With the greatest pay-per-view ever in the books, what more can WCW bring us one night later. Questions abound; why did Mongo take the money and turn on Kevin Greene? Can anyone stop The Giant? And who from WCW is going to defend against the invading WWF outsiders, who one night earlier put the executive vice president through a table?
Before we get to that, is anyone else as excited that summer’s back? I’m a full fledged foodie, and summer is king for a BBQ fiend like me. This was our Friday night with a few friends over to the house:
Also – my blog just went over the 1000 visitor mark; which I’ll take considering I don’t really promote it outside of the-w.com in my signature. I appreciate everyone who’s stopped off and read a recap over the last 6 months. I really enjoy this series a great deal, and allowing myself to relive the events of one of the greatest years in wrestling history while sharing with you have been a real joy.
So let’s get to it.
Live from Richmond, Virginia – TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO are at the desk to bring us Nitro. Tony will remain for hour 2, because of Bischoff’s injuries. Larry says that powerbombing “skinny little” Bischoff doesn’t impress him, and tells the Outsiders that they aren’t welcome or wanted. Tony announces a lottery drawing later to find out which WCW superstars will defend the company. They air the footage right up to moments before the powerbomb, which Tony cuts off stating they’ll show the rest of the story later tonight for those who didn’t order the PPV.
STEVIE RAY vs. RICK STEINER
It seems like just a week ago I was gushing about the idea of pairing Booker T and Scott Steiner – but they had to take it another week and pair these two albatrosses. Stevie pounds early, and uses a clothesline to take Steiner down. Powerslam is followed by an elbowdrop for 2, and I have to think Stevie’s just about out of moves. Steiner leaps to his feet and throws Stevie with an overhead belly to belly, and follows with a top rope bulldog for 2. Years later, there is no way that is anything other than the finish. Stevie bounces back with a powerslam, and heads up which just seems like a bad idea. Sure enough, Stevie comically falls forward because he hasn’t got a clue how to perform a high risk anything, and misses Rick Steiner with his move that I’ll call the “leaning tower of faceplant”. Steiner clotheslines Stevie for the pin at 2:17. BOOKER T attacks as soon as the bell rings, with a Harlem Sidekick that put anything performed during the match to shame. The Heat stomp Steiner to dust, before Stevie powerbombs Rick. Booker heads up for the Harlem Hangover, but SCOTT STEINER rushes in to take the attack instead and spare Rick. Booker T obliges happily. Weird ending, why wouldn’t Scott just attack them instead of lying across Rick? 1/2*
DISCO INFERNO heads to the ring, and offers to dance for the fans. They boo the hell out of him, but Disco like a good heel hears cheers and starts to boogie. However, he’s interrupted by a newcomer, and it looks like it’s on.
DISCO INFERNO vs. JOE GOMEZ
Gomez looks very Drew McIntyre here, and with that look you’d have to assume he’d be better off in the WWF which is near bare-bones staffed at this point than trying to find mobility in WCW – but let’s give the lad a shot. Gomez atomic drops Disco, and follows with a dropkick. Disco bails, because he’s deeply concerned his hair is a wreck now. He threatens DAVE PENZER, which has Tony freaking out because he feels announcers are open game as a result of last night’s attack and is thankful for all the extra security. Back in, Disco palm thrusts Gomez in the throat, and boogies. Gomez is choked out in the ropes, but upon release he takes back over with a couple of boots to the face. Gomez goes to finish, but Disco manages a swinging neckbreaker! With control, Disco starts to do “the swim” – with Larry hollering that he’s an idiot for not taking the pinfall. He casually lies back across Gomez, who at 2 hooks Disco’s shoulders, and puts him down for the pin at 3:33. Disco gets all up in the camera’s face, grinning that the Shake Your Booty tour is still happening because his hair is in tact. And with no sarcasm, I’m genuinely happy for him. *
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is with RIC FLAIR, ELIZABETH, WOMAN, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL. Gene reads Debra the riot act, iterating his complete disappointment in her behaviour. Debra admits she did it all for the money, and won’t apologize. Flair: “THIS LOOKS LIKE A VOGUE COVER!” He gloats about Kevin Greene lying in a hospital bed, and promises to show Randy Savage why he’s still on top of the world.
ARN ANDERSON and CHRIS BENOIT vs. THE AMERICAN MALES
Benoit is sporting a ridiculous bruise on the right side of his face, which should paint a picture about the viciousness of his street fight with Sullivan.
Larry mentions Hulk Hogan called him last night, and the Hulkster said that if WCW needs a hero – he’d be happy to throw his name in the mix of participants in taking out Razor and Diesel. What’s interesting here, is that WCW is still insisting on playing by the rules with these guys; giving them the time of day to state their demands, and appease them with a 3-on-3 wrestling match. Instead, why not send in every single member of the locker room to give them an unholy beating that puts them in intensive care, and move on? For god sakes, these roided up juice monkeys are liable to snap if you eat the last sandwich in catering – let alone WWF henchmen putting the VP through a table. I realize it wouldn’t make for the most compelling TV, but unless the Outsider conspiracy runs deeper than just Diesel and Razor, that would seem to be the most appropriate way to end the threat. And speaking of sending to intensive care, bruise be damned, Benoit nails Bagwell with the flying headbutt full throttle, and pins Riggs at 5:52 with a hot shot. *1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND heads to the ring to talk to the Horsemen. The fans give a standing ovation when Gene mentions Mongo sold out the night before. Arn notes it, and says these are people who respect a man who says what he’s gonna do, and then does it. “Sullivan, you and I had a business deal. But when business deals go south, somebody takes a bath and somebody gets rich. I know it’s tough down at the bottom of the wading pool pal, but there’s only room for 4 Horsemen.” The fans pop HUGE. Gene notes one fan who’s 3 fingers short, “watch it there pal”.
BIG BUBBER (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JOHN TENTA
If they’re just going to give away the best matches from last night, then I want my money back. Tenta’s mocking Bubba’s loss of beard, and man is the damage ever noticeable.
God forbid any of the wrestlers ever do something really heinous like stealing his wife or something, he might retaliate by masturbating on a photo of her and call it revenge. Bubba attacks before the match, but Tenta blocks it and takes over. A big fat dropkick sends Bubba into a fit, but Tenta tells him “you see who you’re messing with?” Bubba drops to the floor, and pulls Tenta crotch first to the ringpost. I think he saw it, loud and clear. A punch gets 2. Yes kids, a punch gets 2. I have to assume a kick to the thigh will finish this, but Bubba goes extreme with the Bossman straddle, and applies an awful camel clutch. After a few minutes of barely applying the move, he releases and they throw sluggish punches. Two straight avalanche splashes connect with roughly the force of a painted turtle yawning. Hart whacks Tenta with the megaphone but it’s no sold and he takes an atomic drop. Powerslam should finish, but Tenta opts not to take the pin because this stupid match won’t end. Instead, he goes for a second one, puts his feet on the ropes, and gets the pin at 4:43. Post-match, Tenta chases Hart around, but Jimmy gives Bubba a loaded sock, and he beats Tenta over and over in the face. The sock is emptied, revealing a bunch of silver dollars. Save the post-match sock-a-thon, this is definitely a contender for worst match of the year. -***
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND scraps his interview time with Tenta in exchange for Hart and Bubba. Bubba wins me back over by pointing out that what was in the sock was chump change, but it was still enough to beat up “that fat piece of trash”.
After the break, Gene has moved back to the locker room and is with RANDY SAVAGE. Savage has been re-instated, and will be wrestling tonight. Savage admits he’s not all there, but he’ll stand tall in WCW forever because nobody can put him down. Gene asks if Savage has received psychological help, and Savage admits he has and he’s “OCD – one cool dude!” Good lord.
RANDY SAVAGE vs. RIC FLAIR (with Woman, Elizabeth, and Debra McMichael)
BOBBY HEENAN heads over to join the commentary booth, but Savage chases him around the arena, right through the ring where Heenan performs the last fantastic “bump” of his career by jettisoning over the top rope and to the floor – putting himself at very real risk considering what bad shape he was in at this point. God bless Bobby, a performer to the end.
Safely away from the lunatic, Heenan takes the third seat in the booth, and immediately tells Tony to shut up. Flair, always up for the dramatics, enters carrying this t-shirt:
Flair grabs the stick before the match, telling Savage at some point in every man’s career, he must feel the pain of agony and defeat – in Randy’s case, pain, agony, and divorce. “Look who’s in Richmond with ALLLLLL the girls!” Savage responds flatly: “I’m gonna kick your ass”, and leaps out of the ring to attack Ric by the guardrail, with Flair still robed. In the ring, Tony correctly notes no bell sounds to start the match, but we appear to be having us a match either way. Flair gets clotheslined to the floor, but he immediately jabs a thumb in Savage’s eye, and starts chopping away as we go to commercial.
Back from the break, Flair is still in charge, dumping Savage over the top (no DQ is called as usual), and right into Elizabeth who slaps him in the face. Flair dumps Savage into the front row, but Savage hauls ass and charges right back at Ric, pummelling him on his own VIP table. First attacking with the vegetable platter, Savage pops the champagne and sprays Flair in the eyes. In the ring, Savage drops a knee across Flair’s face – but Ric pops back up, only to immediately flop. Whip to the buckle sends Flair to the apron, and Savage clotheslines him to the floor. Savage heads up and dives with an axehandle, but Ric side-steps and Savage crashes into the guardrail. With both men down, we take another commercial break. Yeesh.
Returning, Flair is chopping Savage down like a tree, but Savage keeps popping back up for more. Savage roars, charges, and runs right into a back elbow from Flair. Ric heads up, and he doesn’t get caught(!) – but diving down Savage clips his knee in MID-AIR. Jeeeeesus that cannot be safe! Heenan starts calling for Arn from the booth, while Flair begs off. Top rope axehandle connects, but Flair grabs an illegal object from his kneepads, and clocks Savage in the face! Strut – knee to the head … but Savage kicks out at 2! Flair gets into a shoving match with the referee – and Savage attacks from behind during this, knocking the ref straight out to the floor and out cold. Heenan: “HE SHOULD BE SUSPENDED FOR THAT!” Savage punches Flair in the pooter, and goes up for the elbow again … this time hitting the mark square. With no referee, Savage goes up again, and all 3 ladies throw themselves in the way. Savage launches anyway, and they part like he’s Moses. CHRIS BENOIT attacks, but gets piledriven instantly! ARN ANDERSON rushes, but he’s dumped! Finally, MONGO MCMICHAEL with the Haliburton full of Savage’s money cranks Savage in the back of the head, puts Flair on top, and the referee wakes up just in time to see this and count the pinfall at 8:20. Absolutely wild action, and a great welcome to the newest Horsemen. All four guys stomp Savage to bits, with Mongo accenting by slapping him around. ***1/2
Back to the locker room, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is with KEVIN SULLIVAN, JIMMY HART, and THE GIANT. Hart reads Sullivan the riot act for trusting a Horseman. Sullivan promises war against the Horsemen, and Hogan for some reason, because he’s got a one track mind. He feigns disappointment in Anderson, the only man he trusted in professional wrestling. Giant then takes offense at the Horsemen claiming to be the “elite” considering none of them are World Heavyweight champion. However, his credibility is shot to hell when he claims any Dungeon of Doom member is stronger than a Horseman. How he said that with a straight face is beyond me. Then in an odd ending to the interview, Gene talks about the upcoming draw to face the WWF Outsiders at Bash at the Beach, and Sullivan states “I don’t care about the Horsemen, what I care about is WCW!” I get that the Outsiders angle is bigger than any other internal storyline, but that was just really misplaced.
Did you know that Glacier is coming, and in each of us burns a fury of a warrior? Well, not in ME any more, I had that treated over 4 weeks and frequent applications, but possibly in you.
Tony shows screenshots of Bischoff getting powerbombed, and then an exclusive shot of Razor Ramon and Diesel yukking it up off to the side at their actions. The actual video is far too extreme for your eyes … unless of course you’d like to order the pay-per-view replay tomorrow night.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND heads to the staging area to introduce last night’s newcomer, REY MYSTERIO JR. Gene admits a bit of a mancrush for last night’s acrobatics, but wants to hear Rey’s take on last night’s match. Unfortunately, Rey’s microphone skills leave a lot to be desired here, by stating how upset he is that Malenko bent the rules by putting his feet on the ropes for the pin – but that he respects Malenko a lot and he’s a great man. Ooooookay.
REY MYSTERIO JR. vs. DEAN MALENKO (for the WCW World Cruiserweight title)
Interestingly, during Malenko’s entrance, Tony outs Eric Bischoff as the company’s Vice President, perhaps inadvertently, but during his rambling about what a great man Bischoff is he mentions he’s the man who’s taken WCW to their current heights as the company leader – something that had not been talked about much on TV through this point. Rey takes down Malenko, but Deano reaches the ropes before Mysterio can do anything with it. Malenko tries a monkey flip, but Rey lands on his feet. Mysterio hits a headlock takeover, and nails a springboard moonsault that gets “ooooh” from the crowd. La Majistral gets 2 – and the fans were sure that was it! Malenko tries a tombstone, but Rey rolls through with ease – but this time Malenko just clotheslines him to hell to change the match speed. Backbreaker connects, and Dean holds on to make it a Canadian backbreaker despite being from Tampa, but Rey won’t tap. Backdrop suplex hits, and Malenko moves into a single leg crab that has Rey folded literally in half. Brainbuster gets another great reaction from the fans, but Rey keeps kicking out. Powerslam sets up top rope action, but Rey crotches Malenko, and quickly rushes up. However, the rana is blocked, Rey lands on his feet – but as he climbs back up, Malenko drops him in the electric chair (or the “hoh hoh hoh!” if you’re Tony Schavone) for 2. Abdominal stretch is applied to again slow down the face, while Tony and Heenan discuss ordering the replay. Heenan: “Are you going to order it?” Schiavone: “Of course.” Heenan: “Oh good, I’ll just go to your house and save the cost.” A massive powerbomb flattens Rey – but unbelievably he kicks out at 2. That was one of the most vicious moves I’ve ever seen, and really should have been a finish somewhere else. Fallaway slam gets 2. Into the camel clutch (yo, Bubba, take note of the intensity here), and rolls through into a rear naked choke. Through the second rope, Mysterio is dumped – but he reverses a whip and sends Malenko to the guardrail. Back in, Rey springboards into action and flies to the floor, hitting a rana on Malenko! Back up again, Malenko follows, but Rey hits a super sunset flip powerbomb for 2! Dean tries a powerbomb, but Rey swings around and hits a Frankensteiner, holding the legs and gets 2! Crossbody gets 2! Rey gets too creative this time, and lands back first to Dean who flattens Rey with the Scorpion Death Drop for the pin at 8:45. There’s something else you’ll never see in modern WWE – wrestlers stealing other wrestlers finishers, especially name guys. Can you imagine the repercussions of R-Truth ending a match with the GTS out of nowhere? He’d be doing shoot interviews for RF within a week, exposing the TRUE story of why he got fired, and giving all the dirt on the real reason Zack Ryder is being buried. (The answer to both is racism) ***
SCOTT STEINER vs. THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW World Heavyweight title)
Steiner’s ribs are heavily taped from having swallowed the attack via Harlem Heat earlier; but at the end of the day he decided to put his family ahead of World Titles, like an idiot. Steiner tries a German suplex, but you can figure about how well that goes. Giant grins, so Steiner tries a powerslam, but Giant falls on top for 2. Steiner pulled to the corner, and Giant jumps up and down on the taped ribs – and at about 400 pounds, you know that’s gotta smart. Steiner is rolled to the outside, and Hart creeps around the corner looking for a cheap shot – but the referee spies him and tells him to piss off. Giant uses the distraction to sneak in from the other side with a giant sledge, and then whips Steiner rib first to the ringpost. Commercial break is called for, which seems strange since you’d figure this match is over anytime now.
Upon return, Giant is simply standing on Scott Steiner outside the ring, and that’s about as effective a move as any. Heenan starts naming people who want a piece of Razor and Diesel, including “Rey Maskedstyrio, and Madusa”. Giant backhand chops the ribs, steps on Steiner again, and nails a vertical suplex. Giant clotheslines Steiner to the floor – no DQ of course. The big man finds a wooden chair under the ring, and Hart provides ample distraction. Steiner crotches Giant on his way back into the ring, and chop blocks him to get him down to one knee. Sleeper is applied, but Giant stands up and runs backwards into the buckle to release. Avalanche is blocked by a boot to the face, and the second charge walks right into a T-BONE SUPLEX, and the fans lose their MINDS! That gets 2 – but the fans were buying a title change there! Steiner continues the assault, punching and kicking with everything he’s got. Steiner grabs the wooden chair, but Hart slides in and steals it. Steiner whips him across the ring, then blasts Giant square in the back of the head as the chair explodes! GIANT NO SELLS THAT! CHOKESLAM – Giant wins at 8:15. The pace of this was at a snail for the first half, but that ending man … that ending was something else. *1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is here for the biggest announcement of his WCW career, straight from his high level meetings with WCW officials. Gene says that win/loss records were considered, and that the top 6 wrestlers in WCW would be put into a draw to face the “Outsiders”. So, I’m guessing if that’s legit, we’re looking at Jim Duggan, Diamond Dallas Page, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, The Giant, and Lex Luger, since those guys never seem to be lying down. Instead, your names are Hulk Hogan, The Giant, Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, and Randy Savage. Gene with the slow reveal … Lex Luger, Randy Savage, and Sting, to face “3 men from the outside of this company”.
Tony and Bobby can’t wait to see the company defended – but Heenan refuses to sell the Outsiders short, reminding us that during the Gulf War, we were the outsiders and won the war. Tony ignores him, gives a pro WCW cheer, and that’s that.
Originally posted by cfgbRey gets too creative this time, and lands back first to Dean who flattens Rey with the Scorpion Death Drop for the pin at 8:45. There’s something else you’ll never see in modern WWE – wrestlers stealing other wrestlers finishers, especially name guys.
Ok, now I know I'm getting nitpicky, but I believe Sting didn't adopt the Death Drop as his finisher until he started using the Crow gimmick. At this stage of the game, he was either finishing with the Deathlock or random transition moves.
Originally posted by cfgbSteiner whips him across the ring, then blasts Giant square in the back of the head as the chair explodes! GIANT NO SELLS THAT! CHOKESLAM – Giant wins at 8:15. The pace of this was at a snail for the first half, but that ending man … that ending was something else. *1/2
Giant's entire first title reign was just so epic and it still staggers me that NOBODY (not WCW or the WWF) was ever able to duplicate this magic again. The WWF deciding that Giant needed to be "humbled" in the farm was simultaneously the best and dumbest thing they could have done. Yeah, Paul Wight probably got a big head after his rookie year, but you know what, you get this kind of guy maybe once in a lifetime! He's the kind of guy who prints money! Instead of bringing him down to everyone else's level, they should have run with him like THIS! We'll probably never witness anyone like 1996 Giant again and that's both a testament to how awesome Paul Wight was booked at this time and an indictment of how terribly he was booked from 1997 onward.
Originally posted by cfgbGene says that win/loss records were considered, and that the top 6 wrestlers in WCW would be put into a draw to face the “Outsiders”. So, I’m guessing if that’s legit, we’re looking at Jim Duggan, Diamond Dallas Page, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, The Giant, and Lex Luger, since those guys never seem to be lying down. Instead, your names are Hulk Hogan, The Giant, Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, and Randy Savage. Gene with the slow reveal … Lex Luger, Randy Savage, and Sting, to face “3 men from the outside of this company”.
How much fun would it have been if Flair and Savage had wound up on the same team? What a missed opportunity that was!
IMHO, I thought the split was a mistake at first. I said at the time that Vince should cut all the dead weight and make a run with the best he had and the best he got from WCW. When they started the GM line, it started to click for me.