The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 12.16.96
Live from Pensacola, FL
Your hosts are Tony & Larry…hold on, it’s actually Eric Bischoff & Ted Dibiase, who kick them out of the announce position to start the show.
World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Psycosis
Because it’s the Christmas season, Eric has generously allowed WCW wrestlers until the holiday to convert over to nWo contracts. Well that’s nice. Also, New Japan will be bought out and used as the minor leagues for the nWo. Psy works the arm, but Regal knees him in the head and reverses as we take a break. Back with Regal in control with a rollup out of the corner, but Psy hits him with a pair of leg lariats to put him out of the ring, and follows with a tope. This has the crowd going crazy while Bischoff and Dibiase just totally ignore the match and talk about Piper and Hogan instead. Back in, top rope sunset flip gets two and the front row is just JACKED. To the top as Regal is selling his ass off, and Psy hits a top rope rana for two. Small package gets two. To the top for the legdrop, and that gets two. Regal hits a german suplex in desperation, but continues selling his own neck because he’s AWESOME, and Psy recovers first and gets a koppo kick for two. Regal hooks him in a full nelson on the mat to buy time and then just beats the shit out of him in the corner. Butterfly suplex gets two. They head to the top, but Psy fights off the butterfly superplex and hits him with a frog splash for two. Backslide gets two. He goes for a victory roll, but Regal drops him on his face and finishes with the Regal Stretch at 13:28. The match was GREAT, but Dibiase & Bischoff were insufferable on commentary. ***3/4
Big Bubba v. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo chases him out of the ring early, but dives and gets caught and slammed on the floor. So Bubba was not quite nWo at this point from the looks of it. Back in, Bubba pounds away and misses a splash, allowing Chavo to make the comeback with a butt butt for two. Bubba Slam finishes at 2:50, however. Basically a squash. *
Masa Chono is out with Sonny Onoo, and reveals that he’s nWo 4 Life now. Gene gets a funny bit where Chono threatens Onoo in Japanese:
Chono: [speaks Japanese in gruff voice]
Gene: What did he say?
Onoo: [imitates Chono’s Japanese rant]
Gene: IN ENGLISH, YOU IDIOT!
I feel like they did that routine somewhere before, or stole it from someone, but it’s still hilarious.
Masa Chono v. Chris Jericho
Chono slowly pounds on Jericho and tosses him, and they actually manage to kill THIS crowd, who were treating friggin’ Psycosis like he had a chance against Regal. Jericho comes back while the announcers take a minute to bury the It’s Time PPV from the night before, and Jericho manages to botch a back elbow spot. You’d think this match would be much better, but it’s been a complete trainwreck for some reason. And then Jericho gets tied up in the ropes and Chono stomps him for the DQ at 5:49. BURN IT WITH FIRE. DUD
The Four Horsemen join us, minus Benoit, and Arn warns us that the love of a woman has poisoned many people. Debra is over the whole thing, and she’d rather talk about a real man, like Mongo. And then Flair is off to Kevin Greene’s house to party.
WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. David Sammartino
Where did THAT come from? David is about 50 pounds lighter than he was in 1985 and much more cut. And why couldn’t we have had Larry on commentary here to bury Bruno’s kid? Dean takes him down and works the arm, but David reverses him to a hammerlock. Dean misses a charge after a botched attempt at the spot, but recovers with a small package on David for two. David gets a backslide for two. Dean chicken-wings him and rolls over for the pin at 3:00, looking pissed off at everyone. David is also very confused. Wonder if they got the go-home signal really early and just improvised? *
Your hosts are Tony & Bobby & Iron Mike.
Ice Train v. Jerry Flynn
Was Ice Train still a thing at this point? He no-sells all of Flynn’s offense right away and splashes him, but Flynn gets a comeback off a missed charge. Leg lariat in the corner gets two and you know he’s a heel because he tells someone in the front row to shut up. Meanwhile, Tony announces that tickets are on sale for nWo Souled Out in January. Oh yeah, we’re almost to THAT one. Train hulks up and finishes with an anklelock at 3:25. ½*
Syxx introduces the Outsiders, hitting them with hard questions like “What’s with the bandana?” (Answer: Nash is looking sweet.) They’ll even face the Faces of Fear TONIGHT.
Sting video package. You know how Sting REALLY could have terrified the nWo? By projecting video of insects on the mat. Why wouldn’t he have thought of that?
Bobby Eaton v. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey comes at him with armdrags, but Eaton slugs him down and faceplants him. Backbreaker gets two. They head to the floor and Eaton misses a dive and lands on the railing, which allows Rey to hit him with his own dive. Rey brings him in with a victory roll off the apron, an interesting idea that kind of failed. Rey with a springboard dropkick and moonsault for two, but Eaton puts him down with a clothesline for two. We hit the chinlock and Eaton adds a slam, but Rey comes out with a top rope rana to finish at 5:00. It was fine. **
Chris Benoit sends another romantic video from Germany, as he continues to cuckold Kevin Sullivan. What was Benoit actually doing all those weeks? Japan tour? Or were they legit touring Germany?
Kevin Sullivan v. Arn Anderson
Sullivan is PISSED and he just destroys Arn on the floor and slugs away in the corner, and Arn has to retreat to the crowd. Sullivan follows and they fight back into the ring again, where Arn shoves the ref and DDTs him by accident. God bless Mark Curtis for taking that bump like a champ. Arn gets hung in the Tree of Woe, but Sullivan charges in and Arn gives him an EPIC nutshot to counter. So then the Dungeon runs in and Arn holds them off single-handedly, until Kevin breaks a chair on his back and pins him at 3:50. OK, that was fun. **1/2 It may or may not have been a no-DQ match, it was never established conclusively.
Rick Steiner v. “Sting”
Sting is established as being in the rafters, so even the announcers figure out that the guy in the ring is Jeff Farmer, the nWo Sting. The evil one is also chewing gum and looks nothing like Sting. So the real one hits the fake one with the Scorpion Death Drop and leaves. This storyline continues to make no sense.
We get a Starrcade 96 commercial here, as the announcer calls it “The match of a decade”. Hold on, let me call the bad pun dog…
Hollywood Hogan and the nWo join us to tell us what a coward Roddy Piper is for not being here tonight.
The Outsiders v. The Faces of Fear
There’s 5 minutes left in the show so I can’t see this going very long before the nWo run-in. Big slugfest to start and Hall hits Meng with a clothesline, and then Big Bubba immediately runs in and turns on the Dungeon to reveal his nWo affiliation. The other Dungeon goofs run in and so do the nWo B-team guys, and then WCW sends people out and everyone just brawls in the ring to end the show, which is their default mode when they can’t come up with a finish. Scott Norton, who is wearing a blue shirt instead of an nWo shirt, makes his official debut with the nWo here as well. Sting also joins the fray, but WCW guys attack him, so he disgustedly fights them off and leaves to end things.
This was the second show in a row with a skeleton crew and it showed, as there just wasn’t any star power.