What the World Was Watching: WCW Monday Nitro – December 11, 1995

Eric Bischoff, Steve McMichael, and Bobby Heenan are in the booth and they are live from Charlotte, North Carolina.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, 4,500 fans attended the show, with 3,900 fans paying for tickets.

Opening Contest:  Eddie Guerrero (14-3-4) beats Mr. J.L. (2-2) after reversing a sunset flip at 4:25:

Neither man gets an entrance as the match starts when the announcers are busy welcoming the audience.  As expected, this is a fun preview of what was to come when WCW debuted the cruiserweight division the following year as each man scores a few near-falls from high impact moves.  The crowd, possibly because they do not see J.L. as a legitimate threat to Guerrero, react little to what they are seeing until Guerrero scores the winning fall after reversing a sunset flip.  Rating:  **

Gene Okerlund interviews Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart.  Luger says that he keeps getting the better of WCW Champion Randy Savage and that when Starrcade rolls around he is going to become the next world champion.  He discounts Ric Flair’s ability to win the triangle match, saying the best man will win when it comes down to he and his friend Sting.

Paul Orndorff (27-8) pins the Disco Inferno (7-8) after a side suplex at 2:22:

For two men that care much about their appearances that never factors into the match.  Orndorff takes a ridiculously long time to hit a Big Woogie elbow drop and then folds up Disco like an accordion with a BRUTAL side suplex to score the pin.  Orndorff puts a foot on the second rope just because he can.

Okerlund interviews the Four Horsemen, who are missing Chris Benoit.  The faction gets a big pop from the crowd.  Brian Pillman says that the reason Hulk Hogan wore black was to audition for the Horsemen, which would have been a great storyline idea.  He also says the American Males, the Dungeon of Doom, Steve McMichael, and Orndorff wanted in on the act, insulting every act in the list.  Orndorff interrupts the interview, taking issue with Pillman’s comments and saying that he only became a Horsemen because Orndorff turned it down.  Pillman tells Orndorff that he is mediocre and when the two brawl the Horsemen’s group loyalty takes over and Orndorff is given a spike piledriver on the cement.  This laid the groundwork for an interesting Orndorff babyface comeback months later, but he was forced to retire due the right side of his body atrophying.  He would not return to the ring until Fall Brawl 2000.

Heenan leaves the announce booth to check on Orndorff’s condition as he does a stretcher job during the next match.

Lex Luger (w/Jimmy Hart) (11-3) beats Hacksaw Jim Duggan (38-10-2) via submission to the Torture Rack at 2:43:

The Charlotte crowd is having none of Duggan’s act, working up loud chants for Luger in the early going.  Duggan beats Luger down and starts taping his fist when Hart jumps on the apron with Duggan’s 2×4.  When Duggan turns to face Hart, Luger clocks him in the back of the head with a forearm and Torture Racks him for a big pop and his seventh-straight singles win.

Okerlund interviews WCW Champion Randy Savage.  Savage says that he is not worried about the Giant since they are facing on the next Monday Nitro and that could wreck his Starrcade plans.

Hulk Hogan & Sting defeat Ric Flair & Arn Anderson (3-0) when Hogan pins Anderson after a leg drop at 13:23:

Hogan is salty right out of the gate, upset that Sting makes an entrance without him.  The crowd is very invested in the outcome, sticking up for the homegrown Horsemen against Hogan, who receives a loud orchestra of boos and “Hogan sucks” chants.  They pop for all the cheating, including a spot where Anderson DDT’s Sting when Sting puts Flair in the Scorpion Deathlock.  Halfway through the match, Luger comes out and attacks Hogan, briefly putting him in the Torture Rack as the Horsemen work over Sting’s left leg.  Hogan eventually gets a cold tag – as the crowd does not pop – and he hulks up from a spinebuster and pins Anderson after a leg drop.  Based on the Luger interference, WCW had the perfect way to put the heels over and make the crowd happy, but nope, they had to put Hogan over everyone again.  Despite that, the match was still a lot of fun and the main participants kept it interesting throughout.  Rating:  ***

The crowd is incensed at the result of the match, so WCW throws them a small bone by having the Horsemen beat up Hogan.  Luger comes out and protects Sting from the Horsemen, until Sting comes to and helps drive them off.  Randy Savage rushes the ring to get in Sting’s face and Sting slugs him.

Okerlund comes into the ring to interview Hogan, Savage, and Sting.  Sting says that he slugged Savage because he did not know what his intentions were and apologizes.  Hogan sticks up for Sting, saying that he saved him from the Horsemen.  Hogan warns Savage and Sting that Flair is the real enemy.  Savage and Sting make amends to end the segment.

Tune in next week to see Randy Savage defend the WCW title against the Giant!

The Last Word:  WCW keeps teasing this major clash between the Monster Maniacs and Sting and Lex Luger, which would lead one to believe that the Starrcade main event would feature Randy Savage defending the WCW title against one of those guys.  The Paul Orndorff angle halfway through the show was well executed.  There was no way that the Charlotte crowd was going to cheer the Horsemen but Orndorff is a hated heel anyway, so the crowd’s reaction did not make the segment less effective.  It is easy to see why hardened WCW fans were upset about Hulk Hogan’s continued run through the promotion as the company could not take the hint that its major towns hated the guy.  And it would take another seven months before they would finally pull the trigger on a Hogan heel turn, a turn that would send the profit margin of the company through the roof.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.6 (vs. 2.5 for RAW – Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund)

Up Next:  WCW Pro for December 16!

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.

Also, to check out past reviews, check out my website at www.wrestlewatch.com.  I’ll be gradually catching up my reviews on that website with what I have posted here.