The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 12.23.96
Holy cow, I actually got a RELEVANT ad before the show today! WWE Network has apparently been selling ad time to wrestlingfigures.com, advertising WWE-branded stuff and everything.
Live from somewhere not mentioned by Tony, so it must not be a big city. A quick check reveals it was Macon, GA, with a record sellout crowd of nearly 5000.
Your hosts are Tony & Larry.
US title tournament semi-finals: Chris Benoit v. Eddie Guerrero
Benoit’s entrance strangely cuts from him entering the ring to Eddie in the middle of the aisle, with an abrupt music change, so I’m wondering if there was some weirdness with Benoit they had to cut out there. Eddie and Chris trade chops to start while Kevin Sullivan does a rambling promo via inset. Meanwhile, DDP joins the announce table for commentary to further distract from the match. Eddie controls with a headlock, but DDP doesn’t care who he’s facing for the title at Starrcade. Eddie with a rollup for two and we take a break. Back with Benoit in control via hotshot, and he pounds Eddie with a short clothesline and neck vice, but Eddie fights back with a backbreaker. To the top, but Benoit cuts him off with a GIANT superplex for two. Eddie with a small package for two. They trade in the corner again and Eddie wins the chop battle, but Benoit drops him on the top rope and uses the ropes for two. Back to the top and Benoit shoves the ref away, but Eddie drops him and finishes with a twisting frog splash at 13:00 to advance to the finals. ***1/2
The Four Horsemen join Mean Gene for their weekly interview, and Arn is throwing SHADE at Benoit for losing that match. Debra adds that next time Chris wants to have an affair, he should call her so that she can set him up with a beauty queen instead of damaged goods like Nancy.
Damn, where was THAT version of Debra when she got to the WWF. Chris is like “Come on, clearly I was in Germany on HORSEMEN BUSINESS and planning stuff”, which is hilarious because he’s literally spent the month sending videos where he brags that he’s banging Sullivan’s wife. And then Benoit literally finishes his retort with…
See, who says he’s not a great promo? Flair, as usual, just wants to party and screw hot chicks, and basically ignores all the craziness around him in hopes that they can go check out the nightlife.
Hollywood Hogan and the nWo join us to talk about how scared Roddy Piper is. Also, he wears a SKIRT. And Randy Savage is in a wheelchair and Hulk has his wife. Total waste of time.
Lex Luger v. Tombstone
Of all the people to raid from ECW, they choose 911. And he didn’t even change his ring gear! Lex clotheslines him to the floor, but Tombstone goes to the eyes and takes over with a slam. For two. Paul Heyman knew to the secret to this guy: DON’T LET HIM DO ANYTHING. Luger fights back and we get the sight of Al Poling having to sell, setting up the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM and Torture Rack at 3:00. The Giant comes out for the sneak attack, but people who are that big can’t sneak, so Luger beats the hell out of him and puts HIM in the rack as well. The Outsiders have to put away their beer and go make the save for the big guy, which is probably why they kicked him out of the group next week. Although Dave does note that Hogan didn’t want Giant to turn. DUD In that same issue of the Observer, Dave called this “A hell of a lot better than it had any right to be.” I guess it was better than the -*** I was expecting, so that’s valid.
Last week, Sting comes out to break up the brawl at the end of the show, but he gets attacked first by WCW guys and walks out on them. This is important in a bit.
The Mysterious Mr. JL v. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey might be the king of mystery, but it’s doubtful anyone will ever figure out who Mr. JL is. Rey takes JL out of the corner with a headscissors, but goes flying to the floor. JL tries to follow with a dive, but that misses, so Rey hits him with a rana off the apron. Meanwhile, Larry is now 100% convinced that Sting has joined the nWo after last week. Jesus, no wonder Sting was so bitter. Back in, JL with a Last Ride for two. Rey escapes a second try and hits a springboard moonsault press for two, but JL hits a backdrop suplex for two. They kind of lose the thread while Tony and Larry argue about proper “cadence” for a referee’s count. Finally Rey is just like “Fuck it, let’s do highspots” and tosses JL for a tope, then springboards in and walks into a faceplant. JL with La Majistral for two. JL to the top, but Rey springboards up and brings him down with the rana for the pin at 6:00. Sadly it wasn’t a mask v. mask match so we could finally discover the true identity of Mr. JL. ***1/2
Rey then heads over to the announce table and he doesn’t think Sting is nWo, and the proof is in the footage from last week where Sting only reacted to people attacking him. He wants to see the tape of Sting from last week, that they JUST PLAYED mind you, but suddenly the truck can’t find it now and plays a random video package of Sting instead. Tony gives Rey a condescending look the whole time like “You moron, here’s a video package, now get lost.” And people wonder why WCW got booed.
Hour #2! The hour so important that it was in the bidding war with Fusient to buy the promotion in 2000!
Your hosts are Tony, Bobby and Iron Mike.
Glacier v. Buddy Lee Parker
I find it hilarious that someone as bad in the ring as Buddy Lee Parker was trusted to train people for years. Glacier goes kick, kick, kick, legsweep, kick, kick, kick, back kick, big kick, some bullshit move, Cryonic kick, Cryonic kick, pin at 2:23. Buddy decided to forget to be pinned from the first finisher for some reason. DUD
The Public Enemy v. The Amazing French Canadians
PE attacks during the national anthem and cleans house, but is somehow unable to put Jacques through a table on the floor. YOU HAD ONE JOB! Johnny gets double-teamed and hit with the Rougeau Bombe, and then Parker suddenly decides to distract the ref while the heels have the match completely in hand. So they try to use the table, fail at that and manage to break the table while just standing on it, and the ref just DQs the Public Enemy at 3:23. What a fucking mess. Dave just totally undersells how terrible this was in the Observer, just calling it a “bad match”. That’s like calling flat-earthers “a bit crazy”. -***
Konnan v. Big Bubba
Nick Patrick is back to working for the nWo, completely ignoring all of Bubba’s cheating while he chokes out Konnan and tosses him over the top rope. Konnan has a lot of fire to start and then Bubba slows it WAY down when he takes over, choking and punching in slow motion. Also, Tony would like to remind everyone that STING IS 100% NWO. There’s no doubt in his mind. Bubba with a clothesline, but Jimmy Hart gets accused of tripping him up and Patrick throws him out of the match. Now, the gag is supposed to be that Hart didn’t actually do it, but the camera completely missed the spot so we have no idea. And then Konnan just throws Bubba over the top for the DQ at 5:50. Holy crap this show is circling the drain. DUD
World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Dean Malenko
Another minor annoyance with the commentary, as they sell the Hogan-Piper match as “the one man that Hogan’s never beaten”, which wasn’t even true on its own face since Hogan beat him by DQ a bunch of times. But even worse, Hogan also never beat Ultimate Warrior at that point in his career and it was one of the most famous matches in history. Regal works a cravat on Malenko while Sonny Onoo comes out taking pictures to annoy Malenko, apparently going right back to being a Japanese stereotype again after changing his character last week. Regal with a long armbar on Malenko and he cuts off a comeback, but Malenko does indeed fight back with a cloverleaf attempt and a brainbuster for two before the bell rings at 9:24. The announcers weren’t even paying attention by the end and I can’t blame them, this was REALLY boring. *1/2
Rick Steiner v. Jeff Jarrett
This is technically YOUR main event, by the way. Jeff does his strutting to start, so Rick slams him into the corner and slugs away. Minor note: Bobby Heenan says the word “buyrate” in reference to Starrcade for the first time I’ve ever heard on a wrestling show. nWo Sting comes out to attack Jarrett, and Rick clotheslines him so that Jeff can pin him at 2:40. Yes, this was the finish of the match somehow. Tony is still unsure if this person is actually Sting or not.
And finally, Hollywood Hogan returns to run down Piper again, which brings out “Roddy Piper”, aka Eric Bischoff dressed in Scottish regalia and doing the laziest possible “imitation” of Piper. So then the real Piper comes out and the nWo beats the hell out of him to end the show.
Well, Starrcade still did a gigantic number, so good for them, I guess.