What the World Was Watching: Monday Nitro – September 4, 1995

Eric Bischoff, Steve McMichael, and Bobby Heenan are doing commentary and they are live from the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Heenan begs off everything he said about McMichael in the week leading up to the show.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew 2,000 fans.

Opening Contest:  Brian Pillman (30-4) pins Jushin Liger after a victory roll at 6:53:

WCW hoped to draw interest from hardcore fans by booking this contest as Pillman and Liger had a series of great matches in 1991 and 1992 over the WCW light heavyweight title, including one of the best pay-per-view openers of all-time at SuperBrawl II.  The mall makes for a unique setting for matches as shops surround the ring.  It does not take long for both men to start throwing the aerial maneuvers, with Liger somersaulting his way into kicks and pulling out a superduperplex.  A super hurricanrana follows, but Pillman keeps kicking out of all these moves as the Mall of America gets behind Pillman because he is American.  Pillman fight back with a tornado DDT and then transitions a standing switch into a victory roll to move his singles winning streak to twelve.  These two did exactly what they were supposed to do in firing up the crowd and capturing the interest of the television audience.  And it made sense for Pillman to go over because of his Fall Brawl push.  Rating:  **½

Sting tells fans that he is the king of the Scorpion Deathlock.

Bischoff interview WCW Champion Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart in front of Pastamania, his attempt at a pasta restaurant that failed in less than a year.  Hogan tells Big Bubba Rogers that he has eaten his pasta and is ready to fight.

United States Championship Match:  Ric Flair (9-1) beats Sting (Champion) (23-1) via disqualification when Arn Anderson interferes at 8:44 shown:

Before the match, Lex Luger walks halfway down the aisle as Bischoff flip out on commentary as if Luger is still part of the WWF.  Fans immediately start chanting Luger’s name as Sting and Flair look dumbfounded in the ring before locking up.  The United States Championship has been an afterthought for much of the year, with Sting last defending the title against Meng at Bash at the Beach.  This is also Flair’s first title shot of the year.  As Sting and Flair wrestle their usual formula, Arn Anderson walks to the ring.  Flair puts Sting in the figure-four when Sting becomes distracted that Anderson is at ringside.  Sting tries to fight off the hold as Flair grabs the ropes and Anderson becomes upset about that, so he runs into the ring and chases Flair to the locker room.  The result ends Sting’s twenty match win streak in overall competition and his first loss since losing to Big Bubba Rogers at Uncensored.  In terms of the match, Sting refused to sell for most of it and it did not tell much of a story.  Rating:  **

Scott Norton, who is not named, comes out and gets in the face of the announcers.  He tells Bischoff that he has a contract and he gets into the face of McMichael until Randy Savage runs out.  Savage challenges him to an immediate match but Bischoff will not allow it.

A video package hypes Sabu, with all of the match highlights happening against Chris Kanyon.

Gene Okerlund congratulates Mike Hill of Cullman, Alabama for winning the Harley-Davidson motorcycle that Hulk Hogan wanted to give away at The Clash of the Champions.

Michael Wallstreet, formerly known as IRS in the WWF, cuts a taped promo that says he is in WCW because of money and power.  He makes a nod to his former gimmick in saying that the IRS will be interested in his activities as he tries to climb to the top of WCW.

WCW Championship Match:  Hulk Hogan (Champion w/Jimmy Hart) (4-0) pins Big Bubba Rogers (24-6-1) after a leg drop at 7:08:

After treading water after losing his feud to Sting, Rogers scored a few wins over Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Dave Sullivan to build him for this main event.  If you like strikes in wrestling, this is your bout as Hogan and Rogers use fists and clotheslines for the bulk of their offense.  The crowd is dead until Hogan kicks out of the Big Bubba Slam and the fists, big boot, and leg drop send Rogers back to the midcard after a little more than seven minutes.  Rating:  *

After the match, the Dungeon of Doom comes out to attack Hogan and he fend them off single handedly, but Lex Luger runs into the ring to help clear the ring too.  Hogan and Luger then stare each other down as Randy Savage and Sting come into the ring.

Okerlund moderates a confrontation between Hogan and Luger.  Luger says he is tired of playing with kids and is in WCW to get his shot at the WCW title.  Hogan says that he will happy to defend the title against Luger in Miami next week and they shake on it.

Tune in next week to see Hulk Hogan defend the WCW title against Lex Luger!  Also, Randy Savage faces Scott Norton and Michael Wallstreet and Sabu will be in action!

The Last Word:  THIS is how you debut a new wrestling television show.  WCW did everything right with this broadcast as they had a diverse mix of matches, introduced new wrestlers, and hyped the next week’s show with a dream match between Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger.  Doubters thought that the Monday Nitro experiment would be an abject failure, but this show demonstrated that WCW was going to come out with guns blazing and was not afraid to hot shot matches for ratings, thereby changing the face of professional wrestling forever.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.5 (unopposed)

Up Next:  WCW Pro for September 9!