Well, I haven’t recapped NWA TNA in about 4 weeks now, and the longer it sits in my VCR waiting to be recapped, the less I want to do it. For those of you who have watched the last few weeks, it’s been terrible! It’s growing increasingly difficult to watch the Jeff Jarrett show, as he and his band of cronies grows in a one-way fight with Hulk Hogan that’s never going to happen – and it’ll make your head want to explode!
Now, I had previously decided to recap WCW Nitro from the start, until I discovered an early tape was up and missing, ruining that into November 1995. Not fun.
So – rather than jump back in 2 months later, I’ll fast-forward and jump back in when there was a change coming to WCW…
I’ll note the quality for this tape is god awful.
Hi TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO! They’re our brand new opening hour announcers, because Nitro has expanded to two whole hours! My god, what are we going to DO with all that extra time? Well, for starters, Sting and Scott Steiner will be locking horns for what Tony says is the first time ever. And The Giant will be defending his title against his biggest challenger to date – The Shark! Plus Arn and Ric prepare for the Great American Bash, and Colonel Parker might introduce a new client.
THE AMERICAN MALES vs. RIC FLAIR and ARN ANDERSON (with Woman and Elizabeth)
No opening bell. This is a warmup for Flair and Anderson who are set to take on Steve McMichael and Kevin Greene at Great American Bash, due to Flair having made inappropriate advances towards Greene’s wife, Debra. Flair and Arn make lots of quick tags and work over Riggs. Out to the floor, Bagwell stops the attack, throws Flair in and backdrops him. He connects with dropkicks which Riggs mounts Arn in the corner and counts his punches to 10! The Horsemen bail, and the Males clap. Flair grabs a bottle of champagne from the VIP section of Nitro and hands it to Woman. Arn dumps Bagwell, charges, but misses and hits the ringpost shoulder first. And with that, we need to take a timeout!
This portion of WCW Monday Nitro is brought to you by Armour All Protectant!
Back to the show, and Bagwell is working Flair over with punches before backdropping him. Riggs comes in, gets his leg caught by Flair, and Arn clips him. Flair kicks away at the weakened leg while Tony and Larry enjoy champagne as served by the ladies. Zbyszko has no problem sucking up to Flair’s class now. Arn bars at the knee, and uses Flair’s arm for leverage while RANDY ANDERSON checks on Riggs. Bagwell charges over and knocks Flair off the apron, which the referee doesn’t stand for. Flair is quickly in, hitting a single leg atomic drop on Riggs, and Arn kicks away. Riggs manages to shove Arn out of the ropes, and when Flair tries to get in, he and the referee get into a shoving match! Bagwell makes the tag and slams Flair! Arn takes a dropkick, and Flair takes a backdrop! Missile dropkick off the top, 1, 2, Arn saves! Small package…but the referee is tied up with Riggs! Arn comes in and shoves the momentum to Flair’s side – the ref comes back, 1, 2, Riggs turns the momentum the other way, and gets 2 before Arn breaks it up. Bagwell hits a bridge suplex on Flair, but the referee is distracted again. Riggs dropkicks Flair, Bagwell covers and gets 2 before Woman gouges the eye! Bagwell stumbles around right into a DDT from Arn! Flair rolls over and scores the pinfall. (9:25) ***
The Horsemen and the ladies walk over to the VIP section where MEAN GENE is hanging about. Arn tells Greene and Mongo that there’s never been a football player he couldn’t walk over to get to a better fight, and there’s never been a lady Flair couldn’t get. Flair talks about all the sex he’s having, and promises to get a piece of Debra. Gene: “Is this considered two-timing Miss Elizabeth?” Liz: “Oh no, Ric can have whatever he wants.”
Here’s a special video look at the workout Greene and Mongo are undergoing to get into ring shape for the Great American Bash. They lift weights and grunt. Yup.
STEVE DOLL vs. THE MAULER (with Colonel Robert Parker)
The Mauler is Mike Enos. Steve Doll is fat. Mauler scoops up Doll and sets him on the top rope. He climbs up and nails a fallaway slam from the top! Doll gets run over with a shoulderblock, spears him, and both guys go flying over the top rope. Mauler throws Doll into the ringpost face first, and slams him into the ring apron over and over. Tony wants to step aside and take a break.
We return with Mauler still in control, but everyone in the building in on their feet for some reason? The camera pans the crowd, and RAZOR RAMON(!) is walking around, before jumping the guardrail! He demands a microphone, and has to physically yank one away. “Hey… 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 look-a-like, when that weather man wannabe comes down here later tonight, I got a challenge for him, for Billionaire Ted, for the Nacho Man, and for anybody else in uh… W C W, huh huh. You wanna go to war? You wanna war? You’re gonna get one.” Tony: “What about the match?” (no contest -> about 4:00) 1/4*
SERGEANT CRAIG PITTMAN (with Teddy Long) vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
They didn’t say whether or not the Lord Of The Ring title is on the line, but it’s not like Pittman has a chance in hell anyway. Page makes fun of Pittman’s training and does some pushups about the same way I do pushups…which is not very well. Pittman does ‘em on one hand for fun – so Page charges to kick him in the stomach, but Pittman moves, and Page does the “slipping on a banana peel” fall. Shoulderblock from Pittman into a cover gets 2. Pittman puts on a full body scissors, but Page hooks the bottom rope and he has to break immediately. Page makes noise about Pittman having pulled the hair, and immediately pokes him in the eyes. Pittman comes back with a headbutt, and now Page does the “drunken stagger” and falls to the outside, and gets tangled up in the TV cords. Pittman helpfully untangles Page and rolls him back in. Page hits an armdrag over the top rope on Pittman and stomps away. Pittman elbows Page in the stomach and whips him into the corner. Code Red is applied – but Page gets the ropes. Page shoves Teddy Long who’s too close to the ropes for comfort, Pittman checks on him for JUST a split second, Diamond Cutter is applied, and we have us a winner. (2:59) 1/2*
Recently, Randy Savage lost his mind. (ONLY RECENTLY?????) Here’s a look at Savage’s behavior over the last few months, fuelled in part by Elizabeth’s actions with Ric Flair since her return to pro-wrestling.
MEAN GENE and THE SHARK are backstage. Shark is annoyed that he’s not part of the Dungeon Of Doom anymore, stating it was Jimmy Hart who threw him out. So, in retaliation, he’s going to just go out and win the WCW World Heavyweight Title, just like that.
Let’s shift the attention back where we all know it really belongs – to Hulk Hogan! Here’s some of the celebrities he’s hung out with over the years: George Foreman, Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Rodman, and Kevin Greene. Recently, he met Sugar Ray Leonard at a charity event. Plus, he’s appeared on Baywatch, Thunder In Paradise, as well as starred in Mr. Nanny and Suburban Commando. All that, AND he’s featured in this very video package on Monday Nitro. What a star!
BOBBY HEENAN and THE WEATHER MAN WANNABE have hit the booth for hour 2! Bischoff says he’s not going to acknowledge the “interruption” from hour 1.
SHARK vs. THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW world heavyweight title)
Shark attacks from behind while Bischoff goes over the fact that despite DDP won the Lord Of The Ring, he will not be getting the World Title shot awarded from it due to the route he took to winning it. That shot is being awarded to Lex Luger instead, and will take place at Great American Bash. Giant clotheslines Shark and stands on him once he’s down. Into the corner, Giant kicks away and uses the Nash boot choke. Shark climbs to the second rope and hits a leaping axehandle, tries to slam Giant, but fails and gets slammed himself. Shark gouges the eyes of Giant and gets in some shoulderblocks before running the head of Giant over the top rope. Giant tries an avalanche, but takes a big boot, followed by a second rope clothesline that drops him to the mat! Jimmy Hart leaps onto the apron, Shark is distracted, turns, and takes a chokeslam. ‘Night. (4:00) * BIG BUBBA hits the ring immediately after the match, and cuts off the hair of Shark! With an electric razor, he only works over half the head, leaving the other half long.
MAXX vs. LEX LUGER (for the WCW world television title)
Maxx shoves Luger back to the corner, and works a headlock. That’s the first 2:00 of the match. The fans are mixed as to what to do with Luger at this point. Luger hits a clothesline and gets a MASSIVE pop/heat at the same time. Maxx kicks at Luger and chokes him out in the ropes. Luger stands too close, and gets thrown back to the middle of the ring when Maxx pulls the ropes back, and Maxx gets a 2. An elbow is dropped for another 2, and a “Luger” chant starts inexplicably. Luger comes back with some kicks, but Maxx drills him with a right and Luger falls back down. Maxx takes a big boot when attempting a splash, and Luger hits a running clothesline! Luger hits a bodyslam, and applies the Rack. (5:47) -*
MEAN GENE wants a word with Lex. Lex is happy that WCW has chosen him to wrestle The Giant, and says nobody wants a piece of him more. We take a look from 2 weeks ago where Luger takes a chokeslam from The Giant through a table, which cost him a title shot at Slamboree. Luger says he’s going to wrestle as many big men as possible to get into shape for his match.
BOBBY WALKER vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG (in a cruiserweight contenders match)
Walker hits an early snapmare into a headscissors, while Bischoff has now spent a half hour explaining to us WHY he’s not going to acknowledge the earlier interruption. The latest reason is fear of legal teams from other promotions. Walker puts on an armbar, but Armstrong comes back with a hiptoss. Lousy monkey flip from Armstrong half works, because everyone trips and falls over – and that’s followed by a moonsault by Walker for 2. Bischoff mentions some guy named Rey Mysterio Jr. who’s going to appear at the Great American Bash as the Cruiserweight challenger. Walker works another headscissors on the mat while Armstrong crawls around and about. Armstrong powers out, but gets cradled for 2. Walker gets in a backslide for 2, and follows with a backdrop. Walker rushes to the top, trips and crotches himself, recovers, and hits a Blockbuster for 3. (4:27) 1/2* That was a squash and a half. Walker is happy, so no lawsuits will be filed tonight.
STEVEN REGAL (with Jeeves) vs. ALEX WRIGHT
It’s just been match after match tonight. If Justin Timberlake were here right now, you’d better believe he’d be singin’ “I’m Lovin’ It”, even if the matches have kinda sucked. Regal shows off his biceps, and the fans are trembling with fear, believe you me. Regal gets hiptossed, but gets to the ropes before Alex can apply a submission of any kind. Wright hits a couple of headscissors takeovers and Regal rolls out. A baseball slide dropkick hits, followed by a plancha – but we’ve gotta take a very important message break.
Our World Is About To Change… Prepare Yourself… Blood Runs Cold… GLACIER… Coming To WCW… Well, I’ve got chills.
Wright hits a shoulderblock to take down Regal, but Regal comes back and hammers back on Alex. They trade punches, but Regal hits a drop toe hold (or if you’re Bischoff, a drop toe hold SUPLEX), and Regal puts on a headlock. Regal hits a couple of European uppercuts, but gets caught with a belly to belly suplex for 2! Regal doesn’t like it, and goes back to stretching on the neck of Wright. Regal starts to stiff Wright with a headbutt, and a nasty looking elbow. Wright NAILS him with one of the nicest European uppercuts I’ve seen in wrestling, then rolls him up…for 2. Regal goes back to the mat, applying another headlock. They roll around with various covers but can’t get anything from it, so they stand and Wright dropkicks him. Wright with a backdrop, hits a running elbow, and follows with a spinning heel kick for 2! Wright tries a monkey flip, but Regal knocks him out powerbomb style in mid-move, follows with a bridge, and scores the win! (10:12) ** Wright clutches his head from the move as we take a look at replays.
Regal doesn’t leave the ring, getting a word with MEAN GENE. Regal starts mocking every single champion in WCW, and reminds us that 2 weeks ago he put the toughest man in wrestling out of the business. He’s tired of waiting, and demands his shot to make a name for himself. He issues a challenge to Sting, and says if he wins that match he wants a shot at the circus freak WCW calls its world champion.
This portion of Monday Nitro is brought to you by Armour All Protectant!
SCOTT STEINER vs. STING
Sting stops off at the VIP section to steal some grub from the heels. Steiner and Sting shake hands, and we’re off. Steiner hiptosses him, and runs Sting back to the corner. Sting hooks the top to avoid a hiptoss, and counters with one of his own. Heenan starts calling the Steiner’s halfwits without eachother around, at which point Bischoff reminds him Rick is going to be hanging out with them later. Heenan: “Rick Steiner, one of the greatest athletes and a good friend.” Sting hits a dropkick and sends Steiner to the floor. Sting hits a plancha and rolls Steiner back in. Back in, Steiner hits a tigerbomb and belly to belly suplex! Steiner now heads to the top rope while Sting rolls out, and Steiner hits an axehandle from the top to the floor! Sting is rolled back in, and Steiner gets a 2. Running shoulderblock, and Steiner drives a knee to the midsection before charging one too many times and taking a boot to the face. Steiner comes right back with an overhead belly to belly suplex! He gets a close 2 from that. Steiner isn’t phased and moves into the STF. Steiner releases, drops an elbow, and slaps on a cross armbreaker. Steiner hits a scoop slam, can’t finish a vertical suplex and winds up taking a Scorpion Deathdrop!!! Steiner crawls to the corner in time to meet a Stinger Splash, but dodges a second one allowing Steiner to hit a Dragon Suplex!!! LEX LUGER wanders down to ringside with Sting out cold, but RICK STEINER is not far behind to keep the control. Sting gets perched on the top rope allowing Steiner to hit a super Samoan drop! Steiner calls for the Frankensteiner, but Sting hooks the ropes and Steiner misses. Sting’s on him immediately to try a Deathlock, but Steiner grabs the ropes as well, so it’s broken. Steiner tries a tombstone, but it’s reversed into a tombstone from Sting!!!! 1, 2, Steiner JUST kicks out! Sting tries a big splash, but Steiner gets the knees up to block it. Sting goes to the apron, Steiner tries to suplex him back in, but Sting blocks it and suplexes Steiner to the outside of the ring! They fight on the floor where Sting nearly winds up suplexed on the concrete, but Luger rushes over to shove Steiner, and rolls Steiner in away from Sting. Rick is NOT too pleased about that and starts throwing punches at Luger. Luger gets into the ring, Rick follows, Luger starts to stomp, but Scott comes from behind and both Steiner’s beat him down. The referee has enough at this point. (10:16) ***1/4 EVERY JOBBER IN THE LOCKER ROOM rushes down to break this up as Sting tries to keep the peace – but Luger gets in a cheap shot at Rick prompting the brawl to break down even worse. Someone tries to help by ringing the bell a million times, but to no avail.
Back in the broadcast location, RAZOR RAMON re-appears! “Hey… Looky here. You got such a big mouth. And we are sick of it.” “Who are ‘we’?” “You know who. This is where the big boys play? What a joke. I tell you what. You go tell Billionaire Ted, you tell him get 3 of his very, very best. Maybe uh, maybe the Nacho Man. Ohhhhhhhh no. Maybe he gets the Stinger. Oooooooooh. I’m so scared. You go get anybody you want because we, we are taking over. You wanna go to war? You want a war? You got one. Only let’s do it right. In the ring, where it matters. Not on no microphone. Not in no newspapers or dirtsheets. Let’s do it in the ring where it matters. If uh, if Billionaire Ted and his big boys if they’ve got any guts. Because we are coming down here, and like it or not, we are taking over.”
Well, certainly a show with a very important place in wrestling history, but, man, what a thin lineup! While the big news here of course is the debut Scott Hall signaling what was about to happen at the top of the card, what's also important, if less obvious, is the mention of Rey Jr., signalling the influx of luchadores and ECW guys who were going to fill up a lot of the rest of the time and also did a lot to make the show entertaining.
One minor correction: Debra was married to McMichael, not Kevin Greene, wasn't she? Don't tell me there were two women named Debra involved in that angle!
Generally I enjoyed this column. I would however take issue with one thing as being a bit overly general: - Don’t dominate the conversation with irrelevant comparisons. The Benoit/Booker T best of 7 series in WCW was great.