The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 10.23.95
LIVE from Huntsville, AL
Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan & Mongo
Randy Savage v. Kurasawa
I still can’t believe they named Manabu Nakanishi “Kurasawa” for his gimmick name. That’d be like an American going over to Japan as “Spielberg.” Kurasawa fires away with some vicious kicks on Savage, but gets tossed to the floor. He no-sells it and lays out Savage from behind, and a suplex gets two. He goes to work on the arm and we take a break as Savage is just taking a hellacious shit-kicking here. Kurasawa throws chops in the corner, but Savage ducks out of the ring and Kurasawa accidentally throws a high kick to the post. OWWWWWWWWW! Back in, Savage clotheslines him on the top rope and drops the big elbow at 8:15 for his usual miracle comeback win. This was every post-91 Savage formula match you’ve ever seen, but holy cow was Kurasawa just unloading on him. Not great or anything, but Meltzer’s bile against it in the Observer at the time was crazy, as he called it a Worst Match of the Year candidate and give it -**. I mean, it wasn’t GOOD and I’d go like *1/2 on it, but it wasn’t unwatchable or anything.
Meanwhile, the lights go out and King Curtis Iaukea yells about…fuck if I can tell. Also, there’s a giant block of ice that apparently contains a Yeti. Interesting to note that this was intended to be the returning El Gigante but he couldn’t get into the country, so they just brought out the giant block of ice and pretended that he was in there. The Giant yells and makes faces to show how angry he is. The sooner they can get Giant pried away from this quagmire of suck, the better.
Hulk Hogan, still in black, is out to continue showing off his EVIL attire, and he might even keep the black gloves afterwards, because everyone knows how dangerous someone with black gloves can be. Stay classy, Hulk. Also, Sting and Luger and Savage can all come get some if they want to. Boy, that was more than a little bit of foreshadowing.
Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko v. Eddie Guerrero & The Mysterious Mr. JL
The heels get tossed and JL hits them both with a dive. Back in, Eddie takes Dean down with a headscissors and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and JL comes in with a diving knee into the corner. We then cut away to the back, where Scott Norton is brawling with the Shark for some reason. Bischoff hypothesizes that it’s a leftover from September 11 when they had a miscommunication. Really, it took Norton a month and a half to get pissed off about it? I think he might be a little slow. We take a break and return with Malenko getting a belly to belly suplex on JL for two. JL gets caught in the heel corner as the announcers have little interest in this match and constantly shill the Hogan match. Had there been a WCW Network back then they’d probably hard sell that as well, but would keep getting the price wrong. Benoit with a superplex for two and Malenko tries a backslide, but JL reverses for two. Hot tag Eddie and he dropkicks everything and takes them both down with headscissors. It’s BONZO GONZO and JL rolls up Malenko for the pin at 11:12. Good stuff, although not up to the level you’d expect looking at the talent here. ***1/4 And then Brian Pillman appears out of nowhere and DDTs Eddie on the concrete because he’s NUTS.
Harlem Heat v. Sting & Lex Luger
Bischoff is all “Hey, how about that shitty In Your House PPV last night? More like OUTHOUSE, am I right?” SHOTS FIRED. Even Vince hated that show, so that one probably hit close to home. Sting, who is wearing red and black and growing Hogan’s moustache for him, throws Booker around to start and we take a break. Back with Luger getting double-teamed, and Booker slugs him down for two. Harlem Heat were actually tag team champions at this point, but the title change wouldn’t air for another week so they weren’t REALLY champions, ya know? Luger gets the heat and even the camera crew is so bored that they cut to the iceberg for a more interesting storyline. Booker misses something off the top and Bischoff is all “There’s nothing there but plywood and three or four inches of canvas!” That sounds more pleasant than landing on the opponent, actually. Sting gets the hot tag and hits Booker with a flying clothesline for the pin at 9:09. Luger was not particularly good at this point. *1/2 Giant hits the ring and chokeslams everyone, showing some good fire as a heel, but Hogan comes out and makes the save, fighting off Giant and the entire Dungeon single-handedly BECAUSE HOGAN. Well, Macho Man was there too, but he barely counted by that point. Oh, and the Yeti hatches as the show ends. Well isn’t that special.
Nothing announced for next week, but this was clearly the worst episode so far. Having Hogan and Giant touch, let alone giving Hogan so much offense on him before they even had the match, was amateur-hour stuff. And the fucking YETI? Give me a break.
The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 10.23.95
Live from…ugh…Brandon, MB. THAT place gets a live RAW in 1995 but Edmonton and Calgary didn’t get one until 1997?
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
20-Man Battle Royale, Winner is #1 contender to Intercontinental title
So you’ve got pretty much everyone in the midcard here, including King Kong Bundy who had previously left the company and must be back for a one-shot. And indeed he’s thrown out in 20 seconds. Isaac Yankem doesn’t even have wacky dentist gear, just coming out in a pair of workout pants as an outfit. This guy has NO commitment to a gimmick. Perhaps they should repackage him as something else. Perhaps a fake version of the World champion or long-lost evil brother of a bigger star, whatever. Skip throws out Aldo Montoya around 2:00 in. Just a lot of boring punching and kicking. Bob Holly gets tossed out by Sid at 4:00 and then Duke Droese goes at 4:30. Horowitz backdrops Skip out at 6:00 and we take a break with literally nothing going on. We take a break and return with the ring cleared of HOG, Rad Radford, Kama and a couple of other luminaries. Sid shoves Yankem out at 9:13 and Owen hangs on through various means. It’s basically Sid and five jobbers left, but Bam Bam shoulderblocks Sid out at 10:22. The only heels left are Owen and the pirate, so I’m thinking it’s Owen who wins this parade of sadness. We take another break and return with the final four of Owen, Lafitte, Savio and Marty Jannetty. That is some impressive star power. Owen tries to boost Marty out a few times, but he’s obviously too drunk to cooperate and goes dead weight to stay alive. Marty gets Owen to the apron and stops to celebrate, so Owen gets back in. This thing stretches on and on until Marty pulls both Savio Vega and Lafitte out with a skin the cat move, leaving us Marty v. Owen for the title shot. Marty tries to clothesline him out, but Owen hangs on the apron like the proverbial nugget and necks Marty on the top rope. Owenzuigiri and he tries to put Marty out, but it was only through the middle rope and so it doesn’t count. Jannetty stops to go after Cornette, and that brings out British Bulldog for a beatdown, which easily allows Owen to throw him out for the title shot at 20:00. This was real, real bad, although Owen Hart v. Marty Jannetty seems like a RAW match that would be entertaining. Meltzer actually gave this ***1/2, so obviously he’s a lot more forgiving of battle royales than me. Am I the crazy one here?
Owen Hart promises that next week we find out who the real bad guy is. The answer, of course, is Jian Ghomeshi. If you’re not Canadian you’ll probably have to Google that joke. (2020 Scott sez: Man, that guy was WAY ahead of the #MeToo curve!)
KARATE FIGHTERS PRESENTS THE SURVIVOR SERIES SLAM JAM! WITH DOK HENDRIX! Dok is seemingly on meth this week, jumping around like a maniac while running down the card. And then we get an Ahmed Johnson promo as a bonus! He’s gonna teach us the meaning of wiakakdjakdadkaka.
Avatar v. Brian Walsh
Oh fuck me, it’s fucking Avatar. Poor Al Snow. So yeah, the gimmick is that he’s a ninja who comes to the ring unmasked and then puts it on before the match to channel his inner ninja or some shit. Snow was actually in something of a bidding war at the start of the Monday Night Wars, and THIS is what he chose as the best alternative. He misses a moonsault on the jobber while the crowd is deathly silent, but comes back with a backbreaker and standing moonsault for the pin at 2:32. This gimmick was DEATH, and it wasn’t even the stupidest thing they’d try with him!
WWF Women’s title: Bertha Faye v. Alundra Blayze
Faye quickly overpowers Blayze and slams her a few times, and a legdrop gets two. Blayze with a sunset flip for two, but a second one is blocked with a buttdrop for two. Faye pounds away in the corner and we take a break. Back with Blayze making the comeback with some impressive hiptosses and a missile dropkick for two. She uses a few hairtosses and tries a piledriver, but Bertha goes up and gets taken down by Blayze. Harvey tries to interfere, that goes badly, and Blayze regains the title with a german suplex at 8:54. This was OK but fell apart at the end. ** The idea was supposed to be Blayze doing her next program with Aja Kong for a while before dropping the title at Royal Rumble, but plans changed significantly on that front, of course.
Next week: Razor Ramon v. Owen Hart! Goldust debuts against Savio Vega!
But first, Shawn Michaels has a sitdown interview with Jim Ross, still showing two black eyes from his beating at the hands of 18 armed marines.