And so, life must go on. What was once true is now false, what was the light of our lights was now dark, and what was once just a friendly handlebar is now a black painted on travesty. We just have to accept it. Tonight, Hulk Hogan returns, and we have to face our new reality head on.
Truth be told, I’m kinda giddy.
Live once again from Disney MGM Grand, TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO hype “the most revealing, the most shocking, the most important event in WCW history”. I’m just kidding of course, those words never exited Larry’s mouth and we all know it. Zbyszko wonders who the New World Order might recruit next. Wait – the group might get bigger? Scary proposition, they seem to be doing just fine on their own. Tony remembers that the last time Hogan was at the Disney MGM studios, they held a ticker tape parade to celebrate him, and figures the celebration might not be so friendly this time.
FIRE & ICE vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS
This is a rematch from the Great American Bash, but this time the stipulation is “There Might Be A Winner”. Ambiguity at its finest kids. Norton beats down Scott Steiner, while Tony excitedly tells us that Kevin Greene has something to say later tonight. Jesus. Norton chokes out Scott in the ropes, and chops away. Scotty retaliates with an overhead belly to belly suplex, and Norton falls to the outside – damn near on the announce table which is pushed right up against the ring. And with that, our first break of the evening.
Upon return, TEDDY LONG is heading down to ringside – and I advise both teams to avoid getting his managerial stink rubbed on them. Rick about kills Ice Train with an overhead belly to belly that drops him on his head. Norton dumps Scotty outside, and nails an axehandle off the apron. Back in, a second rope clothesline retains control. A second attempt goes awry courtesy a Scott Steiner boot to the face. Rick comes in with a hard clothesline, followed by a “whattamove!” Train comes in to help, but hits the Ice Splash on his partner by mistake! Rick gives Train a German suplex and gets the win at 7:41. **
By the entrance way, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND chats it up with BIG BUBBA, KEVIN SULLIVAN, and JIMMY HART. Hart reveals a plan to stop Hulk Hogan, while Fire & Ice argue on their way by. His plan? … Err, well, he actually sorta doesn’t go anywhere with it. THE FACES OF FEAR join the Dungeon, while Sullivan carries on about Benoit, as usual.
OUR WORLD? YOUR WORLD? MY WORLD? IT’S ALL ABOUT TO CHANGE! BLOOD RUNS COLD! No longer coming in July 1996 – now just COMING!
Now, Gene is trying to settle the score between FIRE & ICE. They blame each other for their piss poor record, but TEDDY LONG offers to help them. Norton about kills Long for sticking his nose in their business, and Train threatens to break up the team.
BILLY KIDMAN vs. DEAN MALENKO (with Jimmy Hart begging Malenko for something)
The microphone can’t pick up on what’s being said, and Hart squirms away before the entrance finishes. Right off the bell, Malenko about takes Kidman’s head off with a clothesline – totally caught him off guard with that. A dropkick takes Kidman to the floor, where Malenko tries to piledrive him. Kidman backdrops loose, and sends Malenko in. Missile dropkick gets 2! German suplex gets 1. Malenko gets control off a standing switch, and powerslams the kid, man. Leg grapevine is worked, but no submission. Side suplex, and Malenko starts focusing on the leg now. He pounds on it to wear Kidman down. Figure four headscissors is applied, but released quickly. Double leg slam is reversed on the pin attempt, and Kidman gets 2. Tornado bulldog gets only 1. Powerslam sets up the Shooting Star Press (“Backflip!” says Tony) – but it misses. Malenko quickly brainbusters, powerbombs, and tigerbombs Kidman, finishing with the Texas Cloverleaf at 5:17. ***
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is out to pimp Hog Wild, and brings out KEVIN GREENE. Greene says he was a Hulkamaniac, he said his prayers and ate his vitamins – but it all turned out to be a lie. But more importantly, he wants to take down Mongo. Priorities, you see.
ROUGH and READY (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. HARLEM HEAT (with Sista Sherri and … Colonel Robert Parker) (for the WCW World Tag-Team titles)
Well, this is awkward. These teams obviously don’t care for each other – and all hell breaks loose off the bell. Eventually referee Jimmy Jett calms things down, and for some reason insists Stevie Ray is the legal man. For the record, Stevie Ray is ALWAYS the wrong answer, unless the question is “who was the announcer with marbles in his mouth calling for a Yak Attack, Tony”. Sherri reads the Colonel the riot act for playing both sides, and tells him to stay put with the Heat. Booker nails the Harlem Sidekick on Enos, but misses a kneedrop. Dirty Dick brawls to the floor with Booker, and Enos powerslams him (Booker, not Dick). Back in, Booker goes low on Slater, and hits the 110th street slam for 2. Mule kick sets up the Axe Kick for 2. In comes Stevie Ray, and it’s on like a steaming pot of neckbone, Tony. Nothing of note happens. Booker tags back in, and misses a charge on the corner, crotching himself across the buckle. Larry says “20 glorious years”. Enos tosses Booker with a fallaway slam. Double shoulderblocks knock both Booker and Slater on their asses, and Booker makes the hot tag – but the referee misses it. Enos powerslams Booker, but the Colonel distracts while Sherri shoves her tongue down Slater’s throat. Slater’s ready to vomit, and Booker rolls him up with a fistful of tights at 7:42. Tony immediately calls for a video of “one of the greatest high flyers of ALL TIME!” in Rey Mysterio Jr., who’s wrestled all of, what, 5 matches in WCW to this point? *1/2
Meanwhile, KEVIN GREENE is stripping in front of “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND.
MADUSA vs. MALIA HOSAKA
Hosaka is of course actually Hawaiian – but in WCW, Japanese, Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan, it’s all the same. Madusa hits a German suplex with a bridge for 2, and Hosaka comes back with a spinkick. Hosaka sits on Madusa’s face, much to the great jealousy of everyone in attendance. Much hair pulling follows. Madusa fires back with kicks, and USA chants. Hosaka sweeps the legs out, and nails Roll of the Dice. Springboard back elbow misses, but then Madusa blows a dropkick off the top. Springboard crossbody also misses, and Madusa’s bridged German finishes at 4:10. This was about 4:10 too long. DUD
Hour #2 of Nitro kicks off, with BOBBY HEENAN and ERIC BISCHOFF taking over commentary duties. Before much happens, it appears there’s a disturbance. Behind them, on the MGM set, SCOTT HALL and KEVIN NASH have appeared, and have covered up the WCW logo with homemade nWo sheets. The fans are so enraged they chant “DIESEL”.
MENG (with Jimmy Hart) vs. ARN ANDERSON
Hall starts drinking while admiring his work. Heenan suggests they’re working with other people, but Bischoff side-steps that topic. If this was intentional foreshadowing, it’s positively brilliant. Meng chops down Anderson, while Jimmy Hart bounces around like microwave popcorn. Arn drops down, and wraps Meng’s legs around the ring post. Arn gets back in, and Meng sells the leg by kicking the crap out of him and shaking it off. THE BARBARIAN comes down to ringside to watch as we go to break.
Back from break – I think I’ve found the missing in action Bunkhouse Buck!
Meng tries to choke out Arn, and when that fails he just palm thrusts him in the face. “RAZOR” chant breaks out now while Hart stomps on Arn and flashes an upside down 4. Fans want Hogan now. A delayed suplex gets 2. More chopping, Arn tries a DDT but Meng backdrops him. Barbarian attacks from behind, and Meng nails a superkick for the pin at 8:32. This couldn’t have made Arn look much worse, to be honest. Not his finest hour. *
MONGO MCMICHAEL, PEPE, and DEBRA join “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND, after Kevin Greene has already left for the airport. Debra asks if the Carolina Panthers are the Farm Team for an actual NFL team like the Chicago Bears. Secondly, Mongo lasted 15 years in the NFL, setting records for defensive tackles for the most consecutive games started, most games played, most sacks … She has no idea what records Kevin has set. She suggests he go home to the little farm boys.
CHRIS BENOIT vs. EDDIE GUERRERO
I have to check my recaps; but this is the 7th or 8th time they’ve been paired in 1996; no doubt the leaders over any other pairing (second likely belongs to Nastys vs. Public Enemy, or Steiners vs. Fire and Ice). In a brilliant move, Benoit asks the referee to check Eddie for weapons, and as he’s being patted down, Benoit attacks. Eddie tries a tilt-a-whirl, but Benoit blocks and goes for the powerbomb. Eddie armdrags him to the outside, and follows with a top rope plancha. Back in, a slingshot senton sets up another tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and this one connects. Benoit comes back with a backdrop suplex – while Bischoff notices that the Outsiders are no longer hanging out by the nWo banners. Camel clutch is applied, but Eddie escapes and nails a backdrop suplex. Benoit fires back with the chops, and a snap suplex gets 2. Liontamer is applied, but Eddie wriggles free, and gets powerbombed for his trouble. Benoit hits a backbreaker and follows with a back elbow for 2. Scoop slam sets up the swandive, but Eddie cuts him off and nails a superplex! Benoit recovers, misses a blind charge, and gets stuck in a chop fest with Eddie in the middle of the ring. Benoit goes for another powerbomb, but Guerrero takes him over the top with a rana – sending both guys crashing to the mat. DEAN MALENKO runs out now for god knows WHAT reason – shoving Benoit face first into the post. Guerrero beats the 10 count, Chris doesn’t, and Eddie’s your winner at 9:40. Malenko’s clearly assisting Hart’s war against the Horsemen – but it seems so oddly placed. I wasn’t feeling this one as much as their other matches. **1/2
During the break, WCW removes the nWo graffiti from their letters.
BIG BUBBA (with Jimmy Hart) vs. LEX LUGER (for the WCW World Television title)
This is Luger’s first appearance since his exodus during the main event of Bash at the Beach – and in fact he’s the ONLY main eventer in the house tonight, as the rest of the main crew is in Japan. Scary proposition for Luger if the Outsiders attack. A running clothesline off a back elbow gets 2 for Luger. Bubba drops a knee across the back of Luger’s head over and over, as the announcers play up the fact Luger is still smarting from a concussion from the PPV. The 1990’s ladies and gentlemen – suffer a concussion, go out and wrestle! SCOTT HALL and KEVIN NASH have appeared in the back by a black limousine. Bubba nails an enzuigiri for 2. A rear chinlock is worked, and released so Bubba can stop to high five Hart. And with that; we’re off to commercial, stopping to check in on Hall and Nash who tell the camera to get the hell out.
Back to the match, Luger’s coming back with his loaded forearm shots. Both guys take each other out – and now The Outsiders work their way down to ringside. Hart is begging for them to pay attention, but Luger turns his back and both guys beat down Lex Luger at 7:53. DUD
HULK HOGAN, dressed in black, joins The Outsiders, who are finishing up Luger with a double powerbomb. Hogan paintbrushes Lex on his way to be rolled out. Then, he offers friendship to Bubba … before the Outsiders attack him too! All 3 men pose to nuclear heat.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND tentatively gets in the ring. Hogan says he wishes he’d done this 2 years sooner, because he’s bigger than wrestling, and with the New World Order, they’ll rule the wrestling world. Further, because these fans had the gaul to boo him, they can all stick it. Regarding Sting, he says he met him 10 years ago on Venice Beach as a skinny little body builder. He was shaking in his boots when he met Hulk Hogan. Savage – it’s not Hogan’s fault he “couldn’t rise to the occasion” to save his marriage. The trash starts piling into the ring again. He promises to build his empire, using more Outsiders, possibly Bischoff’s best friends, and even members of the WCW locker room, because “where Hulk Hogan goes – that’s where professional wrestling goes”. Hogan has no interest in Macho, or Sting – he challenges The Giant to a World Title match at Hog Wild, where he’ll win the title and rename it the New World Order belt. THE STEINER BROTHERS, THE FACES OF FEAR, and ARN ANDERSON circle the ring while the nWo grab chairs to defend themselves. Bischoff calls for the show to fade to black before anything gets resolved – WELCOME TO THE NWO ERA!
That sucks to hear... I would've really liked to have read Piper's book had it been well put together. I have yet to read Heenan's book either, so I guess I should gun for that instead, since I hear it's outstanding.