The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 01.08.96
LIVE from Charleston, SC
Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan & Mongo. Mongo is STUNNED at the quality on the format sheet and can assure us that “the other boys” aren’t going to go to these kind of lengths for their fans.
Chris Benoit v. Alex Wright
Benoit just DESTROYS Wright before he can even get his jacket off, throwing him around with a suplex and elbow. Meanwhile, Pillman walks around ringside pretending to shoot himself in the head. Benoit tosses Alex and Pillman adds some shots on the floor, and back in for the chops in the corner. Wright fights back with a spinkick and flying bodypress, and he catapults Benoit to the floor and follows with a baseball slide. He follows with a dive from the top, trying his damnedest to keep up with Benoit’s pace, and back in with a dropkick for two. Slam gets two. Boston crab while Bischoff notes that “Titanic Sports” is raising the price of their PPVs and charging fans to take pictures with the belt, but WCW is HOLDING THE LINE at $19.99. Yeah, that would change fast. Wright with a snap suplex for two, but Pillman trips him up, so Wright hits him with a dive and attacks on the floor. Pillman runs away like a coward, but Wright misses a splash in the ring and they fight over a german suplex until Benoit LEVELS him with a forearm in the face. Dragon suplex finishes at 6:45, and then Pillman gets back in there all tough again. This was TREMENDOUS fun, with Wright trying to wrestle on the same level as Benoit and nearly succeeding. ***1/2 I love how Pillman is supposed to be the dangerous rebel and still makes sure to run away like a weasel when threatened. That’s great character work, because a cool heel gets cheered and that wasn’t his goal.
Lord Steven Regal v. Eddie Guerrero
They fight over the arm and Bischoff thinks we should forget about “The Royal FUMBLE” and watch the Clash instead. OH NO HE DIDN’T! Regal hits him in the face to break the armbar and puts him down with a knee, but Eddie comes back with a headscissors and dropkick. They trade pinfall attempts for two and Regal pounds him down while Bischoff hypes the impending Parker-Sherri wedding while talking about the hard-hitting action of WCW. Bit of a contradiction there, Eric. Eddie rolls him up for two, but Regal puts him down with a forearm and adds a rare inverted suplex for two. Regal continues pounding away on Eddie and blocks a rollup for two, but Eddie gets another rollup for two. Regal elbows him down for two and goes to a chinlock, but Eddie keeps fighting back. Regal puts him down with another forearm and BITCHSLAPS him with a strong pimp hand, so Eddie gets pissed and backslides him for the pin at 8:13. God bless Regal. ***
Mean Gene brings out Sting and Luger for an interview, but first notes that “The New Generation” just added a couple of guys who are closer to collecting Social Security. OUCH. I’m assuming that’s referring to Vader, but who else would they have signed around this time? (2020 Scott sez: Jake Roberts, duh) Anyway, Sting has got issues with Luger’s actions at Starrcade, but Lex deflects the question by telling him that they should form a tag team and go after the titles. Sting, who is stupid, accepts this and is pumped about it.
Sting v. Diamond Dallas Page
Bobby notes that everyone is calling DDP “Diamond Doll-less Page”, although I can’t recall a single person in the history of wrestling ever calling him that. So I would somehow doubt the veracity of that statement. But then Bobby was probably drunk anyway. Page rubs a lit cigar in Sting’s face to take control, but Sting dropkicks him out of the ring and follows with a dive. Back in, they badly botch a leapfrog spot that appears to mess up Sting’s knee, and that’s probably Page’s worst nightmare because his giant box of intricately arranged punch cards allows no room for improvisation. Page hits a backdrop suplex and neckbreaker, and goes to a chinlock while using the ropes. See, that’s all I ask if you’re gonna do a chinlock, CHEAT! Do something interesting with it! Sting fights up and quickly hits the Stinger splash, but Page escapes the Scorpion and gets a neckbreaker for two. Sting with a small package for two, but a blind charge hits elbow and gets two for Page. Sting has finally had enough and just shoves him down to finish with the Scorpion at 6:22. This was fine. **1/2
Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage v. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson
Flair desperately wants Hogan to start, and then immediately gets dominated by him. Hulk no-sells the chops and hits the big boot, and the Horsemen go running while the crowd is decisively split. But Hogan is just glad that the crowd has the freedom to express themselves and respects their differences. No wait, that would be stupid. Over to Arn, as the Megapowers double-team him. Mongo concludes that the Horsemen are scallywags who have done dastardly things, so monkey see monkey do. Yes, this is real commentary on a nationally televised show. Flair takes over on Savage and goes up, but gets slammed off and it’s stereo figure-fours from the babyfaces. Finally Arn sneaks a DDT on Savage behind the ref’s back and the Horsemen take over. Savage gets sent into the railing and we take a break. Back with Arn holding an abdominal stretch, and Flair hits a backdrop suplex for two. Arn chokes him out on the ropes as Savage’s moveset at this point has been reduced to “laying around selling a beating” thanks to his endless arm injury. Flair tries the figure-four and Savage cradles for two, but the Horsemen keep cutting off the ring. Hot tag Hogan and the crowd is less than thrilled about that. Arn takes him out with a spinebuster, but Hulk no-sells it and finishes at 12:13. Kind of a shit match thanks to Savage deteriorating by the minute before our eyes. Which is weird because at the time he didn’t seem THAT bad to me, but then I was only watching PPVs and not the weekly TV. *1/2 Hulk can’t even celebrate because the Dungeon of Doom invades and Giant chokeslams both Megapowers to end the show.
Next week: Hulk Hogan v. Meng! Randy Savage v. Lex Luger…again.
Kind of a weird unfocused show, but the wrestling was GREAT for the most part and as usual it was a breath of fresh air after the stifling boredom of 1995 RAW.