TONY SCHIAVONE is quick to welcome us to Casper, Wyoming, which LARRY ZBYSZKO (rightly) calls “the middle of nowhere”! It’s a dark day, sez Tony. No, the power has NOT gone out, but in fact, it’s a hyperbolic response to Hulk Hogan winning the title. Well, maybe SOMEONE (and I’m looking directly at YOU, WCW locker room) should have DONE something about it. In fact, Larry calls the entire company RIGHT out, demanding to know where the hell they were. Glad someone said it.
HIGH VOLTAGE and ROUGH & READY vs. THE DUNGEON OF DOOM (with Jimmy Hart and Big Bubba)
Dungeon is made up of THE FACES OF FEAR, HUGH MORRUS, and KEVIN SULLIVAN. Morrus starts with Kaos, but misses a blind charge and Voltage double teams him. That brings in the Fear, who pound away on Rage. Slater throws an elbow at Barbarian, and Enos hits an axehandle. Barbarian has about enough of that, and flattens Enos with a big boot. Rage comes in and gets tied to the tree of woe, bringing in Kevin Sullivan who nails some running knees. Rage misses a springboard moonsault onto Meng now, and Meng finishes with a superkick at 2:54. Rough and Ready turn on High Voltage after the match, just because. God, I hope they settle this on PRIME! *1/2
STING and LEX LUGER head to the ring unannounced, which is probably good because it doesn’t appear that WCW had anything planned here at all. Both guys promise no more sleepless nights or controversies. Sting demands the nWo show up tonight and fight them. Then we awkwardly stand around for an uncomfortably long period of time, and hey is that WILDCAT WILLIE just off camera? Eventually Sting and Luger grow bored and just wander off. Oh.
There have been waits for big things in the past, but nothing can possibly top Glacier who is COMING!
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE (with stogie) vs. THE RENEGADE (for the Lord of the Ring)
We JUST saw this on Saturday Night, was it really needing a rematch? Yes? Ok! Renegade hits a hiptoss, but DDP shakes it off. Both guys collide into each other like gorillas, and we’re already WAY over the match length from their last match which I am decidedly NOT ok with. Renegade flattens Page with a shoulderblock, but Page fires back with a clothesline. He stomps on the Renegade’s hand, which I guess is some sort of set up to the Diamond Cutter, although I cannot figure out exactly what that’s supposed to be. Page works a headlock and uses the ropes for leverage. Renegade eventually powers out and schoolboys Page for 2. Renegade starts his running clotheslines, but Page hits a Diamond Cutter out of nowhere for the pin at 5:44. This actually felt about 35 minutes long. *
Somewhere in the building, THE NWO gets a little camera time. Nash says they’ll face Luger and Sting when they feel like it. Hall gloats about taking the World Title belt, before turning his attention to Nick Patrick. He’s a fine senior referee, and nobody should be questioning his motivation. Hall motions to a 4th unseen member off camera, but Nash tells him to stay put and save the surprise for later. Hogan wants to create his own belt, and threatens to melt down the current one.
KONAN vs. JIM POWERS
Neither guy gets an entrance, so it’s a loser special! Powers runs through his repertoire of clotheslines, but a hair pull gives Konan the edge back. A sitdown dropkick keeps Powers down, and Konan works some sort of lazy submission where he holds Powers’ leg in a yoga pose. So that goes nowhere, and eventually Powers throws some high knees because The Booty Man will not anymore. Konan then wins with his feet on the ropes 3:25. This was a hot mess. DUD
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND goes to get a word with Konan. Gene berates him for his cheating. Konan says Gene’s opinion is irrelevant since he doesn’t pay his cheques. Konan says “New World Odor” and I want to chop my ears off. Konan tells the nWo to look out. Arriba Mejico.
RON STUDD vs. CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman and Elizabeth)
Ron has stolen Fit Finlay’s music, and … hey where the hell has Fit Finlay been? He would be a far better Benoit opponent tonight I reckon, but let’s see what big Ron has to offer. Benoit gets all up in his area, lecturing and bitch slapping the giant. Ron responds by choking the ever loving shit out of Chris Benoit. That doesn’t last long, as a chop block and a full on knee assault gives Chris control right back. Benoit puts on a clinic of how to destroy a knee, while Larry puts on a clinic of saying “New World Odor” in enough succession to make my stomach turn. Ron manages to get back to his feet and knock down Benoit, and for god knows WHAT reason he goes to the top rope on his injured knee. Benoit casually knocks him down, and superplexes him for the win at 3:33. *1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND interviews the trio, and flirts with Woman. Gene hypes Benoit’s match with The Giant at the Clash this Thursday. Benoit cuts an embarrassingly bad promo, about agendas. This could not sound more unnatural. Blech.
Well that was a disappointing first hour, but with fireworks abound it’s HOUR TWO! ERIC BISCHOFF and BOBBY HEENAN are here. Heenan thankfully asks Bischoff where he was, since I was starting to think they’d let it drop. Bischoff blows him off stating “I was taking care of some business, let’s leave it at that.” Someone’s been hanging out at the Gold Club again.
THE STEINER BROTHERS vs. HARLEM HEAT (with Sista Sherri and Colonel Robert Parker) (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
I’m not sure I can keep doing this Stevie Ray thing much longer. Neither can the Steiners, thankfully, who throw both the Heat out of the ring right off the bell. Scott pairs off with Booker T, and kicks his ass in short order. An overhead belly to belly sends Booker to the floor for safety, and Scott adds a clothesline to Stevie Ray for good measure. Both guys trade off, and a Rick backdrop gets 2. Scotty comes back in with a headlock as we head to commercial.
Back from break, Booker is getting worked over again. A Rick Steiner vertical suplex sends Booker back out, and this time Rick chases and gets clotheslined via Stevie Ray. Back in, Booker goes for a leapfrog, but is caught and slammed hard by Rick. Scott then runs everyone over with clotheslines. Booker eats a double underhook suplex, and is clotheslined back outside yet again. I’m not sure the Steiners understand the titles have to be won in the ring. Booker goes back to the apron, and as Scott goes to suplex him in, Sherri trips him up so Booker lands on top, but the Colonel also comes in and kicks Scott in the head and that’s enough for the DQ at 5:22. ** Booker and Stevie gets all up in Parker’s grill, but Sherri tries to keep the peace. I fail to see the problem, they’re still the champions.
REY MYSTERIO JR. vs. THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Dragon comes out spewing red mist – will this come into play later? It may not have to, as Dragon levels Rey with a series of kicks, and I won’t even get into the ridiculous names Bischoff has for all of them. An airplane spin gets 2. One of the best handspring back elbows I’ve ever seen drops Rey, and a running powerbomb leaves the champ for dead. Sonny and Dragon formulate a plan, and Dragon heads up to finish… maybe just a little too slowly. Rey gets his feet up and kicks Dragon in the face. Springboard rana sends Dragon to the floor, and a somersault senton over the top rope pounds Dragon into the cement. Back in, Rey heads up, but Dragon dropkicks in the midsection, and follows with a swinging baseball slide. Rey recovers in time to see Dragon coming right at him with a tope suicida! Dragon suplex goes to finish, but Rey kicks out. Obscene! Top rope moonsault also gets 2. Dragon doesn’t stop the assault, with a lionsault. He goes for another powerbomb, but Rey wiggles down his back and rolls him up to retain at 4:36. LAAAAAAME. ***
RIC FLAIR (with Woman and Elizabeth) vs. RANDY SAVAGE (for the WCW United States title)
I’d love to know just where in the hell Randy Savage was the night before, and why he seems to be refocused more on Flair than the nWo. Logic gaps, or intentional foreshadow? Savage is his usual ball of energy, all over Flair the second the bell rings. Savage spits on Flair, so Ric jams his thumb to Savage’s eye. Savage, with eyes of glass, no-sells, and keeps the beating going. Ric tries hiding behind Liz, but Savage charges anyway so she heads for higher ground as Flair connects with a double axehandle. Off to commercial, lest we see something we like.
Upon return, Liz slaps Savage on the apron – and as Randy dives to kill her, Flair attacks. It matters not, Savage punches him like ball of meat in a Philly butcher’s freezer. Flair does his usual cheating thing, and starts to work on weakening Savage’s legs. A single leg atomic drop leads to the Figure Four, dead centre. Ric has just enough space to leverage with the ropes, but he eventually gets caught and kicked off the ropes, which Savage is now able to reverse. Flair escapes, and keeps Savage down with an axehandle. He heads up, but Savage catches and slams him (dammit Ric – will you ever learn?). Flair flip, clothesline on the apron, and Savage claws at the champ’s eyes. Flair explodes with a clothesline, which Savage ducks and the referee gets run over. Savage comes off the top with an axehandle, and exposes the concrete off the floor. That draws HULK HOGAN down with a chair, and he cracks Savage in the face. NICK PATRICK runs down and asks for assistance to the referee. Hogan rolls Savage in, and walks away. The fans are smelling it now that Flair might be in with the nWo, as Flair gets the win (with feet on the ropes of course) at 9:24. **1/2
Bischoff and Heenan spell out the conspiracy in case the viewers were too stupid to understand the implication, then replay Booty Man’s turn to the dark side, and Hogan’s subsequent beating of him.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND welcomes back HULK HOGAN to a strong heel reaction. Hogan gloats about how easily he took the WCW title, and mocks Savage. Gene asks what his relationship with Flair is, and how it impacts his title match against Ric at the Clash on Thursday? Hogan says he was protecting his investment since everyone respects his accolades – he wants no excuses at the Clash. Hogan asks us that if he’s willing to turn on Brutus, turn on Macho, what do they think he’s willing to do to Flair?
THE OUTSIDERS vs. LEX LUGER
The Outsiders enter through the crowd, while Lex enters regularly with just NICK PATRICK. STING enters through the crowd shortly after the start of the match, and Team WCW clotheslines both guys to the floor. Sting hits a springboard plancha onto Nash, and throws him into the guardrail. Hall attacks from behind, and they roll Sting back in. Luger tackles Hall, while Nash drops Sting with a big boot. Sting is tossed to the floor, and Luger is nailed with a sidewalk slam. Both guys work over Luger, without a word of warning from Patrick. Sting rushes back in and bulldogs Hall. Nash takes a Stinger Splash, but Hall dodges his and Sting falls to the floor. THE FOUR HORSEMEN rush the ring, so the Outsiders just bail into the crowd, ALONG with Nick Patrick. And I guess the match is over at about 4:00. *
Replays show that Hall dodged the Stinger Splash because Nick Patrick pulled Hall out of the way. “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND rushes on to the scene to get answers. Gene: “Is this guy Patrick on the take?” I love Gene. Flair reminds us he has no use for Sting and Luger, but he’s going to play ball with them for now because at least they’re with WCW. Flair promises to take Hogan to school, Horsemen style on the Clash. And we are way way way out of time, so we’re out in a flash.
Originally posted by cfgbKonan says “New World Odor” and I want to chop my ears off. Konan tells the nWo to look out.
I hope Kevin Sullivan is paying attention and sees such a kindred soul out there. Landing the Hulk Hogan of Mexico to fend off the nWo would be a huge boon for the Taskmaster at this point in the War To Save WCW.
Originally posted by cfgbRon has stolen Fit Finlay’s music, and … hey where the hell has Fit Finlay been?
Hmm...he shows up just before the nWo invasion begins (scouting for them?) and then mysteriously vanishes once the invasion starts. Let's add Fit Finlay to the Most Likely Fourth Man rankings, along with DDP and Pillman. I guess we slot in Flair by the end of this episode. Also in serious consideration: Benoit (with Savage, who we seemingly eliminate as a suspect this episode, he's the biggest obstacle to uniting WCW...what is your agenda, Benoit?) and Ultimo(a highly-decorated champion from outside the company with ties to multiple parts of the world who shows up right around the same time as the new World Order and immediately begins attacking the only person who can verify that there even was a fourth man in the new World order).
Most Likely nWo 4th Man Candidates(4/12/96): 1) Diamond Dallas Page 2) Brian Pillman 3) Ultimate Dragon 4) Ric Flair 5) Chris Benoit 6) Fit Finlay 7) Kevin Greene 8) Steve "Mongo" McMichael 9) Johnny B. Badd 10) "Glacier"
Originally posted by cfgbHeenan thankfully asks Bischoff where he was, since I was starting to think they’d let it drop. Bischoff blows him off stating “I was taking care of some business, let’s leave it at that.”
The thing I'm most impressed about, looking back at these, is how well they seeded things with Bischoff. I don't recall people speculating on it at the time. Anybody else who was around back then remember it coming up as a possibility this early?
is how well they seeded things with Bischoff. I don't recall people speculating on it at the time. Anybody else who was around back then remember it coming up as a possibility this early?
FWIW, the Observer complains about having the same announcers (+ Heenan in Heenan's condition) for both Saturday Night and the PPV, but doesn't have any information about why it happened.
Meltzer wasn't doing segment by segment recaps at that point and doesn't note Bischoff's non-comment on Nitro. I didn't notice Dave picking up on any upcoming turn in the next month of issues (searching quickly.)
It's hard to figure out which things WCW actually planned and which things just got changed fifty times and happened to stop in a useful place. The 1997 issues that have been posted lately are rife with that sort of drama.
Originally posted by cfgbHe heads up, but Savage catches and slams him (dammit Ric – will you ever learn?)
There's a historical reason for this. Flair won his very first world title after going to the top. Dusty Rhodes tried to suplex him from the ropes, but his knee gave way thanks to having been in the Figure Four. Flair was able to cover him and get the win.
Flair then won his second world title from Harley Race with one of the ugliest top rope flying cross bodies ever executed in a wrestling ring.
Viewed in that light, you can't really blame him for climbing the ropes so often.
Let's go back a little over 2 1/2 years ago for a moment: "What was once a captivating, trendsetting program, has now deteriorated into a cliched--let's be honest--BORING SNOOZEFEST that is in dire need of a knight in shining armour!..........