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The W - Pro Wrestling - WCW Nitro: July 29, 1996
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Since: 2.1.02
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.02
For the fourth straight week, WCW comes live from Disney’s MGM Grand Studios! TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO are your hosts. Two title matches tonight, Giant defends against Arn Anderson, and Rey Mysterio Jr. battles Eddie Guerrero for the Cruiserweight title. On top of all this, the WCW Car raced this weekend and Greg Sacks took the checkered flag. What a time to be a wrestling fan! Larry then says “New World Odour” for the first of 6,219,305 times over the next 3 years. The video from Saturday Night of the Outsiders accosting Sting in a dark parking lot is replayed.
 
MIKE ENOS vs. “HACKSAW” JIM DUGGAN
 
Larry tells it like it is: “awwww not Hacksaw!” Fans chant USA to show that darn Mike Enos who’s boss. A clothesline sends Enos to the floor, but no DQ is called for because hell if I know when they use that rule any more. Back in, Tony argues that Hacksaw must have a brain because he was a former US Champion and US Champions always have brains. New World Odour count hits 4, and we’re 7:30 into the show. Back to the floor, Enos gently slams Duggan on the concrete. Duggan starts unleashing his meat hooks, but a hair pull and eye rake ensures Enos remains in control. Enos drops a leg, which crosses Duggan’s eyes, and causes him to start hulking up. Enos stops that by putting a headlock back on. Duggan escapes and starts throwing kidney punches, but distracts himself by telling the referee to stay off his back and winds up getting ridden around like an old mare. Enos hits a double sledge, but Duggan takes him over with a sunset flip for 2. Enos fires back with a neckbreaker for 2. A big splash off the top misses, and Duggan starts stomping around. Hacksaw reaches deep inside his pants, whips out his roll of tape, and the fist connects for the pin at 7:31. The referee eyes the tape suspiciously after the match, unsure if it was used to win – but he thinks better of it and leaves Duggan the victor. *
 
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND hits the ring to talk with Duggan about the New World Order. Duggan’s hurting for all the fans out there. He doesn’t understand why Hogan turned his back on everyone who loves him, everyone he loved. His oldest kids first word was Hulkster. Duggan then causes me to nearly do a spit take when he says Hogan’s “a great technical wrestler”, but he doesn’t want to wrestle Hogan, he wants to beat him up.
 
RIC FLAIR, CHRIS BENOIT, and MONGO MCMICHAEL (with Debra McMichael, Woman, and Elizabeth) vs. STING, LEX LUGER, and RANDY SAVAGE
 
At this stage, I almost have to believe Luger would still make sense as the 4th guy. Yes, he’s taken some beatings; but he was “eliminated” on a serious injury at Bash at the Beach via something that doesn’t seem to have impacted him beyond that particular night. He’s always been a rat, he’s not wearing facepaint here, and was the only man in the building 2 weeks ago when the nWo was running rampant. Savage attacks Flair as soon as he hits the ring, but Benoit’s all over him to defend Ric with his life. Thankfully, Sting has beef with Ric and beats him down without the cavalry to protech him. Flair hits the floor, hiding between Benoit and Mongo while Tony calls for a commercial break.
 
Good news, Glacier is still training – and though he was coming in July 1996 and is likely a great big liar, he’s on his way REAL SOON.
 
Back from break, Benoit has been sent in to deal with Sting, but he fares poorly. Ric vows to show him how it’s done. He gets whipped to the buckle, and Savage is waiting for him on the floor. Savage smacks him in the head with the fruit tray from Flair’s own VIP section. Tony: “HE’S GOT FRUIT ALL OVER HIM!” Back in, Flair begs off from a fired up Sting, but it’s the usual ploy to poke him in the eye. Savage tags in, so Flair hits the floor to shove his tongue down Liz’s throat. Larry encourages Savage to choke her out; and Tony agrees. Wrestling in the 90’s! Savage attacks, so Flair runs behind the bleachers. Savage finds him anyway, and drags him back to the ring to meet his maker. Flair just tags out to Mongo instead. Mongo throws a back elbow in Luger’s face, but Lex ain’t having it and sends him to the floor. Flair heads back in for the kill, but Luger no sells everything and slams Ric. A standing vertical suplex gets 2, much to Lex’s dismay. Benoit heads in, but he and Savage get into a pull-apart brawl. Benoit wins; and then turns back to Luger. He beats him down, and Flair again begs for a piece. As soon as he comes in, Luger roars and kicks his ass. Nothing’s going poor Ric’s way tonight. Sting comes in and bites Flair in the face. Ric pokes the eyes to escape, and heads up – but he’s caught and superplexed for 2! Mongo heads in and gives Sting a backbreaker. Over to Benoit, who throws a double forearm to the throat for 2. Backdrop suplex gets 2. Flair again calls for a tag, and immediately Sting takes back over with a series of reversals. I’m loving this; Benoit and Mongo are carrying this bad boy, but as soon as Ric hits the ring, Team WCW sees red and immediately comes to life. With an assist from a Benoit cheap shot – Flair locks on the figure four and cheats with the ladies help. He throws a few slaps at Sting … big mistake. Sting roars and reverses that instantly. Flair tries for another but gets small packaged. Benoit tags in, and throws Sting around. Flair comes back in, and Sting beats him down – but now JIMMY HART rushes down screaming the Outsiders are in the back and he needs help. Nobody listens to him as Luger calls to Rack Ric, but he finally gets Lex’s ear and they head back.
 
Sure enough, in the back, ARN ANDERSON is down at the hands of THE OUTSIDERS who are holding baseball bats. MARCUS BAGWELL is laid out as well, and when SCOTTY RIGGS sees it, he takes a garbage can upside the head. REY MYSTERIO JR. comes flying out of a nearby trailer – right into the awaiting arms of Nash who LAUNCHES HIM HEAD FIRST like a freakin Lawn Dart into the side of the trailer! They head into a limo as Savage rushes onto the scene – jumping on top of it as it drives away. Everyone from the previous match survey the damage; Team WCW, the Horsemen, and the Dungeon of Doom, all together with a common purpose. This was the night things turned real for the fans, as dozens of local 911 calls came in reporting the Outsiders attack.
 
This is brilliant sold by all involved; even after the break the wrestlers sort of just continued to mill around, asking each other for answers, forgetting all aspects of cliques or feuds focusing on the bigger picture – that the WWF Outsiders were more than just a wrestling threat, but also a threat to their physical well-being. Nearly lost as everyone is getting loaded on to the stretchers; Rey Jr telling EDDIE GUERRERO “there was four of them!” Also nearly lost, Alex Wright’s impeccable English! Rey is unmasked as he’s loaded onto the stretcher, but he keeps his face covered with Tony quickly explaining the Mexican lucha tradition of never taking the mask off for any reason.
 
Somehow through all this, MENG gets in Benoit’s face and informs him “uh nuh wah nuh Dungeon!” and Benoit starts to shake violently and threatens to throw down.
 
ERIC BISCHOFF and BOBBY HEENAN join the announce team as the bodies are scraped off the concrete. Heenan tells Bischoff he’s had neck problems and refuses to do the broadcast tonight unless Bischoff can guarantee him he’s safe. Bischoff refuses to guarantee anything, so Heenan tells him he will not spend his days crippled and paralyzed for anyone, and leaves. Tony and Larry agree to stay; but Tony doesn’t look happy about it. Nearly 20 minutes after the attack, the fans start chanting “BORING” – though we can’t blame them because they have no idea what’s going on in the back due to the lack of TurnerTron. Arn and Bagwell are loaded into the same ambulance, and are joined by Flair and Sting; Bischoff explaining Bagwell works out with Sting a lot at his gym, even though they don’t hang out on TV they’re great friends away from work. These little touches of reality just make it better and better.
 
HIGH VOLTAGE vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS
 
Bischoff admits this is a standby match; that most of their card is now in disarray as Anderson, Mysterio, and the Males were all booked. Rick appears to have no interest in being here at all when his brethren are down. With Scott starting with Kaos; Rick paces around on the floor watching the entrance way. Bischoff wonders where Savage wound up, rightfully pointing out he hasn’t returned from riding on the hood of the limo. Scott tries to talk Rick into focusing, and tags him in. He pays no attention to Kaos though, and takes a cheap shot. Voltage nail a double team dropkick, and follow with a double suplex. Bischoff buries the newbs by stating even if they win here, it won’t be recorded in the WCW Record Book under the circumstances. Scotty gets the hot tag and hits a tilt-a-whirl slam on Ruckus. Rick follows with an upside down turnbuckle bodyslam, and Scott finishes with the Screwdriver(!) at 4:46! *1/2
 
BIG BUBBA (with Jimmy Hart) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO
 
Eddie was scheduled for a Cruiserweight title match against Rey – so this is another napkin booked contest. Eddie points to the entry way in honor of Mysterio. Bubba dumps Guerrero and gets on the buckle to pose; but by the time he’s up there, Eddie’s already back in the ring and waiting. A dropkick sends Bubba to the floor, where he stalls for him. Back in, Bubba launches Eddie in the air and slams him hard. A few bitch slaps are given to remind him who’s boss. Eddie gets hotshotted on his throat; and Bubba gets 2. Guerrero hits a backdrop, but takes an uppercut to get knocked back down. Camel clutch is applied, but Eddie forces a release by getting to the ropes. Bubba moves to a body scissors, but Eddie won’t tap. Avalanche gets 2. A very vocal pre-pubescent group of fans start chanting “BUBBA’S A LOSER!” Bearhug slam gets 2, and that frustrates Bubba. Eddie gets a small package out of nowhere while Bischoff notes that there are a couple of National News organizations contacting them. He says some other witnesses have said there were in fact 4 guys in the limo. Bubba goes back to a chinlock, which he works for a solid minute. Eddie gets up, and tries a crossbody, but Bubba just drops down with a powerslam. Bubba puts Eddie up top; probably the one place you don’t want him, and sure enough he sees an opening and hits a tornado DDT! Hart tries to distract the referee, and tosses the megaphone to Bubba. Eddie sunset flips him as Bubba reaches for it and gets the pin at 10:50! Holy crap that was long. *1/2
 
The first “Paid for” ad from the nWo re-airs from the weekend.
 
After we get back, Bischoff has disappeared from the announce booth. Tony says he “had some stuff” to take care of … hmmmmmmmm …
 
GREG VALENTINE vs. THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW World Heavyweight title)
 
Somehow Greg Valentine is considered an acceptable replacement for Arn Anderson – welcome to the world of WCW. I’m not thinking Valentine’s gonna get his requisite hour to get warmed up. Instead, he throws a couple of clotheslines that do nothing, before getting pounded with a big frying pan hand. Valentine comes off the top with a double axehandle, but a second attempt results in a Chokeslam. Giant gives him a second one for kicks and scores the pin at 1:41. DUD
 
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is given the duty to wrap the show up, and he interviews Giant. Giant does his awesome Hogan impression; foreshadowing his Backlash 2000 appearance nearly word for word. He says he did that just to show how easy it is to play that role; and Hogan’s a phony. He promises he’s got a Chokeslam noose that will fit right around Hogan’s neck.
 
For sheer drama; this is the pinnacle of wrestling programming. Some may take the Pillman 8mm incident; but WCW managed to keep the realism rolling without the hokeyness of Steve Austin wrestling with a turtle kiddy pool. Big, big thumbs up to this week’s edition.



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Since: 9.12.01
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.47
    Originally posted by cfgb
    For sheer drama; this is the pinnacle of wrestling programming. Some may take the Pillman 8mm incident; but WCW managed to keep the realism rolling without the hokeyness of Steve Austin wrestling with a turtle kiddy pool. Big, big thumbs up to this week’s edition.
Oh dear - I've let you go until August, but I don't think I can let this one go by without disagreeing.

In 1996, I thought this show was a tremendous example of super poor taste - for professional wrestling in general and for WCW in particular.

I believed then and still believe now that for some bizarre reason, Eric Bischoff found NBC's breaking coverage of the Atlanta Olympic bombing (which had taken place three days earlier) really super cool and totally worthy of ripping off for HIS program and I was very uneasy about watching it play out live.

I wasn't the only one to take his queasiness to rec.sport.pro-wrestling, either. Google mangled the thread order but the initial post by Mark Jensen can be found in the archived r.s.p-w thread "Bitchoff Sinks To His Lowest" (groups.google.com). I also have a short reply in there which I have used to make sure I wasn't misremembering my reaction.

Rick Scaia, on the other hand, evaded the question of angle similarity and, in another r.s.p-w thread, went straight to his point that it just took way too fuckin' long (groups.google.com). But maybe it was just us "WWF fans" - later in THAT thread, DEAN~! chimes in and sounds a little more like you in having high hopes for what he thought at the time was a well-played out angle.



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Since: 5.9.08

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.12
I disagree with CRZ. I know shocking. To me, this was brilliant. The idea that NWO didn't give a shit who was heel or face was something that very rarely happened. It added to the threat of the NWO. If they ripped off the Atlanta Bombings, I have no idea and nor do I care. I do know that the police and EMS were called by the neighbors do to all the calamity of the attack.

What I love about the entire scene is you see Sting take a black baseball bat and go in the Ambulance with Flair and Arn. Whether this was intentional or not, to me this is the moment were Crow Sting was born in Sting's head.



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Since: 11.5.02

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.38
    Originally posted by lotjx
    I disagree with CRZ. I know shocking. To me, this was brilliant. The idea that NWO didn't give a shit who was heel or face was something that very rarely happened. It added to the threat of the NWO. If they ripped off the Atlanta Bombings, I have no idea and nor do I care. I do know that the police and EMS were called by the neighbors do to all the calamity of the attack.

Agree with this 100%. I still vividly remember watching this back in 96 and being absolutely stunned at what I was watching. Jimmy Hart running down looking absolutely petrified and the match just ending made the nWo seem like such a huge threat. The camera cut to Arn lying on the ground and Hall & Nash standing there with baseball bats (cleverly looking as if they'd just used them but not actually showing any of the violence) was unlike anything I had ever seen in wrestling. And the Mysterio lawn-dart spot is still talked about almost 20 years later.

This is the first I've ever heard of any connection to the Atlanta bombings but, like lotjx, I'm not really bothered by it. It was just a style of filming/shooting used to add drama to the scene. If it came from the bombing coverage then fair enough but 99% of people would never have made that connection. For what its worth Kevin Sullivan has gone into great detail in a couple of shoot interviews regarding this exact episode (and most of the other early-nWo stuff) including the way it was filmed, so Bischoff likely had nothing to do with it anyway.



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Since: 6.1.02
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.22
Thing is about it is that in 96 most of us were kids, and at least for me I didn't make a habit of keeping up with the news since it interfered with Toonami and Video games. I remember watching this go down and thinking Nash killed or broke Ray's neck.


So the nWo is adding a 4th guy? I wonder who that will Be. Beefcake? Jimmy Heart ? Big Bubba? Bishoff... nah that would just be crazy since Nash ya know Powerbomed him off a stage a few months back



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Since: 2.1.02

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.82
I thought the angle was well played, but like much of the nWo stuff to come it just went on and on essentially killing the overall show for the one angle. This angle set up such show stopping gems like the hour long show takeover and Ric Flair in the desert.

Good angle, but the rest of the show was Prime worthy. It set up a bad trend.

Edit: Is there an official count on how many times they replayed the Rey Mysterio throw throughout the rest of the show?



(edited by BigDaddyLoco on 11.8.13 1503)
cfgb
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Ottawa, Ontario

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.02
    Originally posted by CRZ
    Oh dear - I've let you go until August, but I don't think I can let this one go by without disagreeing.

    In 1996, I thought this show was a tremendous example of super poor taste - for professional wrestling in general and for WCW in particular.

    I believed then and still believe now that for some bizarre reason, Eric Bischoff found NBC's breaking coverage of the Atlanta Olympic bombing (which had taken place three days earlier) really super cool and totally worthy of ripping off for HIS program and I was very uneasy about watching it play out live.

    I wasn't the only one to take his queasiness to rec.sport.pro-wrestling, either. Google mangled the thread order but the initial post by Mark Jensen can be found in the archived r.s.p-w thread "Bitchoff Sinks To His Lowest" (groups.google.com). I also have a short reply in there which I have used to make sure I wasn't misremembering my reaction.

    Rick Scaia, on the other hand, evaded the question of angle similarity and, in another r.s.p-w thread, went straight to his point that it just took way too fuckin' long (groups.google.com). But maybe it was just us "WWF fans" - later in THAT thread, DEAN~! chimes in and sounds a little more like you in having high hopes for what he thought at the time was a well-played out angle.



I guess, from my end, the ends justify the means if ultimately we get a quality wrestling program out of it. I felt that this particular angle was really well executed. I hadn't previously heard the connection to the Atlanta bombings, but to be honest, even if Bischoff stole directly from that, it doesn't change the fact that it was high drama on television that I personally found captivating and enjoyable. I was 14 years old at the time that this originally aired, and even though I followed those Olympic games as closely as any I've ever followed (Donovan Bailey represent!) - I would have never made the connection between the two.

Professional wrestling, in my estimation, is designed to suck you, make you forget these are a bunch of workers in a scripted world acting out their position. Those moments where you stop and think "is there a chance that ... nahhh ... maybe???" are few and far between, but when they do - that's awesome. What was the most talked about item in pro-wrestling over the last 5 years? It wasn't the Rock's return, or Vince McMahon dying for the 80th time, or Brock Lesnar coming back to pay his dues for daring to leave for the Minnesota Vikings. It was CM Punk taking a live microphone and "speaking his mind" on all things WWE.

While I was watching the segment, and finding myself getting sucked in all over again - I actually thought to myself that someone within the WWE staff should take a copy of that segment, and share it with Vince McMahon today. It was different; outside the norm of what we come to expect a wrestling program to be, and the chaos really added a different element to Nitro. You truly never knew what to expect week over week; until we reached a point where you knew exactly what to expect week over week. What made them different ultimately led to their downfall; but that's not what we're talking about today.

Ultimately, I think we're going to need to agree to disagree on this one. I don't think it's WWF bias, or fueled by Bischoff-hate because I remember you ripping Steffo a new one for turning 911 into Vince being prosecuted by the government, and quite honestly you might be spot on about the inspiration. But some of the best writing comes from dark places; and I'm not gonna fault Bischoff for trying his hand at something new that was so effective.

If I'm still around in 6 months however; I'm sure I'll find plenty of stuff I DON'T like.



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Since: 25.7.02
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.22
Yeah, I don't know where anyone can get the Atlanta bombings out of that segment. It's as dumb as saying "everytime the announcers start low-talking they're insulting Owen Hart's memory".



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Since: 3.5.03
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.25
The timing with regards to the Olympic bombings was either coincidence or a sheer stroke of genius. Was this the first time this type of backstage angle played out on one of the big national wrestling shows? If so, mark it down as a historical event because this happens ALL THE TIME now. If it was in some way influenced by the bombings, so be it. It didn't strike me then (nor does it now) as being all that similar. And FWIW, I was living in Georgia at the time and went to multiple Olympic events. Coverage of the bombings were all over my TV for weeks on end so at least in my case I had plenty of reason to draw comparisons if there were indeed comparisons to be made.

You might not see the stretchers and mayhem all that frequently, but it is not at all uncommon for the ringside announcers to hit us with a "Hold on, there seems to be some sort of disturbance in the back. Do we have a camera back there?" And then you see some dudes laid out while Wrestler X skulking in the background.

Like I said, if this particular angle started all that, then kudos to Sullivan or Bischoff or whoever planned it. They definitely made their mark on history.

- StingArmy

(edited by StingArmy on 12.8.13 0224)
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.47
    Originally posted by CEOIII
    Yeah, I don't know where anyone can get the Atlanta bombings out of that segment.
It probably helps to have watched both the bombing coverage and this episode of Nitro in 1996 (which was the point I have clearly failed to make), but I'm also hoping some of you have just misread my intended comparison, "bombing COVERAGE," as "bombings."



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