Archive for the ‘Phillip R’ Category

KoaNitro copyLadies and gentlemen, welcome to a very special edition of Kick Out at Nitro!  Oddly enough, this one isn’t from WCW Monday Nitro…it’s from WCW Pro, WCW’s weekly syndicated show.  Now, why are we bringing you this random installment of Kick Out at Pro, you may ask?

Well…this is something that’s five months in the making!

This, WCW fans, is the debut of Glacier!

Yes, our blood is currently running cold, ladies and gentlemen!

Glacier promos started back in April of 1996 and ran all through the summer and into the tail end of it before the frozen martial arts master finally made his WCW in-ring debut.  Until this point, all we’ve seen of the man is him in vignettes running through his bevy of martial arts katas.  Originally he was supposed to debut pretty quickly after the vignettes started, but as WCW moved into the debut of the Outsiders and the formation of the New World Order, the cartoony character was left off to a later date.  That date…September 8, 1996.

I remember watching this one live.  It was a Sunday and, although I thought it was odd that this highly hyped character that had been speculated at for months was going to debut on WCW’s third tier show, there was no way I was going to miss it.  I’m sure my mother loved that as I usually didn’t watch Pro, so Sunday was one of the few days that wrestling was on that she wasn’t subjected to it…but I wasn’t going to be deterred.

So, what we’re going to do here, fans, is have a quick review by each member of Ko@2 that you’ve seen in the WCW write-ups.  They took five months to hype him so this write-up will take no less than 5 men to get it done!

With that, I take you to…

The Gambler VS Glacier

The Gambler looks to be about 120 years late to his own party.  Dude is dressed up like a wild west gambler but with short black trunks.

The arena goes black except for a blue light being shown over the ring.  It also starts snowing in the ring!  At the entry way, out comes Glacier, dressed in a metal warrior’s armor.  He does some martial arts moves, removes the armor, and enters the ring.  He removes his face covering, flips off into the center of the ring, and finishes off doing some kata that Larry Zbyszko calls “a mix of styles.”  We’re told his goal is to become the greatest martial artist in history.  We’re also told that his entire family, basically, are cops.

Glacier bows to the ref, bows to the Gambler, but is sucker punched by Gambler.

This blue light is going to shine over the ring the entire match, apparently.  Think early Sin Cara, folks.

We get some kicks, arm drags, and a hip toss from Glacier, showing us he’s the scourge of unknown enhancement talent everywhere.  Glacier leapfrogs Gambler, back kicks him in the gut, then powerbombs him for good measure.  He doesn’t cover him, though, which is silly.  He goes up top and comes off with a flying side kick to Gambler for the win.

Winner: Glacier

Glacier goes back to the center of the ring to his spotlight and goes through his kata again.  Larry gives us some information about how hard that side kick was.  Dusty Rhodes tells us that the entire universe just watched this debut, so Big Bubba, who recently called out Glacier, was sure to have seen it.  Chris Cruz tells us about Nitro coming up and kicks us off the air as this was the main event.

Man, I can’t wait for Bischoff to call this guy’s matches.  He’s going to be calling so many back leg round kicks!

glacier

Okay, there was the match.  Now, our thoughts.

First off, for me, Shane.  I think the fact that they debuted this guy on Pro is very telling.  They knew they had a dud on their hands, so why not debut it, after FIVE MONTHS of hype, on probably their least rated show outside of Main Event, which ran on Saturdays in syndication…so whenever my local NBC affiliate decided they had no informercial to run.  Seriously, that show couldn’t be tracked down with any regularity.  This, you would have imagined, would have been on Nitro, in front of the largest live audience they could get and the largest TV audience they could get.  But no…Sunday at 5 PM.

The match was a typical squash match but it showed us that Glacier really can’t work that well.  He’s trying to be too Mortal Kombat so we’re just getting kicks and throws, so basically except for that one powerbomb, everything was either a kick or an arm drag.  Not very exciting.  Grappling and submission can help someone create an MMA type of character, as we’ve seen with Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, Taz, and even Goldberg to a degree…and with Brock Lesnar now…but straight martial arts with kicks and whatnot seems out of place.  There’s nowhere for the other guy to work as they have no basis with that type of offense.  It came off sloppy and hokey.  Seriously, dude’s entrance and exit were about as long as the match!

On paper, the idea of wrestling and video games should work together, but this Sub Zero clone just didn’t work here.  I’m way more interested in Wrath and Mortis showing up than I am watching this dude get many singles matches, honestly.

Robbie:

Was that real!? Did that really happen!? I was seriously under the impression that Shane had sent me the wrong link until I recognized Dusty Rhodes’ voice on commentary. I had only ever seen pictures of Glacier and had never watched anything with him in it until now. All I had ever been told was he was a wrestling version of Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat… yep that’s the truest statement ever! With his 90’s look and his 8-bit entrance music it looks like WCW was really trying to create the perfect mash-up of popularity from that time. I guess this isn’t the most outrageous thing from the 90’s but come on … The announcers talking him up were excited about him then as much as Sony is now about the new Ghostbusters reboot. Fans of what has come before simply know this shouldn’t be happening. Man, wrestling is really weird sometimes!

Derick:

12 year old Champ loved Glacier. It was the prefect mix: A character from Mortal Kombat (my love for video games) is now “invading” my other love, Personal Wrestling. There were awesome vignettes and a smoke of mystery surrounding this guy. Throw in the tagline “Blood runs cold” and Man, this was great.

After months, literally months, of these vignettes, he made his debut. He comes out, and it all seemed worth it. The arena goes black, snow falls, and techno starts pumping the speakers. His outfit was flat stolen from the MK movie set. The ENTIRE time he comes to ring and performs his kata, all 3 announcers are pouring information and praises about this man. Apparently knowing 385 different types of martial arts and everyone in his family was/is a cop, Glacier was a force to be reckoned with now in WCW. Oh, and when he wrestles, the ring turns blue!!!!

…..Then the match started. Honestly, his entrance is longer than the match itself. Trust me, I timed it. Obviously his martial arts needs fine tuning, because all he knows how to do are kicks and arm drags. Oh, and the all important chop. He ends the match with his Cryonic Kick (by the way, that’s a kick too) and the match is quickly over. And thankfully too. Because, Damn.

All in all, little Champ loved everything about Glacier. Little Champ thought he was cool and presentation was everything. Adult Champ hates Shane a little for destroying another great part of my childhood. There was no wrestling at all. Lesson here kids, that cool stuff you love now is probably going to suck when you reminisce. Thanks a lot, Shane……

The now suddenly sad Champ has spoken

Phillip:

The fact that I find this absurd, is like absurd-ception. Let’s reflect on the fact that this was a time when the Dungeon of Doom was still a stable and Booty Man was just killed off. Just let that sink in. Wrestling was as much a Saturday morning cartoon come to life. Bright colors, easy to see hero/villian narratives. When a heel turn involved a man in brightly colored tights putting on a black gimmick with lightning, and growing dark stubble under his iconic mustache to let us know, he’s dark, he’s the bad guy.

Why wouldn’t Bischoff see that this product was selling and think, next level is video games come to life! It’s a sensible next step. With the benefit of hindsight, we all know the attitude era is coming in WWE, and the nWo era is really taking off in WCW. Gritty, real, antihero stories with more complex ideas around who the “good guy” is, but all of that was really more organic. This is a WCW, and even WWE creative was about larger than life. None of those guys could have predicted  or created Austin 3:16 or “Sweeeeeet!” they weren’t in touch with what was happening.

Just like all great, and game changing moments, you can’t craft them. They just…are. Without that organic explosion of real life taking over wrestling, WCW may have made a killing off of this gimmick. The problem is while Kevin Nash was leading the Wolf Pack, Glacier was a crow left of the murder.

Wrestling was swelling, begging for a revolution. Smarks will tell you that this vignette style of introduction is to keep someone on the DL for a while so they can clean off the image, erase their existence, so that they can be born anew. No one had these style of entrances, lasers, snow, low light. Glacier recalled this on a podcast, and made note that Double A told him “you’d have to walk on water to live up to that entrance”. He’s right, and let’s be honest, it could have worked, but why? Why in the name of all things holy didn’t they get a guy who could throw a kick? Or knew anything about any martial art, EVER! Bischoff was more convincing! I’ve defended (how?) the idea behind Glacier, but the execution, well… left a lot to be desired. I think it was really insulting to the audience, and if they tried that now, we’d burn Bischoff at the stake!

I mean imagine if we took some of the skills of a martial artist that did works later, even guys like Syxx at least looked like he could throw a kick. This looks like kicking someone was a foreign concept, like he didn’t have 5 months to do any research or train. It’s like they grabbed a Sub Zero halloween costume on his way out, and said “go kick people, and do karate stuff” and he was like “ummm….ok, I guess” and then they dropped the lights, cued the lasers and let the fake snow fall, bringing a winter of hate in our hearts!

After 5 months of Sub Zero trailers, I get a less athletic version of what I looked like pretending to be a ninja in my bedroom as an adolescent. Facing the incomparable competition of professional jobber The Gambler on WCW Saturdays… I appreciate this is a special event, but not even dimming the lights to Marvin Gaye levels, and tinting it blue can hide that what Glacier was supposed to be, is not what was delivered. Zbysko is really trying to convince me that this is special martial arts, and oh, it is special, like a little short blue bus on its way to the last stop at character station. It’s like MK3 and UFC1 were involved in a West Virginia romance, and and conceived a brand new chromosome damaged brand of WTF?! The vignettes looked good, the hype was there, but this was the beginning of the “real” era of wrestling. My final word on this dollar tree budget Sub Zero… Finish Him

Benny:

Ok so I’ve been given the task of reviewing the WCW Glacier debut,UGH. So we get like 6 months of video promos with the tagline “Blood Runs Cold” and this guy shows up dressed like sub-zero from Mortal Combat, with what seems like a 10 minute entrance. And his first match is against The Gamber, really they were ready to bury this gimmick from day 1.

Two things wrong with the Glacier character:

1. Too much hype. Glacier was destined to be a mid-card novelty act, and they built him up as the next big thing. It’s no surprise that he was a bust from day one. If you are expecting The Empire Strikes Back, and you get the Phanton Menace, of course you’re going to be disappointed.

2. He debuted a few years too late. First off, Mortal Kombat was big in 1992-1993. By 1997, people had moved on to other games. More importantly, the wrestling industry had moved on from those cheesy gimmicks from the early 90’s. The nWo had changed everything, and Glacier’s character was essentially a step backwards.

So that’s all I have to say about that guy.

 

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KoaNitro copyWelcome back WCW fans!  We’re here for another week of WCW Monday Nitro, coming to us from Landover, Maryland!  Taking the reigns of Nitro this week is Phillip!

Open of show, Zbyszko and Schiavone, talking about the takeover.

DDP is pissed because someone snaked his ring. No one can beat him, so they are going to steal it.

Flashback to The Outsiders showing up during the tag team championship match. Zbyszko calling The Outsiders cowards, and talks about the upcoming “New World Order”, interesting to look back at a time where this wasn’t 100 percent a part of the lexicon of every wrestling fan.

Match #1: WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Steiner Brothers VS Harlem Heat (WCW World Tag Team Champions)

Steiner looks like the man who later become Big Poppa Pump, juiced to the gills! Harlem Heat, which is a real staple of this era, and possibly one of my favorite tag teams of all time. I really liked the dynamic; it’s interesting that you have a big and bigger man tag team. But damn is Booker athletic.

Good action to open up this tag match. Some pacing to set up the break, this is a thing that is really common now, but I think was fairly new for this time in Nitro, the commercial break during a match.

Steiners are running this with counts, but this match is not the potential of these two teams, a really transparent double axe handle. We have a lot of action outside the ring, there is a lot of focus on the nWo and Rob Parker outside the ring, but the action in the ring is still moving. Zbyszko calls out a “slow count”.  Really pretty belly to belly off the top. Side slam, a really big guy off the top, it looked really good, way to go Booker T, and a really stiff double clothesline. Frankensteiner, this one looked pretty good, but Scott Steiner took a back of a head to the apron.  Bulldog from Ricky, Parker interferes, and smacks Ricky with a walking stick.

Winners: Harlem Heat

Mean Gene talking to the Horsemen, selling this 8 man tag that’s main eventing this Nitro. I have to say that seeing Benoit in Horsemen gear, and this opening up of the Wolverine is really exciting for me. “Silent but Violent,” he was one of my favorites around this time, he represents the archetype that I generally fall for.

Glacier promo, this guy was hyped to death around this time, and really no one ever cared once he was in the ring… Turns out no one wanted a discount Sub Zero in WCW. It’s interesting, because they were playing both sides, this was before “reality” mattered and they are selling us a cartoon. Although I have to say the upcoming Mortis run is memorable.

Match #2:  Disco Inferno VS Kurasawa

Disco asking if the crowd wants to see him dance, I personally don’t want to see him… anything. This match seems like something to watch while they sell storyline. Kurasawa is wrestling like a beast. Disco Inferno calls up his music, which apparently is tied to the Disco Ball, and smacks Kurasawa with the disco ball. Thanks to the distraction of… Spandex, and disco music.

Winner: Disco Inferno

Match #2: Scotty Riggs VS Diamond Dallas Page

It’s odd to see Buff and Scotty as the American Males, I mean I think of Buff as nWo and Scotty Riggs as a part of the Flock… Hacksaw Jim Duggan talking crazy, typical Duggan.

Page wrestling really physical during the open of this match, yelling about his ring. DDP yelling at the crowd, it’s odd that later in this run, DDP instead of yelling at the crowd will have literally everyone behind him. Page grabbing the ropes while stretching out Scotty Riggs, a little “Flair” for the stretch, pun absolutely intended. A really stiff clothesline. Riggs turning the tides, roll up splash over the top. Diamond cutter off the block. The move you can hit from anywhere.

Winner: DDP

Interview with Mean Gene – Let’s talk about the ring… Taped fist bought with the bare fist brawler that is Jim Duggan. DDP frisking Mean Gene.

Match #4: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine VS “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Macho in war paint, throwing stuff off of the Horsemen table, that was paid for with his money.

Selling the 6 man tag, to prevent the hostile takeover.

The match moving pretty slow, the action taken outside, and throwing Savage on the rail. Savage going savage on the ground with punches, Savage slams him down, gets caught coming off of the ropes. 30 second countdown to hour 2. Valentine KO’s himself from a back suplex? Savage lays the elbow down as we reach hour number 2.

Second Hour:

Bischoff and Heenan kicking off our second hour. Bischoff talking about the show of support. Bischoff addressing The Outsiders, calling out Nash (oddly naming him for the first time) for picking on poor lil’ Bischoff. Heenan is scared for his safety. The crowd going nuts behind Bischoff as Hall and Nash make their way down through the crowd. Hall and Nash apparently have tickets. These interruptions I think really help the format, pushing time so that you don’t get pulled too far away from the big story.

Another Glacier commercial and surprisingly I still don’t care..

Match #5: WCW World Heavyweight Championship: John Tenta VS The Giant (WCW World Heavyweight Champion) w/ Jimmy Hart

They are selling the shave job on Tenta, so much so that he may just beat Giant… Me thinks probably not.

This thing moving slow as snail snot, while Bischoff desperately tries to convince me to care.
Tenta avoids the charge of the Giant, a dropkick, as Tenta really pushes for the finish, Sullivan with the distraction, chokeslam and el fin. This is a match no one should rewatch…

Big Bubba comes out and shaves the beard of Tenta. Why this gimmick requires him to not just go all in and shave is beyond me. I mean this dude has a life, and I’m sure got no tail looking like a half shaved, overweight deranged homeless man.

Dungeon of the Doom promo. We’re coming for the Horsemen, Giant is a lifelong champion, you don’t cross the Dungeon, Giant screaming with his incoherent giant voice. I mean really, just spitting, and screaming complete and TOTAL nonsense.

Rey Mysterio Promo, which highlights why I wanted to be a cruiserweight in ‘96 interrupted by Hall and Nash. Nash taunting Bischoff. Calling Macho, Sting and Luger clowns. The crowd chanting “Diesel” while Nash chants “Attica”. I love that Hall and Nash really poke a finger in the chest of what wrestling is at this point.

Jim Duggan found DDP’s ring. In the bathroom… umm, ok. But a man like Duggan, he wouldn’t wear this girly piece of jewelry. Page storms to take it and gets laid out by a taped fist. I don’t think WCW understands what tape does for hands. Apparently it gives you +5 KO power, and DDP’s taped ribs to come later give you +10 special, so that he can hit the cutter from anywhere.

Mean Gene slips out a “King of the Ring” and Bischoff has to clarify so McMahon doesn’t sue the multicolored tights off of WCW.

Match #6: Joe Gomez, The Renegade, & The Rock & Roll Express VS The Four Horsemen w/ Woman, Ms. Elizabeth, & Debra McMichael

We get going, Gomez cleaning the ring. Enzuigiri takes down Arn. Benoit comes in to do some work, and Gomez works on Flair. These large team tags are usually just mayhem, and this one isn’t moving so quick. There’s some tags, and some light action that is just making sure the match moves. Benoit comes in to work over Gomez, looking a little violent, it works. Tags in Mongo, who’s laying a beating, tags in Flair, who beats on Gomez, and tags in Double A. Gomez, sunset flip with some help from Morton on Double A. Double A, nice spinebuster, and gets booted from the pin by literally the entire corner of Gomez. Benoit going a little crazy in the ring, looking rabid, they are really pushing Benoit into that role of  the Enforcer. Gomez reverses the Figure Four, Gomez catches wind, and reaching for the tag, no go, gets choked on the ropes. McMichael throws the briefcase, hits nothing and no one, and somehow still throws off the Renegade and wins the match for the Horsemen.

WCW, please stop trying to sell me a start up for a Create a Character in Joe Gomez. No one needs anymore of this Generic Wrestler A.

Horsemen shoot a promo on Dungeon and Konnan, and a general promo for the Horsemen body count.

Bischoff closes the show to remind us about the 3 man Tag.

Phillip

 

For the go-home show going into the Bash at the Beach, this one, honestly, was a bit weak.  No Sting.  No Luger.  The only one of our main event that we see in action is Savage, and he’s in a throwaway match against Greg Valentine.  Why couldn’t we see them working as a team in a six man tag?  That would have been good.  Six man tag between them and, say, three of the Horsemen.  Sting/Luger/Savage VS Flair/Anderson/Benoit would have been a great setup for this.  Or, if they still wanted to work the Horsemen/Gomez/R&R gimmick, have our three babyfaces take on any three random members of the Dungeon.  Them VS Meng, Barbarian, and Hugh Morrus would have been a decent match that would have let them run roughshod over three heels, show their teamwork and WCW passion, and set the stage for them beating the living crap out of the Outsiders.  Hell, give me that match and set it right after the Outsiders make their way to ringside, so they can get a little taste of what they have coming to them.  Let the babys play off of that, getting into an altercation, maybe…

I hate to second guess booking, but I just feel THAT would have set the stage for this gigantic match much more than not having two of the main stars of the thing even in the ring.

Hacksaw is a crazy person who spent much of his time on air tonight thinly calling DDP gay.  Seriously, what was with the “I wear real man clothes!” spiel.  If you add that to the stuff Stinger was saying to Regal before the Great American Bash, the fact that these two PPVs have the word “bash” in them is starting to not look so coincidental.

I definitely mirror Phillip’s thoughts on Joe Gomez.  Sullivan said on his podcast that he basically hired the guy because he had a great standing in the community in Florida and was hoping to use that for relations with the Native American tribes down here.  That’s why we’re seeing so much of the guy.  I’d be okay with that if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s just a generic whitemeat babyface.  He’s literally Create A Wrestler #5 with half of an Antonio Bandaras gimmick.  I get it, not everyone can be Glacier, but still…gimmick this kid up a bit if you’re going to put him over as much as you do.

Steiners VS Harlem Heat was good as always. 

This Tenta angle, however…can we just kill this thing already?  He’s only getting the push because he’s Hogan’s buddy, but damn…he draws absolutely no fan reaction.  For some reason we give X-Pac crap for having “I don’t want to watch you heat” when that dude was always entertaining and putting on great matches.  Can we rename it to Tenta heat, please?

I liked the Outsiders interaction this week.  Had to bar them from the building if they’re paying customers.  I like the crowd chanting “Diesel” and Bischoff trying to play it off like they’re chanting “Weasel” at Heenan.  Everything the Outsiders are doing right now is gold and I’m loving it.

Well, that’s it for today.  Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating our ONE YEAR anniversary with a reflection write-up and the write up for the Bash at the Beach!

-Shane

 

Ratings Breakdown

WWF Raw Ratings – 2.6

WCW Nitro Ratings – 3.3

(Raw – 17, Nitro – 20) (Tie Weeks – 2)

(Unopposed weeks – 5)

WWF’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 6

WCW’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 4

 

Four in a row!  WCW looking good!

—–—

WWF Raw results from this week

WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) pinned Marty Jannetty (w/ Leif Cassidy & Jim Cornette)

Mankind defeated Duke Droese via submission

Goldust (w/ Marlena) defeated Marc Mero (w/ Sable)

 

Still weird seeing an hour Raw against a two hour Nitro.  HBK VS Jannetty could have been a pretty good match.   I remember the New Rockers and Al Snow’s whole “stuck in the sixties” gimmick.  I didn’t realize they were managed by Cornette, though.  I’ll have to go back to that one.  Odd that the champ is opening the show and not main eventing, though.

KoaNitro copyLadies and gentlemen, we’re here.  When I started this crazy journey through all of these episodes of Monday Nitro, I knew there were a few major dates that I couldn’t wait to get to.  The first major event that I was looking down the line towards…May 27th, 1996.  The Monday Night War had been pretty back and forth until that night, but, in my 14 year old mind, this was the night that wrestling kicked it into high gear.  This was the night that started the big conversations the next day at lunch that really began to push me into analyzing wrestling.  I was no longer just a spectator along for the ride, I was now finding myself trying to figure out what was going to happen next and finding ways to make my plots work out in the minds of my friends.  This was the night wrestling changed, for me, and for the world around it.  For better or worse, May 27th, 1996, changed professional wrestling.  Not just WCW and WWF, but wrestling in general.  It kicked off the largest insurgence of new fans and old fans returning.  It drove ratings higher and higher, making professional wrestling MUST SEE television.

And so, here we are.  Monday, May 27, 1996.  Memorial Day.  The first two hour Monday Nitro.

The first hour of Nitro kicks off with its very own set of announcers.  Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko will be our announcers until 9 PM when Heenan and Bischoff take over.  I like that each hour has its own feel.  Tony and Larry run down a few of the matches we’re going to get tonight, including Sting VS Scott Steiner.

Match #1: American Males VS “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson w/ Woman & Ms. Elizabeth

FINALLY!  They’re doing the overhand clap!  It’s about damn time.  There’s not much I remember about The American Males, but them clapping in tandem is one of those things.

Double A is always such an interesting counterpart to Flair.  Flair’s flamboyant and colorful, Arn is almost always in black and more subdued.

Tony and Larry run down the feud and upcoming match between the Horsemen and the team of Mongo and Kevin Greene.  Larry says that the football players shouldn’t get too far over their heads as they’re getting into the ring with two of the best.  Zbyszko says Greene lost the Super Bowl for the Steelers, was kicked off the team and sent to Carolina.

For the most part, Arn and Ric controlled the beginning of the match until the match went to ringside.  Bagwell was able to stop an attack on Riggs and then it got turned toward the side of the Males.  A group of high impact moves and dropkicks send the heels to the floor and send Flair to the VIP table to grab a bottle of champagne.  They calm down and attempt to go on the offensive again, but Arn tries to clothesline Bagwell, who is leaning against the ring post, but Bagwell moves and Arn clotheslines the steel post hard as we go to commercial.

Back from commercial and Bagwell is fighting out of the Horsemen corner, back body dropping Flair and tagging out to Scotty Riggs.

Tony lets us know that tonight, The Giant will wrestle The Shark.  I’m certain that match will be bad.  Plus, how the hell did Shark get a shot at the title?  Shark randomly gets one but DDP can’t get his title shot that he earned?

Riggs doesn’t fare as well as Bagwell did and the Horsemen take over.  The ladies send over champagne to our announce crew, showing what a class act the Horsemen are.   They’ll beat someone’s ass in front of you and make sure that you’re well hydrated as they do.

Larry keeps referring to Mongo as Dumbo and it cracks me up.

The Horsemen keep the pressure on Riggs as Flair gets a knee breaker and tags to Arn, who ties Riggs’ knee up in the ropes and begins attacking it.  He is caught by an enzuigiri, though, which sends him to the floor.  Flair jumps into the ring and is being held back by the referee, who straight up gets into Flair’s face and starts shoving him.  Riggs is able to get the hot tag to Bagwell, though, who comes in and cleans house with clotheslines and backdrops.  Bagwell gets a missile dropkick to Flair, but Anderson is there to make the save.  Bagwell wraps Flair up in a small package but Anderson rolls the cover over to Flair.  Riggs rolls it back over to Bagwell but the pin is broken up.  As the referee is seeing to Riggs, Bagwell hits a fisherman’s suplex on Flair but Anderson makes the save yet again.  Liz distracts the referee and Arn hits Bagwell with a DDT.  Flair makes the cover and gets the win.

Winners: Arn Anderson and Ric Flair

The ladies make sure Flair gets a glass of champagne, which he promptly dumps on his head before the entourage makes their way over to Mean Gene at the VIP table.  Gene reiterates that Arn and Flair will have a match at Great American Bash.  Arn says he never met a football player that he couldn’t step over to get to a better fight and he never saw a woman that Flair couldn’t have.  It just happens to be Debra McMichael this time.  He says they don’t respect anyone who has to wear protective gear.  Flair says they’ve been in the Keys all weekend.  While Mongo has been playing football, Flair’s been making up for lost time in Austin with his wife.  Gene asks Liz if that sounds like two-timing but she says that Flair can have whatever he wants.  Flair ends it by saying that everyone thought that Flair was Liz’s sugar daddy, but with Randy Savage’s bankroll, she’s their sugar mama!

We go to commercial and come back to a montage of Mongo and Kevin Greene working out.  The music is bad, the video seems to be shot at like 12 frames per second…it’s not really inspiring fear.  Maybe if we saw them wrestling or beating up people…but they’re just lifting weights.  Zbyszko agrees with me as he mentions as much after the video.

Match #2: Steve Doll VS The Mauler w/ Col. Robert Parker

Tony lets us know that Savage has been banned from all WCW events because of what Flair has done to him.

Apparently Parker has been building up The Mauler for a while now.  Mauler starts off strong, taking the fight to Steve Doll.  He takes him up top and hits a fall away slam from the second rope, tossing Doll allt he way across the ring.  Mauler pulls him up and slaps him in the face then headbutts him back down.  Running shoulder tackle follows up.  Doll jumps up and Mauler grabs him and they both fly over the top rope, to which Tony makes sure to tell us that this isn’t a DQ since they both went over.  I had Robbie watch this match so I can get his comments later and that confused him, resulting in me having to explain the top rope DQ.

Commercial break.

The moment we come back from commercial, we can see a man making his way down the aisle to the right.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment.

The man jumps the guard rail and immediately the camera comes in tight.  It’s Scott Hall, ladies and gentlemen…at this time, better known as WWF’s Razor Ramon.  Hall grabs a mic, enters the ring, and instead of doing what wrestlers usually do when an unknown person enters the ring (beat their ass), they just bounce, leaving Hall to do his business.

Winner: No Contest

“You people…you know who I am.  But you don’t know why I’m here.  Where is Billionaire Ted?  Where is The Nacho Man?  That punk can’t even get in the building.  Me, I go wherever I want, whenever I want.  And where, oh where, is Scheme Gene, cause I got a scoop for you.  When that Ken doll lookalike…when that weatherman wanna be…comes out here later tonight, I got a challenge for him, for Billionaire Ted, for the Nacho Man…and for anybody else in, uh, dubya see dubya…you wanna go to war, you want a war…you’re gonna get one.”

Referee Randy Anderson tells Hall to get out of the ring, which he does, poses, then heads to the back, flipping his toothpick at the camera as they go to commercial.

Match #3: Sgt. Craig Pittman w/ Teddy Long VS Diamond Dallas Page

DDP starts off the match jawjacking at Pittman.  Pittman gets down and starts doing one-armed pushups for no damn reason.  DDP goes to kick him but Pittman moves and DDP does his best Charlie Brown impression as he flies to his back off of the missed kick.  They brawl a little bit and Pittman headbutts Page, sending him to the floor.  For the second night in a row, Page grabs the camera cable and ties himself up in it for some reason.  Page is getting way better, but he’s still just trying too much at this point.

The announcers speculate about DDP’s mysterious benefactor and Larry says he thinks it’s Kimberly, since women will move from one man to another.  Pittman locks Page in the Code Red, but Page breaks it up by getting to the ropes and grabbing Teddy Long.  Pittman lets go to save his manager and is met with a Diamond Cutter and a three count.

Winner: Diamond Dallas Page

Schiavone once again tell us that Randy Savage has been suspended from all WCW televised events and we get a video recap of Randy wreaking havoc all over WCW over the last few weeks.

Up Next, apparently, we’re going to see Hulk Hogan on Baywatch.  Do we have to?!

We come back from commercial and Mean Gene is in the locker room with The Shark.  Gene says that Shark isn’t sharing the locker room with the Dungeon of Doom.  Sullivan says that The Giant cost him a match at Slamboree and Sullivan kicked him out of the Dungeon of Doom.  Um…when did that happen?  Shark says he’s going to take the title and end The Giant.

Gene gives us the Poochie The Dog rundown on Hogan and says we’re going to see a video of him hanging out with stars in Hollywood.

Hogan hangs out with George Foreman, Shaq, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Greene, Sugar Ray Leonard.  He’s also on Thunder in Paradise, Baywatch, Mr. Nanny and Suburban Commando, both of which happened while he was in WWF.  This whole segment was just a large stroke off session for Hogan, who hasn’t even been on TV in almost two months.

The end of the video kicks off hour number 2 and we’re sent to our announcers Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan.  Not only are there two announce teams, they are in two different places.  Bischoff and Heenan are at the usual announce booth near the entrance, but Tony and Larry were at a table at ringside.

Eric mentions the training session with Mongo and Greene and Heenan says they’re not training, they’re huddled in a hotel room with the dresser in front of the door worried about the Horsemen.  Bischoff says they’re not even going to dignify the interruption by Hall earlier.  Of course, he’s yet to be named “Scott Hall,” or “Razor Ramon,” or anything.  That’s the beauty of this…all he had to say was “you people know who I am” because, yes, we KNOW who he is!  He’s Razor…a guy who was just in the WWF a few weeks ago. It really does come across as more of an invasion type of thing than just a new guy arriving in WCW.

Match #4: WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Shark VS The Giant (WCW World Heavyweight Champion) w/ Jimmy Hart

How in the living hell did Shark get a title match?!  How do they decide this stuff in WCW?  I feel like the WCW Championship Committee just has a giant dart board with the WCW roster on it and they just toss it randomly.  They mention that DDP’s title match is now being given to Lex Luger…again, what has Luger done?  Get chokeslammed through a table?

Giant and Shark start off with Shark hitting the ropes and running into a big Giant clothesline.  Giant then stands on Shark’s chest before lifting him up and giving him the boots to the gut in the corner and following with a foot choke.  Shark comes off of the second rope with a double axe handle, but it doesn’t faze the giant.  Shark tries a scoop slam but is denied.  Giant handily picks up the 500+ pound Shark and slams him, however.

Bischoff makes sure to mention “the great Hulk Hogan” and the fact that he would be watching The Giant closely.  Ugh.

Giant whips Shark into the corner and follows him in and is met with a foot to the fact.  Shark comes off of the top with a clothesline, but Shark gets in Jimmy Hart’s face instead of covering.  Giant catches him in a choke slam for the win.

shark-bubba-haircut-wcw-nitroWinner: The Giant (Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion)

After the match, Big Bubba hits the ring and starts shaving half of The Shark’s head with a set of clippers.  Bischoff says this is “the most disgraceful thing a wrestler can do to another.”

We go to commercial with Maxx taking on Luger for the WCW TV Championship.  Who is Maxx?  Is this Maxx Muscle?  The guy DDP used to run around with?

Back from break, Bischoff went all of ten minutes before “dignifying” Hall’s challenge.  He says that tonight we’ll find out what kind of a challenge Hall has for WCW.  Wonder what happened to not mentioning it.

Match #5: WCW Television Championship Match: Maxx VS “Total Package” Lex Luger (WCW Television Champion)

Bischoff says that a lot of people have questioned whether Luger is what he appears to be, but apparently now Bischoff has bought in and says Luger is Sting’s BFF, so of course all is well.

I have no idea who Maxx is.  I don’t think he’s Maxx Muscle, but still, no damn clue.  He’s a guy with a Mohawk and some black tights, boots, and pads.  He shoves Luger into the corner, though, so apparently he’s got a little bit of force behind him.  He follows up with a side headlock.  Luger powers out, sending Maxx to the ropes, and Maxx shoulder tackles him down.

Luger fires up, getting a tandem of clotheslines before Maxx powerslams him for a two count.  Maxx kicks him a few times, probably out of frustration for Luger kicking out and ruining his evening and then chokes Luger with the ropes.

We hear Bischoff yelling at someone off camera “get him out of here…he can talk at the end of the hour.”  We can only guess he’s talking about Hall.  So we’ve went from not dignifying him, to dignifying him, to giving him time at the end of the show.  Way to hold strong there, Bisch.

Bischoff tells us that at the Great American Bash, we’ll see Chris Benoit VS The Taskmaster in a Falls Count Anywhere match.  You know, as much of a Benoit fan as I was, I’ve never seen that match.  It’ll be interesting to watch it in context now.

Luger hits Maxx with the bionic elbow and Bischoff again mentions that it put down Yokozuna.  Luger follows with a power slam and a torture rack for the win.

Winner: Lex Luger (still WCW Television Champion)

Mean Gene joins Luger in the ring and mentions that Luger will be wrestling The Giant for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Great American Bash.  Gene mentions “the way you got [the shot],” prompting Luger to ask “what do you mean how I got it?”  Gene mentions that DDP had the shot but now Luger does.  Luger says he doesn’t make the matches, he just shows up.  They roll footage of Giant chokeslamming Luger through the table two weeks ago.  Luger says that we just saw him put a big man in the rack, and before he gets The Giant, he wants every big man in WCW to be in the rack.  Gene ends by saying that Luger racking The Giant is impossible.

Commercial break and we’re back with…

Match #6: “Hardwork” Bobby Walker VS Brad Armstrong

Bobby Walker is a product of the Power Plant, WCW’s training facility.  I remember being a young’en and wanting to become a wrestler, and the WCW Power Plant was the way that I thought you needed to go.  I also remember seeing videos of tough guys not being able to get through Day 1.

Walker and Armstrong start off with some mat wrestling.  Man, this is what the WCW Cruiserweight division is right now…it’s crazy to look at the proto-division and hold it against what it will eventually be.

Bischoff: He studies film like he’s studying for a thesis.  Do you know what that is?

Brain: Yes, I know what film is.

Man, I love Heenan.

They’re spending a ton of time putting over Walker and his work ethic at the Power Plant, but we see him botch a monkey flip and THEN a move on the top rope, almost falling off.

We find out that at the Great American Bash, we’ll see Rey Mysterio, Jr. take on Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship!  Now that’s the Cruiserweight Division I’ve been waiting on!

Man, there’s really nothing about this match that says Cruiserweight except for their actual weights.

Walker tries to do some fancy footwork on the top rope, slips, then hits a nasty looking Blockbuster for an odd-looking 3 count.

Winner: Bobby Walker

The “prodigy from the Power Plant” needs to go back to Atlanta and spend some time working on his balance.  He looked bad in this match.

Back from commercial and heading into our next match.

Match #7: Lord Steven Regal w/ Jeeves VS “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright

Looking back over my list of results, this is only the 6th time we’ve seen Alex Wright this year.  I guess he’s been spending a lot of time on WCW Saturday Night.

Hogan mention, yet again, for no reason.  Also, why is he now “the great Hulk Hogan?”

This match starts off way better than the last match.  Wright gets in some quick arm wrenches and gets out of Regal’s wristlock with some cool flips.  Regal falls prey to two of Wright’s head scissors and is sent to the floor where he gets hit with a baseball slide dropkick and a diving vault from the ring to the floor as they go to commercial.

Commerical slams us back with an Alex Wright vertical suplex but Regal gets some momentum going his way with a thumb to the eyes and some European uppercuts.  Wright fires back a few of his own but Regal gets him in a leg takedown and starts palm striking the side of Alex’s face.  They stand and Alex gets Regal with a belly-to-belly suplex.  Regal comes back into the ring and takes over, punishing Wright with a barrage of elbows, knees and uppercuts.  Wright gets some momentum with a bug European uppercut, then almost botches a backflip into a sloppy schoolboy pin, but Regal takes him down again and locks on a top wristlock.

“So now people from other bloody wrestling companies want to come here and take things away from people like me so deserve it?  No bloody chance.” – Steven Regal

Regal yelling about Scott Hall into the camera…the announcers don’t mention it at all.  I wonder if that was in character or a shoot about Hall coming in and taking big money and key spots.  This is back when Regal was surly and would do things like not sell for Goldberg, so who knows.

Wright gets back on the offensive, getting a two count from a spinning wheel kick.  Regal cuts it off, though, by rolling up a potential monkey flip from the corner for the win.

Winner: Lord Steven Regal

lord-steven-regal-alex-wright-wcw1The match replay is brought to us by Playstation.  Wow…now I feel old.

Mean Gene is in the ring with Regal.  Gene mentions that Regal has some adverse feelings about Americans, so he asks about it.  Regal says it’s Memorial Day, and his father will be so pleased that he beat Junior Adolf!  Wow!  He says that the World Champion is a Barnum & Baileys reject, Savage is trying to act like a madman…and we saw him just a few weeks ago put the toughest man in wrestling out of the game.  He says that now we have people from another wrestling organization coming to start a war.  Regal says he is going to challenge Sting, and maybe when he wins, he’ll finally get the recognition he needs to get a shot at The Giant.  Damn, I like surly Regal!  Junior Adolf?  Wow!  Plus, I Regal straight up calling out Hall for coming from the WWF…even the announcers haven’t done that yet.

Match #7: Scott Steiner VS Sting

Scott Steiner is not in a singlet.  This confuses me.  He’s just in what looks like biker shorts…or, what at one time was called MMA shorts, before they went to board shorts.

Sting comes out and eats a few bites off of Flair’s VIP table before going to the ring.

Steiner is now in a singlet!  Guess he just had the straps tucked in.  Tricksy Steiner.

Sting starts off with a big hip toss, sending him almost fully across the ring.

Heenan: And don’t forget, Scott Steiner is one half of the Steiner Brothers.  So that means he’s only got half a mind.  So they’re both half-wits.  So they’re really not thinking 100% at any given time without each other there.

Bischoff: You know, Rick’s going to be out here in just a little bit.

Heenan: My buddy Rick Steiner, one of the greatest athletes I’ve ever seen in my life.

Heenan is so amazing.

Sting gets a big dropkick, hits a flying back elbow and a clothesline that sends Steiner to the floor.  He follows him down with a dive over the top rope onto Steiner, then rolls him back into the ring.  Sting ducks for a back bodydrop off of an Irish whip, but Steiner stops him and nails that big Tiger Bomb, following with a belly-to-belly suplex.  Scott hits that belly-to-belly in a way that no one else does, with that little 180 hop BEFORE hitting the suplex.  It’s one of those things that’s markedly a Steiner move.  Scott goes to the floor with a double axe handle, sending Sting back into the ring where he keeps the offensive until following Sting into the corner and getting feet to the face.  Steiner follows with another belly-to-belly, though, for two.  Steiner drags Sting to the center of the ring and locks on the STF.  Steiner holds it for a while, releases it, drops an elbow to the back of the head, then applies a Fujiwara armbar.

Steiner releases and tries a pin with a half-nelson, but can only get one counts.  If this was amateur wrestling, Steiner would be our winner off of that.  Steiner hits a big scoop slam but doesn’t cover.  He goes for a vertical suplex, but Sting reverses and hits a reverse DDT.  Interesting to see Sting hit that BEFORE his dark persona.  Steiner backs into the corner, stands, and is met with a Stinger Splash.  He tries another, but Steiner moves and then hits a Tiger Suplex.

Out comes Lex Luger.  In response, out comes Rick Steiner.  Scott takes Sting to the top and hits a Samoan drop then calls for the Frankensteiner.  Scott sends Sting to the ropes, but Sting holds on and Scott takes a bump on his back.  Sting grabs the Scorpion Deathlock, but turns Steiner too close to the ropes so he gets out.  Steiner attempts a tombstone piledriver, but Sting reverses into his own for a two count.  Sting then tries a very high leaping splash, but Steiner gets the knees up into Sting’s gut.  Sting rolls to the apron and Steiner tries to suplex him into the ring twice.  Sting reverses, tries to suplex Scott to the floor, but he slips out, pulls Sting out, and goes to vertical suplex Sting on the floor.  Luger breaks it up and rolls Steiner into the ring, which draws the ire of Rick Steiner, who attacks Luger.  In the ring, the Steiners go after Luger, bringing in Sting, and the two teams brawl.  The referee throws out the match as the two teams brawl, being separated by the WCW lower mid-card, including the likes of Craig Pittman and Bobby Walker.

scott-hall-you-wanna-warWe go back to the announcers who are talking about how these two teams were all really good friends, but now this is what we get.  Hall arrives and calls Bischoff a Ken Doll again.  He says Bischoff has a big mouth and “we” are sick of it.  Bischoff asks who “we” are, and Hall says “you know.”  Hall says for Bischoff to go get Billionaire Ted and tell him to get three of his best men…maybe Savage and Stinger…he says if they want to go war, let’s do it in the ring, not on microphones or in dirt sheets.  Hall says “we” are coming down here and, like it or not, “we” are taking over.  He flips his toothpick at Bischoff and the show ends with Bischoff and Heenan staring at each other silently.

Before I get into my final thoughts on the episode, I opened this up to the other members of Ko@2 and wanted to know what they thought.  Phillip and Robbie both gave me reactions.  Phillip, like me, is rewatching these segments after having seen them originally when they aired.  Robbie, though…Robbie, we’re bringing into the WCW fold anew, so these will be the thoughts of someone watching this for the first time.

First up, Phillip:

So… This week in Nitro Scott Hall made his first appearance. There was some great tension, and a sell that there was a “Takeover”. Anyone who watched wrestling at this point was speculating, a WWF takeover, and it made our pants shiver. Would we see Shawn Michaels super kick Sting, would we see Diesel Jackknife Luger? What did this mean?

Based on the first appearance, you can call him Scott Hall, but he showed up, full blown Razor Ramon. This guy shows up all “Hey, Chico” and Scarface. It was interesting to see, and also this is the birth of what anyone in my generation remembers. From Wolf Pack t-shirts in Middle school, to defending “fake wrestling”, to being a kid, with a testosterone filled soap opera. Tuesdays being about what happened on Monday Nitro, and one Monday a month being about finding the one friend who got the PPV on VHS.

This was the “Attitude Era” in WWE, and the New World Order on Nitro. The “we’re not here to take part, we’re here to take over” mentality. The death of cartoons, and the birth of gritty, black and white. But that’s just a subjective nostalgia.

The actual episode of Nitro. It’s interesting that Bischoff sells this so hard, he seemed shaken and unsure, which made me buy it. It broke down some walls, and the Kayfabe was living and breathing, which is definitely lacking in the product today. This seemed less like the Dungeons and Dragons, gold trunk mentality, and more a gritty and very real, visceral storyline. It helped tremendously as a young kid, to take my suspension of disbelief to new heights. This was the first Nitro I’ve watched for this entry where I got really pumped.

This had implications on both sides of the rating wars, the infamous Curtain call, which led to Vince shutting down the clique temporarily and pushing Stone Cold. It didn’t feel like it at the time, but this wasn’t a big moment in professional wrestling, it was an impossibly huge one.

And now for Robbie:

Steve Doll vs The Mauler. First example of why Shane is my WCW “go to guy” because I have never heard of these two before. Commercial break before the end of the match and the crowd turns their attention to the arena aisles. There he is, Razor Ramon himself making a B-line towards the ring via the crowd. An image that has lived on in the history of wrestling and I’m sure was a huge shock back in the day. “Hey…(guess he couldn’t add the yo’) you people know who I am but you don’t know why I’m here. Where is Billionaire, Ted? Where is the Nacho Man?” Back in the day I’m sure this had to be really exciting, especially for those not familiar with kayfabe. I mean you have a guy from another company barging to the ring and instantly calling out the owner and one of their top talents. Hearing Scott Hall calling out members of WCW and declaring a war literally was the first shot fired in The Monday Night War. I’m sure everyone was 100% behind this at the time and looking back on it it’s still a great moment. Ironically the gun that fired that shot may have very well been the same one that shot them in the foot a few years later… but we’ll  get to that at a later date.

At the close of the show as Bobby Hennan and Eric Bischoff are discussing the fallout of the main event Scott Hall approaches them. Although most of what he says is somewhat of a repeat, his does lay out the challenge of a three on three match “in the ring, where it matters”. The segment ends with the traditional toothpick to the eye from everyone’s favorite bad guy and we are one step closer to one of the most memorable events in not only WCW history but wrestling history overall.

As for my own thoughts, this was easily the biggest “feeling” Nitro to this point.  I remember watching this and getting a huge sensation that something was happening here that had never happened in wrestling before.  I knew that was Razor Ramon.  He acted like Razor.  He talked like Razor.  And now he’s here, in my WCW, talking about a war?  I knew in my heart that before the summer was over, I was going to see WCW VS WWF and that it was going to be amazing!

Of course, things didn’t go that way, but the next few weeks into months changed wrestling for me…as well as for the industry.  Kevin Nash will say that it changed because he and Hall got the boys guaranteed contracts, but that’s not what this is about.  This made wrestling a crazy environment for the fans where anything can and will happen.  Big names and world champions from other organizations can suddenly just show up on another company’s television product and try to take over.  Names will jump from ship to ship and we’ll get to see dream matches that we never thought possible.  Alliances will change.  Characters will change.  EVERYTHING will change.  It was amazing, exciting, and exhilarating being a wrestling fan at this time, and to me, that all started right here, May 27th, 1996.

I’m officially in catch up mode now, ladies and gentlemen.  My day job is done until the middle of August and I return to my quiet air conditioned Miami apartment in just a few days, so we’re going to be doing Nitros pretty regularly through the summer.  My hope is to catch up to current and then go back to the “day of” releases.  Thank you for sticking with us!

Until tomorrow, wrestling fans.

-Shane

Ratings Breakdown

WWF Raw Ratings – 2.3

WCW Nitro Ratings – 2.8

(Raw – 16, Nitro – 16) (Tie Weeks – 2)

(Unopposed weeks – 5)

WWF’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 6

WCW’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 4

 

Kind of odd to think that there was only a 2.8 rating on one of the biggest nights in Nitro history.  I’d definitely put it in the top 5, if not at the #2 spot, all things considered.  If I remember correctly, though, this week’s episode was a different time slot due to NBA Playoffs.  It seemed like it ran from 7-9, but I may be wrong on that.  It’s also the first time that Nitro went two hours, so coupled with a longer run and a different time slot, I can see the lower rating.  If I’m right about the time, though, that means Raw ran unopposed and still didn’t pull off the ratings that Nitro did.  However, that’s not an accurate reflection because there would have been a basketball game on at the time Raw was on, so that would have drawn away viewers.

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WWF Raw results from this week

KOTR Qualifying Match: The Ultimate Warrior fought WWF IC Champion Goldust (w/ Marlena) to a double count-out in a non-title match when Goldust tried to leave ringside and was attacked in the aisle by the Warrior.

WWF Tag Team Champions the Smoking Gunns (w/ Sunny) defeated Skip & Zip in a non-title match when the momentum of a flying bodypress by Skip put Bart Gunn on top for the win.

KOTR Qualifying Match: Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) pinned Ahmed Johnson after Owen Hart, who did guest commentary for the bout, came off the top with a double axe handle, using his arm cast, as Ahmed covered Vader following a spinebuster. (11:20)

Man, old school King of the Ring!  I remember thinking Ahmed was the shoe-in winner for this and then it just not happening.  If it wasn’t for injury, Ahmed could have been something.  Yeah, he couldn’t talk worth a damn, but still…dude just had a physical presence that you can’t match.  In a world where Sid could be a star, Ahmed should have been the man!

 

KoaNitro copy

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another edition of the Internet’s only chronological expose on WCW Nitro history!  I’m joined, once again, by the Colorado Kid himself, Phillip.  He’s taking a look into this episode, coming to us live from Cleveland, Ohio.  I’ll be back at the end for my thoughts as well as for the ratings and Raw thoughts, but for now, I leave you in Phillip’s hands.

-Shane

Match #1: The Giant VS Sting

Show opens and it’s actually a really exciting open, Stinger is out there working over the Giant. Of course the action is slowing down as it does when The Giant is wrestling. Seeing this brightly colored Sting, no matter how much I see it makes me a child again, and I mark. The story line that’s playing out here is that the Harlem Heat was supposed to be a tag vs Giant and Sting, and Jimmy Hart has paid everyone off. There’s a huge spot where he dropkicks giant off the apron, and Lex comes out to save the day. Giant sprays some screaming into the camera letting Sting know that the only reason he survived is because Lex is there…

Winner: The Giant (via DQ)

Show officially opens, and we’re getting backstory on this Jimmy Hart payoff. I think I mentioned this in my last post, but Mongo needs to go, it’s like he and Heenan are trying to work the same angle, and they are both annoying.

Match #2: Triangle Tag Team Match: The Steiner Brothers VS The Road Warriors VS The Nasty Boys

Onto this 3 way Triangle Tag.. This was all set up with the Steiners Debut where the Nasty Boys went to the Hospital and no one knew who did it. Some athletic action in this match. Scott still has that beautiful mullet. For a 6 man event, this match is beautifully paced. A lot of these matches work as distractions to avoid showing a lack of action or ring work. There’s a chaotic everyone brawling outside the ring moment, but overall some really good, well paced action. Bischoff throws a mention to the Steiners debut, and that setting up this match. Animal grabs a heel of Knobbs, but somehow even though every other touch of a man is a tag, this one doesn’t count… I love the suspension of disbelief that I clearly had as a young man. Watching this match, I’m sure this is going to be the highlight again. A really nice spot, Rick sets up a belly to belly on the top, and Hawk pushes them both over the top. Public Enemy comes out and runs some interference. Johnny Gunge dressed as Knobbs runs in the ring and takes the pin. It looks like Public Enemy mugged the Nasty Boys.

Winner: The Steiner Brothers 

They make a spot showing Luger defending the TV title, and Flair defending the Heavywieight title… Makes you wonder how that main event’s going to turn out…

Match #3: “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson & “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan w/ Woman and Ms. Elizabeth VS Hulk Hogan & The Booty Man w/ Kimberly

Double A and the Taskmaster come out with Elizabeth and Woman. Elizabeth and woman come out looking like a walking 80’s glamour shot.  The walking cartoon duo of Hulk and BM come out for the match. I think WCW’s April Fools joke is pushing BM as a star, and trying to sell Hulk as someone who still wrestles. The physique differences are pretty hilarious, it’s two stocky, chubby, pale dudes wrestling two bodybuilders, who spend half their day in the tanning booth turning their skin into tanned leather with a ton of bright colors. Woman digging into BM’s face. All of the offense is really BM and Hogan, but finally there is a shift, watching Double A job to Hogan and BM makes me feel a little ill. A couple of boots to the face, and Hogan has yet to take a bump. Hogan uses Booty Babe’s heel to take out Taskmaster. I have to say typing Booty Babe, makes it near impossible to not cringe, what a god awful gimmick.

Post match there’s a little action. They tag BM, but Hogan still taking no bumps.

Winners: Hulk Hogan & The Booty Man

Hulk and BM doing some tough Mic work. BM has a plan to get the “last laugh” there’s a lot of “brother’s” and “booty” and some threat to “kick a can”, won’t take bumps, can’t cut a promo… This is their star.

Match #4: WCW World Heavyweight Championship: “The Total Package” Lex Luger (WCW TV/Tag Team Champ) VS “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (WCW World Champion) w/ Woman & Ms. Elizabeth

Ric Flair in there Ric Flair’ing giving a “WOO!” and a strut. Flair taking some bumps, a big overhead slam. Another big overhead slam. I forgot how many of these matches were only slow ring movement and signature moves. Flair goes up top, and… Overhead slam. Clothesline, and clothesline over the top. Flair chops, and a Luger overhead slam, this time onto the ropes followed by… clotheslines. This match is like going to see Chumbawumba open for Alien Ant Farm and they only play “I get knocked down” and “Smooth Criminal” over and over. Knee block chop and Figure Four… Luger turning the figure four over… Flair grabs a rope and throws luger out, woman rakes the eyes. Luger clotheslines Flair. Sunset flip pin by luger, Flair kicks out at 2, missed hip toss and backslide pin, flair kicks out at 2, Luger catches Flair off the top, sets him up for a superplex. The Luger power slam, Torture Rack, Liz distracts the referee, and woman throws coffee in Lugers face, and Flair leans on the rope for the pin.

Winner: Ric Flair (still WCW World Champion)

Sting comes out to save Luger, while Flair celebrates.

The highlight of this Match was the reminder that Flair is the dirtiest player in the game. Which is a part he plays well.

Match of the night: Triangle Tag

Storyline implications:

Hart paying everyone off to try to let Giant take out Sting

Public Enemy duping the Nasty Boys, likely attacking them

BM coming up with some mystical match to get the last laugh on Double A and Taskmaster

Luger and Sting against the villainy of WCW, playing the hero part well.

 

Overall impressions, This was a set up show to get some storylines started, the next few weeks will see these stories play out. Not a bad Nitro, but definitely more about story than wrestling. The ring work for the most part was ho hum, but you can see that they are trying to set a foundation leading to the next PPV.

Thanks for your time, and I’m out!

Phillip

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All in all I thought this was a pretty solid show.  I’m not EXACTLY sure why Jimmy Hart is trying to take out Sting now, though, since Sting hasn’t featured in any of the main story lines for a long time.  He’s busy with the tag team stuff, so there’s really no reason to pay off Harlem Heat to let the Giant beat him down.  Plus, damn, Booker T, that’s cold.  You and Sting were temporary buddies just two weeks ago!  Nice to see Luger rush to Sting’s aid, though.  Luger is pretty much going full babyface in the next few months, so we’re seeing that turn towards that here.  Plus, Luger, even in his tweener role, does seem to genuinely care about Sting, so it’s not too much of a stretch.  It’s nice to know that Luger has Sting’s back when it counts, though.

Man, WCW’s tag team division is stacked!  The Steiners, Road Warriors, American Males, Nasty Boys, Public Enemy, Harlem Heat…it’s so awesome to get to see a company where full tag teams are a thing.  I’m so used to fifteen years of Midcarder A and Midcarder B being thrown together to be a tag team that I forgot what having a full roster of tag teams was like.  This match, like most of the tag matches in the last few months, was pretty hard hitting.  Phillip seems to constantly get Steiner Brothers matches on his write-ups, though, which makes me sad.  I want to call some suplexes!  The Steiners are, legit, my favorite tag team ever, so I’m loving them here.  I know I don’t get but about a year of them…but I’m going to cherish it while I’ve got it!

The Hogan/Booty match…ugh…I’m so damn sick of the Booty Man, I want to scream.  Him trying to say the word “satisfaction” with this weird emphasis failed twice.  It’s like he did it the first time, no one reacted, so he wanted to make sure that people heard him so he did it again!  Thing is, he says it differently both times!  Also, I don’t want to hear Hogan say “booty” anymore.  I don’t want to hear ANYONE say it anymore.  Sadly, we’ll get this match again next week.  I also don’t want anyone to hit anyone else with a shoe anymore.  I’m sick of this gimmick.

The main event…yet another free World Championship defense.  I understand defending the Television title every time you have a television show…but the World Championship is something you should pay to see.  This goes for every company…then, and now.  In a world where you can get access to ANY type of media you want, it sometimes seems like it makes sense to give the title away because you have to draw in viewers.  However, that’s how you tarnish a title.  They do title shots on Nitro every week and none of them feel special anymore.  Title matches should be built up to, PPV main events, with Michael Buffer announcing.  That’s one thing I can say about the time we’ve got coming up when Hogan gets the title…from what I remember, he only defends on PPV.  Granted, he’s a heel and only defends in the mandatory 30 days, but still…he makes it feel special.  But, I digress.  

Bobby Heenan seriously got me with his April Fools joke about this being his last night.  I started wracking my brain (no pun intended) to try to remember if he took time off around this time…but then he gets to the end and I have to admit, he got me.

All in all, decent show.  Not stellar, but not terrible.  Nitro takes a week off next week, so fortunately we’re not as behind as it looks like we are here.  I hope to get the next two episodes up this weekend sometime and then go from there.  See you all next time, fans!

-Shane

 

—–

Ratings Breakdown

WWF Raw Ratings – 2.9

WCW Nitro Ratings – 2.8

(Raw – 11, Nitro – 14) (Tie Weeks – 2)

(Unopposed weeks – 4)

WWF’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 2

WCW’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 4

 

Back to a WWF win…but we’re about to turn the corner here into May.  Those wins won’t be something we see too much of once that happens.

—–—

WWF Raw results from this week

Mankind defeated Bob Holly

Marc Mero defeated Isaac Yankem DDS

Skip & Zip (c) (w/ Sunny) defeated Aldo Montoya & Barry Horowitz to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship

The Undertaker defeated Justin Bradshaw via disqualification

 

Hey, look, it’s Johnny B Badd!  Is this his official debut?  I may have to watch that to find out as this is a decent sized ship-jump.  It’s not as big as Vader’s was, but still.  Doesn’t look like a terrible Raw, aside from Isaac Yankem being on TV, but still.  I can see how this competed closely with this episode of Nitro.

KoaNitro copyWelcome back, everyone, to another edition of Kick Out at Nitro!, the Internet’s only chronological journey through the WCW side of the Monday Night War!  This week I am joined by my friend and long-time wrestling buddy, Phillip.  He’s trying his hand at re-living WCW, just as I am, with the possibility of becoming somewhat regular in this segment.  With that, I will let him get to it and I will catch up at the end with my thoughts and the normal week wrap-up! – Shane

First, let me introduce myself and tell you about my lack of qualifications for writing this article. I am a wrestling fan, and this era of wrestling, is the era I watched with my dad. He always went for the good guy, I always went for the anti-hero. My real inner fan boy is and always will be a mark for wrestlers from this era (and especially about 2 years from here in the WCW-verse…I was an ECW fan boy around this time and I am in no way the WCW-pedia that “Sugar” Shane Dalton is).

This will certainly be in my voice, which is a little different from Shane’s, and hopefully you enjoy it.

Show pops off, and Bischoff is welcoming me to the “WAR ZONE”… and oddly the first thing I notice is that the Road Warriors are schedule to face The Nasty Boys, odd since I know this is a Steiner Bros. match, in fact marking their return to the World of World Championship Wrestling. I’m marking to the music that marked the opening to WCW/NWO Revenge (N64) which happens to be the greatest game EVER!!  Also an announcer note, I’m so glad that Steve McMichael will be replaced with Tony Schiavone, because I really don’t like the dude.

Match #1: Hacksaw Jim Duggan VS The Giant

Hacksaw making his way down with Ol’ Glory and a 2×4.

It’s evident when Giant is on his way down that this is the era where he still has the mystique, and he’s wearing the Andre singlet, I think they’re not talking about it but still playing that angle.

This is a lot of bear hugs and some no selling from the Giant to impress upon you his mystique, with that little psycho human cartoon Jimmy Hart yelling through his megaphone. But look out Duggan is an “Irish taped hand boxer” and pulls tape from around the ring, and lays into giant, and fells the mighty beast…

There’s some commotion regarding Flyin’ Bryan on the outside and he gets the Bischoff boot, which is the most exciting moment of this match, at least I got to mark for Pillman.

Hart grabs the tape, gets booted out of the ring, but Duggan gets the chokeslam for his trouble, and that’s a wrap.

“Mean” Gene interviewing Steve Grissom, the WCW Nitro car driver. Who apparently started 43rd and ended up in 4th, and is now 3rd in points.

Match #2: The Steiner Brothers VS The Road Warriors (Originally Nasty Boys VS Road Warriors)

The Steiners roll out on Harleys, as we learn the Nasty Boys are on their way to the hospital. Bischoff doesn’t know who did it the Steiners or the Road Warriors.

I mark for the bulldog Rick Steiner, and have a hard time caring about Scott Steiner for all the “Big Poppa” pain that is to come in the future. He looks like a human being in this match. That mullet though… wow.

Some nice back and forth, some really great Steiner suplex work in this match, which is of course what they’re known for. Everyone manages to get their signatures out, some shoulder block action from Hawk, a power slam by Animal. On the shoulder off the top clothesline by the RW. A faulty attempt by the Steiners. A really nice Frankensteiner (I forgot all about this big guy sorcery).

The drama of both guys in a tag match fighting their way to the tag, even though 50% of the match everyone is in the ring, in this instance in a tag match, the rules become insanely important. I bought this hook, line and sinker as a 12 year old kid.

A few odd things, Animal gets a 2 count with Hawk in the ring, even though Hawk is the legal guy. Heenan let’s “Legion of Doom” slip. The crowd gets behind an “LOD” chant.

Ricky hits the bulldog off the top, but Animal nails him with the spiked shoulder pad, and Hawk gets the pin.

“Mean” Gene talking to Scotty Steiner, talking about chasing the Road Warriors, talking a little crazy. Maybe I was wrong about Scotty Steiner, he is starting to look a little roided out. Ricky letting us know “This isn’t the end” Looks like a Steiner Bros/Road Warriors feud getting things going.

Match #3: WCW Television Championship Match: “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright VS “The Total Package” Lex Luger (WCW TV Champion)

I am annoyed by Alex Wright, because 12 year old me hated Alex Wright. I think to the later run this guy has, and the fact that great guys like Malenko and Benoit get categorized with this dude.

We get some inference that Johnny B. Badd couldn’t handle the heat in WCW and is out.

Luger looking like Luger looks. Some running through Wright, who I don’t remember being this agile and athletic. He’s actually making this match worth watching.

A lot of talk about Luger letting Sting down, and him having half the Tag belts and the TV Title.

WCW trying to sell me some WCW Hotline, also known as “A parent’s worst nightmare.” I made that mistake ONCE as a child.

/Rant Bischoff let’s me know that the “Immortal one” Hulk Hogan is coming up, and I can barely contain myself… from vomiting. I really hate Hogan’s non gimmick, and his no sell, his creative control, and the fact that he main events EVERYTHING, and steals the light from the real stars… /Rant

Hart intervenes, and this match is over, it was pretty clear this was not Wright’s time.

Hart and Luger share a weird moment in the ring. Luger looks annoyed, and Hart looks like a jealous Ex-Girlfriend. The most interesting thing about this match is the drama of Sting being partnerless for UnCensored. I REPEAT: The most interesting thing about this match is Sting WHO ISN’T IN THIS MATCH.

 

Match #4: Lumberjack Match – “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (WCW Champion), “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson & “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan VS Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage & The Booty Man

 

Flair/Double A/TaskMaster come out, there is a lot of talk about Loch Ness/Giant being on the outside during this Lumberjack match, which used to be a thing. I have a feeling that’s going to feed this match coming up.

Chaos ensues, the “there’s too much to watch so you’ll forget that no one in this ring really does ring work” trick. Some whipping, some hitting, some choking, and not a single wrestling move happened…

Loch Ness clobbers Giant getting after it on the outside, and the war begins… Have to say this was a shock.

Flair makes a run for it, and Animal drags him back, this being the highlight of this match.

Lots of “Hogan is great”, a high kick and a leg drop. This train wreck rests at the station.

If I hear Bischoff call Hogan “The Immortal One” again, I’m inventing a time machine to go back to ’96 and slap him in the mouth. Leg Drop and closes out another win for the BM/Savage/Hogan trio.

“Hogan is back, and in great form!” – Bischoff ’96

We come back from commercial to the aftermath of the Lumberjack 6 man tag. I get to watch a slow mo of the Leg drop from Hogan.

Interview with Taskmaster, and the crew. Kevin Sullivan in his Sam Kinison voice telling us about this 4 man cage match at uncensored. Double A giving us a “Until death do us part” marriage metaphor. Swearing that it won’t be over with Savage until death do them part.

Flair giving a “Flair interview” about touching a woman, running the ropes, and holding Elizabeth. Taskmaster falls to his knees looking like a wild eyed psycho. A few “woo’s” and the show is winding down.

Flair getting all crazy in the booth.

This is the Hogan/Savage era of WCW which is sad, because they have better talent, just not bigger names.

Steiner/Road Warriors stole this show. Honestly it was theirs to steal, this is a pre-PPV Nitro, and has no real impacting matches, everything is already set up, and the show felt phoned in. I’m glad to see some tag action on this card. This is the cartoon era. I liken this to the pop of the late ‘80’s. It was great until grunge came in and wiped it out. No one knew that cartoon characters and make up wouldn’t always be the center of wrestling. It’s a bubble that needs to, and in this period of the WCW Verse, is about to pop.

That’s a wrap on 3/11/96.

Phillip

 

First off, I am extremely jealous that I handed Phillip this week’s episode, for one major reason.  I remember this episode very clearly from my teenage years.  Earlier this night, on 3/11/1996, my father and I were talking wrestling.  When I really got into wrestling at this time, I would always ask my Dad about wrestling when he was younger.  He grew up on NWA Mid Atlantic, so he had the history of what would eventually become WCW.  He always stuck with WCW.  I remember watching the syndicated Saturday morning shows and then getting the PPV’s on Mondays because he worked with a woman who ordered them and taped them for us.  Anyway, that night he was talking about his favorite tag team…the Steiner Brothers.  He was really talking them up, especially Scott, and his finishing move, the Frankensteiner.  This fascinated me.  Just the explanation of the move blew my mind.

Well, cut to later that night and we’re thinking we’re going to get a Nasty Boys VS Road Warriors match and suddenly we hear Harley Davidson’s revving up.  Dad was a Harley guy so he was excited to know who was coming out on the Harleys when suddenly out come the Steiners!  It was one of the only times I saw my Dad mark out over wrestling and I’ll always remember that.

As for the rest of the show, I’m with Phillip in saying it was pretty forgettable outside of the tag match.  The tag match was just so hard hitting, despite it falling completely apart as far as reffing goes.  Of course, it was Nick Patrick, worst ref ever, so it’s not hard to imagine it falling apart.  That Scotty Steiner mullet was freaking glorious, though.  Seriously, check this episode out so you can see this thing!

Hacksaw VS Giant was useless.  I usually don’t like to crap on matches, but since I’m just doing my thoughts and not a full recap, hell with it.  It wasn’t good.

The Television title thing was a little weird, but when they mentioned that Johnny B Badd was throwing a fit and decided not to come to the ring I realized that he’s going to WWF in a few weeks, so this must have been his exit.  Giving the title to Luger on Saturday Night was interesting.  I remember this time and him having two belts.  I really loved the way that Luger took the victory but then tried to play it off when Jimmy tried celebrating.  Jimmy was so damn annoying, though.  I’m intrigued by how this leaves Sting without a partner coming into UnCensored, though.  I like that Luger wrote a check that now Sting’s ass has to cash and Luger himself isn’t even in the match anymore.  That adds a nice wrinkle to their angle.

The Main Event was a clustermuck (credit Steve Austin) but, like Phillip said, I think it was due to wanting to hide how bad an actual match between these six was going to be.  It’s odd that the main event to UnCensored is still Hogan VS 4 others in the Doomsday cage when it ends up being Hogan and Savage VS about six or eight people.  I guess all that is coming next week.

Pillman randomly showing up was interesting.  I kept seeing the signs that said “Talk to Brian” and had the phone number and was wondering if that had anything to do with Pillman, then I randomly saw him walking by.  I actually said aloud, “was that freaking Brian Pillman?!”  Then, sure enough, it was!  Pillman was definitely not under WCW contract at this point.  Hell, he had been in ECW for the last few weeks up to this.  That was nuts and I wonder if it was worked out with Bischoff or if Pillman just crazied his way into the building.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week, fans!  Thanks to Phillip for jumping in and helping out this week.  Hopefully he enjoyed it enough to jump in more going forward.  We’ll be back next week (on Wednesdays now since 1996 was a leap year) with the UnCensored go-home show!  Take care, everyone!

-Shane

Ratings Breakdown

WWF Raw Ratings – 2.9

WCW Nitro Ratings – 3.2

(Raw – 10, Nitro – 12) (Tie Weeks – 2)

(Unopposed weeks – 4)

WWF’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 2

WCW’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 2

 

WCW getting the second win in a row since Raw went unopposed last week!  They’re also edging out a little farther into the win column as this is the first time in a while we’ve had a margin larger than 1 in the win column.

—–—

WWF Raw results from this week

Savio Vega fought Steve Austin (w/ Ted Dibiase) to a double count-out.

Henry Godwinn & Phinneas Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim) defeated Jerry Meade & Alex Porteau (1:52)

Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Vin Grier (1:53)

The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) & Yokozuna defeated Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith via disqualification (5:19)

 

Savio and Austin was probably pretty good, although it ended in a double count out.  Godwinns in a squash sounds bad.  Same with HHH.  Taker & Yoko teaming sounds interesting.  Not sure why that happened.  Honestly, I’d say these two episodes sound pretty neck-and-neck so it’s not surprising they were pretty close in ratings. I’m going to give the Steiners the credit for pushing Nitro into the win column because, hey, it’s my blog and I’m going to do what I want to.