Back on September 4, 1995, WCW began what became a five and one-half year trek into weekly prime time television that would significantly impact the competition between them and the WWF. While I won’t detail the entire history of the series, I present to you the pilot episode of WCW Monday Nitro.
Due to WCW’s Disney tapings in 1993, a fallout occurred between WCW and the NWA because of WCW’s portrayal of someone other than the NWA champion wearing the NWA belt. Rather than eliminate the title altogether, WCW renamed it the WCW International World title.
By July 1994, the usefulness of the WCW International title had run its course so to speak; hence, WCW booked a unification match at Clash XXVII on July 23. At the time, Sting was the WCW International champion while Flair was the WCW World champion. Since these guys knew each other really well, let’s see how the match went according to my reflection…
Match 5 for the WCW World title unification: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (WCW World champion) versus Sting (WCW International World champion)
As Heenan replaced Ventura on commentary, Flair came out first.
After the introductions, Sensuous Sherri came down the ramp. Upon hiding behind a mask, she revealed herself wearing the exact style of face paint as Sting.
At the onset, Sting gave Flair a pair of gorilla press slams.
That resulted in a Flair flop on the floor.
Interestingly, Flair, who had been a babyface since his return to WCW, made heel gestures toward the crowd.
After a series of clotheslines by Sting, he delivered a hip toss and a dropkick.
Flair then attempted the figure-four leg lock, but Sting got a sloppy cradle for 2.
While a huge “Sting” chant emanated from the crowd, Sting missed a Stinger splash.
Subsequently, Flair asked referee Randy Anderson for the time then tossed Sting over the top rope when he wasn’t looking. As you know, he’s the “dirtiest player in the game.”
Regardless, Flair tried to pin Sting with his feet on the ropes.
He then made a second attempt at a figure-four but was thwarted.
After a sleeper by Flair, a Flair flip put Flair on the apron but Sting clotheslined him down.
Sting then put Flair on the top turnbuckle and delivered a top rope superplex.
However, he then missed a top rope splash.
Next, a delayed vertical suplex by Flair was no-sold by Sting.
He then clotheslined Flair over the top rope to the floor.
When Sting attempted a plancha, Flair put Sherri directly in his path. Nice bump, Sherri.
As Sting was distracted with Sherri, Flair rolled him up with a handful of tights for the victory!
Summary: These guys have had better matches in the past. Unfortunately, in this match, the psychology was all over the place. Due to their almost unparalleled chemistry, this match-up never became boring. Yet this match’s only historical significance was the unification itself.
After the match, the crowd cheers for Flair’s victory as a dazed Sherri enters the ring. Shockingly, she and Flair embrace. WE HAVE A HEEL TURN! She and Flair double-team Sting including two Sherri splashes. Being the hero to millions, Hulk Hogan emerges from the dressing room to confront Flair, but the ”Nature Boy” avoids the leg drop and bails. Sherri appears to be caught in the middle of the ring, but she slaps Hogan. To save her skin, Flair drags Sherri from the ring. Your Bash at the Beach main event stands before you and boosts the match rating up ½*.
So where did it lead: While the title unification resided on the forefront, the signing of Hulk Hogan stood in the background like a ticking time bomb. In order to placate Hogan, Flair had to turn heel to elicit the “appropriate” reaction for the Hulkster. Since BatB ’94 generated a 1.02 buyrate, I would surmise that Hogan’s politics worked. In fact, he even became WCW World champion in his first WCW match!
On June 16, 1993, WCW invaded the Scope in Norfolk, VA for the twenty-third edition of the Clash of Champions. The focus of this show was to create storylines for the upcoming Beach Blast PPV. To the fans in attendance, the highlight of the show was the in-ring return of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
In a previous column, I mentioned the “intrusion” by Scott Hall on Nitro. While I won’t touch on everyone’s favorite “adjective” segment, I will mention Hall and Nash’s appearance on 6/16/1996 at Great American Bash ’96 for an interview with Executive Vice-President Eric Bischoff.
On May 7, 1989, in the third of three spectacular matches, NWA World Champion Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat defended his title against arguably his greatest challenger— “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Having defeated Flair at Chi-Town Rumble in February for the title, Steamboat once again beat Flair on April 2 in a 55-minute best two out of three falls classic at the Clash VI.
On May 27, 1996, during a match between Steve Doll (a.k.a. Steven Dunn) and the Mauler (Mike Enos) on the first 2-hour episode of Nitro, Scott Hall, fresh off the WWF curtain call, came through the Macon crowd and interrupted the match. Neither Tony Schiavone nor Larry Zbyszko name-dropped him, but they questioned his reason for being there.
Last week, we addressed the first ever Uncensored PPV from WCW. This week, while addressing the second annual show, we will explore the egomaniacal nature of Hulk Hogan and his use of creative control.
Before we begin with the show, allow me to ask you a simple question:
Back on March 19, 1995, WCW held their first March PPV and called it Uncensored. While within the same timeframe as WrestleMania, WCW wanted a piece of the PPV pie in March so they created something unique to generate PPV grabs.
What tricks did WCW pull for their initial Uncensored card:
Back on 3/27/88, as a measure of revenge for ruining the buyrate for Bunkhouse Stampede, Jim Crockett Promotions held Clash of the Champions at the Greensboro Coliseum live on TBS opposite WrestleMania IV on PPV.