s the last thing I’m forced to see before the show ends, you’re going to as well. Just be thankful it’s not moving.