The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–09.30.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.30.96

Hey, thanks to James Dixon for the shout-out in Titan Shattered. I didn’t even know that was coming. Even better that it was positive and not the usual “Thanks for setting the bar really low with your own books, jerk.”

Taped from Hershey, PA

Your hosts are Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly and Jerry Lawler

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–09.30.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.23.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.23.96

There are few times where you can point to one segment as the nadir of an entire wrestling promotion, but this one is truly the bottom of the barrel.  Watching this one, I was really worried that the WWF wasn’t going to be around for much longer.

Live from Hershey, PA

Your hosts are Kevin Kelly, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.23.96

Mero in 96

Hello, Scott, while wondering how the late 90s could have gone differently and rewatching the the early months of Nitro, I found myself thinking about what happened with Marc Mero.
1) at the beginning of the year, he won a decent feud with DDP as TV champ and thing seemed to be going well for him in the mid card until he abruptly dropped the title the Luger and was gone. I recall on two deeper are Nitros where Eric Bischoff takes a shot at Mero and how he headed north or couldn’t handle it on wcw. They even blacked out his face in the old WCW Hotline ads (which I noticed in Nitro viewings since they still have the vintage WCW ads in them). Why did Mero leave wcw, or was he fired for some reason? He seemed to have it set, at least as a midcarder goes.


2) not long after, he is introduced during Wrestlemania XII (something of a marquee intro) and they even tease a feud with Triple H (presumably when he was still on the rise prior to the curtain call) which carries over to Raw. According to Foley’s book, he was signed for a high price. My question is why did WWF sign him so quickly and for so much? Did Vince see the ridiculous Johnny B Badd gimmick (which seemed to be popular due to Mero’s performance) and think ‘this guy is the kind of entertainer we need’ (despite giving him the somewhat lame Wildman gimmick)? Were there other people pushing for Mero to be signed by WWF?
Just seems like an interesting situation as Mero seems to be the first Jump (from WCW to WWF) during the Monday Night Wars era yet played mostly a footnote in the larger story, mostly by his association with Sable.

1)  The Mero-Bischoff relationship deteriorated pretty fast at the end and there was a lot of name-calling and accusations both ways, but the upshot from the WCW side was that Bischoff accused Mero of missing a bunch of mandated publicity jobs and fired him.  Mero’s side is that his contract expired and he quit after getting lowballed.  Most suspect there was some contract tampering from the WWF involved because he had a three-year deal lined up basically the moment he left.  Either way, his contract had expired at the end of his WCW run, so there was no non-compete window needed and he was able to jump right away.  There was a lot of confusion at the time because the rift came so suddenly and without warning, and got ugly really fast.  Bischoff buried him on Nitro on a regular basis afterwards, while Mero openly criticized the company for forcing him to do things that contradicted his religious beliefs.  It was a weird deal. 

2)  WWE absolutely saw big money in him, and more specifically in his wife, and he was really on track in 1997 to break through, but injuries just destroyed him.  In particular that stretch between Feb 97 where he got injured as Wildman Mero and then returned months later with a totally different look as Marvellous Marc Mero really derailed his momentum as a potential top guy.  The boxer gimmick was a good midcard dick heel one, but not one for a guy who aspired to face Steve Austin. 

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.16.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.16.96

As a reminder, this rant will be immediately available in the Rant Archives link on OneDrive, available now for only $20 via Paypal to [email protected]!

Hopefully there’s not too much Hogan on this show so it doesn’t have to get awkward.  God help us if he’s interacting with Booker T.

Live from Asheville, NC

Your hosts are Tony & Larry

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.16.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–09.09.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.09.96

OK, now we’re back on track after the Friday RAW and unopposed Nitro episode. Back to the Intercontinental title tournament that will seemingly never fucking end. How long CAN they stretch an 8 man tournament out for? Until SEPTEMBER 23! This tournament is decidedly not awesome.

Taped from Wheeling, WV

Your hosts are Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly & Jerry Lawler

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–09.09.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1996

The SmarK Rant for WCW Great American Bash 96 – 06.16.96 Upgraded from my Roku Streaming Stick to the brand new version of the Roku 3 today, and everything is blazingly fast now. Except for the WWE Network, which immediately crashed the Roku when I tried to fast-forward something. Because of course. Live from Baltimore, MD Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Dusty Rhodes. I totally forgot about the goofy SNME-style promos before the show, actually. They were definitely ripping off aspects of the WWF presentation style around this point. Fire & Ice v. The Steiner Brothers Ice Train overpowers Scott for two, but the Steiners clean house. Norton works on Rick, but he gets suplexed for two and Scott adds a dropkick. Norton of course is merely inconvenienced and beats Scott down, allowing Ice Train to come in for more punishment. Corner splash misses and Scott suplexes him out of the corner, then he suplexes Norton and nearly breaks his neck. He’s got a pretty thick neck anyway, I’m sure he wouldn’t have even noticed. Norton bails and Scott tries a flying bodypress in the ring, but Norton catches him with a powerslam for two. Train comes in and works on the shoulder, with Norton adding a shoulderbreaker into an armbar. Rick repeatedly kicks Norton in the face to break that up and I’m sensing some tensions here. Another shoulderbreaker, but Scott manages to tag Rick while on Norton’s back and Rick runs wild with clotheslines. Fire & Ice double-team Rick with a powerbomb into a splash, however, and they try a Doomsday Device, but Scott breaks it up and they get the flying bulldog on Norton for two. Scott with the Frankensteiner on Norton to finish at 10:31. Kudos to Flash for taking that thing. Good hard-hitting match to start. *** US Title: Konnan v. El Gato Gato is no Joe Gomez as far as challengers go. As always, I remind you that El Gato is Spanish for “Pat Tanaka”. This was typical WCW weirdness, as they decided to book a match between Konnan and a masked man named El Gato, but had no real idea of who would play the part. So instead of getting any actual Mexicans, they found Tanaka at whatever waffle house he was wrestling out of in 1996 and gave him the gig instead. And they’re not even TRYING, as Tanaka is just wearing his usual gear with a Tiger Mask gimmick stuck over his trademark hair. Gato uses his South American martial arts to take Konnan down with armdrags, but Konnan puts him down with a clothesline for two. Gato gets a superkick for two and a sunset flip for two, but Konnan takes him down and works on the leg. Konnan puts him on the floor with a powerbomb, and then finishes with a jackknife slam back in the ring at 5:57 to retain. Just a Nitro match. ** Sting goes on a huge rant against Steven Regal and his prissy mannerisms, but then completely loses his train of thought mid-promo in a funny goof and Gene has to give him a minute and jumpstart him again. That was definitely live. Lord of the Ring match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Marcus Bagwell They immediately fight to the floor and Bagwell sends Page into the front row, but DDP cuts him off on the way back in. Bagwell starts working on the arm as Tony relates a backstory about a film student finding DDP homeless on the campus of his college and then giving him the money to enter WCW again. So was that the payoff the benefactor angle? Bagwell dumps him and follows with a dive, but goes up and gets crotched as DDP takes over. Backbreaker gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Page with the abdominal stretch and some sort of half-hearted piledriver for two. Bagwell comes back with a pair of atomic drops and a slingshot clothesline for two, but a blind charge misses and DDP gets two. Bagwell comes back again with a headscissors, but DDP drops him with the Cutter at 9:36. You can see them building up the “out of nowhere” aspect of that move and really getting it over. **1/4 Pretty dull stuff here. WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Rey Mysterio Jr. For those keeping track, this is where the show really takes off. This is of course Rey’s PPV debut, on par with a Joe Gomez although without the longevity or career highs to follow. They do the stalemate sequence to start and start pulling out the awesome lucha gymnastics as Dean bumps to the floor. Rey with the springboard dropkick, and back in for a sunset flip out of a knucklelock. Dean dumps him and tries a baseball slide, but Rey casually slides back in to avoid it. Back in, Dean goes to work on the arm with some vicious stuff, but Rey walks the ropes and dropkicks out of it. Dean puts him down with a clothesline out of the corner for two and goes back to the arm with a hammerlock slam for two. Dean really cranks on the arm as this stays on the mat for way too long. Dean stomps him down and starts on the arm again. What an odd choice of a match style for REY MYSTERIO to debut with. Even WWE knew enough to have him go out there and fly all over the ring when he started. Butterfly suplex gets two. Dean goes back to the arm, but Rey finally makes the comeback and puts Dean on the floor before following with an insane somersault plancha halfway up the aisle. Back in with a springboard dropkick for two. They trade pinfall reversals for two and the West Coast Pop gets two. They fight to the top and Rey takes him down with a rana for two, and reverses a backbreaker attempt for two. Dean blocks another rana attempt with a powerbomb and pins him with his feet on the ropes to retain at 17:55, however. Those last few minutes were CRAZY. **** Meltzer kind of buried the match, despite giving it the same rating, noting that Rey’s cred was pretty much shot now because he lost his debut to a midcard guy. BURIED. And he spelled his name wrong, listing it as “Oscar Gonzales”. DOUBLE BURIED. Big Bubba v. John Tenta They brawl outside to start and Tenta throws him into the stairs and then works him over in the corner. Bubba finds an international object and slugs Tenta down for two, then follows with an enzuigiri for two. Tenta tries a slam and falls back, and Bubba smothers him for a while. Bubba goes up, however, and Tenta powerslams him for the pin at 5:31. Unfortunately, this feud MUST CONTINUE. DUD Falls Count Anywhere: Chris Benoit v. Kevin Sullivan They immediately do a crazy brawl into the crowd and up the stairs, ending up in the men’s bathroom. Dusty is just in his glory here, as this is literally the greatest thing he’s ever seen, culminating with them fighting over a urinal and a woman in the men’s bathroom. Sullivan shoves Benoit’s head into the extra toilet paper and they get into a vicious slugfest before heading down into the arena again. Sullivan just dumps him down the stairs and chucks a chair at him at ringside. Benoit retrieves a table and they take turns whipping each other into it, but Benoit sets it on the top rope and they fight on top of it. And then from there, Benoit finally puts him away with a superplex at 9:52 to a huge pop. Can’t really go with the full monty any more, but it was still a great brawl with non-stop action, that set a template for Vince Russo for years afterwards. Not to mention it was Dusty’s finest hour as a commentator, even as he lost one of his oldest friends the day before. Now that’s a pro. ****1/4 Benoit goes for the beatdown, but Arn Anderson makes the save…and then turns on Sullivan and kicks the shit out of him as well. And that was an awesome payoff, too. Meanwhile, the newly rejuvenated Horsemen cut their victory promo, and they wouldn’t be done yet tonight. Apparently Benoit has now “earned his stripes” with the Horsemen and is set for life with them. Sting v. Lord Steven Regal At this point I switch to the iPad for various reasons, and the quality is pretty iffy on it tonight. Also, has anyone commented recently how “The Man Called Sting” and “Steinerized” are basically the same song? Because they totally are. This was actually a pretty fantastic little feud built up on Nitro and WCWSN, with Regal being all kinds of a British super-dick and Sting being all “America is awesome, derp derp” and damn if it didn’t work great. Sting attacks to start, but Regal takes him down and pounds him with forearms, but Sting fights him off and Regal goes to argue with the front row for a bit. Thankfully the crowd is aware of their location in the USA and informs Mr. Regal. Back in, Steve offers a heartfelt handshake and smile, Sting THRUSTS HIS CROTCH at him. Is this how America treats visiting dignitaries and great men like Mr. Regal? No wonder he hates all the fans. Regal takes him down and rubs his knee in his face, then goes into a cobra clutch and pounds away with forearms. Regal controls him with a full nelson, but Sting takes him down with a sunset flip for two. Regal, who is a great professional wrestler, makes faces while fighting the move and threatens to take out his frustrations by punching the referee in the face at the same time. Regal was on another level of greatness at this point. Unfortunately we’re getting close to the point where he indulged in the drink and got fat and lazy for a long time. Regal with a dropkick for two and he goes to a headlock, but Sting suplexes out. Regal stays on him with a wacky armbar while yelling at the bloody fools in the front row and using the ropes. MULTITASKING~! Sting comes back with an abdominal stretch, but Regal slugs him down and shows his dance moves. Regal puts him in a headscissors and gets two off that, and he goes back to cranking on the arm. Sting fights up, so Regal hits him with rabbit punches (Dusty: “He needs to hit him with that open hand…NO NOT YOU, REGAL!”) and Sting goes down again. Regal goes for a crossbody out of the corner and Sting hits him with a dropkick with AWESOME timing and makes the comeback. They fight to the top and Regal takes him down with a butterfly suplex for two and hooks in the Regal Stretch, giving him the quality demoralizing trashtalk at the same time. Finally he just beats on Sting in the corner with backhands, and Sting has HAD ENOUGH. Sting beats the hell out of him with an awesome camera angle in the corner, but Regal blocks the Stinger splash with double knees. Sting isn’t taking more of Regal’s shit, however, and just hooks him in the Deathlock (with Regal kicking and screaming the whole way) to finish for good at 17:10. LOVED IT. Regal was just an insufferable dick the whole time and Sting got his revenge. FOR MURICA. **** Ric Flair & Arn Anderson v. Steve McMichael & Kevin Greene Most people were expecting a by-the-numbers celebrity trainwreck, which makes what we got all the better. The crowd already hates Mongo and some dudes managed to bring in a huge “Mongo Sucks” sign on a bedsheet. They’re not wrong. Arn does some football drills with Mongo and that goes badly for him. Tony relates a conversation with the football players, where he learns that rattlesnake hunting is a profession in Texas. Dusty is flabbergasted. “Of course! We all hunt rattlesnakes in Texas!” The football team does a beatdown on Arn in the corner at Savage’s behest and the Horsemen regroup, and Kevin Greene comes in for his debut. Greene is having a blast and Flair comes in and matches energy with him, then waits for Greene to go into the three-point stance and kicks him in the face. Greene comes back with shoulderblocks, however, and the Horsemen run away again. And this time Savage kicks Flair’s ass and tosses him back in. Flair is so great that he actually makes two green rookies look like killers and makes the crowd cheer for them. Mongo tags in and Arn pulls back from Flair’s tag in a funny bit. Mongo keeps overpowering Flair as they keep it simple and effective, and Mongo no-sells the chops and does his own, then adds a backdrop as Flair is just bumping like crazy here. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, and we get stereo figure-fours from the football players as the crowd goes crazy for it. The women all head back to the dressing room after an argument and Arn finally turns the tide with a cheapshot on Mongo, and the Horsemen go to work. Mongo gets dumped and Bobby gets his shots in, and back in Flair goes low and drops the knee to make sure the heels get no sympathy from the crowd. Kevin Greene as the babyface who is incredulously angry at the rampant cheating is just amazing for someone having his first match. The Horsemen cut off the tag to continue building sympathy for Mongo as face in peril, but he rams the Horsemen together off an atomic drop and makes the hot tag to Greene. Powerslam on Flair and you can see Flair leading him through the positioning for the next spot, but doing it totally naturally. Greene suplexes him in from the apron, but Arn clips him from behind like a dick and goes after the knee. The Horsemen cut off the ring and Flair tries the figure-four, but Greene reverses into a small package for two. Flair stays on him with the kneecrusher and this time gets the move, complete with help from Arn in the corner. Finally Savage can take no more of these shenanigans, but Chris Benoit joins us and beats on him. And then the evil women return with newly glammed out Debra and the Halliburton case filled with cash, which Mongo considers carefully…and then hits Greene in the face with it. Flair gets the pin at 20:50 of an insanely entertaining tag match. ***1/2 And the Four Horsemen are complete again! We get an epic beatdown of Randy Savage and Kevin Greene for good measure. Mongo was a terrible worker but fit in perfectly with the group as a character. Given that everyone assumed it would be the usual goofy match and celebrity going over Flair formula, this was awesome. This would have been the capper on any other PPV as it is. But wait, there’s MORE! Eric Bischoff brings out the invading Hall and Nash, so that WCW can formally answer their challenge. Bischoff still won’t use their names, which is another nice touch. So the match will happen at Bash at the Beach, and Bischoff specifically asks if they work for the WWF, trying to get the lawyers off his back. Bischoff promises the reveal the WCW team on Nitro, so Hall kicks him in the gut and Nash powerbombs him off the stage and through a table, which has the crowd freaking out. This was amazing on so many levels, not the least of which was that Bischoff had never been touched to that point, and it was the first acknowledgement that Bischoff was the guy in charge of the company, a year before Vince came out as owner of the WWF on TV. Needless to say, I was losing my shit at this point and this was one of the biggest angles in the history of the company. It was suddenly a totally different atmosphere, with two guys who weren’t playing by the arbitrary rules of the wrestling “universe” coming in and just doing what they wanted in ways that fans didn’t know how to react to yet. It was DIFFERENT and off-putting and suddenly made everything must-see and dangerous. Really, the World title match should have been stuck in the middle of the show somewhere because nothing was going to top that, but they go ahead with it anyway. WCW World title: The Giant v. Lex Luger Really, these guys have no hope of following anything that came before. Luger slugs away on the Giant to start and clotheslines him to the floor, then does a clumsy leap onto Giant’s back with a sleeper. Jimmy Hart tries to break it up with the megaphone, but Sting comes out and chases Jimmy to the back. Giant beats Luger down in the corner to escape and whips Luger around the ring, as Luger somehow grunts even louder when he’s selling than when he’s on offense. Giant puts him in a body vice and tosses him down for a surfboard and the crowd is just totally dead. Can’t even blame them. Giant slowly pounds away on the back. Lex makes the comeback with the offense grunts instead of the defense grunts and pounds away on the Giant, who charges and ends up laying on the top rope somehow. Luger uses that contrived position to put him in the Rack, but Giant falls on top of him and finishes with the chokeslam to retain cleanly at 9:30. I think with hindsight they should have put the title on Luger here and passed it to Hogan that way, since it would have ripped the hearts out of the fans that much more and Luger had earned it anyway. *1/2 The Pulse If not for the main event, this is the greatest PPV in WCW history and probably one of the greatest of all-time, period. As it is, it sits comfortably below Bash 89 on my list. Taken with Bash at the Beach three weeks later, it’s a hell of a one-two punch that nearly destroyed the WWF in the process and really, probably should have. Strongest recommendation!

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: February 15, 1996

Normally this is where I’d change over to ECW Hardcore TV, but after the Shawn debacle I think we’ll keep on the WWF through RAW before cycling back to see what the other guys are up to.
I got over 100 responses to the Thursday RAW piece, and as many as 4 of those comments didn’t come from HartKiller_09. To address a few of the points:

To the guys who figured we’re lumping all injuries together as one; at no point did I ever suggest that Daniel Bryan or Edge should have laid down for the next guys in line. Bryan probably could have, seeing as how he was healthy enough to get tombstoned all over the arena on his way out; but his situation was unique in that the WWE officials thought he’d be back within 60 days. They rolled the dice, and when they realized they’d come up lame, they were left with no choice. Edge, on the other hand, was perfectly content to drop the strap to Alberto del Rio, but the powers that be made the decision to let him retire as champion. And there’s the difference; Shawn gave the company no choice.
Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog made the fantastic point that they could have easily run a Pillmanizing angle, or *something* to get heat on the SOB who took Shawn out. But that’s simply not how the 90’s edition of Shawn Michaels operated. Everything he did was part of a personal quest to ensure that nobody was ever able to overshadow him. Even the most notorious politician of all time, Hulk Hogan, let friggin’ Earthquake send him on vacation, because he had the strong enough sense to recognize that his triumphant return to beat the awful monster was enough to run a pay-per-view.
Shawn had absolutely no credibility at this point. He had ducked doing the job for Shane Douglas because he didn’t personally like him, he managed to win the Iron Man match without laying down because he didn’t want to hurt his new championship status by having taken a pinfall, and he’d bullied Chris Candido so viciously that it would have driven a lot of people to suicide.
I admire the fact that Shawn was able to get off the drugs, re-invent himself and change his life for the better – but it doesn’t change the fact that he was an insufferable asshole throughout the 90’s. The stunt he pulled on Thursday RAW Thursday was a breaking point for a lot of people, because being the most talented performer on the planet doesn’t entitle you turn to put yourself ahead of everyone else. And that’s exactly what he did; he was asked to take a fall, so he thumbed his nose at the locker room, at the fans, and drove his ass home. This had nothing at all to do with Bret Hart, no matter how you spin it.
And speaking of the boy toy – his bare asshole remains an integral part of the opening to Shotgun Saturday Night. TODD PETTENGILL welcomes us to a Very Exciting Edition, which features … the best of Shotgun. Wow, don’t strain yourselves looking for footage guys, putting together a show of this magnitude might take as long as 75 minutes.
We’re first “treated” to the Sultan vs Goldust match from the January 4th show, which of course features the infamous Topless Marlena stunt.
From the same show, Crush vs Ahmed Johnson is given significant time as an excuse to show poor unnamed D’Lo Brown taking the Pearl River Plunge on a parked car in the street.
From January 11, Todd Pettengill sings karaoke with the Honky Tonk Man. We have very different opinions on what’s classified as Best Of. Earlier that night, Marc Mero and Rocky Maivia had Issues and threw punches.
Zipping ahead to January 18, we get our first good edition of Shotgun. You wouldn’t know it initially, because they start by showing the Honky Tonk Man cheating midget Mexicans out of their paycheques at the blackjack table. However, they smartly air a ton of the Austin / Funk confrontation, which made for television magic. It’s a damn shame they didn’t keep Terry around as a placeholder feud for Austin, but they had bigger plans of course.
More quality stuff on January 25, where Bret Hart and Mankind squared off, while Owen whined about his “lousy brother Bret” on commentary. Mankind also discovers he has a taste for the ladies, while Bearer screams about his Mankind being corrupted by sex and liquor.
Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games that night, because Savio Vega turned heel and put on an embarrassingly bad match with Rocky Maivia. Many of Savio’s extended nerve holds are covered here.
For god knows what reason, we’re now watching last weekend’s Superstars, which the last time I checked was NOT part of Shotgun Saturday Night. Vader and Steve Austin is highlighted. There’s still 20 minutes left in this show, and they’ve already run out of footage?
February 1 is highlighted now, which was essentially the Mick Foley show. Mick’s commentary about not being in the right mindset to inflict violence because he’s a party animal now is fantastic.
Finally, The Undertaker, flanked by a little Ozzy Osbourne, rode into the February 8 show. He took on Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and while he was unsuccessful in capturing the Intercontinental title, he did tombstone Triple H down an escalator. And, because everyone loves watching Triple H get his ass kicked, it’s replayed again in slow mo as the show heads off the air.

No pay-per-view hype at all seems like a missed opportunity. But, then again, so does having your jerk-off injury faking champion drop the belt in the middle of the ring, so we’re 0-2 this week.

Repost: The SmarK Rant for WCW Uncensored 1996

(2015 Scott sez:  I actually don’t have the original file for this one stored on OneDrive for some reason, so I had to use Google-Fu and find it on 411 from the original 2003 posting.  Thankfully I created a new Word document for posterity as well.  For those of you who care about that sort of minutia of my life. Also, to those who want a full re-rant, fuck you.  In the most loving way.  That is all.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Uncensored ‘96 – I decided to finally redo the rant for this one when I was sick, so that it couldn’t do any more damage to me than it already has. The way I figure it, the cold medication should be enough to fight off any mental or physical illness I may suffer from watching it again. I may, however, need to stop and vomit at various points, so I’ll be sure to give you fair warning before I do. By the way, in a kind of cosmic warning to me, the tape arrived broken, probably as a way for the universe to try to keep me from sacrificing myself by watching this again, but I was able to transplant the reels into a fresh casing, because that’s the kind of thing you learn to do after years of trading tapes on the ‘net.  (Man, those were the days.  Thankfully the Great VHS Purge of 2004 was coming and I would soon convert everything over to DVD once and for all.)  – Live from Tupalo, MS. – Your hosts are Tony, Dusty & Bobby. – Opening match, US title: Konnan v. Eddie Guerrero. It’s full blown mulletude for Eddie here. They fight over a lockup to start and head to the mat, where Konnan rides him with an armbar and stays on it. Eddie escapes with the flying wristlock and Konnan bails. Back in, Eddie starts working on the leg with a toehold, and then a figure-four, after teasing a headstand on the ankle. Konnan makes the ropes. They exchange rollups and each get two. Eddie takes him down into a chinlock and quickly into a surfboard, but Konnan takes him down into a kneebar. He turns it into a Boston Crab, which the crowd can better understand, but Eddie makes the ropes. Back up, Konnan counters an armdrag, but Eddie gets one of his own, and they do another stalemate sequence. Really nice. They back off and work the crowd, but Eddie’s attempts work better. Eddie dropkicks him down and they go up, as Eddie brings him down with a rana for two. Camel clutch, but Konnan powers out. He grabs a headlock, but Eddie counters out, and they do another stalemate sequence that ends with Eddie on the floor, but he evades a highspot attempt. Back in, Eddie grabs a headlock, but Konnan escapes with an armbar. Eddie comes back with a monkey flip and a headscissors to put Konnan out, and he follows with a plancha. This is the type of match where Mike Tenay would have been invaluable. Back in, Eddie slingshots in for two. Eddie uses a headscissors on the mat, but Konnan rolls over into a leglock, and then hits him with rolling germans, but Eddie reverses to a rollup for two. Another rollup is reversed by Konnan for two. Clothesline puts Eddie down as Konnan is obviously blown up by this point. Eddie gets a rana for two. Konnan gets Splash Mountain for two. He’s got NOTHING left. He goes up and Eddie follows, but Eddie ends up on the floor and Konnan follows with a weak tope suicida. Back in, Eddie reverses a suplex, but gets clotheslined for two. Konnan goes up again, but Eddie brings him down with a superplex for two. Eddie goes up to finish, but Konnan slams him off, which Eddie reverses into a cradle for two. Awesome. Konnan slugs away, but Eddie tries a leapfrog, so Konnan hits him in the nuts and pins him at 18:26 to retain. This was ALL Eddie after about the 10 minute point. ***1/2  (I obviously had much less hatred for Konnan in my heart even 12 years ago.  I guess time does heal all wounds and shitty booking.)  – Lord Steven Regal v. Fit Finlay. Finlay was just The Belfast Bruiser at this point. Fit pounds away with STIFF forearms in the corner to start, but Regal takes him down and gets his own. He runs into a knee and Finlay drops an elbow for two. He stomps away with glee and gets a short-arm clothesline for two. Vicious kick to the back, but Regal fires back with a forearm and grabs a cravat on the mat. Regal pounds the palm into his nose, but Fit rams a knee into his forehead to escape and drives another knee before tossing him. He drops Regal on the railing and then wraps the arm around the post. He keeps working the arm as Regal comes in, and cranks on an armbar. Regal knees out of it and slugs away with forearms, then blocks a rollup attempt with a dropkick for two. He grinds a forearm into Fit’s head on the mat, but Fit takes him down with another armbar, but Regal knees out of it and controls on the mat again. He chokes away and fires off more forearms, but Fit headbutts him down and drops a knee. Slam and senton gets two. He hits the chinlock, but Regal fights out, so Fit drops him with a lariat for two. He brings Regal to the apron and rams the throat into it, then sends him into the railing again. They keep brawling and end up back in the ring again, fighting over a suplex on the apron, which ends with Fit hitting the floor. Regal follows with a Cactus elbow and heads back in, then pounds him with boots on the way in. Elbow gets two. Regal goes to the headlock, but Fit kicks in the shoulder to escape in super-stiff fashion. Regal takes him to the corner and gives him a soccer kick to the nuts to retaliate, then drops an elbow for two. More kicks to the back, but Fit goes to the eyes and drives a knee to the back of the neck to block a sunset flip. Regal goes back to the arm and crossfaces him a few times, but Fit backdrops him out of the corner and pounds the kidneys with forearms. Regal takes him down for two. Regal slugs him down and keeps pounding on the apron, but Fit gives him a straight shot to the jaw to drop him. Good lord. Fit takes him into the apron and they brawl on the floor, won by Fit. Back in, Fit sends him into the turnbuckle, but Regal alley-oops him to the floor as a defense mechanism. They slug it out on the floor and Regal sends him into the Doomsday Cage, and then they head back, but the Bluebloods run out for the DQ at 17:30. Really bad finish to a horrifically stiff match. It wasn’t GREAT as a wrestling match or anything, but as a total war of attrition, it was amazing, something out of a UFC almost. *** (I’m pretty pumped that the Nitro rematch is coming up soon too!)  – Col. Rob Parker v. Madusa. (That’s Hall of Famer Alundra Blayze, you know.)  Parker gives a clean break out of the corner to start, which has Dusty in amazement. Another try, but Madusa takes him down with an armdrag. Parker comes back with an airplane spin, but she reverses to a sunset flip for two. Slam and he bails, getting advice from Dick Slater (who was Debbie Micelli’s real-life husband at that point). (What, no secret advice joke?  I really must have been feeling shitty that day.  Here, I’ll throw in a freebie:  “That advice?  Never do a southern rebel gimmick in a New York-based wrestling promotion.”)  Back in, he takes her down with the choke, but misses an elbow and gets dropkicked. He bails again and she follows with a bad plancha. Back in, she gets a german suplex for two, but Slater puts Parker on top for the pin at 3:43. Total freakshow. DUD – Retirement match: Diamond Dallas Page v. The Booty Man. OK, quick word of explanation. This was supposed to be the blowoff of the DDP-Johnny B Badd feud, which had been going for the past million PPVs, but Marc Mero got fired from WCW (on purpose) and jumped to the WWF, leaving the storyline without an ending, so they repackaged Ed Leslie again, into The Booty Man (a kind of disco version of Brutus Beefcake) and suddenly had him fighting for Kimberly’s honor. (Longer and more accurate story:  Mero’s contract expired at the end of February while still champion and he agreed to sign a new deal, but wanted assurances that he would make his usual salary while working without a contract instead of the job-guy money that other free agents made per show.  Bischoff jerked him around on the details of the talks as well as some personal apperances, and then wanted to continue the Kimberly angle that Badd hated so much.  Finally Mero basically said “Screw you, I’m going to the WWF” and Bischoff terminated him after he dropped the title to Lex Luger and told him not to come back.)  Tony buries Mero before the match, and then in the same breath they talk about how Booty Man was actually a spy in the Dungeon of Doom on behalf of Hulk Hogan, which is how they explain his sudden face turn. I wonder if that would work in real life. “Um, I wasn’t trying to deal cocaine out of a subway terminal, I was spying for internal security” Maybe not. (Eh, Brutus Beefcake drug bust jokes don’t hold up very well, unfortunately.)  This match also proved to be a major problem for DDP, because he likes planning out his matches in advance and improvising something with ED LESLIE of all people is just asking for trouble. Mucho stallo to start. Page starts with a wristlock and they reverse off that, but Page goes to the ropes. Booty goes to a headlock and overpowers Page, and he bails. Back in, Booty slugs him down and goes to the armbar, as Dusty claims that he’s “very skilled at mat wrestling”. I can’t make this stuff up. Page charges and misses, ending up on the floor. This match is going nowhere. Page stalls forever outside, so Booty Man follows him out and they brawl. Back in, Page gets rammed into the turnbuckle a few times and Page bails AGAIN. He stumbles around on the floor like a clown and Kimberly joins us at ringside, dressed as a cheerleader. HOOCHIE MAMA. Back in, Page grabs a headlock, but Booty powers out, so they criss-cross and stall. Booty slugs him out to the apron again. They manage to fuck up a shoulderblock and then Booty whiffs on a crossbody attempt, and Page chokes away. Even Tony gave a disgusted “What was THAT?” before catching himself. (Ed Leslie was a special kind of terrible in his WCW run.)  Page gets a backdrop suplex and stalls, but gets two. We hit the chinlock, but Booty fights out, so Page knees him down for two. Back to the chinlock, and Page uses the ropes as the match drags on. Soon I fear that I will die of old age before this chinlock ends. Finally Booty fights out, but Page drops him on the top rope as Kimberly turns to the camera and says with a straight face “I want him to be my boyfriend”. And people wonder why her acting career didn’t take off. Page goes after her, but gets slapped, and Booty Man hits him with a high knee to finish at 16:00. Absolutely horrible. -* Poor Kimberly has to sell a kiss from steroid-bloated, balding Ed Leslie as the sexiest thing since Ricky Martin or whatever was sexy in 1996. (Hey wow, that joke got funnier in hindsight.)  But then she sleeps with DDP in real life, so who knows what weird stuff she’s into. – The Giant v. Loch Ness. Suddenly I yearn for the salad days of Booty Man v. DDP, all those minutes ago. When Paul Wight is the skinny one, you’ve got a problem. Although he WAS really lean at this point. Giant chops away in the corner to start and uses the Nash choke, but Loch Ness hammers back with the CLUBBING FOREARMS. Giant fires back with boots in the corner, but misses a charge and takes a nice bump to the floor. Back in, Loch Ness slaps him down and drops the elbow, but misses another one, and Giant makes the comeback, booting him down. Legdrop finishes at 2:34. Well, at least it was short. DUD Giant would win the World title the next night on Nitro.  (Nope, another month yet.  Never seen that match, either!)  – Chicago Street Fight: The Road Warriors v. Sting & Booker T. How you have a Chicago street fight in Tupelo is a mystery unsolved to this day. (I really feel like we were robbed off the payoff with Luger having to participate in the street fight he unknowingly agreed to.)  They brawl outside to start and head into the ring for a slugfest, but Sting runs into Animal’s boot. Animal pounds away in the corner while Hawk backdrops Booker on the floor, and back in the ring it’s another donnybrook. Booker hits Animal with the ax kick for two, while Hawk & Sting fight outside. Animal powerslams Booker and drops an elbow for two. Sting comes back in, but Animal necksnaps him on the top rope and posts him. Sting returns the favor as the split screen is helpfully labeled “Chicago Street Fight” in case we’ve forgotten what we’re watching. (I was heavily medicated at that point.  So it could have happened.  God knows I’ve fallen asleep watching boring wrestling shows late at night.)  In the ring, Sting hits Animal with a fistdrop, but gets clotheslined for two. Elbow misses and Sting bulldogs him, but Hawk chokes Sting down. Everyone brawls outside and Booker covers Animal for two on the floor. Back in, Booker gets caught with a shot coming down, and Animal dropkicks him for two. Sting retreats to the back, while Booker gets a lazy cross-armbreaker on Hawk in the ring. Sting chairs Animal over by the back, and heads to the ring for a chairshot on Hawk. But then Animal gets it and uses it in incredibly weak fashion, getting two on Booker. Booker comes back with a sidekick on Animal and Sting piledrives Hawk, and of course he no-sells that. Since when does Sting ever use a piledriver? Hawk powerbombs Sting and goes to the chinlock, then tosses him and it’s more dull brawling outside. This match has ZERO flow. It’s all “two guys do stuff in the ring while the other two brawl, switch off, repeat.” Hawk hits them with some wussy chairshots and tries a powerbomb on Sting, but it’s reversed. Animal clubs on Sting with the forearms, but Booker breaks it up, and it’s more dull brawling. Back in with Sting and Hawk, as Sting hits him with a shot off the top that Hawk doesn’t sell, but misses the Stinger splash. Hawk drops a fist and Animal goes up, but Booker crotches him, so Hawk covers Sting for two. Booker hits Animal with a flying clothesline for two. Once again the mystery of falls count anywhere matches arises, as you can pin somewhere anywhere in the arena, except when he has his foot on the ropes. Sting gets a headbutt low on Animal, and Hawk hits Booker with a backdrop suplex. Booker comes back with a weak sideslam on Hawk, but misses an elbow, and they do a sloppy collision in the corner. Sting goes up and misses a splash on Animal. Hawk goes up and gets dropkicked by Booker coming down. Animal chokes away in the corner, but Booker goes low, and they fight outside again. Oh, joy. Meanwhile, Hawk hits Sting with a move I can only jokingly call a gutwrench suplex for two. Sting and Booker finally get organized and double-team Hawk with a clothesline, then Sting suplexes him on the top rope while Animal suplexes Booker. Sooooooo slow and boring. Hawk & Sting brawl outside again while Booker crotches himself on the top rope, and they switch off for no reason in particular, with Animal taking on Sting outside and Hawk beating on Booker inside. Booker comes back with a spinkick on Hawk for two. Hawk boots him down for two. Back to the floor as Sting goes up on Animal, but gets caught with a powerslam. Animal works the count, but Sting comes back with a clothesline and both guys are out. The boredom of this match is crushing my soul. Hawk and Booker head back into the ring, but Hawk misses a fistdrop and Booker misses an elbow. He comes back with a sidekick, however, and both guys are out. On the floor, Animal goes nuts with a chair (as nuts as anyone can go in this snoozefest) and the Warriors double-team Booker, but Sting heads to the back again and returns with BROOMS. Now I’m scared. The Warriors choke them down, but Booker comes back with his own choking on Animal, but he gets tossed by Animal and decides to leave. In the ring, Hawk gets two on Sting. We follow Animal and Booker to the back, where Luger is posing in front of a mirror in a bizarre moment, but Animal interrupts and gets beat up by Luger and Stevie Ray as a result. Some things you just don’t mess with. Back in the ring, Hawk dumps Sting and they brawl, but now Booker T returns as Sting misses his charge into the railing. Booker sends Hawk into the stairs and brings him back in, getting a sideslam and going up with the Harlem Hangover, but misses it. Stevie Ray runs out and adds a chairshot for good measure, and Booker FINALLY pins Hawk to end it at 29:35. Not a terrible brawl, but ridiculously long and dull. It did foreshadow Booker’s single career, however, as he managed to outwork both of the washed-up Road Warriors and held his own with the unmotivated Sting. **  (Meltzer actually gave this one ***1/2 and called it the best match on the show.  Sorry, I just don’t see it.)  DOOMSDAY CAGE: Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage v. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Z Gangsta, The Ultimate Solution, Kevin Sullivan, Lex Luger, Meng and the Barbarian. I wish I could be making up that listing, but I’m not. They really did book Hogan & Savage 8-on-2. The heels are The Alliance to End Hulkamania, or TAEH. That of course is the opposite of heat. The idea here, if you can wrap your head around it, is that there’s a three-story cage, with Hogan & Savage starting at the top with Flair & Anderson and moving downwards. Now keep in mind there’s no actual RULES for this announced, only vague notations about Hogan & Savage having to “fight their way down”. (Original plan was to re-use the triple cage thing from Bash 88, because apparently it was still stored in Kevin Sullivan’s garage or something.)  Michael Buffer actually has to introduce this mess with a straight face. Well, I guess that’s why they pay him the big bucks. Hogan starts with Arn in the top cage and they fight it out, with Flair chopping Savage, and Arn clubbing on Hogan. The lighting is terrible and you can’t see anything. They keep brawling and Hogan rams Flair into a pole and chokes him down. Flair & Anderson stop and work over Savage, however. Anderson goes after Hogan and gets a figure-four, so Flair does the same to Savage. Hogan and Savage use powder to escape, however, and move down to the next cage. Uh huh. So now it’s 4-on-2, as it’s Sullivan, Luger, Meng and Barbarian to contend with. Hogan fights with Luger & Sullivan, while Savage takes on the Faces of Fear. (I should also note what a giant waste of Luger this was, as they had spent weeks masterfully building up the Sting storyline and creating this awesome slimy heel character for him before suddenly turning him into cartoon villain again for the sake of having an eighth guy in this mess.)  The heels control, but Hogan fights off Sullivan and saves Savage, and then locks the Faces of Fear in their own cage, leaving it 2-on-2. Oh, such strategy. Flair and Anderson head down into the lower cage to try and help, and Hogan and Sullivan fight out to the scaffolding while Luger continues the thrilling brawl with Savage in the cage. However, soon all four end up on the floor, and into the ring. Hogan hits Sullivan with the big boot and stomps away. They switch off, with Hogan hitting Luger with a bucket and Sullivan ramming Savage into the cage. Tony, in an actual quote, says “This has been spectacular.” Well, people describe car crashes the same way. Hogan brings Luger to the ring and gets a corner clothesline, then hammers away while Savage & Sullivan fight on the floor. Wasn’t the point supposed to be that they were fighting in the CAGE? Hence the name, DOOMSDAY CAGE? Luger hits Savage with the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DEATH, but brawls out with Hogan again. You have to wonder what exactly the Horsemen and Faces of Fear are DOING while trapped in that other ring. Luger clubs Savage down with a chair and then goes after Hogan, but he makes the comeback and the heels get whipped together. And now the other heels, Jeep “Painful Constipation” Swenson and Z Gangsta (Zeus) head out and drag our heroes back to the DOOMSDAY CAGE, and into the ring on the bottom of that cage. Was there something wrong with the ring they were in before? Somehow, the match gets WORSE, as Permanent Vacation overpowers Hogan and Gangsta chokes Savage down. He pops up with a double axehandle, however, while Hogan goes to the eyes of Traffic Citation and then turns his attention to Gangsta. He gets choked down, which to Tony is the most thrilling thing to happen all match, and Notable Quotation press-slams Savage. Hogan comes back on Gangsta, but now the Horsemen rejoin the match (which of course makes no sense, but god forbid either of THESE goofs do the job when Flair is available) and things look bleak for the Megapowers. The heels pound away, as Catalytic Conversion uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but now Booty Man gives them powder (oh man, this stuff just writes itself) and frying pans. That’s how you cook the crack old-school, I guess. Now Luger runs in as well and turns the tide, using a loaded glove, but it hits Flair by mistake and Savage pins him at 25:09. This would prove to be the last hurrah for Hulkamania, as fan reaction to this mess was so overwhelmingly negative that his heel turn was necessary to keep his career alive. Without a doubt the WORST PPV main event ever, lacking not only internal logic and interesting action, but the entertainment value of Heroes of Wrestling. This one gets the full negative monty. –*****  (I stand by that one.)  The Bottom Line: You may stumble across this show and accidentally watch it, then, like a victim of prison rape, blame yourself for the pain, humiliation, and rectal bleeding, but DON’T. This was WCW’S fault, not yours! There are support groups for survivors of this PPV out there to help you, and I would advise you to make use of them. Other people have been through the same thing. We can help you. Strongest recommendation to avoid humanly possible.  (Or, you know, get really drunk and watch it for free on the WWE Network.  Whatevs.) 

1996 Raw & Nitro observations

Hey Scott,

Long time reader, second time e-mailer. I've been watching early Raw & Nitros from March 1996 on the Network. One thing I've noticed during the Raw intro is a shot of President Piper slapping Goldust… yet this is in the opening credits weeks before he even showed up. Any guess as to why such an odd edit? It looks like (according to Youtube) that it replaced a shot of someone (Jarrett?) hitting Ahmed Johnson with something (a gold record?) from behind while he was talking to Lawler at ringside.

Also… this is (obviously) from Raw in March of 1996.

http://youtu.be/xuIrP4pDIJY?t=27m14s

Isn't that Lex Luger's WCW theme playing? How'd they get away with that?!?

Regards,

Steven

PS: Is it white and gold, or blue and black?

​IT'S FUCKING BLUE AND BLACK!  How can anyone possibly see it the other way?  FUCK!
Anyway, as to the question, they would do those kinds of weird edits a lot.  During the Bill Watts era, they would show a clip of next week's main event in the "next week" portion of the taped show in order to attempt to pop a rating for it.  ​I guess they figured that everyone knew it wasn't live anyway.  

1996 reviews


Hi Scott, hope you are well.

Have noticed that you've stopped you're reviews of the 1996 Raws & Nitros. I was under the impression that you had been enjoying the shows (at least the Nitros). Had that changed, or did life get in the way? They were a cool little peek into the past, and I hope they're not gone for good, especially with how important '96 was in the big picture. Take care.

​The impression I was getting from the blog was that we're a little overloaded with 1996 WCW reviews, so I decided to cool it for a while.  I wouldn’t want to Roman Reigns the reviews. ​

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1996 WCW as told by Kevin Sullivan

With all of the 1996 WCW reviews and whatnot, I figured why not get some insight from the Bookerman himself, Kevin Sullivan. This was originally posted in July of 2013 but figured why the hell not read it again tonight.

This was released on June 25th, 2013.


JANUARY
Sullivan is asked about Bischoff giving away the results of the RAW Bowl, including the Smoking Gunns winning the Tag-Team Championship. He thought it was a horrible idea, as the fans who want to see what happened. He said that this really came back to bite WCW in the ass when they announced Mick Foley winning the World Title. He said at that point, he told everyone they were in deep shit but no one believed him.
On the January 13th edition of “WCW Pro” Sullivan squashed Damon Striker, who would go on to the WWF a few years later an become Edge. Sullivan is asked if he saw the potential in him and he stated that he did and should have courted him at the time.
The Public Enemy debuted, defeating the American Males. Sullivan said that he liked them and did not look down on them because they were from ECW, as he wrestled there at one point. Sullivan puts over Heyman as one of the brightest minds in wrestling and would always call him several weeks ahead of time when his talent was joining WCW, so he could make the best of the situation. Sullivan then compares wrestling to the circus, saying that there is stuff for everyone. This is one of the many analogies that Sullivan makes throughout the interview.
Oliver reads a legal letter from Bischoff, threatening to sue the WWF over the Billionaire Ted Skits. Sullivan said that he loved those sketches, as he is a fan of parodies. He then says that the American public is not stupid and does not want to see their stars and heroes become destroyed when a corporation or business says so, but rather on their own.
Sullivan is asked about a few things from Clash of the Champions XXXII. When asked about Elizabeth debuting in WCW, he said that believes Hogan’s wife wanted to get involved in the program. He is then asked about the three-way feud between Hogan, Dungeon of Doom, and the Four Horsemen. Sullivan said that the Dungeon of Doom was his idea of making Hogan relax, as it gave him cartoon heels to wrestle instead of the cooler heels, like the Horsemen. He also mentions that Hogan was getting booed a lot at this time and fans were starting to like the cooler heels. He then states how anyone can book but you need to have a strong personality to make it work. He brings up another analogy, this time about a sabermetrics argument on the MLB Network in which one of the ex-managers appeared to have won, because he had a forceful personality.
Sullivan is asked about the incident in which Brian Pillman grabbed Bobby Heenan’s jacket, causing him to swear. Sullivan believes that it was a shoot, then goes on to talk about how Pillman and Steve Austin went from being in a tag-team to breaking up on their own and developing “loose cannon” personas and got involved in a controversial angle in the WWF. He says that all the guys who drew money in the business magnified their own personality to get over with the fans.
Sullivan is then asked about the luchadores. He brings up his circus analogy, stating that they were missing the acrobats at this time. He said some of the workers complained about them, but those were usually the guys who used five minute restholds. He thought they would not be accepted at the top of the card but made for a great mid-card act.
FEBRUARY
Oliver brings up the debut of Loch Ness. Sullivan said he was a fan of European wrestling. He thought the guy could work and claimed he was the highest draw on “WCW Saturday Night” for that year. He then brings up another analogy, stating that if you eat steak every day for a long time, one day you are going to just want a taco. I guess this makes Loch Ness the taco of professional wrestling.
Sullivan is now asked about the “I respect you bookerman” comment made by Pillman at Superbrawl VI. He said it was a work and that Pillman came up with the whole idea by himself and he was just along for the ride, knowing that what he was doing had never been done before. He mentions how some of the workers thought that Pillman was being legit with all of his antics and told Sullivan how they wanted nothing to do with him, thinking that he was completely insane. He then says how guys like Kevin Nash in the WWF were buying the PPV to see Pillman shoot.
He is then asked about Elizabeth turning on Savage an aligning with Flair. He says that it might have been Hogan’s idea, as he and his wife were trying to get them back together in real life.
Sullivan is then asked about Arn Anderson beating Hogan on Nitro, giving him his second loss in three weeks. Sullivan brings up there was the pro-Hogan and the anti-Hogan parties in WCW. Hogan was told that he was getting heat for not putting other guys over and did this to shut up the anti-Hogan camp.
The first non-televised house show in a few years draws 11,000 in Baltimore, MD. Sullivan said he knew they would draw there and it was great for Hogan’s ego because he would think that he was the reason for the large crowd. During this show, Lex Luger defeated Johnny B. Badd for the TV Title but lost it the next night on Television. Sullivan claims that he was vetoed against shooting angles at house shows. He brings up how running everything on PPV ruins business.
The “Baywatch” episode featuring himself and other wrestlers is brought up. Sullivan said the actors hated the wrestlers and David Hasselhoff refused to be on that episode due to his hatred of Hogan.
MARCH
Johnny B. Badd wrestles his last match for WCW, losing the TV Title to Luger. Sullivan said that he wasn’t missed and thought it was ridiculous for a white guy to impersonate a black guy then compares the Badd character to Al Jolson.
The Doomsday Cage Match at Uncensored is discussed. Sullivan said that the original idea was for himself and the Giant to face Hogan and Savage but everyone else was brought in and it became a debacle. He said that at the end, it worked out as it made Hogan happy and he was able to be steered towards more serious angles.
APRIL
Hogan was written off TV on the April 15th episode of Nitro. The original plan was for Hogan to leave on a stretcher but that got changed to Hogan no-selling chairshots and a chokeslam from the Giant, after beating Sullivan and Anderson in a handicapped match. Sullivan said that Hogan took a shit on the company by doing that and said Hogan was too smart to not sell during this segment but he was very unsecure in WCW.
The Giant beats Flair for the World Title on the April 29th edition of Nitro. Sullivan said that they needed a heel champ for Hogan to face when he was going to come back but compares the Giant to a guy batting 8th in the lineup, thus not ready for the belt.
On the same day as the title change, Bischoff was attending a show in Japan in which the UWFi invaded NJPW. He said that Bischoff did not get the nWo idea immediately afterwards but rather called Nash and Hall to join WCW.
MAY
Diamond Dallas Page wins the “Lord of the Ring” at Slamboree. Sullivan calls DDP one of the hardest working people in the business but being friends with Bischoff helped him tremendously.
The Road Warriors wrestle their last match in WCW. Sullivan said that Hawk could have been a draw as a singles wrestler but was trapped in his gimmick. He thought that he should have went to Japan to revamp his character.
The first two hour Nitro starts on May 27th. Scott Hall returns and Sullivan claims that some of the guys in the locker room thought it was a legit invasion by McMahon. He said with two of Vince’s biggest stars and Waltman, who was a great worker, he just needed a seed of an idea to make this work.
JUNE
Kevin Nash returns to WCW on the June 10th edition of Nitro. Sullivan also confirms that Shawn Michaels was offered a contract with WCW at this time but turned down the deal. Sullivan puts Michaels over as one of the five greatest workers of all-time.
Sullivan mentions the WWF lawsuit against WCW for using Hall and Nash. They were sued for likeness of character. He said he spent four days in disposition, where he told prosecutors that he was not using Hall as Razor Ramon, because he was not portrayed as a Hispanic drug dealer and wouldn’t because he is white.
Kevin Greene is brought up. He teamed with Steve McMichael against Flair & Anderson. He said that Greene had a mind for wrestling and said Mongo’s personality fit in well with the Horsemen. He tries to make another athlete analogy but in a funny momeny, mistakenly refers to Karl Malone as Moses Malone.
JULY
Hogan joining the nWo is mentioned. Sullivan said that Hogan and his agent were so nervous about the turn that he had them both stay over his house the night before the PPV and had Hogan arrive to the show He claims his agent was attempting to talk him out of the turn. Sullivan said he booked it at Daytona Beach due to the high concession sales and that it was surrounded by bars, so it would get a good reaction.
When asked about Flair beating Konnan for the US Title, Sullivan said it was beneath Flair but did this to show Hogan that he was going to book him and the nWo strong.
The moment in which Nash launched Rey Mysterio like a lawn dart into the production truck is brought up. Sullivan originally wanted him to be tossed through a window but was afraid Mysterio would get too cut up.
AUGUST
The black-and-white nWo promos are brought up. Sullivan believes that Nash and Hall came up with that idea. He also said how some in the locker room were really thinking that it was a legit invasion by the WWF and would come up to him, stating that they heard them talk to Vince. He also puts over Hall and Nash for getting on board with this promo style and making him comfortable.
Up next is the Hog Wild PPV and Harlem Heat getting attacked. Sullivan mocks the state of Wyoming and states the PPV was so Bischoff could ride his motorcycle. He said that having Harlem Heat show up there was akin to showing up at a wrestling show in Nigeria with a plantation owner gimmick.
Juventud Guerrera debuts and Mean Gene conducts an in-ring interview after the match but Juvy did not speak English at the time. Sullivan said that it might have been a rib on Gene. He then brings up Juvy walking through the hotel lobby in Australia naked, stating that he was Jesus.
Chris Jericho debuts defeating Alex Wright. Sullivan said that he knew Jericho was talented when he was in Smoky Mountain. He said that he was vocal but offered a lot of ideas and knew the business well.
SEPTEMBER
The Giant is introduced as the newest member of the nWo, as he turned on WCW during a run-in after the Horsemen defeated the Dungeon of Doom. Sullivan said that this happened because negotiations with Davey Boy Smith fell through. Sullivan thought that only ex-WWF guys should have been in the group but even felt that Davey was a bad fit a he had been a face and didn’t need to be brought in as a heel. When Oliver brings up the rumor that Hogan nixed the idea of the Horseman making a comeback during the segment, Sullivan confirms and says that at that point, they were sucking the blood out of the company.
Glacier debuts. Sullivan said that this was the creation of DDP. He then states how a lot of Eric’s friends were giving ideas at this time.
The Fake Sting is brought up and Sullivan said that this was from Jason Hervey. He was against it as he felt it muddled up everything.
Waltman debuts as Syxx. Sullivan said he was planned for the original part of the group but legal issues delayed his debut.
OCTOBER
Bret Hart turns down a three year, 8.4 million dollar deal from WCW. He thinks that Vince promised in carte blanche in the WWF and that is why he stayed.
The Outsiders defeat the Harlem Heat for the WCW Tag-Titles at Halloween Havoc. Sullivan is asked if the nWo was taking over the whole company and Sullivan completely loses me with an ice cream sundae analogy to explain the situation.
Piper’s debut at the show is discussed. Sullivan said that Bischoff thought he could put Vince out of business by bringing in all of his stars.
On the October 28th edition of Nitro, Sting is seen in the rafters wearing his crow makeup. Sullivan says that the idea was Scott Hall’s. He said he was kept off of TV because he was trying to get work as an actor.
NOVEMBER
Curt Hennig meets with Bischoff. Sullivan said that JJ Dillon was very helpful for them as he dealt with the contracts in the WWF before going back to WCW, thus knowing when they were close to expiring. He puts over Dillon for having a photographic memory.
Bischoff joins the nWo. Sullivan said that it was the idea of Hall and Nash.
Sullivan attacks Chris Benoit. He says that Benoit was always professional in the ring. Sullivan said that he and Nancy were not getting along at this point anyway, so the divorce was inevitable. Oliver then asks Sullivan about the murders, and he says he had no idea that would happen and nearly breaks down as they quickly switch to the next topic.
Giant wins World War III. He said that Bischoff always thought bigger was better. He also said that when he booked the match, he only really cared about the last ten guys in the ring. He said the entire concept was a bad idea.
DECEMBER
Piper beats Hogan at Starcade. Sullivan said that this was Hogan’s favor to Piper for not putting him over in the WWF.
Sullivan is then asked about the dangers of a wrestler being given creative control. Sullivan said that they will always be about themselves but puts over HHH as the exception to the rule, because he has to think in terms of the company and puts over his program with Brock Lesnar as an example. He then puts over Hogan for making wrestling what it is today, stating he was powerful enough to replace SNL once a month.
Final Thoughts:  I would recommend this but beware that Sullivan tends to stray off topic at times. He also loves to use analogies so be prepared for that as well. He does offer a lot of insight to this period, especially from his position as the booker, although his justification of Loch Ness comes off just as someone who cannot admit failure. A lot of this is focused on the first few months of the year and if you are interested in the stuff that Pillman did, there is a ton of that here. Its available on demand at KayfabeCommentaries.com if you want to check it out.

WCW: 1996 Year in Review

What a ride 1996 brought us on. People who were heroes became villains, and people who became WWF Intercontinental Champions were the cornerstones of WCW Prime. There were moments of great highs, and sometimes, very low lows.
But it is important not to spend all ones focus on The Public Enemy, because there were many months in the year (12, at my count), and as many as 4 complete shows did not feature them.
So grab a bowl of popcorn, sit back, and head back to where it all began, which like so many years before it, started in …
JANUARY

Following a gruelling Starrcade, Ric Flair surprised everyone by walking out with the belt for the first time in nearly 18 months. Backed by Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, and Brian Pillman – one of the strongest Horsemen units in years – Ric Flair began a month-long quest to see how many different ways Hulk Hogan could beat him in under 30 days.
Despite dropping his first 19 matches of the year to Hogan, it was Randy Savage who would surprise everyone in capturing the WCW belt on the January 22 Nitro. Hulk Hogan demanded the first title shot 12 seconds after Savage’s win, and acted hurt when Savage took a little offense.
On that same show, Lex Luger would cheat to win the tag-team titles from Harlem Heat, with partner Sting. When the replay showed Lex having used a roll of silver dollars to score the win, an angry Sting demanded answers. Lex told Sting, with all sincerity, what he just saw never actually happened. Sting was satisfied.
Meanwhile, WCW pettiness was at its ugliest. Following the acquisition of a former WWF talent, Sting was tasked with squashing him on an early episode of WCW Prime, completely eliminating any chance he had of getting over in the long haul. These types of vindictive childish games were a large part of WCW’s eventual downfall. Dave Dalton really deserved better.
Lex Luger made short work of Cobra, an up and coming former federal CIA agent, turned wrestler, on WCW Saturday Night. Though seemingly innocuous at the time, Cobra would begin a year-long mission to seek revenge against the man of many pecs, plotting for the right moment to really make it count. To sting him, if you will.
The One Man Gang, crowned WCW US Champion at the tail end of 1995, went around the horn defending his belt against all-comers, including newcomer Super Giant Ninja. While failing to capture the belt, the Super Giant Ninja would live on all year through my obsession with hilariously tall jobbers.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
The match of the month is a ***1/2 affair between Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero on the January 15th edition of Prime. The match was interrupted twice; once by Brian Pillman to save Chris Benoit from being pinned, and another time to let us know we can buy The Century of War for $4.99 + shipping and handling.
The Hulk Hogan of Mexico, Konan, would burst on to the scene, defending the prestigious Mexican Heavyweight Title, which had roots dating all the way back to the earliest parts of January.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff is forced into retirement with neck problems. Many saddened fans were left with the same question: why couldn’t it have been Kevin Sullivan?
Sista Sherri and Colonel Parker’s wedding is halted, when it’s revealed that Madusa has exceptionally large breasts.
A mini-series, dedicated to the great WCW announcer, Mongo McMichael, airs in 10-minute parts on WCW Saturday Night. Former coach Mike Ditka spends several episodes detailing Mongo’s triceps.
Bobby Heenan expands his vocabulary during a Clash of Champions special.
And speaking of special…
FEBRUARY
Diamond Dallas Page rolls the dice in the biggest gamble of his life, putting his $6.6 million on the line in order to secure a TV title shot against Johnny B Badd, after having lost his previous 6 outings. This turns out to be about as wise an investment as Andy Beale’s foray into the space program, and Page is left homeless. Johnny swears complete and total devotion to DDP’s ex-wife Kimberly. He immediately disappears from all programming except WCW Prime.
On the same show, Brian Pillman decides he’d be better off whipping out his Johnson elsewhere than continue to be booked against Kevin Sullivan.
Ric Flair re-captures the WCW belt from Randy Savage, when Savage is betrayed by his ex-wife and her friend. Randy is completely shocked that his bitter ex, who spent years terrified and controlled by his insane jealousy, would turn her back on him again several years after their divorce. His best friend Hulk Hogan shows his support by immediately challenging for the title.
Hogan is granted a series of matches against Flair’s ally Arn Anderson instead, and loses all of them. For some reason, I feel compelled to repeat this at ad nauseum for months afterwards.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Konan captures the United States title from One Man Gang. The TV title is immediately recognized as the #2 belt in the company.
Color commentator Mongo McMichael dresses up his pet ferret to look like cupid on Valentine’s Day. Former coach Mike Ditka details Mongo’s trip to Petcetera, where the costume was purchased, as part of WCW’s continuing Saturday Night miniseries.
50-year old, 500 pound European wrestler, Loch Ness makes his debut for the Dungeon of Doom. Armed with less mobility than the Great Khali, he is put over every young talent in the company.
David Finlay draws a great deal of attention when it’s discovered that his giant brown mullet was actually ripped directly off the head of Brad Armstrong. As a result, he and Steven Regal can’t stop punching each other in the nose for several months.
VK Wallstreet clarifies his 1996 goals, by naming the top wrestlers he wishes to defeat. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Shark. I am not making this up.
Ric Flair and Randy Savage wrestle one more time, and put on the match of the month at ***1/2 on February 19th. The Zodiac is taken by their awesome display of wrestling, and decides to start wearing see-through pants and calling himself “the Booty Man” seconds after its conclusion.
DDP’s ring attire and Mercedes Benz are repossessed.
Things would sink even lower in…
MARCH
The Alliance to End Hulkamania hits its apex, as 8 of the group’s members challenge the Megapowers to a handicap match inside a Doomsday Cage. The rules, never fully clear, either before or during the show, led to a lot of confusion. Adding further problems, was the renaming of Ludwrench Perkins “The Ultimate Solution”, causing more than a few insensitivity complaints.
Hulk Hogan, realizing that things were getting ugly, smooths things over by booking the match to run 25 minutes. Wrestlers are chained in and outside of the cage, with Savage and Hogan sliding in and out like survivors of Jurassic Park. Still, a sport to the end, realizing he had no business winning this match with the odds so heavily stacked for the heels, Hogan pins World Champion Ric Flair following an errant coal miner’s glove, and insists on a title shot. The match is one of the most memorable of the year, picking up an epic rating of -*****.
Meanwhile, hot newcomer, The Giant, would continue his path of destruction, sending Loch Ness back to Europe, and ending the careers of both Dave Sullivan and Ralph the Rabbit. Fans openly ask why his brother Kevin could not have followed suit.
Lex Luger and Cobra once again meet on a loaded edition of Saturday Night. Lex again dispatches of the CIA agent, with some illegal assistance from good friend Jimmy Hart. Sting tries to mend the fences, but Cobra doesn’t hear of it. He returns to the tactical unit to work on a cerebral mind-trick to split up the reigning tag-team champions. A hard deadline of 180 days is set.
The tag-team division is turned upside down with a series of memorable returns and matches. While the Road Warriors and Steiners are given heroes’ welcomes, it’s actually Men at Work and the Barrio Brothers who truly leave the division with more questions than answers.
The Faces of Fear destroy Buck Quartermaine and Mike Winner, kicking off a love-affair for one particular recapper.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay and Steven Regal stop punching each other long enough to enter the ring separately at Uncensored, and then immediately resume punching each other. They are given **** for their effort; the match of the month.

Johnny B Badd appears at Wrestlemania. In response, WCW Prime is now sponsored by the Badd Blaster.
During one night of festivities, Ric Flair nearly comes to blows with an irate Mongo McMichael. This is replayed heavily on WCW Saturday Night, hosted by former coach Mike Ditka.
DDP has his career repossessed.
Sadly, nothing would repossess the memories of…
APRIL
Bootymania runs mild! Partnered as Hulk Hogan’s pants-free friend, Bootyman seduces Kimberly Page. Wrestling fans rejoice, understanding that with Kimberly’s lowered expectations, they might actually have a shot! Bootyman is given a World Title match, and in a rare display of comradery, Hogan demands one too.
Instead, it is The Giant who unseats Ric Flair on the final Nitro of April, hitting a chokeslam on the champion right out of the Figure Four. Giant had turned babyface to ally with Sting for a cup of coffee at the start of the month, before reverting to his heel ways. This would continue to be a trend for the next 20 years.
Women’s wrestling is pushed to the forefront, and leading the division is Madusa, who is given a number of highly competitive 2 minute losses to Colonel Robert Parker.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay and Steve Regal continue to punch each other at a frantic pace, generating their second **** affair in as many months in the parking lot of the April 29th Nitro. Finlay wins after piledriving Regal on the roof of Heenan’s rental car.
Johnny B Badd takes over as lead commentary on WCW Prime.
Meng wrestles Hacksaw Duggan to a **1/2 match. This is not a joke.
DDP has his house repossessed.
After weeks of fighting each other to a series of draws, Scott Norton and Ice Train figure that if they collectively can’t beat each other, they must be the toughest wrestlers on earth and should form a tag-team. Thus, Fire and Ice debuts, losing every match they ever wrestle together.
And on the topic of huge debuts…
MAY
Following months of anticipation, things finally come to a head on the Memorial Day episode of WCW Nitro. No longer under WWF contract, and one of WCW’s finest all time acquisitions makes his debut to much surprise. Going head to head with RAW, WCW makes their move, and brings out the former Blake Beverly, now dubbed “The Mauler”. Realizing this could tip the ratings scales for good, the WWF panics, and sends in Razor Ramon to interfere in the match.
Meanwhile, a series of vignettes begin airing on Nitro, indicating that BLOOD RUNS COLD. Speculation begins regarding this mysterious wrestler, who is expected to debut at any time.
Lex Luger misses a series of scheduled World Title matches, using an array of excuses lifted from an 18-year old McDonalds employee. Young, enthusiastic Marcus Bagwell offers to wrestle in place of Luger, giving him a chance to show off his wide array of dropkicks.
Displaying Ali-like reactionary skills, WCW suspends Randy Savage for being “too insane”. They are also said to be investigating claims that Ric Flair drinks too much, and Hulk Hogan is losing his hair. Many frustrated fans call WCW to demand Kevin Sullivan also be suspended.
The Lethal Lottery rears its ugly head at Slamboree, and it’s DDP, armed with millions of dollars via a mysterious benefactor, who wins the Battle Royale, and prestigious ring and eventual World Title shot. The title shot is immediately repossessed.
The WCW Road Report is conducted from the house of Mongo McMichael by former coach Mike Ditka.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay mysteriously disappears. Steven Regal punches Jeeves, but it’s not the same.
Cobra begins a winning streak, while Dusty Rhodes embarks on a mission to crack the “Morris” code of Cobra’s theme music. Fans with particularly good listening are able to make out L … E … X … L … U … before the commercial break.
The match of the month is delivered on the May 6th edition of Nitro from an unlikely pair. Randy Savage and Hugh Morrus put on a hellacious **** brawl, complete with Morrus stealing Savage’s ring-attire and doing Macho Man imitations.
“Lifeguard” Steve Collins wrestles Buddy Valentine on one particularly delightful edition of WCW Prime. Head Prime referee Johnny B Badd calls it the finest match he’s ever officiated.
Hulk Hogan takes a brief hiatus, but films a segment from his latest movie shoot on the beach, where he keeps us abreast of his demands to receive a World Title shot.
The real shots would be fired in…
JUNE
After weeks of back and forth drama and escalating tension, tempers finally brewed over and Big Bubba cut off half the hair of The Shark. Now without the backing of the Dungeon of Doom, Shark delivers a heartfelt promo where he admits, despite much speculation to the contrary, that he was a man, not a fish.
Meanwhile, at the Great American Bash, Razor Ramon and Diesel continue their path of destruction by putting WCW Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff through a table. WCW stars unite, challenging the pair to a match at the following month’s pay-per-view. Even the absent Hulk Hogan weighs in, demanding an immediate title shot.
Bobby Heenan returns to managing one more time, joining the Four Horsemen in a battle against football brethren Mongo McMichael and Kevin Greene. Proving once again to be smarter than everyone else in wrestling, Heenan pays off Mongo to throw the match and join the Horsemen. Everyone is disgusted by this turn of events, including former coach Mike Ditka who dedicates the entire month of WCW Saturday Night to its continued coverage.
Blood continues to run cold, as our mysterious new wrestler appears to be named “Glacier”. He is a dual threat, having both a brown and blue eye. He promises to be arriving very soon.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Diamond Dallas Page continues his winning streak, armed with a new swagger since being gifted millions from his benefactor. His swagger is immediately repossessed.
Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan wind up brawling through the men’s room on pay-per-view. The addition of urinals, and the possibility of a career ending injury to Kevin Sullivan pushes this match to *****, easily the best of the entire year.
The newly established “Cruiserweight” division finds its first superstar in 21-year old Rey Mysterio Jr. Weighing little more than an official US minted silver dollar, Rey wows audiences with his high flying maneuvers, and appallingly awful interviews.
Johnny B Badd begins booking WCW Prime.
A new jobber named “Johnny Wild”, looking like David Spade’s “Joe Dirt”, challenges Lord Steven Regal on a star-studded Saturday Night. Regal, having spent most of the month looking for Fit Finlay, punches him in the nose repeatedly.
Sadly, we would continue to receive no mention of Finlay in the month of …
JULY
Razor Ramon and Diesel finally make their in-ring debuts, challenging any 3 members of WCW’s roster against their trio of the both of them. Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage step up to the plate, but Luger is injured early and unable to assist. Still, WCW keeps it together, until Hulk Hogan returns. Angry about a denied title shot, Hogan hits Savage with the atomic legdrop and tells the fans to stick it. This was the birth of the New World Order.
More disturbingly, Diamond Dallas Page is missing his Battlebowl Ring, and locks down the entire building, frisking everyone from the announcers, producers, and even Johnny B Badd who is on his way to a taping of WCW Prime.
Glacier is about to change, because blood runs the fury of a cold warrior. Loosely translated: He’s coming soon.
Greg Valentine arrives to a Nitro taping, and while greeting old friends backstage, finds himself accidentally placed in a match with Randy Savage. Valentine is pinned in seconds, having not been given his requisite hour to get warmed up.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Masked acrobats, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psychosis, put on an unbelievable show during Bash at the Beach that would leave Guy Laliberte needing a change of pants. At ****1/2, this is the match of the month.
Rough and Ready lose their first of 478 consecutive matches to Harlem Heat.
The Dungeon of Doom reveal their latest device in their war against Hulkamania: A hyperactive cannibal leprechaun named “Braun”. The fans don’t take to the silly gimmick, calling for more realistic storylines, like a retirement party for Kevin Sullivan.
Joe Gomez, Alex Wright, The Renegade, and Jim Powers discover they all have nipples. They form an alliance.
But alliances would be tested in…
AUGUST
Celebrating Hulk Hogan’s 44th birthday, longtime friend and ally, Brutus “The Zodiac Butcher Barber Furface Booty Boulder” Beefcake presents a cake to his good friend. Hogan destroys the cake, screaming “I HAVE HYPOGLYCEMIA!” and orders new best friends Scott and Kevin to destroy him. With the ring covered in cake, Hogan eyeballs his old buddy, and immediately demands a title shot, despite having captured it from the Giant moments earlier.
“Lord” Steven Regal upsets Lex Luger to capture the TV title for an unprecedented 3rd time. Regal cuts an emotional interview afterwards, vowing to defend his title against anyone in the world who wants a shot … but only after he solves the mystery of the missing Fit Finlay, who his fists miss dearly. Regal isn’t seen again for months.
And speaking of Lex Luger, he and Sting spend an entire episode of Nitro chasing a limousine. Failing to capture the elusive automobile, they challenge old “Stretch” to a rooftop match at Halloween Havoc, as is tradition.
Decorated Japanese star, Jushin Liger, is brought back to WCW to bolster its incredible Cruiserweight division. He is given several high profile matches on top syndicated program, WCW Prime, by president elect Johnny B Badd.
The Dungeon of Doom are given a 5 minute segment prior to Road Wild, where they take us through the misty caves. Through a series of mysterious doors, this turns out to be the bunker in which the members live. Cannibal “Braun” The Leprechaun has the most open concept room; as he’s replaced his door with a cloud of orange smoke. Disturbingly, The Giant’s door is much smaller than his 7’0” 400 pound frame can handle, leading to a probe by the Human Rights Commission.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
“Mean” Gene Okerlund promises exciting news on the WCW Hotline about an interesting debut that is right around the corner. It turns out it’s just Glacier, who’s coming.
Diamond Dallas Page has his winning streak repossessed at the Clash of Champions.
Joe Gomez and the Renegade invite High Voltage to tag with them on an episode of Saturday Night. They are on the losing end of a beating from the Horsemen, largely due to the fact High Voltage wears singlets, covering their nipples.
Marcus Bagwell has an affair with Jim Powers.
The match of the month is fought at Hog Wild, where The Ultimate Dragon makes his WCW debut against Rey Mysterio Jr. in a fantastic **** affair. Rey retains the Cruiserweight title, but is unable to capture Sonny Onoo.
Controversy would rear its ugly head in…
SEPTEMBER
The Four Horsemen challenge the nWo to a showdown at Fall Brawl under the traditional War Games banner. Sting and Lex Luger beg for inclusion, resulting in the exile of Mongo McMichael. Mongo McMichael warns the pair not to drop the ball. Former coach Mike Ditka sits down with Eric Bischoff to discuss Mongo’s lack of fumbles throughout his career on a special edition of WCW Saturday Night.
Cobra finally strikes. Months of preparation lead to a dramatic moment on Monday Nitro, when the beret wearing superstar joins forces with the mysterious limousine. Lex Luger attacks the car alone, and has his mind blown when he sees Cobra wearing Sting’s facepaint inside. Devastated, Luger draws the conclusion that the paint must have come from Sting, despite his friend’s protests to the contrary. At Fall Brawl, Sting confronts Luger with a receipt from Dollarama, proving Cobra purchased the facepaint alone. Luger apologizes, but Sting retreats to the rafters to consider his next move.
The nWo expands its ranks, adding the 1-2-3 Kid, Miss Elizabeth, Ted DiBiase, The Giant, Nick Patrick, and Kyle Petty. However, it’s the curious inclusion of the Nasty Boys that gets a lot of press from Internet Wrestling Fans and sparks much debate. During their initial meet and greet party, Jerry Saggs shocks WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, when he reveals he has an asshole. Party host Hollywood Hogan shares Bischoff’s disgust, angrily admitting his mistake in inviting them, by demanding a title shot.
A one hour tribute to the fallen Fit Finlay airs on WCW Prime, featuring an update on television champion Steven Regal, who has been travelling through Europe in search of answers. It is considered one of the most touching interviews of the year, according to President of Prime, Johnny B Badd.
The long-awaited debut of Super Calo occurs this month. Calo wrestles Rey Mysterio Jr. at the Fall Brawl pay-per-view, and despite being a long-shot underdog, manages to keep his hat on throughout the entire match.
And on the topic of debuts, after a 6 month journey, Glacier finally arrives on September 16th. He is scheduled to wrestle Big Bubba, but it’s cut for time purposes following Glacier’s 84 minute entrance and martial arts show. Through his 300 year old mask, he vows to come again.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
The Faces of Fear begin a four month odyssey of balls out work, carrying lacklustre wrestlers Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson to a **** match on Prime, which is the finest of the month.
Dusty Rhodes is unable to make it to WCW Saturday Night, having made a wrong turn at the Pay Windah on his way through the Mothaship. He blames that Debulush Woman for his filibusterin’ around.
The Booty Beefcake gives a candid interview on the topic of Hulk Hogan. While the betrayal has left him questioning whether or not he can ever wrestle again, he does feel he’ll return if given a big pay raise.
Diamond Dallas Page has his heel heat repossessed.
“Braun” the Leprechaun eats Prince Iaukea. Using modern technology, many fans surf on over to WCW.com, where they campaign to have Kevin Sullivan devoured next.
Unfortunately, Sullivan would remain uneaten through…
OCTOBER
Former Yeti and Ninja, Ron Studd is placed under intense scrutiny when he curiously debuts using Fit Finlay’s music. The search for Finlay proves to be fruitless, as Steven Regal returns from a 2 month investigative search of Europe. Frustrated, and without hope, the TV champion is forced to ask himself “what would Hulk Hogan do?” Later on Nitro, he demands a World title shot.
However, it’s Randy Savage, cleared of the insanity charges, who is granted the first crack at Hogan’s title belt. Realizing this might be his last chance at glory, Randy spends the month in lockdown, crying about his lost Elizabeth. This turns out to be an ineffective strategy against Hulk Hogan’s ridiculous wig.
Super Calo is put out of action following a particularly nasty leg injury. He won’t return for the rest of the year; but the luchadore remains optimistic, as he successfully gets through surgery without once losing his hat.
WCW Prime signs off for the last time, with a special 1-hour tribute to Johnny B Badd, as narrated by Johnny B Badd.
Debuting this month is a family bonded superstar who is bound to carry us through the next millennium. He is clearly the anointed choice to lead WCW against the nWo. Given a chance to showcase his arsenal against the crafty veteran Arn Anderson, brother of recently retired Ricky, Vic Steamboat puts on a DUD of a clinic on Saturday Night.
Also Jeff Jarrett debuts.
Ultimately, the big news of the month is the returning Roddy Piper, who debuts at Halloween Havoc. Refusing to let bygones be gone, Roddy tells Hulk Hogan he’s a disgrace. The announcers declare this the biggest moment in the history of WCW.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Pat Tanaka, clearly over the weight limit, gets a Cruiserweight title shot, paving the way for future superstars like Oklahoma.
Lex Luger’s hair is granted its own area code at Halloween Havoc.
Road Block, a gigantic brickhouse of a man, who carries a road block on his shoulders, takes over WCW Saturday Night, and demands a match with Randy Savage immediately. Savage, the #1 contender to the title, declines, leaving Dusty Wolfe to try and destroy this Goliath. A wild 37 seconds follows, and gets the holy grail of match ratings, a perfect *****, best of the month.
The nWo are gifted their own segment on Saturday night, which is simulcast on Skinemax, due to the overwhelming masturbation.
Sting begins writing angst-ridden poetry, with the first one titled “WCW, My One, My Only”. Larry Zbyszko speculates that Sting has joined the nWo.
Sting would have a much bigger impact in…
NOVEMBER
Frustrated by the lack of leadership in WCW, a silent Sting, clad in a homemade “I <3 WCW” t-shirt, descends from the rafters to confront a mouthy Jeff Jarrett about his loyalty. Larry Zbyszko throws his headset in disgust at Sting’s obvious jump to the nWo.
All eyes turn to World War 3, where a 3-ring 60-man battle royal will determine the #1 contender to Hulk Hogan’s World Title. Hogan responds by twerking at the end of every Nitro for some reason.
A mysterious video tape is handed to Tony Schiavone by a random guardrail jumping fan. Tony insists that whatever’s on this tape MUST be played immediately. This turns out to be a bad decision on his part, as the content features all 4 minutes of Roddy Piper’s “I’m Your Man” German music video. Embarrassed, WCW promises to make things right, and plays the video on a continuous loop for the next 2 weeks.
Completely humiliated, Roddy Piper returns to WCW to confront Eric Bischoff, and exposes him as a fraud. Bischoff admits that yes, Piper’s correct, but that everyone has known this for years and he isn’t exactly breaking new ground.
Meanwhile, WCW finally rallies the troops to end this nWo problem once and for all, by introducing a new Women’s title and holding a tournament to crown the first champion.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
“Braun” the Leprechaun passes away following a bout of Kuru; contracted by his cannibalism. Newcomer Jack Boot points out that Hugh Morrus is exhibiting similar symptoms, while fans suggest Kevin Sullivan might consider trying cannibalism.
At 240 pounds, Scotty Riggs receives a Cruiserweight title shot. John Tenta considers becoming a Cruiserweight.
The nWo begins showing DDP preferential treatment, helping him win matches. Page insists he doesn’t need help from anyone, except perhaps a lawyer to prevent anything else from being repossessed.
Jim Duggan threatens to beat up someone named Terry Hogan. Petrified, Terry never debuts in WCW.
Rey Mysterio Jr. and The Ultimate Dragon tear down the house once more, wrestling a ****1/2 classic at World War 3. The Dragon captures the Cruiserweight title, adding it to his massive collection of walking title belts. “Mean” Gene Okerlund announces on his Hotline that the belts don’t actually have legs, and pulls back the curtain to reveal Sonny Onoo.
Juventud Guerrera makes waves by signing the first ever contract that includes WCW title shots on every show. Juvi fails to win any of the titles he competes for, but it sets the stage for Hulk Hogan to consider renegotiating his own deal.
But the only deal being negotiated comes in…
DECEMBER
Live coverage of Roddy Piper hits fever pitch, with round the clock updates of his past segments. Highlights, such as the time he arrived at Halloween Havoc, the time he got in Bischoff’s face, and the time he made a horrible music video in Germany, are played on a continuous stream on TBS. Hulk Hogan, in his most charitable move of the year, offers to wrestle him in a non-title match if he’ll stop airing the music video.
A tournament to find a new United States Champion comes to a head at Starrcade, and Eddie Guerrero pins Diamond Dallas Page to capture the gold. Having expected a heavily favored DDP to win, the repo men take the belt anyway and award it to Syxx.
Sting also makes an appearance at WCW Starrcade, handing his baseball bat to WCW leader, Lex Luger, to defeat nWo member The Giant. Scrawled on the bat reads “Lex, please take me back, I miss you, I miss everyone in WCW, I just want you to want me.” Larry Zbyszko considers this the most damning evidence to date that Sting is the new leader of the nWo.
The Faces of Fear take back-to-back losses to close out the year, causing one particular recapper to write angry letters to Ted Turner himself. Turner would reply, informing the lunatic that WCW went out of business 14 years ago.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Sergeant Buddy Lee Parker makes his return after a 10 month leave of absence, taking the roster spot of Jack Boot. Lieutenant James Earl is unable to return, having been promoted to lead investigator in the Fit Finlay story.
After the disappointment of Vic Steamboat in October, WCW calls upon another wrestling family to try and sew the seeds of tradition back into the company’s proverbial quilt. Unfortunately, that person is David Sammartino, who is immediately asked to leave by irate WCW fans, and “to take Kevin Sullivan with you!”
Sullivan is going nowhere, however, needing to avenge the loss of his wife to young stallion Chris Benoit. Benoit taunts the much older Sullivan by sending a number of adult films featuring he and Woman in a series of poses that would re-write the Kamasutra series. Benoit declares this a “killer partnership”, and adds “this won’t be remotely awkward to look back on in several years”.
And as we close out a memorable year in wrestling, it’s important to remember that while we experienced a number of lows, which was not limited to the Nasty Boys, we also got introduced to a colorful new cast of characters that are bound to carry this company for the next 20 years. During a 10-part series that aired in December, former coach Mike Ditka predicted Mongo McMichael would one day have a more colorful legacy than Hulk Hogan.

For reasons even he could not have predicted, he would not be wrong. But that’s to be saved for another year.

WCW Nitro: December 30, 1996

It’s been a hell of a ride, but we’ve made it, you and I. 1996 closes tonight, and it’s certainly been a year of movement. We’re going to look back at all the wackiness that was the changing of the guard from Old Guys to Old Guys With New Friends In Black and White Shirts, as well as the arrival of the luchadores, Mongo McMichael’s growth into a more well-rounded annoyance, Glacier who is coming soon, Roddy Piper complete with recaps of our recap of Roddy Piper, and much much more.
But first, we have Nitro. The nWo had their asses sorta kinda handed to them last night, but everyone’s allowed one bad night out of 365, right?

Outside the Knoxville Coliseum, THE OUTSIDERSHOLLYWOOD HOGANSYXXTED DIBIASEVINCENTMARCUS BAGWELLELIZABETH, and ERIC BISCHOFF arrive in a stretch limo. That’s a lot of bodies; I don’t care how big that car is. They brag about continuing to hold all the gold. Very impressive, seeing as how the World Title has been defended all of ONE time since Hogan’s victory 4 months ago. The Giant takes a little issue with Hogan’s gloating, and points to the nameplate that still has his name on it. He wants a shot at the belt, because he managed to win World War 3. Hogan tells him not to worry about it, his “title shot” just means it was a bye, and it buys the nWo more time with the title. Giant’s pissed he has no chance to be the lead dog, but Hogan reminds him that as long as the belt is in the family, it doesn’t matter. He tells Giant not to drop the ball a second time. DiBiase chases the camera man away, so they can deal with their family business.
We are LIVE from Knoxville, Tennessee. FIREWORKS FIREWORKS FIREWORKS! It’s standing room only, says TONY SCHIAVONE. He’s with the ghost of LARRY ZBYSZKO, who can’t talk enough about “Roddy Roddy Piper”.
THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. THE PUBLIC ENEMY
Despite their best efforts to sing the National Anthem, using the beautiful French translation, Tony talks all over them, mocking them. May the FLQ bomb his mailbox. TPE comes in for a little brawling, but the Frenchmen hold their ground. Rougeau takes a backdrop and hits the deck, leaving poor Ouellette to get double teamed and suffer a similar fate. With the ring cleared, we THROW OUR HANDS IN THE AIR! WAVE ‘EM LIKE WE JUST DON’T CARE! The Colonel, sporting a fantastic pencil thin mustache, directs the troops to just leave. TPE chases them down, and attacks with their quasi Quebecanadian flags. Rougeau is placed on a table that was helpfully left at ringside … and the Drive By hits NO ONE because Rougeau rolls away. The French finish Rocco with the Quebec Crash seconds later at 3:30. I tried to be enthusiastic, but no amount of energy is going to cover up the smell of Public Enemy. 1/2*
JUSHIN LIGER vs. THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo) (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
I’ll give WCW credit for having the stones to take their most prized Cruiserweight commodity, and job him to the temporary Japanese guest. Dragon has new music tonight, but only because Liger had to use “sounds Japanese to us” tonight. Liger hits Dragon with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and goes right to the surfboard. He won’t tap (likely since he has no use of his arms), so Liger releases and nails a handspring back elbow, and follows with an ultra-fast senton for 2. A powerbomb is delivered as a message to Sonny Onoo, but he takes too much time jawing with Sonny, and lets the Dragon get back into this. Liger takes a powder, and Dragon plants him with tope suicida. Back in, a flying headbutt is blocked with a foot to the face, and it’s nice to see someone actually trying a move when the big boot blocks it (cuz it looked like it HURT!). Liger nails a brainbuster, and gets 2. He doesn’t slow down, throwing a superplex for 2. Larry thinks he’s nuts, just months after having a brain tumor removed, to be putting his head in jeopardy; but I’d like to point out that Larry himself is able to work behind the announce table despite the frontal lobotomy. Liger heads back up, but gets cut off and beaten up. Dragon whips around from behind, hits a super rana, and finishes with the Dragon Suplex at 4:44. This was CRIMINALLY short; where’s the other 20 minutes?!? I guess we don’t have time, because coming up, and this is a direct quote from one Mr. Schiavone: “A MIDGET MATCH! With Midgets from MEXICO!” **1/2
KONAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. BIG BUBBER M WALLSTREET (in a strap match)
Good lord, there’s like 20 Stunt Grannies in the front row! We must up for one hell of a fan attack later tonight. Bubba fails to appear, but Wallstreet does. Wallstreet says Bubba won’t be able to make it tonight, but he has a message for the Dungeon of Doom and Konan: he’s not afraid of that strap. Oh. Konan turns his back to gripe to god knows who, and Wallstreet attacks, and slips the strap on. Konan hogties himself to prevent Wallstreet from touching all the turnbuckles. I … don’t get the strategy, but ok. Wallstreet comes off the top, and Konan boots him in the face, unties himself, and crotches Wallstreet with the strap. Wallstreet takes a whoopin’, and Konan yells “DUNGEON OF DOOM”, but I don’t think he was playing that for laughs. Wallstreet responds by hanging Konan behind his back, and tags the first turnbuckle, with Konan following suit. Both guys keep tagging the buckle together, and as we head towards the 4th one, to the shock of the Stunt Grannies, Konan is punched by Wallstreet, falling into the buckle, and wins the match at 2:34. Let’s not do this again. -***
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN struts out with ERIC BISCHOFF sniffing his throne. Bischoff immediately bows down and tells the fans to respect the current and reigning World Champion; just in case you need to be reminded last night was non-title and if you paid for the show expecting to see a title change, up yours! Hogan gloats about beating Piper in the middle of the ring, and making his kid come down to ringside and beg for mercy. This carries on for an eternity, with both guys sucking each other’s kneecaps. NEXT.
HUGH MORRUS vs. KENSUKI SASAKI (with Sonny Onoo)
Oh good, Sasaki is back. Did he ever get proper revenge on One Man Gang? Can we make sure that if he does, he does it somewhere else? Both guys clothesline each other, and bang into each other. I think they’re going for some sumo thing, but it’s not working. Tony takes a moment to brag about all the big money scalpers made last night. A vertical suplex from Sasaki gets 2. He starts in with the chops, but Morrus no-sells. Knock it off, just because you’re friends with Meng does not make you Meng. Morrus hits a clothesline and applies the ever exciting chinlock. Avalanche splash sets up an arrival to the announce booth by…

ERIC BISCHOFF. He has a mysterious video tape! What’s on it? Roddy Piper in another embarrassing music video? Chris Benoit’s uncensored sex tape with Woman in Prague? Roddy Piper embarrassing himself in Chris Benoit’s sex tape in Prague? No, it’s apparently footage of last night’s main event which we will never, ever see. That’s the ONLY copy?
Back in the ring, Morrus hits No Laughing Matter, and the referee is forced to count slower than Nick Patrick because Sonny is way out of position for his run in with the Japanese flag to draw a DQ at 4:40. Morrus declares 1997 the year of the Dungeon. DUD
Tony airs stills of Piper’s win over Hogan, so the whole tape thing is negated. Then he reminds us to join him for Saturday Night, which will undoubtedly be a HUNDRED MILLION BILLION times better than anything we’ve seen tonight.
HARLEM HEAT (with Sista Sherri) vs. THE FACES OF FEAR
I’m warning you WCW, I’m on edge, do NOT mess with me here. Meng starts with Stevie Ray, which seems like a mismatch since Stevie Ray is not a wrestler. Still, he beats up Meng, and hits him with a corner clothesline. Meng responds with a much better clothesline, and turns to his buddy Barbarian who comes firing out of the gate with some fast fists. Booker comes in, and hits the axe kick, which sets the Harlem Sidekick, getting 2. Booker goes up, which Barbarian quickly cuts off, and Booker is thrown no less than the distance of a regulation sized football field. Meng comes in, and Booker tries to go toe to toe with him, but you can guess how THAT ends. Backbreaker gets 2. Booker kicks him in the face, hits a Harlem Sidekick, and that draws in COLONEL ROBERT PARKER?!? He’s got a whip; the kind you’d see amongst only the finest in fetish escorts. Sherri takes one swift whip to the ass, and she’s so turned on that she dives on Colonel and they roll around violently. JACQUES ROUGEAU shows up, and throws powder in Stevie Ray’s face. The Kick of Fear from Meng connects, but the referee is tied up with something or other, and misses Booker T hitting the Harlem Hangover. Stevie is rolled on top for the win at 3:34. You know what? Fuck you WCW, fuck you and your stupid show. You have the best, most charismatic team of killers at your disposal, and you respond by jobbing them out to the freakin’ Nasty Boys, Outsiders, and now Harlem Heat who apparently need to win their 40th tag-team titles or something. You can’t handle having a group that’s cooler than the nWo. Nooooo, get over on your own in-ring merits, and lose forever. This show blows goats, all the bookers can go to hell, and that includes Booker T who was part of this debacle. -*******************************, and that’s being generous.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND introduces DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE, who will continue to get pushed because he’s friends with Eric Bischoff and speaks English. DDP says he’s not crying about getting screwed over last night, and vows to fix things. He realizes he’s been thick headed and stubborn, and now he gets it. The nWo is far too strong for him, and he knows what he has to do. I know what he SHOULD do, team up with the Faces of Fear, he’d have more power than ISIS backing him up.
The second hour kicks off with Larry disappearing. MIKE TENAY and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN replace him. And JUST in case you thought the suck was coming to an end, we’re talking midgets.
Everything Hogan is replayed from earlier tonight. Sure, we can’t have THESE tapes suppressed. In fact, since they’re censoring stuff, they can start by wiping the first half of this show from the face of the earth. And probably the second because I’m in a foul mood.
DISCO INFERNO vs. GLACIER
Big news from the camp of Glacier: He has altered his lights to a soft violet. Disco grabs the microphone, and warns Glacier that he’s perfected his new leg hold, and it would be wise if he just left. Glacier doesn’t budge, making him “dumber than Peyton Manning!” Okay, that brought me back to the show – I’m all aboard Team Disco. Glacier hits Disco with a violent … wristlock. That makes Disco mad, so it’s on. Glacier kicks the crap out of Disco, accentuating his attack with a Harlem sidekick. Was his Sensei Colonel Robert Parker? Leg sweep sets up a dropkick, and a heart punch (or clothesline, if you’re Tony) have Glacier in full command. The Cryonic Kick is blocked by Disco putting the referee in the way, and Glacier pulls back. Disco hits a clothesline, and stomps a mudhole. Disco tells the camera it’s time for his new leg hold, but he grabs the wrong leg. He goes to correct it, and takes a back kick to the chin. Disco comes back with a swinging neckbreaker, and decides this would be a great time to dance. Cryonic Kick about takes his head off, and Glacier wins at 3:25. Oif. 1/2*
CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman) vs. CHRIS JERICHO
No, this isn’t the advertised midget match. The give-away is that Tony promised they’d be Mexican. Jericho is all energy tonight, hitting a super fast spinning heel kick, and then nailing a missile dropkick off the top all the way to the floor. Jericho rolls Benoit back in and chops away at his Canadian brethren. Benoit responds with a Stun Gun, and bitch slaps the poutine out of him, screaming “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DEALING WITH?” I recommend Jericho play dead, it might make him stop. Benoit keeps chopping away, but Jericho gives it back. A clothesline off the ropes knocks Benoit down, but he pops up and they start slugging it out again. Benoit shoots Jericho face first to the buckle with a quick drop toe hold, and mounts him in the corner with punches. Jericho rushes forward with an atomic drop, nails the Sweet Chin Music, but misses the Lionsault. They fight on the apron, which Jericho wins. He hits a crossbody off the top, but no pin is attempted. An avalanche is missed, and Jericho finds himself at Benoit’s mercy on top, eating a belly to back superplex for the win at 4:00. Holy hell, through the clouds of garbage, there sits a ray of sunshine, and it came with nonstop intensity from two young brawlers. Incredible match compacted into 4 minutes, probably the best I’ve ever seen in that short a time. ****
RIC FLAIRMONGO MCMICHAEL, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL stop Benoit and Woman on the way to the locker room, and “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is on the scene. Debra tells Woman how much she’s missed her, but Woman heard every word of trash out her mouth the last few weeks, and gets all up in her area. Benoit wants to throw down with Mongo, which Flair stops. JEFF JARRETT comes down, and asks Ric when he’s going to get the chance to lead the Horsemen. Flair ignores him, puts his arm around Woman who’s asking where the hell Arn is, and figures she’s insane for even asking about his whereabouts on New Year’s Eve Eve. He’s drinking beer cold enough to freeze the hand off an Eskimo, and with that he starts dancing around with Woman. God bless Ric, NOTHING gets this man down.
Benoit’s still in a mood though (probably because the Faces of Fear lost, I’m with you brother), and tells Jarrett that all he proved last night is that he can be anything BUT a Horsemen. Debra figures Woman’s moody because of all the weight she put on over the holidays. Flair looks like he’s got a headache, but finds the strength to just ask everyone to dance all night. And he does just that, grabbing Debra, and doing a jig.
MASCARITA SAGRADA and OCTAGONCITO vs. JERITO ESTRADA and PIRATITA MORGAN
Sagrada is probably better known to you as Max Mini. And that’s about all I have to say about this. There is no way I’m doing play by play with names THAT long. It’s basically the Max Mini show anyway, with the littlest of little men flying all over the place. He really should go under the name of El Swan, since he’s graceful, yet delicate. Estrada might be the ugliest man to ever wrestle in WCW, looking like the midget lovechild of Steven Tyler and El Dandy. Max wins with the Oklahoma Roll at 2:25.
REY MYSTERIO JR. vs. DEAN MALENKO
At least WCW is willing to give this match the respect it deserves, by not announcing it, and giving both guys the “already in the ring” treatment. What is WRONG with them tonight? Were they so burned out by getting the booking more or less right (except for that Faces of Fear travesty) last night that they decided to celebrate the end of the year by blowing everything up? We’re a Sid run-in away from making this the perfect night, let me tell you. Rey sends Malenko to the floor, and hits a sweet swinging rana. Back in, Malenko takes down Rey and works a crossface. That’s moved to a standing surfboard, but Rey flails loose. They awkwardly fight with Rey up top, but nothing comes of it. Deano uses a fireman’s carry to set up a gutbuster, getting 2. Malenko starts his stretches, and Mysterio does his usual fine job of howling in agony. A butterfly suplex gets 2. Next up, a backbreaker, and Malenko holds on, bending Rey in half. The announcers are too busy hyping next week’s Nitro to notice, but Bobby works this in. Heenan: “Tony, do you like 360 pound women in bowling shirts?” Tony: “I don’t know, maybe, I can’t say I’ve ever met one.” Heenan: “You’ll love Green Bay!” Rey starts a bit of a comeback, pounding Malenko in the corner, but Dean shoves him away. Rey charges, Malenko launches him, and Mysterio was clearly supposed to land on the top buckle … but he winds up slipping and crotching himself. Dean heads up for a superplex, but Rey twists in mid-air and turns it into a crossbody. A rana is attempted, but Malenko turns it into a powerbomb, and gets 2. Dean goes for a brainbuster, but Rey turns it into an Oklahoma roll for 2. Another powerbomb is tried, but Rey rolls backwards for 2. Dean has enough and clotheslines Rey’s head off. He heads up, but Mysterio hits him with a spinning heel kick knocking Malenko to the floor. Off the top, Mysterio hits a super backspin dick to the face all the way to the floor! Back in, Rey goes for West Coast Pop, but Malenko hooks the leg and applies a Boston crab. Rey bridges out of the move, flips Malenko over, and gets 2. Mysterio tries another rana, but Malenko turns it into a sidewalk slam. Rey shoves off his Cloverleaf attempt, and hits a rana off the top, and the bell rings at 9:24?!? Apparently 9:24 was the designated time limit tonight, so the fans are given one more giant fist up the chute. Match was fine, but I’m so burned out on these two fighting each other. They need a good year apart from one another. ***1/2
GREG “THE HAMMER” VALENTINE vs. LEX LUGER
This show has already gone to hell in a handbasket, so we may as well send out the Hammer. The Stunt Grannies give Luger a standing ovation. I can’t do this, sorry, Greg Valentine play by play is where I’m drawing the line tonight. You can thank the booking committee for deciding to job out the Faces of Fear to the stale Harlem Heat. Torture Rack for the win at 2:41. DUD
Somehow, there’s still 15 bloody minutes in this show, plenty of time for RODDY PIPER to give me aneurysm. He gets a standing ovation, and thanks the fans for all the love. He figures Bischoff and Hogan live on Mars, because on Planet Earth, Hogan was snoring in the Sleeper. Piper announces last night was his last fight because he’s getting too old for this. Tell that to Adrian Adonis, Rod. HOLLYWOOD HOGAN and ERIC BISCHOFF hit the ring, and the Hulkster doesn’t look happy. Hogan says Piper’s a liar, and orders him to admit he lost. Piper tells him to eat it. Hogan decides to get personal, saying the only reason he didn’t end it for good was because Piper’s son begged Hogan to take it easy. Piper tells him that’s fine, and rips off his clothes, ready to throw down again. The only problem, is that THE OUTSIDERS and SYXX have hit the ring, and triple team Piper, going right after the hip again. Hogan chokes out Piper, as SCOTT NORTONTHE GIANT, and TED DIBIASE join the fracas. The fans start launching every bit of garbage they’ve got, to the point the apron is soaked in beer and soda. Hogan grabs a chair, and whacks Piper in the bad hip. Hogan then orders The Giant, who to this point has just stood there watching, to Chokeslam Piper. VINCENT comes down now, as does NICK PATRICK wearing an nWo shirt for the first time. Giant refuses to do the deed, so the nWo has a quick huddle. MEDICS wheel down a stretcher for Piper, while Hogan decides to deal with the Giant. He asks him what the deal is? He’s tired of Giant dropping the ball, and after 3 strikes, he’s out. Giant attacks Hogan, grabbing him by the throat, and orders the nWo to get the hell out of the ring or he’ll take out Hogan. He demands a title shot, and Hogan agrees. He tells Giant he loves him, and shakes his hand. He swears he didn’t know the title was that important to him, and rolls out of the ring. As soon as he hits the ground, he tells the nWo to attack. MARCUS BAGWELL is first, followed by Vincent, and the NWO STING. Sting eats a Chokeslam, and that brings in everyone at once. Giant manages to fight them off for a spell, but the numbers overwhelm him. With the Giant subdued, Hogan whacks Giant over the head with the belt. Hall rips the nWo shirt off the Giant’s back, and he’s the first member to get the boot for treason and attempted regicide.

It was nice of them to save their absolute worst show of the year for last. I’m going to bed.

WCW Starrcade: December 29, 1996

Anytime one can capitalize on nostalgia, one should pounce. And pounce
WCW has; signing an aging but mobile Roddy Piper to battle a revitalized Hulk
Hogan, with their roles reversed. And while I have admittedly found Piper to be
a complete and total disaster, the Match of the Century stuff has worked.
Because of Hogan’s strong heel work, finally having a babyface forcing him to
show a little ass has resulted in their biggest buy-rate to date. This show
drew a 0.95, up from the atrocious 0.36 from one year earlier, and a major
improvement over the 0.70 from Halloween Havoc. I am ignoring World War 3
because it wasn’t given the substantial main event push of the last few shows.
So with their largest set of paying eyeballs on the product ever, it’s
now up to WCW to deliver. Are they ready to take the belt off of Hollywood
Hogan; or is this one big commercial to lead us to the next big challenger in
Lex Luger, Sting, or Glacier (who is of course coming)?
Only one way to find out (18 years ago).
We are of course LIVE from Nashville, TN, and the show starts with a
shocker. Against all odds, DUSTY RHODES
has found a tuxedo that fits. TONY
SCHIAVONE
and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN
join him on commentary.

THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with
Sonny Onoo) vs. DEAN MALENKO (in a unification match for the J-Crown titles and
the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Dragon earned this title shot after a wild ****1/2 match with Rey
Mysterio Jr. at last month’s World War 3, and Dean Malenko is still the
champion despite the ever present Jimmy Graffiti challenging him periodically.
With the ever present scent of Cruiserweights in the air, MIKE TENAY trips over himself to get down to the commentary booth.
Dragon starts by attacking Malenko at his own game, grapevining the leg and
trying to get him an Uncle, as per Dusty. Malenko makes the ropes, but Dragon
keeps riding him. Dean reverses, and puts Dragon in a scissors headlock while
working an armbreaker. Dragon has no time for this shoot nonsense, and kips up
out of the hold, before kicking Malenko in the back of the head a bunch of
times. Malenko shakes it off, and hits Dragon with a side suplex. He tries
another scissors to the head, but Dragon rolls over and hits a vicious snap
suplex for 2. He ignores the USA chants, and applies a half crab. Malenko
starts wiggling, so Dragon drops down and puts on an STF. Malenko won’t tap, so
Dragon releases and tries a headscissors. Malenko pushes him off and sends
Dragon to the floor. A baseball slide misses, and Dragon slams him on the
ground. Dragon fakes flying, and Malenko side-steps – but that allows Dragon to
re-assess and now he hits the tope suicida! They head back in, and Dragon gets
2. Dragon attempts a snap suplex, but it’s blocked and reversed. Still, Malenko
takes a hit off the move, and because he’s taken more abuse, it’s Dragon who
manages to roll over for a 2 count. Back to their feet, Malenko counters a
backdrop with a sunset flip for 2! Dragon’s pissed, and quickly hits a swinging
neckbreaker for 2. Malenko stands, and finds himself locked in a NASTY
abdominal stretch, with Dragon’s leg pressed over Dean’s head for extra
pressure. The Dragon goes for a sleeper, but Malenko hits a backdrop suplex to
escape, and both guys are down. Malenko recovers first, and throws Dragon
across the ring with a release German suplex for 2. Sensing opportunity,
Malenko grapevines the leg, and squeezes it like a grapefruit. Dragon manages a
break in the ropes, but as soon as he lets go, Dean re-applies it. After nearly
a minute in the hold, Dragon manages to get to the ropes one more time. Malenko
doesn’t let up, hitting a single leg atomic drop, and then dropkicks Dragon’s
knee. He hits a variation of a dragon screw, and locks the grapevine back on
the knee again. Dragon uses the heel of his boot to club Malenko in the face,
but Dean does not let go. Still, he again reaches the ropes, but he’s a cripple
at this point. At least you’d think that, until he reverses a whip and misses a
handspring back elbow like nothing’s wrong. Grrrr, I hate it when they don’t
sell their injuries. Dragon boots Malenko in the face with his bad leg, but
Dean powerslams him HARD, and the fans pop sensing the champ has him on the
ropes. However, a German suplex is blocked, and Dragon hits a spinning heel
kick. Powerbomb gets 2. Dragon threatens a tombstone, but Malenko rears back
and reverses, hitting a NASTY VICIOUS piledriver! Dragon kicks out at 2. Texas
Cloverleaf is threatened, but Dragon wiggles to the safety of the ropes.
Malenko instead hits the tigerbomb to a MASSIVE pop, and rolls over … getting
2! The fans thought that was it. The pair brawl back to the floor, and it’s
Dragon who hits a spinning heel kick setting up an Asai moonsault! They head
back in, and Dragon goes up – but Malenko cuts him off at the pass. Dragon
elbows loose and drops Malenko, but misses the moonsault! Dean puts on the
Cloverleaf, and the fans lose their collective shit!!! Sonny Onoo gets on the
apron, and Malenko releases to go after him. As he turns, Dragon cradles him …
for 2! Malenko doesn’t give up the fight, and nails a brainbuster for 2! He
figures a second one might do the trick, but Dragon slips off the back, and
they start trading move reversals before Dragon hits the Dragon suplex and
scores the pin and ALL the gold at 18:29!!!
I can’t go the full monty because Dragon refused to sell the leg, but I loved
everything else. Call it ****.
AKIRA HOKUTO (with Sonny
Onoo and Kensuki Sasaki) vs. MADUSA (for the WCW Women’s title)
LEE MARSHALL, the
self-proclaimed ladies expert (due to the fact that 80% of the tournament took
place on WCW Pro), joins the commentary. NICK
PATRICK
is assigned here, his first non-nWo assignment in months. Or, is
it? The timing of this Women’s tournament has always been suspect; coinciding
with the nWo’s call to take all the gold in the company, so it’s entirely
possible we’re eyeballing the master plan coming together. Sonny Onoo gets his
fingerprints all over this one, tripping and distracting Madusa whenever
possible. Working a half crab, Hokuto bites Madusa’s foot while she’s at it – a
nice touch. I am oddly distracted by Madusa’s tramp stamp. Unfortunately, this
isn’t in HD, and I’m not able to get a proper camera angle, so I’m left to
speculate on the kind of tattoo Madusa might get on her lower back. After
ruling out many of the usual suspects, I’m going to narrow it down to a bottle
of JD (which would explain the Tennessee Colonel’s obsession with her), or a
campfire (cuz she’s A Blayze). I’m open-minded however, and am willing to
accept theories. Madusa hits her German suplex, but Patrick is out of position
and counts a little slow. The plot thickens. They battle to the top, where
Hokuto hits a superplex, but Patrick counts a normal 2. Madusa dropkicks Hokuto
to the floor, and while Patrick monitors that, Sonny Onoo flattens Madusa with
the American flag! Hokuto re-enters with a missile dropkick, and finishes with
a Northern Lights Bomb for the pin and the belt at 7:05. Heenan: “Japanese 2, WCW 0.” I think he’s got this confused
with last year’s show. *1/2
In the locker room, “MEAN” GENE
OKERLUND
welcomes RODDY PIPER to
Music City USA. The Hot Rod compares Hogan to Jurassic Park, despite being all
of 1 year younger. Life is a fight! 6 kids! Homeless at 13! All the usual. He
leaves the dressing room hopping on his replaced hip.
JUSHIN LIGER vs. REY
MYSTERIO JR.
MIKE TENAY is back,
figuring the winner of this one is the defacto #1 contender. Without facing
Jimmy Graffiti? Surely he jests. Both guys shake hands … I don’t care for THAT.
Tenay notes that this is their first matchup, which I find kind of shocking
actually. This is also just 2 months after Liger’s brain tumor was removed;
yikes! And we think drugs are a problem NOW! Liger tries a rear surfboard, but
Rey flips backwards and kicks him in the face. Liger comes back immediately
with a dropkick, and a powerslam that certainly isn’t messing around. A
standing vertical suplex stands to leave Rey a little dizzy, and a gutbuster
takes his breath away. Liger goes for a nasty powerbomb, and slams Rey with
some FORCE. I think the back of his head bounced off the mat on that one.
Liger’s just methodically stalking Rey now, but he gets cocky and goes for a
second gutbuster; and Rey turns that into a rana! A second one sends Liger out
to the floor, and Rey hooks the top rope to keep himself in the ring. Liger
gets back to the apron, only to see Rey charging at him with a spear. It
connects, but the follow up attempt sees Liger turn the tables and suplex Rey
to the outside of the ring. And then, for kicks, he throws ANOTHER vicious powerbomb,
with the back of Rey’s head hitting the side of the ring. 1990’s wrestling!
Concussions what? Rey slowly crawls back to the ring, and is immediately placed
up top. He manages to shove Liger away, but his dropkick attempt misses, and he
falls senton style to the ground. Liger cracks him with a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker, and Rey finds himself trapped in a surfboard. Rey wiggles to try
and release the hold, but Liger has every part hooked well and Mysterio has
nowhere to go. Finally he rocks forward, and Liger throws him a bit with his
feet. He goes to catch Rey, but Mysterio quickly goes behind and throws a
release German! Fast standing moonsault gets 2. Rey nails a DDT, and
springboard moonsault gets another 2. A springboard dropkick his Liger square in
the chest, and Rey mounts him quickly with the camel clutch. Rey goes for the
West Coast Pop, but Liger has him scouted and catches him with a dropkick to
the face as he flies in. A release German suplex gets 2. Liger moves to a half
crab, cinching back as far as you’ll ever see anyone bend this side of Eric
Bischoff. A spinning heel kick connects in the corner, but Rey retaliates with
one of his own. Liger puts Rey up top, but Mysterio jumps at him with an
overhead scissors takeover. Liger rolls to the floor, not seeing Rey fly at him
with an Asai moonsault! Liger heads back in, but as he’s between the ropes, Rey
drops a leg with a nasty little guillotine. Rey goes for a springboard senton,
but Liger rolls away, and he leaps at Rey with a diving headbutt off the top
for 2. They start trading blows in the corner, and Liger shoves Rey off the
apron, to the floor, hands free. Liger heads up, but Rey pounces back onto the
apron, leaps, and goes for the super rana – only it’s blocked by Liger! Liger
rolls forward with a spinning heel kick, before nailing a running Ligerbomb,
and we have a winner at 14:14. This
wasn’t as good as the earlier match, as a lot of spots just felt like “we’re
doing MOVES”, but it was still a damn fine, flashy display of what both guys are
capable of. ***1/2
CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman)
vs. JEFF JARRETT (in a no disqualification match)
This must be a surprise bonus match or something because I don’t
remember any hype behind this. Benoit and Woman take a few extra seconds to
stare into each other’s eyes before Jarrett makes his entrance. This, admittedly,
is a little interesting because Flair is a big Jeff Jarrett fan. However, the
rest of the Horsemen can’t stand the smarmy son of a bitch. But on the other
hand, everyone, with the exception of Flair once more, is livid at Benoit for
flaunting his affair with Kevin Sullivan’s wife on national TV. Which begs the
question: who are they rooting for? Benoit shoves Jarrett to his ass, and kicks
imaginary dirt all over him, to a GIANT pop. It’s clear who the fans support
here. Jarrett gets to his feet, and Benoit slaps the tradition right out of his
mouth. A double arm lariat gets 1. Benoit hits a drop toe hold, and stands on
the back of Jarrett’s head, grinding his nose into the mat. Jeff pops to his
feet while Benoit celebrates, and takes Chris down with a drop toe hold of his
own, before dancing on his back. They trade 3 consecutive standing switches,
before Benoit just elbows Jarrett in the face to knock that off. Chris kicks
the crap out of Jarrett in the corner, and flashes the Horsemen sign. Jarrett
flies out of the corner with a spear, and they start rolling around on the mat,
pounding each other. Benoit rolls to the floor, and Jarrett follows suit. Woman
grabs Jarrett’s arm, and when he wheels around, Benoit decks him. Back in,
Benoit catapults Jarrett mouth first to the buckle, and Jeff drops like Santa
down an industrial sized chimney. Benoit forces Jarrett to the top, but Jeff
blocks the superplex and Chris flies backwards with nothing. Jarrett chokes Benoit
in the ropes, but Woman pulls him aside to avoid the straddle, and Jeff’s beans
take a sharp shot. A short-armed clothesline from Benoit gets 2. Frustrated
that he isn’t winning, Benoit tosses Jarrett over the top and whips him to the
guardrail. Jarrett sorta retaliates, but he doesn’t have much gas, and as soon
as he’s back in he takes a backdrop suplex for 2. A sleeper is applied, and
Jarrett finds himself taking a nap in under 20 seconds. Benoit uses the ropes
for leverage; still sneakily, but it’s allowed since it’s no DQ anyway. The
referee checks the arm, and after a couple drops, Jarrett still shows life. They
battle back to a vertical base, and Jarrett hits a backdrop suplex to release
the hold. A cradle gets 2. Jarrett nails Benoit with a big boot, and quickly
comes off the top … right into Benoit’s foot. Chris chops the snot out of
Jarrett, but Jeff turns things around and plants Benoit with a dropkick for 2.
An overhead belly to belly launches Benoit to the apron, and Jarrett pulls him
back in with a front suplex across the top rope. Jarrett goes for the Figure
Four, so Woman just claws at the eyes. The fans start to explode, because ARN ANDERSON is walking to ringside
with a purpose; burning a hole through Benoit. He stands to watch, as Benoit
starts working over Jarrett right in front of him. However, with his focus
there, he doesn’t see KONAN and HUGH MORRUS kidnap Woman. Woman’s scrappy,
and puts up a hell of fight. Meanwhile, it turns out Anderson’s appearance was
a ploy, because he DDTs Jarrett on the concrete, completely missing the KEVIN SULLIVAN appearance, who destroys
a wooden chair over Benoit’s skull. Jarrett rolls in and scores the pinfall at 13:47. Despite the fact it was fundamentally
solid, I was never feeling this one. Neither guy seemed to sell very well for
the other, and they didn’t match up well in my opinion. **1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND tries to get a
word from anyone who will talk to him, but every single person blows him off on
their way to the back. Thankfully, MONGO
MCMICHAEL
and DEBRA MCMICHAEL
are always willing to share their opinions. He thinks Woman’s got Benoit weak
in the knees. Jarrett was served to him on a silver platter, and he failed to
get the win. Debra thinks Jarrett is Horsemen material, and trashes Benoit and
Woman. “That girl has been rode hard, and put up wet.” Gene quickly covers his
microphone and orders her to knock it off.
THE OUTSIDERS (with Syxx)
vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
NICK PATRICK is the
referee, which doesn’t bode well for the loves of my life capturing the
tag-team titles here. Still, would YOU try and screw Meng over? If anyone’s
gonna hold Patrick accountable, it’s these guys. Meng starts with Scott Hall,
and he promptly no sells everything Hall hits him with before taking him down
with a clothesline. Meng tosses Hall to the corner, and works him over. Patrick
tries to break it up, but one look and a grunt from Meng backs him RIGHT off.
The distraction is enough for Hall to hit a second rope bulldog, from which
Meng pops up having suffered no damage and clotheslines Hall down again.
Barbarian comes in, and Hall spits in his face. OH NO YOU DIDN’T! The
chickenshit tags in Nash, who tries to look as intimidating as possible … and
Barbarian doesn’t flinch. Nash hits the corner elbows, which serve no purpose
because Barbarian catches him with an elbow of his own, chokes Nash for awhile,
and chops the crap out of him. Patrick gives him a warning, and the momentary
distraction allows Nash to clothesline him from behind. However, that just
draws Meng flying in to start the CLUBBERIN’! Hall stands there, not willing to
get involved, because he’s not suicidal. Nash gives them a double noggin’
knocker, which is the equivalent of Hulking those guys up, and they double
headbutt Nash to the mat after a primal scream. The fans are eating these guys
up! Barbarian gives Nash a sidewalk slam with the kind of effort that says “I
pick up 350 pound guys in my SLEEP!” and gets 2. Barbarian heads up, walks the
ropes just because he can … but misses an elbow. Hall gets in a cheap
clothesline, and Nash throws a series of punches. The big boot is used to choke
out Barbarian, and Patrick misses the entire thing. Hall tags in, and Meng’s
patience is done now, because he pulls Hall to the corner by the hair and now
they give HIM the CLUBBERIN’! Hall elbows both guys, who fail to sell any of
it, and Barbarian gives Hall the big boot. Patrick misses it because he’s tied
up with Jimmy Hart, and eventually turns around long after a 3, and Hall kicks
out at a slow 2. Barbarian doesn’t care, he doesn’t complain, he just turns to
Meng who gives Hall a spike piledriver. Patrick runs around in a circle, and
slowly counts 2. Meng reminds him how to count, and tags in Barbarian.
Honestly, if the slow counts are just going to result in the Outsiders taking
more and more punishment until they’re quadriplegics, I’m fine with it.
Barbarian hits a smooth powerbomb, and Patrick counts 1 at the speed of a 3
before Nash breaks it up. Meng gives Hall an atomic drop, and Barbarian gives
him a big boot to the face, but he’s the illegal man and Patrick won’t count.
Hall clotheslines Barbarian in the back of the head, and Hall follows with one
from the front, and Barbarian’s down. He’s still up first anyway. Syxx steals
Hart’s megaphone and chases him to the back, but I doubt it’ll slow my heroes
any. Barbarian applies a nerve hold, and refuses to release as Hall passes out.
Patrick doesn’t check Hall’s arm, and Scott eventually gets a second wind,
backdropping Barbarian. Nash gets the hot tag, which just sees him trade
punches with Barbarian. Nash nails the big boot, and Patrick counts 2 lightning
fast, but Meng charges and saves. Hall pulls him to the outside, as Barbarian
loads the boot. He misses the Kick of Fear, Nash hits the Jackknife, and the
Outsiders retain at 11:43. You know …
it’s not even that the Faces of Fear lost. I’m a big boy, and I’ve had 18 years
to prepare myself for this recap. It’s the fact it was done cleanly that really
gets to me. These guys could have milked months out of being the thorn in the
side of the nWo, the two bad asses who simply didn’t give a crap how many of
them there were or how high the odds were stacked because their job was to kick
ass and worry about the details later. Instead, after less than 2 months, they’re
effectively killed off as top contenders, and the real chase is being given to
the Steiners. I rarely believe in the racism card, but this is one case where I
feel the upper crust in WCW felt that a white team who had better microphone
skills were the right way to go. Which is unfortunate, because these guys are
just oozing the kind of in-ring charisma that I’d kill to see from ANYONE on
Monday Night RAW today. ***
Backstage, TED DIBIASE, VINCENT, ELIZABETH, and HOLLYWOOD
HOGAN
are talking down Roddy Piper. Hogan says there’s already a ticker
tape parade going on in California because they’re on Pacific Time and think he’s
already won. What the hell is he talking about? He was prepared to tell all the
Hollywood Maniacs that Piper had tucked tail and flown back to Portland, but he
just saw one of Piper’s kids trying to bum a quarter to buy a Coke, so he knows
he’s still here, because even Piper’s not woman enough to leave his kids
behind. Ain’t leaving the kids behind more of a stereotypically man move? Hulk,
with all due respect … go away.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs.
EDDIE GUERRERO (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)
Thousands of fans make the Diamond Cutter sign as Page struts down to
ringside, showing them nothing but contempt. Oh Dallas, you might not want
them, but they’re ready for you, and tonight’s your big night daddio. Eddie
hiptosses Page, who flips Eddie off to a pretty strong reaction. Eddie tries
mocking him to utter silence. He hasn’t managed to find that connection yet;
but I’m prepared to be patient. They fight to the floor, where Page uses all
the dirty tricks as the fans start a “DDP” chant. Eddie snapmares Page over the
top rope, rolls him back in, and hits a slingshot senton for 2. Page pops up,
right into a drop toe hold, and Eddie applies an armbar. Page gets up and
charges, but winds up toppling to the floor. Eddie is right behind with a
plancha. Back in, Eddie mounts Page in the corner, but winds up taking snake
eyes. A pancake is delivered, almost with enough vertical air to be a spike
piledriver. A vertical suplex gets 2, with an annoyed Page feeding it Scott
Dickenson to count faster. Page works an abdominal stretch, and despite the fan
attention, he’s still a scumbag and uses the ropes for extra leverage. The
referee asks the fans if he’s cheating, and amazingly, he gets told “NOOOO”.
Eddie gets in a small package for 2, but Page still has the momentum and uses a
swinging neckbreaker to get 2. Back to the abdominal stretch, and Page goes
right back to cheating. He gets caught on the 3rd go-around, so Page
releases happily and punches Eddie in the ribs. He and Dickenson start a
yelling match, with Page trying to get him to knock it off so he can
concentrate on the match. Eddie gets in a schoolboy for 2, but immediately
takes a clothesline. DDP charges the corner, but Eddie sidesteps, and Page’s
shoulder hits the post. Eddie sweeps out the leg, and lifts Page off his feet
with a European uppercut! A face slam to the buckle sends Page flying
backwards, and a vertical suplex gets 2. A backdrop suplex sends Eddie to the
top, but he misses the Frog Splash! Eddie’s elbow is killing him, and Page
dives in for a pinfall attempt, getting 2. DDP hits a gutbuster, and heads up
top much to the fans delight. He is promptly crotched. Eddie mounts him, but
Page shoves him off and dives at Eddie … right into an atomic drop, and Eddie
gets 2! Page goes to clothesline him, and takes a backslide for 2! DDP tries a
Diamond Cutter, and the fans erupt, before Eddie turns it into another
backslide for another 2! Eddie tries a rana, but Page spins around in mid-move,
and hits a 360 powerbomb instead for 2! Eddie hits a desperation back elbow,
and falls to the outside, which brings down THE OUTSIDERS and SYXX.
Hall gets in the ring behind the referee’s back, and flattens Page with the
Outsider’s Edge!! This is clear payback for Page turning down the nWo
repeatedly over the last month. Eddie wakes up, hits the Frog Splash, and wins
the US title at 15:20! The nWo tries
to destroy Eddie, but he somehow manages to fight off all 3 guys for nearly a
minute before they get their act together and beat him down. Syxx steals the US
title again for good measure. Great storyline advancement here, and this can
only bode even better for Page with the fans moving forward since he’s been one
of the few WCW to spit defiantly in the nWo’s face. For the record, Diamond
Dallas Page is a PERFECT study on how to build a new star. Give him a swanky
finisher, put him over strong for months on end, and eventually have him start
standing up to everyone around him, good or bad. I know that “wins and losses
don’t matter” and we need to keep everyone “equal”, but wrestling wasn’t built
on equal, it was built on guys with the right attitude making piles of money
for everyone involved. Basically, WWE, grow a sack and follow this model. (PS:
And I don’t mean with John Cena!) ***
THE GIANT vs. LEX LUGER
Amazingly, we have impartial referee RANDY ELLER assigned to this one; the first nWo match that I can
remember without Nick Patrick or Doctor X. Both guys lock up, and Luger
struggles with the massive Giant. Luger’s putting a world of effort into this,
and seems to be sapping all his energy on trying to show Giant he can push him
backwards. Giant eventually shrugs him off and roars. Luger responds by popping
him in the jaw with his steel forearm, and continues the assault with Giant off
balance. The Giant comes to, and explodes out of the corner with a single
clothesline that leaves Luger for dead. A jumping elbow causes Luger to
convulse, but he has time to recover because Giant is slow as molasses. As soon
as Luger gets to crouched position, Giant punts him in the midsection with
enough force to send Luger flying out the ropes like a football. On his way
back in, Giant helps him re-enter with a vertical suplex. Giant stands on Luger’s
throat, and you’d have to imagine the end is near for WCW’s top hope to end the
nWo. Giant’s all laughs, and that momentary lapse sees Luger throw an axehandle
and go for a slam … but Giant is WAYYYY too fat for that, and falls right on
Lex. Giant pulls him up at 1, he’s not interested in ending this yet. Not
without a leaping headbutt to the balls. Given the volume of performance
enhancers coursing through Luger’s blood at this point, that’s gotta be a
fairly precise shot from the Giant. He goes for an avalanche, but Luger
side-steps, and Giant finds himself lying on the ropes like a hammock, and
stuck. Luger kicks him over and over to set up a Rack, but Giant drops down and
that’s that. Luger continues to bring the fight, and a number of clotheslines
have Giant rocking. The old wind up punch doesn’t even bring him down, but a
neckbreaker does, and Luger gets 2. In fact, Giant kicks out with enough force
to launch Luger about 95 feet into the air, and he happens to fall EXACTLY
where poor Randy Eller lays. Never fear, however, because NICK PATRICK is here. In the chaos, Luger manages to slam Giant,
and puts him in the Rack … only to see Patrick kick the back of his legs out and
cause him to collapse. Luger wallops Patrick, as STING starts skulking through the crowd. The Rack is re-applied,
but now SYXX is here, and breaks
that up. Sting hits the ring, ball bat in hand, and pushes it right into the
chest of Nick Patrick, sending him sprawling. He whispers something to Lex, and
then heads over to the Giant to do the same. Leaving his baseball bat behind,
he decides it’s time to exit through the crowd. Lex gets to the bat, but Giant
is up and steps on it. With only one move left, Luger swings his mighty fist,
uppercutting the Giant right in the Polish sausage! He grabs the ball bat,
drives it into the Giant’s stomach, and incredibly, the Giant starts to vomit
ALL over the place! An entire Christmas spread – turkey, yams, stuffing, green
beans with little bits of bacon, gingerbread cookies, an entire smoked ham, the
missing Fit Finlay, and fruitcake are just spewed EVERYWHERE. Wait, no, sorry,
he actually just collapses and Randy Eller awakens to count the pinfall at 13:20. This was probably awful by
anyone else’s standards, but I’m a sucker for a hot crowd and a testosterone
fuelled superman overcome a big evil bad guy. ***1/2 – and I don’t care if it
kills the credibility I never had.
MICHAEL BUFFER arrives to
pump us up for the main event, while poor Randy Eller is declared legally brain
dead following that 5 minute coma.
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (with
Vincent, Ted DiBiase, Elizabeth, and some gold vanity belt he never defends but
believes is a guitar) vs. RODDY PIPER (in a non-title match)
Yup, despite the fact WCW never explicitly announced whether or not this
was a title match; it was fairly assumed that the belt WOULD be at stake here
since Hogan paraded it out every single time he mouthed off about Piper, AND he
hasn’t defended it in 2 months, NOT to mention it’s the biggest damn
pay-per-view of the year. I realize had WCW advertised a non-title match that
the results of this would be far less in doubt (whoops, spoiler?), but the fans
were totally baited here and it’s not cool, WCW. The fans erupt in a unanimous
sea of “RODDY! RODDY!” chants, and despite my vitriol for the last two months,
it’s clear he’s a god to the 1996 wrestling fans, so it’s not fair for me to
look back 18 years later and declare this a total disaster (since it’s clearly
not) – but there is no way Piper’s insane rambling would have survived the social
media era. I don’t know if it’s because we expect a smarter product, or we’re
just a giant group of haters, but it just hasn’t stood up as well as a lot of
the other stuff we’ve looked back at this year. Anyway, Hogan stalls to start,
and when they finally lock up, he screams at the referee to “WATCH THE BREAK –
I DON’T TRUST THIS GUY!” Of course, as soon as they break, it’s Hogan who
starts slapping around Roddy. You can almost feel some 14 years of playing the
hero just seeping away, as he seamlessly transitions into the heel that’s lived
inside of him since his early days with Freddie Blassie (or, Rocky Balboa).
Piper responds by beating the shit out of him, and Hogan runs right up the
aisle, calling it a night. The ref holds Roddy at bay, so Piper grabs him (it’s
PEE WEE ANDERSON, for the record),
and places him on the top turnbuckle so he can go back to goading Hogan to fight
like a man. Hogan answers the call, digging deep into his inner manhood as
requested … and starts clawing at Roddy’s face. CAAAATFIGHT! Piper pokes Hogan
in the eyes to knock that off, and throws a clothesline. He can’t follow up
because Hogan’s already back on the floor to hang out with Trillionaire Ted.
Back in, Piper works a headlock, and holds on tight while Hogan tries like hell
to shove him off. Hulk manages a backdrop suplex, but Roddy continues to hold
on, working it like a crossface on the mat. In the ropes, Hogan finally spears
his way loose, and he nails Piper with a jawbreaker, sending Piper to the
outside. Hogan comes off the apron with an axehandle, and pokes Piper in the
eyes. Hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no complaining
(and I’m looking at YOU Tony Schiavone). Back in the ring, Piper actually hits
something resembling a dropkick – fairly impressive considering his current
mobility. Hogan runs up the aisle again, and looks like this time he ain’t
coming back, so Piper charges and pulls him back to ringside by the hair. Piper
shoves DAVE PENZER aside, grabs his
belt off his kilt, and starts whipping Hogan like a red headed mule. DiBiase
trips up Piper, but Roddy’s taking no one’s crap tonight and chases down Ted.
Of course, Hogan’s recovered now, and gets the upper hand on Piper. The fans, for
the record, have been incredible, and haven’t stopped cheering Piper on since
the bell rang over 10 minutes ago. In the ring, Hogan starts to kick at the
surgically repaired hip, and slaps on the abdominal stretch. He even adds a
wedgie as a nice extra touch. Piper escapes, and dives on Hogan with the ground
and pound. He even yanks out some of Hogan’s hair. Back to their feet, Hogan
pokes the eyes, and both guys start slugging it out, with neither guy giving in
to the other. Piper stops it to hit a vertical suplex, and gets a 2 count. He
misses a kneedrop to the face, and the impact leaves him clutching his leg in
agony. Hogan wastes no time in going for the Atomic Legdrop, but Piper moves,
and starts hopping on the bad leg to show he’s fine. And that’s all THE GIANT can stand to watch, and he
goes to Chokeslam Piper. In mid-move, Piper swings his legs to kick Hogan in
the face, and escapes by biting Giant’s nose! Back to Hogan, Piper locks on the
Sleeper, and Hogan’s arm drops 3 times, giving Piper the win at 15:28!!! The fans lose their collective
shit as fireworks explode, and Piper stands over Hogan’s limp body. *1/2 for
the match, ***** for the crowd.
THE OUTSIDERS rush the ring,
and Piper takes them both out with a little boxing. He bails before they can
double team him, and even The Giant doesn’t mess with him anymore. One of Piper’s
kids shows up on the stage, and Piper carries him backstage as the fans chant “PIPER!
PIPER!” on his way out.

But we’re not done – The Giant is livid at the entire nWo because none of them
ever watch his back the way he does for everyone else. He demands to know where
the original nWo threesome were during his match with Luger. Hogan: “You
dropped the ball.” The fans shower Hulkster with a “HOGAN SUCKS” chant, as
Hogan demands his belt and spits on the camera to send the show off.
Fantastic show, all the way through. Quality stuff on both the under
card, and some good storyline progression with the top. This really was the
best they could have hoped for with what was booked, and my lone disappointment
was that the nWo wasn’t swept with the Faces of Fear collecting the tag-team
titles. Still, the most dangerous group in wrestling history FINALLY got some
come-uppance for the first time since their arrival in May, and WCW is showing
a little unity.

The only question is whether or not they can capitalize going into 1997.

WCW Worldwide: December 29, 1996

While most of us are clamouring to get through Starrcade, and head over to a fresh new year (with the big question lurking; will I continue onwards with the WCW timeline or move on … TO SOMETHING ELSE?!?), I am particularly looking forward to writing my 1996 Year in Review; where we try and look back to see where we came from, and how we got here, and what the future might hold. I don’t mean to spoil things, but it may be told through the eyes of the Faces of Fear.
Firstly, Worldwide is here, and it’s a loaded pre-Starrcade show. With every star at their disposal, WCW is able to pick and choose folks like … wait, Eddie Guerrero, Arn Anderson, and Chris Benoit are hyped, this ain’t no Worldwide! How dare they step on my weekly snarky sarcasm by actually loading up this one.

MR. JL vs. BILLY KIDMAN
JL has tossed out the purple, and seems to have stolen Jerry Lynn’s tights for some reason. Is Jerry Lynn cool with this? Or has he found unemployment since the arrival of Jerry Flynn, and JL picked them up at a discount? Tony hypes the fact that Benoit and Woman are in the same building as Kevin Sullivan for the first time in over a month, and the Disney MGM building is loaded with police officers. Oh good, I hope they brought their guns again, I love it when we start whipping out the pistols in wrestling cuz it means it’s REAL. Kidman is given a Stun Gun, and bounces forward to the outside. JL is not DQed because inconsistency is the name of the game. Back in, Kidman plants JL with a dropkick, and follows with an attempted tornado bulldog – but JL moves mid move and hits a backdrop suplex. Lovely! JL misses the follow up elbowdrop. Heenan: “Do you know who JL is?” Tony: “No, who?” Heenan: “The guy with the mask!” Shooting Star Press for the win at 3:15. **
In the locker room, we meet our announcers; TONY SCHIAVONE and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN. Heenan tells us that he’s not fond of going to Tennessee, seeing as how he can count to 10, has all his teeth and can tie his shoes, but the draw of Piper and Hogan will get him there.
THE CHEETAH KID vs. EDDIE GUERRERO
Iaukea seems to have drawn the Cheetah gimmick this week. Tony starts hyping “great events in 1997”, and starts with Nitro on December 30th of 1996. The Cheetah kid shows off his claws, drawing some angry sass from our token black female, who is seated next to our designated Stunt Granny.
Cheetah hits a rolling kick, and jams a thumb into Eddie’s eye. Eddie quickly cradles him for 1. Cheetah delivers an uppercut to Eddie’s armpit (da hell?), and claws Eddie’s eyes again. He knows he’s not a real cheetah, right? Eddie punches him in the ears for a 10-count, but Cheetah quickly strikes with a superkick. A springboard belly flop does exactly what it describes, and Eddie picks up his prey for an easy brainbuster. Froggy Splash finishes at 4:05. *1/2
ARN ANDERSON vs. EDDIE JACKIE
Tony: “I am really looking forward to Hogan against Piper, because I know if I have goosebumps they MUST have goosebumps.” Heenan: “Oh, I thought you had psoriasis.” Arn offers Eddie the hand of friendship, which is DENIED. Arn shrugs, because ultimately, it’s Eddie’s funeral. Anderson takes him down and drops a knee across Jackie’s skull, and then gives himself a standing ovation. Eddie goes to attack, but winds up on the mat in seconds with Arn standing on his throat. Tony starts discussing Woman and Benoit’s relationship with Bobby. Heenan: “I think she has eyes for him.” Tony: “I think it’s more than that … I think her heart is with him.” Heenan: “Heck, if you’re going that way, I’d say…” Tony: “STOP!!!!” Jackie is launched into the ringpost, and Tony points out that the only saving grace for Eddie here is that Valvoline’s sponsored pads might have lessened the blow. Back in, Anderson delivers a hammerlock slam, and then puts on a standing shoulder breaker. Arn drops his knee to Eddie’s arm repeatedly, but Jackie finds a wind from somewhere and slams Arn. A dropkick gets a lightning fast 2 count; crooked referee? Jackie hits Arn with a couple of boots, but Anderson’s had enough and delivers the DDT for the win at 4:49. **
KAORU vs. AKIRA HOKUTO (with Sonny Onoo)
Hokuto arrives with Vader’s oxygen mask, but she’s classed it up a little with a bedazzler gun.
Akira flattens Kaoru with a big boot, and chokes her out. Sonny distracts the referee allowing Hokuto to get in a couple of extra seconds. Kaoru comes back with a facesitter, scoring a two count and a moderate tingle. Hokuto responds by kicking Kaoru in the ass and a hair pull, because women. Kaoru comes right back with West Coast Pop, but Hokuto kicks out at 2. A top rope moonsault misses the mark, allowing Akira to nail a powerbomb, and score the pin at 2:41 with one foot. 1/2*
KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JOHNNY BOONE
For Christ sakes, we have seen this match on every jobber show for the last YEAR (and probably more, I just haven’t done a 1995 timeline yet). Same nonsense, Sullivan charges the ring, takes Boone up the ringsteps, and throws him over the balcony. Double stomp finishes at 1:35. GO AWAY. 1/2*
M. WALLSTREET vs. CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman)
Wallstreet once again fails to don his nWo shirt on this show. I hope someone SNITCHES. This is apparently our feature match, and there’s a ton of time left in the show, so either this is getting some real time, or we have a Roddy Piper segment to air. Benoit takes down Wallstreet with a snapmare, while Tony starts grilling Heenan. Tony: “Isn’t it true that you’ve received an offer from the nWo? Isn’t it true you’re considering turning your back on your friends? Isn’t it true, Mr. Heenan, that you’re a weasel?” Heenan: “Isn’t it true if I slapped a miniskirt on you, you’d look like Marcia Clark?” Heenan admits he loves a good corporate takeover, but he hates Hogan so much he can’t consider it. Wallstreet puts Benoit in an abdominal stretch, and even uses the rope for leverage behind the referees back with Woman standing right there. Puuhhhhhhlease; this is an imposter, the real Woman would have already smashed her heel in his eye. Wallstreet misses a charge, and Benoit yanks down the rope, sending him crashing to the floor. Wallstreet calls it a night and heads up the aisle, but Benoit catches him and slams Wallstreet on the floor. Tony calls Starrcade’s match the biggest in wrestling since Hogan’s match with Andre the Giant … in 1993. Jesus Tony, just stop talking. Wallstreet reaches into the buckle, and finds something that he uses to jam in Benoit’s head. The referee investigates, but Wallstreet’s already hidden it again. Benoit is tossed through the middle rope, but he re-enters with a sunset flip getting 2. Wallstreet goes to finish with a piledriver, but Benoit backdrops his way out. Chris heads up top, but misses the swandive. That allows Wallstreet to hit the Stock Market Crash, but Woman pulls Benoit’s leg to the ropes saving him. Wallstreet loses his shit, and gets in Woman’s face, allowing Benoit to roll him up for the pin at 8:59. Hang it up Mike, even Benoit can’t make you look good. *1/2
Heenan wanders back into the locker room with a fire extinguisher; which he’ll use to cool down Hogan’s ass once Piper lights it on fire at Starrcade. Wait, Piper’s gonna do what?

We’ll find out tonight if Heenan’s accurate.

WCW Nitro: December 23, 1996

This is it – the final
hard-sell for the “biggest PPV event of all time.” The show unofficially dubbed
(cuz WCW can’t afford another lawsuit) War To Finally Settle The Score. And you
can bet, whatever happens tonight … it’ll be replayed no fewer than 6 times, in
full, at Starrcade, for the low price of $29.95!
You know, as sad as
Johnny B Badd’s mug being a part of the Prime opening through October, the
presence of surfer blonde Sting, and red and yellow Hulk on their A-show, when
both characters have been dead for ages, is significantly lazier.

WE ARE LIVE FROM NO TIME
TO WASTE BECAUSE WE HAVE A MATCH!
CHRIS BENOIT vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (in a semi-finals
tournament match for the WCW United States title)
Chris Benoit doesn’t
bring Woman with him, because that would be suicide. Benoit brings the hate to
Eddie, but Guerrero has no interest in taking his shit (or his chops), and
gives it right back just as hard. Are you interested in seeing this
hard-hitting match? Tough!
KEVIN SULLIVAN is backstage, laughing about the idea of Benoit “taking his queen”.
He thinks Benoit’s fallen into the ultimate trap, waking up something he should
have left alone. “Check mate.”
Back in the ring, nope,
don’t get comfy!
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE walks up to the commentary booth. Oh, hi, TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO are you hosts tonight from wherever we are. We take
many important camera shots of DDP chewing gum, and saying monkey.
Back in the ring, Eddie
has slowed this baby down with a headlock on the mat. Yes, I’m sure a break is
necessary after all those great moves we never saw. The only thing missing at
this point in a commercial break to really make this one a winner. Of course,
I’m not just being facetious, I know my WCW. We’ll be right back after a quick
word from our friends at Valvoline and Electronic Karate Fighters.
Okay we’re back, and
Tony’s gushing about how awesome this match has been. You know what? Up yours
WCW. Benoit hits a backdrop suplex and starts lecturing Eddie about something
something Sullivan. I’m thinking Eddie probably doesn’t care, but is more
concerned about the nasty snap powerbomb he’s on the receiving end of that
pretty much decapitates him. His torso manages to kick out at 2. The fans are
well trained, watching this with great intensity. The entrance ramp I mean, not
the ring. Eddie hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and heads up for the Froggy
Splash, but Benoit cuts him off. Chris nails the superplex, and recovers first
to score a 2. Eddie tries a sunset flip, but Benoit stops it and goes to punch
him in the face. Eddie slithers forward, Benoit nails canvas, and Eddie rolls
him up for 2. Chris fires off a hot-shot, but he’s caught trying his pin using
the ropes. They head up, and for some reason so does the referee, standing on
the 2nd rope to get a really good look I guess. Benoit doesn’t need
THAT, and shoves the referee aside – but that gives Eddie just enough to shove
Benoit aside too! From a reverse position, Eddie flips 180 degrees in mid-air
and turns that into a Frog Splash, scoring the pin and heading to Starrcade at 10:31. Those last 5 minutes were
phenomenal; so I’ll go ***1/2 for what we saw. -***** for DDP, Kevin Sullivan,
and their love of Valvoline.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND talks about the fans hanging from the rafters. No
Gene, that’s Sting, not fans. It’s a little early to be the shank of the
evening, but no matter, RIC FLAIR, ARN ANDERSON, MONGO MCMICHAEL, DEBRA
MCMICHAEL
, and Benoit are welcomed. Gene wants to talk about the
“shellacking” Anderson took from Sullivan last week. Arn takes a quick shot at
Benoit; saying if he was focused he’d have never lost that US title match.
Anderson says that there’s pretty much no worse position in the world to be in,
then to come home and find your wife on the couch with another man. Unless of
course, you’re the other man, in which case, you’re farked. Arn says he saw
that kind of rage last week from Sullivan, he even smelled it on his breath. He
did? What does that smell like? What is his breath SUPPOSED to smell like? Do
they have special diets in the Dungeon of Doom? Toothbrushes? Did the Master
set up toiletries, or was that an afterthought to ending Hulkamania? Now that
Hulkamania’s dead, does the Dungeon even truly exist anymore, or is it more of
an analogy to life itself; the Dungeon exists in all of us? Does One Man Gang
still visit, or has he moved on to a life of personal hygiene? Why isn’t Mean Gene
covering this instead of asking DDP for the 17th week in a row if he
wants to join the now? Oh, right, the HORSEMEN are here. Arn’s still pissy he
took a beating for Benoit, and wants to know why Woman’s not here tonight to
face the reaper. Debra whines about the fact we spend so much time on Nancy,
and tells Chris the next time he wants to have an affair to let her know
because she has beautiful girlfriends that is way over the damaged goods he’s
playing with now. Benoit rightly takes offense, and tells everyone it’s none of
their business where she is. And regarding his relationship with Woman, he was
in Germany taking care of Horsemen business with her, trying to keep the
Horsemen together as they disintegrate. Benoit goes to start in with Debra, but
Mongo doesn’t let him get two words out before getting all up in his region.
Flair plays peacemaker, telling everyone to shut up and party. He figures after
10 years with the Devil, Woman deserved a weekend with a man like Benoit. God
bless Ric Flair, there is nothing in his world that can’t be fixed with a little
champagne and nudity.
Wow, we’re blowing our load on all the big stars early tonight, because
after a break, HOLLYWOOD HOGAN, TED DIBIASE, ELIZABETH, and VINCENT are on
their way to the ring. Hogan lets Vincent carry the World Title, and the look
on his face tells it all. You know he’s looking everywhere for his PR rep to
snap photographs urgently, completely forgetting he’s freakin’ Vincent and
lackeys don’t get lackeys.
Tony’s pretty salty tonight, demanding that nobody at home show any
respect Hogan. That lasts about 18 seconds before he returns to talking about
how great Hogan looks. Hulk’s a fighting mood tonight, but Piper’s hiding in
the deepest darkest hole he can find unfortunately. That makes him sad, because
he mistakenly thought Roddy was a man’s man. He figures 100 years from now,
when people open their history books, they’ll see pictures of Abe Lincoln and
Hollywood Hogan. He reminds us there’s a pecking order in wrestling, and
wrestlers like Piper, Flair, and Savage are all well below the nWo. Tony points
out that Piper isn’t here. Of course he’s not, it’s not like he’s got a PPV
match to sell for next week or anything.
TOMBSTONE vs. LEX LUGER
Tombstone is our random cowboy guy who appeared at the tail end of WCW
Saturday Night. He doesn’t LOOK super-pro WCW or anything like Lee Marshall
said he was, but more like your generic run of the mill 6’8” goon with an Al
Snow mustache. Kudos to those of you who figured out he was ECW’s 911 long
before I did the math. The fans stand and literally start giving Luger an
ovation. WCW has a god, and it comes with 1% body fat. Larry, armed with far
too much information, talks about Luger’s explosiveness, specifically “he can
explode into you at ANY time!” Of course, he never expands on that, leaving us
with far more questions than answers. Luger hits the forearm trifecta, and
quickly finishes with the Rack at 3:43.
DUD
Before Lex can even celebrate, THE
GIANT
is behind him. Luger manages to dodge an avalanche, and Lex hits a
bunch of forearm shots. With the fans positively rabid now, Luger sees his
opportunity to take the wobbly Giant, and puts him in the Torture Rack!
Everyone is losing their collective shit, but don’t get TOO excited, because THE OUTSIDERS rush the ring. Luger
drops Giant – but the point has been made, he CAN put Giant in the Rack! The
wrestling was garbage, but none of it mattered because that whole segment was
super effective in giving the fans their Christmas Lexgasm.
MR. JL vs. REY MYSTERIO
JR.
Rey applies a hammerlock, but the mysterious JL gets to the ropes to
force a break. While Rey is snapping off a crisp headscissors takeover, Larry
is carrying on about the human game of chess. Rey hits the floor and dares JL
to attack; who promptly does like a MORON, missing his plancha and messing up
his knee. Mysterio nails a rana, and heads back into the ring while JL
recovers. He gets back in and tries to attack with a headbutt through the ropes,
but Rey sidesteps and kicks him before bouncing off the ropes with a guillotine
that gets 2! Rey goes for another rana, but this time JL blocks and hits a
powerbomb for 2. A second powerbomb attempt sees both Rey slip off the back,
and Larry say New World Odor. Springboard moonsault gets 2. JL comes back with
a backdrop suplex, but gets 2. JL complains about a slow count, and Larry
agrees with him, grumbling about 25 glorious years of 3 counts or something.
Rey comes off the top with a rana, and as JL hits the floor, a tope suicida is
RIGHT behind him and it’s as beautiful as any you’ll ever see, spearing JL
backwards to the guardrail hard. Rey sets up West Coast Pop, but JL sidesteps
and applies la majistral for 2! Rey lies around playing possum, and as soon as
JL hits the top, Rey’s on him with the swinging super rana for the pin at 5:59! The usual gold from Rey Jr., who
has easily become one of the 5 best workers in WCW at this point. ***
Rey gimps over to the announce booth, because he wants to talk to Tony
for some reason. Rey says that Sting hasn’t joined the nWo, that’s simply a
rumor started by the group itself. He saw something last week; when he jumped
on Sting’s back, Sting reacted like a normal human being (bingo!). It was
nothing like what Kevin Nash did to him in the summertime, or when Giant
chokeslammed him to the floor. Rey calls out to Sting, saying he knows he won’t
betray WCW, and asks Rey to replay the video from last week to prove he had no
interest in hurting him. Instead, WCW plays this again:
I mean, it ain’t Piper’s music video, but … just no.
Hour #2 brings us another $100,000 in fireworks, as well as MIKE TENAY and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN to join Schiavone. Larry slowly makes his way
back to Larryland to have another game of Human Chess with Arnold Palmer.
GLACIER (with the several
hundred years old helmet) vs. SERGEANT BUDDY LEE PARKER
Mike notes that Glacier’s father is a former State Patrol agent who
retired a couple of months ago. Lieutenant James Earl Wright?!? Could it be?
All the pieces fit! Would that make this a heel turn from Glacier, insisting on
fighting his father’s old partner? Or, is it more Mind Games from Eric
Bischoff, trying to create friction amongst the WCW ranks by booking this
match? Glacier does seem to be uneasy; he is wrestling without his trademark
blue hue, and completes his entrance in a personal record of 28 minutes. The
fans can sense that something is amiss here; a family feud turned ugly, and
they rightly boo the entire thing. Buddy shows great fight, kicking out of a
Cryonic Kick before succumbing to a second one at 2:32. A blizzard erupts in the arena post match; a metaphor to
Glacier’s cold, black heart. Or perhaps Sting got bored and started poking
holes in the roof. It can’t be easy sitting in the rafters waiting for someone
to mention his name. 1/2*
THE AMAZING FRENCH
CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. THE PUBLIC ENEMY
The Canadians have created something of a hybrid Canada/Quebec flag, but
from a distance it looks like France has been invaded and re-established with
the crest of South Korea. The Canadians break into the National Anthem, which
cause Tony and Mike to guffaw that they’re making words up. No, you bloody
dimwits, they’re singing it in FRENCH, and doing a fine job of it! The Public
Enemy attack during the anthem because they do not appreciate French cultural staples
like the anthem, poutine, and chain smoking. The Canadians flatten them
quickly, and resume singing the National Anthem once again. Now that’s
dedication to your country! The Enemy break it up a second time, pulling their
tuques over their eyes, blinding nos saveurs! Les Ennemi public utilize un
“double punch”, et Rougeau se tombe a la plancher. Johnny Grunge lui mettre sur
un table, mais Ouellette arrete l’attaque. 12 years of French classes had to
pay off SOMEDAY. Rougeau locks a Quebec Crab on Grunge, and Ouellette drops a
leg off the top rope. As much as the Canadians generally annoy the piss out of
me, everything they do is in synch, something I wish more tag-teams would work
to adopt. Ouellette steals the table, and sets it up across the top buckle as a
diving board. They use it to assist with the Quebec Crash, but Rocco breaks it
up and then smashes the table over Ouellette’s face, getting DQed at 3:41. They hit the Drive By on Carl
anyway, the jerks. *1/2
BIG BUBBER vs. KONAN (with
Jimmy Hart)
Incredible, these two were able to put their difference aside LAST night
on Worldwide and work together like nothing had happened, and now Konan’s
swearing revenge for his Dungeon mates while Bubba crows about how much he
loves his new shirt. There’s really only one answer to what’s happening, and
it’s clear. Big Bubba has decided that the best way to infiltrate and overthrow
the nWo is to keep their enemies as close as possible. Secretly however, he is
still chumming around with his Dungeon pals, keeping them abreast of nWo
activity, only meeting them in places where he’ll never be seen, like the
Dungeon, or Worldwide. NICK PATRICK
is assigned to this match for the first time in about 2 months, and his neck
has fully recovered! Bubba chases Hart around the outside, forgetting about
Konan, who hits him with a tope suicida. Bubba gets thrown shoulder first into
the ringsteps, because he’s so Raza. Patrick’s 10 count takes about an hour,
and Bubba manages to get back in the ring. Konan goes to strike, but Patrick
grabs his shoulder to stop him, and Bubba gets in his shots. Patrick feels
AWFUL about this injustice, and goes to explain to Jimmy Hart what happened
while Bubba chokes Konan out with a Hulk Hogan bandana. Konan is tossed to the
outside, and Patrick, looking to make up for his earlier slow count that Konan
complained about, counts at lightning speed. Konan beats the count, and Bubba
punches him in the face. Bubba chokes Konan for an eternity, with Patrick
warning him repeatedly that this is not ok. Bubba apologizes profusely; “I know
referee, I’m sorry!”, while never releasing the hold. Bubba “trips” while
bouncing off the ropes, blaming Hart. Hart swears he never touched him, but he
has no credibility, and Patrick gives him the heave-ho. Konan’s livid at this
injustice, and pounds on Bubba’s head. Konan throws him over the top, and is
promptly disqualified at 5:39. Konan
freaks out and goes to kick Patrick’s ass, but Bubba pulls Nick out of the ring
and drags him to the back. 1/2*
DEAN MALENKO vs. “LORD”
STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW world television title)
Malenko has a chance to take dual gold here, which I’m sure the Ultimo
Dragon would appreciate, since that might give him a crack at as many as 10
belts on Sunday. These show off as much chain wrestling as they can muster
before SONNY ONOO and his
stereotypical camera come down to ringside. The referee chases him off, and
Regal uses the brief distraction to use some illegal SHOOTER holds. Really now?
The fans have no tolerance for this vile behavior, and chant “USA”. Of course,
Malenko would tear his own mother’s leg off if it meant getting him one step
closer to a win, so they’re a little hypocritical here. Malenko tries to avoid
a move off a whip, hooking the ropes, but Regal anticipated it, holds back, and
moves in with a European uppercut. Malenko gets to his feet, and takes a chop
block. However, Malenko fights off a submission attempt, and goes for the
Cloverleaf. Regal hits the ropes, and pokes Dean in the eyes. A butterfly
suplex gets 2. Dean manages a go-behind, and hits a nice release German suplex
(complete with Regal’s eyes bugging out when he realizes what’s coming), and
the brainbuster connects as time runs out at 9:32, the designated time limit tonight. **
RICK STEINER (with Scott
Steiner) vs. JEFF JARRETT
Rick jumps on Jarrett off the bell, and tries to rip his face apart
while mounted from behind. The fans quickly chose their side; chanting loud,
and united, for Sting. Steiner drops an elbow, but Jarrett quickly comes back
with a boot to the face and dropkick. Rick has no time for these elementary
games, and suplexes Jarrett over his head. The fans suddenly pop HUGE, and then
burst into boos, because it’s clear we aren’t being treated to Sting, but the NWO STING. He goes for a Deathdrop on
Jarrett, but Steiner delivers a Steinerline, and Jarrett is counted as the
winner by pinning Sting at 2:24?!?
What the bloody fuck is this crap? The announcers are dumber than the fans, and
head to commercial asking if it was the real Sting or the fake Sting.
Main event time, and we’re once again treated to HOLLYWOOD HOGAN, this time all by himself. He’s in a mood to gloat,
because he claims to have received a Western Union letter from Piper, in which
Piper admitted Hogan’s an icon, greater than he ever dreamed he could be … and
the bagpipes fire up. But it’s not the Hot Rod, it’s UNCLE ERIC PIPER, dressed in a kilt and a yellow Hulkamania shirt.
“Piper” admits he had no business fighting him at Wrestlemania 1, and between
his 6 kids and a ranch he can’t afford, if Hogan ends his career, he’ll be
ruined. NICK PATRICK is beckoned to
the ring, and Eric begs Hogan to pin him and get it over with. Hogan is counted
the winner at 0:03. As Bischoff bows
at Hogan’s feet, a TROOP OF BAGPIPERS
come marching out of the back, and down to the ringside area. Then, like the
red sea at the hand of Moses, they part, making way for RODDY PIPER. He makes a beeline for Hogan, who throws punches that
Piper completely no-sells. Piper dishes it back, but now M. WALLSTREET and BIG BUBBER
hit the ring to restrain him. More NWO
MEMBERS
are right behind, as the camera pans to the ceiling, to find STING looking on at the chaos. Hogan
starts whipping Piper with his weightlifting belt, bringing SECURITY led by DOUG DILLINGER to break this up and save Piper.

Saturday Night is a recap of the year, so we’re going to skip right to
Worldwide, and then finally to Starrcade, where we’ll close out the year. Will
Piper emerge as the new WCW world champion? It hasn’t been promoted as a
championship match to date, but between the fact Hogan parades the belt around
in every segment and the fact he hasn’t defended it since Halloween Havoc, it
would seemingly be the case. Will the Ultimate Dragon claim his 9th
Cruiserweight title? Will we finally solve the months long mystery of Fit
Finlay’s disappearance and murder in Europe? In the words of the Macho Man, the
beat rolls on.

WCW Worldwide: December 22, 1996

In regards to my suggestion of Chris Benoit adopting The Unstoppable Erection as his finishing move, It’s False quickly reminded me:
You mean that wasn’t the name of Benoit’s 69 submission hold from a few months ago?
Can I tell you how excited I am for this particular recap? No, not because I anticipate anything incredible (but that would be nice!), but because my wife bought me a wireless digital thermometer for Christmas, and I’ve put it to work in my Green Egg on an 8 pound pork butt. I can smoke AND recap at the same time – it’s multi-tasking at its FINEST!
One week to Starrcade means the biggest edition of WCW Worldwide EVER. You’ve got Konnan, Big Bubba, M. Wallstreet, Galaxy, and Ciclope. Yes, Ciclope. I knew you doubted me, but you shouldn’t.
TONY SCHIAVONE and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN are on commentary duties, and make no mention of the fact that nWo members have started appearing on the C-shows.

CHRIS JERICHO vs. BUTCH LONG
It’s been awhile, Butch! Heenan’s already slurring his words about Hulk Hogan – we may have his most intoxicated appearance since Hog Wild! This show has a world of promise already. Jericho takes the Stun Gun, and winds himself on the wrong end of Butch Long’s boot. Heenan can’t even remember what sport Jericho’s father played, trying like hell to say “hockey” before Tony saves him. Jericho hits a springboard back elbow, and follows with a dropkick. The Lionsault is on point, setting up the missile dropkick for the win at 2:41. Heenan’s so excited he vomits all over Tony’s shoes. *
Tony and Heenan head into the locker room, and Heenan can barely stand up. If they lit a cigarette right now, his lungs would explode.
BIG BUBBER and KONAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JOHNNY BOONE and ROD THOMPSON
Well I have to give props to Konan, managing to put aside the fact that Bubba joined the nWo on Monday night to once again work alongside his good friend one more time. Even Jimmy Hart is a good sport. Konan hits Thompson with a powerbomb, and Bubba follows that act with a headbutt. Both guys start tagging in and out quickly, trading moves. Bubba first hits a backbreaker, Konan a brainbuster, and Bubba a crappy powerbomb for 2 (and only because Bubba pulled him back up). Konan finally finishes with some overhead brainbuster thing that sounds far better in this recap than it looked on TV, but it’s over at 3:36. 1/2*
M. WALLSTREET vs. KENNY KENDALL
Kendall was a regular jobber back in the earlier part of the decade, but I’m fairly certain this is his first appearance in 1996 (unless of course he appeared on Pro, which I would know nothing about). Wallstreet fails to sport the nWo colors, which might get him kicked out just as fast as he was accepted to the group. Tony, who might be drunker than Heenan, starts speculating on whether or not Wallstreet might join the nWo, despite the fact he did that, IN FRONT OF TONY, a week ago. Heenan mentions the only thing keeping him from joining the nWo is Hogan; to which Tony replies “not enough money, huh?” Heenan starts sputtering, and Tony lets it go. Heenan: “The nWo won’t stop, they’re going to build an armory.” Oh Jesus. Hot coffee to the announcer’s booth, STAT! Stock Market Crash gets the win at 4:39. (That’s in hours) *
CICLOPE and GALAXY vs. JOE GOMEZ and RENEGADE
Heenan: “If you can’t find anything to get me for Christmas, don’t worry yourself about it man, you won’t offend me with cash.” Tony: “Will you take rolled pennies?” Heenan (without missing a beat): “Yes!” We get a close up of Ciclope, and Heenan feigns a heart attack. Gomez immediately gives Galaxy a powerslam, and flattens him in the corner with an avalanche. The luchadores make a brief comeback, working in unison with the chops, but they’re neither white nor large, and succumb to clotheslines. A crossbody from Renegade on Ciclope gets a new 2, and Renegade follows up with a crappy handspring back elbow. A completely botched bulldog gets the win at 2:27. This could not have been worse. -**
THE NASTY BOYS hit the ring and beat up everyone for upstaging them in the awful department.
HIGH VOLTAGE vs. LOS GUERREROS
Heenan figures High Voltage is a couple of wins away from being players; which is like saying Triple H is a couple of TV absences away from being palatable. Voltage work over the Guerreros with their double team moves and their way too tight pink singlets. Rage drops an elbow across the back of Chavo’s head, and puts him in a front facelock so that Chavo has a front row seat to his protruding penis. Kaos applies a camel clutch, really working that pelvis into the back of Chavo. Chavo wiggles loose, so Kaos chokes him, and I’ll let you decide what body part he used to accomplish that. Back to the camel clutch, and Kaos is really cinching back on it. Chavo finally escapes, and gets the hot tag to Eddie. He throws Chavo at Voltage, and he does dropkicks them. Eddie finishes with the Frog Splash on Kaos at 5:09. Chavo returns to the locker room where he takes a 3-hour shower while loudly weeping and trying to remind himself it’s not his fault.
HUGH MORRUS vs. LEX LUGER
These two had a swanky little match on the November 8 Nitro, so I have some good vibes for this one. Heenan seems to be a little more on his game, so he may be sobering up. Morrus drops Luger with a shoulder block, and laughs like a hyena. A vertical suplex has Morrus calling for the fans, and he fails to notice that Luger’s up until he comes face to face with the ROAR. Luger slams Morrus with no effort, and hits a shoulderblock. Tony talks about Luger’s freakish strength, but Heenan correctly points out that the Nasty Boys are really strong too, especially if you’re down wind. Morrus hits an avalanche, and Luger face flops. A second attempt misses, and Luger quickly hits a backdrop suplex. A running clothesline gets 2. Morrus fires back with a clothesline of his own, and heads up for a flying elbow drop … which misses! The Torture Rack is academic, and Luger scores the win at 5:11. If Piper can’t get the belt off Hogan, Luger HAS to be next in line. He’s worked his ass off all year, and the fans are completely taken with him. *1/2

No preview for next week, which is a big negative, because I don’t like surprises on this show. If The Gambler is booked, I want to know. 

WCW Saturday Night: December 21, 1996

Starrcade is a week away, and the top babyface, the person drawing the most pops on a consistent basis is … Sting, who is not booked to work. On the plus side, top contender Roddy Piper did NOT appear on Nitro this past week, and the show was among the best they’ve done in quite some time. I choose to believe this is just a shocking coincidence, yes sir.
Meanwhile, in the Cyborg Factory, DUSTY RHODES is dressed like a human marshmallow. He vows to analyze the Sting situation, which is “stealing thunder” from Roddy Piper. You’re kidding? A compelling storyline with a beloved superstar is getting all the attention? Perish the thought. Oh yes, TONY SCHIAVONE is here too.

JEFF JARRETT vs. REX KING
I see we’re wasting absolutely no time in making zero effort tonight. Maybe I’ll mail it in TOO then, WCW. (Spoiler: Always intended to.) King misses an enzuigiri because Jarrett is just soooo much smarter than the rest of us. King does effectively use the backslide for 2, and even gets in a monkey flip for another 2. That’s pretty much a career highlight for Rex King, and he has nothing left to prove tonight. Jarrett correctly analyzes that King has won his Superbowl, and drops a knee on his face. Tony accidentally calls Dusty “Brain”, which goes over as well with Dusty as the idea of doing a job in the mid 80’s. A chop block sets up the Figure Four, and Jarrett wins at 4:27. *
Gene have gotten into the egg nog, because LEE MARSHALL is designated to talk to Jarrett. Jarrett calls out Sting, because he’s got a death wish. He tells Sting he should have been the leader of WCW, but since he’s a crybaby, Jarrett decided to take the ball himself. Meanwhile, he doesn’t care much for Chris Benoit either, who he blames for splitting up the Horsemen due to his unstoppable erection. The unstoppable erection would make for a killer finishing move, as well as a required emergency room visit 4 hours later.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. BUNKHOUSE BUCK
Buck stops to fight with a Stunt Granny on the way to the ring. I didn’t catch the wink to know she’s ok, but that’s probably because they’re all such compelling pros who know how to keep a secret. Tony angrily talks about the mixed signals he’s getting from Sting, sounding like the guy at work who’s perennially stuck in the friend zone with every girl he meets. Page pancakes Buck, and finishes with the Diamond Cutter at 3:38. DUD
LEE MARSHALL stops to answer some unanswered questions with DDP. What the hell? Page has been completely transparent, it’s his gimmick! Marshall demands that Page not “swerve” him, asking him if he’s an nWo member. Page asks him if he ever listens? He doesn’t need Hall, or Nash, or anyone else, he’s fine by himself. Regarding the US title, he doesn’t care who he faces, one Diamond Cutter and it’s all over.
“SQUIRE” DAVID TAYLOR vs. THE GAMBLER
The Gambler has adopted a very dapper look tonight. He cleans up real nice.
This is like trying to choose your favorite child. Deep down, you know who it is (sorry Gambler), but you can’t show it publically. Gambler clotheslines Taylor to the floor, who is so shocked by this display of energy from a jobber that his eyes look like that guy who saw the Undertaker lose at Wrestlemania. He manages to sneak back into the ring undetected, and dropkicks Gambler to the floor. Taylor follows right behind, and gets whipped into the guardrail. Good aggression from our favorite card player. They head back in, and Taylor hits a European uppercut. There’s probably no coming back from that, sorry. A second and third European uppercut should effectively seal his fate. The fallaway slam gets the pinfall at 2:55. Taylor makes a rare trip to the pay windah, and I like to think he brawls with the cashier for refusing his request to be paid in pounds. ****1/2
WCW takes us Up Close with Madusa! She talks about her training in Japan, including her secret sessions in learning all sorts of ancient techniques. Wait a sec, is this a recycled Glacier teaser?
Are you entirely far too uncomfortable re-living Benoit and Sullivan week after week? Good news, a 3 minute video package airs as a “recap” dedicated to them, followed by re-showing the latest home video from Nitro.
If THAT isn’t enough, we have a new video from the lovers in Germany. Drunk off their asses, they carry each other back to an elevator, where they presumably make their way to the honeymoon suite, and Benoit spends the rest of the night swearing that this never happens but the alcohol has slowed his response system. Benoit bids goodnight to Kevin Sullivan, and to “Mrs. Calabash” to further confuse us. But that’s why I’m here, to clear things up for you. Mrs. Calabash is, of course, secret code for female wrestler Zero. That should tie up any loose ends and answer all the questions you might have had.
MARK STARR vs. DEAN MALENKO (in a non-title match)
Starr was unable to secure a Cruiserweight title shot because he recently turned his back on the union to branch out on his own. He’s also about 100 pounds too heavy, but that wouldn’t have stopped them from filing a grievance had he not traded in his construction hat. Dusty notes that Malenko is often an emotionless killer, “stone cold” if you weel. The Tampa Rattlesnake scissors Starr’s throat, and uses the ropes for leverage. Starr escapes and gets a little momentum, but Malenko stops that dead with a crossbody. Starr nearly scores an upset off a backslide, but Dean comes right back with a backdrop suplex. Texas Cloverleaf finishes at 5:50. STONE COLD! STONE COLD! 1/2*
SONNY ONOO and LEE MARSHALL have a tete-a-tete. Sonny figures Starrcade will be a piece of cake for the Dragon, since he has 8 belts and Malenko only has 1. Regarding Chono, Sonny promises to bring in another Japanese wrestler to seek revenge for disgracing his family. I hope it’s the Super Giant Ninja.
SCOTT NORTON vs. SERGEANT BUDDY LEE PARKER
Norton is debuting his lovely new nWo t-shirt, as the most recent addition to the clique. Also here is DOCTOR X, who will be refereeing this one impartially under his nWo shirt. Say, what happened to Nick Patrick? We haven’t seen him in weeks. Norton beats up Parker long before they ever get to the ring, and Doctor X lectures the Sarge for being silly enough to allow it to happen. The Sarge gets into the ring eventually, and threatens to punch Norton, but the referee throws himself in front just long enough for Norton to clothesline Parker. A DDT sets up a vicious (and delicious) powerbomb, and the shoulderbreaker scores the win for Norton at some undetermined time cuz we never rang a bell. DUD
LEE MARSHALL welcomes “LORD” STEVEN REGAL and his TV title; the only heavyweight champion still under the WCW banner. Regal thanks Marshall for being the only one to recognize this fact, and challenges anyone, nWo or not, to give it their best shot. Regal says he’s been trying to get Hogan in the ring for over two and a half years, and he’s happy that Piper’s going to get a piece of him since they’re wired the same way. With that in mind, he’d like to turn Roddy from Rowdy to Vegetable in 5 minutes. I wonder if Regal would like to have my babies?
DISCO INFERNO storms the ring, carrying a mysterious video tape! He should hand it to Tony Schiavone, he’ll play ANYTHING! Apparently, this tape proves that Disco’s an embarrassment and a disgrace. However, he’s since been taught via his uncle Guido the “leg hold” they put on people who don’t pay their debts, and he’ll be putting it on Eddie Guerrero tonight.
DISCO INFERNO vs. EDDIE GUERRERO
It’s kind of shocking WCW didn’t have the foresight to add Disco to the nWo at this point, since it would have totally been within his character to leech off the big boys. Granted, the group probably didn’t want the “uncool” stink of having a jobber amongst them, but that doesn’t explain Marcus Bagwell, Vincent, Scott Norton, or the Bossman. Eddie hits Disco with a spinning heel kick, and is quickly on him with a slingshot senton for 2. They mess up something, and Disco awkwardly falls backwards, so Eddie livens things up with a European uppercut. Disco can’t keep up with Eddie, walking into an armdrag while trying to catch him. Disco punches Eddie in the mush, and gets a 2 count. A beatdown in the corner ensues, but Eddie uses it to fire himself up, and beats the tar out of Disco for even trying to get one over on him. Eddie misses a dropkick in his rage, and Disco goes for his leglock thing, but he can’t figure out how it works. Hah! Eddie shoves him off easily, and dropkicks him in the chest. Frog splash finishes at 4:45. **
COLONEL ROBERT PARKER has bumped into LEE MARSHALL. Lee tries to show off his French chops, but he’d be wiser sticking to telling kids to eat their cereal because it’s grreeeeeat. Parker goes over his resume; he took Slater and Buck to the tag-team titles, as well as Harlem Heat multiple times. The French Canadians are next, and the nWo best watch out. Lee asks about the Steiners, but the Colonel laughs them off. Apparently Scotty’s been faking his injury as a means to avoid the French Canadians. That seems legit, I have no reason to doubt Parker.
M. WALLSTREET vs. BOBBY EATON
Wallstreet makes his nWo debut here, and DOCTOR X has been assigned to referee this one as well. Tony: “Mr. Wallstreet is going to win.” Dusty feels like Eaton might be able to steal a victory when he’s not supposed to, and that the “guy in the mask” is the key to victory. What the HELL is Dusty babbling about? Eaton armdrags Wallstreet to the outside, and gets admonished by the Doctor for his lack of scruples. During his long lecture, Wallstreet has fully recovered, and wastes little time throwing Eaton face first to the buckle. Eaton fights back, but Doctor X feels those fists were closed, and orders Bobby to start playing by the rules. Eaton swears he didn’t, so X asks Wallstreet who confirms the closed fist story. Eaton nails a shoulderblock, but Wallstreet calls a timeout. X grants it, and Eaton is denied the right to follow up his attack. Once recovered, Eaton quickly hits another shoulderblock, and he’s immediately given a warning for illegal use of the elbow. Wallstreet reaches into his pocket, and punches Eaton in the face with a chain. Bobby rolls to the apron, and tries telling the referee who simply doesn’t believe such a thing could be occurring. Eaton, realizing he’s fighting for his life now, hits a swinging neckbreaker, which is about a 9-count, but it only gets 2 from Doctor X, who’s a little slow. Wallstreet shoves Eaton into the referee, who casts him a cold look for the bump, before tripping Bobby up, right into an Oklahoma roll for the win at 5:41. Something tells me this is going to get real old, real quick.
Because we haven’t had enough nWo overkill, the nWo Saturday Night segment still exists. This week:
ALAN STORM
Height: 6’4”
Weight: A stout 273
Fist: 16”
Hometown: Mudlik, KY
Pro Record: 1st & Final
Achievements: Scout Medal of Honor – Local Den #29
MARCUS BAGWELL works as the ring announcer for this one. DOCTOR X is assigned referee duties, while ERIC BISCHOFF and TED DIBIASE take over commentary.
ALAN STORM vs. THE OUTSIDERS (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
Bischoff notes Storm’s lack of good sense to enter this match, but that more or less applies to anyone who appears in these segments, Pat Tanaka included. Hall launches Storm with a fallaway slam, and Nash gives him the snake eyes. Locked in a full nelson, Hall pokes Storm in the eyes anyway. Alan is given a superplex because why not, and Nash gives him the big boot. The Jackknife powerbomb finishes things at 3:26. Doctor X drops down on Storm, which is sold as the referee checking on him to see if he’s ok. Bischoff: “I think he’s got something stuck in his throat!” DiBiase: “Yes, it’s the referee’s elbow.”
LEE MARSHALL gives a pro-WCW rally cry, none more so than his next guest which is … who the hell IS that? Some enormous guy in a cowboy get up wants a piece of Lex Luger for some reason, and Lee books them on Monday. Is Lee ALLOWED to do that?
JIM POWERS (with Teddy Long) vs. LEX LUGER
Powers is completely exposed next to Luger, who towers over him, with a fraction of the body fat, and twice the muscle. Sorry Jimbo. Powers tries to hold his own, but even his clotheslines are awful, and those are the one thing Luger really excels at. Lex nails a backdrop suplex, and starts with his crisp clotheslines for 2. Powers comes back with a running kneelift, but it doesn’t matter because he misses a dropkick and finds himself locked in the Rack for the Luger win at 3:24. Didn’t even break a sweat. 1/2*

Time is short, because Tony wishes us a Merry Christmas and ushers us out the door faster than David Sammartino’s WCW career.

WCW Nitro: December 16, 1996

I hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday season. I’m back after a quick road trip with my wife, where we shuffled on over to the North Pole, and met Santa Claus. The original plan was to see Mick Foley’s favorite, Santa’s Village in New Hampshire, but unfortunately they shut down during the holiday season (what the heck?). Nevertheless, it was a wonderful getaway, where I was able to forget about things like Work, and whether or not Glacier Is Coming.
With 3 days left in the year, will I meet my goal of getting the entire WCW 1996 run completed before then? 8 shows, including a PPV? I may never sleep again!
TONY SCHIAVONE is shrieking like a giddy school girl, LIVE from Pensacola, Florida, one of the 30 largest cities in the great state of Florida! LARRY ZBYSZKO sits nearby, but is interrupted before he can say anything of significance (which may have taken another 25 glorious years).
ERIC BISCHOFFTED DIBIASE, and VINCENT kick the announcers out of the booth. Bischoff tells them that they are done for the night, sitting in their seats. Larry refuses to move, telling them that they’re not enough to make him go. DiBiase removes his headset anyway, and Larry promptly does nothing as Vincent walks him away. You show ‘em Larry!

They replay Piper’s segment from last week, because that’s what we do now. Sting vs Rick Steiner is announced for later tonight. Again.
PSYCHOSIS vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW world television title)
This is a rematch from the 5:23 “time limit draw” from 11/16. I am hoping they extend the limit to at least 8:52 tonight. Bischoff promises a new international nWo member tonight. Well, this match would be an excellent place to start speculating. Fans chant USA, which is cool by Psychosis but NOT Steven Regal who elicits so much rage that cartoon steam fires out his ears. Psychosis takes down Regal, but a knee to the face changes that quickly. Regal starts working over the elbow with a number of stretches and jerks, as the nWo porno music takes us to commercial break.
Upon return, Regal’s still in command, getting in a schoolboy for 2. Psychosis wrings the arm to change things, and Regal rolls around in pain, trying to slap feeling back into his arm. As he stands, he’s met by a couple of spinning heel kicks, so he heads to the safety of the floor. Or, so he thought, until Psychosis comes flying at him with a tope con hilo! Regal is tossed back in, and Psychosis flies in with a super sunset flip, getting 2! Psychosis waits for Regal to stand before he strikes, hitting a well-timed dropkick to the mush. Regal’s placed on the top, and Psychosis is quickly on him with the super Frankensteiner for 2! Psychosis doesn’t let up, with a tight package for 2. Sensing the end, Psychosis hits the guillotine legdrop, which is his finisher … but Regal kicks out at 2! Psychosis tries something else, but Regal quickly switches places and hits an overhead German suplex, and both guys fall on their heads painfully. Psychosis recovers first, hitting another spinning heel kick for 2. Regal rolls over quickly to apply a crossface, and gets an elbow to the mouth. That pisses him off, so he reapplies even harder, before moving to a full nelson stretch on the mat. Once released, Regal waits until Psychosis gets to a knee, before hitting him with a double knee strike to the face. A butterfly suplex gets 2. Regal uses a forward suplex to put Psychosis up top, but he fights Regal off. A super splash connects, but Regal kicks out at 2 again! Hell, what is it going to take in this one? Psychosis moves in for the kill, so Regal pokes him in the eye and rolls Psychosis up for 2. Psychosis quickly backslides Regal for 2, and as the Lord is back to his feet, he takes a superkick! Psychosis mounts Regal, but Regal shoves him forward, faceplanting Psychosis to the mat, and he dives on to the luchador with the Regal stretch, showing some mad intensity, getting the quick tap out at 10:38 to retain. This wasn’t for everyone, but I dug it huge. ***1/2
BIG BUBBER vs. CHAVO GUERRERO JR.
No Jimmy Hart with Bubba tonight; he may figure Chavo’s not worth his time. However, he puts up a fight, as Bubba misses a clothesline and gets beat up in the ropes. Chavo dropkicks him to the floor, where Chavo quickly dives … right into his awaiting arms. Bubba slams Chavo on the floor a couple of times, and heads back in to pose. Chavo gets back in at 8, walking into a meaty fist. Bubba now has a moment of clarity, where he ushers back to his early days in Georgia, and hauls out the classic wrestling move, a shove. Takes years to perfect that one, kids. He misses a leaping headbutt though, and Chavo dives on his shoulders with a dick to the face, getting 2. A butt butt to the mush gets another 2. And that’s all she wrote, as Bubba gets up quickly, hitting the Bossman slam for the win at 2:55. 1/2* for the homoeroticism.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND brings out SONNY ONOO and “one of the greatest stars in Japan”, and promptly fails to name him. Sonny has helped THIS MAN negotiate with New Japan, but “this man” opens his coat to reveal an nWo shirt while Bischoff and DiBiase yuk it up. After This beats up Sonny Onoo, he’s revealed as Masahiro Chono. Of course, Chono’s been here before, having wrestled at Starrcade 92 & 95, but considering the audience has basically turned over during the last 12 months, some kind of intro might have been nice.
MASAHIRO CHONO vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Bischoff calls their new recruit “Masa He’s My Hero Chono”, of which I approve. Jericho takes a big boot to the face, but comes back with a sunset flip for 2. Chono claws at Jericho’s eyes, and they hit the floor to trade punches to the face. Back in, Chono hits an atomic drop with a little oomph, and Jericho sells it like he’s been crippled. Chono heads up, but Jericho’s spine re-fuses itself, and he cuts Chono off. He successfully hits a superplex, and follows with a spinning heel kick while Bischoff mocks In Your House 12 from last night, for some reason. Why give them the attention? The WWF is so far below WCW in terms of quality right now, it’s not even worth the mention. Jericho finds himself tangled up in the ropes, and Chono leaves him hanging towards the outside by one foot. With Jericho strung up and vulnerable, Chono kicks the crap out of him and is issued a DQ for excessive violence in a professional wrestling match at 5:50. *1/2
Piper’s segment from last week is replayed AGAIN.
The Shank of the evening is upon us, as “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND welcomes RIC FLAIRARN ANDERSONMONGO MCMICHAEL, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL, all wearing nWo shirts. Ok, they’re not, but don’t rule it out in the coming weeks. Gene wants to talk about Chris Benoit, and Arn’s cool with that. He tells Sullivan if he’s caught in the crosshairs, that’s fine, and he plans to mend Sullivan’s broken heart with a broken body instead. Flair calls Benoit a good man, having a good time in a hot spring in Germany. Debra says that Benoit has hit on her a few times, but she has no interest in “little boys”, just “real men”. She’s noticed that the women in this industry wouldn’t have a dogs chance in hell of winning a beauty pageant, so forget the rest and focus on Miss Debra. Flair cuts a promo on behalf of Piper, and promptly loses his voice.
DAVE SAMMARTINO vs. DEAN MALENKO (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Yes, yes, yes! The Nitro debut of the legend David Sammartino! He’s built like a wall, but none of that matters, because he has a parted mushroom cut. I remember when I had one of those. I was 7 years old and really into Super Mario. I’ll assume Sammartino has the same excuse. Bischoff insists if we order one pay-per-view this year, we order Starrcade. The problem is, he’s gone to the well with that pitch nine other times this year, and you can’t use your one time more than once. It’s as true in poker as it is in pay-per-view. Meanwhile, these two are allegedly wrestling or something, and Malenko wins completely out of nowhere with a double underhook thing which comes out of nowhere and leaves everyone confused (including David) at 3:10. Don’t be a stranger, David! DUD
Hour #2 kicks off, and Bischoff welcomes TONY SCHIAVONE“SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN, and MICHAEL “MIKE” TENAY back to the booth. Schiavone is being booked to look like such a stooge. Art and real life I suppose. Tenay tries to talk about Chono cuz he loves him a foreigner, but that’s all for naught because Tony’s been DYING to say “Piper” all night and just lets loose a string of them in an incoherent babble about Starrcade.
JERRY FLYNN vs. ICE TRAIN (with Teddy Long)
A LEGEND DEBUTS!!!! Between the chest hair, the slight beer gut, and telling the fans to “get out of my face!” when he’s about 50 feet away from them at the top of the entrance ramp immediately delights me. And of course, he’s stolen Jerry Lynn’s music, which is all kinds of tasty. Train clotheslines my new favorite jobber, and rallies the fans to bring the noise. Train Wreck looks to finish, but no sir, he ain’t done yet. Instead, he hits Flynn with an avalanche, and goes for a second, but Flynn EXPLODES out of the corner with a clothesline! An awful spinning heel kick propels Flynn outside the ring with his momentum, where he looks into the camera and yells “SHUT UP!”
Back in, Flynn hits Train with an enzuigiri, or “back leg round kick” if Bischoff were still here. Speaking of Bischoff, Tony announces, as ordered by King Eric, that tickets go on sale for nWo Souled Out on Friday, a new pay-per-view airing in January. Flynn keeps on with the kicks, but Train catches it in mid-air, and locks Flynn in an anklelock for the win at 3:27. This would have never happened if they’d fought in THE BLOCK. DUD
Before anyone clears the ring, SYXX is on the entrance ramp, introducing THE OUTSIDERS. Tenay wants to bail, but Tony has decided to stand his ground NOW, as opposed to earlier when all the weakest members were chasing them away. Nash says he saw the Faces of Fear giving each other a poi bath earlier, and challenges them for tonight. Hall demands an answer before the hour is up.
BOBBY EATON vs. REY MYSTERIO JR.
Eaton takes the early control, by hitting Rey with a backbreaker. Tony breaks the news about a match at Starrcade; Mysterio will take on Jushin Liger. Fantastic! Rey, propelled by this great news, sends Eaton to the floor, and nails him with tope suicida! Rey brings him back in with a forward headscissors over the ropes, but Eaton gets up first and goes for a suplex. Rey slips off the back and hits a spinning heel kick, which is the preferred move of Cruiserweights tonight. A double jump moonsault gets a quick 2. Eaton fires back with a clothesline, and applies a headlock. Bobby goes to finish, but changes his mind half-way through the air, hitting a kneedrop on Rey instead of the Alabama Jam, and only gets 2. That proves to be his demise, as Rey snaps off a quick rana, and scores the pin at 4:59. Tony hints at Rey’s future in backstage politics, by pointing out that Rey never seems to lose. Pfft, just wait Tony, just wait. **
Speaking of Tony, he really starts flapping around his newly discovered set of balls, by airing the latest video from CHRIS BENOIT and WOMAN. Wearing the same clothes they’ve been wearing for at least 2 weeks, and still working over that bottle of wine, Benoit breaks out his poor French (by Quebec standards) to seduce Woman. Benoit then looks into the camera, and asks Sullivan how it feels to come home to an empty house every night, while Woman nuzzles up to him like a kitten. Tony: “We didn’t need to see that!” Then why air it, you horse’s ass?
KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. ARN ANDERSON
Sullivan points towards the announce booth, and promises death to Tony Schiavone, and rightly so. First however, he has the important task(master) at hand of facing Arn. Sullivan meets Anderson in the aisle, and decks Arn in the mouth. They start to roll around on the concrete, viciously trading blows with each other. Kevin grabs a chair and whips it into Arn’s face, so Arn picks it up and swings for the fences, missing and hitting the ring post. They head into the ring, as Sullivan beats Anderson down in the corner. Back to the floor, Arn is tossed into the front row, and they tee off on one another in a sea of fans. Anderson brings it back to ringside, and into the ring. Anderson drives his knee into Sullivan’s groin repeatedly, and accidentally elbows the referee in the face during his assault. Sullivan pokes Arn in the eyes, and blinded, Arn grabs the first head he stumbles into, DDTing poor Mark Curtis. Sullivan, hobbled by the hamstring assault, still manages the double stomp, and ties Anderson to the tree of woe. He picks up a head of steam, and Anderson stops the train by punching Sullivan right in the pooter! Sullivan makes the same face as Bald Bull, so HUGH MORRUS races in to protect his master. A DDT puts an end to THAT in a damn hurry. KONNAN is next, and gets back handed as soon as he hits the apron. Hart is yanked into the ring, as BIG BUBBER lumbers down. Bubba hands a wooden chair to Sullivan, who smacks Anderson over the head HARD. The referee is revived at his point, and Sullivan wins at 3:51. That was absolutely wild. ***
RICK STEINER (with Scott Steiner) vs. STING
Sting is lurking in the rafters as usual, and disappears into the darkness, presumably to come down to the ring. The fans are rabid, chanting “WE WANT STING” in grand unison. And Sting they shall have, as he makes his way through the audience and towards the ring, carrying a baseball bat. However, it’s *very* clear it’s the NWO STING, as the real one emerges without the bat. It turns out they’re working in unison, as nWo Sting holds the ropes open for the real deal; dah hell? Real Sting stops suddenly, and starts burning a hole in the nWo version. Fake Sting puts his bat to Sting’s chin, but the real one has one hidden under his trench coat as well, and whips it out. The bat is knocked out of the imposter’s hand, knocking it towards the Steiners. Scotty picks it up, while Sting tosses his to Rick. Both Stings turn their backs, just as Sting did 2 weeks ago … but the real one grabs the phony and delivers the Scorpion Death Drop!!! Rick tosses Sting his bat back, which he accepts, disappearing into the crowd once more.
HOLLYWOOD HOGANTHE GIANTVINCENTTED DIBIASE, and ELIZABETH strut down to ringside with about 15 minutes left in the show. Hogan calls out Piper immediately, since he “knows” Piper’s here and in the back. Of course, Piper’s nowhere near the building tonight. Hogan asks us to be patient for Piper, he’s on a bad hip. He goes off on some weird tangent about beating up Andre the Giant in his youth here in his hometown of Pensacola. Hogan asks Liz to show him how much she loves him, demanding a kiss for Macho to see. She complies with a quick peck. DiBiase whispers something to Hogan; it turns out that Piper ran out the back door as soon as Hogan came through the front door. Hogan laughs, and can’t wait for Starrcade, when he gets the chance to put the old cripple in a rocking chair for the rest of his life. So with no brawl to give the fans, Hogan poses for them instead so that they’re not left without a quality show. I must be delirious, because “off the deep end, crazed with power” Hollywood Hogan was all kinds of fun here.
THE OUTSIDERS vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart) (in a non-title match)
I’m not impressed the belts aren’t up for grabs here, but I’ll accept a full dismantling of the Outsiders of course. Instead, I’m given a quick advantage by the Outsiders, attacking before the Fear are in the ring. BIG BUBBER hits the ring to stand by his friends … and immediately turns on them, as the latest member of the nWo. As Meng takes a Bossman Slam, KEVIN SULLIVAN rushes the ring with KONNAN to attack their former ally. Hall and Nash waste no time wiping the floor with them. HUGH MORRUS is next, and fares no better. Now THE GIANT runs down – is he torn between friends? Nope, he goes straight to beat up the Faces of Fear, and MARCUS BAGWELL joins them. STEVEN REGALPSYCHOSISCHAVO GUERRERO JR., and JERRY FLYNN get involved now, with SYXXVINCENT, and MASAHIRO CHONO coming in to keep the nWo numbers stacked. ICE TRAIN comes to ring side with a bad look in his eye – is he next? No, SCOTT NORTON stops him and drops Ice Train on the floor. He enters the ring, and goes straight after MONGO MCMICHAEL for some reason. Is Norton nWo now?!? REY MYSTERIO JR. joins the frey, and hilariously, so does DAVID SAMMARTINO. Tony officially announces Norton as an nWo member. STING comes down to the ring just as ARN ANDERSON gets involved, and Arn immediately goes after Sting because he’s an idiot. Sting punches him in the head, which draws Mongo to attack. Everyone stops to watch Mongo and Sting brawl. Mysterio jumps on Sting’s back, trying to choke him out, and pissed off, Sting throws him aside and storms to the back as the show heads off the air.
Team WCW really doesn’t get it, do they? Sting has drawn them the map, but they’re too stupid to follow it. He made his allegiance clear earlier; he is with WCW, as long as they embrace him. They haven’t, so he doesn’t need them.

So for the time being, he’ll be Batman. And hell, there’s a lot worse people you could be.

WCW Worldwide: December 15, 1996

Just days away from Christmas, will WCW load their biggest syndicated show with loads of top stars just to please me? Why yes – no less than the likes of Madusa, Hugh Morrus, Big Bubba, and Hacksaw Duggan!
TONY SCHIAVONE and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN host from the Disney MGM studios.

JOE GOMEZ and THE RENEGADE vs. HIGH VOLTAGE
Hey, I don’t remember having been promised Joe Gomez or The Renegade; this show is the gift that keeps on giving. We saw this match just last night on WCW Saturday Night, where the Renegade scored his first pinfall in ages. With momentum, don’t be surprised if it continues here tonight. We start with many hiptosses, because that’s roughly all they have. Renegade, now without facepaint, but armed with nuclear nipples, comes off the top with a … punch. Kaos fires back with a double underhook powerbomb on Gomez, and a slingshot splash from Rage gives the heels the advantage. Kaos unfortunately misses a shoulderblock, hitting his buddy instead, and Renegade comes in a house of fire, hitting them with … punches. A handspring back elbow drops Rage, but Kaos saves at 2. Gomez clears the ring, and hits a sidewalk slam on Rage for the win at 3:42. 1/2*
ELECTRONIC KARATE FIGHTERS!
HUGH MORRUS vs. LEROY HOWARD
Good to see old Leroy giving the can another kick. This is the rubber match between these two, having previous fought on the September 2 Prime, and the September 8 Worldwide. Of course, this is the equivalent of playing for pride, as Morrus swept the first two matches. A spinning heel kick takes the head of Howard right off, and he is now deceased. Morrus refuses to cover a corpse. Because it’s morbid? No, because he can stop and laugh in his previously functional face. Morrus punches him some more which seems like overkill, and starts going full Weekend at Bernies by picking him up at 2. He hits the No Laughing Matter, pins the torso at 2:57, and laughs hysterically, screaming “NOW THAT’S FUNNY!” The Howard family requests that you send money instead of flowers. *
31-minute Roddy Piper video package.
KAORU (with Sonny Onoo) vs. MADUSA
Were you aware the women’s title tournament is still happening? Well, you would if you read my Main Event recaps. You don’t? It’s a SECRET EASTER EGG hidden on my personal blog, and I’m implore you to read it to find out the latest in Lee Marshall news. Madusa beat Zero last night. It begs the question: How many wrestlers does Sonny Onoo manage in this tournament, exactly? Kaoru gives Madusa the face sitter, because she’s Japanese and they’re all sex workers you know. Madusa hits 3 swinging neckbreakers for 2, which frustrates her. Thankfully for her she’s white, so she isn’t losing. A couple of muff-presses are delivered from Kaoru. Does she know any moves that don’t use her vag, exactly? Yes – just one – the moonsault that misses by 80 feet, and the German suplex wins for America at 2:45. 1/2*
JIMMY GRAFFITI vs. CHRIS JERICHO
We’re about 3 or 4 months in to the Chris Jericho era, and I think we’ve firmly established that’s a bland crowd-kissing wiener. I would be delighted if we explored other aspects of his personality, such as his relationship with Dave Penzer. But first, he’s got to survive the wrath of Jimmy Graffiti, who hits him with a backdrop suplex. A superkick flattens the Paragon of Virtue, and a short powerbomb gets 2. Jericho fires back with Sweet Chin Music, and asks us the question that’s been on his mind since the start of the match: “ARE YOU READ-EH?” Graffiti is, and gives Jericho a jawbreaker. Chris rolls to the floor, and Jimbob misses his senton off the apron, crashing into the spinning stage. Jericho quickly finishes with a missile dropkick at 3:27. *1/2
EDDIE GUERRERO vs. PUNISHER
Ooh WCW, you know I’m a sucker for really stupid gimmicks, and this is the finest new one you’ve trotted out in months. Observe:
I’m fairly sure he’s a “punisher” in the BDSM sense. The safe word is “cabbage”, Eddie. Punisher shows off his tight bulge, and Eddie promptly grabs it to slam him. Punisher has no time for these games, he is the alpha male, and pounds away on Eddie. A standing senton gets 2, as well as an uncontrollable erection (I won’t spoil from who). A standing vertical suplex has everyone standing at attention, as Punisher gets 2. Punisher chokes Eddie out like he’s Jian Gomeshi, but he sadly forgets to turn his teddy bear’s head around first. Eddie escapes, and slams Punisher’s face to the buckle for an even 10. A European uppercut loosens some teeth, just the way Punisher likes it. In fact, this gives him a second wind, and he slams Eddie before heading to the top (rope – let’s not be gross). He chooses to assert his sexual dominance with a primal roar, releasing so much testosterone the front row is forced to change their clothing at intermission.
The momentum of his manhood propels him forward into Eddie’s awaiting arms, but it’s a trick, and Eddie rolls away. He scoots up top, hitting the Frog Splash, and scoring the pin as they lie together, out of breath, but mutually satisfied with the result at 4:14. 69 stars. Tune in next week when Punisher continues to plow through the family, taking on “Gory” Guerrero.
BIG BUBBER (with Jimmy Hart) vs. “HACKSAW” JIM DUGGAN
This is your main event. Without checking my archives, I have to guess that this is roughly the 98th match between these two in 1996. Heenan wastes no time in laying into Duggan, so Tony stands his ground and tells Heenan if he says one more word, he’s going to invite Duggan over the announce booth with the 2×4 and tell him what he said. Heenan: “That’s fine, the next time the Faces of Fear come out, I’ll tell them what YOU said about where they come from.” Tony: “I didn’t say that!” Heenan: “I don’t care, I’ll make it up. Besides, I never said anything bad about Duggan, I just tell the truth.” Tony: “Forget it.” Bubba works a headlock, so Duggan goes to the kidney punches to scoot loose. A hair toss has Bubba clutching his scalp, and Hart stops to point out the giant bald spot on the side of his head to the referee. The referee doesn’t believe a word of it. Duggan delivers an atomic drop, and slam Bubba, setting up the 3 Point Stance. Hart gets involved, and Bubba jabs the megaphone to Duggan’s midsection drawing a DQ at 2:32. The heels celebrate while Duggan’s doubled over, but I’ve played this game before. Sure enough, he grabs his 2×4, and chases the heels off. Bubba forgets his hat and glasses, so Duggan puts them on and marches around the ring until Bubba comes back to claim them. Duggan smacks him in the face with the board, and calls out his hoes. *

Next week: Konnan, Big Bubba, Mr. Wallstreet, Galaxy, and Ciclope! Okay, I’m a little jazzed for the last two. Tony signs off with the obligatory 470 word soliloquy to Roddy Piper, and we’re out.

WCW Saturday Night: December 14, 1996

Jabroniville writes: RIP Jimmy
“Graffiti” Del Ray. I remember this Nitro! I couldn’t place who
Graffiti was, but he didn’t last long in WCW.
Their fatal flaw in the
booking was in never giving him a chance to talk to Okerlund.
Gene: “Are you Jimmy Del
Ray?”
wannaberockstar: Watching the Horsemen in
1996-1997 is, I assume, what it was like in the last days of the Roman Empire
when they were down to a handful of territories, struggling to keep themselves
relevant. I mean Jeff Jarrett and Mongo McMichael?
To a certain degree.
We’re a couple years away from seeing them get a shot at resurrection, only to
see it buried dead and good at Starrcade 1998. The current incarnation with the
Jeff Jarrett nonsense right through to the spring of 98 is definitely the
lowest point in the group’s history; and that’s saying a lot considering Paul
Roma.
Dr. Unlikely: Does Piper go on about
“Tootsies Bar & Grille” in this episode?
You mean where Hogan
played the BASS GUITAR when Piper was FIFTEEN YEARS OLD?
texasranger9: Its funny reading these
reviews and then watch the programming of today. If this would happen today
what would the WWE do? Like, lets just say, a wrestling ICON showed up at the
end of one of its biggest PPV/Special Events to save the company from a group
of heels lead by a blonde, 40+ year old. If that would ever happen would they
re-air that segment every show for a month? Or would they only mention it in
one segment and forget about it a week later?
To be fair, Roddy Piper
gives WCW fresh batshit crazy material to work with weekly, which they beat
into the ground until the following Nitro. Sting hasn’t even bothered sending
Maggle a mysterious package, which would be aired carte blanche, in which an
embarrassing video contains messages that prove he’s wanted a match with Triple
H since at least 1993. In fact …
53 seconds in to this,
Vader challenges Sting to play A Game. The Game? Did I just out-scoop Dave
Meltzer?
Let’s head to the Cyborg
Factory, where men who know use Valvoline.

DUSTY RHODES and TONY SCHIAVONE hype
the Starrcade card, giving equal amounts of attention to all the matches
slated. And if you believe that, I’ve got WCW stock I’d like to sell you. Piper
Piper Piper. I haven’t heard repetition like that since Shari Lewis was alive.
BILLY KIDMAN vs. DEAN MALENKO (for the WCW world
cruiserweight title)
I’m glad that WCW gave
these guys some time apart in order to keep this matchup fresh and vibrant.
I’ve really come to appreciate their work together over the last 12 days since
this one last ran on TV, and I’m ready to renew this old rivalry. Kidman earned
this non-stop slew of title matches by beating Jerry Lynn on Worldwide once. Kidman
hits a nice slingshot headscissors take over, and Malenko hits the floor to
slow him down a little. It works, and Dean takes over with a fallaway slam.
Kidman tries a sunset flip but gets punched in the head for his effort. A
crossface is applied, for some “bone marrah on bone marrah” action. Welcome to
Planet Dusty, if you need to drink go see the Debulish Woman down by the Pay
Windah. A crossbody off the top connects, but Billy rolls through for 2.
Malenko is up first, and clotheslines Kidman so hard he does a full 360. A
brainbuster is tried, but Kidman slides off the back and hits a tornado bulldog
for 2. Malenko sidesteps a dropkick, and hits the brainbuster this time for a
close 2. Kidman comes back with another bulldog attempt, but Malenko reverses
it mid-hold into a slam, and locks on the Cloverleaf for the submission at 6:55. **1/2
HIGH VOLTAGE vs. THE RENEGADE and JOE GOMEZ
High Voltage are the
underdogs here on the basis that unlike the opposition, their Nipples have
never been given their own segment on Nitro. I’ll keep this match to a high
level summary: we saw a wide array of hiptosses, and Renegade wins with a big
splash off the top at 5:25. 1/2*
As part of Gene’s
propaganda report; he’s hearing that WCW is investigating the signing of “one
of the biggest names in wrestling history”, who reeks of “tradition”. While I
assume this report has about as much legitimacy as the financial reports at Los
Pollos Hermanos, I’ll call out the WON guys to ask if there was anything here,
since both Bret and Shawn were locked up at this point. Was this just an
overhyped Mr. Perfect?
JEFF JARRETT vs. LARRY SANTO
Dear god, we haven’t seen
Larry Santo in years, and man does he look grizzled. Of course, anyone who
spent their livelihood getting worked over by Vader may have suffered the same
fate. Jarrett hits an early swinging neckbreaker, but Santo retaliates with
hiptosses. A blind charge misses, and the next thing you know, Santo’s locked
in the Figure Four and tapping out at 1:43.
Welcome back Larry. DUD
Hey, speaking of
embarrassing Sting videos…
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. REX KING
Page is chewing gum
today, while simultaneously smoking his cigar. I don’t know if the gum is
standard for every cigar, but that’s positively disgusting. Not disgusting is
his fantastic finisher however, in which he backdrops Rex into the air, and
hits the Diamond Cutter on the way down in one smooth movement, for the easy
score at 3:19. *
LEE MARSHALL gets a word with the big winner, who pantomimes the move all over
again. His enthusiasm is completely infectious; and his evolution this year has
been a joy to watch. Marshall asks about the nWo again, and Page reminds us he
doesn’t need them or anywhere, because he has the greatest finisher in the
world. He says if they keep it up, he’s gonna drop them. Page can’t wait for
his shot at the US title at Starrcade, throws in a racist joke about Eddie, and
finishes with a BANG.
ICE TRAIN (with Teddy Long) vs. LUSCIOUS LUTHER
BIGGS
I don’t mean to speculate
idly, but I think it goes without saying that Glacier is scouting this one very
carefully. A quick Train Wreck sets up a shoulderblock off the top, and Biggs
hits the floor. He acts incapacitated, but it’s a ploy, because he gets back in
and throws a punch. Ice Train doesn’t care for that, and hits a clothesline to
set up a senton. Still choosing not to finish, a standing vertical suplex sets
up a banzai drop, and FINALLY he goes for the pin at 2:27. It took Luther Biggs nearly 3 years to recover from this
loss, but when he did, he came back with a lot of Buzz. *
RON STUDD and ROAD BLOCK vs. THE FACES OF FEAR
(with Jimmy Hart)
Holy crap, now THIS is a
match up! I can’t imagine anyone coming out of this alive? Just ask Fit Finlay,
who Ron Studd killed overseas months ago. Nobody sells anything here, and it’s
glorious. Seeing Meng take the giant arms of Road Block to the face and just
giving it back, with neither guy giving an inch is amazing. Road Block hits a
big boot, and Meng’s up at 1. Both members of the Fear start with the
CLUBBERIN’! Barbarian goes for the Kick of Fear, but Road Block just slams him
and GOES UP TOP! A big splash MISSES, dear god! Kick of Fear is right there,
and we have winners at 3:25. This
was at least a 5 star matchup, and possibly 6.
KEVIN SULLIVAN won’t talk to Tony anymore, so he’s talking with LEE MARSHALL instead. Marshall promptly
stabs him in the back and airs a new Chris Benoit video.
CHRIS BENOIT and WOMAN are still
sitting around drinking their wine. Benoit brags that Woman wants to be with a
young stallion, and is finished with the old generation. Woman: “Woman gets
what Woman wants. She always has, and she always will.”
Back to the arena,
Sullivan snaps and asks Marshall if he heard a word he said to Schiavone on
Monday? He reminds Lee that the video was sent to HIMSELF and no one else. He
also knows Tony Schiavone is the producer of this show, so he doesn’t blame
Marshall, but is livid no one’s asking him if it’s ok to show this stuff.
Sullivan reminds us that he has a family, and at home he’s not the nut he
pretends to be while he’s here. He might be wrapped a little tight, but he has
nothing left in his life to lose now. He sends a message to Arn Anderson,
because he’s been arrested before but it took 12 officers to get him in the
car. With his personal life now a mess, he blames Anderson for starting this
because he’s the one who brought Benoit into the Horsemen. For every cold and
lonely night he has moving forward, he’s going to take it out on Anderson and
split his head open. He can’t tell him what he really thinks because this is on
TV, but if he ever shows another video without his permission, something’s
gonna happen.
The complete
Piper/Bischoff confrontation from Nitro is aired.
HUGH MORRUS vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW
world television title)
This is a big of a styles
clash, but I’m digging the idea. Morrus puts his arm behind his back like
Regal, and prances around the ring laughing his ass off. He quickly pays for
that, finding himself trapped in a hammerlock. Regal sweeps the legs out from
Morrus, and powers him down to the mat, but Morrus overcomes that by winning a
test of strength and getting back to his feet. Regal throws a ton of palm
thrusts, but it doesn’t stop Morrus from springboarding off the ropes and hitting
a clothesline. Regal hits the ground, looking shocked, so Morrus follows him
out of the ring. Big mistake, because Regal rolls in first, and waits to start
hitting the palm thrusts and European uppercuts upon his re-entry. Morrus
spears forward, and uses a ground and pound technique, looking seriously
pissed. Regal pokes him in the eyes, stops to plead innocence with the ref,
before moving to the corner to work Morrus over some more. Regal works a
headlock on the mat, grinding his elbow into the ears because he’s a dick. Upon
release, Morrus hits a boot to the face, and starts running over Regal with
clotheslines. Morrus heads up for No Laughing Matter, but Regal pops up and
powerbombs him from the reverse position and gets the pin to retain at 5:06. That was fantastic. Post-match,
Regal tells us to forget the nWo, the Horsemen, and the Dungeon, because he’s
all alone and kicking ass. ***
Meanwhile, over in the
world of nWo Saturday Night…
K.C. SUNSHINE
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 210 & 1/2
Reach: 15 1/3”
Fist: 15
Hometown: Flooring, IL
Pro Record: It ain’t much
Studying “Dance Art” at
Skivies Dance downtown
Because of his lack of a
track record, Sunshine isn’t worthy of a ring entrance. SYXX is our ring announcer, THE
OUTSIDERS
work the commentary, and DOCTOR
X
referees.
THE GIANT (with Marcus Bagwell) vs. K.C. SUNSHINE
(for the WCW United States heavyweight title)
Hall notes Giant’s
beautiful hair, with his recent change in conditioner. Sunshine throws himself
at the Giant like a tennis ball, but gets clobbered all over the ring. A Baldo
Bomb leaves Sunshine worse for wear, and Bagwell throws in a taped fist shot.
The referee, after a brief discussion with Bagwell, decides it was legal. The
Giant goes to the mat to try some shoot style wrestling, and hooks a “large
package” for 2. Nash: “KC has blonde hair and dark eyebrows, he must be dying
those eyebrows.” KC hits the floor, where Syxx chops away at the poor jobber,
and Bagwell laughs at him. Giant does the world’s laziest version of La
Magistral (you probably don’t believe me, but I swear!), before palming KC’s
head like a bowling ball to throw him around. Bagwell slides into the ring as
Giant holds KC in place, and gives him a play by play how-to instructional on
how to do a Chokeslam. This is easily the highlight of the match, as it takes
nearly a minute, with Giant talking him through each step, eventually getting
the pin.
In case you needed to see
the Roddy Piper segment from Nitro one more time, in full, we play it again.
DAVID TAYLOR vs. “HACKSAW” JIM DUGGAN
Duggan’s waving his flag
around like a bloody lunatic, and nearly takes the head of poor Taylor off in
the process. Off the bell, Duggan dumps Taylor over the top, but fails to draw
a DQ because WCW makes no sense. Taylor pulls Duggan to the floor for a little
brawling, but promptly gets himself thrown into the ring post. The world’s
ugliest American cheerleader starts a USA chant, before taking a jawbreaker
across the top rope. A snapmare leads to a headlock, where Duggan’s eyes and
tongue take on a life of their own. Duggan elbows his way out of the hold, and
drops Taylor with a shoulderblock. A knee to the midsection allows Taylor to
put the headlock back on. Duggan fights out again, so Taylor pokes him in the
eyes. Duggan sells for a second, but stomps around like a Nazi on speed. Taylor
rapidly puts a stop to that, and re-applies a headlock. Duggan gets to his
feet, so Taylor rocks him with a European uppercut! I was waiting for it! Then
back to the headlock, because Taylor’s amazing. Duggan gets loose, so Taylor
snapmares him and puts the headlock on for a 5th time. I know this
must be driving most viewers at home nuts, but I’m loving every second of
Taylor’s dickery. Duggan escapes, and finally gets away long enough to punch
Taylor 10 times in the corner. Taylor takes a big step forward, and falls on
his face. However, it was a ruse, and he pops up like a torpedo, and promptly
applies his 6th headlock. Duggan fights loose, screams at the
referee to get off his back, and dives at Taylor, face first into the buckle.
Taylor heads up, so Duggan tapes his fist up, and levels him on the way down
for the pin at 6:11. Dave Taylor is
a god amongst men. **1/2

Our main event segment
features ARN ANDERSON, by himself in
the locker room. About 2 years ago, he was in Japan wrestling, and saw a young
guy named Chris Benoit, and knew immediately “that’s a Horseman”. He went to
WCW to get him hired, and Benoit’s exceeded all expectations since his arrival.
He told Benoit that anything he wanted was his, just reach out and take it.
However, there’s an unwritten rule that applies to every aspect of a man’s
life. #1 – you take care of your family. #2 – you don’t mess around in another
man’s family. Arn says with his age and wisdom, he can tell Chris that there’s
going to come a time when he’s a nobody, and no one will have any interest in
getting his autograph. And whether he walks away from the sport on his own
terms, or is rolled away in a wheelchair, the one constant will be his family.
So he closes by asking if destroying Kevin Sullivan’s life is worth losing his
soul.

WCW Nitro: December 9, 1996

Are you ready for action? Excitement? A REALITY CHECK? Because tonight, WCW has promised us two solid hours of Roddy Piper here on WCW Monday Piper! Your hosts are TONY PIPER and LARRY PIPER. They can’t get so much as a coherent sentence strung together, because immediately the bagpipes fire up and out walks…
GLACIER! Oh, sorry, it’s RODDY PIPER. He’s wearing a Carolina Panthers t-shirt, because he’s a giant suck-up (since we are LIVE in Roddy, North Caropiper). Piper says he’s home, because he’s so bloody strung out he can’t tell North Carolina from Oregon. He hops around on one leg (the surgically repaired leg, for those playing at home) as a display to the nWo that he’s fine. His 7-year old son, whose name he can’t remember (his words, not mine) saw the nWo written on his leg, and told daddy dearest that Hogan’s younger than him and has two legs. He’s been told to stop because he’s a gimp. “It didn’t seem to stop Bo Jackson!” For god sakes Roddy, yes it did. Piper tells a story about a time he was asked to take a dive against Mr. T, which he refused, so “they” forced him to wear special gloves that curled his hands so he wouldn’t hurt Mr. T. It was the most shameful moment of his career, one he’ll never repeat, cuz he’s never taking a dive for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Point made; but nope, we’re still going. He talks about a recent nWo promo he saw where 6 guys dressed in leather were sitting around drinking Dom and not a woman in sight. You know, for a guy whose nickname is “Hot Rod” and wears a kilt, you’d figure he’d stay away from that nonsense. Piper demands Hogan tonight, and leaves to the bagpipes and a slew of utterly confused fans who are still cheering but don’t appear to be sure why.

MIKE ENOS vs. M. WALLSTREET
Thankfully, the announcers are about as interested in this match as I am, but that’s because Tony can’t stop talking about the number of kids Piper has. TED DIBIASE wanders down to ringside about 30 seconds into the match, and considering the history he has with one of the guys in the ring, it should be obvious where this is going. He has a contract, which Enos smiles and offers to sign – giving Wallstreet a chance to nail him with the Stock Market Crash at 1:36. DUD Wallstreet happily accepts the contract; presumably to join the nWo.
The insanely creepy Benoit/Woman video is replayed from Saturday Night. This is on the Network, in full.
HUGH MORRUS vs. THE RENEGADE (with Joe Gomez)
I’ve always appreciated WCW, and their roster of 1400 wrestlers, but cutting ties with Renegade sooner rather than later might not be the worst idea in the world. It’s unbelievable that in a year and a half since his debut, working in numerous high profile spots, that he has failed to improve in any way, shape, or form. Morrus, on the other hand, is coming into his own, showing some fantastic timing and unique characteristics that stand out. He admittedly doesn’t look great selling the horrible handspring back elbow from Renegade, but the No Laughing Matter is always a joy, and Morrus gets the win at 3:02. 1/2* He goes for a second one, but Gomez saves his close personal friend from disaster.
KEVIN SULLIVAN power walks right into the face of Tony Schiavone, freaking out about the video being played a second time. He says it’s just a stupid ratings ploy; and demands to know who the tape was mailed to. Tony admits it was sent to Sullivan himself. Kevin freaks, and asks why the hell Tony thought he could just up and play it? Tony backtracks saying he only does what he’s told, but Sullivan says he’s a pawn. His personal life is his business, and that video affected “somebody” really badly (no idea who that is, they don’t have kids), and demands that the next time he’s got a video, he gives it to Sullivan and doesn’t air it for their stupid ratings.
Upping the ridiculousness, a special video look at Sting is aired with “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler as the bed. Do they understand their audience is 13-35 year old men?
Things are spiralling downwards fast; because KEVIN GREENE is welcomed by “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND. Greene is still upset that Mongo sold him out a million years ago, and insists he’s gonna get his revenge after that pesky football season is over. In fact, he wants a piece of Hulk Hogan as well, and he’ll be renamed “Chokin” Hogan. Just leave.
JIMMY GRAFFITI vs. DEAN MALENNKO (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Is this show for real? Jimmy Graffiti’s getting title shots on their flagship program? I realize the WWF is utter garbage, and they probably don’t have a lot to worry about from the competition, but this Nitro has been straight up laziness. I suppose Graffiti could shock us all with the performance of a lifetime, but then I imagine Tony could stop talking about Roddy Piper, but that’s simply not going to happen. Graffiti works a hammerlock on the mat, slowing things down right away, exactly what I want from my Cruiserweight matches. Malenko belts him with a short arm clothesline, and we take a commercial break which causes every trained fan to immediately look to the entrance to see who’s coming to the ring.
Back from the break, SONNY ONOO has joined us to liven up the racism. He’s snapping pictures, because that’s what Asians do. Graffiti nearly steals a pinfall, but that’s not happening, so let’s move on. Malenko knocks Jimmy to the floor, but misses the baseball slide allowing Graffiti to clothesline him. Malenko is dropped across the guardrail, and rolled back in as Jimmy promptly crotches himself on the top rope. A superplex from Deano knocks both of them silly, and Graffiti recovers first with a superkick for 2. A powerbomb allows Graffiti to take half an hour to eventually go for a bridge, getting 2. Malenko comes right back with a series of pinfall attempts, but none of them succeed. Graffiti throws a hot shot and goes for a brainbuster, but Malenko hooks him and rolls forward for the pin at 7:06. This was perfectly acceptable, but I’m all kinds of sour right now. **
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND drops in to talk to Sonny Onoo. Sonny slips and speaks English, and Gene accuses him of being a scam from a sushi bar. Sonny says he speaks with the accent is because the US throws him free education, free housing, and even stay home and get free money with his act. He waves a miniature American flag to show his patriotism.
THE NASTY BOYS vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart)
I see a glimmer of hope in turning this show around; but that’s assuming the Nastys don’t drag the Fear down to their level of stink. Everyone starts clubbering, causing Tony to get knocked in the jaw by the ever present erection of one Dusty Rhodes. Of course, THE OUTSIDERS appear about 20 seconds into this match, posing with the tag-team titles to a roaring ovation. Sags easily slams Barbarian, but heads to the floor to chase Hart, so the Fear double team him, complete with smashing his face with a chair. Barbarian holds him hostage while Meng viciously beats him in the chest with such vigor you can hear each rapid blow clearly. He’s rolled back in, and Barbarian misses a top rope swandive. Knobbs tags in as the “fresh” man, but there ain’t nothing Fresh about Brian Knobbs. Knobbs hits a mid-rope placha on Barbarian, followed by a mid-rope splash, but the referee is busy trying to break up a fight on the floor to count to 3. Hart gets involved now, but accidentally smashes Barbarian in the face with his Megaphone. Knobbs rips the coat right off the back of Hart, and throws him right over the top, into the awaiting arms of Meng. Thankfully Barbarian puts an end to this sham with a Kick of Fear at 5:22. Too much selling from the Fear makes me an unhappy camper. *
The Shank of the Evening is upon us, because “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND welcomes RIC FLAIR to a rabid Charlotte crowd. Flair takes a moment to bow down to Kevin Greene, for leading the Panthers to the playoffs. With that in mind, he asks RODDY PIPER to join us. Flair endorses Piper, and admits he fumbled the ball two years ago when he had the chance to stop Hogan. Roddy admits it’s his last shot, and says he doesn’t want to come off as arrogant but he isn’t asking for anyone’s help. He won’t live with himself if he can’t do this alone. With that in mind, he has a big kiss for Flair, and they head to the back in each other’s arms to talk old times.
MIKE TENAY and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN join Tony for hour #2. Zbyszko disappears into in the purple haze of Larryland.
Piper’s first promo from hour 1 is replayed, in case you weren’t sure whether or not Roddy Piper was here.
BOBBY EATON vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Eaton clotheslines Jericho immediately, heads up, and choose not to hit the Alabama Jam. No, with Jericho laid out perfectly, that would only make sense, and we can’t have that. Instead, he drops a knee, which does little, and before long Jericho’s throwing spinning heel kicks while simultaneously blasting in with a promo against Nick Patrick, vowing he’s going to get him again. For what? Patrick’s not even around anymore. Lionsault gets 2. Eaton fires back with an electric chair, and NOW he decides, yes, it’s Alabama Jam time, but ONLY after he takes about 48 minutes to scale the ropes. Jericho moves, nails Sweet Chin Music, and finishes with the missile dropkick at 2:36. 1/2*
In light of last week’s bizarre behavior from Sting, we choose to let THE STEINER BROTHERS weigh in, with “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND firing the hard-hitting questions. Scotty asks if you really wanted a fight with Rick Steiner, would you hand him a bat – because if so, you’re nuts. Scott says he saw something in Sting’s eyes at that moment, and he’s able to do the math. Together, the Steiners and Lex Luger are WCW forever. Rick starts doing pirouettes looking for Sting, and asking for a message that never comes.
SGT. CRAIG PITTMAN vs. ARN ANDERSON (with the McMichaels)
Only a night like tonight could breed the return of the Pitbull. I’m about ready to pull my TV out of the wall in the hope it explodes. We call for a commercial break after about a minute of absolutely nothing happening.
Back in the arena, Arn is slowly dragging Pittman’s leg to the corner, and whips it around the ringpost. Mongo looks Pittman in the eyes, and screams “DID IT HURT?” with a shit eating grin, which makes me crack a smile. Arn heads up, but Pittman slams him off the top and locks Arn in Code Red. Anderson scurries to the ropes for the break, and heads out to the safety of the floor. Debra gets into it with the referee, allowing Mongo to smack Pittman with the Haliburton, and one DDT later gives us a winner at 2:52. *
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND needs a word with the Horsemen (sans Flair, Benoit, and Woman), and everyone’s asking where Woman is? Benoit’s apparently in Germany, and is supposed to be alone. Debra shrieks that “Nancy” is a tramp, and she wears her beauty pageant gear to remind everyone that she’s legit and true to her roots. Arn urges Benoit to come home, because he’s got a bone to pick with Woman. I bet Benoit’s got a bone with Woman too.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. JEFF JARRETT (in a United States heavyweight title tournament semi-finals match)
Oh come on, what the shit is this? DDP should be on the fast-track to the finals since Luger and Arn annihilated each other in round one; but since neither of THEM could decide a winner, apparently Jeff Jarrett gets a free pass into the final 4 in a tournament he was never a part of. Further blowing my mind is the realization that these two would one day main event a pay-per-view together. (Albeit, not a good one.) Jarrett sweeps out Page’s legs, and dances on his back. I’m not impressed until I see a moonwalk, or at minimum, the Charleston. Jarrett and Page get into a shoving match, and a commercial break gets in the way.
Specifically, a Roddy Piper ad for Starrcade.
Back from the break, Page hits a backdrop, and follows with a tilt-a-whirl slam for 2. Jarrett retaliates with a jawbreaker, and follows with an enzuigiri – and now we strut. A swinging neckbreaker takes Page down, and Jarrett points to his head because he’s Double J: Super Genius. After a brief flurry of offense, Page hits a quick sunset flip for 2, but Jarrett pops up quickly with a clothesline to keep him down. A slingshot suplex sets up a second rope fistdrop, and a bridge pin gets 2. Jarrett goes for a suplex, but Page packages him for 2. Jarrett’s right back to it with a faceplant for 2. Jarrett tries a sleeper next, and Page waves viciously until he passes out. After a brief siesta, he’s awake and wiggles loose. Jarrett blocks a kick, but can’t block the discus punch, and they’re both out. DDP slowly makes his way to the top, and hits a clothesline for 2. Page feels the momentum now, and charges Jarrett, but the ropes are pulled down and he crashes to the floor. Out cold, THE OUTSIDERS race down to ringside but both Jarrett and the referee see Nash. They completely miss Scott Hall, who hits the Outsiders Edge on Jarrett as he was standing on the top rope watching Nash. Page rolls in, having no idea what just happened, and gets the win at 9:49. We have a highlight tonight! ***
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND storms the ring next, and wants to know why Hall and Nash keep coming to Page’s aid. He reminds us that he doesn’t need those guys, he has the hottest finisher on the planet. For the last time, he is willing to do his own thing without them. He wants to know where they were 3 years ago when he was busting his ass? When he won the most improved wrestler in PWI last year? He says this situation reminds him of dealing with a girl he might have picked up in a night club once, and the next thing he knows, she wants a “membership” to his “gym”. For the last time: Leave DDP alone.
RICK STEINER vs.
RODDY PIPER storms down to the ring as Rick’s music is playing. I can’t decide if I’d rather see this, or the planned Rick Steiner/Scott Norton main event. He calls out Hogan, and wants to do some fighting NOW. He’s got a chair, because he’s willing to wait. Instead, we’re greeted with ERIC BISCHOFF, now with a new evil goatee, ducking debris and getting soaked with beer all the way to the ring. He’s here to inform Piper that the nWo has left the building, and remind him that he’s Piper’s friend. He’s doing everything he can to protect Piper from the violence of Hulk Hogan. But if he insists, “we’ll see you on the 29th, gimp.” Piper stands and smacks Eric in the back of the head, and before he smacks him with the chair, THE OUTSIDERS and TED DIBIASE rush down to ringside. He threatens everyone in sight with the chair, and nobody’s willing to pounce, as the fans go completely insane. KEVIN GREENE rolls into the ring to stand with Piper, and help him fend everyone off. The crowd is going absolutely insane here, and JUST as the Outsiders make their move, WE’RE OUTTA TIME.
I’m getting Piper overkill, but that last segment was red hot. And, bonus points for NOT turning Kevin Greene on the side of the nWo, because you KNOW 1997 Eric Bischoff wouldn’t have been able to resist that “clever” move.

To better days, and better shows.

WCW Saturday Night: December 7, 1996

Pneumonia’s no fun, but WCW Saturday Night is! At least sometimes. Well, occasionally. Whatever the case, it’s better than pneumonia! Off to the Cyborg Factory.
TONY SCHIAVONE and DUSTY RHODES can’t WAIT but to talk about the MATCH OF THE DECADE between Piper and Hogan, which will top the MATCH OF THE DECADE between Savage and Hogan last month. Also, Dusty is eternally confused by Sting, Woman, and Benoit. Like, together?

SGT. BUDDY LEE PARKER vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Where the hell has Parker been for like 10 months? Is Lt. James okay? Will the State Patrol re-unite, or has there been a change in management at the old USA Police Station? And is Jack Boot secretly Buddy Lee’s evil twin brother? It’s like nWo Sting, on a Worldwide level of controversy. Dusty makes a bold prediction: Jericho’s on the doorstep of stardom. There are nuggets of wisdom under those chins. Jericho hits Sweet Chin Music to send Jack Boot Parker to the floor, and follows with a plancha. Back in, a hot shot changes EVERYTHING. To the point Tony starts comparing the Sarge to Roddy Piper. I’m not kidding. A kneedrop leads to a headlock, but Jericho’s out quickly and hits a release German. Spinning heel kick is followed by the Lionsault, but Jericho stops to yell “COME ON BAYBEEE!” Missile dropkick finishes at 4:17. That match was shockingly froot. **
TONY SCHIAVONE interviews Jericho, stopping him before he hits the pay windah. That’s rude. Jericho says WCW is not going to sit down and take this nWo invasion lightly, and as soon as WCW nominates a leader, he’ll stand behind them. Ok, so Hall fired the first shots over 6 months ago, and WCW hasn’t taken the time to nominate a leader. What do you guys talk about in the locker room?
THE ARMSTRONG BROTHERS vs. THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker)
The Canadians stop everyone to sing the National Anthem, and they’re actually on point with the music. Big steps, which are lost when Tony Schavione can’t SHUT UP. These Quebecers from 1996 are completely wrong; but I guess you can’t have them demonizing Canada while waving the Quebec flag because the politics of separation might be lost on the crowd at Diznee. Make no mistake though; if they’d walked out in Canada carrying around a poster of Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard, they’d draw more heat than this Rusev/Putin thing today, I kid you not. Quebec Crash wins at 2:09. *
The crew is halted by TONY SCHIAVONE. Colonel Parker is now “Ker-nelle Par-kerre”, doing his best French impression of someone doing a French impression. Kernelle promises the whole world will be Parlez Vous Francais by the time they’re done. Done what?
BUNKHOUSE BUCK vs. RICK STEINER
Who did I upset? I’m REALLY sorry. Please don’t do this. Awww hell, nobody dies on the way to the ring, this is happening. Belly to belly overhead starts matters for Rick, while Tony reminds us about 800 times that Roddy Piper is not a part of WCW’s roster. Good to know he’s the man charged with saving WCW in that case. Meanwhile, Dusty starts speculatin’ on Sting’s gameplan. He decides it’s mysterious. Steinerline finishes at 2:24. DUD
In a segment I typically ignore in these recaps, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND pimps his hotline. Today’s big news, an “Icon” might be “Calling It Quits” and “Going Elsewhere”. Well, if that’s true, it’s unfortunate, and we’ll all miss the Booty Man.
KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. PRINCE IAUKEA
If you’ve seen one Saturday Night match with Kevin Sullivan, you’ve seen them all. Toss over the guardrail, toss into the ringsteps, toss into the ringsteps, Jimmy Hart cackle, toss into the ringsteps, double stomp in the belly welly, win at 1:41. DUD
The winners are invited to a chat with TONY SCHIAVONE, and Sullivan immediately starts in on Benoit. Tony stops him because he’s been handed another MYSTERIOUS TAPE that they’re just dying to play RIGHT NOW.
It’s a home video of WOMAN and CHRIS BENOIT. They’re sipping wine, and Woman’s giggling about the fact she’s not with her parents or in the Keys. She warned Kevin to stop hurting Benoit in Baltimore and one more shot meant it was over. And by over, she means over sista. She reminds Kevin that it’s not the 50’s, she has the right to vote and drive, and she’ll do what she wants whenever she wants. Benoit laughs that he hasn’t made any of the same mistakes Sullivan made, and it’s time he got some sense kicked into him. He brags about being the best chess player, but Benoit bishop just took Sullivan’s queen. NOT REMOTELY UNCOMFORTABLE. (I was initially going to insert a screencap here of how incredibly creepy this entire thing was in retrospect of … well, everything, but I realized there are some people who probably would prefer not to see it – so I’ve linked it here instead and you can choose.)
Back to the live arena, Sullivan’s eyes are welled up, and he bolts.
JEFF JARRETT vs. JOHN BLITZ
John Blitz is a fantastic wrestling name. In fact, I’m a big fan of the light blue lightning bolt down the side, and am completely disgusted at the ease Jarrett wipes the floor with him – including lying across the top ropes like a hammock. Tony spews his love for Jeff Jarrett, because of respect, tradition, family, 1905! Of course, Jarrett’s wrestling the entire match like a heel, but that’s just history! Speaking of history, John Blitz. 🙁 … figure four at 3:35. *1/2
RIC FLAIR and TONY SCHIAVONE hook up to promote the upcoming Nitro in Charlotte. He declares that Piper’s a man. Did he peak under the kilt to confirm? Together, they’ll walk the aisle! Different strokes.
Even though I’ve seen the commercial dozens of times, this one still slays me every time.

 
HIGH VOLTAGE vs. THE FACES OF FEAR
Now I’m amped! I even get pre-recorded comments! Concerning Hall and Nash, they grunt a lot. That’s fantastic. Dusty: “Tony I need to correct you a moment, you said the belts belong with the Faces of Fear, well that’s not true. They belong with the better team, the winners if you will. And that is not High Voltage.” That was an incredibly mean spirited burn; you’re alright Dusty Rhodes. Barbarian beats the tar out of Kenny Kaos. He desperately tags Rage, but Barbarian doesn’t care, he keeps beating up Kaos anyway. Rage tries to double team Barbarian, so he just clotheslines both of them. The price tag of that disrespectful attack is Meng – who promptly beats Rage into the mat. Barbarian comes back in to choke Rage, which draws a stern warning from the referee. Meng chops Rage in the corner, showing no rage of his own, just business. A bored spike piledriver gets 2 – only saved by a diving Kaos. That’s cool, Barbarian has a powerbomb with his name all over it. Kaos saves again. Dude, you trying to cripple your partner? Barbarian punches Kaos in the face just cuz, and drags Kaos back to the corner of Fear for more pain. Now Meng hits him with a sitdown powerbomb, which Kaos saves, so Barbarian clotheslines him in the face. Wonderful. Rage finally gets to his corner, but can’t find Kaos, so he dives off the top, right into a Kick of Fear from Meng for the win at 4:55. I cannot get enough of this stuff. ***
Over on nWo Saturday Night … we have a repeat challenger!
“PISTOL” PEZ WHATLEY
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 299 lbs.
Reach: 32”
Fist: 18”
Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Pro Record: 99-76
Doughboy look-a-like winner
The largest small man in wrestling
“PISTOL” PEZ WHATLEY vs. MARCUS BAGWELL (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)
Pistol Pez was last seen just two weeks ago on the November 23 edition of Saturday Night. In fact, he’s introduced as the only person to ever come back for more. Bagwell is defending the US title here for god knows what reason, and is also peeling off his shirt for all the “young teeny bops” out there. Your ring announcers are the OUTSIDERSSYXX is the ring announcer, and DOCTOR X has been given referee duties – further proof he could NOT be Nick Patrick as Patrick has been MIA for ages. Bagwell flexes, which Nash calls a “nice double bichat”. He turns around to show off his back, and Hall gushes over those lats. Whatley gets in a scoop slam, and poses – which upsets everyone involved because this is an nWo segment. Bagwell launches him into the buckles, which causes deep vertebrae trauma. A swinging neckbreaker is all she wrote at 3:10. Nash congratulates Bagwell on his 1-0 winning streak. Whatley goes over to the Outsiders to ask if he’s getting paid, and Nash vows it’s in the mail.
DAVE TAYLOR vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
Taylor nearly chokes on the Saturday Night smoke machine, angrily waving it away as he makes his way through the door. He should have given it a European Uppercut. DDP is on a hot-streak, and I’m FAIRLY sure he’s only lost one match since May (to Guerrero at the Clash) – so it’s unfortunate that he’s been put in this unwinnable position against Taylor. The Squire wrings the arm, but Page reverses and throws some shoulder blocks. Dusty notes, for the first time amongst the announcers, that the fans are actually cheering DDP. Tony figures it’s the Diamond Cutter that’s won them over. Page hits a backdrop suplex for 2, and that’s enough for Taylor, who throws TWO European uppercuts! Then a third! Sweet mother of God, how is Page expected to win let alone LIVE? The referee starts admonishing Taylor for the uppercuts, but Taylor makes a clear demonstration that those were hands, not closed fists, repeating it slowly for the dimwitted ref. A boot to the face sets up a vertical suplex – and it looks like Taylor’s got this match in hand. A fourth European uppercut is launched like a missile, and there is no stopping this English-bred machine. But then – Taylor grabs a TV from ringside, and it EXPLODES! That allows DDP to hit the pancake, and finish with the Diamond Cutter at 6:06. **
TONY SCHIAVONE has a nagging question on his mind about Page and the nWo. Page figures he should be flattered since the nWo’s biggest current recruits are Sting and Page, but he’s not. He works better when he wants to do something, not when he’s told. What he wants is the US title.
ARN ANDERSON vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW world television title)
Regal takes issue with the smoke machine much like his compadre – but more importantly he has a big problem with a large number of the fans in the front row; so much so that he stops to lecture several of them, one at a time. It’s the little details that made Regal; hell, even today he still has that range as evidenced by his facial expressions on the NXT post-show last Thursday. Arn works an armlock, but Regal escapes and pops up with a big smirk on his face – only to have it knocked off with a short arm clothesline. He makes a face like he bit into a bad lemon. The ring announcer notes that 5 minutes have already lapsed, which is an impressive feat in only 2 minutes. Regal pokes Arn in the eye, and promptly denies it when questioned. Regal throws a European uppercut, but Arn comes back with an abdominal stretch. No leverage tonight because he’s not a heel. Regal escapes and throws some palm thrusts to Anderson’s face. Arn fires back with a huge right, and gets a close 2. Regal sweeps out the legs, and quickly locks on a crossface – with the occasional palm thrust to the ear. Yowch! Hold released, Regal throws another European uppercut, spears him, and re-applies a crossface with additional palm thrusts. That ear’s got a future as a cauliflower. Arn wiggles loose, and starts throwing wild haymakers, but one European uppercut takes him right back to the mat. The Regal Stretch is applied, but not fully because Anderson is fighting, and Arn makes the ropes. Regal pops up and stomps him repeatedly. To the floor, one minute left is announced, and that seems to wake Arn up. Back in, Anderson punts Regal in the face and goes for a quick DDT, but Regal blocks. A spinebuster puts Regal down … and time runs out at 8:01. Awesome old school brawl. ***1/2
Time is legitimately up, as Tony ushers us off the air. No Worldwide tomorrow? That’s AWFUL! So we’ll shuffle off to WCW Monday Piper, and go about our business. G’night!

WCW Nitro: December 2, 1996

Apologies on the slowness
of these recently, I’m dealing with pneumonia and my level of concentration is
not all there.
Biscuit! writes: This WCW run just killed Piper
for me. I was hoping for like 8 Diamond Cutters to see him out the door.
Well Biscuit!, I ask that
we not react prematurely, unless of course you can see the future or something.
Piper, admittedly, has not “lit the world on fire” over his first few weeks,
but maybe we should just let it all play out and see where it goes. It’s not
like he’ll wind up locking himself on Alcatraz and rant and rave about
Hollywood Hogan from inside a jail cell as any kind of pay-per-view build up or
anything, so I think we all need to relax a little.
And speaking of seeing
where it goes, I imagine Piper will be around tonight, because this is Nitro,
home of fireworks, exploding street lights, TONY SCHIAVONE, and LARRY
ZBYSZKO
. We are LIVE from Dayton, Ohio, on a frosty December evening. Your
theme tonight: Piper is the only man that Hogan hasn’t defeated.

Before Larry can even belch his first New World Odor, THE STEINER BROTHERS interrupt the broadcast table. Scott lives!
Scotty says that Sting’s one of his best friends in the world, but last week he
attacked his brother, and tonight he’ll make sure he doesn’t do it again. Did
Scott manage to miss the fact that Rick started it?

GLACIER vs. HARDBODY HARRISON
According to Larry, the
story goes that Glacier has been gone for the last couple months to work
secretly on himself, and has added greatly to his repertoire overseas. I’m
going to call bullshit on that, since he appeared on Worldwide on November 24. Reflecting a little on Glacier, the obvious
move, after his debut match, was to advertise his second match heavily with
vignettes. COMING HARDER: THE SEQUEL. Play it out for 8-12 months. Repeat.
Anyway, it’s clear Glacier has in fact made changes. For example, he has lost
his blue light. But that’s about it. The Cryonic Kick wins at 1:02. Then, Glacier cuts a heart-felt
promo about his background. His father was an officer of the law, a good man,
with honor and values. And he has years of experience as a military man, now a
secret ninja warrior, and his discipline has taught him that rogue groups like
the nWo must be stopped. He rallies the entire WCW roster together in a
beautiful moment, where they unite as one, chanting Glacier’s name, vowing to
use their numbers to overcome the nWo, including his opponent, the man named
Stang. Wait, none of that actually happened, he actually sat around posing for
half an hour. DUD
JOE GOMEZ and THE RENEGADE vs. THE AMAZING FRENCH
CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker)
Tony can’t wait to see
some great tag-team wrestling, and quite frankly, neither can I. If any is
booked, I’ll be thrilled. The Canadians break into the National Anthem, a
LITTLE off key and queue, but without any regard for their patriotism, Tony
talks ALL over them. Fans chant “USA” for the Spanish guy. Gomez is tossed over
the top rope, allowing the Colonel to stomp him like a bug! Back in, Ouellette
kills Gomez with a full head of steam. A double hot shot has Joe gasping for
life, but the Renegade saves him with an illegal attack. He isn’t admonished,
which seems unfair. A crappy handspring back elbow hits Rougeau, and he’s so
embarrassed by it that he immediately gives Renegade a spike piledriver. Quebec
Crash finishes at 3:15. *1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND makes his first appearance of the night, chatting
with ARN ANDERSON by the ramp.
Flair’s not here, because he’s in rehab. We’ll assume it’s his shoulder, but
you never know. We’re talking Hulk Hogan tonight. Arn reminds the world that
there was a myth Hogan couldn’t be beaten, which he destroyed by beating him
twice in two weeks. (Fact!) Years ago, Hogan told Arn that the toughest matches
of his life were with Piper. Anderson used to take it with a grain of salt, but
he’s gone back and watched those wars, and he understands now. Even when the
entire nWo attacked him, he saw no fear, but just straight up focus. And when
they square off, 1-on-1, Piper’s going to serve him his receipt. The fans
respond positively, chanting “nWo!” at the top of their lungs.
THE FACES OF FEAR vs. THE ROCK & MALES EXPRESS
                                            
Scotty Riggs is on the
rebound, and he’s walked right into the arms of one Robert Gibson, who hasn’t
won a match with old Ricky since mid-1988. This might be the great tag-team
match that Tony was hyping during the last segment. Apparently the Faces of Fear
have been granted a tag-team title shot at Starrcade. Now THIS would be a good
time to have the nWo show a little ass, the Fear might be the only team
legitimate enough to take down the Outsiders cleanly. Unfortunately, WCW is
booking them like chumps early, with Riggs scoring a 14-count off a sunset
flip, except that Meng has the referee distracted. I’m not cool with this.
Barbarian goes for a powerslam, but Riggs holds the arm and drags him along.
What the crap is this? Barbarian finally just punches Gibson in the back of the
head, and in comes Meng. Riggs hits him with a crossbody off the top for 2. A
double clothesline drops him again, and I am decidedly unhappy. Gibson works a
headlock on a bored looking Meng. In comes Riggs, and Meng just chops him off
his feet. The backdrop into a VICIOUS powerbomb very likely just put Riggs in
the hospital. Barbarian delivers a backbreaker, which is silly, they already
broke his back. Meng calmly chokes Riggs in the ropes, chanting in Tongan the
entire time. For kicks, Meng delivers a spike piledriver, but Gibson saves his
crippled partner. Barbarian chops Riggs hard in the THROAT. Yeebus! Riggs
somehow manages a sunset flip … perhaps he’s a zombie? Barbarian laughs and
doesn’t flip, opting to Banzai, but Riggs moves. Gibson enters, giving
Barbarian a Blockbuster for 2! That draws the ire of Meng, who throws about 800
consecutive punches. Kick of Fear from Barbarian finishes at 7:41. Riggs re-enters, and slams both
Fear members in the head with a steel chair. Ummm … you’re probably gonna come
to regret that, pretty boy. **
KEVIN SULLIVAN vs. KC SUNSHINE
This is your usual Prime
/ Worldwide crap, with Sullivan attacking before the bell, and doing the fast
action garbage brawling alongside the ring. Must be nice to be head booker, and
feed yourself a perennial stream of jobbers to keep looking like a threat to
anyone worth a damn. Granted, he never puts himself OVER in those big matches
at least, but after a full year of this, I’m done with the Kevin Sullivan
experience. The most entertaining thing to come out of this, is that poor Randy
the Ram Robinson is given the unfortunate ring name of KC Sunshine – but it’s
always good to see the old Ram out there. We’re denied a Ram Jam, or even a
classic rock entrance. Double stomp finishes at 2:01. RIP Randy. DUD
Post-match, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is forced to waste
time talking to this clown. Sullivan declares himself the greatest chess player
in history, but Benoit’s recently got the upper edge with his mind-games, since
he did something or other in Baltimore after Sullivan beat him off. Of course,
he never spells it out because this angle sucks.
BILLY KIDMAN vs. DEAN MALENKO (for the WCW world
cruiserweight title)
Winner of this match
faces Ultimate Dragon at Starrcade. Kidman sports a spiffy 0-191 record against
Malenko coming into this match. And that’s just over the last 6 weeks. Don’t
get too enthralled here though, because Tony has a memo from the Executive
Committee, which is headed up by the Anonymous General Manager. They state that
they have all authority over titles in WCW, and not Eric Bischoff. Of course,
Larry puts Tony’s hand to the fire and asks questions like “do they sanction
all the title changes?” and “can they weigh in on disruptive finishes?” … Tony has
no clue, of course. Meanwhile, there’s a pretty awesome match going on, and
after Malenko powerbombs Kidman on the floor, SONNY ONOO wanders down to take pictures. Deano locks in a crucifix
submission, and rolls backwards for 2. A brainbuster looks to finish, but this
is 1996, and that silly transition move only gets 2. Kidman kicks Malenko in
the face, and follows with a quick missile dropkick. Perfectplex(!) gets 2.
Malenko pops up quickly, and goes for the Outsiders Edge, but Kidman swings
through for 2. Both guys start trading small packages (stop it), and eventually
wind up on the top rope. A nice looking superplex makes Larry say “New World
Odor”. Dean goes up, and Sonny snaps a picture in his face – with the flash
sending him crashing to the mat! Kidman heads up … yes, Shooting Star Press!
No! Malenko blocks with his knees, and quickly applies a Texas Cloverleaf for
the win at 5:53. *** So close Billy,
so close.
BIG BUBBER (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JEFF JARRETT
MIKE TENAY and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN
take over the announce booth, but not before Larry’s able to throw in one more
New World Odor. Jarrett has, of course, now suffered his first loss, so are we
prepared to start the Jeff Jarrett job-fest ‘round the nation? This would be as
fine a place to start as any. Tony sneaks up behind Heenan, to join the second
hour announce crew. He immediately starts saying “TRADITION!” in reference to
Roddy Piper, discussing his legendary dog collar match at the first Starrcade
in 1983. So basically, he’s old as hell. Jarrett hits a jumping DDT, which
serves little purpose because Bubba stands on his throat against the ropes. The
referee gives him an earful, allowing Hart to sneak in and choke him out
additionally. Of course, he hits the deck seconds later to chase Hart. Bubba
tries to save the day, but he punches Hart in the mush by mistake. Back in,
Jarrett hits a crossbody off the top, getting 2. Still, he goes for the Figure
Four, but Bubba shoves him off. The megaphone is tossed to Bubba, but he misses
smashing Jarrett in the face. The referee finally pays attention to the match,
just as Jeff dropkicks the megaphone in Bubba’s face for the pin at 4:10. We just saw this match on the October 14th Nitro, right down to the megaphone
spot. Welcome to Hour #2 – the no fun zone! *
THE STEINER BROTHERS take over the ring right after the match, with
Rick angrily calling out Sting. Scotty spots him in the rafters, and so do the
cameras – hi STING! Rick urges Sting
to come fight him one on one like a man instead of sneak attacks. Sting nods,
indicating he’s accepting the Steiner challenge. Errrr, sure!
Apparently Dave Taylor
was scheduled next, but the porno music brings us THE OUTSIDERS, ERIC BISCHOFF,
VINCENT, and SYXX. Hall rushes the announce booth, making goblin noises and
wiggling his fingers – which works because the announcers scatter like
cockroaches. Bischoff declares his love for all of us, and welcomes Sting to
the nWo. Concerning Piper, Bischoff says he’s actually his best friend, he was
TRYING to save him from Hulk Hogan. If he remembers what happened to that “tub
of goo” Vader (queue the footage), he tried and got destroyed. As did Flair and
Savage. He urges Piper to stay home over the holidays with his 6 kids, and
forget Hogan.
DAVID TAYLOR vs. EDDIE GUERRERO
Hall promises to take a
close look at “this guy Taylor”, because they need an Englishman. Taylor
immediately starts in with the European uppercuts. If this is an audition –
that’s a hell of a way, those things have killed dozens of challengers during
street brawling tournaments, held in the mean streets of Blackpool, England
(which is where he would have met Regal, you see). Hall figures they should try
and recruit Regal while they’re at it, since they handed him the strap that
he’s “so proud of”. Taylor fires off a couple of dropkicks, and works over
Eddie in the corner. A springboard crossbody misses Guerrero, who jumps up and
finishes with the Frog Splash at 2:18.
*
LEE MARSHALL starts jawing with Bischoff and the Outsiders on the Road Report. He
reminds them that stepping into Charlotte against Flair and Piper is like
seeing the Beatles in Liverpool. Hall: “Old and dated?”
ARN ANDERSON vs. JIM POWERS (with Teddy Long)
Anderson attacks
immediately, and grinds Powers’ face in the floor. Powers comes back with a
crossbody for 2. Hall mentions he’s sick of everyone talking smack against the
nWo, and not folks like Arn Anderson who can back it up, but fat announcers
like Dusty Rhodes and Larry Zbyszko. He sends a message directly to Larry:
stick to golf. Arn misses an elbowdrop, as the Outsiders start sucking Flair’s
ass trying to get him on board. DDT finishes for Arn at 3:09. Hall: “Arn can play on my team.” *1/2
CHRIS BENOIT vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (in a first
round United States title tournament match)
Bischoff mentions that
Benoit won’t go near a men’s room anymore. Hall: “That’s ok, he’s got the
bladder of a gladiator.” I’m fairly excited for this match up – we haven’t seen
it since January, and that one was fantastic. Regal and Benoit grapple, while
the fans chant “USA”. For WHO? Regal throws a series of vicious palm thrusts,
but Benoit retaliates with a bunch of his own, and Regal’s busted wide open the
hard way. Regal sees it, and rages, sweeping out Benoit’s legs and locking on a
front facelock. Benoit escapes, but walks into another palm thrust. The camera
pans WAYYYY backwards so as not to show the blood. Come on! We’re like 150 feet
away from the ring and can barely see anything. Half the joy of any Regal match
is his awesome facial expressions, piss off WCW! Benoit is locked in something,
or maybe it’s Regal, who can tell, we’re watching this further away from the
ring than Sting. A scoop slam from Benoit sends him up top, and he hits the
Swandive! Hall: “This guy’s reckless, that hurts him. I like that.” Both guys
trade tombstone threats, but after several reversals, Benoit connects and Regal
rolls to the floor. Benoit misses a slingshot plancha, and Regal quickly rolls
him back in and puts Benoit on the top. A butterfly superplex has the Lord in
control, but it only gets 2. Seconds later, Benoit sneaks behind Regal and
nails a German suplex. Hall asks if the camera guys are on strike or something,
wanting to know what the hell is with the awful work here. Dragon suplex
finishes at 6:26. This looked ok,
but the camera stuff was a joke and ruined this for me. **1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND meets up with ARN ANDERSON, MONGO
MCMICHAEL
, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL
waiting for Benoit to join them as well. Gene sees momentum for the Horsemen
apparently. I dunno about that Gene, downward momentum lately, things ain’t
pretty. Arn says he felt the rush earlier of driving someone’s head through the
mat, and he’s back. Arn asks where the hell Woman is. Benoit says it’s Horsemen
business, but Anderson reminds Benoit that Nitro IS Horsemen business. Chris
defends her, but Mongo is quick to state that he was part of a team that should
have been a dynasty (DAAAAA BEARS!), but they fell apart. Debra’s tired of
hearing Woman cutesying up to Benoit, and spraying on her cheap perfume because
“Chris loooooves it”. She tells Benoit to straighten this out, immediately.
Gene asks what this exclusivity agreement between Benoit and Woman is. Benoit
cuts him off, and tells him they’re all Horsemen and to shut it.
ROCCO ROCK (with Johnny Grunge) vs. LEX LUGER
The fans are absolutely
manic for Luger here, which the Outsiders try and downplay, but there’s no
downplaying this. Rocco drops Luger throat first across the top rope, and tells
Luger “don’t worry about Hogan”. Bischoff figures that it’s ok for WCW to be the
#2 wrestling organization in the world, behind the nWo. Hall wants to buy a
Japanese promotion and make them the #3. Nash: “Does that make ECW #4?”
Bischoff: “… ha ha ha, I don’t think so.” Hall: “It’s sweet actually, you can
play bingo too.” Rocco misses a blind charge, and Luger starts throwing some
“forearm shivers”. Rock scores a cheapshot, sending Lex to the floor, where
Grunge gets in a few shots. Luger rolls back in, and Luger hasn’t felt
anything, because he gives Rock a gorilla press slam “like he’s a toy!” Grunge
trips up Luger before he can finish, and holds Luger hostage on the ropes. Lex
moves, Rocco crashes into his buddy, and the Rack finishes at 3:55. Grunge charges, so Luger throws
Rocco into him, and clotheslines them out. Hall: “He has that loaded forearm,
we need to look into that.” *
RICK STEINER (with Scott Steiner) vs. STING
Sting enters through the
crowd, carrying a black baseball bat. He tosses it aside, into the arms of
Scott Steiner, and turns around – offering Rick to attack. Steiner tees off on
him for a few seconds, until Sting ducks a punch and flattens him with a
Scorpion Death Drop. Sting picks up his ball bat, and approaches Scott Steiner,
moving him aside to get to Rick. He shoves Rick into the corner, and hands Rick
the bat, offering up his back again. Scotty refuses to let Rick attack Sting,
so Sting wanders away… right towards the nWo at the announce table. He points
his bat at the 3 clowns in the booth, before turning and heading back through
the crowd. Hall: “Just send the contract to his house then.”

Bischoff wishes everyone
a happy holiday, and the trio makes the Wolfpac sign as the show fades.