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

Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, and Steve McMichael are in the booth and they are live from Phoenix, Arizona.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew 9,000 fans, 3,000 of whom paid.

Bischoff announces that the WCW Executive Committee decided forty-eight minutes ago that Hulk Hogan, the Giant, and Ric Flair are all on probation and if they do something wrong, they could be indefinitely suspended.

Opening Contest for the WCW Tag Team Championship:  Harlem Heat (Champions w/Sister Sherri) (49-8-3) defeat the American Males (13-4) when Booker T pins Marcus Bagwell after the Harlem Hangover at 7:46:

Even Phoenix hates the Males as they are loudly booed after coming through the curtain.  As expected, Colonel Robert Parker shows up and gives Sherri a ring, taking her back to the dressing room as the pair appear to be engaged.  NBA star A.C. Green also gets in on the act, getting into a verbal exchange with Booker T.  Despite the distractions, the Heat are able to avoid losing the titles to the Males on a second Nitro episode, with Stevie Ray catching Bagwell when he tries a dropkick and putting him in position for a Booker T Harlem Hangover.  Rating:  **

Gene Okerlund interviews Sting and Lex Luger.  Sting lets Luger know that if he wins the world title tonight that he will have to go through him at Starrcade.  Luger says Sting should worry about him in the triangle match at Starrcade if they do have to meet.  This segment recapped the obvious and was not necessary.

Sting (37-2-1) beats Kurasawa (13-3) via submission to the Scorpion Deathlock at 2:37:

Colonel Robert Parker is still preoccupied with Sherri, so he does not come to the ring with Kurasawa.  That seems to put Kurasawa in a bind as Sting overcomes some quick arm work, hits the Stinger Splash, and gets the Japanese star to tap out to the Scorpion Deathlock in less than three minutes.

The Giant (w/Jimmy Hart & Kevin Sullivan) (2-0) beats Scott Norton (8-1-1) after a chokeslam at 2:42:

Norton’s tights now reflect some personality, sporting a red and yellow color scheme to get across his “flash” nickname.  He wows the crowd by giving the Giant an atomic drop.  A few clotheslines daze the big man but Norton dives into a chokeslam.  This was a fun, stiff spectacle that made the Giant look like a badass.

Okerlund interviews Ric Flair, who comes out with Charles Barkley.  Barkley puts over Flair as his pal, generating a heel reaction that would have been even better a year later if Barkley ripped off his shirt to reveal a Houston Rockets jersey.  Flair says that Sting and Lex Luger better watch their back because he might call up Barkley to become a Four Horseman.  Since this did not lead to anything this was another wasted segment.

WCW Championship Match:  Lex Luger (w/Jimmy Hart) (9-3) defeats Randy Savage (Champion) (22-4) via disqualification when Hulk Hogan interferes at 13:56 shown:

It is good booking to give Luger the first shot at Savage’s title since he defeated Savage at World War 3.  Wrestling with a bad arm, Savage tries to make Luger feel that pain by working his leg arm over for a long time.  Luger does a good job selling it.  It would just be better if Luger worked over Savage’s arm since that is what helped him win at World War 3 and Savage is wearing a large bandage that should have a “please hit me here” sign on it.  As Luger and Savage brawl on the floor, Hart takes off the corner turnbuckle padding, only to have Luger go into it.  However, Luger takes referee Randy Anderson down with him, making Anderson unable to count a pinfall after Savage hits the flying elbow drop.  When Hart tries to interfere, Savage grabs him, only to have Ric Flair run in and deck Savage with a foreign object.  Flair struts to the locker room, only to be stopped by Hulk Hogan, who chases him back into the ring, and stops Anderson from counting Luger’s pin on a knocked-out Savage, helping Luger win via disqualification.  This is probably the best Savage-Luger match, with the overbooking at the end taking it to another level.  Rating:  ***

After the bell, Hogan beats up Luger and Hart and then accidentally decks Sting.  Sting gets in Hogan’s face while Savage tries to play peacemaker.  After the commercial break, Okerlund interviews Hogan, Sting, and Savage.  He tells Hogan that he touched another referee that might get him a heavy penalty, but Hogan does not care that he is on probation.  Sting reiterates that he is on Hogan’s side for the umpteenth time and that he is trying to straighten out Luger.  Sting makes a good parallel to how Hogan sticks by Savage so Hogan should quit attacking Luger, who is Sting’s sidekick.  Hogan demands that Sting keep Luger out of his face, neglecting the fact that HE is the one that interjected himself in Luger’s business and not vice versa.  In terms of character, Hogan is acting like a big prima donna here.  Since when is he Sting’s daddy who gets to tell him who he can associate with?  Of course, Sting humbly agrees to do Hogan’s bidding and keep Luger away from him, a promise that will likely be hard to keep.

Tune in next week to see Hulk Hogan & Sting face Ric Flair & Arn Anderson!

The Last Word:  The ending segment should have continued a long burn to a Monster Maniacs-Sting & Lex Luger main event for Starrcade or SuperBrawl but WCW never ran that match even though it would have drawn a ton of money (and much more than the WCW-New Japan World Cup competition).  It is also refreshing that Hogan is part of a less cartoonish story after he has been feuding with the Dungeon of Doom for the better part of the last six months.  Overall, this was a great Nitro episode with a good main event and some good action spliced between the interview segments.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.4 (vs. 2.6 for RAW – Marty Jannetty vs. Sid)

Up Next:  WCW Pro for December 9!

My second book was recently published on Amazon, chronicling WCW action from January to September 1995 before the debuted of Monday Nitro.  The book includes reviews, angle breakdowns, win-loss totals and breakdowns, and other relevant information about the period.  You can buy it in ebook or paperback format.

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