The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 02.05.96 Live from somewhere not mentioned. But it’s LIVE. Later confirmed to be Lakeland, FL. Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Mongo and Bobby Heenan WCW World title: Randy Savage v. Chris Benoit This might be the most depressing grouping I’ve ever seen on this show, what with both guys and both valets meeting rather nasty ends. Thankfully the referee is still alive, as far as I know. Could have just as easily been Randy Anderson or Mark Curtis, though. They fight for a lockup to start and Benoit tosses him, then goes to work in the ring. Benoit chokes him down and throws chops, setting up a snap suplex as Savage just sells and sells. Diving headbutt and Savage is just acting like he’s dead meat and totally out of it. What an awesome babyface. Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to work on the back, cutting off another comeback attempt. Savage finally dumps him for the hope spot, but Benoit runs him into the post. Back in, Savage with the clothesline, but he uses the bad arm and hurts himself. Benoit backdrops him over the top rope and follows with a dive, but lands HEADFIRST on the concrete floor with a sick thud. Oh my god. Back in, the flying elbow looks to finish, but Ric Flair comes out and uses Elizabeth as a shield, allowing Woman to reveal her true allegiance to the Horsemen before a massive beatdown erupts at 8:37. Well, Woman turning heel again shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. Quite the beating that Benoit put on Savage here. *** That missed plancha was SICK, and not in the good way. Hogan makes the save and proceeds to make the whole segment about himself, but now Flair returns and beats the shit out of HIM, too. Giant comes in and beats on Hogan with a chair, but Zodiac calls him off, which foreshadows his turn back to The Booty Man that literally no human being alive asked for. Good luck to anything on RAW following THAT. Brian Pillman & Arn Anderson v. Kevin Sullivan & Hugh Morrus Weird that Pillman & Anderson never got a tag title run, as it should have been the logical next step for them. Pillman throws some chops on Morrus and gets nowhere, as Hugh cleans house with press slams. Sullivan gets the advantage on Pillman, so Pillman disgustedly tags out to Arn in a weird moment. AA spinebuster on Morrus and the Horsemen double-team him outside the ring, but Sullivan comes in and goes after Pillman in a hot sequence. They do some “real” stuff, biting and rolling around on the mat, before Arn pulls them apart for seemingly going off the script. Arn drags Sullivan to the back and gets hit with a broom by a mysterious assailant, and the whole thing gets thrown out at 7:26. I don’t think the broom thing actually led anywhere. Pillman takes a swing at a camera guy, so Bischoff orders the director to take the camera off him. Weird and wild stuff, which had a very shoot-like feel to it that was of course all bullshit as it turned out. *1/2 Ric Flair v. Marcus Bagwell In fact, the mysterious broom wielder is revealed to be Paul Orndorff, in his revenge plot that was abruptly dropped. Bagwell quickly takes control with clotheslines and chases Flair to the floor, then wins a slugfest in the corner. Dropkick gets two. A second one misses, but he reverses the figure-four for two. Crossbody misses and Bagwell ends up on the floor. Back in, Flair drops the knee and they slug it out again, but Bagwell runs into a boot and Flair gets two. Flair goes up and gets slammed off for two, and Bagwell follows with a superplex for two. Slingshot splash hits knees and the figure-four finishes at 7:00. Sloppy but fun. **1/2 Flair gives the ref a smack in the mouth, and Randy Savage runs out for a brawl to the back. WCW World tag titles: Sting & Lex Luger v. The Road Warriors Eight years earlier and this would have headlined a Starrcade. Pretty sure Hawk using “What a rush” to open their theme music might earn WCW a letter from Titan’s legal department. Animal no-sells some of Sting’s offense, but Sting goes up with a flying bodypress for two. Hawk comes in and Luger tries a piledriver, which Hawk of course ignores. That was Luger’s finisher when he was World champion! Back to Sting and Hawk hits him with a corner clothesline to take over. Animal comes in and Luger pulls down the top rope on him and Animal is your face in peril. Luger chokes away and drops elbows and we get a weird cut due to what was apparently a blackout in the building. Bischoff is very clearly blaming the WWF for sabotaging the show on commentary. Could this show get any stranger? Back with Sting holding a facelock, and Luger powerslams Animal as it’s BONZO GONZO. Jimmy Hart brings Lex a lead weight, he waffles Animal with it, and the champs retain at 7:35. Terrible match but there was certainly extenuating circumstances behind it. The Pulse This was probably one of the weirdest shows in the history of the Monday Night Wars.