The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 04.22.96 Hey, it’s another content warning! Hopefully this one pays off. Speaking of paying off, whatever happened to ads on the Network? It’s literally been months since I’ve seen one at the beginning of a show. On another note, I took the plunge and subscribed to NJPW World this morning, because I just don’t have enough Shinsuke Nakamura in my life. But then who does? LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE from somewhere. But more importantly, much like the relief of having a painful boil on your ass cheek lanced, Hulk Hogan is gone on extended vacation and we can all breathe again. Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mongo. The Public Enemy v. The American Males Bischoff once again gives away the results of RAW, and yeah, it sounds like a yawner. Riggs gets double-teamed in the corner to start, but the babyfaces regroup and clean house with stereo dives. I will say that watching Bagwell week after week like this, you can really see him developing into a top worker, which makes his neck injury in 98 that wrecked him for good all the more depressing. The Males get a double-team on Rock for two and Bagwell works the arm, but he gets caught in the corner and worked over. Double clothesline as PE shows that, yes, they can work a solid tag formula if need be, and they do a good job of cutting off the ring and letting Bagwell show off his selling. Rock goes up and misses a senton and it’s HOT tag Riggs as the crowd was just waiting for that one. Dropkicks for the heels and a flying forearm gets two, but Bagwell gets backdropped to the floor with a nice bump. They toss Riggs over the top for the DQ at 7:22, which is too bad because I was really getting into the comeback. **1/2 Poor Riggs takes the table bump afterwards. Eddie Guerrero v. Chris Benoit Ah, there we go. Mean Gene does the first round draw for Slamboree, and SHOCKINGLY Savage and Flair are forced to team up. Eddie chases Benoit and threatens a dive to start. Back in, they get into a shoving match and Benoit drops him on his head with a backdrop suplex and we take a break. Back with Benoit apparently holding the same chinlock we left with, and then they magically pick it up again with Eddie snapping off a rana. Benoit chops him down again while Bischoff runs down the Cruiserweight title tournament thus far, much of which only took place in his imagination. Bobby Eaton, who hasn’t been a cruiserweight since Memphis in the 70s, is apparently still in the hunt! Eddie pounds on Benoit in the corner, but gets tossed and comes back in with a rana off the top for two. Eddie tries another one, but Benoit grabs the ropes and pins him at 6:00. Short but fun. **1/2 Mongo’s take on Randy Savage: “Every rabid dog has his day!” Well, usually it doesn’t work out very well for the rabid dog, but I suppose. Speaking of which, Mean Gene brings out someone from WCW’s head office to confront Randy Savage for his recent actions against Ric Flair. SEVERE RAMIFICATIONS, YEAH! This guy should see a psychiatrist for standing there like a little stupid person, yeah! Personally, I would not want to give an angry Macho Man his performance review. Jim Duggan v. Meng Kind of funny to hear Bischoff running down the WWF again here when we’re featuring two aging WWF castoffs who were brought in because of the name they made for themselves there. Duggan stomps Meng down and out, but gets choked on the ropes. Meng goes to the nerve pinch and that goes on for a while. Finally Duggan fights out and goes for the 2×4, but Meng steals it and Duggan instead tapes the fist and knocks him out for the pin at 5:51. I call shenanigans on Meng going down to one punch. Duggan’s hands are nowhere near as big as frying pans! DUD WCW World tag titles: Sting & Lex Luger v. Ric Flair & The Giant Randy Savage continues his path of rage by attacking Flair before the match, but security hauls him off as indeed this storyline has gotten immensely more watchable without Hogan around. Amazing, huh? The champs clean house while Bischoff hypes up Slamboree, which sounds like one of the least appealing PPV lineups this side of Wrestlemania Play Button. Also, apparently the Detroit Lions want to give the Giant a tryout, which is actually something that really did happen and which I had totally forgotten about. Had that gone anywhere, that would have been weird. Back in, Flair can’t overpower Luger (duh) and he gets destroyed as usual. He’s obviously having fun this week getting beat up by the babyfaces. Unlike some other blond World champions, there’s a guy who is clearly secure in his position. Sting with a superplex that sends Flair flying out of the ring, but Sting misses his dive onto the railing as usual. Back in, Sting recovers and brings Luger back in, but he walks into a Giant choke. Sting dives in with clips to the knee, desperately trying to break the hold and then finally kicks his arm to force Giant to release. What a great spot to put over the power of the Giant. Woman gives Flair a cup of coffee, but he accidentally throws it in the Giant’s eyes and the ref calls for the DQ at 7:27. ** And that mistake would cost Flair a lot more than just this match, of course. Just an awesome moment as Giant challenges Flair, who hides behind the announcers and accepts the challenge, then notes “Next week I’m gonna kick your big ass!” before RUNNING off in terror as he realizes what he’s just said. That was hilarious. Next week: Ric Flair defends the World title against a very angry Giant! Spoiler: It doesn’t go very well for him. The Pulse This show is so much better already.