Monday Nitro – December 9, 1996

Monday Nitro #65
Date: December 9, 1996
Location: Independence Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We continue to head towards Starrcade tonight and if my memory is
right, Piper is in the building tonight. There’s another member joining
the NWO tonight as well but it’s not like the rest of them to put it
mildly. There are a lot of matches tonight too so they should be pretty
quick each. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Piper to open things up. Piper says it’s nice to be home. He
used to live at a Days Inn here before it was pretty. The last time
everyone saw him, there were a bunch of NWO guys pounding on his leg.
Piper hops around the ring on one leg. On December 29, he’s supposed to
fight Hogan in Nashville. He has six kids so he has to win this one.
Piper is bombed it seems. His seven year old told him that Hogan was
younger than him and has two good legs so what chance does he have?

Piper talks about boxing Mr. T. at Wrestlemania 2 and being asked to
take a dive. He said no, so they added extra padding to his gloves to
make sure the punches didn’t hurt T as much. I’ll leave that one alone.
There’s a guy in the audience with an NWO sign. Piper says nothing bad
about the NWO because he’s a free agent. He talks about a promo they did
of six guys in one room in leather drinking and not one woman. Our hero
ladies and gentlemen. He knows Hogan is here so let’s just do it
tonight.

Mike Enos vs. Michael Wallstreet

Michael grabs a quick fireman’s carry to start and it’s a feeling out
period. About a minute in here’s DiBiase. Enos hits a powerslam but
gets distracted by DiBiase. DiBiase has papers in his hands and
Wallstreet hits a quick Samoan Drop for the pin.

DiBiase hands Wallstreet the papers and he seems pleased. DiBiase leaves before anything else happens.

We get a video of Woman and Benoit with Woman talking about how she’s
obviously not in the Florida Keys and that Kevin can’t find him. She
meant it in Baltimore when she said if Sullivan kicked Benoit one more
time she was gone. It’s not the 1950s anymore so she’ll do what she
wants. Benoit talks about how Sullivan fancies himself a chess player.
Well Benoit’s bishop just took Sullivan’s queen. We cut to Sullivan who
is speechless.

Hugh Morrus vs. Renegade

Renegade still has a job? They fight for control with power moves to
start which gets no one an advantage. Morrus changes things up with a
spinwheel kick to take Renegade down. Small package gets two for
Renegade. Morrus’ bearhug is quickly countered into one by Renegade
which is quickly broken up as well. Morrus says to hit him, so Renegade
punches him down. Can’t say he doesn’t take orders well. Hugh suplexes
him down and the moonsault ends this. Better match than you would expect
actually.

Joe Gomez, Renegade’s partner, pulls him out of the way of another moonsault.

Sullivan comes out post match and wants to talk to Tony who played
the video of Benoit and Woman. Kevin says it’s a ratings game but that
video wasn’t sent to WCW. It was sent to Sullivan, so why didn’t they
ask Sullivan if they could show it? Tony is a pawn in a game to get
ratings. Sullivan says he has a personal life and stuff that he does
outside of this ring. Next time there’s something to show, screw the
ratings because Sullivan has people to take care of. I didn’t remember
this angle all that well but it’s starting off well.

Video on Sting set to, and I kid you not, Holding Out For A Hero.

Here’s Kevin Greene of the Carolina Panthers who got a big win
yesterday. I know this because Tony has reminded us of it every 47
seconds. He doesn’t like Mongo and he doesn’t like the NWO. Greene would
love a chance to fight Hogan.

Cruiserweight Title: Jimmy Graffiti vs. Dean Malenko

So Graffiti loses to Dean and then to Rey, then he gets a title
match. I’ll never understand how the title contenders selection process
works. Chain wrestling to start and Graffiti taking over with a
hammerlock. Dean gets up and clotheslines Jimmy to take over as we take a
break. Graffiti is in control with brawling stuff when we return.
Clothesline gets two. Graffiti misses a charge in the corner and they
head to the floor.

They both try a suplex but both guys are down as a result. A
superkick puts Dean down for two. A powerbomb puts Dean down as well but
Graffiti wastes time. After a very delayed cover, Graffiti tries a
front suplex but Dean rolls through into a small package for a quick pin
to retain the title.

Rating: C. Not a bad match but Graffiti was nothing
of note at all. This was just an appetizer until we got to the Dragon
feud which was more interesting. The ending was a good one as Dean used
his wrestling abilities to catch the lazy Graffiti off guard. Not a
great match but a good ending.

Sonny Onoo has lost his accent but says Dragon will destroy Dean at Starrcade.

We get some clips of the triangle tag match from World War 3.

Nasty Boys vs. Faces of Fear

If you’re expecting anything other than a fight here, raise your hand
so I can point at you and laugh. They go split screen almost
immediately and the Outsiders are standing on the ramp. I have no idea
who started but it’s Sags vs. Barbarian now. Sags goes to the floor to
fight Meng and it breaks down again. The NWO has left. Ok so it’s back
to Barbarian and Sags in the ring and there’s a tag to Knobbs. It breaks
down again and Knobbs has Barbarian pinned but there’s no referee.
Jimmy GOES UP TOP with the Megaphone but it hits Barbarian. Meng hits
Knobbs with the Megaphone and it gets the pin.

Rating: C. Ok so with this, if you’re going just on
the wrestling this is somewhere between a Divas match and two kids in
the back yard. If you’re going on entertainment and keeping things
moving, this was incredible. That being said, we’ll put it somewhere in
the middle. It’s a total brawl that has no order to it at all, but like I
said that’s all you should have expected.

Here’s Flair for an interview. He comes out to the Horsemen music but
he’s on his own. Flair is still injured here but his arm isn’t in a
sling anymore. He praises the Panthers again and bows down to Greene,
who he says he doesn’t like. Flair asks Piper to come out here to a big
Charlotte welcome.

Flair talks about Piper getting here on a Greyhound bus and now he’s
got a home next to Phil Knight (Nike boss) in Oregon. Piper has taken it
upon himself to challenge Hogan, whose name draws a bunch of boos.
Flair talks about the losses to Hogan haunting him but now Piper is here
to rectify it. Piper says this is his last shot and he appreciates the
offer but he wants to do this on his own.

Hour #2 begins.

We have a recap of the opening segment and then the announcers talk about said segment.

Chris Jericho vs. Bobby Eaton

Eaton takes him down quickly and hits the top rope knee almost
immediately. Jericho comes back with a powerslam and an inset interview,
saying WCW will prevail. He isn’t done with Nick Patrick yet either.
Suplex sets up the Lionsault for two. It wasn’t a finisher yet. Alabama
Jam misses and Jericho hits the missile dropkick for the pin. Pretty
much a squash.

We recap the Rick Steiner/Sting issues.

The Steiners are in the arena to talk about Sting. Scott says it’s
crazy to hand Rick Steiner a bat but when Scott did that, he saw
something in Sting’s eyes. He has no idea what it is though. Sting has
done the same thing to Lex and them and those three are all WCW. Rick
says they’re waiting for his next message.

We recap Lex vs. Giant, which isn’t really a feud. This is more like a
video on Lex set to his theme music and not much Giant. It’s Lex vs.
Giant at Starrcade.

Craig Pittman vs. Arn Anderson

Pittman and Long have parted ways apparently. An inset interview by
Sullivan says he blames this on Arn. Next week they’re going to fight.
Anderson stalls a lot and Tony says that there’s more video from Benoit
and Woman for Sullivan. We take a break (why?) and come back with more
stalling. Anderson drops to the floor and wraps the knee around the post
but is slammed off the top. Tony says that doesn’t happen often. I’d
hit him if I could right now. Code Red is countered by grabbing the
ropes and they head to the outside. Briefcase to the ribs, DDT, NEXT.

Gene asks Okerlund where Woman and Benoit are. Anderson says Benoit
is in Germany and 2 + 2 = 4. Anderson says love stinks and it’s his
fault. Debra goes on a rant against Nancy and McMichael says focus.
Anderson tells benoit to come home and says he has a bone to pick with
Woman.

Lee Marshall is in Pensacola.

US Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Jeff Jarrett

Man this would have been different three and a half years later. The
winner of this gets the winner of Guerrero vs. Benoit at Starrcade. This
continues the streak of “put DDP in the ring with guys that could have a
watchable match with a grizzly bear so that he gets better.” Jarrett
has a small advantage to start but Page kicks him in the ribs and poses.
They fight over a top wristlock and we take a break.

Back with Page in control and slamming Jarrett down. Jarrett comes
back with an enziguri and a swinging neckbreaker for no cover. The fans
start booing something and a sunet flip and clothesline both get two for
Jeff. A Blanchard slingshot suplex sets up a middle rope fist for two.
There’s a sleeper and Page is in trouble.

The referee is looking at something else as Page hits a discus lariat
for a big reaction. Page punches him down and suddenly is over like
crazy. A top rope clothesline gets two. Page is sent to the floor and
here are the Outsiders. Nash distracts so that the Razor’s Edge can kill
Jarrett. Page didn’t see it and gets the pin.

Rating: B-. Remember what I’ve said before about
talented guys getting time means a good match? This is a similar version
but Page wasn’t quite good yet. Jarrett was reliable though and could
easily get a good match out of Page at this point. The reactions for
Page are getting much stronger very quickly and WCW capitalized on it
too.

Page says he doesn’t need the NWO because the Diamond Cutter does
whatever he needs. One more time: leave me alone. He wants to know where
they were last year when he was voted Most Improved by PWI. It reminds
him of a girl he picked up in a nightclub and the next thing he knows,
she wants a full time thing. In short, stop calling!

Rick Steiner vs. Scott Norton

We have about five minutes left in this show so this isn’t lasting
long if at all. And there’s no Steiner. It’s Roddy Piper instead and
he’s MAD.

He gets a chair and gets in the ring. Piper says nothing is happening
until Hogan gets out here because it’s time to fight. Here’s Bischoff
instead but Piper says get out because he wants Hogan. Eric says the NWO
has left and here comes the garbage. He says he tried to keep Piper out
of WCW for his own safety. Eric says that Hogan will beat him up on the
29th and then he limps out of the ring to imitate Piper. Piper gets the
chair and here’s the NWO. He has the chair and says bring it on but no
one gets in. Kevin Greene gets in also and they stand tall to end the
show.

Overall Rating: C+. Most of Starrcade is set at this
point so the next few weeks are going to be a lot of buildup shows and
that’s ok. This show was entertaining enough but we need Hogan and Piper
in the same ring soon. It’s not a bad show and the wrestling is good,
but it was still a few weeks/months before we get to the Sting vs. Hogan
stuff and the real drama begins. This is just kind of keeping things
warm until then.

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