2015 Scott Sez: Hog Wild 1996

The SK Retro Rant for WCW Hog Wild 96. (So I gotta say, I have no idea why I didn’t buy this show back in 1996, unless I had something else going on that Saturday, but that seems pretty unlikely.  I mean, have you MET me?)  Lots of requests recently for this one. Dunno why. I guess with the diminishing number of shows I haven’t done yet the law of averages says that this one had to come up sometime. (Of course now there’s like a whole DECADE of shows I’ve never watched, but there was a time in the early 2000s when I could lay claim to reviewing every PPV ever!)  Quick Oscar thoughts: Steve Martin was really funny and charming, but the actual awards were so predictable and subpar that I was able to sit there and pick the major ones with a 95% accuracy rate, even while flipping over to “Goodfellas” on Bravo at the same time. (Goodfellas is a movie where I am physically unable to resist watching it in full whenever it’s on TV, along with Shawshank Redemption and Men In Black.)  Ooo, Julia wins Best Actress, what a shock. Gladiator wins Best Picture despite Traffic being RIGHT THERE, but when the Academy gets an epic in it’s sights, you might as well settle in for the sweep. (Good god what a terrible decision that one was in retrospect) I don’t know that I’d agree with it winning the big award or even Russell Crowe winning Best Actor despite having nothing but cliches and grunts to spew for 3 hours, but I certainly liked the movie, so I can’t really complain all that much. (I can totally complain.  IT WAS A STUPID DECISION) I’m totally heartened to see Del Toro take Best Supporting at least and Steven Soderburgh upset Ang Lee for Best Director, so the night wasn’t a total writeoff. Still, let’s hope for a better crop of movies this year so that we don’t get The Mummy Returns winning Best Picture in March 2002, okay? Live from Sturgis, NC.  (I believe “South Dakota” is what I meant there.)  Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Dusty. Just for the sake of those curious, I’m including matches I felt like watching from the two-hour WCW Saturday Night / pre-game show that preceded this show on TBS. (Forever lost to history now.  Or Chris Fothergill-Brown’s hard drive.  Same thing.)  I start by fast-forwarding through Enos & Slater v. The Public Enema.  (I’m glad to see Rough & Ready sticking it out at least after the problems they’ve been having.)  Konnan v. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. Konnan controls with an armbar takedown and works a wristlock. Chavo comes back with a headscissor takedown and Konnan bails to the dirt. The ring is on a platform, which is in turn on plain old dirt. The distance from ring to dirt is pretty big, and the space on the platform where the mats are is pretty small. Ah, WCW, the smartest promotion no longer alive. Chavo gets a vicious deathlock variation and works the knee. Konnan roughs him up and dropkicks him in the corner. DDT gets two. Chavo gets a lariat and dropkick, and Konnan hides in the ropes. He comes out and cheapshots Chavo from behind, then the rolling clothesline and Splash Mountain finish at 4:24. *1/4 We skip over Nasty Boys v. High Voltage, for obvious reasons. Alex Wright v. Bobby Eaton. Wright wins with a bodypress before I even finish writing the participants, at 0:35. Eep. DUD We skip over the Dungeon of Doom squashing some jobbers. Squire Dave Taylor v. Mr. JL. JL gets a dropkick and armdrag to start, and Taylor bails. Back in, Taylor gets some forearms and dodges a blind charge. Standing neckbreaker and Taylor pounds away. JL gets a bulldog and goes up with a bodypress for two. Fallaway slam from Taylor finishes at 2:39. Just a squash. ½* DDP v. Renegade. Diamond Cutter, goodbye at 0:52. DUD Arn Anderson v. Hugh Morrus. No Laughing Matter misses, DDT doesn’t, goodbye at 0:35. DUD (How can this be a pre-show without Bad News Barrett doing a job?)  PPV Begins: Opening match, Cruiserweight title: Rey Mysterio Jr. v. Ultimo Dragon. Wristlock sequence to start, won by Rey. Dragon gets a rollup for two, but Rey works the leg. Dragon gets a leg lariat and they fight over a german suplex and go to a gymnastic exhibition. Dragon with the kick combo and a dropkick. The handspring elbow sets up a running powerbomb, but he stalls and won’t cover. He goes into a figure-four for god-knows-what reason. Spinning backbreaker and again he won’t cover. They screw up a bow-and-arrow spot, with Rey slipping free unintentionally, and Rey comes back with a springboard dropkick, baseball slide to put him out, and springboard plancha from the top rope to the dirt. To give you an idea of how suicidal that was, consider that standing on the ground, the wrestlers were generally eye-level with the bottom rope thanks to the raised platform. And there’s no mats down there. Back in, Rey gets a rana from the top, but gets dropkicked while trying another. Rey bails and Dragon follows with a pescado. Back in, Dragon gets a german suplex for two. Quebrada, no cover. Moonsault gets two. Powerbomb reversed to a rana by Rey, and they go up. Dragon blocks a rana, but can’t block a second one, and Rey gets the pin at 11:38. Too spotty and just all over the map. Still good, though. ***  (Sounds about right.)  Scott Norton v. Juice Train. Train was dumb enough to lip off to Giant in the pre-game show and got his arm beat up as a result. Norton works on it for a bit, Ice Train comes back with a powerslam, but Norton applies an armbar for the submission at 5:05. Standard power stuff here. ¾*  (After watching weeks of buildup on Nitro lately, that sounds like exactly the kind of horrendous disappointment you’d expect.)  Bull Nakano v. Madusa. Winner gets to smash up the loser’s motorcycle. Nakano attacks with nunchuks and biels her by the hair a few times, for two. Slam gets two, but Madusa comes back with her flying hair slam things. Nakano hooks a Sharpshooter, then a DDT gets two. We hit the chinlock. Madusa kicks at the legs and gets a rana for two. Leg lariat, but Nakano hits her own clothesline for two. Madusa’s GERMAN SUPLEX OF DOOM gets two. Nakano hits a backdrop suplex for two. Another one gets the pin, but Madusa LIFTS HER SHOULDER and wins at 5:53. Gosh, what an original and totally enthralling ending. ½* (On the bright side, the 5000 redneck bikers in attendance would have likely never seen a wrestling match in their lives anyway and so this was a totally fresh and new finish for all of them!)  Madusa’s surgically enhanced funbags were seriously messing with her workrate by then. They had a way better match at Summerslam 94. Madusa does a job of smashing up the bike with a sledgehammer that would make HHH hang his head in shame. Dean Malenko v. Chris Benoit. Mmmmm…Liz in leather. Deano Machino has been paid off by the Dungeon of Dumb at this point, with the goal being to take Benoit out. (God, I sound like Jericho at his worst.) Benoit takes him down and pounds him, Dean responds in kind. Chris gets some CANADIAN VIOLENCE, and a kneelift. Dean elbows back and pounds him in the corner. Suplex gets two. Standing neckbreaker and elbow gets two, and we hit the chinlock. Benoit pounds him and lays the badmouth on him, then chokes him out. Legdrop gets one. More Canadian Violence, and a back elbow gets two. Dean bridges out and they go into a mind-blowingly awesome pinfall reversal sequence that totally goes over the redneck biker crowd’s head. It ends with Dean getting a short-arm scissor. Chris rolls him over and powers out. Elbowdrop gets two. Snap suplex gets two. Benoit goes into an abdominal stretch, then hits the chinlock. Both go for a bodypress and collide in mid-air. Benoit misses a blind charge, but Dean walks into a snap suplex to set up Benoit’s diving headbutt for two. Tombstone attempt is reversed by Dean for two. He keeps covering for two. Cloverleaf attempt is reversed for two by Benoit. Both guys hit the floor, and Benoit gets the worst of it. Back in, Dean goes up and gets crotched. Benoit superplex gets two. Dean gets a vicious release german suplex, where you can almost see Benoit floating in slow motion before hitting the mat square on his neck. Now THAT’S wrestling. Crowd doesn’t care, but fuck ‘em if they can’t appreciate art. Benoit comes back with a small package for two. Short clothesline gets two, and Dean responds in kind for two. Overhead belly to belly gets two for Dean, and Chris comes back with a Northern Lights suplex for two. Bridging german suplex gets two for Benoit. He goes into a Liontamer, but Dean makes the ropes and bails. Benoit follows with a pescado, and gets a bridging rollup back in for two. Dean gets a forward rollup for two. Backslide battle is won by Malenko, for two. Rollup gets two. Benoit takes him down for two. Powerbomb gets two. Benoit goes up but gets superplexed for two. Oklahoma roll gets two for Dean. Powerbomb gets two for Dean as the time limit expires at 20:00. So we go another 5:00, and the crowd BOOS. Hey, FUCKWADS, it’s Benoit v. Malenko, so sit on your bikes and LIKE IT. Benoit gets a backdrop suplex for two. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two. Benoit uses a Cloverleaf, but Malenko makes the ropes. Enzuigiri puts Benoit down and they collide in the corner. Benoit stomps on the knee and hooks a kneebar. He destroys the knee and goes back to the kneebar with 30 seconds left. Dean gets a rollup as time expires. Another overtime prompts a bigger round of boos from the idiot rednecks. Any other city in America or Canada and the crowd would going batshit for this, and these morons are booing because they want to see Hulk Hogan. And WCW actually came back here THREE MORE YEARS after this. Dean gets a legwhip, but Benoit hits a dragon suplex for two. Rollup gets two. Dropkick misses and Dean gets his own Cloverleaf. Benoit goes for the ropes, but Dean stops him with an STF. Woman runs interference, however, and Benoit gets a rollup for the pin at 28:10. God-awful ending to a fabulous match. ****1/2 And a hearty “fuck you” to the ignorant crowd. (There was a whole debate that was triggered by this rant, actually, with people on the opposite, which is to say wrong, side arguing that the match wasn’t actually any good because if it WAS good, then the idiot bikers in the crowd would have gotten into it or something.) WCW World tag title match: Harlem Heat v. The Steiner Brothers. Speaking of the crowd’s intellectual deficiency, racial harmony is set back 50 years here as they immediately boo Harlem Heat out of the building for being black and hurl various insults at them. God bless South Dakota, y’all should be so proud. (Is South Dakota really even in the South?  Or is it like a Sons of Anarchy thing where the clubs don’t discriminate against color as long as your color isn’t black?)  Mega-stall to start, literally lasting 4 minutes. Scott gets a butterfly powerbomb on Booker T, and the Heat retreats. Back in, Booker misses the sidekick and gets press-slammed. Heat regroups again. Stevie Ray gives it a go and gets the upper hand. Scott t-bones him and Rick comes in to kick away and hit the chinlock. Blind charge hits boot, but Rick no-sells and gets a Steinerline for two. Scott comes in and headbutts Stevie low, and Booker sideslams him in retaliation. Blind charge hits Scott’s boot, however, and he gets the belly-to-belly for two. Rick suplexes him for two. Cheapshot from the apron and Rick is YOUR dogface-in-peril. He catches Booker with a slam, and briefly tags in Scott, but he comes back in and gets dumped. Back in, Stevie goes to the chinlock. As does Booker. Stevie gets a backbreaker and a suplex gets two. He utilizes the dreaded VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM, but Booker misses an elbow, hot tag Scott. Overhead belly-to-belly gets two on Booker, but Robert Parker tosses powder at them and hits Booker by mistake. Sherri tosses more powder and hits Scott, however, and Parker breaks the cane over his head for the Booker pin at 17:53. Just a WEE bit screwy on the ending there. Match was the usual snoozefest from these two. ** Crowd was REALLY pissed at the finish. (Yeah, in retrospect they should have just pulled the Heat from the card completely.)  US title match: Ric Flair v. Eddy Guerrero. Eddy grabs a headlock and shoves Flair around, prompting an argument with the ref. Flair bails for a while and consults with the dev’lish wom’n (© Dusty Rhodes) and stalls. Back in, Eddy works another headlock, but gets dropped on his shoulder with a suplex. They exchange chops and Flair runs again. Back in, Eddy goes back to the headlock. Slugfest, won by Guerrero. Flair goes to the eyes and unloads with a chop. Some cheapshots put him down, and Flair lays in the chops. Eddy comes back and Flair does the Flair Flip and gets dropkicked out. Back in, backdrop and Eddy dumps him. Back in again, Eddy’s chops lead to the Flair Flop. Eddy is getting a pretty exceptional amount of offense in here. Flair goes low, but Eddy gets a crossbody for two. He goes up for a sunset flip, but Flair fights him off and escapes. Eddy goes to a figure-four, but Flair makes the ropes. A rana gets two. Tornado DDT gets two. Blind charge misses and Flair goes up, and of course gets slammed for two. Sunset flip gets two. Eddy goes to the eyes, and hits the Frog splash. He hurts his knee, however, and can’t cover. Uh oh…and indeed Flair hooks the figure-four dead centre and gets the pin at 14:16. Rather odd to see Guerrero completely dominate the match like that, but it worked well. ***1/4  (Flair did a LOT to try and get Guerrero over, actually.)  The Outsiders v. Sting & Lex Luger. (I maintain to my dying day that it was a total waste to switch the tag titles off the Super Best Buddies beforehand and not have this be for the belts.  Waiting until October to switch them to the Outsiders was a complete waste of time and they were clearly the top team in the promotion at this point, bar none.)  The Outsiders play rock-paper-scissors for first man in, and Hall wins to start. He works on Luger’s arm, then stalls. Luger comes back with a kneelift and slam, and more stalling follows. Nash wants Sting, NOW. More stalling results. Nash blocks a slam, but Sting beats on him and finishes the move. Nash hits Snake Eyes, however, and Hall nails him to take over. Standard Outsider stuff as Sting is YOUR Christian-in-peril. Fun fact: Everyone in this match is now unemployed. (Ironically, a few months after I wrote that, the Outsiders got jobs in WWE again.)  Hall’s fallaway slam gets two. Running clothesline and Nash comes in with the LEGLIFT OF DEATH. Sting fights back but gets avalanched. Sting falls on Nash’s crotch, however, and…Hall cuts off the hot tag. Nash gets the big boot and Hall wants the Outsider Edge. Sting escapes, hot tag Luger. Stinger splash for Nash and they fight outside, and Luger racks Hall. Nick Patrick gets bumped, however, and “accidentally” falls onto Luger’s knee, giving Hall the pin at 14:37 of boredom. This began the epic Evil Nick Patrick storyline. ¾* WCW World title match: The Giant v. Hollywood Hulk Hogan. (Fun fact!  Sean Waltman was supposed to be the fourth man and was at this show ready to debut in this match, but the WWF deliberately “lost” his release in the mail to screw with WCW, and left him hanging out to dry.  Bischoff was gun-shy about messing with Titan’s legal team at this point, so Ted Dibiase had to be introduced as the fourth man instead a week later.)   Hogan stalls to start. No, really, I’m as shocked as you. (This was a real uphill battle for him as a heel because the biker crowd was all cheering him anyway)  He slugs away, gets nowhere, and runs. Apparently the crowd is a few months behind the storyline, because Hogan is a HUGE babyface here. Back in, and he runs again. Back in, he runs again. Back in, and a lengthy discussion about hair-pulling follows. Hogan keeps begging off, until a test of strength that feels like it takes two years to complete, which is won by the Giant, of course. Giant goes to a wristlock, but Hogan takes him down and gets his own. And THAT takes forever. This is like watching Jerry Lawler in the late stages of his career. Giant gets some headbutts, Hogan runs. Giant follows and posts him, and back in he gets a big boot and backbreaker for two. Big elbow misses, but he hulks up (in an act he would resurrect 4 years later for the Showster). Big foot! Scott Hall comes in and it’s AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH THECHOKESLAM! Same for Kevin Nash! Hogan nails him with the belt, however, to win it at 14:55. This was supposed to be one of those “Sgt. Slaughter beating Ultimate Warrior groan of disappointment” moments, but it got the biggest babyface pop of the night. Match was about as painfully horrible as you’d expect. -*** Hogan’s lapdog Ed Leslie brings out a birthday cake to suck up to the nWo, but Hogan turns on him (before bringing him back two years later as the Disciple, oddly enough) and does the famous spraypaint job on the title belt, end of show. By the way, the 1996 Best Actor award should have gone to Paul Wight for laying there and playing dead while Hogan and the nWo enacted their little soap opera for 10 minutes after the match. Never mind that he’d be legally braindead with that kind of injury in real life, you have to admire the conviction required to lay motionless without bursting into tears of laughter every time Hogan tried to give a serious heel interview. The Bottom Line: Well, I don’t think anyone could argue that they shouldn’t have put the title on Hogan, I just wish they had a better transitional champion than the Giant. The whole thing would have worked out better in the long run if Sting had been the guy to pass the belt along, but hindsight is 20/20 and all that. Some good stuff in the undercard from the vanilla midgets and a historic main event make this one an easy choice, but dear god that crowd is a mass of stupidity that nearly kills the show at points. Recommended show.  (Errrrrrrrrrrr…I don’t know about that.  It’s certainly a unique visual, but I really HATE the dynamic with the bikers and the dirt under the ring and all that.  It’s really not much more than a thumbs in the middle for me when I think about it now.) 

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–08.05.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 08.05.96 Live from Orlando, FL. I thought they were done with this? It was a nice change of pace, but it’s been five weeks now. Your hosts are Tony & Larry WCW World tag team titles: Harlem Heat vs. The Rock N Roll Express So tonight Scott Norton, Big Bubba, Meng and Barbarian will be acting as ringside security in case the nWo decides to attack again. But what if DX drives a tank up to the show? They’ll be HELPLESS! So I feel like this is gonna be a weird style clash. So the first 2:00 or so is stalling, and we take a break and return with the RNR getting a brief advantage on Stevie Ray before Morton gets caught in the corner and double-teamed. Stevie with a press slam and elbow for two. Stevie goes to the chinlock while Booker gets distracted by Sherri and Parker doing their weird act at ringside. Clearly everyone is just dying from the humidity out there. Finally Morton gets the hot tag to Gibson (which Tony actually calls as such!) and they hit Booker with the double dropkick for two, but Sherri distracts Robert Gibson, allowing Booker to recover and pin him after a big boot from Stevie at 10:43. Yeah, this was no good. 1/2* The Nasty Boys clarify that they stand where they’ve always stood: Right here in Nastyville. Good to know. Malia Hosaka vs. Madusa Madusa sweeps the leg and gets a sunset flip for two, but Hosaka uses the hair to take over. She gets a TERRIBLE figure-four, but Madusa fights back with a powerbomb for two. Superplex and she goes after Sonny Onoo, allowing Hosaka to get a cheap pin with Onoo holding the legs at 4:50. This led to absolutely nothing. * Alex Wright vs. Chris Benoit Benoit beats on Wright in the corner until the ref pulls him off, so Wright fires back and gets a dropkick to send Benoit out of the ring. Back in, they trade headlocks and Wright gets a pair of flying headscissors, but misses a blind charge in dramatic fashion. Benoit takes over with a back elbow for two and a backdrop suplex for two. Benoit chokes him out and drops him on the top rope for two. Wright with a rollup for two, but Benoit puts him down with a snap suplex for two. Abdominal stretch, but Wright escapes with a hiptoss, so Benoit rides him down and goes to a camel clutch. Larry is a big fan of the suffering involved here. And then Jimmy Hart comes out to rant at the women, and Dean Malenko wants to haul Woman to the back, so Benoit attacks and gets counted out at 8:24. What a lame finish. Match was OK. ** Randy Savage vs. Lord Steven Regal They trade armbars to start and Savage quickly snaps and chokes Regal down in the corner, but he gets tossed as Tony makes the shocking announcement that Eric and Bobby are in fact not here. So it’s still Tony and Larry for a second hour. So now Luger and Sting joins us at ringside and take a seat in the mysterious vacant front row chairs while Savage takes over and slugs Regal down. They brawl outside and Savage runs him into the chairs, and back in to finish with the flying elbow at 6:15. Nothing match that was basically a squash for Savage, which is a shame because this could have been awesome. *1/2 Speaking of Savage, one of the most hilarious real life running gags in WCW history begins this week in the Observer: “Add Lanny Poffo to the list who are under contract, although there are no plans of using him. Must be nice to be a nephew or brother to a top wrestler in WCW.” Poffo would of course remain under contract for the next FOUR YEARS without ever being used once. Also, they spend this entire show hyping up the main event for next week, which will be Randy Savage challenging the winner of the World title match at Hog Wild. And of course, Randy Savage does not wrestle the winner of the World title match on next week’s show, he wrestles Ric Flair. That kind of stuff drives me nuts. Meanwhile, Sting and Luger investigate the mysterious nWo limo, and they find a wreath saying “Condolences on the death of WCW” in the back. According to Meltzer, that was a rib on Jim Cornette, who actually sent one of those for real to Jim Herd years before. They cut a promo with Savage in the ring and boot the wreath. This show has not exactly been a game-changer like last week’s. Ric Flair vs. The Booty Man Flair attacks Booty and beats on him outside, then back in for a blatant low blow. And now Bobby Heenan joins us at ringside while Booty Man makes a comeback, and he claims that Bischoff is still missing. Flair goes to finish with the figure-four at 3:00 and then Horsemen come in and lay a beatdown on him for good measure, so I guess it’s a DQ or something. DUD That’s pretty much it for the Booty Man character, in fact, as I believe his last appearance was getting punked out by Hogan at Hog Wild. The Following Announcement Has Been Paid For By The New World Order The Outsiders and Hogan make fun of Lex Luger and rant about the Giant until suddenly the tape is cut off in the control room. Sting and Luger bully the poor tech geeks and censor the nWo’s right to free speech! FASCISM! Tony’s assessment of the situation: “In defense of Craig Leathers, it WAS a paid announcement from the nWo, but Sting has a good point, throw ’em off the air!” Uh…touche? The Giant vs. Craig Pittman Giant clubs Pittman around and chokes away in the corner, but Pittman throws headbutts to the gut before Giant chokeslams him like a piece of garbage at 2:30. Your Tony line of the night: Craig Pittman is apparently “one of the greatest amateur wrestlers of all time”. Just…no. Poor Teddy Long gets chokeslammed afterwards! I hope Hogan beats that big bully now. Giant cuts a really good promo afterwards, which is still kind of mind-blowing since he was less than a year into the sport at this point. Sting & Lex Luger vs. The Nasty Boys This show is so long that it feels like Glacier will be here before it’s over. No, that’s a ridiculous exaggeration, nothing could be longer than the wait for Glacier to debut. Luger quickly cleans house on the Nasties and Sting bulldogs Knobs for two, but he quickly gets caught in the corner and double-teamed. Sting gets worked over in a lengthy heat segment, but makes the hot tag to Luger and it’s BONZO GONZO, leading to a brawl on the floor that quickly involves the Steiners. Sting finishes Sags with the Deathlock at 7:04. *1/2 Sting and Luger head down to a second nWo limo and check inside, but someone slams the door and leaves him with a note promising four or even five people. Kind of cool because the Network kept things going after the end of the show and gave us the extra footage of Sting reading the note. The Pulse Definitely gotta give the win to RAW this week, as Nitro was a meandering show with no good matches and no real developments.

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.

Sting and Luger – Because WCW?

Extant1979 here. So, if you end up reviewing Nitro, maybe this question gets answered, but I'm into January 1996 now and I thought maybe this could spur some discussion on the BoD. 


Was there an endgame planned for Sting and Lex Luger that just never came to fruition when the nWo came along? Or was it just a week-to-week thing that was allowed to continue to evolve into Sting becoming Crow Sting when the nWo debuted? Was there anything discussed in the the WON archives? 

Pretty much everything from the Nitro era onwards was pretty week-to-week, with Luger seemingly jumping back and forth between heel and face depending on the week and the situation.  There was no endgame I can remember.  

A “Because WCW” blog post by Lance Storm


​​

Thought you and the rest of the blog would find this interesting. A slew of "Because WCW" moments as told by Lance Storm. He wrote this to commemorate the re-release of the "Death of WCW" book.

http://www.stormwrestling.com/061214.html

Here's a sample:

"This next story is another great example of how overly booked and over written all of the WCW shows were in 2000. There was an Ambulance match booked between Mike Awesome and Booker T on Nitro. An Ambulance match is usually a blow off type match to end a big feud because one man has to beat up the other guy so bad that he is able to stuff him in the back of an ambulance and send him off to the hospital. I was in Gorilla (backstage area right behind the curtain where they send time cues to the refs, cue music and send the guys for their entrances). Mike Awesome went to the ring first and I was standing backstage with Booker. As Mike is standing in the ring Booker is waiting for his music to hit and I hear Ed Ferrara, who was the one giving time cues, send word to the ref to tell Mike Awesome to "Take it home" (go into the finish to end the match) I looked and Booker, Booker looked at me, and I asked him, How is Mike going to do the finish with you standing back here? Booker of course had no idea and just shrugged. His music finally hit so he could do his entrance, with the realization that the people in charge already wanted this match over, and it hadn't even started yet."

​To be fair, WWE asked him to do lots of equally stupid stuff, too.  ​

1993 WCW Disney tapings

As you may already know Eric Bischoff prides himself more as
a television producer than a wrestling promoter. The seeds of such thought were
planted back in the summer of 1993 during his first year as Executive Producer/Vice-President
of WCW.

Instead of the darker, papered crowd atmosphere in Macon, GA
or Dothan, AL Bischoff wanted to put bright lights, glitz, and glamour on WCW’s
television programming. For instance, from January to April of 1993 WCW
Worldwide was taped 9 times in seven different locations. The programs, while
entertaining, looked bland and boring compared to the higher production values
of WCW’s competitor, the World Wrestling Federation.
From July 7-10, WCW taped FOUR months of WCW Worldwide in
front of a papered (mostly tourist) crowd at the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando,
FL.
Here is a list of the current champions heading into the
Disney tapings:
WCW World Heavyweight champion: Big Van Vader
NWA Champion: Barry Windham
US Heavyweight champion: held up after a controversial match
between “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Dustin Rhodes
World TV champion: “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
WCW World tag team champions: The Hollywood Blonds
(“Stunning” Steve Austin and “Flyin’” Brian Pillman)
Let’s break down the highlights day by day:
Day 1 (7/7/1993):
For the August 28th episode Arn Anderson and Paul
Roma were taped as WCW World Tag Team champions in spite of the fact they had
not yet won the titles. Their title victory would take place on August 18 at
the Clash of the Champions as Lord Steven Regal had to be substituted for Pillman
due to an ankle injury.
Additionally, for the September 4th episode “Nature
Boy” Ric Flair was involved in a match as the NWA champion against Big Sky. In
actuality, he won the belt at the Beach Blast PPV over Windham on July 18.  This would not sit well with the NWA.
For the September 11th episode Ricky “The Dragon”
Steamboat was featured as the World TV champion against Denny Brown although he
was not yet the champion. He won the belt at the August 18 Clash.
Day 2 (7/8/1993):
During the September 18th episode Dustin Rhodes
was featured as the US Heavyweight champion in a tag match with Sting against Orndorff
and Chris Benoit. Rhodes actually won the belt against Rude on August 30 in
Atlanta, GA.
On the September 25th episode Regal defended the
World TV title against Keith Cole.  He defeated
Steamboat for the belt on September 19 in Houston, TX.
Also featured on that show were the WCW World tag team
champions the Nasty Boys. They won the titles from Anderson and Roma on
September 19 in Houston, TX.
On the October 2nd episode the Hollywood Blonds
were featured in a tag match but did not bring their title belts to the ring.
On the October 9th episode Rude was featured as
the new World Heavyweight Champion (formerly NWA champion) in a match against
David Dee.
The importance of this match derives from the withdrawal of
WCW from the NWA in September. The NWA felt that these tapings were a breach of
kayfabe. WCW withdrew their affiliation from the NWA making the belt worthless
in the process.
Day 3 (7/9/1993):
However, in an attempt to legitimize Rude’s championship,
WCW renamed the title the International World champion on its October 30th
episode. Rude would defeat Brady Boone on this show.
For the November 6th show Regal successfully
defended his not-yet-his TV title against Johnny B. Badd.
Day 4 (7/10/1993):
Also on the November 6th episode Rude won a
non-title match against Frankie Rose. While describing the match Tony Schiavone
recognized Rude’s title as a World title rather than just a “Gold Belt.”
On the November 13th episode despite being the
current TV champion Orndorff won a match while not showcasing the title since
Regal would be champion by this point. Furthermore Steamboat won a match but
did not possess a belt in spite of winning and losing the belt between the times
this match took place and when it would finally air.
For the November 20th episode the Nasty Boys were
featured again as WCW World tag team champions.
So, in spite of three PPV and two Clash of the Champions
broadcasts, WCW gave away months of booking plans within this 4-day span.
Although I cannot locate the specific instance, it has been documented that Sid
Vicious was taped as WCW World Heavyweight Champion. This video was supposed to
air after Starrcade ’93; however, on September 19 Sid and Arn Anderson were
involved in an infamous late night brawl overseas involving safety scissors.
Subsequently Sid was fired after several wrestlers threatened to quit. Flair
was inserted in Sid’s place.
While money was saved in the process of filming these shows WCW
had two problems on their hands. The first problem was fulfilling the title
changes. The Regal substitution on August 18 stands out as a glaring example of
what can go wrong. The second problem was the wrestlers’ attitudes after the
tapings. Since title plans were already put into place during the tapings, the wrestlers
who would not hold titles held grudges instead and their work ethic in matches
suffered. At the very least WCW would learn from this mistake and not tape wrestlers with titles for Worldwide in the future.
WCW lost $23 million in 1993 not because of the Disney
tapings but due to overestimated revenue. Having seen the extremely low
attendance figures for the house shows I can safely say that WCW lost money
whenever they stepped into a gym or an arena.  Amazingly, they even cancelled a show at the
Omni on July 3 dubbed “The Great American Bash.”

Wrestling in 1993 was no longer a mainstream product. The
positive mainstream attention wouldn’t resurface until 1996; however, the
negative stigma was due to the WWF steroid trials. With such a black mark on
the industry it was difficult for WCW to make a profit. The Disney tapings only
served to facilitate further losses. 
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The SmarK DVD Rant for The Best of WCW: Clash Of The Champions

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Best of WCW: Clash Of The Champions (Blu-Ray) Hosted by Dusty Rhodes. Disc One The Clash of the Champions was of course Jim Crockett’s attempt to undermine Wrestlemania by putting a free show on cable TV in retaliation for Survivor Series, and damn if it didn’t work. Personally I didn’t have access to TBS until 1991, so I didn’t get to see live Clashes until the supremely crappy Lex Luger era, but given that was still the era of squashing jobbers on WWF Superstars, it was still neat. This collection is just Dusty reminiscing in between the matches, and otherwise it’s strictly a match collection without any historical stuff or documentary. (Clash 1) NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Sting From the first Clash, a show I haven’t actually watched in a good long while and a match that is worth another look. I should note that the Turner home video version I’ve always had before is the clipped TV version, whereas the godlike WWE library version is the full and uncut version. So this is Sting’s first big shot at the title, with a 45-minute TV time limit and a panel of judges to make sure there’s a winner. Including Jason Hervey and Eddie Haskell, so you know they mean business. Sting grabs the headlock to start and powers Flair down off a wristlock. They do the test of strength and Flair opts to chop out of it, but Sting no-sells it and hiptosses him out of the ring. Back in, Sting controls with a hammerlock and they criss-cross into a press-slam from Sting. Sting takes him down with a flying headscissors into the hiptoss, and back to the headlock again. Flair fights up and hiptosses out of it, but Sting counters and goes right back to it again. Flair fights up and Sting hiptosses him and tries another dropkick, but Flair dodges him. Sting gets tossed but pops right back in and fires away in the corner, then right back to the headlock again. Flair chops out of it and they slug it out in the corner, and Sting gets another press slam, into the bearhug. Flair makes it to the corner to escape and Sting tries to follow with the Stinger splash, but misses and hits his arm on the post. Flair is all over him, tossing him and running him into the railing. Back in, Flair throws the chops and Sting goes down, so Flair hammers on the back. Kneedrop times two and Flair rips at the face just to be a bastard. He rakes the face on the ropes and fires more chops in the corner, and Sting ends up on the floor again. Flair sends him into the railing again and they head back in so Flair can chop him again. Sting gets fired up, though, and slugs Flair right out of the ring, but charges at Flair and hits the post. So the arm is hurt again and Flair goes to town back in the ring, but Sting pops up and slugs away in the corner. Clothesline gets two. Flair tries to make a run for it, but Sting suplexes him back in and into the Scorpion Deathlock. Flair quickly makes the ropes, so Sting takes Flair to the corner again and shrugs off a chop. He slugs Flair down for two, but Ric is in the ropes again. Sting hiptosses him and tries a clothesline, but Flair moves and Sting hits the floor again. Flair takes a breather, but Sting comes in with a high cross for two. Flair catches him with the kneecrusher, however, and starts pounding on the knee. Another kneecrusher and Sting bails to the floor. Back in, Flair pounds on the knee again and adds a backdrop suplex, and now we go to school! Flair uses the ropes to assist as usual, but Sting powers into the reversal. Flair is up first, however, and goes after the knee again, then sets up on the apron for a suplex. Crowd freaks out, but Sting suplexes him back in instead, only to miss a big splash. They fight for the abdominal stretch and Sting wins that, but Flair hiptosses out. Flair chops him down and goes up, but Sting slams him off for two. He pulls Flair into the corner and posts him, then gets his own figure-four. Flair escapes, so Sting stomps on the knee again and yanks him out of the corner to work on the leg again. Flair Flip and he hits the floor, but Sting follows and beats on him. Flair tries a sunset flip back in, but Sting slugs him down and rakes Flair’s face on the ropes. Sting fires away in the corner, then no-sells Flair’s atomic drop and clotheslines him for two. Stinger splash misses and Sting hits the floor in dramatic fashion. Back in, they slug it out and Flair goes down, but comes back with a sleeper, so Sting rams him into the turnbuckle to break. Flair tosses him in desperation, but Sting comes back in with a sunset flip, which Flair blocks for two. Young kicks him out of the ropes and Sting gets two. Flair begs off and Sting whips him out, but Flair comes in with a high cross, reversed by Sting for two. Sting no-sells all of Flair’s offense now, hammering him in the corner to set up the Stinger splash. Scorpion Deathlock with time running out, but Flair hangs on until the time limit. The decision: Two judges for Flair, two for Sting, one for a draw. Silly booking aside, I definitely gave this one short shrift on the original rant, as the full match flows much better and you can see the storyline of young and hungry Sting fighting for his life but not knowing how to finish. Definitely a modern classic. ****1/2 (Clash 1) NWA World tag team titles: Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson v. Barry Windham & Lex Luger Luger overpowers Tully to start, and clotheslines both champions. Powerslam for Tully and he racks him, but Arn kicks him in the knee and quickly goes to work on it. The Horsemen switch off on the knee, but Barry gets a quick tag and cleans house. Lariat for Tully and he drops the knee, and his own powerslam gets two. Sleeper and Tully rolls out to escape, but Barry just hangs on. Tully tries going up and gets slammed off, and Windham follows with an abdominal stretch, leaving him open for a DDT from AA. That gets two. The crowd is just insane for the faces, popping for everything. Spinebuster gets two and Arn does the knucklelock spot and lands on Windham’s knees, but brings Tully back in as he pounds away for two. Windham comes back with a bodypress for two and they collide, setting up the pinfall reversal spot. Windham reverses the bridge into a gutwrench suplex, but Anderson cuts off the tag and works on the arm. Windham fights out of it, but Arn takes him down again, and they butt heads. Back to Tully for the slingshot suplex, but that only gets two. Arn can’t cut off another tag, and Luger is HERE. Clotheslines for everyone and the crowd is just going crazy as Luger is no-selling everything. Tully trips him up, but Luger comes right back with a powerslam for Arn and it’s BONZO GONZO. JJ grabs a chair, but Luger rams Arn into it and the pop redefines the term “blowing the roof off the joint at 9:34, ****1/4 Not only some of the loudest sustained heat for any match you’ll ever hear, but one of the fasted-paced tag team matches you’ll ever see, as they just packed everything but the kitchen sink into a 10-minute match and threw it all there. (Clash 2) NWA World tag team title: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard v. Dusty Rhodes & Sting. Not quite Sting-Flair, is it? Anderson tosses Sting early on, but punches the post by mistake and Sting works the arm. Tully comes in and gets dominated, and Dusty adds his usual. Tully gets pinballed and Dusty uses a figure-four, leaving him open to a cheapshot, and indeed that’s what happens. Ah, heel psychology is chicken soup for the cheater’s soul. They pound Dusty on the floor, but he gets a lariat on Tully back in the ring. Dropkick and Sting comes in to clean house. Stinger splash on Tully, but the Horsemen sucker him in and punk him out. Arn gets an elbow for two. Pump splash misses, but Tully holds Sting in enemy territory. Arn DDTs him on the floor, but Sting shakes it off and comes back. Backslide gets two, and he hotshots Tully and tags Dusty. DDT Arn, big elbow gets two, and the whole thing breaks down into a no-contest at 10:45. Barry Windham attacks the Dream while Tully & Arn lay the beats on Sting. ** (Clash 3) Russian chain match: Ricky Morton v. Ivan Koloff. Ah, the Ivan face turn angle that drew so much money. Dave Sheldon is lurking around ringside in his guise as Russian Assassin #1. Ivan pounds Morton and clotheslines him with the chain as Ross hints at his face turn. Ricky crotches him with the chain, but gets nailed again. Koloff touches two corners, but Ricky breaks it up and bails. Back in, Koloff keeps stomping away and touches two again. Ricky kicks at the knee to take over and whips at the knee with the chain. Koloff hits him with the chain, but gets yanked off the top. Ivan chokes him out, but Ricky comes back. Ivan whips him and touches three, but Morton takes him down and pounds away. Koloff hits him with the chain again and goes up, but they knock each other out. Ricky recovers first and drags him to three corners, but Paul gives Ivan the riding crop to hold onto for leverage, before suddenly letting go and giving Ricky the win at 9:52. Ivan is unceremoniously turfed via a beatdown by the Russian Assassins, and Nikita was SUPPOSED to make the save, but he was already gone. Junkyard Dog was later subbed into the angle to replace him, which of course makes no sense whatsoever and basically killed the whole angle. Match was slow and plodding. * And then we skip WAAAAAAY ahead to Clash 9… (Clash 9) I Quit match: Ric Flair v. Terry Funk. Funk takes a swing at Flair to start and they lock up, but Flair dodges him and chops him right out of the ring. Back in, Flair unloads the chops and whips him from corner to corner, and then chops him out of the ring again. Flair follows with more chops against the railing and Funk backs off. Back in, Flair eschews subtlety and chokes him out, but Funk slugs back and kicks him in the face on the apron. Funk headbutts him down and pounds on the neck, elbowing him down and tossing him. Funk just kills him with shots on the railing, and then pops him one with the mike. Flair slugs back and they head back in, where Funk slugs him down again and fires away in the corner. He calls him an egg-sucking dog while punching him in the face, which is enough for an extra * from me. Flair atomic drops him to escape and comes back with a chop, but Funk catches a neckbreaker and slaps him around. Flair has had enough, however, and gives him the chops, and they head outside again, as Flair crashes onto him and murders him with chops. Funk tries to escape by going into the ring, but Flair pulls him out and rams him into the railing, and adds more chops. Funk retreats into the ring again and Flair badgers him with the mike, trying to choke him into submission. Flair goes after Gary Hart, however, and Funk clobbers him from behind and gets another neckbreaker, keeping on the weak neck. Funk taunts him over the PA before piledriving him, but Flair won’t quit. Funk drops a leg and tosses him, and piledrives him on the floor now. Flair still won’t quit. Back in, Funk pounds on the neck with elbows, and then takes him outside and slams him on the table. Flair comes back with chops as Funk sets up the table against the ring, and then rams Funk into it. Funk takes a walk, so Flair dives on him and sends him into the table, as he slides across it and hits his head on a chair. Ouch. Back to the chops, and Flair drops him crotch-first on the railing and then adds a chop for good measure. If in doubt, go for the family jewels. Back in, Flair drops the knee and Funk crawls back up, so Flair brings him down with an atomic drop and starts to work on the leg. He alternates kicks to the knee and chops, but Funk won’t go down. Finally the shots to the knee are too much and Funk has to run away, so Flair tackles him in the aisle and gets a running kneecrusher on the floor. Suplex back in and Flair goes for it, but Funk fights him off. A good old poke to the eyes works just fine, and Funk tries a suplex from the apron, but Flair reverses and suplexes him onto the apron, and goes back to the knee. He dodges Funk’s crazed punches and finally slaps on the figure-four in the middle of the ring. Funk fights it off a while, but eventually has nowhere to go and says “I Quit” at 18:35. The last 5 minutes were just Flair mechanically destroying Funk’s knee in classic fashion, and the whole match set a standard for I Quit matches that was never quite touched again. ***** (Clash 10) Cactus Jack Manson v. Mil Mascaras. Yes, kids, this is Mick Foley’s first brush with the bigtime as a slim, trim and shirtless Cactus was running less-than-rampant in the NWA and not exactly impressing people. A goofy gimmick didn’t help either, as Ross emphasizes many times here what a moron Cactus Jack is. Mascaras does a quick bow-and-arrow and headscissor takeover. Jack bails and does a stupid spot where he trips over a chair while threatening Gary Michael Capetta. Back in, Mil gets a Boston Crab, but Jack makes the ropes. Jack tosses him, but he won’t sell. Jack sets up for the big elbow, but Mil sneaks into the ring and pushes Mick off…into the Nestea Plunge, Mick’s signature spot at the time. For those who haven’t read his book, here’s a quick description: Foley falls backwards off the apron and lands flat on his back on the concrete. It’s quite possibly one of the sickest looking things I’ve ever seen to be done on a regular basis by a wrestler. So of course the bookers had him do it every night. Thankfully by 1990 he was over enough to retire it permanently. Mil finishes with a flying bodypress at 4:55. Point? ¼* (Clash 11) US tag title match: The Midnight Express v. The Rock N Roll Express. Eaton starts with Gibson and escapes a hammerlock, and Eaton gets frustrated quickly. Criss-cross and Eaton gets taken down with a headscissors. Lane comes in and nails him with a back kick, but Gibson gets an enzuigiri. Morton tags in and they work Lane over in the corner. Criss- cross ends with Lane getting hiptossed, but he slugs Morton in the mouth. Charge misses, however, and Ricky backdrops him, and armdrags Eaton on the way in. Rana and Eaton bails to the corner. Lane comes in and gets hit with an armdrag as well, and the RNR go for the arm. Gibson atomic drops Lane into the corner off a criss-cross, and it’s back to the face corner for a Morton rollup that gets two. Back to the armbar, and Eaton comes in to turn the tide. They head up top and Morton blocks a superplex, nearly falling on his head in the process. Yikes. It’s a CHINESE FIRE-DRILL and the MX double-backdrop Gibson, but both RNRs rollup both MXs for a collective two-count. Everyone backs off to regroup again. Morton hiptosses Lane, but Lane blocks a rana attempt and turns it into a double-team that puts Ricky down. They work him over with a necksnap and elbowdrop that gets two for Eaton. Eaton misses a charge, hot tag Gibson. He cleans house like a French maid and Eaton tumbles out with Morton as a result. Gibson goes to a leglock on Lane while Eaton bumps Morton into the railing, and Bobby nails Gibson off the top for two. Morton is back in and it’s BONZO GONZO, as the RNR hit Eaton with the double dropkick for two. Lane breaks it up, so the ref DQs the champs at 11:49. Holy CRAP that’s lame. Pretty uninspired stuff here. **3/4 (Clash 12) US title match: Lex Luger v. Ric Flair. This is the only time I can think of where Flair was CHALLENGING Luger for a title. Luger overpowers Flair to start, and then gets suckered into a test of strength. Flair of course cheapshots him, but Luger no-sells the chops and press slams Flair. Ric takes a breather outside, and returns to lay in a hellacious chop, which Luger no-sells. Another press-slam and Luger dumps Flair, after Flair practically flashed a neon sign saying “clothesline me over the top rope”. They brawl out and back in again and Luger no-sells everything Flair throws at him, and gets a third press-slam. The HORIZONTAL ELBOW OF DEATH misses, of course, and Flair takes over. Luger blasts out of the corner with a lariat, but Flair tricks the ref into checking on an “injury”, thus buying time. Luger walks right into a sucker punch, and Flair tosses him to take over, for real this time. Luger eats railing a few times, and they head back in, where Flair stomps away. He stands up Luger and chops him so hard that he goes flying backwards into the corner. They head out and Flair starts chopping him for the benefit of the front row, drawing the ire of the teenage girls in the audience. Back in, he goes to the knee, as usual, and keeps making frenzied asides to the camera. Must have had some REALLY good shit before the match. In the corner, he goes into an insane sequence where he chops and stomps the knee in succession. Luger fights back with a burst of energy, but Flair pokes him in the eyes on the way down. That is so cool. Luger blocks a hiptoss with a backslide for two, but Flair chops away. And CHOPS. Luger shrugs it off and hammers away in the corner, but Flair brings him out with atomic drop. Luger no-sells and clotheslines him for two. Flair comes back with a snapmare for two. Flair goes up and gets slammed, and Luger Flips him for good measure and clotheslines him coming along the apron. Back in, another press-slam (the fourth for the match) and a powerslam, and it’s rack time. Flair tries to bail, and then grabs a headlock, only to get caught in a bearhug. They head to the top and Luger superplexes him (a beauty one, too) for two. Luger pounds away in the corner and Flair goes low to stop it, and they tumble out to the floor and keep fighting. Stan Hansen hits the ring and decimates Luger for the DQ at 14:27. Really good match, but nothing we haven’t seen a million times before. ***1/2 (Clash 15) The Fabulous Freebirds & Bradstreet v. Tom Zenk & The Southern Boys. The Birds had recently lost the World tag titles to the Steiners after a grueling negative title reign where they lost the belts before they won them, which kind of tells you the direction of the company at that point right there. Even the laws of time and space were abandoning ship on them. The Freebird entourage at ringside was getting completely out of proportion to their place on the card at this point as well, featuring both Diamond Dallas Page and Oliver Humperdink as managers for a team that cut better promos than either one of them did. Ah, WCW. The Pistols control early with a pair of flying bodypresses, but the Birds regroup outside. Back in, Tracy Smothers uses his redneck kung fu on Hayes, and they bail again. Tony notes that the Freebirds should probably think about going after Tom Zenk’s recently-detached bicep. Wait, wait, let me put this sage wisdom into my PDA in case I’m ever in the ring with him, filed under “Blindingly Obvious” along with DDP’s eternal rib tape. Hayes comes back with his dreaded right hand and Bradstreet dumps Smothers, you’d think making him your hick-in-peril. But instead the faces defy expectations of the way the match should go and they all sunset flip in for the triple pin to end it really quickly at 4:46. *1/2 Was there an emergency Armstrong family meeting backstage that necessitated them going home RIGHT NOW or something? 4 out of the 6 guys never even tagged in! (Clash 16) Georgia Brawl Battle Royale: Your participants are Tom Zenk, Tommy Rich, Bobby Eaton, Ranger Ross, Tracy Smothers, The Great and Mighty Oz, PN News, Buddy Lee Parker, Steve Austin, Dustin Rhodes, Terrence Taylor, Big Josh, Barry Windham, One Man Gang and El Gigante. You’d think putting Kevin Nash and El Gigante in the same ring would cause a black hole of suck that might conceivably end the universe, but there they are. And PN News, too. In hindsight, Paul Neu may just have been 10 years before his time, at which point the wacky dancing fat guy became en vogue in the wrestling business and he wouldn’t have looked like a complete and utter tool. Of course, if he HAD become the big star in Rikishi’s place, I don’t think I could have lived with the promos: “Austin it was ME who ran you over! YO BABY YO BABY YO!” Trust me, say it out loud and it gets funnier. Sadly, Kevin Nash was nearing the end of his run as the Great and Mighty Oz at this point, and indeed the transition provided the world with one of those Moments in WCW History We’d All Like To Have Been Present For backstage, as someone actually proposed turning him from the living embodiment of a magical land into a snappy dressing Italian stereotype who wrestled in a tux, and someone else actually thought it was a good idea and gave the first person the go-ahead to implement it. It’s not even the original idea that I find so perplexing, it’s the fact that there was little quality control that “Vinnie Vegas” actually was considered a better gimmick than “The Great and Mighty Oz” by someone who was presumably being PAID to keep track of this stuff. These are the same people who couldn’t think of any way to market Steve Austin or Mick Foley, but felt Shockmaster had some good upside potential and El Gigante would be the next Andre the Giant. To be fair, Vince McMahon also gave it the old college try with Jorge Gonzalez, but at least he gave him that muscle suit to wear so that he could make a few bucks on the side as an anatomy teaching aid at local colleges. Anyway, El Gigante eliminates Oz & One Man Gang to win at 9:31, and trust me, you didn’t miss anything. I don’t rate battle royales. (Clash 17) US title match: Sting v. Ravishing Rick Rude. For those playing along at home, Rude’s music is expunged here in favor of Kenny G or something like it. Paul E. falls prey to that same weakness all great villains possess…the inability to shut up for long enough a time for your master plan to take effect. In this case, he gets on the mike to run down the crowd and gloat about how Rude was gonna win by forfeit, which allows Sting the time to arrive in his stolen ambulance and beat the count. They brawl on the ramp, where Sting presses Rude, but his knee buckles. Just a note to Test or any other mediocre wrestlers reading: “Selling” means actually having the injury affect your performance — not just clutching your ribs, doing a move like normal, and then clutching your ribs again. They head into the ring and Sting slugs away and backdrops Rude, completely grounded by the injury. He clotheslines him out, but Rude outsmarts him and trips him up, then posts the knee. Back in, Rude nails him off the top, but Sting blocks the Rude Awakening. Sting channels the Three Stooges to win a slugfest by faking Rude out, but Rude makes sure to fall FORWARD, and takes out Sting’s knee in the process. Sting falls back just as Paul jumps up and shatters the phone on his head. That’s so cool. It gets two. Sting comes back with a DDT, but he’s got nothin’, and when he gets desperate and goes after Paul again, Rude just hits the knee from behind and pins him to win the title at 4:15. THAT is how you push a new guy, and is one of the rare instances where WCW managed to use someone far more effectively than the WWF did. He would never be beaten for that title. ** I’m kind of stunned they put this match on here from Clash 17 and not the Enforcers v. Steamboat/Rhodes tag title match. And away we go AGAIN, skipping over 5 more shows until we get to… (Clash 23) WCW World tag titles: The Hollywood Blonds v. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson. This is 2/3 falls, and it was basically the Blonds one and only chance at the top of the card. Sadly the buildup for the feud isn’t shown here, because the “Flair for the Old” skit was hilarious. Pillman starts with Arn and mocks Flair as they fight over a lockup. He keeps trying a headlock, and Arn keeps taking him down, so Pillman smacks him around in the corner. Arn fires back and Pillman begs off, then cheats. AA hotshots him, however, and gets his own cheapshots. Oh, this is NASTY. Austin comes in and mocks Anderson, then grabs a headlock, but AA takes him down and Flair comes in. Crowd goes INSANE for that. Flair goes to the eyes and lays in the chops in the corner, backdropping Austin out of there and beating on Pillman for good measure. More chops for Austin and the crowd is loving every second. The Horsemen double-team the Blonds and they’re reeling, as Flair rips at Austin’s face. He finally pokes Flair in the eye to break up the momentum and bails. Back in, Arn works on the arm and gets the hammerlock slam, and Flair drops a knee and hits Pillman on the follow-through. Back to the corner, AA works on the arm again, but Pillman chokes him out with a towel from the apron and Austin chokes him down. More cheating from Pillman behind the ref’s back and the Blonds go to work on Arn, as Pillman comes in and chokes away. They take turns teeing off on Arn and Austin drops knees. The Blonds work him over in the corner and Austin suplexes him, but Arn fights back out of the corner. Austin misses a charge and gets DDT’d while showboating, and it’s hot tag Flair. He comes in from the top onto Pillman and starts chopping, and catches him with an atomic drop. He dumps Austin and slugs away on Pillman in the corner, and finishes Pillman with a flying forearm at 9:38. Buffer screws up and announces Flair & Anderson as the new champions as they fade to the break. Second fall sees Pillman chopping away on Flair in nasty manner, and it’s a Flair Flip, but Ric hits both Blonds on the way by. Austin takes care of him on the floor, however, with a suplex. Pillman adds some chops and rams him into the railing, and Austin adds his own shots, triggering a Flair Flop on the floor. Back in, Austin chops away and Pillman chokes him out behind the ref’s back. Austin brings Flair to the top and gets a superplex for two. He whips Flair around and pounds him into the corner, but Flair plays dirty and chokes back. Austin stomps a mudhole to end that, so Flair chops him away. Pillman comes back in and adds more chops, but Flair returns fire, and they collide for the double KO. Tags on both ends, as Anderson backdrops Austin and boots him down. Spinebuster gets nothing, as Pillman breaks it up and the ref ushers Flair out. They clip Anderson, however, and Austin gets two. Pillman goes to town on the injured knee of Anderson, and the knee gives way on an irish whip. Pillman gets two. Austin keeps on it with a toehold, but Anderson manages to take Austin down and kick away from it. Pillman cuts off the tag and goes to a half-crab, with help from Austin. Pillman keeps stomping the knee, but Anderson gets an enzuigiri. Austin cuts off the ring again, dragging him back to the heel corner, and Pillman rams the knee onto the apron. Pillman comes in and goes up, but lands on Arn’s foot. Hot tag Flair, and he’s a house afire. He tosses Pillman and chops Austin down, into a backdrop suplex and figure-four, but Barry Windham runs in for the DQ at 21:12, which under WWE rules would have changed the titles. Paul Roma makes the save, kicking off the low point in Four Horsemen history. Great match, though, filled with terrific old-school cheating and tag team formula stuff. ****1/4 (Clash 25) Brian Pillman v. Steve Austin Never actually done this show, in fact. THE HOLLYWOOD BLONDES EXPLODE! Welcome to WWE Home Video Editing Hell. Both the entrance themes are edited out, and all of Jesse Ventura’s commentary as well, which gives you Tony Schiavone doing solo commentary and a strangely muted crowd. Pillman attacks to start and chases Robert Parker, which allows Austin to clobber him on the outside, but Pillman comes back with a backdrop and chops away. They brawl to the ramp and Austin tries a piledriver, but Pillman backdrops out of it, only to conveniently fall onto the railing for his trademark bump. Back in, Pillman gets a slingshot bodypress for two, but Austin puts him down with a press slam for two. Austin goes to a half-crab and uses the ropes, but gets caught. Pillman fires back with chops and gets an elbow out of the corner for a double KO, but Parker uses his hanky to fan some oxygen at Austin first. Austin goes up and gets crotched, and Pillman gets a dropkick on Austin on the way down for two. Austin gets a slingshot shoulderblock for two, but misses a charge and Pillman hits a DDT for two. Austin gets a samoan drop and goes up, but misses a flying splash and Pillman rolls him up for two. Austin with a stun gun that puts Pillman on the apron, but Parker trips him up and Austin pulls the tights for the pin at 9:11. Good match at the end, although it took a while to get there for some reason, but the editing basically butchered it because the audio issues were ridiculous to sit through. ***1/4 (Clash 26) World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Dustin Rhodes. Dustin takes him to the corner to start, but gives a clean break. Another lockup and Regal takes him to the corner this time, but no clean break. They slug it out and Dustin gets a dropkick that sends Regal to the floor, where he regroups. Rhodes works on the arm and tosses Regal across the ring off a wristlock. They try the test of strength and Regal takes him down with a standing armbar and goes to a headlock, then overpowers Regal, prompting him to bail. Back in, Rhodes grabs a headlock and they work off that, as he releases and slams Regal for two, and then goes back to the headlock. Regal escapes from that, but Dustin takes him down again and goes back to the headlock on the mat. Regal finally brings him to the corner and escapes with forearms, then drops a knee and applies a wristlock on the mat. Dustin fights up, so Regal hits him with a gutwrench suplex for two. Dustin fights out of another headlock and slugs Regal down, but he gets taken down and pounded by Regal again. They fight over a wristlock, but Regal wraps him up with a straightjacket hold until Dustin flips Regal to escape, and a clothesline gets two. Regal bails again and does some stalling while making a big show of checking Sir William’s watch, and he finally comes back in with a sunset flip. Dustin blocks it and pounds him on the mat. Lariat gets two. They do the chase and Dustin wins with a dropkick for two. Regal rolls him up again but it’s in the ropes. Regal bails again and leads Rhodes on a chase up to the ramp, but he charges and gets backdropped in, and Dustin gets two. Regal bails again and Dustin follows to lay in punishment. Back in, an elbow from the top sets up the bulldog, but time expires at 15:00. Nothing wrong with it so much as it didn’t go anywhere. ** (Clash 26) Ric Flair & Sting v. Vader & Rick Rude. This is elimination rules. Just about any combination of these four is a **** match, more or less. Sting starts with Rude, and hip-swivels result. Rude’s were better. Sting powers Rude down with a wristlock and works on the arm, but Rude takes him to the corner and pounds away with knees. Vader comes in and clobbers Sting, then presses him onto the top rope. Slam and he goes up and tries a sunset flip (!) from the middle rope, which Sting blocks with a buttdrop. That’s kind of backwards, isn’t it? Vader starts a war of punches and wins that pretty handily, but Sting comes back with an insane german suplex and brings Flair in. Flair chops Vader down and seems to be on a sugar buzz tonight, as he thumbs the eye and slugs Vader down, then brings Sting back in as we take a break. We return with Sting getting bearhugged by Rude. Flair comes in and gets the atomic drop, however, and they botch a blind charge spot. Vader comes in and splashes Flair in the corner, then slams him and goes up with a pump splash. Race wants MORE pain, though. I can’t advocate sadism. Oh, okay, maybe just this once. Vader brings him to the top and superplexes him, and just casually works him over. Back to the top again as Vader boxes his ears and Race wants another superplex, this one from the top rope, and he delivers it. However, Vader brings Flair to the floor for more punishment, and they both get eliminated via DQ or countout or something, they weren’t really clear on that. So it’s Rude v. Sting, as Sting tosses Rude into the ring and goes up with a flying lariat. Backdrop and a botched atomic drop, as Sting hurts his neck on the way down. Rude goes up and gets a forearm from the top. Rude clotheslines him and drops a fist for two. Rear chinlock is countered with an electric chair drop by Sting, but a splash hits knees. They clothesline each other and Rude recovers first and tries the Rude Awakening, but Sting holds onto the ropes to block, and gets his own. That gets two. Rude comes back with an atomic drop, but misses a blind charge. They do the tombstone reversal, won by Sting, and he goes up with a flying splash to finish at 20:46. Good, but not up to their usual standards, as Flair and Vader’s elimination kind of sucked the fun out of the match. *** Disc Two And now, the later, crappier years. (Clash 27) “Unification” match: Sting v. Ric Flair. And don’t even get me started on the reasons behind this match. Sting was the International World champion and Flair was the actual WCW World champion, and just leave it at that. Flair goes for the arm to start, but Sting keeps kipping up. They trade hammerlocks and Sting shoves him down, so Flair bails to the ramp and regroups. Back in, Flair grabs a headlock, but Sting escapes and gets a press-slam. And hey, why not another one? Flair bails again and stops for a Flair Flop outside, and stalls. Back in, Flair goes to the eyes and tries a chop, but Sting is having none of that. He hiptosses Flair and follows with a trio of clotheslines, and Flair bails again. Way too much stalling thus far. Back in, Flair finally takes over with a cheapshot, but Sting no-sells and comes back with a hiptoss, only to whiff on a dropkick. Flair goes for the leg, but Sting comes back and Flair bails again. Flair decides to start chopping, but Sting fires back…and misses the Stinger Splash. And NOW Flair takes over, dumping Sting behind the ref’s back and laying in the chops. Back in, Flair necksnaps him on the top rope and drops a knee. Another one gets two. Back to the chops, and a backdrop suplex, but Sting escapes the figure-four. Flair gets a back elbow and grabs a sleeper, but Sting fights out of it and sends Flair into the corner. Sting knocks him down and gets a sloppy slingshot into the corner, but Flair bails. Sting suplexes him back in for two. Flair Flip and Sting clotheslines him off the apron, then brings him in for another clothesline, which gets two. They go up and Sting brings him down with a superplex, but goes for a flying splash and misses. Flair gets a suplex, but Sting no-sells and hiptosses him out of the corner, into a dropkick and a press-slam. A clothesline puts Flair on the floor, so Flair slickly hides behind Sherri Martell, who was supposedly on Sting’s side that night. Sting follows with a pescado and wipes out Sherri as a result. No one ever said she was afraid to take a bump. Back in, Sting gets a backslide for two. Clothesline and he checks on Sherri, but Flair rolls him up for the pin at 17:11 to unify the belts. I gave this a really good rating back in like 1998, but they didn’t click at all here and Flair seemed really off his game. *** Flair & Sherri reveal their alliance and team up on Sting afterwards, but Hulk Hogan makes the save, which doesn’t get half the pop they were probably banking on. (Clash 28) US title: Stunning Steve Austin v. Ricky Steamboat From August 1994, in what would end up being the match that ended Steamboat’s career. JIP with Steamboat holding an armbar, which turns into a nice little mat segment. Austin tosses him out and they brawl outside, with Austin turning into a footrace before running into a chop. Back in, they trade sleeper attempts, but Austin escapes with KICK WHAM STUNNER…or just a jawbreaker, whatever. Austin throws chops in the corner, but gets hiptossed before missing a charge and hitting the post. Steamboat walks the ropes to hurt the arm, and follows with the flying chop for two. Austin comes back with a kneedrop for two and slugs away on the ropes. He goes to the chinlock and we take a break. Back with Austin getting a suplex for two. They fight on the top and Steamboat goes down, but crotches Austin. He fights for a superplex, but Austin hits it instead. Steamboat keeps coming and nails Austin coming off the top, however. Steamboat back up, but the flying bodypress misses and Austin sends him facefirst into the mat. He doesn’t follow up, though, slapping him around instead of pinning him, which allows Steamboat to fight up again. Steamboat is PISSED and fires away, chopping Austin down for two. Spinebuster gets two. Electric chair gets two and Steamboat’s back is killing him, you can see it. Small package gets two. Rollup gets two. Backslide gets two. Sunset flip gets two. Austin finally ends the rally with a clothesline and dumps him, but Steamboat pulls himself in and gets a rollup for two, then finishes with a small package at 10:30 to win the US title. That finishing sequence, with Steamboat’s babyface comeback and the series of insane near-falls on a desperate Austin, was some of the best American pro wrestling you will ever see. ****1/4 (Clash 32) Ric Flair & The Giant v. Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage Kevin Greene is hanging out at ringside in all his mullet glory in support of the Megapowers. Flair throws chops on Savage to start, but gets backdropped out of the corner as per usual. Savage sends him into the corner for a Flair Flip, which ends with Hogan clotheslining him off the apron and back into the ring. Flair comes back with the chops, but Savage gets a backslide for two. Flair gets double-teamed in the corner, but backs off and brings The Giant in. It’s kind of hilarious hearing Tony call him “400 pounds” considering how downright skinny he is compared to today. Giant overpowers Hogan and slams him while Tony and Brain talk about Wrestlemania III in kind of a surreal conversation. Giant pounds Hogan down while Elizabeth’s boobs show a lot of concern at ringside. Giant with a backbreaker, but an elbow misses and Hogan is once again calling for the slam, this time getting it pretty easily. Giant still tags Flair, however, and it’s a delayed suplex, which Hogan no-sells to make the comeback. Giant mugs him outside the ring, however, and this is all very laughable stuff because Giant barely knows what to do out there and Hogan won’t sell. Back in it’s hot tag Macho for the double axehandle on Flair and he goes up to finish, but Jimmy Hart distracts the ref after the big elbow. Flair gets the INTERNATIONAL OBJECT and puts Savage down for the pin at 9:49. This was all very dull and pedestrian with a Las Vegas crowd who couldn’t give a shit about anyone but Hulk, if that. *1/2 (Clash 33) Madusa v. Bull Nakano We are now into the real Nitro era, as the set has been totally overhauled to look like Nitro, basically. And again, all the entrance music is totally overdubbed with generic nonsense. Why even bother with the entrances? Nakano gets a hairtoss as Madusa bumps around for her, and Bull uses nunchuks as the ref somehow totally misses it. Splash gets two. Madusa fucks up a springboard bodyblock, perhaps because the weight of her giant boobs threw off her center of gravity, but Nakano gets a sitdown splash for two. Madusa dropkicks her off the top and follows with a dive, hitting Sonny Onoo instead of Bull. Back in, Onoo hits Bull by mistake and Madusa rolls her up for the pin at 2:40. Whatever. ½* (Clash 33) Diamond Dallas Page v. Eddie Guerrero At least they still have the rights to both pieces of music. Eddie fires off a headscissors, but misses a charge and RAMS himself into the post. Page goes to work on the injured shoulder and goes to the chinlock, but Eddie fights free and gets a legsweep. They slug it out with Eddie showing good fire for the comeback, and the somersault splash gets two. DDP comes back with a powerbomb for two. They head up and Eddie headbutts him down and finishes with the frog splash at 4:20 to win DDP’s Battlebowl ring. DDP beats the hell out of him afterwards, and amazingly they actually paid this feud off by putting them into the finals of the US title tournament against each other at Starrcade. **1/4 (Clash 33) WCW World tag titles: Harlem Heat v. The Steiner Brothers v. Lex Luger & Sting THREE matches from this shit show? And again, all the music is intact. Booker hits the sidekick on Scott and they quickly fight to the top, but Scott slams him off and Luger adds a clothesline from the apron. Scott tags in Luger and Stevie pounds on him in the corner, but walks into a clothesline. Rick Steiner comes in and clotheslines both guys, then adds the flying bulldog on Stevie for two. Stevie superkicks Rick and the Heat go to work on him in the corner, but Rick fights back until Sting tags himself in. Sting goes up with a flying chop on Stevie for two, and he dumps Booker. Back in, Sting with the press slam for two. Luger comes in with a delayed suplex for two. Sting tags himself in and trades wristlocks with Scott Steiner, then hits him with a stungun and goes up with a flying clothesline for two. Steiner comes back with an inverted DDT and butterfly bomb for two. Rick and Luger exchange clotheslines off a slugfest and Rick gets a release german suplex, and over to Scott for the belly to belly. Luger catches him in something resembling the torture rack, but the Heat sneak in and break it up. Everyone brawls on the floor, leaving Scott Steiner and Booker. Scott hits the frankensteiner, but the Outsiders are coming down the aisle, so Patrick stops the count at two and calls for the DQ at 10:58. Normally that would be a stupid finish, but of course that’s the gag – Patrick was trying to screw the Steiners over because he was secretly a heel. The last few minutes, with Sting/Luger v. Steiners, are GREAT. The rest is pretty dull and disjointed, but Luger and Rick throwing each other around the ring is tremendous fun. ***1/4 Sadly, Sting’s motivation would be short-lived, as he would ascend to the rafters a month later and stay there for 14 months. (Clash 34) Cruiserweight title: Ultimo Dragon v. Dean Malenko They trade hammerlocks on the mat and take a break. Back with Malenko’s suplex attempt getting foiled, but he fires away in the corner instead and hits the delayed suplex for two. Dragon fires back with kicks to chase Dean out of the ring. Dean recovers and comes back in with a backdrop suplex and into an anklelock on the mat. Half-crab and STUMP PULLER as Dean works on the leg in mechanical fashion. They head to the floor and Dean runs the leg into the post, and back in for a figure-four. Dean releases and hits a corner clothesline, but a second try runs into a spinkick. Dragon goes up and Malenko follows with a superplex and a rollup for two. Heenan: “What do you call 40 millionaires watching the Super Bowl? The Dallas Cowboys.” And as if inspired by that joke, Dean and Dragon start firing off highspots and trade near-falls, fighting to the floor for Dragon’s Asai moonsault. Back in, Dragon goes up and snaps off a moonsault for two. They head back up and Dragon gets a rana to bring him down, and a small package gets two. Malenko tries a powerbomb, but Dragon flips out and escapes, so Malenko does it again and gets the Cloverleaf for the submission and the title at 11:58. **** Dean was crazy over here. (Clash 35) Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Eddie Guerrero Guerrero takes him down and trashtalks right away, but Jericho comes back with an armdrag and dropkick, sending Eddie running to hide behind the ref. Jericho presses him off a criss-cross and starts chopping, into a faceplant that has Eddie hiding again. Eddie sneaks in from behind and clubs him down, then follows with a back elbow and slingshot splash. Eddie puts him on top and brings him down with a rana for two, but Jericho reverses the ropewalk into a powerbomb. Jericho follows with a Giant Swing and he’s visibly sucking wind. Leg lariat puts Eddie on the apron and Jericho follows with an embarrassing trip on the top rope during his springboard cross body. Then he botches a suplex off the apron, so Eddie takes over again with a superplex for two. Not a good match for Jericho. Jericho tries a powerbomb, but Eddie slips out, so Jericho goes with a german suplex instead for two. They criss-cross into an Eddie sunset flip, and it turns into a pinfall reversal sequence where Eddie is obviously wrestling himself and taking Jericho along with him, ending with Jericho on top for the pin to retain at 6:40. This was pretty awful by Jericho’s usual standards. ** (Clash 35) Scott Hall & Randy Savage v. DDP & Lex Luger Last match ever on Clash of the Champions. Oh god, we have to listen to the Michael Buffer imitation announcer so they can save a couple of bucks. The editing now also carefully avoids showing Buffer so we don’t think that he might be announcing, either. Big Kev announces that Savage will be defending the tag titles tonight as his surrogate, giving Tony another chance to use his new catchphrase: “Verbally binding contract”. Luger and Hall fight over a lockup to start, as Hall gropes him like he’s a senior citizen. Ha, there’s a reference I haven’t done in a while. Luger gets tossed and Nash clotheslines him from behind, and back in the nWo beats on Luger and Savage gets the double axehandle. Over to DDP and he slugs Hall to the floor, but gets tripped up as a result, allowing Savage to put him down from behind. Back to Hall for the blockbuster slam for two. Savage slugs away in the corner, as does Hall, and Savage elbows DDP down for two. Page gets tossed and Savage brings him back in, allowing Hall to get the corner clothesline. Back to Savage and then Hall as they do some good quick tagging, but Page comes back with the discus clothesline on Hall and it’s hot tag Luger. Luger whips them into each other and then clotheslines them, leading to the torture rack on Hall before Savage saves. DDP and Luger collide, however, and Luger eats a Diamond Cutter by accident, as Hall falls on top for the pin at 9:53. Well at least it had a clean finish. Pretty solid tag match as well. **1/2 Dusty wraps things up. Blu-Ray Bonus Matches! (Clash 4) The Midnight Express v. Ric Flair & Barry Windham Now this is why I wanted this set. Someone sent me a batch of old Clashes years ago, and I was really bummed when the fourth one wasn’t in watchable condition, because I had never seen this match before. This is basically all four guys in their stone cold primes, with the Lane/Eaton Express just coming off their only World tag titles, and the Horsemen holding both singles titles. Eaton immediately slaps Flair down and does his own strutting. They slug it out in the corner and we get the Flair Flip, ending with Lane slugging him down on the apron. Stan in with a sidekick and an enzuigiri, but Flair makes the tag to Windham. Lane hits him with a dropkick and the Horsemen regroup, allowing Windham to slug Lane down. He goes up and misses an elbow, and Lane puts Windham onto the floor with a kick and slingshots him back in. Here’s Windham, this GIANT dude, bumping all over for the smaller Express because it WORKS and he knows it. I love it. Eaton hits Flair with a series of slams and clotheslines both Horsemen, so they bail and regroup again. Back in, Lane takes Flair down for a figure-four, and Eaton gets his own on Windham as it’s the Rock N Roll Express tribute spot. Flair finally dumps Lane, but Stan comes back in with an elbow for two. Lane and Flair slug it out and Flair goes down again, but finally gets a cheapshot on Eaton to gain some momentum. Eaton slugs him down, however, and Lane adds an elbow, but he falls prey to a cheapshot from Windham while Paul E. Dangerously drops in with a promo. Flair goes up and takes too long, allowing Lane to slam him off, and Eaton comes back in to pound him in the corner. Another Flair flip, but this time it ends with Eaton getting a neckbreaker. Express with the FLAPJACK on Flair, and that gets two. Eaton with a rollup for two, but Windham nails him from behind to break it up and make Eaton YOUR face-in-peril. Windham with a delayed suplex and powerslam, and Flair drops the knee and slaps him around. Eaton gets dumped and Flair adds some nasty chops on the floor, then brings him back in for more. Windham blows in with the lariat for two. Side suplex and he drops the knee and grabs the sleeper, but Flair comes in for the slugfest with Eaton and he loses. Hot tag Lane and the Express gets the DOUBLE GOOZLE on Windham (with a great delayed sell), setting up the Alabama Jam. The managers brawl at ringside, allowing Flair to nail Eaton with JJ’s shoe and Windham to steal the pin at 17:40. I have no idea why they didn’t include this on the regular DVD, it’s tremendous. **** (Clash 18) Sting & Ricky Steamboat v. Rick Rude & Steve Austin. Austin & Steamboat start, and the Dragon overpowers him. They slug it out, won by Steamboat, and Austin bails. Back in, Steamboat backslide gets two, and he just goes back to it again for two. Small package gets two and Austin goes nuts and gets dumped. The heels regroup. Back in, Rude wants Sting, then backs off in a great bit of psyching out. Rude slugs away, but gets atomic-dropped. Sting clotheslines him down and rakes the back, driving new commentator Jesse Ventura insane. Sting goes to a rear chinlock, but spices it up as the faces play mindgames with the heels by switching off without a tag a few times, and the crowd absolutely eats it up with a spoon. Sting tries a testicular-drop, but lands on Rude’s knees and Austin comes in. Back elbow gets two, and Sting is YOUR Face-in-peril. Rude clotheslines him for two after a tag tease. Austin gets a backdrop suplex, but Sting tags the Dragon. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER OF DOOM gets two on Austin. Victory roll, no ref. Rude nails him, and Austin gets a back elbow and the heels work him over. Austin blocks a rollup, but gets cradled for two. Pier-six, Sting and Austin brawl onto the ramp, and back to the ring as Austin tries to slam Steamboat, only to see Sting plow into him with a flying bodypress that results in Steamboat & Sting dogpiling Austin for the pin at 11:21. Just awesome effort out of everyone here. **** (Clash 22) Thundercage: Dustin Rhodes & Sting v. Vader, Paul Orndorff & Barry Windham. Ron Simmons was supposed to be on the babyface team, but was eliminated by a pre-match attack from Vader in the previous segment. Rhodes backdrops Windham out of the corner to start and they slug it out, but Windham misses an elbow. Rhodes slugs away in the corner and gets a clothesline, bringing Sting in for a bulldog. Press slam and Windham brings Vader in for a go. Sting slugs him on the ropes, but Vader returns fire with mustard on it. Sting keeps punching and gets an atomic drop, and a DDT finally puts Vader down. Stinger splash and he keeps slugging away, and adds some for the other heels, too. Vader actually does a Flair Flip, but catches Sting with a shot to the head on a charge. He goes up with a flying clothesline and then adds a flying splash from the second rope, which misses. Sting kicks away and clotheslines him out, but Orndorff sneaks in with a german suplex to break up the jubilation. Orndorff comes in and stomps away, clotheslining Sting down and dropping an elbow. He drops an elbow on the lower abs, and Windham comes in with a shot off the top and slugs Sting down. Suplex gets two. Dustin gets suckered in and allows some double-teaming by the heels, and they continue working him over in the corner. Vader splash in the corner and a clubbing forearm put Sting down, and a press slam (with a shot on the way down) follows. That’s so cool. Windham sets up for a superplex , but Sting fights out and collapses to the mat. Hot tag to Rhodes is made, and he valiantly tries it 1-on-3, catching Windham with a lariat and slugging the other two down. Corner clothesline and he slugs away, but now Cactus Jack runs in with bolt-cutters to let himself in, and attacks the heels with his boot, laying them all out. I guess he’s your substitute for Simmons. Orndorff finally tosses him, leaving himself one-on-one with Rhodes, but a piledriver attempt is foiled by a boot to the head and Jack gets the pin at 11:22 to officially turn face. Match was going okay until the non-sensical finish. *** The Pulse Hopefully volume 2 is coming, because there’s still HOURS of great matches they could have put on here. Blonds v. Steamboat & Douglas, Enforcers v. Steamboat & Rhodes, Windham & Rhodes v. Steamboat & Douglas, Fantastics v. Midnights, Flair v. Steamboat…there’s still tons of material to mine here. This first shot at it is pretty great, with one ***** classic and a bunch of **** classics, and that’s enough for a hearty recommendation from me.

Monday Nitro – November 25, 1996

Monday Nitro #63
Date: November 25, 1996
Location: Wimomico Civic Center, Salisbury, Maryland
Attendance: 3,278
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Back to WCW here as we’re into the Eric Is Evil period. We’re also a night after World War 3 which Giant won, earning him a world title shot. Other than that there isn’t much else to report from the show, especially not like a 6 page review of it. We’re on the road to Starrcade now, which will wind up being another non-title main event. Let’s get to it.

We open with the opening sequence which still has Hogan in it in the red and yellow.

Tony and Larry talk about the contract signing between Roddy and Hogan. It’s officially signed for Starrcade. We also start a US Title Tournament tonight.

US Title Tournament First Round: Arn Anderson vs. Lex Luger

That’s quite an opener. They slug it out to start and Lex knocks him to the floor very quickly off an attempted shoulder block. Arn has taped ribs. Back in and Lex works on the arm, instead of going after the ribs which his finisher focuses on. Has there ever been a smart muscle guy? The arm work goes on for awhile and the fans aren’t all that thrilled with it.

Anderson fires off some shoulders to the ribs of Lex. Luger kicks Anderson in the ribs and then goes right back to the arm. When Larry Zbyszko is telling you that you’re missing the point, you know you’re in trouble. That’s not a knock on Larry, but he rarely went past pointing out the obvious. We take a break and come back with Lex breaking a chinlock. Arn keeps up the offense and we go to the floor.

Anderson almost punches the post but stops himself just in time. Lex grabs him and slams Arn’s back into the post then into the ring. It only took him about eight minutes to get the idea. Back in a suplex puts Arn down and Lex calls for the Rack. Instead we hear Giant talking about how he’s the US Champion which is the most wanted title in the world. Lex and Arn keep at their usual stuff and Lex can’t quite Rack him. They go to the floor where Lex manages to Rack him. It’s a double countout.

Rating: D+. This was a far better match once Luger realized he had a brain and worked on the body part that was injured coming in. Giant getting involved didn’t really add anything to the match but he’ll probably be popping up for the rest of the tournament. Arn was on the verge of being gone and his last regular singles match would be in January.

We get some stills of Dragon vs. Mysterio last night where Dragon kept the J-Crown. We get the same from Jericho beating Patrick, which I think was the NWO’s first loss, if you consider Patrick an official member at this point. Jarrett lost to Giant as well and Sting beat Jarrett up.

Here’s the NWO but I don’t see Hogan. Bischoff talks about being powerbombed in Baltimore back before Hogan joined. He realized that he wanted to be part of the power rather than consumed by it. A few days later, he met with Hall and Nash and joined up. As for the guys in the back, everyone has 30 days to transfer their WCW contracts to NWO contracts or they’re voided.

As for Piper, don’t get out of hand or deal with Bischoff. As for the US Title, possession is 9/10 of the law. The American Males come out and Bagwell joins the NWO. Bagwell takes Riggs out and the fans cheer for the NWO.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Disco Inferno

Page takes him down immediately and crotches him on the top rope. Disco grabs a pair of swinging neckbreakers and that’s about the extent of his offense. Page spins around the shoulders and wins with the Diamond Cutter. Just a squash here.

Page talks about how it’s clear why the NWO wants him but he isn’t in it yet. As for being friends and neighbors with Hall, Nash and Bischoff, that doesn’t mean he’s a member either. He doesn’t seem thrilled with Eric’s recent actions though.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Tony Pena

Pena is more famous as Villano IV but he’s out of the mask here. Regal grabs the arm to start but Pena flips out of it. Regal flips out of that as well and takes over again. Pena gets in a few shots and a DDT for two. Regal easily takes him down and the Regal Stretch ends this. Nothing to see here.

Rick Steiner, being seen for the first time in months, says he and his brother have been in Japan. He says the Steiners are WCW but he wants to know what’s up with Sting.

US Title Tournament First Round: Konnan vs. Eddie Guerrero

Eddie speeds things up and sends Konnan to the floor. There’s his signature big dive to the outside to give him control. Hour #2 begins and Tony walks up to the broadcast booth. Konnan comes back with the rolling clothesline and chokes in the corner. Konnan takes him to the mat and then powerbombs him for two. Fisherman’s DDT gets the same.

Eddie comes back but Konnan stops him with a gutwrench bomb for two. Off to a leg lock as Brain compares the Guerreros to the Three Stooges. Konnan goes up but jumps into a dropkick. Eddie goes for the Frog Splash but Konnan pops up and a superplex gets two as Konnan picks him up. He sets for the Power Drop but Eddie rolls out of it and lands on Konnan for the pin to advance.

Rating: C+. Not a bad match at all here with Eddie really getting to showcase himself around this time. Konnan picking him up was kind of an odd choice for him but I don’t think he was ever a cerebral guy. They did a decent fast paced match here and Konnan busted out some decent power moves, which is stuff he isn’t that remembered for but did pretty often.

We get some more stills from last night.

Big Bubba vs. Rick Steiner

Bubba takes over quickly but Rick hammers him to the floor and drops a double axe on the top of his head. Back in the ring an elbow drop gets two. There’s a German for two. Sting pops up at the top of the arena and comes down the steps. The Steiner Bulldog hits but Rick knocks Bubba to the floor instead. Sting comes through the crowd and hops the railing. He lays Rick out with the Death Drop and Bubba gets a splash for the pin. Not enough to rate but it was there for the storyline rather than the match.

Lee Marshall is in Dayton this week. Apparently he got beaten up last night.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psicosis

Ultimo Dragon comes out to watch. Feeling out process to start and Psicosis throws him over the top. That isn’t a DQ for whatever their reason is this week. Back in the guillotine legdrop gets two. Psicisos tries Splash Mountain but Rey hits his signature rana out of it for the pin. This was uncharacteristically short for a cruiserweight match.

Time for the Hogan/Piper contract signing from the night before. This is straight footage from the PPV so I’ll be copying and pasting it from that review.

Piper comes out with a contract in his hand. Bobby suggests that Piper is a bigger movie star than Hogan. I’ll leave that for you guys. Bischoff, Vincent and DiBiase come out sans Hogan. The next night Bischoff would say either join us or have your contracts voided which went nowhere but it got Bagwell to join.

Bischoff has power of attorney for Hogan so he can sign for Hogan. In a great bit of continuity, Piper shoves Vincent aside and tells him that he taught Vincent how to fight. Piper trained Vincent (Virgil in case that doesn’t ring a bell) to fight for his first match back in 1991. Piper says he can wear a leather jacket because he’s tough enough to unlike Bischoff. Piper really does come off as a badass here and this really did feel big. The problem was he actually had to wrestle.

Piper more or less says he doesn’t care about a count out or a DQ but just winning and here’s Hogan, Liz, Hall, Nash, Syxx and Giant. Bobby thinks Piper is outnumbered. I wonder if it was the 9-1 odds that made him think that. Hogan gets on the mic and lifts Piper’s skirt, showing the scar Piper has from a hip replacement. Why not just hold a big sign above their heads saying OLD GUYS?

Hogan signs the contract which Piper brought with him. For no apparent reason the match was NON title and when Piper won with a sleeper, he didn’t win the title. To say the fans were pissed would be an understatement. Piper jumps Hogan but gets caught. Hogan gets a chair and hits the weakest chair shot ever to the scar. Good to see the NWO is only taking ten minutes on this segment.

Alex Wright vs. Jeff Jarrett

They fight over a wristlock to start as the announcers talk about Hogan vs. Piper non-stop. Wright speeds things up which is like Kryptonite to a Memphis guy. Jarrett hits a snake eyes to break the momentum but Wright hits a spinwheel kick (first move called by the announcers at 90 seconds in) and a slingshot splash for two. A side kick misses in the corner though and the Figure Four ends this. Not much here but Wright was always someone I liked watching.

We go over some stills of the battle royal last night with the ending being Luger vs. five members of the NWO and eliminating all but Giant, who he did manage to Rack.

Faces of Fear vs. Harlem Heat

Stevie vs. Meng to start us off. Meng pounds him down and they be clubberin Tony! A big boot from Ray takes him down and the Harlem Side Kick drops Barbarian. In a really impressive move, Meng backdrops Booker into a powerbomb by Barbarian. That looked awesome. Everything breaks down quickly but it settles into Meng vs. Booker. Stevie comes in to kick Meng in the head which doesn’t have much effect. They go to the floor and the NWO runs in for the DQ.

Rating: D+. Not much here but the point of it was to have a bunch of guys out there so that the NWO could run in. It wasn’t bad for the most part and a power brawl is always worth at least a glance. The Faces of Fear would get a mild push until the end of the year and I’ve heard far worse ideas. Having some Island Monsters is a tried and true method for a tag team so why not them?

The NWO beats down all four of them and Tony makes a statement: “There is no way WCW can beat down a gang like this.” The NWO here is Vincent, Syxx, Hall, Nash, Giant and Bagwell. That’s a formidable team, but WCW’s roster has what, let’s say 30 guys? Are you telling me that five guys apiece can’t take down Vincent or Bagwell? I get that the NWO was smart, but why did it take years for WCW to just send the whole locker room out there and beat the stuffing out of the NWO? I get why you can’t do that from a booking perspective, but why not from a kayfabe perspective? Was that ever answered? Posing ends the show.

Overall Rating: C. This wasn’t a horrible show but it was more about holding the fort than anything else. They have awhile before Starrcade and without Hogan and Piper here, there wasn’t much going on. Bagwell joining didn’t mean much and neither did the whole contract issue as I think it only added a handful of new guys if that. Nothing great tonight but it certainly wasn’t a bad show.

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World War 3 1996

World War 3 1996
Date: November 24, 1996
Location: Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Attendance: 10,314
Commentators: Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Once again we’re going to do the three ring battle royal with the winner getting the title shot just after Starrcade. The entire roster is in that pretty much plus a ton of guys that are never on TV at all. We also have a man vs. woman match and Jericho vs. a referee. Yeah you can really tell how much thought there is in this show. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is just a basic rundown of what’s on the card tonight. The announcers wonder why Bischoff is trying to slow down the contract signing between Hogan and Piper. Something tells me this is going to dominate the conversation tonight.

J-Crown: Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio

The J-Crown was a collection of 8 cruiserweight titles from around the world, one of which being the WWF Light Heavyweight Title which was active since the 80s and only defended in Japan and Mexico. Therefore, a WWF Title id being defended here on a WCW PPV. It also gave us this:

Seriously, how sweet does that look? There’s just a pile of championships in the corner. How awesome is that? He has so many belts he just piles them up. Ah apparently Bischoff has already joined the NWO. Good to know. We start off in a mat based match which is kind of odd but it can work. How weird is it to think that Rey would become a two time world champion?

Now they crank it up and get a nice ovation for it. WCW fans could always appreciate good wrestling and this was no exception. Dragon is dominating here which makes sense as he was pushed as a really different kind of cruiserweight that could mix it up incredibly well. Heenan sounds like he’s on speed here as he’s talking so fast. Dragon hits a powerbomb but picks Rey up again and throws him backwards into a hot shot. NICE.

We go WAY old school with a giant swing. Someone really needs to look at Bobby’s monitors. They’re always on the blink. The crowd loves Rey here. Pay no attention to that though. He’s a small guy of Mexican descent. He can’t ever mean anything. This is basically Dragon does a big move and Rey gets up every time. Rey could sell like few others so this is certainly good.

I’ve never gotten the order of the rings at these shows. It seems like they have this obsession with how many rings there are here and there and it never works. There’s no Mike Tenay for this either, which makes the commentary more annoying than helpful. Rey kind of botches some stuff but nothing too bad. A springboard sunset flip gets two for Rey. Good freaking night that man could move back in the day. After they crank it up again, Rey goes for the West Coast Pop but Dragon counters into a slingshot powerbomb to retain the pile of belts. They say Malenko is next.

Rating: B. This was solid again and one more time the cruiserweights set the table for what could be a promising show. Dragon was definitely a different kind of cruiserweight back then as he used more power and leverage stuff rather than high flying and it worked very well. He and Malenko had some very good stuff coming up that we’ll get to soon enough. Quite good match.

There’s a new WCW.com. Remember that this is in 1996 so I wouldn’t expect much. Mark Madden is the commentator person there.

DDP, looking like he more traditionally would, is being recruited by the NWO. Him never saying yes is what made him one of the few heroes in WCW fans’ eyes. He denies being associated with Bischoff other than being his neighbor and says he’ll win the battle royal with a BANG.

Chris Jericho vs. Nick Patrick

Patrick has been an evil referee that has screwed Jericho over a few times and this is revenge time. Jericho has Teddy Long as his manager which didn’t last long. He also has to have one arm behind his back. We hear about Nick Patrick’s wrestling career which also didn’t last long. It’s the left arm here so this should be dominance. Patrick cuts a short promo and we find out why he’s a referee.

Patrick is in a sleeveless shirt and is in the NWO here. He also has a neckbrace. With one arm, Patrick wants a test of strength. That whole wrestling background falls apart pretty quickly here as it’s all Jericho who puts on a clinic with one arm. It’s all Jericho as we go to the floor. Jericho misses a clothesline into the post though and Patrick takes over for a bit. Since his offense does nothing though, we’re kind of just wasting time here. Jericho channels his inner Shawn Michaels for a superkick to end it. This was the first pinfall loss for the NWO on PPV, four months after they debuted.

Rating: D+. Pretty boring but they came up with some fairly creative spots to let Patrick get some offense in. This was just kind of pointless though as there was no challenge at all for Jericho and it just kind of fell flat. It could have been FAR worse though.

Flair comes out for an interview. He’s hurt here so he’s off the card. Even with his arm in a sling the guy looks like a million bucks. On the radio a few months ago one of the hosts said they ran into him in Florida and that Flair could not have looked better, smelled better or have been a nicer guy. That’s always good to hear about guys like Flair who comes off as a prick at times. He talks about a ton of guys and how this is about WCW and not the NWO. He guarantees the NWO will lose and stops to dance in between. That was awesome. Old guys can talk.

Giant vs. Jeff Jarrett

This was supposed to be Flair last month but since he was hurt then too they brought Jarrett in but he couldn’t do a damn thing with Giant. Giant stole the US Title belt from Flair who was champion but had it stripped from him for lack of defenses in 30 days. Jarrett is booed out of the building despite being Flair’s pick to fight Giant. Jarrett has been bragging that he didn’t get chokeslammed last month. Yeah that’s his big claim to fame at the moment.

The crowd is all over Jarrett here and loudly cheering for Giant. We hear about how Hogan got Giant into the NWO by promising him movie parts etc and sure enough Giant was in the movie Jingle All The Way which was in theaters the weekend of this show. Sting is up in the rafters and the show pretty much stops dead because of it. He comes down the steps and it’s hard to tell if he’s the real one or not. Giant misses a Vader Bomb and Jarrett takes him down with a cross body.

That might be the real Sting. He takes Jarrett out while Giant is on the floor. A chokeslam ends it. We’re of course told that Sting is clearly in the NWO now, which wouldn’t be officially answered until about March.

Rating: C-. Much better than their match last month as Jarrett didn’t try to come straight at him here and it looked like he was thinking more. Also Giant sold more of his stuff and it looked a lot better on that front too. This was just a pawn in the huge Sting chess game and on that worked very well, so definitely did its job.

Piper comes out with a contract in his hand. Bobby suggests that Piper is a bigger movie star than Hogan. I’ll leave that for you guys. Bischoff, Vincent and DiBiase come out sans Hogan. The next night Bischoff would say either join us or have your contracts voided which went nowhere but it got Bagwell to join.

Bischoff has power of attorney for Hogan so he can sign for Hogan. In a great bit of continuity, Piper shoves Vincent aside and tells him that he taught Vincent how to fight. Piper trained Vincent (Virgil in case that doesn’t ring a bell) to fight for his first match back in 1991. Piper says he can wear a leather jacket because he’s tough enough to unlike Bischoff. Piper really does come off as a badass here and this really did feel big. The problem was he actually had to wrestle.

Piper more or less says he doesn’t care about a count out or a DQ but just winning and here’s Hogan, Liz, Hall, Nash, Syxx and Giant. Bobby thinks Piper is outnumbered. I wonder if it was the 9-1 odds that made him think that. Hogan gets on the mic and lifts Piper’s skirt, showing the scar Piper has from a hip replacement. Why not just hold a big sign above their heads saying OLD GUYS?

Hogan signs the contract which Piper brought with him. For no apparent reason the match was NON title and when Piper won with a sleeper, he didn’t win the title. To say the fans were pissed would be an understatement. Piper jumps Hogan but gets caught. Hogan gets a chair and hits the weakest chair shot ever to the scar. Good to see the NWO is only taking ten minutes on this segment.

The Amazing French Canadians vs. Harlem Heat

The Canadians are more commonly known as the Quebecers from WWF. They’re managed by Colonel Parker and the Heat by Sherri. If the heat win there’s a match between the managers. Something tells me this isn’t going to be that good. Jacques, who was on New Blood Rising, sings the national anthem of Canada. I say sing loosely. He and Booker start. Please let this go fast.

To my great shock, we talk about Piper and Hogan for the opening of the match. Parker is dressed up as a French Legionnaire now and somehow looks even stupider. He stomps on Booker and the comedy is completely unintentional. This match isn’t particularly terrible bit it’s just boring as hell. It’s been about five minutes since the last thing I typed. There just hasn’t been anything to talk about.

The Canadians get the steps and put them in a corner then get a table and lay it across the top rope. They put more steps on top of that and the non-Mountie Canadian does a front flip off. He completely misses and a Harlem Hangover ends him.

Rating: D-. This didn’t get me interested at all. Why am I watching the Quebecers when it’s almost 1997? This was just garbage and boring as hell on all levels. No one cared about Parker vs. Sherri so they went with it for over a year. At least this is over now.

Sherri beats up Parker for like a minute in their “match.” Parker runs away after a cross body. Not even worth an actual introduction.

WCW needs to stop having their production guys on TV so clearly. It just takes something away from the show. Not sure why but it bothers me.

Piper vs. Hogan is called the match of the century and we get a really bad promo for Starrcade.

Someone else might be coming to WCW. I’m not sure who that was but it likely wasn’t anyone special.

Luger comes in and talks about Sting handing him a baseball bat. Luger thinks he’s NWO but doesn’t want to believe it. He had been getting the semi-Superman push lately so he was one of the favorites in the battle royal but there really wasn’t anyone that was clearly going to win.

Cruiserweight Title: Psicosis vs. Dean Malenko

Malenko was just about perfect at this point and would somehow get better the next year, actually winning best technical wrestler both in 96 and 97 from Meltzer as well as winning the PWI 500 which is fan voted I believe. They were building to Malenko vs. Dragon next month in what would more or less be a throwaway match. We start with a lot of technical stuff as you would expect us to.

Bobby picks Malenko to win the battle royal tonight. I’ll set the over under on him changing at 8.5. They’re doing the three broadcast teams tonight. That’s just going to make my head hurt. Malenko has a leglock on and the fans look at something in the audience. After more decent stuff, Psicosis falls off the top rope and slams his head into the railing. Since he isn’t dead, we can continue.

Dean goes into his finishing sequence but the ropes break the Cloverleaf. He destroys the knee and is completely dominating here. We ignore the over the top thing again and Psicosis hits a top rope flip from the top and hits his head again. Good thing he wears that mask or he’d need to get one to cover up the ugly. Then again I’ve seen him sans mask so maybe he needed it all along.

Dean takes a rana from the top for two as this is kind of pedestrian and the crowd isn’t into it at all really. He gets a SWEET reversal out of a suplex into a small package. That looked great. A tombostone gets two for the champion and then he rolls him up for the pin.

Rating: B-. Decent match but they just felt a bit bored out there. They were kind of off by a step or so and it showed badly. It’s definitely good but there was something holding it back from being really good. The crowd didn’t care at all for some reason which is odd as Malenko was usually very popular. Weird but good.

Tag Titles: Nasty Boys vs. Outsiders vs. Faces of Fear

This is the next to last match on the card so at least we’re almost done. Hall and Nash have the belts and come out first for some reason. The Faces of Fear were good for placeholders and jobbers in this division as they were legit tough so it was completely believable. The Nasty Boys continue to not be much at all. The more famous teams brawl to start before the Faces of Fear are here. Ah here they are.

The Outsiders are both jumped by a tag team and it breaks down into a brawl. Knobbs and Barbarian start us off officially and I already don’t like this match. They keep the Outsiders out as long as they can which is about a minute and a half. Hall comes in and beats up Barbarian. Barbarian needs to get up because THIS IS WCW! The problem is that no one cares about Barbarian so they cheer Hall.

We’re six minutes into this so Dusty says it’s been 15. Basically it’s just a bunch of brawling with no particular rhyme or reason. When I get bored I think in song lyrics. So sue me. I love Nash’s side slam. That this is just downright elegant. Something tells me this is going to go on for a LONG time. No one has any particular advantage but Meng gets a suplex on Hall for two and Jimmy FREAKS. It’s absolutely hilarious how much he yells and screams over it. How much caffeine do you think he has in one day?

The Nasty Boys are ordained as the masters of the Clubber. They just stand back and watch the other four fight which is smart when you think about it. This has been like ten minutes of just random brawling. There’s no flow to this match at all and no one has been in any kind of extended trouble. Meng and Knobbs tag in Hall and Nash at the same time so they have to fight. Hall lays down for Nash but the save is made, extending this torture a bit longer. A Megaphone shot and powerbomb on Knobbs end it.

Rating: F+. This was AWFUL. It runs over 15 minutes, nothing of note happens, there’s no story at all and the ending comes from nowhere. When the Faces of Fear have the best performance in a match, that’s not a good sign in the slightest. And now we get the battle royal. Oh yay.

The teams of announcers are Tenay and Dusty, Larry and Lee Marshall and Tony and Bobby. They all give their take and none of them mean a thing. Dusty picks Luger or Konnan.

World War 3

Arn Anderson, Marcus Bagwell, The Barbarian, Chris Benoit, Big Bubba, Jack Boot, Bunkhouse Buck, Ciclope, Disco Inferno, Jim Duggan, Bobby Eaton, Mike Enos, Galaxy, Joe Gomez, Jimmy Graffiti, Johnny Grunge, Juventud Guerrera, Eddy Guerrero, Scott Hall, Prince Iaukea, Ice Train, Mr. JL, Jeff Jarrett, Chris Jericho, Kenny Kaos, Konnan, Lex Luger, Dean Malenko, Steve McMichael, Meng, Rey Misterio, Jr., Hugh Morrus, Kevin Nash, Scott Norton, Pierre Ouelette, Diamond Dallas Page, La Parka, Sgt. Craig Pittman, Jim Powers, Robbie Rage, Stevie Ray, Lord Steven Regal, The Renegade, Scotty Riggs, Roadblock, Jacques Rougeau, Tony Rumble, Mark Starr, Rick Steiner, Ron Studd, Kevin Sullivan, Syxx, Booker T, David Taylor, the Último Dragón, Villaño IV, Michael Wallstreet, Pez Whatley and Alex Wright.

The list is from Wikipedia so blame them for anything weird in there.

The intros take a few minutes since 60 guys have to come out. While they’re coming out, a few notes: Jimmy Graffiti is Jimmy Del Ray of the Heavenly Bodies, Galaxy is a luchador, Jack Bruce is Buddy Lee Parker and Pez Whatley was a medium deal in 86. Benoit is all beaten up and has black eyes and cuts all over his face. The NWO are all in the same ring. Benoit and Sullivan fight before the match officially starts. The Dungeon and the Horsemen jump in and here we go.

I’m not going to even try to list off everyone eliminated here so if I leave someone out don’t be surprised in the slightest. The camera stays on Benoit and Sullivan for about a minute and a half. Oh great we’re doing the triple screen again and you can’t see anything. I think the Dungeon of Doom and the Horsemen are gone. We’ve looked at the three rings maybe 15 seconds combined and almost three minutes at Benoit vs. Sullivan. The NWO is just standing in the corner and Benoit is slammed on Marshall and Larry’s table.

No one of note is out yet. All of the Dungeon and the Horsemen are out, which is about 9 people. Marshall gets knocked out in the big fight so something has gone right tonight at least. Look up BIG ASS CLUSTERFUCK in the dictionary and you have this match. Tony Rumble, a career jobber, is gone. Once we get down to ten in each ring they’ll break up that ring. La Parka is gone as is Ciclope. Norton is gone and Pez Whatley is too. Expect a lot of that in this match.

The eliminations start picking up a bit as three no names go out in a row. We get rid of the jobbers for the most part here which is good. Joe Gomez is out. All of the announce teams run down the remaining guys and I don’t even bother paying attention. Every big name is still in it. Giant and Roadblock, an incredibly fat guy go at it. Guess who wins. JL is out. We really need to get this down to one ring for the sake of sanity.

Everybody goes after Big Ron Studd with about a dozen splashes but no one actually tries to put him out. Everyone piles on him but we’re told he has to be thrown out of course. Both Canadians and Duggan are out. Eddie eliminates himself with a plancha to Regal. Bagwell is out as we’re getting some bigger names gone. He and Riggs fight on the floor and they would split tomorrow.

Dave Taylor and Wallstreet are gone. There are 9 left in ring 3 so that ring should be broken up. Scott Steiner is out. There are 8 in ring 1 and 9 in ring 2. Juvy is out. We’re merging into ring 2 thank goodness. Wait is Eddie out or not? Yeah he is for no apparent reason. Everyone is in the same ring so they keep it with three cameras. Damn it go to one camera! Jack Boot is out. You can’t see shit and it’s really complicated because getting more than one angle of the same guys is just really confusing.

Luger tries to get Giant out but the power of fat stops him. Malenko is out and so is Craig Pittman and Booker. We’re still on three cameras because WCW is stupid. Disco is finally out. Bunkhouse Buck is gone. I’d love to see how many people are left. Boy what a basic camera shot would do to help that. A bunch of people go out quickly including Dragon. Tony says there are 13 left. Jericho going out gets us to 12 I think. Just to further the stupidity, the bottom camera goes to a single shot.

Ice Train is out. Ok, everyone is in a damn circle and FINALLY we go to one camera, 20 minutes into the damn match. We have Syxx, Hall, Nash, Giant, DDP, Jarrett, Luger, Rey Regal and Eddie left. Eddie was in the final ten last year too I think. Eddie is out and Rey goes after Nash. Giant literally throws Rey out with one hand. Jarrett goes out and we have 7 left. DDP takes us to 6. Regal, Luger, four NWO guys. Make that Luger vs. the NWO.

Giant misses a charge and winds up on the ropes so Luger racks him. Hall goes out. There goes Syxx. Like an idiot he racks Nash and Giant dumps them both to win. Bobby and Tony say it’s the best battle royal ever. Giant would get thrown out of the NWO for asking for a title shot. He would get it at Souled Out, the first NWO PPV. The heels pose to end the show.

Rating: D. This wasn’t very good. The camera work KILLED it in the end. For at least five minutes we were on one ring and you couldn’t see a damn thing at all. These matches were never really very good at all and this was no exception. They’re just big messes the entire time and nothing ever really came of them. When you have so many jobbers it makes you wonder what the point is in having this many. Cut the damn thing down to like 45 or even 40 and this is WAY better. Still though, the NWO winning was just stupid but then again this is WCW so there you go.

Overall Rating: D. This wasn’t very good. There’s some ok stuff on it, but that’s as good as it gets. SO much stuff on here is just boring as hell as the majority of the roster was in the battle royal. Things would pick up a lot in the coming year, but the end of 96 was really pretty week. These shows always sucked though and this was absolutely no exception. Don’t watch this one.

Monday Nitro – November 11, 1996

Monday Nitro #61
Date: November 11, 1996
Location: Bayfront Arena, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko, Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

There isn’t much to talk about for this show. The NWO is dominating of course and Piper is in this somewhere. WCW is still looking for a leader which they never really would find. Other than that there isn’t much else to talk about here because that’s all that really mattered. The big stuff happens next week. Let’s get to it.

While the announcers talk to open the show, some guy has an envelope in the crowd and security gets rid of him. It’s not acknowledged but it’s almost impossible to miss.

We talk about Jarrett vs. the Horsemen as Jarrett had implied he was a Horseman but Benoit and Mongo didn’t like that. This feud would go on FOREVER and drive me crazy the while time. They air the whole segment from last week which is Jarrett making a rambling football analogy.

Chris Benoit vs. Jeff Jarrett

An inset interview by Kevin Sullivan implies he had Woman before Benoit. Jarrett grabs an arm drag and struts. A drop toehold takes Benoit down and Jarrett walks over his back as we take a break. Back with Benoit pounding away on him and it’s a brawl. Jeff kind of botches a neckbreaker as he loses Benoit swinging through it. Jarrett keeps control but Benoit gets all violent to take over.

Back to the mat in a brawling style as this has been a lot less technical than you would expect from these guys. Jeff starts in on the leg but Benoit hammers away at him. He drapes Jarrett across the top rope and they slug it out over the apron. Jarrett suplexes Benoit to the floor….and here’s Sting to drop Jarrett with the Deathdrop for the DQ.

Rating: C-. Not bad here but they weren’t going for a technical masterpiece this time. The idea was that Benoit was mad about Jarrett talking about being a Horseman so it wasn’t meant to be a big display of amateur skill. The ending hopefully gets rid of Jarrett wanting to be the leader of WCW.

Benoit teases getting in to fight Sting but thinks better of it.

Tony and Larry starting talking about Dr. James Andrews and the envelope guy from earlier runs up to the table and hands Tony the envelope. It’s a tape with a note saying it was a hit in Europe in 92 and something about Piper wanting Hogan. When I mentioned it earlier, I didn’t know something else was coming later from it. That’s rather cool.

The point of Andrews was a video we get about Flair getting his shoulder worked on by him.

WCW Women’s Title Tournament First Round: Zero vs. Malia Hosaka

Zero is Sonny Onoo’s chick in this. She no sells everything and we’re in squash territory here. Razor’s Edge into a powerbomb ends this in about a minute and a half.

DDP is asked about the NWO interfering in his matches. Page says he has nothing to do with them and doesn’t need them. The Outsiders come out and offer him a spot on the team but Page says he’d be #8, so how valuable do they really think he is? Nash talks about politics and how Bischoff is Page’s neighbor. Page says that has nothing to do with the spot he has and that’s about it.

Ciclope vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

Ciclope has what would be Jericho’s heel music in 1998. Ultimo Dragon is out at ringside with the J Crown Titles. Ciclope takes him to the mat but Rey makes it technical to escape. A springboard rana sends Ciclope to the floor and there’s a big dive on top of it. Another springboard winds up with with Ciclope clotheslining him down. A sunset bomb sends Rey to the floor as Ciclope is doing better than expected.

More dominance by the less famous one here as he hits a DDT off the top (think the Orton elevated DDT) as Dean is watching from the aisle. Psicosis is behind him but I don’t think Dean knows he’s there. Off to a chinlock by Ciclope which is actually a choke. There’s a group of fans in the front row in shirts that spell out NWO 4 Life. A standing Lionsault is caught in something like a tombstone by Ciclope. They go up and Rey ranas him to the floor. Back in the West Coast Pop ends it.

Rating: C+. Pretty nice match here with Rey making the comeback that he got pretty famous doing. Not exactly a classic as they only had about 5 minutes, but for a free TV match, this was pretty much fine. Rey would get back into the title hunt in the next year as it was Dragon who got Dean to end the year.

The NWO fans come out of the entrance ramp before the NWO itself comes out for the Cable Ace Awards. Hall calls TNT a show instead of a network. They take over the announce table (the one at ringside, not the booth) and say they’ll want the awards. Nash brings up winning WarGames and talks about how they want Nitro. That happens in 2-3 weeks apparently.

Hour #2 begins.

Lex Luger vs. Scott Norton

Anderson says that he’ll get Luger at a house show in Baltimore on the 23rd. Norton overpowers him to start but seemingly drops Lex on a backbreaker attempt. Sting is in the rafters/at the top of the crowd. Out to the floor where Luger clotheslines the post which quiets the crowd down a lot. Back in and a flying tackle puts Lex down and we take a break.

Back with Norton draping the arm across the top rope. Norton stomps away on Luger like he’s a bad virus. Lex tries to start a comeback but Norton no sells a lot of clotheslines. Eric talks about the tape that apparently we’re going to see later. Norton goes up but jumps into a clothesline. The Rack ends this clean.

Rating: D+. Just a power match here but nothing of interest at all. Norton was as generic of a power guy as you could ask for but he did a decent job in that role and was around for a lot of years in WCW as a result. Sometimes just being a power monster is good enough for a job and he was here.

Heenan picks Dean Malenko for World War 3.

We see the attack on Jarrett by Sting earlier in the show.

Luger says that he still hasn’t heard from Sting.

Lee Marshall talks about Nitro next week as usual.

Amazing French Canadians vs. Harlem Heat

Colonel Parker is with the Canadians now. This is a rematch from Saturday Night. The Canadians take over to start but the Heat ram them together to take over. Booker hits the axe kick and we cut to the back to see the Nasty Boys trying to get in. Doug Dillinger won’t let them in. They finally go split screen as Sherri gets into the ring. The Nasties leave but see someone we can’t quite see. Sherri and Parker get into a fight for the no contest. I’m not rating it due to how much we didn’t see and how the split screen was mostly her standing around. I’m curious as to who that was the Nasties were talking to.

Upon further review (as in I looked it up on the internet) it was Ed Leslie, or Brutus Beefcake.

Konnan vs. Chris Jericho

Konnan has a belt which I’d assume is a AAA title. We actually get a shot of a hockey card with Jericho’s pappy on it. Jericho gets sent to the floor and Konnan hits the rolling clothesline. Then he hits another inside. Well at least he’s keeping the symmetry. Nick Patrick is referee here so expect something screwy. Konnan hits him in the knee and a powerbomb gets two. Now he works on the arm. The Canadian hits a German on the Cuban and a victory roll gets two. Another bridging move gets two. They hit the ropes and Konnan dropkicks Jericho who brushes into Patrick’s arm which Patrick calls a DQ.

Rating: D. This was a pretty dull match which was there so they could continue Jericho vs. Patrick. I’m not sure when they’re going to finally have Patrick admit he’s NWO but if I remember right it was before the PPV. He definitely was NWO at Souled Out but I thought it was before then.

Miguel Perez Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera

This starts immediately after we get back from a break. Perez was one of Los Boricuas in WWF and other than this, he had one match on a major WCW show which was back in 1992. Oh my goodness he’s a hairy man. I’m not exactly sure what you want me to say here as this is your standard cruiserweight style match with both guys moving around well but mostly just to pop the crowd. Standing moonsault gets two for Perez. They go to the floor and Perez flattens him with a powerbomb on the floor. Back in a tornado DDT is countered by Juvy but the 450 misses. A rolling victory roll gets the pin for Perez.

Rating: C-. Like I said, this was just like any given match that had two Hispanic cruiserweights in it. I don’t really know what else there is to say about it as it came and went. It wasn’t bad but Perez wasn’t all that impressive. I’d assume this was a tryout match for him so I’m not that shocked that he wasn’t around anymore.

DiBiase thanks Sting for taking Jarrett out. He and Vincent hold up an NWO shirt for Sting whenever he wants it.

Faces of Fear vs. American Males

This is the official main event if you go by what the last match is. We get word that the video is a music video which is going to be enough to explain Piper’s feelings about Hogan. Eric says that he still has had issues with Piper’s management and that he had a good time with Piper and his family in Oregon. Remember that, as it becomes important later. The Faces of Fear pound the Males down before the Males can even get their jackets off. We’re told that Piper vs. Hogan will be as big as Tyson vs. Holyfield. Not hot tag brings in Riggs but Bagwell pulls Barbarian’s feet at the wrong time. Meng kills Riggs with a kick to end it.

Rating: D. This was here to reenforce the idea that the Males aren’t on the same page. You would get a lot more of these short matches that were just around to advance the idea of a single angle back then rather than now. The Males thing would be settled next week, as would a lot of other stuff. Yeah in case you didn’t get it, next week is where a lot of stuff changes, making this week pretty much just a filler before then.

Jimmy Hart wants to know why the Nasty Boys are getting a title shot and not the Faces of Fear. He wants a triangle match. Jimmy would actually get his request.

Here’s the video, which is Piper boxing…and singing? The song appears to be called I’m Your Man. It’s a music video which has Piper training, on the beach, and that’s about it. There’s a still from the music video with Hogan looking up at a marquee at the Hollywood Bowl with Hogan vs. Piper listed as The Ultimate Bout. Really? That’s it?

Here’s the NWO and Hogan in particular. Liz is in a Santa mask. He brags about Santa With Muscles and tells Piper to bring it on. Hulk poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. This one really missed for me. Like I said it’s really more of a filler show than anything else, with that music video being something very strange. It’s not a particularly bad song or anything, but it’s just so out of nowhere and strange to see Piper singing. Anyway, nothing of note to see here tonight and that made it one of the weaker shows from Nitro in awhile.

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REVENGE!


Hey Scott, thanks for posting a link to the World Tour video.  In case it got lost in Wrestlemania weekend hype, the video for Revenge got posted.  Maybe you’ll know just why Sting stopped the 18 wheeler in the intro.

AWESOMENESS.

My theory on the semi is that Sting was constantly tethered by his rappelling gear everywhere he went, and he just ran out of line and had to stop.