WCW Nitro: December 23, 1996

This is it – the final
hard-sell for the “biggest PPV event of all time.” The show unofficially dubbed
(cuz WCW can’t afford another lawsuit) War To Finally Settle The Score. And you
can bet, whatever happens tonight … it’ll be replayed no fewer than 6 times, in
full, at Starrcade, for the low price of $29.95!
You know, as sad as
Johnny B Badd’s mug being a part of the Prime opening through October, the
presence of surfer blonde Sting, and red and yellow Hulk on their A-show, when
both characters have been dead for ages, is significantly lazier.

WE ARE LIVE FROM NO TIME
TO WASTE BECAUSE WE HAVE A MATCH!
CHRIS BENOIT vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (in a semi-finals
tournament match for the WCW United States title)
Chris Benoit doesn’t
bring Woman with him, because that would be suicide. Benoit brings the hate to
Eddie, but Guerrero has no interest in taking his shit (or his chops), and
gives it right back just as hard. Are you interested in seeing this
hard-hitting match? Tough!
KEVIN SULLIVAN is backstage, laughing about the idea of Benoit “taking his queen”.
He thinks Benoit’s fallen into the ultimate trap, waking up something he should
have left alone. “Check mate.”
Back in the ring, nope,
don’t get comfy!
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE walks up to the commentary booth. Oh, hi, TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO are you hosts tonight from wherever we are. We take
many important camera shots of DDP chewing gum, and saying monkey.
Back in the ring, Eddie
has slowed this baby down with a headlock on the mat. Yes, I’m sure a break is
necessary after all those great moves we never saw. The only thing missing at
this point in a commercial break to really make this one a winner. Of course,
I’m not just being facetious, I know my WCW. We’ll be right back after a quick
word from our friends at Valvoline and Electronic Karate Fighters.
Okay we’re back, and
Tony’s gushing about how awesome this match has been. You know what? Up yours
WCW. Benoit hits a backdrop suplex and starts lecturing Eddie about something
something Sullivan. I’m thinking Eddie probably doesn’t care, but is more
concerned about the nasty snap powerbomb he’s on the receiving end of that
pretty much decapitates him. His torso manages to kick out at 2. The fans are
well trained, watching this with great intensity. The entrance ramp I mean, not
the ring. Eddie hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and heads up for the Froggy
Splash, but Benoit cuts him off. Chris nails the superplex, and recovers first
to score a 2. Eddie tries a sunset flip, but Benoit stops it and goes to punch
him in the face. Eddie slithers forward, Benoit nails canvas, and Eddie rolls
him up for 2. Chris fires off a hot-shot, but he’s caught trying his pin using
the ropes. They head up, and for some reason so does the referee, standing on
the 2nd rope to get a really good look I guess. Benoit doesn’t need
THAT, and shoves the referee aside – but that gives Eddie just enough to shove
Benoit aside too! From a reverse position, Eddie flips 180 degrees in mid-air
and turns that into a Frog Splash, scoring the pin and heading to Starrcade at 10:31. Those last 5 minutes were
phenomenal; so I’ll go ***1/2 for what we saw. -***** for DDP, Kevin Sullivan,
and their love of Valvoline.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND talks about the fans hanging from the rafters. No
Gene, that’s Sting, not fans. It’s a little early to be the shank of the
evening, but no matter, RIC FLAIR, ARN ANDERSON, MONGO MCMICHAEL, DEBRA
MCMICHAEL
, and Benoit are welcomed. Gene wants to talk about the
“shellacking” Anderson took from Sullivan last week. Arn takes a quick shot at
Benoit; saying if he was focused he’d have never lost that US title match.
Anderson says that there’s pretty much no worse position in the world to be in,
then to come home and find your wife on the couch with another man. Unless of
course, you’re the other man, in which case, you’re farked. Arn says he saw
that kind of rage last week from Sullivan, he even smelled it on his breath. He
did? What does that smell like? What is his breath SUPPOSED to smell like? Do
they have special diets in the Dungeon of Doom? Toothbrushes? Did the Master
set up toiletries, or was that an afterthought to ending Hulkamania? Now that
Hulkamania’s dead, does the Dungeon even truly exist anymore, or is it more of
an analogy to life itself; the Dungeon exists in all of us? Does One Man Gang
still visit, or has he moved on to a life of personal hygiene? Why isn’t Mean Gene
covering this instead of asking DDP for the 17th week in a row if he
wants to join the now? Oh, right, the HORSEMEN are here. Arn’s still pissy he
took a beating for Benoit, and wants to know why Woman’s not here tonight to
face the reaper. Debra whines about the fact we spend so much time on Nancy,
and tells Chris the next time he wants to have an affair to let her know
because she has beautiful girlfriends that is way over the damaged goods he’s
playing with now. Benoit rightly takes offense, and tells everyone it’s none of
their business where she is. And regarding his relationship with Woman, he was
in Germany taking care of Horsemen business with her, trying to keep the
Horsemen together as they disintegrate. Benoit goes to start in with Debra, but
Mongo doesn’t let him get two words out before getting all up in his region.
Flair plays peacemaker, telling everyone to shut up and party. He figures after
10 years with the Devil, Woman deserved a weekend with a man like Benoit. God
bless Ric Flair, there is nothing in his world that can’t be fixed with a little
champagne and nudity.
Wow, we’re blowing our load on all the big stars early tonight, because
after a break, HOLLYWOOD HOGAN, TED DIBIASE, ELIZABETH, and VINCENT are on
their way to the ring. Hogan lets Vincent carry the World Title, and the look
on his face tells it all. You know he’s looking everywhere for his PR rep to
snap photographs urgently, completely forgetting he’s freakin’ Vincent and
lackeys don’t get lackeys.
Tony’s pretty salty tonight, demanding that nobody at home show any
respect Hogan. That lasts about 18 seconds before he returns to talking about
how great Hogan looks. Hulk’s a fighting mood tonight, but Piper’s hiding in
the deepest darkest hole he can find unfortunately. That makes him sad, because
he mistakenly thought Roddy was a man’s man. He figures 100 years from now,
when people open their history books, they’ll see pictures of Abe Lincoln and
Hollywood Hogan. He reminds us there’s a pecking order in wrestling, and
wrestlers like Piper, Flair, and Savage are all well below the nWo. Tony points
out that Piper isn’t here. Of course he’s not, it’s not like he’s got a PPV
match to sell for next week or anything.
TOMBSTONE vs. LEX LUGER
Tombstone is our random cowboy guy who appeared at the tail end of WCW
Saturday Night. He doesn’t LOOK super-pro WCW or anything like Lee Marshall
said he was, but more like your generic run of the mill 6’8” goon with an Al
Snow mustache. Kudos to those of you who figured out he was ECW’s 911 long
before I did the math. The fans stand and literally start giving Luger an
ovation. WCW has a god, and it comes with 1% body fat. Larry, armed with far
too much information, talks about Luger’s explosiveness, specifically “he can
explode into you at ANY time!” Of course, he never expands on that, leaving us
with far more questions than answers. Luger hits the forearm trifecta, and
quickly finishes with the Rack at 3:43.
DUD
Before Lex can even celebrate, THE
GIANT
is behind him. Luger manages to dodge an avalanche, and Lex hits a
bunch of forearm shots. With the fans positively rabid now, Luger sees his
opportunity to take the wobbly Giant, and puts him in the Torture Rack!
Everyone is losing their collective shit, but don’t get TOO excited, because THE OUTSIDERS rush the ring. Luger
drops Giant – but the point has been made, he CAN put Giant in the Rack! The
wrestling was garbage, but none of it mattered because that whole segment was
super effective in giving the fans their Christmas Lexgasm.
MR. JL vs. REY MYSTERIO
JR.
Rey applies a hammerlock, but the mysterious JL gets to the ropes to
force a break. While Rey is snapping off a crisp headscissors takeover, Larry
is carrying on about the human game of chess. Rey hits the floor and dares JL
to attack; who promptly does like a MORON, missing his plancha and messing up
his knee. Mysterio nails a rana, and heads back into the ring while JL
recovers. He gets back in and tries to attack with a headbutt through the ropes,
but Rey sidesteps and kicks him before bouncing off the ropes with a guillotine
that gets 2! Rey goes for another rana, but this time JL blocks and hits a
powerbomb for 2. A second powerbomb attempt sees both Rey slip off the back,
and Larry say New World Odor. Springboard moonsault gets 2. JL comes back with
a backdrop suplex, but gets 2. JL complains about a slow count, and Larry
agrees with him, grumbling about 25 glorious years of 3 counts or something.
Rey comes off the top with a rana, and as JL hits the floor, a tope suicida is
RIGHT behind him and it’s as beautiful as any you’ll ever see, spearing JL
backwards to the guardrail hard. Rey sets up West Coast Pop, but JL sidesteps
and applies la majistral for 2! Rey lies around playing possum, and as soon as
JL hits the top, Rey’s on him with the swinging super rana for the pin at 5:59! The usual gold from Rey Jr., who
has easily become one of the 5 best workers in WCW at this point. ***
Rey gimps over to the announce booth, because he wants to talk to Tony
for some reason. Rey says that Sting hasn’t joined the nWo, that’s simply a
rumor started by the group itself. He saw something last week; when he jumped
on Sting’s back, Sting reacted like a normal human being (bingo!). It was
nothing like what Kevin Nash did to him in the summertime, or when Giant
chokeslammed him to the floor. Rey calls out to Sting, saying he knows he won’t
betray WCW, and asks Rey to replay the video from last week to prove he had no
interest in hurting him. Instead, WCW plays this again:
I mean, it ain’t Piper’s music video, but … just no.
Hour #2 brings us another $100,000 in fireworks, as well as MIKE TENAY and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN to join Schiavone. Larry slowly makes his way
back to Larryland to have another game of Human Chess with Arnold Palmer.
GLACIER (with the several
hundred years old helmet) vs. SERGEANT BUDDY LEE PARKER
Mike notes that Glacier’s father is a former State Patrol agent who
retired a couple of months ago. Lieutenant James Earl Wright?!? Could it be?
All the pieces fit! Would that make this a heel turn from Glacier, insisting on
fighting his father’s old partner? Or, is it more Mind Games from Eric
Bischoff, trying to create friction amongst the WCW ranks by booking this
match? Glacier does seem to be uneasy; he is wrestling without his trademark
blue hue, and completes his entrance in a personal record of 28 minutes. The
fans can sense that something is amiss here; a family feud turned ugly, and
they rightly boo the entire thing. Buddy shows great fight, kicking out of a
Cryonic Kick before succumbing to a second one at 2:32. A blizzard erupts in the arena post match; a metaphor to
Glacier’s cold, black heart. Or perhaps Sting got bored and started poking
holes in the roof. It can’t be easy sitting in the rafters waiting for someone
to mention his name. 1/2*
THE AMAZING FRENCH
CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. THE PUBLIC ENEMY
The Canadians have created something of a hybrid Canada/Quebec flag, but
from a distance it looks like France has been invaded and re-established with
the crest of South Korea. The Canadians break into the National Anthem, which
cause Tony and Mike to guffaw that they’re making words up. No, you bloody
dimwits, they’re singing it in FRENCH, and doing a fine job of it! The Public
Enemy attack during the anthem because they do not appreciate French cultural staples
like the anthem, poutine, and chain smoking. The Canadians flatten them
quickly, and resume singing the National Anthem once again. Now that’s
dedication to your country! The Enemy break it up a second time, pulling their
tuques over their eyes, blinding nos saveurs! Les Ennemi public utilize un
“double punch”, et Rougeau se tombe a la plancher. Johnny Grunge lui mettre sur
un table, mais Ouellette arrete l’attaque. 12 years of French classes had to
pay off SOMEDAY. Rougeau locks a Quebec Crab on Grunge, and Ouellette drops a
leg off the top rope. As much as the Canadians generally annoy the piss out of
me, everything they do is in synch, something I wish more tag-teams would work
to adopt. Ouellette steals the table, and sets it up across the top buckle as a
diving board. They use it to assist with the Quebec Crash, but Rocco breaks it
up and then smashes the table over Ouellette’s face, getting DQed at 3:41. They hit the Drive By on Carl
anyway, the jerks. *1/2
BIG BUBBER vs. KONAN (with
Jimmy Hart)
Incredible, these two were able to put their difference aside LAST night
on Worldwide and work together like nothing had happened, and now Konan’s
swearing revenge for his Dungeon mates while Bubba crows about how much he
loves his new shirt. There’s really only one answer to what’s happening, and
it’s clear. Big Bubba has decided that the best way to infiltrate and overthrow
the nWo is to keep their enemies as close as possible. Secretly however, he is
still chumming around with his Dungeon pals, keeping them abreast of nWo
activity, only meeting them in places where he’ll never be seen, like the
Dungeon, or Worldwide. NICK PATRICK
is assigned to this match for the first time in about 2 months, and his neck
has fully recovered! Bubba chases Hart around the outside, forgetting about
Konan, who hits him with a tope suicida. Bubba gets thrown shoulder first into
the ringsteps, because he’s so Raza. Patrick’s 10 count takes about an hour,
and Bubba manages to get back in the ring. Konan goes to strike, but Patrick
grabs his shoulder to stop him, and Bubba gets in his shots. Patrick feels
AWFUL about this injustice, and goes to explain to Jimmy Hart what happened
while Bubba chokes Konan out with a Hulk Hogan bandana. Konan is tossed to the
outside, and Patrick, looking to make up for his earlier slow count that Konan
complained about, counts at lightning speed. Konan beats the count, and Bubba
punches him in the face. Bubba chokes Konan for an eternity, with Patrick
warning him repeatedly that this is not ok. Bubba apologizes profusely; “I know
referee, I’m sorry!”, while never releasing the hold. Bubba “trips” while
bouncing off the ropes, blaming Hart. Hart swears he never touched him, but he
has no credibility, and Patrick gives him the heave-ho. Konan’s livid at this
injustice, and pounds on Bubba’s head. Konan throws him over the top, and is
promptly disqualified at 5:39. Konan
freaks out and goes to kick Patrick’s ass, but Bubba pulls Nick out of the ring
and drags him to the back. 1/2*
DEAN MALENKO vs. “LORD”
STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW world television title)
Malenko has a chance to take dual gold here, which I’m sure the Ultimo
Dragon would appreciate, since that might give him a crack at as many as 10
belts on Sunday. These show off as much chain wrestling as they can muster
before SONNY ONOO and his
stereotypical camera come down to ringside. The referee chases him off, and
Regal uses the brief distraction to use some illegal SHOOTER holds. Really now?
The fans have no tolerance for this vile behavior, and chant “USA”. Of course,
Malenko would tear his own mother’s leg off if it meant getting him one step
closer to a win, so they’re a little hypocritical here. Malenko tries to avoid
a move off a whip, hooking the ropes, but Regal anticipated it, holds back, and
moves in with a European uppercut. Malenko gets to his feet, and takes a chop
block. However, Malenko fights off a submission attempt, and goes for the
Cloverleaf. Regal hits the ropes, and pokes Dean in the eyes. A butterfly
suplex gets 2. Dean manages a go-behind, and hits a nice release German suplex
(complete with Regal’s eyes bugging out when he realizes what’s coming), and
the brainbuster connects as time runs out at 9:32, the designated time limit tonight. **
RICK STEINER (with Scott
Steiner) vs. JEFF JARRETT
Rick jumps on Jarrett off the bell, and tries to rip his face apart
while mounted from behind. The fans quickly chose their side; chanting loud,
and united, for Sting. Steiner drops an elbow, but Jarrett quickly comes back
with a boot to the face and dropkick. Rick has no time for these elementary
games, and suplexes Jarrett over his head. The fans suddenly pop HUGE, and then
burst into boos, because it’s clear we aren’t being treated to Sting, but the NWO STING. He goes for a Deathdrop on
Jarrett, but Steiner delivers a Steinerline, and Jarrett is counted as the
winner by pinning Sting at 2:24?!?
What the bloody fuck is this crap? The announcers are dumber than the fans, and
head to commercial asking if it was the real Sting or the fake Sting.
Main event time, and we’re once again treated to HOLLYWOOD HOGAN, this time all by himself. He’s in a mood to gloat,
because he claims to have received a Western Union letter from Piper, in which
Piper admitted Hogan’s an icon, greater than he ever dreamed he could be … and
the bagpipes fire up. But it’s not the Hot Rod, it’s UNCLE ERIC PIPER, dressed in a kilt and a yellow Hulkamania shirt.
“Piper” admits he had no business fighting him at Wrestlemania 1, and between
his 6 kids and a ranch he can’t afford, if Hogan ends his career, he’ll be
ruined. NICK PATRICK is beckoned to
the ring, and Eric begs Hogan to pin him and get it over with. Hogan is counted
the winner at 0:03. As Bischoff bows
at Hogan’s feet, a TROOP OF BAGPIPERS
come marching out of the back, and down to the ringside area. Then, like the
red sea at the hand of Moses, they part, making way for RODDY PIPER. He makes a beeline for Hogan, who throws punches that
Piper completely no-sells. Piper dishes it back, but now M. WALLSTREET and BIG BUBBER
hit the ring to restrain him. More NWO
MEMBERS
are right behind, as the camera pans to the ceiling, to find STING looking on at the chaos. Hogan
starts whipping Piper with his weightlifting belt, bringing SECURITY led by DOUG DILLINGER to break this up and save Piper.

Saturday Night is a recap of the year, so we’re going to skip right to
Worldwide, and then finally to Starrcade, where we’ll close out the year. Will
Piper emerge as the new WCW world champion? It hasn’t been promoted as a
championship match to date, but between the fact Hogan parades the belt around
in every segment and the fact he hasn’t defended it since Halloween Havoc, it
would seemingly be the case. Will the Ultimate Dragon claim his 9th
Cruiserweight title? Will we finally solve the months long mystery of Fit
Finlay’s disappearance and murder in Europe? In the words of the Macho Man, the
beat rolls on.