The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–09.30.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.30.96

Hey, thanks to James Dixon for the shout-out in Titan Shattered. I didn’t even know that was coming. Even better that it was positive and not the usual “Thanks for setting the bar really low with your own books, jerk.”

Taped from Hershey, PA

Your hosts are Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly and Jerry Lawler

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.23.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.23.96

There are few times where you can point to one segment as the nadir of an entire wrestling promotion, but this one is truly the bottom of the barrel.  Watching this one, I was really worried that the WWF wasn’t going to be around for much longer.

Live from Hershey, PA

Your hosts are Kevin Kelly, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

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Mero in 96

Hello, Scott, while wondering how the late 90s could have gone differently and rewatching the the early months of Nitro, I found myself thinking about what happened with Marc Mero.
1) at the beginning of the year, he won a decent feud with DDP as TV champ and thing seemed to be going well for him in the mid card until he abruptly dropped the title the Luger and was gone. I recall on two deeper are Nitros where Eric Bischoff takes a shot at Mero and how he headed north or couldn’t handle it on wcw. They even blacked out his face in the old WCW Hotline ads (which I noticed in Nitro viewings since they still have the vintage WCW ads in them). Why did Mero leave wcw, or was he fired for some reason? He seemed to have it set, at least as a midcarder goes.


2) not long after, he is introduced during Wrestlemania XII (something of a marquee intro) and they even tease a feud with Triple H (presumably when he was still on the rise prior to the curtain call) which carries over to Raw. According to Foley’s book, he was signed for a high price. My question is why did WWF sign him so quickly and for so much? Did Vince see the ridiculous Johnny B Badd gimmick (which seemed to be popular due to Mero’s performance) and think ‘this guy is the kind of entertainer we need’ (despite giving him the somewhat lame Wildman gimmick)? Were there other people pushing for Mero to be signed by WWF?
Just seems like an interesting situation as Mero seems to be the first Jump (from WCW to WWF) during the Monday Night Wars era yet played mostly a footnote in the larger story, mostly by his association with Sable.

1)  The Mero-Bischoff relationship deteriorated pretty fast at the end and there was a lot of name-calling and accusations both ways, but the upshot from the WCW side was that Bischoff accused Mero of missing a bunch of mandated publicity jobs and fired him.  Mero’s side is that his contract expired and he quit after getting lowballed.  Most suspect there was some contract tampering from the WWF involved because he had a three-year deal lined up basically the moment he left.  Either way, his contract had expired at the end of his WCW run, so there was no non-compete window needed and he was able to jump right away.  There was a lot of confusion at the time because the rift came so suddenly and without warning, and got ugly really fast.  Bischoff buried him on Nitro on a regular basis afterwards, while Mero openly criticized the company for forcing him to do things that contradicted his religious beliefs.  It was a weird deal. 

2)  WWE absolutely saw big money in him, and more specifically in his wife, and he was really on track in 1997 to break through, but injuries just destroyed him.  In particular that stretch between Feb 97 where he got injured as Wildman Mero and then returned months later with a totally different look as Marvellous Marc Mero really derailed his momentum as a potential top guy.  The boxer gimmick was a good midcard dick heel one, but not one for a guy who aspired to face Steve Austin. 

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.16.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.16.96

As a reminder, this rant will be immediately available in the Rant Archives link on OneDrive, available now for only $20 via Paypal to [email protected]!

Hopefully there’s not too much Hogan on this show so it doesn’t have to get awkward.  God help us if he’s interacting with Booker T.

Live from Asheville, NC

Your hosts are Tony & Larry

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–09.09.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.09.96

OK, now we’re back on track after the Friday RAW and unopposed Nitro episode. Back to the Intercontinental title tournament that will seemingly never fucking end. How long CAN they stretch an 8 man tournament out for? Until SEPTEMBER 23! This tournament is decidedly not awesome.

Taped from Wheeling, WV

Your hosts are Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly & Jerry Lawler

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The SmarK Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1996

The SmarK Rant for WCW Great American Bash 96 – 06.16.96 Upgraded from my Roku Streaming Stick to the brand new version of the Roku 3 today, and everything is blazingly fast now. Except for the WWE Network, which immediately crashed the Roku when I tried to fast-forward something. Because of course. Live from Baltimore, MD Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Dusty Rhodes. I totally forgot about the goofy SNME-style promos before the show, actually. They were definitely ripping off aspects of the WWF presentation style around this point. Fire & Ice v. The Steiner Brothers Ice Train overpowers Scott for two, but the Steiners clean house. Norton works on Rick, but he gets suplexed for two and Scott adds a dropkick. Norton of course is merely inconvenienced and beats Scott down, allowing Ice Train to come in for more punishment. Corner splash misses and Scott suplexes him out of the corner, then he suplexes Norton and nearly breaks his neck. He’s got a pretty thick neck anyway, I’m sure he wouldn’t have even noticed. Norton bails and Scott tries a flying bodypress in the ring, but Norton catches him with a powerslam for two. Train comes in and works on the shoulder, with Norton adding a shoulderbreaker into an armbar. Rick repeatedly kicks Norton in the face to break that up and I’m sensing some tensions here. Another shoulderbreaker, but Scott manages to tag Rick while on Norton’s back and Rick runs wild with clotheslines. Fire & Ice double-team Rick with a powerbomb into a splash, however, and they try a Doomsday Device, but Scott breaks it up and they get the flying bulldog on Norton for two. Scott with the Frankensteiner on Norton to finish at 10:31. Kudos to Flash for taking that thing. Good hard-hitting match to start. *** US Title: Konnan v. El Gato Gato is no Joe Gomez as far as challengers go. As always, I remind you that El Gato is Spanish for “Pat Tanaka”. This was typical WCW weirdness, as they decided to book a match between Konnan and a masked man named El Gato, but had no real idea of who would play the part. So instead of getting any actual Mexicans, they found Tanaka at whatever waffle house he was wrestling out of in 1996 and gave him the gig instead. And they’re not even TRYING, as Tanaka is just wearing his usual gear with a Tiger Mask gimmick stuck over his trademark hair. Gato uses his South American martial arts to take Konnan down with armdrags, but Konnan puts him down with a clothesline for two. Gato gets a superkick for two and a sunset flip for two, but Konnan takes him down and works on the leg. Konnan puts him on the floor with a powerbomb, and then finishes with a jackknife slam back in the ring at 5:57 to retain. Just a Nitro match. ** Sting goes on a huge rant against Steven Regal and his prissy mannerisms, but then completely loses his train of thought mid-promo in a funny goof and Gene has to give him a minute and jumpstart him again. That was definitely live. Lord of the Ring match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Marcus Bagwell They immediately fight to the floor and Bagwell sends Page into the front row, but DDP cuts him off on the way back in. Bagwell starts working on the arm as Tony relates a backstory about a film student finding DDP homeless on the campus of his college and then giving him the money to enter WCW again. So was that the payoff the benefactor angle? Bagwell dumps him and follows with a dive, but goes up and gets crotched as DDP takes over. Backbreaker gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Page with the abdominal stretch and some sort of half-hearted piledriver for two. Bagwell comes back with a pair of atomic drops and a slingshot clothesline for two, but a blind charge misses and DDP gets two. Bagwell comes back again with a headscissors, but DDP drops him with the Cutter at 9:36. You can see them building up the “out of nowhere” aspect of that move and really getting it over. **1/4 Pretty dull stuff here. WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Rey Mysterio Jr. For those keeping track, this is where the show really takes off. This is of course Rey’s PPV debut, on par with a Joe Gomez although without the longevity or career highs to follow. They do the stalemate sequence to start and start pulling out the awesome lucha gymnastics as Dean bumps to the floor. Rey with the springboard dropkick, and back in for a sunset flip out of a knucklelock. Dean dumps him and tries a baseball slide, but Rey casually slides back in to avoid it. Back in, Dean goes to work on the arm with some vicious stuff, but Rey walks the ropes and dropkicks out of it. Dean puts him down with a clothesline out of the corner for two and goes back to the arm with a hammerlock slam for two. Dean really cranks on the arm as this stays on the mat for way too long. Dean stomps him down and starts on the arm again. What an odd choice of a match style for REY MYSTERIO to debut with. Even WWE knew enough to have him go out there and fly all over the ring when he started. Butterfly suplex gets two. Dean goes back to the arm, but Rey finally makes the comeback and puts Dean on the floor before following with an insane somersault plancha halfway up the aisle. Back in with a springboard dropkick for two. They trade pinfall reversals for two and the West Coast Pop gets two. They fight to the top and Rey takes him down with a rana for two, and reverses a backbreaker attempt for two. Dean blocks another rana attempt with a powerbomb and pins him with his feet on the ropes to retain at 17:55, however. Those last few minutes were CRAZY. **** Meltzer kind of buried the match, despite giving it the same rating, noting that Rey’s cred was pretty much shot now because he lost his debut to a midcard guy. BURIED. And he spelled his name wrong, listing it as “Oscar Gonzales”. DOUBLE BURIED. Big Bubba v. John Tenta They brawl outside to start and Tenta throws him into the stairs and then works him over in the corner. Bubba finds an international object and slugs Tenta down for two, then follows with an enzuigiri for two. Tenta tries a slam and falls back, and Bubba smothers him for a while. Bubba goes up, however, and Tenta powerslams him for the pin at 5:31. Unfortunately, this feud MUST CONTINUE. DUD Falls Count Anywhere: Chris Benoit v. Kevin Sullivan They immediately do a crazy brawl into the crowd and up the stairs, ending up in the men’s bathroom. Dusty is just in his glory here, as this is literally the greatest thing he’s ever seen, culminating with them fighting over a urinal and a woman in the men’s bathroom. Sullivan shoves Benoit’s head into the extra toilet paper and they get into a vicious slugfest before heading down into the arena again. Sullivan just dumps him down the stairs and chucks a chair at him at ringside. Benoit retrieves a table and they take turns whipping each other into it, but Benoit sets it on the top rope and they fight on top of it. And then from there, Benoit finally puts him away with a superplex at 9:52 to a huge pop. Can’t really go with the full monty any more, but it was still a great brawl with non-stop action, that set a template for Vince Russo for years afterwards. Not to mention it was Dusty’s finest hour as a commentator, even as he lost one of his oldest friends the day before. Now that’s a pro. ****1/4 Benoit goes for the beatdown, but Arn Anderson makes the save…and then turns on Sullivan and kicks the shit out of him as well. And that was an awesome payoff, too. Meanwhile, the newly rejuvenated Horsemen cut their victory promo, and they wouldn’t be done yet tonight. Apparently Benoit has now “earned his stripes” with the Horsemen and is set for life with them. Sting v. Lord Steven Regal At this point I switch to the iPad for various reasons, and the quality is pretty iffy on it tonight. Also, has anyone commented recently how “The Man Called Sting” and “Steinerized” are basically the same song? Because they totally are. This was actually a pretty fantastic little feud built up on Nitro and WCWSN, with Regal being all kinds of a British super-dick and Sting being all “America is awesome, derp derp” and damn if it didn’t work great. Sting attacks to start, but Regal takes him down and pounds him with forearms, but Sting fights him off and Regal goes to argue with the front row for a bit. Thankfully the crowd is aware of their location in the USA and informs Mr. Regal. Back in, Steve offers a heartfelt handshake and smile, Sting THRUSTS HIS CROTCH at him. Is this how America treats visiting dignitaries and great men like Mr. Regal? No wonder he hates all the fans. Regal takes him down and rubs his knee in his face, then goes into a cobra clutch and pounds away with forearms. Regal controls him with a full nelson, but Sting takes him down with a sunset flip for two. Regal, who is a great professional wrestler, makes faces while fighting the move and threatens to take out his frustrations by punching the referee in the face at the same time. Regal was on another level of greatness at this point. Unfortunately we’re getting close to the point where he indulged in the drink and got fat and lazy for a long time. Regal with a dropkick for two and he goes to a headlock, but Sting suplexes out. Regal stays on him with a wacky armbar while yelling at the bloody fools in the front row and using the ropes. MULTITASKING~! Sting comes back with an abdominal stretch, but Regal slugs him down and shows his dance moves. Regal puts him in a headscissors and gets two off that, and he goes back to cranking on the arm. Sting fights up, so Regal hits him with rabbit punches (Dusty: “He needs to hit him with that open hand…NO NOT YOU, REGAL!”) and Sting goes down again. Regal goes for a crossbody out of the corner and Sting hits him with a dropkick with AWESOME timing and makes the comeback. They fight to the top and Regal takes him down with a butterfly suplex for two and hooks in the Regal Stretch, giving him the quality demoralizing trashtalk at the same time. Finally he just beats on Sting in the corner with backhands, and Sting has HAD ENOUGH. Sting beats the hell out of him with an awesome camera angle in the corner, but Regal blocks the Stinger splash with double knees. Sting isn’t taking more of Regal’s shit, however, and just hooks him in the Deathlock (with Regal kicking and screaming the whole way) to finish for good at 17:10. LOVED IT. Regal was just an insufferable dick the whole time and Sting got his revenge. FOR MURICA. **** Ric Flair & Arn Anderson v. Steve McMichael & Kevin Greene Most people were expecting a by-the-numbers celebrity trainwreck, which makes what we got all the better. The crowd already hates Mongo and some dudes managed to bring in a huge “Mongo Sucks” sign on a bedsheet. They’re not wrong. Arn does some football drills with Mongo and that goes badly for him. Tony relates a conversation with the football players, where he learns that rattlesnake hunting is a profession in Texas. Dusty is flabbergasted. “Of course! We all hunt rattlesnakes in Texas!” The football team does a beatdown on Arn in the corner at Savage’s behest and the Horsemen regroup, and Kevin Greene comes in for his debut. Greene is having a blast and Flair comes in and matches energy with him, then waits for Greene to go into the three-point stance and kicks him in the face. Greene comes back with shoulderblocks, however, and the Horsemen run away again. And this time Savage kicks Flair’s ass and tosses him back in. Flair is so great that he actually makes two green rookies look like killers and makes the crowd cheer for them. Mongo tags in and Arn pulls back from Flair’s tag in a funny bit. Mongo keeps overpowering Flair as they keep it simple and effective, and Mongo no-sells the chops and does his own, then adds a backdrop as Flair is just bumping like crazy here. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, and we get stereo figure-fours from the football players as the crowd goes crazy for it. The women all head back to the dressing room after an argument and Arn finally turns the tide with a cheapshot on Mongo, and the Horsemen go to work. Mongo gets dumped and Bobby gets his shots in, and back in Flair goes low and drops the knee to make sure the heels get no sympathy from the crowd. Kevin Greene as the babyface who is incredulously angry at the rampant cheating is just amazing for someone having his first match. The Horsemen cut off the tag to continue building sympathy for Mongo as face in peril, but he rams the Horsemen together off an atomic drop and makes the hot tag to Greene. Powerslam on Flair and you can see Flair leading him through the positioning for the next spot, but doing it totally naturally. Greene suplexes him in from the apron, but Arn clips him from behind like a dick and goes after the knee. The Horsemen cut off the ring and Flair tries the figure-four, but Greene reverses into a small package for two. Flair stays on him with the kneecrusher and this time gets the move, complete with help from Arn in the corner. Finally Savage can take no more of these shenanigans, but Chris Benoit joins us and beats on him. And then the evil women return with newly glammed out Debra and the Halliburton case filled with cash, which Mongo considers carefully…and then hits Greene in the face with it. Flair gets the pin at 20:50 of an insanely entertaining tag match. ***1/2 And the Four Horsemen are complete again! We get an epic beatdown of Randy Savage and Kevin Greene for good measure. Mongo was a terrible worker but fit in perfectly with the group as a character. Given that everyone assumed it would be the usual goofy match and celebrity going over Flair formula, this was awesome. This would have been the capper on any other PPV as it is. But wait, there’s MORE! Eric Bischoff brings out the invading Hall and Nash, so that WCW can formally answer their challenge. Bischoff still won’t use their names, which is another nice touch. So the match will happen at Bash at the Beach, and Bischoff specifically asks if they work for the WWF, trying to get the lawyers off his back. Bischoff promises the reveal the WCW team on Nitro, so Hall kicks him in the gut and Nash powerbombs him off the stage and through a table, which has the crowd freaking out. This was amazing on so many levels, not the least of which was that Bischoff had never been touched to that point, and it was the first acknowledgement that Bischoff was the guy in charge of the company, a year before Vince came out as owner of the WWF on TV. Needless to say, I was losing my shit at this point and this was one of the biggest angles in the history of the company. It was suddenly a totally different atmosphere, with two guys who weren’t playing by the arbitrary rules of the wrestling “universe” coming in and just doing what they wanted in ways that fans didn’t know how to react to yet. It was DIFFERENT and off-putting and suddenly made everything must-see and dangerous. Really, the World title match should have been stuck in the middle of the show somewhere because nothing was going to top that, but they go ahead with it anyway. WCW World title: The Giant v. Lex Luger Really, these guys have no hope of following anything that came before. Luger slugs away on the Giant to start and clotheslines him to the floor, then does a clumsy leap onto Giant’s back with a sleeper. Jimmy Hart tries to break it up with the megaphone, but Sting comes out and chases Jimmy to the back. Giant beats Luger down in the corner to escape and whips Luger around the ring, as Luger somehow grunts even louder when he’s selling than when he’s on offense. Giant puts him in a body vice and tosses him down for a surfboard and the crowd is just totally dead. Can’t even blame them. Giant slowly pounds away on the back. Lex makes the comeback with the offense grunts instead of the defense grunts and pounds away on the Giant, who charges and ends up laying on the top rope somehow. Luger uses that contrived position to put him in the Rack, but Giant falls on top of him and finishes with the chokeslam to retain cleanly at 9:30. I think with hindsight they should have put the title on Luger here and passed it to Hogan that way, since it would have ripped the hearts out of the fans that much more and Luger had earned it anyway. *1/2 The Pulse If not for the main event, this is the greatest PPV in WCW history and probably one of the greatest of all-time, period. As it is, it sits comfortably below Bash 89 on my list. Taken with Bash at the Beach three weeks later, it’s a hell of a one-two punch that nearly destroyed the WWF in the process and really, probably should have. Strongest recommendation!

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: February 15, 1996

Normally this is where I’d change over to ECW Hardcore TV, but after the Shawn debacle I think we’ll keep on the WWF through RAW before cycling back to see what the other guys are up to.
I got over 100 responses to the Thursday RAW piece, and as many as 4 of those comments didn’t come from HartKiller_09. To address a few of the points:

To the guys who figured we’re lumping all injuries together as one; at no point did I ever suggest that Daniel Bryan or Edge should have laid down for the next guys in line. Bryan probably could have, seeing as how he was healthy enough to get tombstoned all over the arena on his way out; but his situation was unique in that the WWE officials thought he’d be back within 60 days. They rolled the dice, and when they realized they’d come up lame, they were left with no choice. Edge, on the other hand, was perfectly content to drop the strap to Alberto del Rio, but the powers that be made the decision to let him retire as champion. And there’s the difference; Shawn gave the company no choice.
Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog made the fantastic point that they could have easily run a Pillmanizing angle, or *something* to get heat on the SOB who took Shawn out. But that’s simply not how the 90’s edition of Shawn Michaels operated. Everything he did was part of a personal quest to ensure that nobody was ever able to overshadow him. Even the most notorious politician of all time, Hulk Hogan, let friggin’ Earthquake send him on vacation, because he had the strong enough sense to recognize that his triumphant return to beat the awful monster was enough to run a pay-per-view.
Shawn had absolutely no credibility at this point. He had ducked doing the job for Shane Douglas because he didn’t personally like him, he managed to win the Iron Man match without laying down because he didn’t want to hurt his new championship status by having taken a pinfall, and he’d bullied Chris Candido so viciously that it would have driven a lot of people to suicide.
I admire the fact that Shawn was able to get off the drugs, re-invent himself and change his life for the better – but it doesn’t change the fact that he was an insufferable asshole throughout the 90’s. The stunt he pulled on Thursday RAW Thursday was a breaking point for a lot of people, because being the most talented performer on the planet doesn’t entitle you turn to put yourself ahead of everyone else. And that’s exactly what he did; he was asked to take a fall, so he thumbed his nose at the locker room, at the fans, and drove his ass home. This had nothing at all to do with Bret Hart, no matter how you spin it.
And speaking of the boy toy – his bare asshole remains an integral part of the opening to Shotgun Saturday Night. TODD PETTENGILL welcomes us to a Very Exciting Edition, which features … the best of Shotgun. Wow, don’t strain yourselves looking for footage guys, putting together a show of this magnitude might take as long as 75 minutes.
We’re first “treated” to the Sultan vs Goldust match from the January 4th show, which of course features the infamous Topless Marlena stunt.
From the same show, Crush vs Ahmed Johnson is given significant time as an excuse to show poor unnamed D’Lo Brown taking the Pearl River Plunge on a parked car in the street.
From January 11, Todd Pettengill sings karaoke with the Honky Tonk Man. We have very different opinions on what’s classified as Best Of. Earlier that night, Marc Mero and Rocky Maivia had Issues and threw punches.
Zipping ahead to January 18, we get our first good edition of Shotgun. You wouldn’t know it initially, because they start by showing the Honky Tonk Man cheating midget Mexicans out of their paycheques at the blackjack table. However, they smartly air a ton of the Austin / Funk confrontation, which made for television magic. It’s a damn shame they didn’t keep Terry around as a placeholder feud for Austin, but they had bigger plans of course.
More quality stuff on January 25, where Bret Hart and Mankind squared off, while Owen whined about his “lousy brother Bret” on commentary. Mankind also discovers he has a taste for the ladies, while Bearer screams about his Mankind being corrupted by sex and liquor.
Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games that night, because Savio Vega turned heel and put on an embarrassingly bad match with Rocky Maivia. Many of Savio’s extended nerve holds are covered here.
For god knows what reason, we’re now watching last weekend’s Superstars, which the last time I checked was NOT part of Shotgun Saturday Night. Vader and Steve Austin is highlighted. There’s still 20 minutes left in this show, and they’ve already run out of footage?
February 1 is highlighted now, which was essentially the Mick Foley show. Mick’s commentary about not being in the right mindset to inflict violence because he’s a party animal now is fantastic.
Finally, The Undertaker, flanked by a little Ozzy Osbourne, rode into the February 8 show. He took on Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and while he was unsuccessful in capturing the Intercontinental title, he did tombstone Triple H down an escalator. And, because everyone loves watching Triple H get his ass kicked, it’s replayed again in slow mo as the show heads off the air.

No pay-per-view hype at all seems like a missed opportunity. But, then again, so does having your jerk-off injury faking champion drop the belt in the middle of the ring, so we’re 0-2 this week.

Repost: The SmarK Rant for WCW Uncensored 1996

(2015 Scott sez:  I actually don’t have the original file for this one stored on OneDrive for some reason, so I had to use Google-Fu and find it on 411 from the original 2003 posting.  Thankfully I created a new Word document for posterity as well.  For those of you who care about that sort of minutia of my life. Also, to those who want a full re-rant, fuck you.  In the most loving way.  That is all.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Uncensored ‘96 – I decided to finally redo the rant for this one when I was sick, so that it couldn’t do any more damage to me than it already has. The way I figure it, the cold medication should be enough to fight off any mental or physical illness I may suffer from watching it again. I may, however, need to stop and vomit at various points, so I’ll be sure to give you fair warning before I do. By the way, in a kind of cosmic warning to me, the tape arrived broken, probably as a way for the universe to try to keep me from sacrificing myself by watching this again, but I was able to transplant the reels into a fresh casing, because that’s the kind of thing you learn to do after years of trading tapes on the ‘net.  (Man, those were the days.  Thankfully the Great VHS Purge of 2004 was coming and I would soon convert everything over to DVD once and for all.)  – Live from Tupalo, MS. – Your hosts are Tony, Dusty & Bobby. – Opening match, US title: Konnan v. Eddie Guerrero. It’s full blown mulletude for Eddie here. They fight over a lockup to start and head to the mat, where Konnan rides him with an armbar and stays on it. Eddie escapes with the flying wristlock and Konnan bails. Back in, Eddie starts working on the leg with a toehold, and then a figure-four, after teasing a headstand on the ankle. Konnan makes the ropes. They exchange rollups and each get two. Eddie takes him down into a chinlock and quickly into a surfboard, but Konnan takes him down into a kneebar. He turns it into a Boston Crab, which the crowd can better understand, but Eddie makes the ropes. Back up, Konnan counters an armdrag, but Eddie gets one of his own, and they do another stalemate sequence. Really nice. They back off and work the crowd, but Eddie’s attempts work better. Eddie dropkicks him down and they go up, as Eddie brings him down with a rana for two. Camel clutch, but Konnan powers out. He grabs a headlock, but Eddie counters out, and they do another stalemate sequence that ends with Eddie on the floor, but he evades a highspot attempt. Back in, Eddie grabs a headlock, but Konnan escapes with an armbar. Eddie comes back with a monkey flip and a headscissors to put Konnan out, and he follows with a plancha. This is the type of match where Mike Tenay would have been invaluable. Back in, Eddie slingshots in for two. Eddie uses a headscissors on the mat, but Konnan rolls over into a leglock, and then hits him with rolling germans, but Eddie reverses to a rollup for two. Another rollup is reversed by Konnan for two. Clothesline puts Eddie down as Konnan is obviously blown up by this point. Eddie gets a rana for two. Konnan gets Splash Mountain for two. He’s got NOTHING left. He goes up and Eddie follows, but Eddie ends up on the floor and Konnan follows with a weak tope suicida. Back in, Eddie reverses a suplex, but gets clotheslined for two. Konnan goes up again, but Eddie brings him down with a superplex for two. Eddie goes up to finish, but Konnan slams him off, which Eddie reverses into a cradle for two. Awesome. Konnan slugs away, but Eddie tries a leapfrog, so Konnan hits him in the nuts and pins him at 18:26 to retain. This was ALL Eddie after about the 10 minute point. ***1/2  (I obviously had much less hatred for Konnan in my heart even 12 years ago.  I guess time does heal all wounds and shitty booking.)  – Lord Steven Regal v. Fit Finlay. Finlay was just The Belfast Bruiser at this point. Fit pounds away with STIFF forearms in the corner to start, but Regal takes him down and gets his own. He runs into a knee and Finlay drops an elbow for two. He stomps away with glee and gets a short-arm clothesline for two. Vicious kick to the back, but Regal fires back with a forearm and grabs a cravat on the mat. Regal pounds the palm into his nose, but Fit rams a knee into his forehead to escape and drives another knee before tossing him. He drops Regal on the railing and then wraps the arm around the post. He keeps working the arm as Regal comes in, and cranks on an armbar. Regal knees out of it and slugs away with forearms, then blocks a rollup attempt with a dropkick for two. He grinds a forearm into Fit’s head on the mat, but Fit takes him down with another armbar, but Regal knees out of it and controls on the mat again. He chokes away and fires off more forearms, but Fit headbutts him down and drops a knee. Slam and senton gets two. He hits the chinlock, but Regal fights out, so Fit drops him with a lariat for two. He brings Regal to the apron and rams the throat into it, then sends him into the railing again. They keep brawling and end up back in the ring again, fighting over a suplex on the apron, which ends with Fit hitting the floor. Regal follows with a Cactus elbow and heads back in, then pounds him with boots on the way in. Elbow gets two. Regal goes to the headlock, but Fit kicks in the shoulder to escape in super-stiff fashion. Regal takes him to the corner and gives him a soccer kick to the nuts to retaliate, then drops an elbow for two. More kicks to the back, but Fit goes to the eyes and drives a knee to the back of the neck to block a sunset flip. Regal goes back to the arm and crossfaces him a few times, but Fit backdrops him out of the corner and pounds the kidneys with forearms. Regal takes him down for two. Regal slugs him down and keeps pounding on the apron, but Fit gives him a straight shot to the jaw to drop him. Good lord. Fit takes him into the apron and they brawl on the floor, won by Fit. Back in, Fit sends him into the turnbuckle, but Regal alley-oops him to the floor as a defense mechanism. They slug it out on the floor and Regal sends him into the Doomsday Cage, and then they head back, but the Bluebloods run out for the DQ at 17:30. Really bad finish to a horrifically stiff match. It wasn’t GREAT as a wrestling match or anything, but as a total war of attrition, it was amazing, something out of a UFC almost. *** (I’m pretty pumped that the Nitro rematch is coming up soon too!)  – Col. Rob Parker v. Madusa. (That’s Hall of Famer Alundra Blayze, you know.)  Parker gives a clean break out of the corner to start, which has Dusty in amazement. Another try, but Madusa takes him down with an armdrag. Parker comes back with an airplane spin, but she reverses to a sunset flip for two. Slam and he bails, getting advice from Dick Slater (who was Debbie Micelli’s real-life husband at that point). (What, no secret advice joke?  I really must have been feeling shitty that day.  Here, I’ll throw in a freebie:  “That advice?  Never do a southern rebel gimmick in a New York-based wrestling promotion.”)  Back in, he takes her down with the choke, but misses an elbow and gets dropkicked. He bails again and she follows with a bad plancha. Back in, she gets a german suplex for two, but Slater puts Parker on top for the pin at 3:43. Total freakshow. DUD – Retirement match: Diamond Dallas Page v. The Booty Man. OK, quick word of explanation. This was supposed to be the blowoff of the DDP-Johnny B Badd feud, which had been going for the past million PPVs, but Marc Mero got fired from WCW (on purpose) and jumped to the WWF, leaving the storyline without an ending, so they repackaged Ed Leslie again, into The Booty Man (a kind of disco version of Brutus Beefcake) and suddenly had him fighting for Kimberly’s honor. (Longer and more accurate story:  Mero’s contract expired at the end of February while still champion and he agreed to sign a new deal, but wanted assurances that he would make his usual salary while working without a contract instead of the job-guy money that other free agents made per show.  Bischoff jerked him around on the details of the talks as well as some personal apperances, and then wanted to continue the Kimberly angle that Badd hated so much.  Finally Mero basically said “Screw you, I’m going to the WWF” and Bischoff terminated him after he dropped the title to Lex Luger and told him not to come back.)  Tony buries Mero before the match, and then in the same breath they talk about how Booty Man was actually a spy in the Dungeon of Doom on behalf of Hulk Hogan, which is how they explain his sudden face turn. I wonder if that would work in real life. “Um, I wasn’t trying to deal cocaine out of a subway terminal, I was spying for internal security” Maybe not. (Eh, Brutus Beefcake drug bust jokes don’t hold up very well, unfortunately.)  This match also proved to be a major problem for DDP, because he likes planning out his matches in advance and improvising something with ED LESLIE of all people is just asking for trouble. Mucho stallo to start. Page starts with a wristlock and they reverse off that, but Page goes to the ropes. Booty goes to a headlock and overpowers Page, and he bails. Back in, Booty slugs him down and goes to the armbar, as Dusty claims that he’s “very skilled at mat wrestling”. I can’t make this stuff up. Page charges and misses, ending up on the floor. This match is going nowhere. Page stalls forever outside, so Booty Man follows him out and they brawl. Back in, Page gets rammed into the turnbuckle a few times and Page bails AGAIN. He stumbles around on the floor like a clown and Kimberly joins us at ringside, dressed as a cheerleader. HOOCHIE MAMA. Back in, Page grabs a headlock, but Booty powers out, so they criss-cross and stall. Booty slugs him out to the apron again. They manage to fuck up a shoulderblock and then Booty whiffs on a crossbody attempt, and Page chokes away. Even Tony gave a disgusted “What was THAT?” before catching himself. (Ed Leslie was a special kind of terrible in his WCW run.)  Page gets a backdrop suplex and stalls, but gets two. We hit the chinlock, but Booty fights out, so Page knees him down for two. Back to the chinlock, and Page uses the ropes as the match drags on. Soon I fear that I will die of old age before this chinlock ends. Finally Booty fights out, but Page drops him on the top rope as Kimberly turns to the camera and says with a straight face “I want him to be my boyfriend”. And people wonder why her acting career didn’t take off. Page goes after her, but gets slapped, and Booty Man hits him with a high knee to finish at 16:00. Absolutely horrible. -* Poor Kimberly has to sell a kiss from steroid-bloated, balding Ed Leslie as the sexiest thing since Ricky Martin or whatever was sexy in 1996. (Hey wow, that joke got funnier in hindsight.)  But then she sleeps with DDP in real life, so who knows what weird stuff she’s into. – The Giant v. Loch Ness. Suddenly I yearn for the salad days of Booty Man v. DDP, all those minutes ago. When Paul Wight is the skinny one, you’ve got a problem. Although he WAS really lean at this point. Giant chops away in the corner to start and uses the Nash choke, but Loch Ness hammers back with the CLUBBING FOREARMS. Giant fires back with boots in the corner, but misses a charge and takes a nice bump to the floor. Back in, Loch Ness slaps him down and drops the elbow, but misses another one, and Giant makes the comeback, booting him down. Legdrop finishes at 2:34. Well, at least it was short. DUD Giant would win the World title the next night on Nitro.  (Nope, another month yet.  Never seen that match, either!)  – Chicago Street Fight: The Road Warriors v. Sting & Booker T. How you have a Chicago street fight in Tupelo is a mystery unsolved to this day. (I really feel like we were robbed off the payoff with Luger having to participate in the street fight he unknowingly agreed to.)  They brawl outside to start and head into the ring for a slugfest, but Sting runs into Animal’s boot. Animal pounds away in the corner while Hawk backdrops Booker on the floor, and back in the ring it’s another donnybrook. Booker hits Animal with the ax kick for two, while Hawk & Sting fight outside. Animal powerslams Booker and drops an elbow for two. Sting comes back in, but Animal necksnaps him on the top rope and posts him. Sting returns the favor as the split screen is helpfully labeled “Chicago Street Fight” in case we’ve forgotten what we’re watching. (I was heavily medicated at that point.  So it could have happened.  God knows I’ve fallen asleep watching boring wrestling shows late at night.)  In the ring, Sting hits Animal with a fistdrop, but gets clotheslined for two. Elbow misses and Sting bulldogs him, but Hawk chokes Sting down. Everyone brawls outside and Booker covers Animal for two on the floor. Back in, Booker gets caught with a shot coming down, and Animal dropkicks him for two. Sting retreats to the back, while Booker gets a lazy cross-armbreaker on Hawk in the ring. Sting chairs Animal over by the back, and heads to the ring for a chairshot on Hawk. But then Animal gets it and uses it in incredibly weak fashion, getting two on Booker. Booker comes back with a sidekick on Animal and Sting piledrives Hawk, and of course he no-sells that. Since when does Sting ever use a piledriver? Hawk powerbombs Sting and goes to the chinlock, then tosses him and it’s more dull brawling outside. This match has ZERO flow. It’s all “two guys do stuff in the ring while the other two brawl, switch off, repeat.” Hawk hits them with some wussy chairshots and tries a powerbomb on Sting, but it’s reversed. Animal clubs on Sting with the forearms, but Booker breaks it up, and it’s more dull brawling. Back in with Sting and Hawk, as Sting hits him with a shot off the top that Hawk doesn’t sell, but misses the Stinger splash. Hawk drops a fist and Animal goes up, but Booker crotches him, so Hawk covers Sting for two. Booker hits Animal with a flying clothesline for two. Once again the mystery of falls count anywhere matches arises, as you can pin somewhere anywhere in the arena, except when he has his foot on the ropes. Sting gets a headbutt low on Animal, and Hawk hits Booker with a backdrop suplex. Booker comes back with a weak sideslam on Hawk, but misses an elbow, and they do a sloppy collision in the corner. Sting goes up and misses a splash on Animal. Hawk goes up and gets dropkicked by Booker coming down. Animal chokes away in the corner, but Booker goes low, and they fight outside again. Oh, joy. Meanwhile, Hawk hits Sting with a move I can only jokingly call a gutwrench suplex for two. Sting and Booker finally get organized and double-team Hawk with a clothesline, then Sting suplexes him on the top rope while Animal suplexes Booker. Sooooooo slow and boring. Hawk & Sting brawl outside again while Booker crotches himself on the top rope, and they switch off for no reason in particular, with Animal taking on Sting outside and Hawk beating on Booker inside. Booker comes back with a spinkick on Hawk for two. Hawk boots him down for two. Back to the floor as Sting goes up on Animal, but gets caught with a powerslam. Animal works the count, but Sting comes back with a clothesline and both guys are out. The boredom of this match is crushing my soul. Hawk and Booker head back into the ring, but Hawk misses a fistdrop and Booker misses an elbow. He comes back with a sidekick, however, and both guys are out. On the floor, Animal goes nuts with a chair (as nuts as anyone can go in this snoozefest) and the Warriors double-team Booker, but Sting heads to the back again and returns with BROOMS. Now I’m scared. The Warriors choke them down, but Booker comes back with his own choking on Animal, but he gets tossed by Animal and decides to leave. In the ring, Hawk gets two on Sting. We follow Animal and Booker to the back, where Luger is posing in front of a mirror in a bizarre moment, but Animal interrupts and gets beat up by Luger and Stevie Ray as a result. Some things you just don’t mess with. Back in the ring, Hawk dumps Sting and they brawl, but now Booker T returns as Sting misses his charge into the railing. Booker sends Hawk into the stairs and brings him back in, getting a sideslam and going up with the Harlem Hangover, but misses it. Stevie Ray runs out and adds a chairshot for good measure, and Booker FINALLY pins Hawk to end it at 29:35. Not a terrible brawl, but ridiculously long and dull. It did foreshadow Booker’s single career, however, as he managed to outwork both of the washed-up Road Warriors and held his own with the unmotivated Sting. **  (Meltzer actually gave this one ***1/2 and called it the best match on the show.  Sorry, I just don’t see it.)  DOOMSDAY CAGE: Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage v. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Z Gangsta, The Ultimate Solution, Kevin Sullivan, Lex Luger, Meng and the Barbarian. I wish I could be making up that listing, but I’m not. They really did book Hogan & Savage 8-on-2. The heels are The Alliance to End Hulkamania, or TAEH. That of course is the opposite of heat. The idea here, if you can wrap your head around it, is that there’s a three-story cage, with Hogan & Savage starting at the top with Flair & Anderson and moving downwards. Now keep in mind there’s no actual RULES for this announced, only vague notations about Hogan & Savage having to “fight their way down”. (Original plan was to re-use the triple cage thing from Bash 88, because apparently it was still stored in Kevin Sullivan’s garage or something.)  Michael Buffer actually has to introduce this mess with a straight face. Well, I guess that’s why they pay him the big bucks. Hogan starts with Arn in the top cage and they fight it out, with Flair chopping Savage, and Arn clubbing on Hogan. The lighting is terrible and you can’t see anything. They keep brawling and Hogan rams Flair into a pole and chokes him down. Flair & Anderson stop and work over Savage, however. Anderson goes after Hogan and gets a figure-four, so Flair does the same to Savage. Hogan and Savage use powder to escape, however, and move down to the next cage. Uh huh. So now it’s 4-on-2, as it’s Sullivan, Luger, Meng and Barbarian to contend with. Hogan fights with Luger & Sullivan, while Savage takes on the Faces of Fear. (I should also note what a giant waste of Luger this was, as they had spent weeks masterfully building up the Sting storyline and creating this awesome slimy heel character for him before suddenly turning him into cartoon villain again for the sake of having an eighth guy in this mess.)  The heels control, but Hogan fights off Sullivan and saves Savage, and then locks the Faces of Fear in their own cage, leaving it 2-on-2. Oh, such strategy. Flair and Anderson head down into the lower cage to try and help, and Hogan and Sullivan fight out to the scaffolding while Luger continues the thrilling brawl with Savage in the cage. However, soon all four end up on the floor, and into the ring. Hogan hits Sullivan with the big boot and stomps away. They switch off, with Hogan hitting Luger with a bucket and Sullivan ramming Savage into the cage. Tony, in an actual quote, says “This has been spectacular.” Well, people describe car crashes the same way. Hogan brings Luger to the ring and gets a corner clothesline, then hammers away while Savage & Sullivan fight on the floor. Wasn’t the point supposed to be that they were fighting in the CAGE? Hence the name, DOOMSDAY CAGE? Luger hits Savage with the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DEATH, but brawls out with Hogan again. You have to wonder what exactly the Horsemen and Faces of Fear are DOING while trapped in that other ring. Luger clubs Savage down with a chair and then goes after Hogan, but he makes the comeback and the heels get whipped together. And now the other heels, Jeep “Painful Constipation” Swenson and Z Gangsta (Zeus) head out and drag our heroes back to the DOOMSDAY CAGE, and into the ring on the bottom of that cage. Was there something wrong with the ring they were in before? Somehow, the match gets WORSE, as Permanent Vacation overpowers Hogan and Gangsta chokes Savage down. He pops up with a double axehandle, however, while Hogan goes to the eyes of Traffic Citation and then turns his attention to Gangsta. He gets choked down, which to Tony is the most thrilling thing to happen all match, and Notable Quotation press-slams Savage. Hogan comes back on Gangsta, but now the Horsemen rejoin the match (which of course makes no sense, but god forbid either of THESE goofs do the job when Flair is available) and things look bleak for the Megapowers. The heels pound away, as Catalytic Conversion uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but now Booty Man gives them powder (oh man, this stuff just writes itself) and frying pans. That’s how you cook the crack old-school, I guess. Now Luger runs in as well and turns the tide, using a loaded glove, but it hits Flair by mistake and Savage pins him at 25:09. This would prove to be the last hurrah for Hulkamania, as fan reaction to this mess was so overwhelmingly negative that his heel turn was necessary to keep his career alive. Without a doubt the WORST PPV main event ever, lacking not only internal logic and interesting action, but the entertainment value of Heroes of Wrestling. This one gets the full negative monty. –*****  (I stand by that one.)  The Bottom Line: You may stumble across this show and accidentally watch it, then, like a victim of prison rape, blame yourself for the pain, humiliation, and rectal bleeding, but DON’T. This was WCW’S fault, not yours! There are support groups for survivors of this PPV out there to help you, and I would advise you to make use of them. Other people have been through the same thing. We can help you. Strongest recommendation to avoid humanly possible.  (Or, you know, get really drunk and watch it for free on the WWE Network.  Whatevs.) 

1996 Raw & Nitro observations

Hey Scott,

Long time reader, second time e-mailer. I've been watching early Raw & Nitros from March 1996 on the Network. One thing I've noticed during the Raw intro is a shot of President Piper slapping Goldust… yet this is in the opening credits weeks before he even showed up. Any guess as to why such an odd edit? It looks like (according to Youtube) that it replaced a shot of someone (Jarrett?) hitting Ahmed Johnson with something (a gold record?) from behind while he was talking to Lawler at ringside.

Also… this is (obviously) from Raw in March of 1996.

http://youtu.be/xuIrP4pDIJY?t=27m14s

Isn't that Lex Luger's WCW theme playing? How'd they get away with that?!?

Regards,

Steven

PS: Is it white and gold, or blue and black?

​IT'S FUCKING BLUE AND BLACK!  How can anyone possibly see it the other way?  FUCK!
Anyway, as to the question, they would do those kinds of weird edits a lot.  During the Bill Watts era, they would show a clip of next week's main event in the "next week" portion of the taped show in order to attempt to pop a rating for it.  ​I guess they figured that everyone knew it wasn't live anyway.  

1996 reviews


Hi Scott, hope you are well.

Have noticed that you've stopped you're reviews of the 1996 Raws & Nitros. I was under the impression that you had been enjoying the shows (at least the Nitros). Had that changed, or did life get in the way? They were a cool little peek into the past, and I hope they're not gone for good, especially with how important '96 was in the big picture. Take care.

​The impression I was getting from the blog was that we're a little overloaded with 1996 WCW reviews, so I decided to cool it for a while.  I wouldn’t want to Roman Reigns the reviews. ​

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1996 WCW as told by Kevin Sullivan

With all of the 1996 WCW reviews and whatnot, I figured why not get some insight from the Bookerman himself, Kevin Sullivan. This was originally posted in July of 2013 but figured why the hell not read it again tonight.

This was released on June 25th, 2013.


JANUARY
Sullivan is asked about Bischoff giving away the results of the RAW Bowl, including the Smoking Gunns winning the Tag-Team Championship. He thought it was a horrible idea, as the fans who want to see what happened. He said that this really came back to bite WCW in the ass when they announced Mick Foley winning the World Title. He said at that point, he told everyone they were in deep shit but no one believed him.
On the January 13th edition of “WCW Pro” Sullivan squashed Damon Striker, who would go on to the WWF a few years later an become Edge. Sullivan is asked if he saw the potential in him and he stated that he did and should have courted him at the time.
The Public Enemy debuted, defeating the American Males. Sullivan said that he liked them and did not look down on them because they were from ECW, as he wrestled there at one point. Sullivan puts over Heyman as one of the brightest minds in wrestling and would always call him several weeks ahead of time when his talent was joining WCW, so he could make the best of the situation. Sullivan then compares wrestling to the circus, saying that there is stuff for everyone. This is one of the many analogies that Sullivan makes throughout the interview.
Oliver reads a legal letter from Bischoff, threatening to sue the WWF over the Billionaire Ted Skits. Sullivan said that he loved those sketches, as he is a fan of parodies. He then says that the American public is not stupid and does not want to see their stars and heroes become destroyed when a corporation or business says so, but rather on their own.
Sullivan is asked about a few things from Clash of the Champions XXXII. When asked about Elizabeth debuting in WCW, he said that believes Hogan’s wife wanted to get involved in the program. He is then asked about the three-way feud between Hogan, Dungeon of Doom, and the Four Horsemen. Sullivan said that the Dungeon of Doom was his idea of making Hogan relax, as it gave him cartoon heels to wrestle instead of the cooler heels, like the Horsemen. He also mentions that Hogan was getting booed a lot at this time and fans were starting to like the cooler heels. He then states how anyone can book but you need to have a strong personality to make it work. He brings up another analogy, this time about a sabermetrics argument on the MLB Network in which one of the ex-managers appeared to have won, because he had a forceful personality.
Sullivan is asked about the incident in which Brian Pillman grabbed Bobby Heenan’s jacket, causing him to swear. Sullivan believes that it was a shoot, then goes on to talk about how Pillman and Steve Austin went from being in a tag-team to breaking up on their own and developing “loose cannon” personas and got involved in a controversial angle in the WWF. He says that all the guys who drew money in the business magnified their own personality to get over with the fans.
Sullivan is then asked about the luchadores. He brings up his circus analogy, stating that they were missing the acrobats at this time. He said some of the workers complained about them, but those were usually the guys who used five minute restholds. He thought they would not be accepted at the top of the card but made for a great mid-card act.
FEBRUARY
Oliver brings up the debut of Loch Ness. Sullivan said he was a fan of European wrestling. He thought the guy could work and claimed he was the highest draw on “WCW Saturday Night” for that year. He then brings up another analogy, stating that if you eat steak every day for a long time, one day you are going to just want a taco. I guess this makes Loch Ness the taco of professional wrestling.
Sullivan is now asked about the “I respect you bookerman” comment made by Pillman at Superbrawl VI. He said it was a work and that Pillman came up with the whole idea by himself and he was just along for the ride, knowing that what he was doing had never been done before. He mentions how some of the workers thought that Pillman was being legit with all of his antics and told Sullivan how they wanted nothing to do with him, thinking that he was completely insane. He then says how guys like Kevin Nash in the WWF were buying the PPV to see Pillman shoot.
He is then asked about Elizabeth turning on Savage an aligning with Flair. He says that it might have been Hogan’s idea, as he and his wife were trying to get them back together in real life.
Sullivan is then asked about Arn Anderson beating Hogan on Nitro, giving him his second loss in three weeks. Sullivan brings up there was the pro-Hogan and the anti-Hogan parties in WCW. Hogan was told that he was getting heat for not putting other guys over and did this to shut up the anti-Hogan camp.
The first non-televised house show in a few years draws 11,000 in Baltimore, MD. Sullivan said he knew they would draw there and it was great for Hogan’s ego because he would think that he was the reason for the large crowd. During this show, Lex Luger defeated Johnny B. Badd for the TV Title but lost it the next night on Television. Sullivan claims that he was vetoed against shooting angles at house shows. He brings up how running everything on PPV ruins business.
The “Baywatch” episode featuring himself and other wrestlers is brought up. Sullivan said the actors hated the wrestlers and David Hasselhoff refused to be on that episode due to his hatred of Hogan.
MARCH
Johnny B. Badd wrestles his last match for WCW, losing the TV Title to Luger. Sullivan said that he wasn’t missed and thought it was ridiculous for a white guy to impersonate a black guy then compares the Badd character to Al Jolson.
The Doomsday Cage Match at Uncensored is discussed. Sullivan said that the original idea was for himself and the Giant to face Hogan and Savage but everyone else was brought in and it became a debacle. He said that at the end, it worked out as it made Hogan happy and he was able to be steered towards more serious angles.
APRIL
Hogan was written off TV on the April 15th episode of Nitro. The original plan was for Hogan to leave on a stretcher but that got changed to Hogan no-selling chairshots and a chokeslam from the Giant, after beating Sullivan and Anderson in a handicapped match. Sullivan said that Hogan took a shit on the company by doing that and said Hogan was too smart to not sell during this segment but he was very unsecure in WCW.
The Giant beats Flair for the World Title on the April 29th edition of Nitro. Sullivan said that they needed a heel champ for Hogan to face when he was going to come back but compares the Giant to a guy batting 8th in the lineup, thus not ready for the belt.
On the same day as the title change, Bischoff was attending a show in Japan in which the UWFi invaded NJPW. He said that Bischoff did not get the nWo idea immediately afterwards but rather called Nash and Hall to join WCW.
MAY
Diamond Dallas Page wins the “Lord of the Ring” at Slamboree. Sullivan calls DDP one of the hardest working people in the business but being friends with Bischoff helped him tremendously.
The Road Warriors wrestle their last match in WCW. Sullivan said that Hawk could have been a draw as a singles wrestler but was trapped in his gimmick. He thought that he should have went to Japan to revamp his character.
The first two hour Nitro starts on May 27th. Scott Hall returns and Sullivan claims that some of the guys in the locker room thought it was a legit invasion by McMahon. He said with two of Vince’s biggest stars and Waltman, who was a great worker, he just needed a seed of an idea to make this work.
JUNE
Kevin Nash returns to WCW on the June 10th edition of Nitro. Sullivan also confirms that Shawn Michaels was offered a contract with WCW at this time but turned down the deal. Sullivan puts Michaels over as one of the five greatest workers of all-time.
Sullivan mentions the WWF lawsuit against WCW for using Hall and Nash. They were sued for likeness of character. He said he spent four days in disposition, where he told prosecutors that he was not using Hall as Razor Ramon, because he was not portrayed as a Hispanic drug dealer and wouldn’t because he is white.
Kevin Greene is brought up. He teamed with Steve McMichael against Flair & Anderson. He said that Greene had a mind for wrestling and said Mongo’s personality fit in well with the Horsemen. He tries to make another athlete analogy but in a funny momeny, mistakenly refers to Karl Malone as Moses Malone.
JULY
Hogan joining the nWo is mentioned. Sullivan said that Hogan and his agent were so nervous about the turn that he had them both stay over his house the night before the PPV and had Hogan arrive to the show He claims his agent was attempting to talk him out of the turn. Sullivan said he booked it at Daytona Beach due to the high concession sales and that it was surrounded by bars, so it would get a good reaction.
When asked about Flair beating Konnan for the US Title, Sullivan said it was beneath Flair but did this to show Hogan that he was going to book him and the nWo strong.
The moment in which Nash launched Rey Mysterio like a lawn dart into the production truck is brought up. Sullivan originally wanted him to be tossed through a window but was afraid Mysterio would get too cut up.
AUGUST
The black-and-white nWo promos are brought up. Sullivan believes that Nash and Hall came up with that idea. He also said how some in the locker room were really thinking that it was a legit invasion by the WWF and would come up to him, stating that they heard them talk to Vince. He also puts over Hall and Nash for getting on board with this promo style and making him comfortable.
Up next is the Hog Wild PPV and Harlem Heat getting attacked. Sullivan mocks the state of Wyoming and states the PPV was so Bischoff could ride his motorcycle. He said that having Harlem Heat show up there was akin to showing up at a wrestling show in Nigeria with a plantation owner gimmick.
Juventud Guerrera debuts and Mean Gene conducts an in-ring interview after the match but Juvy did not speak English at the time. Sullivan said that it might have been a rib on Gene. He then brings up Juvy walking through the hotel lobby in Australia naked, stating that he was Jesus.
Chris Jericho debuts defeating Alex Wright. Sullivan said that he knew Jericho was talented when he was in Smoky Mountain. He said that he was vocal but offered a lot of ideas and knew the business well.
SEPTEMBER
The Giant is introduced as the newest member of the nWo, as he turned on WCW during a run-in after the Horsemen defeated the Dungeon of Doom. Sullivan said that this happened because negotiations with Davey Boy Smith fell through. Sullivan thought that only ex-WWF guys should have been in the group but even felt that Davey was a bad fit a he had been a face and didn’t need to be brought in as a heel. When Oliver brings up the rumor that Hogan nixed the idea of the Horseman making a comeback during the segment, Sullivan confirms and says that at that point, they were sucking the blood out of the company.
Glacier debuts. Sullivan said that this was the creation of DDP. He then states how a lot of Eric’s friends were giving ideas at this time.
The Fake Sting is brought up and Sullivan said that this was from Jason Hervey. He was against it as he felt it muddled up everything.
Waltman debuts as Syxx. Sullivan said he was planned for the original part of the group but legal issues delayed his debut.
OCTOBER
Bret Hart turns down a three year, 8.4 million dollar deal from WCW. He thinks that Vince promised in carte blanche in the WWF and that is why he stayed.
The Outsiders defeat the Harlem Heat for the WCW Tag-Titles at Halloween Havoc. Sullivan is asked if the nWo was taking over the whole company and Sullivan completely loses me with an ice cream sundae analogy to explain the situation.
Piper’s debut at the show is discussed. Sullivan said that Bischoff thought he could put Vince out of business by bringing in all of his stars.
On the October 28th edition of Nitro, Sting is seen in the rafters wearing his crow makeup. Sullivan says that the idea was Scott Hall’s. He said he was kept off of TV because he was trying to get work as an actor.
NOVEMBER
Curt Hennig meets with Bischoff. Sullivan said that JJ Dillon was very helpful for them as he dealt with the contracts in the WWF before going back to WCW, thus knowing when they were close to expiring. He puts over Dillon for having a photographic memory.
Bischoff joins the nWo. Sullivan said that it was the idea of Hall and Nash.
Sullivan attacks Chris Benoit. He says that Benoit was always professional in the ring. Sullivan said that he and Nancy were not getting along at this point anyway, so the divorce was inevitable. Oliver then asks Sullivan about the murders, and he says he had no idea that would happen and nearly breaks down as they quickly switch to the next topic.
Giant wins World War III. He said that Bischoff always thought bigger was better. He also said that when he booked the match, he only really cared about the last ten guys in the ring. He said the entire concept was a bad idea.
DECEMBER
Piper beats Hogan at Starcade. Sullivan said that this was Hogan’s favor to Piper for not putting him over in the WWF.
Sullivan is then asked about the dangers of a wrestler being given creative control. Sullivan said that they will always be about themselves but puts over HHH as the exception to the rule, because he has to think in terms of the company and puts over his program with Brock Lesnar as an example. He then puts over Hogan for making wrestling what it is today, stating he was powerful enough to replace SNL once a month.
Final Thoughts:  I would recommend this but beware that Sullivan tends to stray off topic at times. He also loves to use analogies so be prepared for that as well. He does offer a lot of insight to this period, especially from his position as the booker, although his justification of Loch Ness comes off just as someone who cannot admit failure. A lot of this is focused on the first few months of the year and if you are interested in the stuff that Pillman did, there is a ton of that here. Its available on demand at KayfabeCommentaries.com if you want to check it out.

WCW: 1996 Year in Review

What a ride 1996 brought us on. People who were heroes became villains, and people who became WWF Intercontinental Champions were the cornerstones of WCW Prime. There were moments of great highs, and sometimes, very low lows.
But it is important not to spend all ones focus on The Public Enemy, because there were many months in the year (12, at my count), and as many as 4 complete shows did not feature them.
So grab a bowl of popcorn, sit back, and head back to where it all began, which like so many years before it, started in …
JANUARY

Following a gruelling Starrcade, Ric Flair surprised everyone by walking out with the belt for the first time in nearly 18 months. Backed by Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, and Brian Pillman – one of the strongest Horsemen units in years – Ric Flair began a month-long quest to see how many different ways Hulk Hogan could beat him in under 30 days.
Despite dropping his first 19 matches of the year to Hogan, it was Randy Savage who would surprise everyone in capturing the WCW belt on the January 22 Nitro. Hulk Hogan demanded the first title shot 12 seconds after Savage’s win, and acted hurt when Savage took a little offense.
On that same show, Lex Luger would cheat to win the tag-team titles from Harlem Heat, with partner Sting. When the replay showed Lex having used a roll of silver dollars to score the win, an angry Sting demanded answers. Lex told Sting, with all sincerity, what he just saw never actually happened. Sting was satisfied.
Meanwhile, WCW pettiness was at its ugliest. Following the acquisition of a former WWF talent, Sting was tasked with squashing him on an early episode of WCW Prime, completely eliminating any chance he had of getting over in the long haul. These types of vindictive childish games were a large part of WCW’s eventual downfall. Dave Dalton really deserved better.
Lex Luger made short work of Cobra, an up and coming former federal CIA agent, turned wrestler, on WCW Saturday Night. Though seemingly innocuous at the time, Cobra would begin a year-long mission to seek revenge against the man of many pecs, plotting for the right moment to really make it count. To sting him, if you will.
The One Man Gang, crowned WCW US Champion at the tail end of 1995, went around the horn defending his belt against all-comers, including newcomer Super Giant Ninja. While failing to capture the belt, the Super Giant Ninja would live on all year through my obsession with hilariously tall jobbers.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
The match of the month is a ***1/2 affair between Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero on the January 15th edition of Prime. The match was interrupted twice; once by Brian Pillman to save Chris Benoit from being pinned, and another time to let us know we can buy The Century of War for $4.99 + shipping and handling.
The Hulk Hogan of Mexico, Konan, would burst on to the scene, defending the prestigious Mexican Heavyweight Title, which had roots dating all the way back to the earliest parts of January.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff is forced into retirement with neck problems. Many saddened fans were left with the same question: why couldn’t it have been Kevin Sullivan?
Sista Sherri and Colonel Parker’s wedding is halted, when it’s revealed that Madusa has exceptionally large breasts.
A mini-series, dedicated to the great WCW announcer, Mongo McMichael, airs in 10-minute parts on WCW Saturday Night. Former coach Mike Ditka spends several episodes detailing Mongo’s triceps.
Bobby Heenan expands his vocabulary during a Clash of Champions special.
And speaking of special…
FEBRUARY
Diamond Dallas Page rolls the dice in the biggest gamble of his life, putting his $6.6 million on the line in order to secure a TV title shot against Johnny B Badd, after having lost his previous 6 outings. This turns out to be about as wise an investment as Andy Beale’s foray into the space program, and Page is left homeless. Johnny swears complete and total devotion to DDP’s ex-wife Kimberly. He immediately disappears from all programming except WCW Prime.
On the same show, Brian Pillman decides he’d be better off whipping out his Johnson elsewhere than continue to be booked against Kevin Sullivan.
Ric Flair re-captures the WCW belt from Randy Savage, when Savage is betrayed by his ex-wife and her friend. Randy is completely shocked that his bitter ex, who spent years terrified and controlled by his insane jealousy, would turn her back on him again several years after their divorce. His best friend Hulk Hogan shows his support by immediately challenging for the title.
Hogan is granted a series of matches against Flair’s ally Arn Anderson instead, and loses all of them. For some reason, I feel compelled to repeat this at ad nauseum for months afterwards.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Konan captures the United States title from One Man Gang. The TV title is immediately recognized as the #2 belt in the company.
Color commentator Mongo McMichael dresses up his pet ferret to look like cupid on Valentine’s Day. Former coach Mike Ditka details Mongo’s trip to Petcetera, where the costume was purchased, as part of WCW’s continuing Saturday Night miniseries.
50-year old, 500 pound European wrestler, Loch Ness makes his debut for the Dungeon of Doom. Armed with less mobility than the Great Khali, he is put over every young talent in the company.
David Finlay draws a great deal of attention when it’s discovered that his giant brown mullet was actually ripped directly off the head of Brad Armstrong. As a result, he and Steven Regal can’t stop punching each other in the nose for several months.
VK Wallstreet clarifies his 1996 goals, by naming the top wrestlers he wishes to defeat. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Shark. I am not making this up.
Ric Flair and Randy Savage wrestle one more time, and put on the match of the month at ***1/2 on February 19th. The Zodiac is taken by their awesome display of wrestling, and decides to start wearing see-through pants and calling himself “the Booty Man” seconds after its conclusion.
DDP’s ring attire and Mercedes Benz are repossessed.
Things would sink even lower in…
MARCH
The Alliance to End Hulkamania hits its apex, as 8 of the group’s members challenge the Megapowers to a handicap match inside a Doomsday Cage. The rules, never fully clear, either before or during the show, led to a lot of confusion. Adding further problems, was the renaming of Ludwrench Perkins “The Ultimate Solution”, causing more than a few insensitivity complaints.
Hulk Hogan, realizing that things were getting ugly, smooths things over by booking the match to run 25 minutes. Wrestlers are chained in and outside of the cage, with Savage and Hogan sliding in and out like survivors of Jurassic Park. Still, a sport to the end, realizing he had no business winning this match with the odds so heavily stacked for the heels, Hogan pins World Champion Ric Flair following an errant coal miner’s glove, and insists on a title shot. The match is one of the most memorable of the year, picking up an epic rating of -*****.
Meanwhile, hot newcomer, The Giant, would continue his path of destruction, sending Loch Ness back to Europe, and ending the careers of both Dave Sullivan and Ralph the Rabbit. Fans openly ask why his brother Kevin could not have followed suit.
Lex Luger and Cobra once again meet on a loaded edition of Saturday Night. Lex again dispatches of the CIA agent, with some illegal assistance from good friend Jimmy Hart. Sting tries to mend the fences, but Cobra doesn’t hear of it. He returns to the tactical unit to work on a cerebral mind-trick to split up the reigning tag-team champions. A hard deadline of 180 days is set.
The tag-team division is turned upside down with a series of memorable returns and matches. While the Road Warriors and Steiners are given heroes’ welcomes, it’s actually Men at Work and the Barrio Brothers who truly leave the division with more questions than answers.
The Faces of Fear destroy Buck Quartermaine and Mike Winner, kicking off a love-affair for one particular recapper.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay and Steven Regal stop punching each other long enough to enter the ring separately at Uncensored, and then immediately resume punching each other. They are given **** for their effort; the match of the month.

Johnny B Badd appears at Wrestlemania. In response, WCW Prime is now sponsored by the Badd Blaster.
During one night of festivities, Ric Flair nearly comes to blows with an irate Mongo McMichael. This is replayed heavily on WCW Saturday Night, hosted by former coach Mike Ditka.
DDP has his career repossessed.
Sadly, nothing would repossess the memories of…
APRIL
Bootymania runs mild! Partnered as Hulk Hogan’s pants-free friend, Bootyman seduces Kimberly Page. Wrestling fans rejoice, understanding that with Kimberly’s lowered expectations, they might actually have a shot! Bootyman is given a World Title match, and in a rare display of comradery, Hogan demands one too.
Instead, it is The Giant who unseats Ric Flair on the final Nitro of April, hitting a chokeslam on the champion right out of the Figure Four. Giant had turned babyface to ally with Sting for a cup of coffee at the start of the month, before reverting to his heel ways. This would continue to be a trend for the next 20 years.
Women’s wrestling is pushed to the forefront, and leading the division is Madusa, who is given a number of highly competitive 2 minute losses to Colonel Robert Parker.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay and Steve Regal continue to punch each other at a frantic pace, generating their second **** affair in as many months in the parking lot of the April 29th Nitro. Finlay wins after piledriving Regal on the roof of Heenan’s rental car.
Johnny B Badd takes over as lead commentary on WCW Prime.
Meng wrestles Hacksaw Duggan to a **1/2 match. This is not a joke.
DDP has his house repossessed.
After weeks of fighting each other to a series of draws, Scott Norton and Ice Train figure that if they collectively can’t beat each other, they must be the toughest wrestlers on earth and should form a tag-team. Thus, Fire and Ice debuts, losing every match they ever wrestle together.
And on the topic of huge debuts…
MAY
Following months of anticipation, things finally come to a head on the Memorial Day episode of WCW Nitro. No longer under WWF contract, and one of WCW’s finest all time acquisitions makes his debut to much surprise. Going head to head with RAW, WCW makes their move, and brings out the former Blake Beverly, now dubbed “The Mauler”. Realizing this could tip the ratings scales for good, the WWF panics, and sends in Razor Ramon to interfere in the match.
Meanwhile, a series of vignettes begin airing on Nitro, indicating that BLOOD RUNS COLD. Speculation begins regarding this mysterious wrestler, who is expected to debut at any time.
Lex Luger misses a series of scheduled World Title matches, using an array of excuses lifted from an 18-year old McDonalds employee. Young, enthusiastic Marcus Bagwell offers to wrestle in place of Luger, giving him a chance to show off his wide array of dropkicks.
Displaying Ali-like reactionary skills, WCW suspends Randy Savage for being “too insane”. They are also said to be investigating claims that Ric Flair drinks too much, and Hulk Hogan is losing his hair. Many frustrated fans call WCW to demand Kevin Sullivan also be suspended.
The Lethal Lottery rears its ugly head at Slamboree, and it’s DDP, armed with millions of dollars via a mysterious benefactor, who wins the Battle Royale, and prestigious ring and eventual World Title shot. The title shot is immediately repossessed.
The WCW Road Report is conducted from the house of Mongo McMichael by former coach Mike Ditka.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay mysteriously disappears. Steven Regal punches Jeeves, but it’s not the same.
Cobra begins a winning streak, while Dusty Rhodes embarks on a mission to crack the “Morris” code of Cobra’s theme music. Fans with particularly good listening are able to make out L … E … X … L … U … before the commercial break.
The match of the month is delivered on the May 6th edition of Nitro from an unlikely pair. Randy Savage and Hugh Morrus put on a hellacious **** brawl, complete with Morrus stealing Savage’s ring-attire and doing Macho Man imitations.
“Lifeguard” Steve Collins wrestles Buddy Valentine on one particularly delightful edition of WCW Prime. Head Prime referee Johnny B Badd calls it the finest match he’s ever officiated.
Hulk Hogan takes a brief hiatus, but films a segment from his latest movie shoot on the beach, where he keeps us abreast of his demands to receive a World Title shot.
The real shots would be fired in…
JUNE
After weeks of back and forth drama and escalating tension, tempers finally brewed over and Big Bubba cut off half the hair of The Shark. Now without the backing of the Dungeon of Doom, Shark delivers a heartfelt promo where he admits, despite much speculation to the contrary, that he was a man, not a fish.
Meanwhile, at the Great American Bash, Razor Ramon and Diesel continue their path of destruction by putting WCW Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff through a table. WCW stars unite, challenging the pair to a match at the following month’s pay-per-view. Even the absent Hulk Hogan weighs in, demanding an immediate title shot.
Bobby Heenan returns to managing one more time, joining the Four Horsemen in a battle against football brethren Mongo McMichael and Kevin Greene. Proving once again to be smarter than everyone else in wrestling, Heenan pays off Mongo to throw the match and join the Horsemen. Everyone is disgusted by this turn of events, including former coach Mike Ditka who dedicates the entire month of WCW Saturday Night to its continued coverage.
Blood continues to run cold, as our mysterious new wrestler appears to be named “Glacier”. He is a dual threat, having both a brown and blue eye. He promises to be arriving very soon.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Diamond Dallas Page continues his winning streak, armed with a new swagger since being gifted millions from his benefactor. His swagger is immediately repossessed.
Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan wind up brawling through the men’s room on pay-per-view. The addition of urinals, and the possibility of a career ending injury to Kevin Sullivan pushes this match to *****, easily the best of the entire year.
The newly established “Cruiserweight” division finds its first superstar in 21-year old Rey Mysterio Jr. Weighing little more than an official US minted silver dollar, Rey wows audiences with his high flying maneuvers, and appallingly awful interviews.
Johnny B Badd begins booking WCW Prime.
A new jobber named “Johnny Wild”, looking like David Spade’s “Joe Dirt”, challenges Lord Steven Regal on a star-studded Saturday Night. Regal, having spent most of the month looking for Fit Finlay, punches him in the nose repeatedly.
Sadly, we would continue to receive no mention of Finlay in the month of …
JULY
Razor Ramon and Diesel finally make their in-ring debuts, challenging any 3 members of WCW’s roster against their trio of the both of them. Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage step up to the plate, but Luger is injured early and unable to assist. Still, WCW keeps it together, until Hulk Hogan returns. Angry about a denied title shot, Hogan hits Savage with the atomic legdrop and tells the fans to stick it. This was the birth of the New World Order.
More disturbingly, Diamond Dallas Page is missing his Battlebowl Ring, and locks down the entire building, frisking everyone from the announcers, producers, and even Johnny B Badd who is on his way to a taping of WCW Prime.
Glacier is about to change, because blood runs the fury of a cold warrior. Loosely translated: He’s coming soon.
Greg Valentine arrives to a Nitro taping, and while greeting old friends backstage, finds himself accidentally placed in a match with Randy Savage. Valentine is pinned in seconds, having not been given his requisite hour to get warmed up.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Masked acrobats, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psychosis, put on an unbelievable show during Bash at the Beach that would leave Guy Laliberte needing a change of pants. At ****1/2, this is the match of the month.
Rough and Ready lose their first of 478 consecutive matches to Harlem Heat.
The Dungeon of Doom reveal their latest device in their war against Hulkamania: A hyperactive cannibal leprechaun named “Braun”. The fans don’t take to the silly gimmick, calling for more realistic storylines, like a retirement party for Kevin Sullivan.
Joe Gomez, Alex Wright, The Renegade, and Jim Powers discover they all have nipples. They form an alliance.
But alliances would be tested in…
AUGUST
Celebrating Hulk Hogan’s 44th birthday, longtime friend and ally, Brutus “The Zodiac Butcher Barber Furface Booty Boulder” Beefcake presents a cake to his good friend. Hogan destroys the cake, screaming “I HAVE HYPOGLYCEMIA!” and orders new best friends Scott and Kevin to destroy him. With the ring covered in cake, Hogan eyeballs his old buddy, and immediately demands a title shot, despite having captured it from the Giant moments earlier.
“Lord” Steven Regal upsets Lex Luger to capture the TV title for an unprecedented 3rd time. Regal cuts an emotional interview afterwards, vowing to defend his title against anyone in the world who wants a shot … but only after he solves the mystery of the missing Fit Finlay, who his fists miss dearly. Regal isn’t seen again for months.
And speaking of Lex Luger, he and Sting spend an entire episode of Nitro chasing a limousine. Failing to capture the elusive automobile, they challenge old “Stretch” to a rooftop match at Halloween Havoc, as is tradition.
Decorated Japanese star, Jushin Liger, is brought back to WCW to bolster its incredible Cruiserweight division. He is given several high profile matches on top syndicated program, WCW Prime, by president elect Johnny B Badd.
The Dungeon of Doom are given a 5 minute segment prior to Road Wild, where they take us through the misty caves. Through a series of mysterious doors, this turns out to be the bunker in which the members live. Cannibal “Braun” The Leprechaun has the most open concept room; as he’s replaced his door with a cloud of orange smoke. Disturbingly, The Giant’s door is much smaller than his 7’0” 400 pound frame can handle, leading to a probe by the Human Rights Commission.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
“Mean” Gene Okerlund promises exciting news on the WCW Hotline about an interesting debut that is right around the corner. It turns out it’s just Glacier, who’s coming.
Diamond Dallas Page has his winning streak repossessed at the Clash of Champions.
Joe Gomez and the Renegade invite High Voltage to tag with them on an episode of Saturday Night. They are on the losing end of a beating from the Horsemen, largely due to the fact High Voltage wears singlets, covering their nipples.
Marcus Bagwell has an affair with Jim Powers.
The match of the month is fought at Hog Wild, where The Ultimate Dragon makes his WCW debut against Rey Mysterio Jr. in a fantastic **** affair. Rey retains the Cruiserweight title, but is unable to capture Sonny Onoo.
Controversy would rear its ugly head in…
SEPTEMBER
The Four Horsemen challenge the nWo to a showdown at Fall Brawl under the traditional War Games banner. Sting and Lex Luger beg for inclusion, resulting in the exile of Mongo McMichael. Mongo McMichael warns the pair not to drop the ball. Former coach Mike Ditka sits down with Eric Bischoff to discuss Mongo’s lack of fumbles throughout his career on a special edition of WCW Saturday Night.
Cobra finally strikes. Months of preparation lead to a dramatic moment on Monday Nitro, when the beret wearing superstar joins forces with the mysterious limousine. Lex Luger attacks the car alone, and has his mind blown when he sees Cobra wearing Sting’s facepaint inside. Devastated, Luger draws the conclusion that the paint must have come from Sting, despite his friend’s protests to the contrary. At Fall Brawl, Sting confronts Luger with a receipt from Dollarama, proving Cobra purchased the facepaint alone. Luger apologizes, but Sting retreats to the rafters to consider his next move.
The nWo expands its ranks, adding the 1-2-3 Kid, Miss Elizabeth, Ted DiBiase, The Giant, Nick Patrick, and Kyle Petty. However, it’s the curious inclusion of the Nasty Boys that gets a lot of press from Internet Wrestling Fans and sparks much debate. During their initial meet and greet party, Jerry Saggs shocks WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, when he reveals he has an asshole. Party host Hollywood Hogan shares Bischoff’s disgust, angrily admitting his mistake in inviting them, by demanding a title shot.
A one hour tribute to the fallen Fit Finlay airs on WCW Prime, featuring an update on television champion Steven Regal, who has been travelling through Europe in search of answers. It is considered one of the most touching interviews of the year, according to President of Prime, Johnny B Badd.
The long-awaited debut of Super Calo occurs this month. Calo wrestles Rey Mysterio Jr. at the Fall Brawl pay-per-view, and despite being a long-shot underdog, manages to keep his hat on throughout the entire match.
And on the topic of debuts, after a 6 month journey, Glacier finally arrives on September 16th. He is scheduled to wrestle Big Bubba, but it’s cut for time purposes following Glacier’s 84 minute entrance and martial arts show. Through his 300 year old mask, he vows to come again.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
The Faces of Fear begin a four month odyssey of balls out work, carrying lacklustre wrestlers Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson to a **** match on Prime, which is the finest of the month.
Dusty Rhodes is unable to make it to WCW Saturday Night, having made a wrong turn at the Pay Windah on his way through the Mothaship. He blames that Debulush Woman for his filibusterin’ around.
The Booty Beefcake gives a candid interview on the topic of Hulk Hogan. While the betrayal has left him questioning whether or not he can ever wrestle again, he does feel he’ll return if given a big pay raise.
Diamond Dallas Page has his heel heat repossessed.
“Braun” the Leprechaun eats Prince Iaukea. Using modern technology, many fans surf on over to WCW.com, where they campaign to have Kevin Sullivan devoured next.
Unfortunately, Sullivan would remain uneaten through…
OCTOBER
Former Yeti and Ninja, Ron Studd is placed under intense scrutiny when he curiously debuts using Fit Finlay’s music. The search for Finlay proves to be fruitless, as Steven Regal returns from a 2 month investigative search of Europe. Frustrated, and without hope, the TV champion is forced to ask himself “what would Hulk Hogan do?” Later on Nitro, he demands a World title shot.
However, it’s Randy Savage, cleared of the insanity charges, who is granted the first crack at Hogan’s title belt. Realizing this might be his last chance at glory, Randy spends the month in lockdown, crying about his lost Elizabeth. This turns out to be an ineffective strategy against Hulk Hogan’s ridiculous wig.
Super Calo is put out of action following a particularly nasty leg injury. He won’t return for the rest of the year; but the luchadore remains optimistic, as he successfully gets through surgery without once losing his hat.
WCW Prime signs off for the last time, with a special 1-hour tribute to Johnny B Badd, as narrated by Johnny B Badd.
Debuting this month is a family bonded superstar who is bound to carry us through the next millennium. He is clearly the anointed choice to lead WCW against the nWo. Given a chance to showcase his arsenal against the crafty veteran Arn Anderson, brother of recently retired Ricky, Vic Steamboat puts on a DUD of a clinic on Saturday Night.
Also Jeff Jarrett debuts.
Ultimately, the big news of the month is the returning Roddy Piper, who debuts at Halloween Havoc. Refusing to let bygones be gone, Roddy tells Hulk Hogan he’s a disgrace. The announcers declare this the biggest moment in the history of WCW.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Pat Tanaka, clearly over the weight limit, gets a Cruiserweight title shot, paving the way for future superstars like Oklahoma.
Lex Luger’s hair is granted its own area code at Halloween Havoc.
Road Block, a gigantic brickhouse of a man, who carries a road block on his shoulders, takes over WCW Saturday Night, and demands a match with Randy Savage immediately. Savage, the #1 contender to the title, declines, leaving Dusty Wolfe to try and destroy this Goliath. A wild 37 seconds follows, and gets the holy grail of match ratings, a perfect *****, best of the month.
The nWo are gifted their own segment on Saturday night, which is simulcast on Skinemax, due to the overwhelming masturbation.
Sting begins writing angst-ridden poetry, with the first one titled “WCW, My One, My Only”. Larry Zbyszko speculates that Sting has joined the nWo.
Sting would have a much bigger impact in…
NOVEMBER
Frustrated by the lack of leadership in WCW, a silent Sting, clad in a homemade “I <3 WCW” t-shirt, descends from the rafters to confront a mouthy Jeff Jarrett about his loyalty. Larry Zbyszko throws his headset in disgust at Sting’s obvious jump to the nWo.
All eyes turn to World War 3, where a 3-ring 60-man battle royal will determine the #1 contender to Hulk Hogan’s World Title. Hogan responds by twerking at the end of every Nitro for some reason.
A mysterious video tape is handed to Tony Schiavone by a random guardrail jumping fan. Tony insists that whatever’s on this tape MUST be played immediately. This turns out to be a bad decision on his part, as the content features all 4 minutes of Roddy Piper’s “I’m Your Man” German music video. Embarrassed, WCW promises to make things right, and plays the video on a continuous loop for the next 2 weeks.
Completely humiliated, Roddy Piper returns to WCW to confront Eric Bischoff, and exposes him as a fraud. Bischoff admits that yes, Piper’s correct, but that everyone has known this for years and he isn’t exactly breaking new ground.
Meanwhile, WCW finally rallies the troops to end this nWo problem once and for all, by introducing a new Women’s title and holding a tournament to crown the first champion.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
“Braun” the Leprechaun passes away following a bout of Kuru; contracted by his cannibalism. Newcomer Jack Boot points out that Hugh Morrus is exhibiting similar symptoms, while fans suggest Kevin Sullivan might consider trying cannibalism.
At 240 pounds, Scotty Riggs receives a Cruiserweight title shot. John Tenta considers becoming a Cruiserweight.
The nWo begins showing DDP preferential treatment, helping him win matches. Page insists he doesn’t need help from anyone, except perhaps a lawyer to prevent anything else from being repossessed.
Jim Duggan threatens to beat up someone named Terry Hogan. Petrified, Terry never debuts in WCW.
Rey Mysterio Jr. and The Ultimate Dragon tear down the house once more, wrestling a ****1/2 classic at World War 3. The Dragon captures the Cruiserweight title, adding it to his massive collection of walking title belts. “Mean” Gene Okerlund announces on his Hotline that the belts don’t actually have legs, and pulls back the curtain to reveal Sonny Onoo.
Juventud Guerrera makes waves by signing the first ever contract that includes WCW title shots on every show. Juvi fails to win any of the titles he competes for, but it sets the stage for Hulk Hogan to consider renegotiating his own deal.
But the only deal being negotiated comes in…
DECEMBER
Live coverage of Roddy Piper hits fever pitch, with round the clock updates of his past segments. Highlights, such as the time he arrived at Halloween Havoc, the time he got in Bischoff’s face, and the time he made a horrible music video in Germany, are played on a continuous stream on TBS. Hulk Hogan, in his most charitable move of the year, offers to wrestle him in a non-title match if he’ll stop airing the music video.
A tournament to find a new United States Champion comes to a head at Starrcade, and Eddie Guerrero pins Diamond Dallas Page to capture the gold. Having expected a heavily favored DDP to win, the repo men take the belt anyway and award it to Syxx.
Sting also makes an appearance at WCW Starrcade, handing his baseball bat to WCW leader, Lex Luger, to defeat nWo member The Giant. Scrawled on the bat reads “Lex, please take me back, I miss you, I miss everyone in WCW, I just want you to want me.” Larry Zbyszko considers this the most damning evidence to date that Sting is the new leader of the nWo.
The Faces of Fear take back-to-back losses to close out the year, causing one particular recapper to write angry letters to Ted Turner himself. Turner would reply, informing the lunatic that WCW went out of business 14 years ago.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Sergeant Buddy Lee Parker makes his return after a 10 month leave of absence, taking the roster spot of Jack Boot. Lieutenant James Earl is unable to return, having been promoted to lead investigator in the Fit Finlay story.
After the disappointment of Vic Steamboat in October, WCW calls upon another wrestling family to try and sew the seeds of tradition back into the company’s proverbial quilt. Unfortunately, that person is David Sammartino, who is immediately asked to leave by irate WCW fans, and “to take Kevin Sullivan with you!”
Sullivan is going nowhere, however, needing to avenge the loss of his wife to young stallion Chris Benoit. Benoit taunts the much older Sullivan by sending a number of adult films featuring he and Woman in a series of poses that would re-write the Kamasutra series. Benoit declares this a “killer partnership”, and adds “this won’t be remotely awkward to look back on in several years”.
And as we close out a memorable year in wrestling, it’s important to remember that while we experienced a number of lows, which was not limited to the Nasty Boys, we also got introduced to a colorful new cast of characters that are bound to carry this company for the next 20 years. During a 10-part series that aired in December, former coach Mike Ditka predicted Mongo McMichael would one day have a more colorful legacy than Hulk Hogan.

For reasons even he could not have predicted, he would not be wrong. But that’s to be saved for another year.

WCW Nitro: December 30, 1996

It’s been a hell of a ride, but we’ve made it, you and I. 1996 closes tonight, and it’s certainly been a year of movement. We’re going to look back at all the wackiness that was the changing of the guard from Old Guys to Old Guys With New Friends In Black and White Shirts, as well as the arrival of the luchadores, Mongo McMichael’s growth into a more well-rounded annoyance, Glacier who is coming soon, Roddy Piper complete with recaps of our recap of Roddy Piper, and much much more.
But first, we have Nitro. The nWo had their asses sorta kinda handed to them last night, but everyone’s allowed one bad night out of 365, right?

Outside the Knoxville Coliseum, THE OUTSIDERSHOLLYWOOD HOGANSYXXTED DIBIASEVINCENTMARCUS BAGWELLELIZABETH, and ERIC BISCHOFF arrive in a stretch limo. That’s a lot of bodies; I don’t care how big that car is. They brag about continuing to hold all the gold. Very impressive, seeing as how the World Title has been defended all of ONE time since Hogan’s victory 4 months ago. The Giant takes a little issue with Hogan’s gloating, and points to the nameplate that still has his name on it. He wants a shot at the belt, because he managed to win World War 3. Hogan tells him not to worry about it, his “title shot” just means it was a bye, and it buys the nWo more time with the title. Giant’s pissed he has no chance to be the lead dog, but Hogan reminds him that as long as the belt is in the family, it doesn’t matter. He tells Giant not to drop the ball a second time. DiBiase chases the camera man away, so they can deal with their family business.
We are LIVE from Knoxville, Tennessee. FIREWORKS FIREWORKS FIREWORKS! It’s standing room only, says TONY SCHIAVONE. He’s with the ghost of LARRY ZBYSZKO, who can’t talk enough about “Roddy Roddy Piper”.
THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. THE PUBLIC ENEMY
Despite their best efforts to sing the National Anthem, using the beautiful French translation, Tony talks all over them, mocking them. May the FLQ bomb his mailbox. TPE comes in for a little brawling, but the Frenchmen hold their ground. Rougeau takes a backdrop and hits the deck, leaving poor Ouellette to get double teamed and suffer a similar fate. With the ring cleared, we THROW OUR HANDS IN THE AIR! WAVE ‘EM LIKE WE JUST DON’T CARE! The Colonel, sporting a fantastic pencil thin mustache, directs the troops to just leave. TPE chases them down, and attacks with their quasi Quebecanadian flags. Rougeau is placed on a table that was helpfully left at ringside … and the Drive By hits NO ONE because Rougeau rolls away. The French finish Rocco with the Quebec Crash seconds later at 3:30. I tried to be enthusiastic, but no amount of energy is going to cover up the smell of Public Enemy. 1/2*
JUSHIN LIGER vs. THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo) (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
I’ll give WCW credit for having the stones to take their most prized Cruiserweight commodity, and job him to the temporary Japanese guest. Dragon has new music tonight, but only because Liger had to use “sounds Japanese to us” tonight. Liger hits Dragon with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and goes right to the surfboard. He won’t tap (likely since he has no use of his arms), so Liger releases and nails a handspring back elbow, and follows with an ultra-fast senton for 2. A powerbomb is delivered as a message to Sonny Onoo, but he takes too much time jawing with Sonny, and lets the Dragon get back into this. Liger takes a powder, and Dragon plants him with tope suicida. Back in, a flying headbutt is blocked with a foot to the face, and it’s nice to see someone actually trying a move when the big boot blocks it (cuz it looked like it HURT!). Liger nails a brainbuster, and gets 2. He doesn’t slow down, throwing a superplex for 2. Larry thinks he’s nuts, just months after having a brain tumor removed, to be putting his head in jeopardy; but I’d like to point out that Larry himself is able to work behind the announce table despite the frontal lobotomy. Liger heads back up, but gets cut off and beaten up. Dragon whips around from behind, hits a super rana, and finishes with the Dragon Suplex at 4:44. This was CRIMINALLY short; where’s the other 20 minutes?!? I guess we don’t have time, because coming up, and this is a direct quote from one Mr. Schiavone: “A MIDGET MATCH! With Midgets from MEXICO!” **1/2
KONAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. BIG BUBBER M WALLSTREET (in a strap match)
Good lord, there’s like 20 Stunt Grannies in the front row! We must up for one hell of a fan attack later tonight. Bubba fails to appear, but Wallstreet does. Wallstreet says Bubba won’t be able to make it tonight, but he has a message for the Dungeon of Doom and Konan: he’s not afraid of that strap. Oh. Konan turns his back to gripe to god knows who, and Wallstreet attacks, and slips the strap on. Konan hogties himself to prevent Wallstreet from touching all the turnbuckles. I … don’t get the strategy, but ok. Wallstreet comes off the top, and Konan boots him in the face, unties himself, and crotches Wallstreet with the strap. Wallstreet takes a whoopin’, and Konan yells “DUNGEON OF DOOM”, but I don’t think he was playing that for laughs. Wallstreet responds by hanging Konan behind his back, and tags the first turnbuckle, with Konan following suit. Both guys keep tagging the buckle together, and as we head towards the 4th one, to the shock of the Stunt Grannies, Konan is punched by Wallstreet, falling into the buckle, and wins the match at 2:34. Let’s not do this again. -***
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN struts out with ERIC BISCHOFF sniffing his throne. Bischoff immediately bows down and tells the fans to respect the current and reigning World Champion; just in case you need to be reminded last night was non-title and if you paid for the show expecting to see a title change, up yours! Hogan gloats about beating Piper in the middle of the ring, and making his kid come down to ringside and beg for mercy. This carries on for an eternity, with both guys sucking each other’s kneecaps. NEXT.
HUGH MORRUS vs. KENSUKI SASAKI (with Sonny Onoo)
Oh good, Sasaki is back. Did he ever get proper revenge on One Man Gang? Can we make sure that if he does, he does it somewhere else? Both guys clothesline each other, and bang into each other. I think they’re going for some sumo thing, but it’s not working. Tony takes a moment to brag about all the big money scalpers made last night. A vertical suplex from Sasaki gets 2. He starts in with the chops, but Morrus no-sells. Knock it off, just because you’re friends with Meng does not make you Meng. Morrus hits a clothesline and applies the ever exciting chinlock. Avalanche splash sets up an arrival to the announce booth by…

ERIC BISCHOFF. He has a mysterious video tape! What’s on it? Roddy Piper in another embarrassing music video? Chris Benoit’s uncensored sex tape with Woman in Prague? Roddy Piper embarrassing himself in Chris Benoit’s sex tape in Prague? No, it’s apparently footage of last night’s main event which we will never, ever see. That’s the ONLY copy?
Back in the ring, Morrus hits No Laughing Matter, and the referee is forced to count slower than Nick Patrick because Sonny is way out of position for his run in with the Japanese flag to draw a DQ at 4:40. Morrus declares 1997 the year of the Dungeon. DUD
Tony airs stills of Piper’s win over Hogan, so the whole tape thing is negated. Then he reminds us to join him for Saturday Night, which will undoubtedly be a HUNDRED MILLION BILLION times better than anything we’ve seen tonight.
HARLEM HEAT (with Sista Sherri) vs. THE FACES OF FEAR
I’m warning you WCW, I’m on edge, do NOT mess with me here. Meng starts with Stevie Ray, which seems like a mismatch since Stevie Ray is not a wrestler. Still, he beats up Meng, and hits him with a corner clothesline. Meng responds with a much better clothesline, and turns to his buddy Barbarian who comes firing out of the gate with some fast fists. Booker comes in, and hits the axe kick, which sets the Harlem Sidekick, getting 2. Booker goes up, which Barbarian quickly cuts off, and Booker is thrown no less than the distance of a regulation sized football field. Meng comes in, and Booker tries to go toe to toe with him, but you can guess how THAT ends. Backbreaker gets 2. Booker kicks him in the face, hits a Harlem Sidekick, and that draws in COLONEL ROBERT PARKER?!? He’s got a whip; the kind you’d see amongst only the finest in fetish escorts. Sherri takes one swift whip to the ass, and she’s so turned on that she dives on Colonel and they roll around violently. JACQUES ROUGEAU shows up, and throws powder in Stevie Ray’s face. The Kick of Fear from Meng connects, but the referee is tied up with something or other, and misses Booker T hitting the Harlem Hangover. Stevie is rolled on top for the win at 3:34. You know what? Fuck you WCW, fuck you and your stupid show. You have the best, most charismatic team of killers at your disposal, and you respond by jobbing them out to the freakin’ Nasty Boys, Outsiders, and now Harlem Heat who apparently need to win their 40th tag-team titles or something. You can’t handle having a group that’s cooler than the nWo. Nooooo, get over on your own in-ring merits, and lose forever. This show blows goats, all the bookers can go to hell, and that includes Booker T who was part of this debacle. -*******************************, and that’s being generous.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND introduces DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE, who will continue to get pushed because he’s friends with Eric Bischoff and speaks English. DDP says he’s not crying about getting screwed over last night, and vows to fix things. He realizes he’s been thick headed and stubborn, and now he gets it. The nWo is far too strong for him, and he knows what he has to do. I know what he SHOULD do, team up with the Faces of Fear, he’d have more power than ISIS backing him up.
The second hour kicks off with Larry disappearing. MIKE TENAY and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN replace him. And JUST in case you thought the suck was coming to an end, we’re talking midgets.
Everything Hogan is replayed from earlier tonight. Sure, we can’t have THESE tapes suppressed. In fact, since they’re censoring stuff, they can start by wiping the first half of this show from the face of the earth. And probably the second because I’m in a foul mood.
DISCO INFERNO vs. GLACIER
Big news from the camp of Glacier: He has altered his lights to a soft violet. Disco grabs the microphone, and warns Glacier that he’s perfected his new leg hold, and it would be wise if he just left. Glacier doesn’t budge, making him “dumber than Peyton Manning!” Okay, that brought me back to the show – I’m all aboard Team Disco. Glacier hits Disco with a violent … wristlock. That makes Disco mad, so it’s on. Glacier kicks the crap out of Disco, accentuating his attack with a Harlem sidekick. Was his Sensei Colonel Robert Parker? Leg sweep sets up a dropkick, and a heart punch (or clothesline, if you’re Tony) have Glacier in full command. The Cryonic Kick is blocked by Disco putting the referee in the way, and Glacier pulls back. Disco hits a clothesline, and stomps a mudhole. Disco tells the camera it’s time for his new leg hold, but he grabs the wrong leg. He goes to correct it, and takes a back kick to the chin. Disco comes back with a swinging neckbreaker, and decides this would be a great time to dance. Cryonic Kick about takes his head off, and Glacier wins at 3:25. Oif. 1/2*
CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman) vs. CHRIS JERICHO
No, this isn’t the advertised midget match. The give-away is that Tony promised they’d be Mexican. Jericho is all energy tonight, hitting a super fast spinning heel kick, and then nailing a missile dropkick off the top all the way to the floor. Jericho rolls Benoit back in and chops away at his Canadian brethren. Benoit responds with a Stun Gun, and bitch slaps the poutine out of him, screaming “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DEALING WITH?” I recommend Jericho play dead, it might make him stop. Benoit keeps chopping away, but Jericho gives it back. A clothesline off the ropes knocks Benoit down, but he pops up and they start slugging it out again. Benoit shoots Jericho face first to the buckle with a quick drop toe hold, and mounts him in the corner with punches. Jericho rushes forward with an atomic drop, nails the Sweet Chin Music, but misses the Lionsault. They fight on the apron, which Jericho wins. He hits a crossbody off the top, but no pin is attempted. An avalanche is missed, and Jericho finds himself at Benoit’s mercy on top, eating a belly to back superplex for the win at 4:00. Holy hell, through the clouds of garbage, there sits a ray of sunshine, and it came with nonstop intensity from two young brawlers. Incredible match compacted into 4 minutes, probably the best I’ve ever seen in that short a time. ****
RIC FLAIRMONGO MCMICHAEL, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL stop Benoit and Woman on the way to the locker room, and “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is on the scene. Debra tells Woman how much she’s missed her, but Woman heard every word of trash out her mouth the last few weeks, and gets all up in her area. Benoit wants to throw down with Mongo, which Flair stops. JEFF JARRETT comes down, and asks Ric when he’s going to get the chance to lead the Horsemen. Flair ignores him, puts his arm around Woman who’s asking where the hell Arn is, and figures she’s insane for even asking about his whereabouts on New Year’s Eve Eve. He’s drinking beer cold enough to freeze the hand off an Eskimo, and with that he starts dancing around with Woman. God bless Ric, NOTHING gets this man down.
Benoit’s still in a mood though (probably because the Faces of Fear lost, I’m with you brother), and tells Jarrett that all he proved last night is that he can be anything BUT a Horsemen. Debra figures Woman’s moody because of all the weight she put on over the holidays. Flair looks like he’s got a headache, but finds the strength to just ask everyone to dance all night. And he does just that, grabbing Debra, and doing a jig.
MASCARITA SAGRADA and OCTAGONCITO vs. JERITO ESTRADA and PIRATITA MORGAN
Sagrada is probably better known to you as Max Mini. And that’s about all I have to say about this. There is no way I’m doing play by play with names THAT long. It’s basically the Max Mini show anyway, with the littlest of little men flying all over the place. He really should go under the name of El Swan, since he’s graceful, yet delicate. Estrada might be the ugliest man to ever wrestle in WCW, looking like the midget lovechild of Steven Tyler and El Dandy. Max wins with the Oklahoma Roll at 2:25.
REY MYSTERIO JR. vs. DEAN MALENKO
At least WCW is willing to give this match the respect it deserves, by not announcing it, and giving both guys the “already in the ring” treatment. What is WRONG with them tonight? Were they so burned out by getting the booking more or less right (except for that Faces of Fear travesty) last night that they decided to celebrate the end of the year by blowing everything up? We’re a Sid run-in away from making this the perfect night, let me tell you. Rey sends Malenko to the floor, and hits a sweet swinging rana. Back in, Malenko takes down Rey and works a crossface. That’s moved to a standing surfboard, but Rey flails loose. They awkwardly fight with Rey up top, but nothing comes of it. Deano uses a fireman’s carry to set up a gutbuster, getting 2. Malenko starts his stretches, and Mysterio does his usual fine job of howling in agony. A butterfly suplex gets 2. Next up, a backbreaker, and Malenko holds on, bending Rey in half. The announcers are too busy hyping next week’s Nitro to notice, but Bobby works this in. Heenan: “Tony, do you like 360 pound women in bowling shirts?” Tony: “I don’t know, maybe, I can’t say I’ve ever met one.” Heenan: “You’ll love Green Bay!” Rey starts a bit of a comeback, pounding Malenko in the corner, but Dean shoves him away. Rey charges, Malenko launches him, and Mysterio was clearly supposed to land on the top buckle … but he winds up slipping and crotching himself. Dean heads up for a superplex, but Rey twists in mid-air and turns it into a crossbody. A rana is attempted, but Malenko turns it into a powerbomb, and gets 2. Dean goes for a brainbuster, but Rey turns it into an Oklahoma roll for 2. Another powerbomb is tried, but Rey rolls backwards for 2. Dean has enough and clotheslines Rey’s head off. He heads up, but Mysterio hits him with a spinning heel kick knocking Malenko to the floor. Off the top, Mysterio hits a super backspin dick to the face all the way to the floor! Back in, Rey goes for West Coast Pop, but Malenko hooks the leg and applies a Boston crab. Rey bridges out of the move, flips Malenko over, and gets 2. Mysterio tries another rana, but Malenko turns it into a sidewalk slam. Rey shoves off his Cloverleaf attempt, and hits a rana off the top, and the bell rings at 9:24?!? Apparently 9:24 was the designated time limit tonight, so the fans are given one more giant fist up the chute. Match was fine, but I’m so burned out on these two fighting each other. They need a good year apart from one another. ***1/2
GREG “THE HAMMER” VALENTINE vs. LEX LUGER
This show has already gone to hell in a handbasket, so we may as well send out the Hammer. The Stunt Grannies give Luger a standing ovation. I can’t do this, sorry, Greg Valentine play by play is where I’m drawing the line tonight. You can thank the booking committee for deciding to job out the Faces of Fear to the stale Harlem Heat. Torture Rack for the win at 2:41. DUD
Somehow, there’s still 15 bloody minutes in this show, plenty of time for RODDY PIPER to give me aneurysm. He gets a standing ovation, and thanks the fans for all the love. He figures Bischoff and Hogan live on Mars, because on Planet Earth, Hogan was snoring in the Sleeper. Piper announces last night was his last fight because he’s getting too old for this. Tell that to Adrian Adonis, Rod. HOLLYWOOD HOGAN and ERIC BISCHOFF hit the ring, and the Hulkster doesn’t look happy. Hogan says Piper’s a liar, and orders him to admit he lost. Piper tells him to eat it. Hogan decides to get personal, saying the only reason he didn’t end it for good was because Piper’s son begged Hogan to take it easy. Piper tells him that’s fine, and rips off his clothes, ready to throw down again. The only problem, is that THE OUTSIDERS and SYXX have hit the ring, and triple team Piper, going right after the hip again. Hogan chokes out Piper, as SCOTT NORTONTHE GIANT, and TED DIBIASE join the fracas. The fans start launching every bit of garbage they’ve got, to the point the apron is soaked in beer and soda. Hogan grabs a chair, and whacks Piper in the bad hip. Hogan then orders The Giant, who to this point has just stood there watching, to Chokeslam Piper. VINCENT comes down now, as does NICK PATRICK wearing an nWo shirt for the first time. Giant refuses to do the deed, so the nWo has a quick huddle. MEDICS wheel down a stretcher for Piper, while Hogan decides to deal with the Giant. He asks him what the deal is? He’s tired of Giant dropping the ball, and after 3 strikes, he’s out. Giant attacks Hogan, grabbing him by the throat, and orders the nWo to get the hell out of the ring or he’ll take out Hogan. He demands a title shot, and Hogan agrees. He tells Giant he loves him, and shakes his hand. He swears he didn’t know the title was that important to him, and rolls out of the ring. As soon as he hits the ground, he tells the nWo to attack. MARCUS BAGWELL is first, followed by Vincent, and the NWO STING. Sting eats a Chokeslam, and that brings in everyone at once. Giant manages to fight them off for a spell, but the numbers overwhelm him. With the Giant subdued, Hogan whacks Giant over the head with the belt. Hall rips the nWo shirt off the Giant’s back, and he’s the first member to get the boot for treason and attempted regicide.

It was nice of them to save their absolute worst show of the year for last. I’m going to bed.

WCW Starrcade: December 29, 1996

Anytime one can capitalize on nostalgia, one should pounce. And pounce
WCW has; signing an aging but mobile Roddy Piper to battle a revitalized Hulk
Hogan, with their roles reversed. And while I have admittedly found Piper to be
a complete and total disaster, the Match of the Century stuff has worked.
Because of Hogan’s strong heel work, finally having a babyface forcing him to
show a little ass has resulted in their biggest buy-rate to date. This show
drew a 0.95, up from the atrocious 0.36 from one year earlier, and a major
improvement over the 0.70 from Halloween Havoc. I am ignoring World War 3
because it wasn’t given the substantial main event push of the last few shows.
So with their largest set of paying eyeballs on the product ever, it’s
now up to WCW to deliver. Are they ready to take the belt off of Hollywood
Hogan; or is this one big commercial to lead us to the next big challenger in
Lex Luger, Sting, or Glacier (who is of course coming)?
Only one way to find out (18 years ago).
We are of course LIVE from Nashville, TN, and the show starts with a
shocker. Against all odds, DUSTY RHODES
has found a tuxedo that fits. TONY
SCHIAVONE
and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN
join him on commentary.

THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with
Sonny Onoo) vs. DEAN MALENKO (in a unification match for the J-Crown titles and
the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Dragon earned this title shot after a wild ****1/2 match with Rey
Mysterio Jr. at last month’s World War 3, and Dean Malenko is still the
champion despite the ever present Jimmy Graffiti challenging him periodically.
With the ever present scent of Cruiserweights in the air, MIKE TENAY trips over himself to get down to the commentary booth.
Dragon starts by attacking Malenko at his own game, grapevining the leg and
trying to get him an Uncle, as per Dusty. Malenko makes the ropes, but Dragon
keeps riding him. Dean reverses, and puts Dragon in a scissors headlock while
working an armbreaker. Dragon has no time for this shoot nonsense, and kips up
out of the hold, before kicking Malenko in the back of the head a bunch of
times. Malenko shakes it off, and hits Dragon with a side suplex. He tries
another scissors to the head, but Dragon rolls over and hits a vicious snap
suplex for 2. He ignores the USA chants, and applies a half crab. Malenko
starts wiggling, so Dragon drops down and puts on an STF. Malenko won’t tap, so
Dragon releases and tries a headscissors. Malenko pushes him off and sends
Dragon to the floor. A baseball slide misses, and Dragon slams him on the
ground. Dragon fakes flying, and Malenko side-steps – but that allows Dragon to
re-assess and now he hits the tope suicida! They head back in, and Dragon gets
2. Dragon attempts a snap suplex, but it’s blocked and reversed. Still, Malenko
takes a hit off the move, and because he’s taken more abuse, it’s Dragon who
manages to roll over for a 2 count. Back to their feet, Malenko counters a
backdrop with a sunset flip for 2! Dragon’s pissed, and quickly hits a swinging
neckbreaker for 2. Malenko stands, and finds himself locked in a NASTY
abdominal stretch, with Dragon’s leg pressed over Dean’s head for extra
pressure. The Dragon goes for a sleeper, but Malenko hits a backdrop suplex to
escape, and both guys are down. Malenko recovers first, and throws Dragon
across the ring with a release German suplex for 2. Sensing opportunity,
Malenko grapevines the leg, and squeezes it like a grapefruit. Dragon manages a
break in the ropes, but as soon as he lets go, Dean re-applies it. After nearly
a minute in the hold, Dragon manages to get to the ropes one more time. Malenko
doesn’t let up, hitting a single leg atomic drop, and then dropkicks Dragon’s
knee. He hits a variation of a dragon screw, and locks the grapevine back on
the knee again. Dragon uses the heel of his boot to club Malenko in the face,
but Dean does not let go. Still, he again reaches the ropes, but he’s a cripple
at this point. At least you’d think that, until he reverses a whip and misses a
handspring back elbow like nothing’s wrong. Grrrr, I hate it when they don’t
sell their injuries. Dragon boots Malenko in the face with his bad leg, but
Dean powerslams him HARD, and the fans pop sensing the champ has him on the
ropes. However, a German suplex is blocked, and Dragon hits a spinning heel
kick. Powerbomb gets 2. Dragon threatens a tombstone, but Malenko rears back
and reverses, hitting a NASTY VICIOUS piledriver! Dragon kicks out at 2. Texas
Cloverleaf is threatened, but Dragon wiggles to the safety of the ropes.
Malenko instead hits the tigerbomb to a MASSIVE pop, and rolls over … getting
2! The fans thought that was it. The pair brawl back to the floor, and it’s
Dragon who hits a spinning heel kick setting up an Asai moonsault! They head
back in, and Dragon goes up – but Malenko cuts him off at the pass. Dragon
elbows loose and drops Malenko, but misses the moonsault! Dean puts on the
Cloverleaf, and the fans lose their collective shit!!! Sonny Onoo gets on the
apron, and Malenko releases to go after him. As he turns, Dragon cradles him …
for 2! Malenko doesn’t give up the fight, and nails a brainbuster for 2! He
figures a second one might do the trick, but Dragon slips off the back, and
they start trading move reversals before Dragon hits the Dragon suplex and
scores the pin and ALL the gold at 18:29!!!
I can’t go the full monty because Dragon refused to sell the leg, but I loved
everything else. Call it ****.
AKIRA HOKUTO (with Sonny
Onoo and Kensuki Sasaki) vs. MADUSA (for the WCW Women’s title)
LEE MARSHALL, the
self-proclaimed ladies expert (due to the fact that 80% of the tournament took
place on WCW Pro), joins the commentary. NICK
PATRICK
is assigned here, his first non-nWo assignment in months. Or, is
it? The timing of this Women’s tournament has always been suspect; coinciding
with the nWo’s call to take all the gold in the company, so it’s entirely
possible we’re eyeballing the master plan coming together. Sonny Onoo gets his
fingerprints all over this one, tripping and distracting Madusa whenever
possible. Working a half crab, Hokuto bites Madusa’s foot while she’s at it – a
nice touch. I am oddly distracted by Madusa’s tramp stamp. Unfortunately, this
isn’t in HD, and I’m not able to get a proper camera angle, so I’m left to
speculate on the kind of tattoo Madusa might get on her lower back. After
ruling out many of the usual suspects, I’m going to narrow it down to a bottle
of JD (which would explain the Tennessee Colonel’s obsession with her), or a
campfire (cuz she’s A Blayze). I’m open-minded however, and am willing to
accept theories. Madusa hits her German suplex, but Patrick is out of position
and counts a little slow. The plot thickens. They battle to the top, where
Hokuto hits a superplex, but Patrick counts a normal 2. Madusa dropkicks Hokuto
to the floor, and while Patrick monitors that, Sonny Onoo flattens Madusa with
the American flag! Hokuto re-enters with a missile dropkick, and finishes with
a Northern Lights Bomb for the pin and the belt at 7:05. Heenan: “Japanese 2, WCW 0.” I think he’s got this confused
with last year’s show. *1/2
In the locker room, “MEAN” GENE
OKERLUND
welcomes RODDY PIPER to
Music City USA. The Hot Rod compares Hogan to Jurassic Park, despite being all
of 1 year younger. Life is a fight! 6 kids! Homeless at 13! All the usual. He
leaves the dressing room hopping on his replaced hip.
JUSHIN LIGER vs. REY
MYSTERIO JR.
MIKE TENAY is back,
figuring the winner of this one is the defacto #1 contender. Without facing
Jimmy Graffiti? Surely he jests. Both guys shake hands … I don’t care for THAT.
Tenay notes that this is their first matchup, which I find kind of shocking
actually. This is also just 2 months after Liger’s brain tumor was removed;
yikes! And we think drugs are a problem NOW! Liger tries a rear surfboard, but
Rey flips backwards and kicks him in the face. Liger comes back immediately
with a dropkick, and a powerslam that certainly isn’t messing around. A
standing vertical suplex stands to leave Rey a little dizzy, and a gutbuster
takes his breath away. Liger goes for a nasty powerbomb, and slams Rey with
some FORCE. I think the back of his head bounced off the mat on that one.
Liger’s just methodically stalking Rey now, but he gets cocky and goes for a
second gutbuster; and Rey turns that into a rana! A second one sends Liger out
to the floor, and Rey hooks the top rope to keep himself in the ring. Liger
gets back to the apron, only to see Rey charging at him with a spear. It
connects, but the follow up attempt sees Liger turn the tables and suplex Rey
to the outside of the ring. And then, for kicks, he throws ANOTHER vicious powerbomb,
with the back of Rey’s head hitting the side of the ring. 1990’s wrestling!
Concussions what? Rey slowly crawls back to the ring, and is immediately placed
up top. He manages to shove Liger away, but his dropkick attempt misses, and he
falls senton style to the ground. Liger cracks him with a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker, and Rey finds himself trapped in a surfboard. Rey wiggles to try
and release the hold, but Liger has every part hooked well and Mysterio has
nowhere to go. Finally he rocks forward, and Liger throws him a bit with his
feet. He goes to catch Rey, but Mysterio quickly goes behind and throws a
release German! Fast standing moonsault gets 2. Rey nails a DDT, and
springboard moonsault gets another 2. A springboard dropkick his Liger square in
the chest, and Rey mounts him quickly with the camel clutch. Rey goes for the
West Coast Pop, but Liger has him scouted and catches him with a dropkick to
the face as he flies in. A release German suplex gets 2. Liger moves to a half
crab, cinching back as far as you’ll ever see anyone bend this side of Eric
Bischoff. A spinning heel kick connects in the corner, but Rey retaliates with
one of his own. Liger puts Rey up top, but Mysterio jumps at him with an
overhead scissors takeover. Liger rolls to the floor, not seeing Rey fly at him
with an Asai moonsault! Liger heads back in, but as he’s between the ropes, Rey
drops a leg with a nasty little guillotine. Rey goes for a springboard senton,
but Liger rolls away, and he leaps at Rey with a diving headbutt off the top
for 2. They start trading blows in the corner, and Liger shoves Rey off the
apron, to the floor, hands free. Liger heads up, but Rey pounces back onto the
apron, leaps, and goes for the super rana – only it’s blocked by Liger! Liger
rolls forward with a spinning heel kick, before nailing a running Ligerbomb,
and we have a winner at 14:14. This
wasn’t as good as the earlier match, as a lot of spots just felt like “we’re
doing MOVES”, but it was still a damn fine, flashy display of what both guys are
capable of. ***1/2
CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman)
vs. JEFF JARRETT (in a no disqualification match)
This must be a surprise bonus match or something because I don’t
remember any hype behind this. Benoit and Woman take a few extra seconds to
stare into each other’s eyes before Jarrett makes his entrance. This, admittedly,
is a little interesting because Flair is a big Jeff Jarrett fan. However, the
rest of the Horsemen can’t stand the smarmy son of a bitch. But on the other
hand, everyone, with the exception of Flair once more, is livid at Benoit for
flaunting his affair with Kevin Sullivan’s wife on national TV. Which begs the
question: who are they rooting for? Benoit shoves Jarrett to his ass, and kicks
imaginary dirt all over him, to a GIANT pop. It’s clear who the fans support
here. Jarrett gets to his feet, and Benoit slaps the tradition right out of his
mouth. A double arm lariat gets 1. Benoit hits a drop toe hold, and stands on
the back of Jarrett’s head, grinding his nose into the mat. Jeff pops to his
feet while Benoit celebrates, and takes Chris down with a drop toe hold of his
own, before dancing on his back. They trade 3 consecutive standing switches,
before Benoit just elbows Jarrett in the face to knock that off. Chris kicks
the crap out of Jarrett in the corner, and flashes the Horsemen sign. Jarrett
flies out of the corner with a spear, and they start rolling around on the mat,
pounding each other. Benoit rolls to the floor, and Jarrett follows suit. Woman
grabs Jarrett’s arm, and when he wheels around, Benoit decks him. Back in,
Benoit catapults Jarrett mouth first to the buckle, and Jeff drops like Santa
down an industrial sized chimney. Benoit forces Jarrett to the top, but Jeff
blocks the superplex and Chris flies backwards with nothing. Jarrett chokes Benoit
in the ropes, but Woman pulls him aside to avoid the straddle, and Jeff’s beans
take a sharp shot. A short-armed clothesline from Benoit gets 2. Frustrated
that he isn’t winning, Benoit tosses Jarrett over the top and whips him to the
guardrail. Jarrett sorta retaliates, but he doesn’t have much gas, and as soon
as he’s back in he takes a backdrop suplex for 2. A sleeper is applied, and
Jarrett finds himself taking a nap in under 20 seconds. Benoit uses the ropes
for leverage; still sneakily, but it’s allowed since it’s no DQ anyway. The
referee checks the arm, and after a couple drops, Jarrett still shows life. They
battle back to a vertical base, and Jarrett hits a backdrop suplex to release
the hold. A cradle gets 2. Jarrett nails Benoit with a big boot, and quickly
comes off the top … right into Benoit’s foot. Chris chops the snot out of
Jarrett, but Jeff turns things around and plants Benoit with a dropkick for 2.
An overhead belly to belly launches Benoit to the apron, and Jarrett pulls him
back in with a front suplex across the top rope. Jarrett goes for the Figure
Four, so Woman just claws at the eyes. The fans start to explode, because ARN ANDERSON is walking to ringside
with a purpose; burning a hole through Benoit. He stands to watch, as Benoit
starts working over Jarrett right in front of him. However, with his focus
there, he doesn’t see KONAN and HUGH MORRUS kidnap Woman. Woman’s scrappy,
and puts up a hell of fight. Meanwhile, it turns out Anderson’s appearance was
a ploy, because he DDTs Jarrett on the concrete, completely missing the KEVIN SULLIVAN appearance, who destroys
a wooden chair over Benoit’s skull. Jarrett rolls in and scores the pinfall at 13:47. Despite the fact it was fundamentally
solid, I was never feeling this one. Neither guy seemed to sell very well for
the other, and they didn’t match up well in my opinion. **1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND tries to get a
word from anyone who will talk to him, but every single person blows him off on
their way to the back. Thankfully, MONGO
MCMICHAEL
and DEBRA MCMICHAEL
are always willing to share their opinions. He thinks Woman’s got Benoit weak
in the knees. Jarrett was served to him on a silver platter, and he failed to
get the win. Debra thinks Jarrett is Horsemen material, and trashes Benoit and
Woman. “That girl has been rode hard, and put up wet.” Gene quickly covers his
microphone and orders her to knock it off.
THE OUTSIDERS (with Syxx)
vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
NICK PATRICK is the
referee, which doesn’t bode well for the loves of my life capturing the
tag-team titles here. Still, would YOU try and screw Meng over? If anyone’s
gonna hold Patrick accountable, it’s these guys. Meng starts with Scott Hall,
and he promptly no sells everything Hall hits him with before taking him down
with a clothesline. Meng tosses Hall to the corner, and works him over. Patrick
tries to break it up, but one look and a grunt from Meng backs him RIGHT off.
The distraction is enough for Hall to hit a second rope bulldog, from which
Meng pops up having suffered no damage and clotheslines Hall down again.
Barbarian comes in, and Hall spits in his face. OH NO YOU DIDN’T! The
chickenshit tags in Nash, who tries to look as intimidating as possible … and
Barbarian doesn’t flinch. Nash hits the corner elbows, which serve no purpose
because Barbarian catches him with an elbow of his own, chokes Nash for awhile,
and chops the crap out of him. Patrick gives him a warning, and the momentary
distraction allows Nash to clothesline him from behind. However, that just
draws Meng flying in to start the CLUBBERIN’! Hall stands there, not willing to
get involved, because he’s not suicidal. Nash gives them a double noggin’
knocker, which is the equivalent of Hulking those guys up, and they double
headbutt Nash to the mat after a primal scream. The fans are eating these guys
up! Barbarian gives Nash a sidewalk slam with the kind of effort that says “I
pick up 350 pound guys in my SLEEP!” and gets 2. Barbarian heads up, walks the
ropes just because he can … but misses an elbow. Hall gets in a cheap
clothesline, and Nash throws a series of punches. The big boot is used to choke
out Barbarian, and Patrick misses the entire thing. Hall tags in, and Meng’s
patience is done now, because he pulls Hall to the corner by the hair and now
they give HIM the CLUBBERIN’! Hall elbows both guys, who fail to sell any of
it, and Barbarian gives Hall the big boot. Patrick misses it because he’s tied
up with Jimmy Hart, and eventually turns around long after a 3, and Hall kicks
out at a slow 2. Barbarian doesn’t care, he doesn’t complain, he just turns to
Meng who gives Hall a spike piledriver. Patrick runs around in a circle, and
slowly counts 2. Meng reminds him how to count, and tags in Barbarian.
Honestly, if the slow counts are just going to result in the Outsiders taking
more and more punishment until they’re quadriplegics, I’m fine with it.
Barbarian hits a smooth powerbomb, and Patrick counts 1 at the speed of a 3
before Nash breaks it up. Meng gives Hall an atomic drop, and Barbarian gives
him a big boot to the face, but he’s the illegal man and Patrick won’t count.
Hall clotheslines Barbarian in the back of the head, and Hall follows with one
from the front, and Barbarian’s down. He’s still up first anyway. Syxx steals
Hart’s megaphone and chases him to the back, but I doubt it’ll slow my heroes
any. Barbarian applies a nerve hold, and refuses to release as Hall passes out.
Patrick doesn’t check Hall’s arm, and Scott eventually gets a second wind,
backdropping Barbarian. Nash gets the hot tag, which just sees him trade
punches with Barbarian. Nash nails the big boot, and Patrick counts 2 lightning
fast, but Meng charges and saves. Hall pulls him to the outside, as Barbarian
loads the boot. He misses the Kick of Fear, Nash hits the Jackknife, and the
Outsiders retain at 11:43. You know …
it’s not even that the Faces of Fear lost. I’m a big boy, and I’ve had 18 years
to prepare myself for this recap. It’s the fact it was done cleanly that really
gets to me. These guys could have milked months out of being the thorn in the
side of the nWo, the two bad asses who simply didn’t give a crap how many of
them there were or how high the odds were stacked because their job was to kick
ass and worry about the details later. Instead, after less than 2 months, they’re
effectively killed off as top contenders, and the real chase is being given to
the Steiners. I rarely believe in the racism card, but this is one case where I
feel the upper crust in WCW felt that a white team who had better microphone
skills were the right way to go. Which is unfortunate, because these guys are
just oozing the kind of in-ring charisma that I’d kill to see from ANYONE on
Monday Night RAW today. ***
Backstage, TED DIBIASE, VINCENT, ELIZABETH, and HOLLYWOOD
HOGAN
are talking down Roddy Piper. Hogan says there’s already a ticker
tape parade going on in California because they’re on Pacific Time and think he’s
already won. What the hell is he talking about? He was prepared to tell all the
Hollywood Maniacs that Piper had tucked tail and flown back to Portland, but he
just saw one of Piper’s kids trying to bum a quarter to buy a Coke, so he knows
he’s still here, because even Piper’s not woman enough to leave his kids
behind. Ain’t leaving the kids behind more of a stereotypically man move? Hulk,
with all due respect … go away.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs.
EDDIE GUERRERO (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)
Thousands of fans make the Diamond Cutter sign as Page struts down to
ringside, showing them nothing but contempt. Oh Dallas, you might not want
them, but they’re ready for you, and tonight’s your big night daddio. Eddie
hiptosses Page, who flips Eddie off to a pretty strong reaction. Eddie tries
mocking him to utter silence. He hasn’t managed to find that connection yet;
but I’m prepared to be patient. They fight to the floor, where Page uses all
the dirty tricks as the fans start a “DDP” chant. Eddie snapmares Page over the
top rope, rolls him back in, and hits a slingshot senton for 2. Page pops up,
right into a drop toe hold, and Eddie applies an armbar. Page gets up and
charges, but winds up toppling to the floor. Eddie is right behind with a
plancha. Back in, Eddie mounts Page in the corner, but winds up taking snake
eyes. A pancake is delivered, almost with enough vertical air to be a spike
piledriver. A vertical suplex gets 2, with an annoyed Page feeding it Scott
Dickenson to count faster. Page works an abdominal stretch, and despite the fan
attention, he’s still a scumbag and uses the ropes for extra leverage. The
referee asks the fans if he’s cheating, and amazingly, he gets told “NOOOO”.
Eddie gets in a small package for 2, but Page still has the momentum and uses a
swinging neckbreaker to get 2. Back to the abdominal stretch, and Page goes
right back to cheating. He gets caught on the 3rd go-around, so Page
releases happily and punches Eddie in the ribs. He and Dickenson start a
yelling match, with Page trying to get him to knock it off so he can
concentrate on the match. Eddie gets in a schoolboy for 2, but immediately
takes a clothesline. DDP charges the corner, but Eddie sidesteps, and Page’s
shoulder hits the post. Eddie sweeps out the leg, and lifts Page off his feet
with a European uppercut! A face slam to the buckle sends Page flying
backwards, and a vertical suplex gets 2. A backdrop suplex sends Eddie to the
top, but he misses the Frog Splash! Eddie’s elbow is killing him, and Page
dives in for a pinfall attempt, getting 2. DDP hits a gutbuster, and heads up
top much to the fans delight. He is promptly crotched. Eddie mounts him, but
Page shoves him off and dives at Eddie … right into an atomic drop, and Eddie
gets 2! Page goes to clothesline him, and takes a backslide for 2! DDP tries a
Diamond Cutter, and the fans erupt, before Eddie turns it into another
backslide for another 2! Eddie tries a rana, but Page spins around in mid-move,
and hits a 360 powerbomb instead for 2! Eddie hits a desperation back elbow,
and falls to the outside, which brings down THE OUTSIDERS and SYXX.
Hall gets in the ring behind the referee’s back, and flattens Page with the
Outsider’s Edge!! This is clear payback for Page turning down the nWo
repeatedly over the last month. Eddie wakes up, hits the Frog Splash, and wins
the US title at 15:20! The nWo tries
to destroy Eddie, but he somehow manages to fight off all 3 guys for nearly a
minute before they get their act together and beat him down. Syxx steals the US
title again for good measure. Great storyline advancement here, and this can
only bode even better for Page with the fans moving forward since he’s been one
of the few WCW to spit defiantly in the nWo’s face. For the record, Diamond
Dallas Page is a PERFECT study on how to build a new star. Give him a swanky
finisher, put him over strong for months on end, and eventually have him start
standing up to everyone around him, good or bad. I know that “wins and losses
don’t matter” and we need to keep everyone “equal”, but wrestling wasn’t built
on equal, it was built on guys with the right attitude making piles of money
for everyone involved. Basically, WWE, grow a sack and follow this model. (PS:
And I don’t mean with John Cena!) ***
THE GIANT vs. LEX LUGER
Amazingly, we have impartial referee RANDY ELLER assigned to this one; the first nWo match that I can
remember without Nick Patrick or Doctor X. Both guys lock up, and Luger
struggles with the massive Giant. Luger’s putting a world of effort into this,
and seems to be sapping all his energy on trying to show Giant he can push him
backwards. Giant eventually shrugs him off and roars. Luger responds by popping
him in the jaw with his steel forearm, and continues the assault with Giant off
balance. The Giant comes to, and explodes out of the corner with a single
clothesline that leaves Luger for dead. A jumping elbow causes Luger to
convulse, but he has time to recover because Giant is slow as molasses. As soon
as Luger gets to crouched position, Giant punts him in the midsection with
enough force to send Luger flying out the ropes like a football. On his way
back in, Giant helps him re-enter with a vertical suplex. Giant stands on Luger’s
throat, and you’d have to imagine the end is near for WCW’s top hope to end the
nWo. Giant’s all laughs, and that momentary lapse sees Luger throw an axehandle
and go for a slam … but Giant is WAYYYY too fat for that, and falls right on
Lex. Giant pulls him up at 1, he’s not interested in ending this yet. Not
without a leaping headbutt to the balls. Given the volume of performance
enhancers coursing through Luger’s blood at this point, that’s gotta be a
fairly precise shot from the Giant. He goes for an avalanche, but Luger
side-steps, and Giant finds himself lying on the ropes like a hammock, and
stuck. Luger kicks him over and over to set up a Rack, but Giant drops down and
that’s that. Luger continues to bring the fight, and a number of clotheslines
have Giant rocking. The old wind up punch doesn’t even bring him down, but a
neckbreaker does, and Luger gets 2. In fact, Giant kicks out with enough force
to launch Luger about 95 feet into the air, and he happens to fall EXACTLY
where poor Randy Eller lays. Never fear, however, because NICK PATRICK is here. In the chaos, Luger manages to slam Giant,
and puts him in the Rack … only to see Patrick kick the back of his legs out and
cause him to collapse. Luger wallops Patrick, as STING starts skulking through the crowd. The Rack is re-applied,
but now SYXX is here, and breaks
that up. Sting hits the ring, ball bat in hand, and pushes it right into the
chest of Nick Patrick, sending him sprawling. He whispers something to Lex, and
then heads over to the Giant to do the same. Leaving his baseball bat behind,
he decides it’s time to exit through the crowd. Lex gets to the bat, but Giant
is up and steps on it. With only one move left, Luger swings his mighty fist,
uppercutting the Giant right in the Polish sausage! He grabs the ball bat,
drives it into the Giant’s stomach, and incredibly, the Giant starts to vomit
ALL over the place! An entire Christmas spread – turkey, yams, stuffing, green
beans with little bits of bacon, gingerbread cookies, an entire smoked ham, the
missing Fit Finlay, and fruitcake are just spewed EVERYWHERE. Wait, no, sorry,
he actually just collapses and Randy Eller awakens to count the pinfall at 13:20. This was probably awful by
anyone else’s standards, but I’m a sucker for a hot crowd and a testosterone
fuelled superman overcome a big evil bad guy. ***1/2 – and I don’t care if it
kills the credibility I never had.
MICHAEL BUFFER arrives to
pump us up for the main event, while poor Randy Eller is declared legally brain
dead following that 5 minute coma.
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (with
Vincent, Ted DiBiase, Elizabeth, and some gold vanity belt he never defends but
believes is a guitar) vs. RODDY PIPER (in a non-title match)
Yup, despite the fact WCW never explicitly announced whether or not this
was a title match; it was fairly assumed that the belt WOULD be at stake here
since Hogan paraded it out every single time he mouthed off about Piper, AND he
hasn’t defended it in 2 months, NOT to mention it’s the biggest damn
pay-per-view of the year. I realize had WCW advertised a non-title match that
the results of this would be far less in doubt (whoops, spoiler?), but the fans
were totally baited here and it’s not cool, WCW. The fans erupt in a unanimous
sea of “RODDY! RODDY!” chants, and despite my vitriol for the last two months,
it’s clear he’s a god to the 1996 wrestling fans, so it’s not fair for me to
look back 18 years later and declare this a total disaster (since it’s clearly
not) – but there is no way Piper’s insane rambling would have survived the social
media era. I don’t know if it’s because we expect a smarter product, or we’re
just a giant group of haters, but it just hasn’t stood up as well as a lot of
the other stuff we’ve looked back at this year. Anyway, Hogan stalls to start,
and when they finally lock up, he screams at the referee to “WATCH THE BREAK –
I DON’T TRUST THIS GUY!” Of course, as soon as they break, it’s Hogan who
starts slapping around Roddy. You can almost feel some 14 years of playing the
hero just seeping away, as he seamlessly transitions into the heel that’s lived
inside of him since his early days with Freddie Blassie (or, Rocky Balboa).
Piper responds by beating the shit out of him, and Hogan runs right up the
aisle, calling it a night. The ref holds Roddy at bay, so Piper grabs him (it’s
PEE WEE ANDERSON, for the record),
and places him on the top turnbuckle so he can go back to goading Hogan to fight
like a man. Hogan answers the call, digging deep into his inner manhood as
requested … and starts clawing at Roddy’s face. CAAAATFIGHT! Piper pokes Hogan
in the eyes to knock that off, and throws a clothesline. He can’t follow up
because Hogan’s already back on the floor to hang out with Trillionaire Ted.
Back in, Piper works a headlock, and holds on tight while Hogan tries like hell
to shove him off. Hulk manages a backdrop suplex, but Roddy continues to hold
on, working it like a crossface on the mat. In the ropes, Hogan finally spears
his way loose, and he nails Piper with a jawbreaker, sending Piper to the
outside. Hogan comes off the apron with an axehandle, and pokes Piper in the
eyes. Hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no complaining
(and I’m looking at YOU Tony Schiavone). Back in the ring, Piper actually hits
something resembling a dropkick – fairly impressive considering his current
mobility. Hogan runs up the aisle again, and looks like this time he ain’t
coming back, so Piper charges and pulls him back to ringside by the hair. Piper
shoves DAVE PENZER aside, grabs his
belt off his kilt, and starts whipping Hogan like a red headed mule. DiBiase
trips up Piper, but Roddy’s taking no one’s crap tonight and chases down Ted.
Of course, Hogan’s recovered now, and gets the upper hand on Piper. The fans, for
the record, have been incredible, and haven’t stopped cheering Piper on since
the bell rang over 10 minutes ago. In the ring, Hogan starts to kick at the
surgically repaired hip, and slaps on the abdominal stretch. He even adds a
wedgie as a nice extra touch. Piper escapes, and dives on Hogan with the ground
and pound. He even yanks out some of Hogan’s hair. Back to their feet, Hogan
pokes the eyes, and both guys start slugging it out, with neither guy giving in
to the other. Piper stops it to hit a vertical suplex, and gets a 2 count. He
misses a kneedrop to the face, and the impact leaves him clutching his leg in
agony. Hogan wastes no time in going for the Atomic Legdrop, but Piper moves,
and starts hopping on the bad leg to show he’s fine. And that’s all THE GIANT can stand to watch, and he
goes to Chokeslam Piper. In mid-move, Piper swings his legs to kick Hogan in
the face, and escapes by biting Giant’s nose! Back to Hogan, Piper locks on the
Sleeper, and Hogan’s arm drops 3 times, giving Piper the win at 15:28!!! The fans lose their collective
shit as fireworks explode, and Piper stands over Hogan’s limp body. *1/2 for
the match, ***** for the crowd.
THE OUTSIDERS rush the ring,
and Piper takes them both out with a little boxing. He bails before they can
double team him, and even The Giant doesn’t mess with him anymore. One of Piper’s
kids shows up on the stage, and Piper carries him backstage as the fans chant “PIPER!
PIPER!” on his way out.

But we’re not done – The Giant is livid at the entire nWo because none of them
ever watch his back the way he does for everyone else. He demands to know where
the original nWo threesome were during his match with Luger. Hogan: “You
dropped the ball.” The fans shower Hulkster with a “HOGAN SUCKS” chant, as
Hogan demands his belt and spits on the camera to send the show off.
Fantastic show, all the way through. Quality stuff on both the under
card, and some good storyline progression with the top. This really was the
best they could have hoped for with what was booked, and my lone disappointment
was that the nWo wasn’t swept with the Faces of Fear collecting the tag-team
titles. Still, the most dangerous group in wrestling history FINALLY got some
come-uppance for the first time since their arrival in May, and WCW is showing
a little unity.

The only question is whether or not they can capitalize going into 1997.