WCW Saturday Night: September 21, 1996

Before we get started on the (condensed!) hour of WCW Saturday Night, I’m handing the final word on Sting (for now) over to resident Dungeon of Doom expert, and the man determined to unleash the secret of Cobra’s covert mission, Dr. Unlikely:
I think the storytelling with Sting here is about as smart as things get in wrestling. His entire career as Sting has been about him being an honorable man in a nest of vipers. Steamboat’s gone, Dusty doesn’t wrestle, he doesn’t even have the Bulldog around. By circumstance, in the company’s hour of greatest need where the other hero of his day has gone to the dark side, he’s forced to ally with a collection of his greatest enemies and his only “friend” is the least trustworthy guy in the business.
The set-up is amazing, because it’s perfectly in character – the only possible in-character reactions – for Luger, Flair, Arn and the Dungeon to assume “Oh, yeah, of COURSE Sting sold out” because that’s what each and every one of them would do, has done, time and again. None of them can even conceive of the idea of Sting being exactly who has has always been, a good person, because they don’t have the capacity for it. And Sting, who has gone to bat* for and trusted each of them many times over, decides to pull a Tom Sawyer and find out what they all think about him only to find out how little they think of him. So he goes off to sulk in his tent, but, amazingly, he actually has a better motivation for it than Achilles.

(Semi-interestingly, following the Achilles storyline that we seem to be set up for, you’d expect it taking Luger to get killed to draw Sting back out, but Luger ends up getting his own mini-heroic redemption arc now. Like, it took what seems to be the actual destruction of the company to finally turn Luger into the hero that everyone always wanted him to be for the briefest of windows.)
If Sting messed up – and of course he messed up because he’s still just some dumbass in Sgt. Pepper Bret Hart jackets and goofy facepaint up to this point – it’s in that he missed that there were other potential allies out there. (Throw Savage out, I guess, since he seems to be the least culpable in driving Sting away but is also batshit insane. I’m curious to be reminded of how Sting treated him moving forward.) Konan has been offering himself up to anyone who would listen as a weapon against Hogan. Regal, we have seen in these recaps, was out there lobbying to be a top guy deserving of respect from Sting and Flair and got none**. And what of dynamic superstar Rey Misterio Jr? He was a victim of the nWo. Will he have any role to play in this war?***
Meanwhile, I am struggling to figure out exactly when the right time would be to debut my COBRA: WHAT WE KNEW AND WHEN WE KNEW IT expose, since I can no longer remember exactly how and when the nWo Sting saga plays out.
** I think we’re about to enter Peak WCW Regal now, and I recall being into Regal’s sideline role as a tweener right around this part of the story when he comes back, so let’s see how much of that I’m mis-remembering.
***However my memory might be blowing up Regal: WCW Defender in hindsight, I know for sure that I irrationally love the “Rey Misterio Jr., Fifth Horsemen” bit coming up relatively soon even more
Well, you can forget Mysterio and Regal this week, they’re in Japan along with … well, everyone except Randy Savage. But, perhaps the Saturday Night Cyborgs can come to our rescue in the interim, right here on the Mothaship.
Welcome aboard, DUSTY RHODES and TONY SCHIAVONE. Rhodes is back on Team Sting, apologizing profusely and telling him how badly we need him.
Rougeau forces everyone to stand for the National Anthem, but it’s nearly impossible to tell because Dusty hasn’t shut up for the last 5 minutes about the nWo. They don’t even finish, because they’ve noticed the Armstrongs are morons and have turned their back to them, so they attack. Steve hits both Frenchmen with a dropkick, and then works with his brother to hit a double dropkick on Rougeau. Ouellette is alone, but he catches Scott in mid air, and Rougeau hits him with an assisted dick to the face. Boston Crab is applied, Ouellette hits a legdrop, and they get the win at 3:20. **
nWo t-shirt ad. Large. XL. Giant size? Giant: “PLUS IT MAKES YOU LOOK SKINNY ON TV!”
DISCO INFERNO vs. JIM POWERS (with Teddy Long)
Powerslam wins at 1:03. Long and Powers share a long, tender hug, and Long calls out the nWo. That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. DUD
MIKE TENAY hooks up with THE FOUR HORSEMEN. They all promise death to Lex Luger for tapping out at War Games. If Sting wants to work as an island, that’s fine, he done lost his mind but that’s fine. I’m glad to see their focus is where it needs to be.
NICK PATRICK is your referee, and quite frankly, I’m surprised he hasn’t been ordered to hold up “10” signs for DDP at this point. Page hits a tilt-a-whirl slam, and calls for the Diamond Cutter. Instead, Calo sweeps the legs out so Page slips on the banana peel, and hits a top rope spinning heel kick. Swanton bomb goes to finish, but Page kicks out at 2. Diamond Cutter finishes at 2:38. WCW has already correctly given up on Calo, and I’m cool with that. 1/2*
Meanwhile, THE DUNGEON OF DOOM are talking up Konnan. Konnan says because Hogan wouldn’t come to Mexico, he will come to him instead. He also wants Ric Flair’s US title back. Even Maxx gets a speaking role, adding “absolutely”.
KEVIN SULLIVAN and KONNAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JOE GOMEZ and MR. JL
Usual Sullivan match. Lots of energy, and full-fledged slaughter. JL takes a powerbomb from Konnan, who follows with a rolling clothesline. Sitting dropkick sets up Splash Mountain for the win at 1:53. DUD
Hall introduced as “Best of nWo” clip-package, while he works on his graffiti. And honestly, looking at this, it’s amazing just how quickly the nWo has become *everything* in WCW. You will never, ever see anything booked as strongly as this group was again.
UP CLOSE WITH THE BOOTY MAN PART 2: Booty says he never expected anything in return from Hulk Hogan, because he was proud to be his friend. He hasn’t accepted that “it’s over”. He was jumped by the Horsemen for being Hogan’s friend, and he figured that was WCW’s way of telling him he wasn’t welcome. He received an invitation to Hogan’s birthday party in the mail, and because he still felt the bond with Hogan, he bought a cake and decided to go to Hog Wild even though he doesn’t personally agree with the nWo. When he was attacked, it pulled his heart out. Now he wonders if he was ever really Hulk’s friend to start with. He’s upset he was used. He has no idea where to go from here, and doesn’t know who he is anymore. “I’m not the Booty Man. I’m not The Zodiac. I’m not the Butcher. I don’t have a place. I don’t fit in. I don’t know where I belong any more. I don’t think I’m gonna be wrestling anytime soon, I just need some time.” I’m telling you, mark your calendars now, Starrcade 1996, Hollywood Hogan vs. Beefcake. It’s happening.
JUVENTUD GUERRERA vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Juvi hits a springboard spinning heel kick that sends Rey to the floor. He’s right behind with an Asai moonsault, and we’re clearly getting spoiled at this point because the canned heat doesn’t even respond. Juvi tries a springboard corkscrew, but Rey dodges mid move and then dropkicks him! Juvi to the floor, and Rey is behind with a rana off the apron. Back in, the sunset flip misses, but Juvi’s German suplex with a bridge does NOT, and it gets 2. A second attempt is blocked, so Juvi tries to brainbuster him from the apron to the floor. Rey lands on his feet on the apron, and hits a rana that sends Juvi back into the ring. A standing moonsault gets a very close 2. Gutwrench powerbomb gets 2! Juvi tries to get something going, but walks into the West Coast Pop for 2. Juvi comes back with a brainbuster, and heads up for some violence. The guillotine legdrop misses, giving Rey a chance to go to the top. He flies with a rana, hooks the legs on the follow through, and scores the pin at 5:28. Great Saturday night main event, bravo gents! ***1/2
MIKE TENAY shows a “history” of Hogan and Savage, going back as far as 2 months ago. Then he introduces RANDY SAVAGE, who wants to know if Hogan’s willing to spit on his grave? He’s further than rock bottom, and can’t go no further. He tells Tenay he probably has no idea of his real history with Hogan, but it goes back a little further than Bash at the Beach (hah!). This time, he’s pulling Hogan’s life support system. Tenay asks about Liz. She’s out of his life, and he’s a man of the 90’s who’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. I imagine he’s referring to this:

See you for Worldwide.