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Smelly watches every Nitro-era Nitro, Thunder, Clash, and PPV while sitting and sometimes maybe standing


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Show #15 - 11th December 1995

"The one with the start to an awesome feud that never happened"

  • The commentary team yaks through the opening and thus we join Eddy Guerrero vs. Mr. J.L. in progress. Eddy's straight-up OVER at this point. Charlotte has good crowds that appreciate good wrestling, to be sure, but still, Eddie basically got himself over by being a fantastic worker in about three months of Nitros and Saturday Nights. That's impressive no matter who he's wrestling in front of. 


  • Anyway, this match is a bunch of moves without any compelling flow or narrative, but that's the point, and it gets the crowd hot. Eddy takes it by reversing a J.L. roll-through. It's going to be fun to watch Eddy develop into a very good talker to match his work over the next three years of shows. He's one of the people I'm most excited to see develop.


  • Lex Luger's here to talk about how he's friends with Sting, but also he wants to be champ. Time-filler.


  • Disco Inferno comes out. This is the perfect gimmick for a dude who is a corny moron in real life. He's great at it. His (awesome) theme music cuts while he's dancing to play the (equally awesome) theme music of his opponent for tonight, the recently-departed Mr. Wonderful, Paul Orndorff. Orndorff is generally always fun when he's around, but something about the post-Psychic Friends Network Mr. Wonderful, with the mirror and the song and the confident swagger, really does it for me. Loved it as a pre-teen, love it now.


  • The match is a perfectly cromulent TV match. Disco jumps Orndorff, throwing punches at the guy who came out and cut off his dancing, dammit! Orndorff eventually turns the tide, which leads to my favorite Wonderful Elbow prelude ever. I posted this in the R.I.P. thread yesterday, but it deserves posting here as well:
  • I say this with no malice and as a comment meant to compliment rather than demean: That was the BEST "white guy does a goofy dance" in all of professional wrestling history. It's like Orndorff called on the spirits of Akeem the African Dream, PN News, Disco himself, and the future spirits of Too Cool and channeled them all into that elbowdrop dance. This match gets all the Stinger Splashes just for that spot. Anyway, a nasty back suplex later (and a needless foot on the ropes to boot), and Orndorff's a strong-looking winner. 


  • The Four Horsemen are out on the ramp to talk to Mean Gene, and by "four," I mean "three." I haven't seen Benoit with these dudes yet, though I'm only watching Nitro. Anyway, Brian Pillman does pretty much all the talking, and it's pretty bad. Pillman at his worst sounds like he should be doing color commentary on a random 1993 RAW with Vince McMahon - random pop cultural and political references that don't land and goofy laughing at his own shitty punchlines. He claims that Hogan couldn't cut it as a Horseman, says that Steve McMichael is gay for the American Males (oh mid-'90s wrestling, you disappoint me so sometimes), and then shits on Paul Orndorff for the aforementioned Psychic Friends Network thing. That last remark draws Orndorff back out as Flair talks. Orndorff shows respect to Arn and Flair, but verbally abuses Pillman by telling him that he's to the Horsemen as Hunter Hearst Helmsley is to the Kliq. Well, no not in those words, but you know, that's the general sentiment.


  • Arn and Flair seem to have respect for Orndorff and try to calm him down, but Pillman slaps Mr. Wonderful, and Mr. Wonderful tackles Pillman. So, here's a nice touch: At first, Flair and Arn only try to separate the two. Neither man throws a punch or kick at Orndorff until Orndorff, swinging at everything, starts to punch Arn. Only then do they put the boots to Mr. Wonderful. Aha, so they DO respect him! The other nice touch is that Pillman lets Arn and Flair do all the work, dancing around and being a general prick while they beat down Orndorff and then spike piledrive him on the concrete. The announcers play up how devastating the move is, and they end up doing a long, protracted medical spot with him where they strap him to a backboard even as the next match starts. It's sort of uncomfortable just because Orndorff actually did have a neck/spinal injury in a later comeback with WCW, but the angle is very well done and given the seriousness needed to sustain an upcoming angle. Bobby Heenan leaves commentary to spend time checking on Orndorff, which is a really nice callback to their past. 


  • This set up an Orndorff/Horsemen feud that I was very interested in at the time, and every time I watch this, I think of what might have been. Orndorff was actually injured enough, with those atrophying arm muscles, that the Disco match would be his last match on TV until 1999 IIRC. It's too bad - I assume this wasn't an angle just to write him off because there was really no need for them to do that. I think they were expecting him to return after a bit of time off and pick up the angle.  It's a shame that this feud never got pulled off because Orndorff was always good. Even Pretty Wonderful was a solid tag team (and I say "even" because Paul Roma is the epitome of mediocrity). A healthy Orndorff working as a face would also have been an awesome opponent for heel Hulk Hogan in 1997 for a month or two. Honestly, you swap him with Piper and those matches are way better, even if Piper was the bigger name (and honestly, the promos are probably better too; I am not looking forward to self-indulgent Piper on the mic).


  • Orndorff/Pillman was just star-crossed as hell considering the health (and for the latter, the contractual status) of both men, but it remains a big-time match on PPV that I'll always feel a little sad about having never seen. Orndorff had been churning out consistently good-to-excellent work across a number of roles for, what, fourteen or fifteen years by this point, at least? Then, he came back in '99 and there was pretty much no drop-off, as I recall. He was a fun worker and always entertaining. And as someone said in the R.I.P. thread, the Wonderful Elbow is probably the best one of those moves. Godspeed, sir.


  • While Orndorff's getting carted out, Lex Luger comes out for a match with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I've never liked Hacksaw, not even when he was allegedly good back in the pre-WWF '80s. Look, the Gorilla Suit Incident in Mid-South was amazing, but I credit that mostly to Bill Watts for having a moment of showrunners' genius. This match is not good. Hacksaw does stuff at half-speed, tapes his fist, Jimmy Hart gets on the apron and  distracts the ref, and Luger sends Hacksaw into his own four-by-four that Hart has picked up and wielded before racking him. Well, at least it wasn't long!


  • Randy Savage has a time-filler of an interview with Mean Gene, though I really enjoyed the cadence of Savage's opening line, a singsong "Problems, problems, how you gonna solve 'em? One at a time, one at a time," after Gene laid out his upcoming match schedule. This dude could make an APA style guide sound fun by reading it, honestly.


  • The main event pits Ric Flair and Arn Anderson against Hulk Hogan and Sting. It's a good main event. The crowd is hot for Flair in his hometown and they hate Hulk Hogan. The heels come out hot, but Sting gets isolated and they work his knee. Arn and Flair hit all the points while working over Sting - quick tags, running distractions properly, and so forth. It's a treat to watch. They even shut down a couple of Sting's Sting Ups, though one Sting Up is very cool as Sting fights through the pain of a Figure Four to drag Flair back toward Sting's own corner while still in the Figure Four.  


  • Eventually, there's a hot tag, and Hogan fires through Arn and Flair both for a win with the legdrop. The fun begins when Pillman rushes the ring to attack Hogan and Sting. Luger follows, but merely to save Sting. He tries to keep Sting from helping Hogan, but Sting does anyway. Savage runs in, and seems peeved about Sting's slowness to help Hogan. He gets in Sting's face and Sting, who bless him has tried to keep it together while dealing with all these nutbars who have invaded his company, throws a sweet punch and knocks Savage down in a moment of extreme irritation. Eventually, he apologizes, Hogan takes up for him, and the good guys are once again not on the same page. Is Sting going to get fed up with it all and turn his back on the good guys? I mean, yeah, sort of, later on, and he will be justified then, too!


  • The main event was hot, except for anytime Hogan was on offense. Lots of "Hogan sucks" chants. The guy seemed rattled. It was funny to me. The other stuff wasn't great, but the all-time-great Wonderful Elbow (and aftermath of that match) and the main event are enough for 3.25 Stinger Splashes out of 5.


Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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So I just got this in the mail: 


I'm very excited to read this over the next few days. I'm most interested in the comments from Turner execs, which I don't think I've read enough of. It'll hopefully turn out to be a nice companion piece!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Show #16 - 18th December 1995

"The one where I'm like 'DAMN Hogan, you really are garbage'"

  • The Nitro book that I'm reading above, while having some great stuff from the Turner execs in it (like I learned that Nash and Hall were going to come in as Axel and The Bad Guy, which, I did NOT know that at all), is also pretty repetitive about stuff we all know about the era because we've seen it and relived it ad nauseam. However, one thing that it emphasizes that is relevant to this episode of Nitro is that pre-heel turn Hogan was floundering. Well, he is over tonight, but...


  • ...before we get to that, Alundra Blayze Madusa is out to cut a really stilted promo and to drop the WWF Women's Championship in the trash. Madusa is so unlikeable, but she's been cast as a face in WWF for years, and then will be cast as a face here in WCW even though her character (which she doesn't exactly have to stretch to portray) is a shithead xenophobe. She's a passable worker at this point, still, but she will be wasted for her whole tenure. They should have just had her as a sometimes-physical valet for the Horsemen or nWo or something, like when she was most useful back in 1992. Oh, and I am not looking forward to the Evan Karagias/Oklahoma shit when I eventually get to it.


  • Also, Refrigerator Perry is here because Mongo's sick of people rolling on up to the broadcast table. Perry, an imposing defensive lineman in his day, ends up being woefully ineffective at this. 


  • Next up, Eddy Guerrero finally gets his matchup with Ric Flair that he was expecting to have a couple weeks back. It's not a good match; the two are slightly off with their timing. Flair's obviously over, but happily, so is Eddy (even though the latter got another jobber intro, what the hell?!). Eddie gets the early advantage and Fargo struts. The story of the match is actually that Flair is still not taking Eddy seriously, so Eddy gets the better of him until an attempt from the top rope is foiled by Flair stumbling into the ropes and knocking Eddy all the way to the floor and into the guardrail. Eddie jams his knees on the way down, so you know where this is going. Chops, WHOOs, knee attacks, Figure Four, with the twist that Eddy passes out from the pain rather than gives up. Flair stomps Eddy out of the ring as Mean Gene Okerlund comes down for an interview with him and Arn. This match wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't good. Sort of disappointing even considering my ambivalence toward Flair's in-ring work. 


  • Arn tells Okerlund that he personally respects Paul Orndorff, but that he made the timeless mistake of attacking a Horseman without numbers. Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart come down, which is basically, you know, being outnumbered considering that Hart's a skinny little manager guy. Sullivan then proceeds to threaten Arn and Flair over Pillman being a real dick, man, just a real dick. Arn threatens right back. Again, even the bad guys can't count on one another! It's everyone for themselves! Pretty effective segment because I do want to see Sullivan beefing with the Horsemen; that sounds pretty interesting!


  • While the announcing team is clowning on the WWF Women's Championship getting trashed, Craig Pittman apparently dodges Perry somewhere off-camera and heads straight for Bobby Heenan. Well, I'd get on Perry for letting Pittman easily shed his block, but hey, Perry's not Anthony Munoz. He's the block-shedder, not the blocker. Anyway, Pittman wants Heenan's services as a manager, but Heenan passes and promises to help him out with a reference, which as I recall turns into a post-Doom Teddy Long as a manager. I mean, Pittman was a worse kayfabe client than Norman the Lunatic. This is too bad about Pittman, who feels maybe ten years too late or ten years too early for a run in a major company. He's going to get basically wasted in the lower-midcard from here on out. 


  • Lex Luger comes out and is awkward as shit. It's enjoyable. He does his weekly whiff of a high-five with Jimmy Hart in the aisleway and enters the ring to face off with a jobber-entranc'd Marcus Bagwell. This is an acceptable TV match with the best spot being Luger getting kicked off the apron, yelling AOUGH, taking an awkward bump into the guardrail that he clearly purposely jumped into after his initial landing on the floor, and yelling AWUUUUGHOAHAHAUGH. Luger, you goof. Anyway, Luger catches Bagwell in the Torture Rack for the win, then cuts a ringside promo where he names everyone but Sting when talking about who he's going to beat up before he beats up Savage for the big gold. Also, he explains that "submitting" means "giving up." Oh Luger, you complete goof.


  • Robert Eaton comes out, doing his King Ralph gimmick. He faces Sting in a match that is cromulent enough. Once Eaton misses a top-rope kneedrop, it's all academic from there, leading to Eaton taking a comical back bump off a Stinger Splash and submitting to the Scorpion Deathlock. Sting talks to Okerlund after the match. He's irritated with his buddy Luger for not giving him respect in that previous interview. He also mishears Okerlund saying that Luger "omitted" his name as Luger "admitting" his name and then says something about Luger admitting his name indirectly, and I'm like, haha, you goof, hanging around your buddy Luger gave you a real case of the goofs, huh?


  • LE GEANT~ is out for the main event, a WCW World Heavyweight Championship shot against Randy Savage. This match is mostly just here. The crowd is hot for it, though. There is a narrative through-line, which is that The Giant is an athletic freak, but is just too inexperienced to use that to his advantage...and even so, he's still incredibly hard to beat (unless you're Hulk Hogan). Savage gets the early advantage, tries a body slam, and from there, The Giant beats his ass, but doesn't put him away. Sullivan has to direct him a bit because he doesn't press the advantage, and after Savage escapes a suplex attempt onto the concrete outside by hooking the ropes, The Giant follows up with a totally unnecessary top-rope splash attempt that he totally whiffs on. Savage hits the Flying Elbowsmash, but only gets two, and it looks like game over for Savage's title reign from there as The Giant hits a chokeslam and a Hulk Hogan-style legdrop when Hogan comes out. Let me now share, not necessarily in order, the things that Hogan does during this run-in and its aftermath:


  • 1) Hogan hits both The Giant and the ref with unprotected chair shots to the head.


  • 2) Hogan punks out Mongo and Perry for trying to calm him down.


  • 3) Hogan chairshots The Giant a million times when the latter man comes back in the aisleway, but is being held back by Sullivan and Craig Pittman, of all people. 


  • 4) Hogan steals two of the Macho Man's catchphrases that are over and says them himself.


  • Ay, fuck this dude. Worst of all, 5) Hogan is incredibly transparent in his interview and basically came out not to save Savage, but to ruin The Giant's title aspirations since, as Hogan notes, The Giant and Ric Flair are getting title shots while on probation, but Hogan isn't. Then, Hogan demands a title shot from Savage. What the fuck is this shit? Hogan is over as a face tonight, which makes me think that everyone in this arena is an asshole. 


  • No good matches, but no bad matches. Some storyline movement, but Hogan is just unwatchable at this point. This dude is out here lifting catchphrases off of his more popular counterpart who is also rapidly becoming outdated in his promo style, but is still beloved anyway. The fuck is this shit? Also, I'm going to have to sit through Madusa insulting Japanese wrestlers and bashing up Yamahas with a sledgehammer in the next few months. Ugh. This episode was kind of a bummer. 2.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes for me. 





Edited by SirSmUgly
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That Macho match was kind of my realization that Hogan was holding The Giant back. Hogan struggled to get something good out of him like he’s Andre, and here’s Macho effortlessly getting those Andre matches he used to get when he was WWF Champion in one match with Giant.

Even so, I really enjoyed the Hogan hitting The Giant over the head repeatedly with a chair. Especially the one by the entrance. The Giant looked like an upset bride who’s wedding was ruined by a piece shit attention whore.

Edited by LoneWolf&Subs
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Show #17 - 25th December 1995

"The one that is strangely low-energy for a go-home show on Christmas"

  • It's two days before Starrcade! Here comes one of the men in the WCW vs. NJPW cup and the triple-threat match for a shot at the WCW Heavyweight Championship at said show, Lex Luger! He's facing the other American Male this week (who is also on a jobber entrance), Scotty Riggs. This match is also fine. Riggs rattles Luger early, who throws a tantrum outside the ring as manager Jimmy Hart tries to calm him down. After that flurry, this match is pretty much like last week's match against Bagwell. I like that Luger and Hart kayfabe scouted that Riggs likes to spam dropkicks because Luger dodges one early in the match to regain control and then dodges another one later on to go into the finish and win with the Torture Rack. That gave this match a little bit of a "real sports" feel that I appreciated. Otherwise, it's a decent semi-competitive victory for Luger. 


  • Sting's pyro hits as he comes out to talk to Gene Okerlund in the aisle. Okerlund insists on asking what's up with Sting and Luger because they're still friends and that is unacceptable, apparently. Sting's so irritated that when Okerlund presses again at the end of the interview, he gets in Okerlund's face. I mean, yeah, I get it, I'd be irritated too, but the Little Stingers, my guy! The Little Stingers!


  • Big Bubba Rogers is out to face Sting. Sting basically takes an ass-whipping for most of this match as Bubba cuts him off over and over. Sting's bursts of offense are few and the match sort of plods. Eventually, Sting goes up top and is cut off again with an eye rake, but when Bubba tries to follow up with a gorilla press of the top, Sting hooks him and rolls through into a quite sloppy small package for three. I'm underwhelmed considering the competitors in this match.


  • Now Luger is out to talk to Okerlund. Why didn't they have him talk before or after his match? Anyway, he's much more chill about Okerlund's questions regarding Sting. He's just like (and I paraphrase) Dude, we've been friends for years, why would we stop being friends now? How immature, man, how immature. While some differences between people are too fundamentally great to remain friends, that is not the case for us. Something like that. Anyway, he's gonna win the title. Sting's still out in the ring listening to this, by the way. He seems okay with the challenge that Luger has laid down. Then Sgt. Craig Pittman shows up and asks Jimmy Hart to be his manager, but Jimmy Hart totally body shames Pittman in an unkind comparison to Lex and frankly I felt that myself because I'm old and busted now too and while I try to stay in shape and am in decent shape for my age TBH, I have neither the genetics nor the medicine cabinet of a fine specimen like Lex Luger and now I'm going to eat some Ben & Jerry's to smother my own shame, seriously, I'm grabbing the pint and the spoon right after I finish this run-on sentence.


  • Dean Malenko is next up against Mr. J.L. I think the re-watch of these fast-paced cruiserweight matches is going to be interesting. I already have mixed feelings about Malenko, the reasons of which are on display in this match. When Malenko's doing a counter-counter-counter sequence, his shit is so loose that it breaks immersion. His Irish whips, for example, are just cursorily done, tiny little shoves where he barely propels the guy. J.L. is not much better in this regard, and so that fast-paced counter-fest stuff they do really misses the mark with me. On the other hand, Malenko actually does have a bunch of great moves that look awesome, like that top-rope gutbuster. I love that move. When he's in control and punishing his opponent, he's great. When the match speeds up, he loses a little something and I find myself pulled out of the match. I like snug work and, on counters and reversals, I like the appearance of effort in pulling off the counter (if not actual struggle). However, I'm totally into said top-rope gutbuster and a follow-up heel hook leading to a Malenko victory. This is not the best of these types of matches that WCW might produce, but the crowd was at least somewhat awake for this. They've been pretty lethargic all night. 


  • Ric Flair, the last of the men in Starrcade's #1 contendership Triple Threat, is out to talk to Gene. He gets interrupted by Jimmy Hart, who apologizes for Kevin Sullivan's outburst from last week's show and then asks Flair to manage him at ringside in return for Flair saving Hart from a Savage beating. Flair agrees. Theoretically, if Flair wins tonight, he'd be out of the contender's triple threat since he'd be champ, and it'd just be Sting/Luger, so the offer makes sense in theory as one that can help his client and mend things between the Horsemen and Dungeon besides. 


  • Flair is wrestling Randy Savage for the WCW Heavyweight Championship, and the crowd mostly does not give a fuck. Oh, there are kids in the crowd who care, but basically everyone else sits on their hands. Hogan Fan is looking down at his beeper or something in the front row. Savage gets a Figure Four on Flair early and they actually work a pretty good rope-break spot, but everyone is bored as shit about it. The match picks up as Flair takes control and action spills outside, but this crowd is sort of affecting me, maybe, because I don't care. The best spot of the match happens outside when Savage is against the guardrail and a bunch of kids come to pat him on the back and encourage him. Then Savage grabs a chair from behind the guardrail to assault Flair with, and the kids scream for blood. Those kids were great. The rest of the crowd sucks, though this match is dominated by boilerplate Flair heel control, so honestly I'm legitimately bored, too. Savage never seems like he's really in danger, and eventually, Luger mercifully ends this too-long match by coming down to beat up Savage. Sting follows, but is cut off by Flair before we can see how he was going to address the Savage/Luger fiasco. Savage and Sting have words about one another's actions once the ring is cleared, and we end the show on that. 


  • That whole show was mostly dull. Luger was easily the best guy on this show. I like Luger a whole lot, but Luger should, with few exceptions, not be your best guy on a show with this sort of talent on the stick and in the ring. 2.75 Stinger Splashes out of 5
Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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  • 2 weeks later...

Show #18 - 1st January 1996

"The one that starts a year of hot Nitros"

  • Woo, I'm back with more reviews! I was out of town for the past week. I worked out, but did not watch Nitro during said workout. I will make up for lost time. 


  • Geez, this is going to take me years to finish at this pace, isn't it? I'm not even into the two-hour shows. Oh well, let's plow forward.


  • Arn Anderson is out to wrestle a pissed-off Randy Savage, as Arn helped Flair cheat to win capture, fairly and on the level, Savage's WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade. Savage comes out hot, but eventually, Arn tries to take apart Savage's injured arm with surgical precision. It's a fun match, as of course it would be with these two. Arn feints Savage into position for a DDT, which pops the crowd, but which only gets two. A ref bump later, and Arn tries to load up his fist, but Savage cuts him off, steals the knucks, punches Arn square in the jaw, and slips said knucks back into Arn's tights before getting a three count. This was enjoyable and had a hot crowd. 


  • Lord Steven Regal is here to wrestle Chris Benoit in a match that, again, is obviously fun. Regal is so great with his selling and facial expressions and awesome European uppercuts and cravats. These two wrestle an entertaining match, with Benoit hitting a Tombstone and being described on commentary as the master of that move - SHOTS FIRED here and all night at WWF, considering this and the shit talking about the Smoking Gunns winning a "boring" RAW Bowl (hey, Bisch wasn't wrong about that). Anyway, Benoit's youthful over-aggression and general Horseman-inspired hubris runs him into trouble when he whiffs on a dive to the outside and Regal simply rolls an unconscious Benoit back in the ring for an academic three-count. I like that finish. More whiffed dives should be match-enders if they're supposed to be, you know, high-risk moves. It also sets up for the after-match segment...


  • ...in which Mean Gene Okerlund interviews the Four Horsemen sans Flair. Pillman shits on Arn and Benoit for losing, and neither of them are happy with it. Arn claps back by blaming Pillman for a lack of focus on keeping Flair as champ, especially considering that Pillman name-checked a bunch of people who they have no beef with, like Paul Orndorff and the Dungeon of Doom. Speaking of, here come Kevin Sullivan and the Zodiac to beat Pillman's ass, but The Giant holds them back as we go to break. Ooh, dissension in the ranks! It's an overused trope now, but it was so fresh here. This has been an effective first third of the show. We have two good matches, Regal gets a good win, and the Loose Cannon Pillman and DoD/Horsemen developments get some push. This was a really nicely booked (and worked) series of segments. 


  • The Super Assassins, who are a masked Barbarian and Warlord, come to the ring accompanied by Colonel Robert Parker. They're facing off with Sting and Lex Luger. This is another solid TV match. The opening moments with Sting and Luger dominating are interrupted on split-screen by a now desperate and humbled Sgt. Craig Pittman. Pittman asks Mongo McMichael to be his manager, but Mongo basically tells him to suck it up, start acting like the Marine that he is, and do better on his own. I mean, holy shit, why are they making Pittman look like a loser? This is uncalled for. 


  • Anyway, the match itself is good. Warlord and Barbarian do the cool vertical suplex/clothesline combo thing that I've seen them do. Sting and Luger win with stereo submissions eventually, though the commentary team gets mileage out of pushing ~DISSENSION when Luger and Sting come out separately or Luger acts like a dumb babyface who distracts the ref so Sting can get beaten down by both opponents at the same time. LOL, commentary team, Luger's just sort of a dummy. A lovable dummy. He doesn't mean anything malicious by it. Solid TV match, though. 


  • Jimmy Hart and ~LE GEANT are on the ramp to cut an interview with Gene. Okerlund tries to insult Jimmy Hart by making an obscure referential crack about Hart's resemblance to someone in the 1950s North Dakota rock 'n roll scene or whatever and Hart replies by dissing Okerlund's height, which is doubly-funny considering that he's about the same height. Man, I enjoy heel Jimmy Hart on the mic so much. He's the kind of character reminiscent of that one asshole you knew in high school (or maybe you were that asshole). You know, that person whom you know is a dick and you don't like them, but you can't help laughing when thy says something especially clever and mean. "Lance Russell's Nose" is probably the epitome of this for Hart. Anyway, Son of Andre is pissed about Hogan costing him the gold on Nitro a couple weeks back. He vows revenge. 


  • It's main event time! Ric Flair, who is roundly cheered, defends his newly-won WCW Heavyweight Championship against Hulk Hogan, who is roundly booed. You wouldn't know this if you listened to Eric Bischoff on commentary, though. After one Hulk Up, the crowd boos lustily, but Bischoff claims that they're ACKSHUALLY chanting for Hogan. Um:


  • Anyway, this is a bog-standard Flair/Hogan match, with Jimmy Hart coming to run interference for a bit before Flair hits a sweet delayed vertical suplex on Hogan that Hogan ruins by a) doing his shitty "I have a seizure from that impact" selling and b) Hulking up from it right after said selling. Yada yada yada, Hogan and Savage fight off Arn, Arn's knucks, and the Giant as the ref throws out the match. 


  • Post-match, Hogan and Savage stay in the ring and cut a promo straight out of 1988 except if they cut it without being on coke. It's not good. Hogan steals a line from prominent babyface Buzz Lightyear. Savage name-checks current Top 40 hit "Manic Monday." Hogan references a bunch of fairy tales. Boy, this sucked! Also: It's the return of the Big Stinky Giant count = 1.


  • This was a good show overall! Bischoff did the "dissension in the ranks/tease a breakup" thing with every possible alliance on his show before it was cool (and way before Vince Russo made it completely uncool). It's working now, but it's starting to feel a bit like a holding pattern because there's not really any progress on these relationships; it's just a series of endless weekly teases. Of course, Bischoff's really going to be entering holding pattern mode shortly for a very good reason, so I suppose I can't knock him too much for it. 4.25 Stinger Splashes out of 5
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  • 4 weeks later...

Show #19 - 8th January 1996

"The one where Vince must have pissed Bischoff off"

  • Yep...this is gonna take me like the rest of the decade. 


  • Savage and Hogan up against Flair and Anderson tonight as the desk hypes the show. Bischoff and McMichael enjoy shitting on the competition, but Heenan (as usual) deftly sidesteps any such talking down of his former employer.


  • Chris Benoit comes to ringside, accompanied by Brian Pillman. He's facing off with Alex Wright. Benoit gets straight to jumping Wright and pummeling him for a long time. Then he dumps Wright out of the ring so that Pillman can pummel him. Then it's back in the ring for Wright so that Benoit can pummel him some more. Finally, Wright gets a bit of offense and slingshots Benoit out of the ring. Lots of high-impact offense later, and Wright has a Boston Crab on Benoit while Bischoff excoriates "Titanic Sports" for raising the price of their PPVs and charging fans to take pictures with the Winged Eagle. That's good timing because this match has slowed down a bit and Alex Wright's not really able to string together interesting offense for more than a couple of minutes. Eventually, Wright goes at Pillman, and it allows Benoit to gather himself and, after struggling to hit the Dragon Suplex for awhile, Benoit hits it for three. This was perfectly fine television, though it probably could have been a couple minutes shorter. Wright's face control segment got real boring after he finally turned the tide with a few well-paced moves. 


  • Lord Steven Regal is out to face off with Eddy Guerrero in a battle of wrestlers in Smelly's all-time top-ten. They start with mat exchanges and Regal is peeved by Eddy's ability on the mat. Did Vince McMahon do some shit that irritated Bischoff in the week before this broadcast? He's now going at the "Royal Fumble" (eh, the '96 Rumble was alright). I just read the Nitro book about a month back, but I can't recall if Vince called out Time-Warner shareholders in early January of this year or what. Anyway, this is a solid match predicated on Regal realizing that Eddy's just as good on the mat as he is, so he'll need to press his size advantage to win. He grinds Eddy down, lays his weight on Eddy in holds, relies on strikes more, and hits a couple of nice suplexes as he controls the match. He also WRECKS Eddie with an elbowdrop to the side of the face. I'm surprised by how much of the match that Regal takes, and Eddy only wins when Regal slips on a banana peel and can't get out of a backslide. Fun match, but I'm not sure that Eddy should have worked that match with Regal considering Regal's position on the card. Like, if he worked Flair like that or something, okay. 


  • Haha, now Gene Okerlund is out here shitting on recent WWF signees that he says are "ready to collect Social Security." It can't be Jake Roberts since Roberts didn't debut again in WWF until the Rumble itself on the 21st. Austin showed up on the 1/8 show, but he's not old. Maybe Gene's just pissed that Scheme Gene debuted on the opposing RAW that night. He's here to mediate a Lex Luger/Sting dispute about the end of the triple threat match at Starrcade. Apparently, Luger sabotaged Sting and cost him a chance to continue the match. Luger is claiming a bum knee. Honestly, I think we're getting to the point where we go on cruise control until the nWo forms, but Luger and Sting are going to make up by tagging together. 


  • Speaking of Sting, he's up against Diamond Dallas Page. Page is looking exceptionally scummy tonight. They're pushing the "DDP has lost everything" angle, and honestly, this is one of the very few times that giving someone a "loser loses a ton" angle has worked. Sting is back out to faux-Bonnie Tyler. Bischoff cracks me up when Heenan talks about compassion for DDP by shooting back "What the hell do you know about compassion? Is that a word you looked up this week?" Quality jibes there. The delivery was excellent. Sting dominates until DDP headbutts Sting's nuts on a leapfrog, which, yeah, that's a pretty good transition to a heel control segment. I like that Page hits a series of moves and taunts, but can only get a one-count and sort of freaks out. He really thought he had done more damage than he did. Great facial expressions all match from Page, whose development across these shows as a worker is really fun to watch. Now he's working a headlock and cheating like a bastard while yelling SHUT UP at the fans who are cheering Sting on, just good old heel shithousery.


  • You know what happens eventually: Sting works out of the headlock eventually and annihilates DDP. However, DDP gets to the ropes on the Scorpion Deathlock attempt, and Heenan does a great job of putting over that DDP is getting much better and understanding where he is in the ring more proficiently than he was in past years. DDP scraps and fights, but Sting corners him and catches him away from the ropes with the Deathlock for the win. This was really good partly because DDP lost again, but he's getting put over by the commentators as clearly rebounding a bit and putting in good work even in a loss. Fun match as well!


  • It's main event time! Ric Flair and Arn Anderson are out first, followed by Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan. The crowd seems somewhat more excited about Savage wrestling Flair in comparison to Hogan wrestling Flair to begin. Hogan goes first anyway. Flair chops the ever-loving shit out of Hogan at one point, like that shit had to HURT, and honestly, this is a solid opening exchange overall. Hogan beats up both Horsemen on his own because, hey, it's Hulk Hogan being super-insecure in 1996. 


  • Savage gets his licks in too, though Flair eventually shifts the tide by interfering (and mooning the unfortunate crowd after Hogan pulls down his trunks while chasing him). After that, the match is basically Savage as FIP, and since he sells pain so well, it obviously works just fine. Hogan gets the hot tag, no sells everything, and gets three on a legdrop to Anderson. Pillman and Benoit come out, but the Dungeon of Doom is also out. While Zodiac and Sullivan attack Pillman and Benoit, LE GEANT~ is free to annihilate Hogan and Savage, which he does until Zodiac pleads for mercy. The show ends with Hogan, Savage, and the Four Horsemen down as the Dungeon stalks away from the ring.


  • Pretty good show! Lots of good matches. The main event was fine. 4 Stinger Splashes out 5 for me
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  • 3 months later...

You know, I get them wanting to have Bagwell turn on Riggs to cement the heel turn, but maybe Buff & Riggs joining the nWo together might’ve been the better choice. One goof heel beefcake is great, but two goof heel beefcakes is even better. Beats shoehorning Michael Wallstreet into the group.

Edited by LoneWolf&Subs
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6 hours ago, LoneWolf&Subs said:

You know, I get them wanting to have Bagwell turn on Riggs to cement the heel turn, but maybe Buff & Riggs joining the nWo together might’ve been the better choice. One goof heel beefcake is great, but two goof heel beefcakes is even better. Beats shoehorning Michael Wallstreet into the group.

Riggs seemingly had zero personality. the American Males, the Raven's Flock eyepatch bit, the Hearthrob, and even as Scotty Anton in ECW, he never really had any charisma. Yeah, it might have worked having him in the nWo, but more likely he would be pointed to as the epitome of the B-Team.

Also, it's obvious that Michael Wallstreet was only in the nWo because he used to be in the WWF. Once that novelty wore off (rather quickly, i might add), he was forced out of the group by WCW (even though that never made a lick of sense) and started wearing an anti-WCW shirt. of course, i don't think he ever had an angle again, but he'd show up occasionally and win a squash match. sidenote, i really loved Wallstreet being an nWo ally but not being allowed to be in the group- the setup has potential that was never even touched on. 


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  • 4 months later...

Show #20 - 15th January 1996

"The one where Ric Flair's taint is aggressively grabbed"

...and we're back!

I have been, in the interim, skipping around wrestling promotions from across the globe that produced matches between about 1971 and 1998. I've been watching aimlessly at times and with focus at other times. However, I ended up longing for more Nitro after watching the first Thunder episode. 

  • Lex Luger is out after some opening desk babble. He's here to face number-one contender to the WCW World Heavyweight Championship Randy Savage. Savage is awaiting the winner of tonight's Flair/Sting main event for the title. Savage jumps in with a chair, but gets jumped while Pee-Wee Anderson takes it away from him. This is 1996, so my guess is that Savage is going to basically get his ass whipped and sell most of the match, as was his way on Nitro. Didn't matter if he was facing Kurosawa or Luger, he was going to take a beating. 


  • Three minutes later, I appear to be incorrect! Luger turns it around, briefly (to chants from a vocal contingent of the crowd), but then spends a few more minutes doing awesome Luger selling (get elbowed in the throat, yell AUGHHHHH like he's in a Peanuts strip) before taking over and doing some punch-kick. Luger's not in control for long, though he finds a way to dodge a flying elbowsmash and get the submission off a Torture Rack. Luger collects another win over Savage (this one is clean as a whistle, too!) and declares that he should actually be the number one contender, which, well...yeah. Yeah, he should. 


  • The Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen come down together, dragging Gene Okerlund along for the ride. Okerlund asks why they're not ready to wrestle one another, as was determined before the show. Arn yells at Brian Pillman for dressing poorly for a business meeting, which I think is unfair. It's a business meeting with the Dungeon! Their attire is, um, less than professional. I'm not putting on more than a t-shirt for a meeting with the Zodiac, myself. Anyway, Arn and Sullivan got together and agreed to stop fighting one another because there's no money in it, according to the Enforcer himself. 


  • Sullivan then wants to give love to most of the Horsemen to seal this truce. He tells Flair that he's 12-time World Champ, and the Yankees and Celtics can't compare to that. Quick Wikipedia check: The Yankees have 27 World Series championships, and the Celtics have 17 NBA championships. Was that a stealth diss on Sullivan's part? Anyway, he also thinks Arn is "underrated," which is more shade thrown actually, and now he's shitting on Pillman. That wasn't very complimentary at all, Taskmaster! Might as well go full Greg Davies-level Taskmaster and be openly insulting at that point.


  • Anyway, Pillman yells a lot and is a dick and Arn slaps fire out of him. Arn's talking like he's got a bunch of his bad little kids in the back seat of a car, and he's swatting at them with one hand and steering with the other, threatening to turn the car around and go home, where he's going to get his belt and really lay down the law. 


  • Well, since we didn't get that match, WCW matchmakers are like, "fuck it, we need filler, send Public Enemy out there." Dork-ass Bischoff is confused by the phrases "naughty by nature" and "violent by design" ("violent by...decision?" he asks quizzically while reading PE's shirts). This '90s-ass '90s duo is here to wrestle AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES.


  • The layout of this match is interesting. The males kick the shit out of PE, basically. So much for PE's debut. Bagwell's got the match wrapped up until Riggs's dumb ass gets in the ring to point out that Rocco Rock is illegally in the ring, which draws over the ref, which allows Rocco to help Grunge out and secure the win. Then, Bagwell gets Senton Splash'd through two tables for his trouble post-match. This achieves the goal of furthering the Bagwell/Riggs split that is coming and making PE look dangerous even though they spent almost all of that short match taking an ass-kicking. 


  • Sting and Ric Flair for the BGB are mid-show, which screams that fuckery will be afoot. Imagine all the Sting spots and Flair spots and Sting/Flair spots that you've seen before, in whatever order you wish. It really doesn't matter. Well, actually, Sting grabs Flair's taint at one point, so, uh, throw that image in the mix as well. Anyway, Luger comes out to ostensibly stop Jimmy Hart from interfering and ends up popping Sting in the head with said megaphone. WHO'S SIDE IS HE ON?! Flair gets an academic three-count after that. Luger confronts Flair, but both guys are cleared from the ring by Savage and Hogan


  • Savage and Hogan use Gene Okerlund's mic to yell at Sting about being friends with Luger. Sting is confused. He was knocked out, remember? Sting heads back to confront Luger. Then Hogan talks a lot. The Hulkster makes it clear to Savage that Savage is a loser for eating loss after loss to Luger and that Hogan should be champ since they haven't even taken his nameplate off the title anyway, and also Hulk Hogan is number one and the best and the greatest. 


  • It's tha monsta MENG to the ring next. And out to face him, aw shit, it's Hulk Hogan again. Hogan's pre-nWo WCW run is one of those things that will never get a historical revision because it is insufferable. I mean, hey, some kids in the crowd are into him, so who am I to judge? But still, I'm going to judge. Choke, choke, sell, sell, spike to the throat, no-sell, Hulk Up, finger wag, big boot, steal the spike and use it while Savage clears Kevin Sullivan out at ringside, etc., etc. Hogan and Savage are friends again! Or at least they are for the next few minutes. 


  • This show was more about slow burn and character development than in-ring action, but it was enjoyable for what it was. 3.25 Stinger Splashes out 5 for me
Edited by SirSmUgly
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Just saw that this is being done and wanted to pipe in that I agree completely with your reviews of the first 4 Nitros (that's all I've caught on the rewatch so far). The Wright-Disco match was shockingly good, and then the Kurasawa-Pittman match was stiff AF (Pittman had just had a squash win on Cobra at Fall Brawl). 

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Show #21 - 22nd January 1996

"The one which is a big tease (WHERE IS MISS ELIZABETH?!)"

  • The desk hypes the show. Hogan/Akeem the African Dream is HAPPENING IN WCW TONIGHT, folks! Then Konnan pops up with the AAA Americas Championship, calls himself the Mexican Heavyweight Champion, and threatens Psicosis.


  • Randy Savage is here with a bunch of attractive women in dresses, and also Linda Hogan. Whatever, where's MILF-era Miss Elizabeth? Get her out here, please, and no I will not settle down. 


  • Flair comes out next. It's time for Flair to defend the BGB against Savage. The desk hypes Miss Elizabeth's debut alongside Hogan and Savage at the next night's Clash. In related news, I will be taking some time to watch the next night's Clash. I WILL NOT SETTLE DOWN, I SAID. Also, Kevin Greene will be there. Flair hits on Woman, who visibly enjoys it. She slaps Flair, but *whispers* I think it's a ruse


  • This match is typical Flair stuff. Savage eats a guardrail going into a break, which was a pretty cool way to enter said break. Anyway, Arn tries to interfere and hits Flair with knucks when Savage ducks (heh). Hogan is out here to chase Arn away steal Savage's shine as Savage wins the gold with a flying elbowsmash even though the bell is ringing madly the whole time leading up to the pin. In fairness, Savage does get the mic and tell Hogan he didn't win SHIT and to calm down with the celebrating because he's not having this WM IV post-match shit happen again. Hogan responds by taking credit for Savage's win and demanding a title shot. Savage tells Hogan to fuck himself and win his way to the number one contender's spot before asking for anything. I'm applauding Savage right now. Hogan agrees to the plan and steals Savage's catchphrase again.


  • Next up is Dean Malenko, out to face off with Brian Pillman w/ pimp cane. Pillman controls on the mat early and cackles maniacally while doing it, but a disrespectful slap to his opponent leads to an enraged Malenko picking up the pace and hitting high-impact offense ending with a nice neckbreaker for two. That burst of energy doesn't sustain Malenko for long, and he walks into a boot and a tornado DDT in the corner. The second Pillman gets any advantage, he acts like an asshole instead of pressing said advantage, is the story of this match, and he skips a cover to chop Malenko disrespectfully.


  • Malenko gets mad and takes control from there until Pillman can drag the match back his way and re-start the cycle again. Pillman eventually has to claim victory via a quick pinfall after Malenko gets his foot caught in the ropes, but the story is that if he wasn't such a volatile dick, he might have had a more comfortable victory. This was good because it was another match that was well-laid-out to advance characters and their motivations, and also it was perfectly fine as a TV match. WCW in this period was very good at managing both of those things in Nitro matches.


  • After some Clash shilling, WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat are out to face off with Sting and Lex Luger for the titles. Sister Sherri is not here to watch Harlem Heat's backs because she's spending time with Colonel Robert Parker. From valeting wrestlers with wealth and fine suits like Ted DiBiase (hey, that black-and-gold jacket with the dollar signs was some classic '80s nouveau riche finery) and Ric Flair to running around with Robert Parker...was Sherri having a mid-life crisis? YOU CAN DO BETTER, HONEY! WE'VE SEEN YOU DO BETTER!


  • I have always enjoyed Harlem Heat's ponderous clubbering control spots, and Sting is full of energy and splashing everyone in sight from minute one, so I enjoyed this. I just think this is one of those "love them as a kid, sat with Grandma to cheer along and watch them beat people up" things. Yes, I know Harlem Heat is objectively kinda shitty! I can't help it, though. Booker whiffs on a Harlem Hangover, which is quite the impressive move for such a big dude in 1996! This leads into the endgame, where Jimmy Hart shows up and loads Luger's fist with coins so that he can bop Booker T in the temple for three and the gold. The coins are fucking EVERYWHERE in the ring, but somehow neither Nick Patrick nor Sting sees them. Sting's stoked and exclaims, "I KNEW WE COULD DO IT!" Wait 'til he sees the tape in the back. 


  • Again, I note that this match furthers the Sting/Luger friendship storyline and Harlem Heat being upset at Sherri/Sherri and Parker as well. I think Nitro from its start in 1995 through about late 1996 is maybe the best-booked thing in American wrestling because it was so adept at handling multiple storylines or multiple aspects of character development within its matches. 


  • It's One Man Gang, WCW U.S. Champion! He's gone through a reverse African voodoo ceremony, I guess, and now that he's once again become a generic biker guy (with an admittedly GREAT name) he's here to wrestle Hulk Hogan.  


  • Bite, eye rake, punch. Bite, eye rake, punch. Hogan definitely took that "become number one contender" advice from Savage to heart because he rolls OMG, who as the U.S. Champion is traditionally the number one contender in WCW. I mean, it's four minutes of Hogan beating the shit out of Gang. Then Zodiac shows up and gets his ass whipped. Then Benoit comes out as a part of the Horsemen/Dungeon of Doom truce and he gets his ass whipped. Basically Hogan beats the shit out of everyone, and Savage shows up, and the Giant stands outside the ring and yells while being "held back" by Zodiac and OMG. I appreciate Pillman jumping around yelling at Giant to just go ahead and fucking do it, get in the ring and fuck this guy up, what, are you gonna let Brutus Beefcake keep you from doing what you came here to do, you punk bitch?


  • The show ends with Hogan and Savage jabbering. Hogan wants to be champ. He shills the Clash. MISS ELIZABETH will be there. I will be tuning in. I STILL HAVE NOT CALMED DOWN. Hogan keeps stealing Savage's catchphrases.


  • I really enjoyed the middle two matches! This was a solid show, ending aside. 3.75 Stinger Splashes out 5 for me
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Show #22 - 29th January 1996

"The one where Liz's high heel makes a Goldbergian debut"

  • I watched Clash 32 and it was dumb, and in all the best of ways. The Sherri/Parker wedding was absurd and as one of its closing shots, it had Disco looking around, discomfited by Madusa jumping Sherri, clutching as many bottles of cheap champagne as he could sneak away with. I mean, Gilberti is such a goober in real life that he's PERFECT as Disco. Is he the greatest comedy wrestler ever? He's gotta be on the shortlist. Also, Heenan hit an uncensored F-bomb that I guess neither WWE nor NBC has remembered to censor. I genuinely think Pillman was just doing a bog standard "hide behind the valet/announcer" spot and didn't even think about Heenan's neck. 


  • Also yeah, Ms. Elizabeth was there. It was dope. I mean, it was much better when she darkened her hair in the weeks after going heel because that was a much better look than the light brown/dirty blonde thing she had going on. But I am not complaining. 


  • Anyway, Nitro! You're here to read about that. 


  • Savage faces The Giant tonight for the BGB. Anyone who knows that Savage has only ever lost the WCW and WWF/E World Championships to two different wrestlers knows how this will turn out even if they don't remember the actual match or title lineage.


  • Ric Flair is out with Jimmy Hart, riding high off of a victory at the Clash (w/LE GEANT) over Hogan and Savage. Speaking of, here comes Hogan's bitch ass, flanked by Woman and some blondes, one of which is his then-wife. But also, here comes Elizabeth, who totally tossed some tape to Flair last night when he was otherwise about to eat a pinfall, but with plausible deniability since the camera sorta missed it. 


  • This might be a bit negative, and honestly, I want to enjoy pro wrestling in all its forms, and honestly, I want to especially enjoy wrestling that I choose to watch considering that I unfortunately do not like pro wrestling in all its forms. But yeah, I sorta hate this match already. It's sacrilege to say, but I do not give a fuck about Ric Flair after about 1993. I'm not a big Flair guy even when he was reasonably good, but **HOT TAKE ALERT** that Vader match in 1993 was the last great or close-to-great match he ever had. He's fine in a tag deal where Arn can cover for him by being the more entertaining guy on offense, more entertaining stooge, and equally entertaining bumper, but otherwise, eh.


  • My contempt for the Hulkster in all forms is well known by now and I will not at this time elaborate and, um, re-elaborate it.


  • But you know, the crowd is like SUPER-hot for this, so again, I know fuck-all about what is worthwhile in pro wrestling. Still, Flair does his greatest hits list and Hogan does his greatest hits list, though Hogan sells accumulated knee damage for about fifteen seconds, so that's something! They go outside and do some stuff, and the crowd loves it, but it's mostly punches and an eye poke. Jimmy Hart chokes Hogan, which I enjoy because I enjoy Jimmy Hart's heeling. Haha, now he kicks him a bunch! That rascal. Jimmy Hart rules.


  • I should give these two more credit because at the point that they go outside, they try to mix it up a bit. They do work those manager interference spots and a figure-four spot with a reversal that the crowd likes, and it works well enough. Flair also cuts off Hogan's Hulk Up, which always feels fresh even though it almost surely happens more often than I think it does. Arn comes out, but Hogan fends him off. Then, Jimmy Hart goes over and restrains Liz, who just can't struggle enough to avoid giving up a high heel to Arn Anderson. Then Hogan jobs to a high heel. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Hogan's greatest nemesis! The Rock and Liz's high heel are the only two members of the wrestling world to ever beat Hogan multiple times without giving a win back. Hogan's bleeding from his eye, though, which is a dope visual. The match was actually alright once shenanigans started! When even these two old walruses can turn me around on their match, wow, that's pretty special! 


  • Here come the Faces of Fear, who are AWESOME and they will clubber the absolute FUCK out of you. Meng shadow kickboxes in the aisle. FUCK SOMEONE UP, YEAHHHH. They're up against the Road Warriors, and if this were a show from 1986, I'd be stoked! It's a show from 1996, so I am more subdued, but still, let's see these guys not sell for one another, hell yeah. 


  • Do I need to go line by line? There's a test of strength, there is clubbering (Barbarian is an elite-level clubberer), Animal does that sweet powerslam, etc. Hawk is obviously the worst part of this match, but he's probably somewhat zooted out on Placidyls, and even he does a dope powerslam and shit. He also no-sells a piledriver from Meng, which I find entertaining and not irritating, and yes I admit my inconsistency here re: Hogan. Bischoff calls Goldust a RuPaul wannabe. Goldust is awesome, as is RuPaul. RuPaul caught so many strays during this time, including from The Lox in "All About the Benjamins," and I think it's uncalled for, but a double headbutt from FoF makes me feel better in the moment. 


  • I sort of wish Barbarian and Meng would do better control segments that don't involve nerve holds or chinlocks and that replaced that stuff with clubbering and kicks and big boots and shit, but I won't complain too much. I mean, Meng at one point in said control segment hits a sweet dropkick on Animal, so if he wants to do a chinlock to take a breather, who the fuck am I to bitch?


  • Animal finally regains control, but FoF are able to avoid the Doomsday Device. Barb gets greedy with piledriver attempts, though, and while trying to bury Animal with one a second time, he gets caught by Hawk with a clothesline from the top for three. I mean, it wasn't great or even that good, but I enjoyed it because I want to see big dudes throw forearms that leave an audible smack and do at least one cool thing (Meng's dropkick in this case) in a little eight or ten minute tag match sometimes. 


  • Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan is in the ring with Hugh Morrus and Gene Okerlund, and he yells a lot about Arn and Pillman. Arn and Pillman come down. Sullivan is real mad at Pillman. Arn is too, actually, since he had to run interference for Flair earlier tonight with no help from Pillman. Arn's going to beat Pillman's ass with a belt for his transgressions, but Sullivan and Morrus jump him first. Pillman hides, which, okay, but you should have just taken off. Sullivan beelines for Pillman with the belt, and Arn gets the better of Sullivan and runs him off before demanding a match with Sullivan and Morrus. 


  • Madusa is here, unfortunately, to wrestle Sister Sherri after spoiling her wedding. They have a short brawl which Sherri wins, but Madusa jumps her after the bell and leaves her laying. I am bummed about having to watch Madusa in this WCW run, in which she was xenophobic to an unsettling extreme and then had a never-ending angle with Oklahoma and Evan Karagias, or were they separate angles? Whatever. 


  • The main event is here. The Giant is out. He's an incredible athlete and is solid even at this young age. The ladies are out, but where is Savage? He's behind The Giant with an international object, which he clobbers the Giant with and I guess gets DQ'ed immediately for. Not a bad way to retain a title! Flair is out to jump Savage, though, and he and The Giant do a number on Savage. Hogan is blind and Sting isn't in the building, so Savage has no one to save him. They wail on Savage for what seems like hours, but is really only about four minutes before Hogan comes out and fights his reduced depth perception enough to chairshot The Giant, FoF, OMG, Sullivan, and, uh, Flair was smart enough to split ahead of time, so good for him. 


  • Speaking of Flair, he's ranting at the desk, talks about beating Hogan twice, WOOOs, and here's Jimmy Hart jumping around like an asshole, hahaha. I guess that 2-on-76 cage match is coming up at SuperBrawl because Flair rants about double-cages and yells at Savage that he will be winning the heart of fair Miss Elizabeth and also Savage's gold. Then he yells some more and poses. It's absurd in the best ways. 


  • This was a good show, and I enjoyed it. 3.5 Stinger Splashes out of 5 for me
Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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  • 2 weeks later...

Show #23 - 5th February 1996

"The one with lots of chaos and an excellent cleavage window"

  • I missed watching Nitro and have been thinking about getting back to it. That's a good sign!


  • I might stop to watch SuperBrawl, which happened on the Sunday after this show. 


  • The desk shills. Here comes Chris Benoit to the ring, back from his tour with New Japan. He'll face off with the Macho Man Randy Savage for the WCW Heavyweight Championship. Liz and Woman are with Savage, and also, so is Liz's high heel, which is 1-0. Who's next?! Anyway, Benoit takes most of the match and attacks Savage's busted-up arm that Luger worked on weeks ago, but Savage takes his beating as is his way lately. Anyway, Savage is about to win, but Flair comes out and Elizabeth (sneakily, and with room for plausible deniability) and Woman (overtly, and laughing as she does it) help Flair, and soon Arn, to beat the tar out of Savage until one-eyed Hogan comes out with a chair. 


  • Okerlund shows up to ask Hogan about his eye while Savage is laid out. Savage got cheered. Flair got cheered. Hogan gets booed. Hogan is rambling, and Flair uses Hogan's being distracted with his cocaine-fueled rant as a chance to jump him, tear at his eye, and set him up for a chair shot from LE GEANT~. Booty Man  Beefcake Dizzy Hogan Zodiac comes out and, upset about Hogan and his eye, calls off The Giant, but who cares? Savage is back with a chair to run everybody off, and also he's back to yell at Liz for not warning Hogan that Flair was behind him, which, yeah, she didn't really try. As usual, Savage is the only smart one here, and also totally overmatched. Hogan's eye is gushing. Liz's high heel must be made of titanium. 


  • Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan and Hugh Morrus are out to wrestle Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman in a grudge match. Pillman basically stooges a lot while the desk plays up how crazy he is. Arn finally gets in the ring, and Pillman runs a distraction. Morrus basically wrestles as though Pillman punches like a baby, but Arn is actually competent, which sort of works for the sort of "Pillman is slightly crazy and therefore somewhat incompetent" story they're trying to tell. Also, they're building Morrus like a guy who doesn't feel any pain because he's crazy, especially when it comes to shots to the head. Eventually, Pillman and Sullivan get into a wild brawl and the match breaks down. Arn tries to piledrive Sullivan on concrete, but someone (Paul Orndorff, as we find out during the entrances to the next match) hits Arn with a broom from behind the curtain. Sullivan comes back to the ring and uses a strap to give Pillman a tiny beating before Pillman escapes. This was fine, I guess?


  • Marcus Bagwell is looking a bit Buff-like right now. He's sans-Riggs and is here to face off with Ric Flair. Flair shows up with Woman, and also Woman's cleavage window in her dress which I didn't mention before and which is admirable, let's just say that. Anyway, Flair's greatest hits, etc. Bischoff says during a flurry of Bagwell offense that the crowd isn't really cheering for him, but just because Flair's eating offense in general. Great point, Bischoff! Then again, no one cares about a couple of close Bagwell two-counts, so maybe he's right after all. 


  • In the crowd's defense, they did buy a Bagwell figure four reversal into a small package for two. Anyway, Flair spots, etc., Flair wins with the figure four and has to be chased off by Savage when he won't break it. Savage busts right through Doug Dellinger chasing Flair to the back. 


  • The Road Warriors come to the ring for a WCW World Tag Team Championship match against the champs, Sting and Lex Luger. The crowd chants "L.O.D.!". That's tha OTHA wrestling company, BAYBAY ([tm] Mongo). After a little test of power, Sting and Animal go quickly for a bit, which is unexpected and a nice little opening flurry. Hawk no-sells a Luger piledriver that the camera catches Luger protecting Hawk clearly on and that Bisch notes clearly missed, so the no-sell works PERFECTLY with the camera shot and commentary and is a beautiful little thing. I love it when a wrestler protecting another wrestler is also presented as "the guy doing the move actually executed it poorly in kayfabe." LOVE IT. 


  • There is a technical glitch in the midst of a lengthy control spot for Luger and Sting. There's a power outage, but honestly, it was all chinlocks and mediocre clubbering, so really we just hit fast forward in an opportune spot. The Road Warriors make a comeback, but while Sting and Hawk are preoccupied outside, Jimmy Hart shows up and helps Luger defeat Animal with the further assistance of a chain. Sting is unhappy about the fuckery, but Luger is joyous. WE WON! yells Luger, celebrating like a goof. Man, overtly goofy Luger is the best. Animal and Hawk are mad in the ring and want a rematch. They yell a lot. Spit flies everywhere. 


  • The storylines moved along, but the wrestling was a bit iffy this week. This needed a good Eddy Guerrero match or a couple of athletic fat guys doing dope elbowdrops a la John "the Shark" Tenta to really make it work in that regard. Still, I was entertained. Also, Woman's cleavage window showed up in two segments, so the bookers knew what they were doing, ultimately. 3.25 Stinger Splashes out of 5. 


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Show #24 - 12th February 1996

"The one with that big, stinky Giant Lochness"

  • SuperBrawl was alright, though the double main event was uneven. Savage/Flair was solid and had the Miss Elizabeth turn, which was pretty well executed (particularly with the interference fakeout from Woman and her packet of powder before Elizabeth and Liz's high heel (2-0) put an end to the proceedings). Unfortunately, Hogan/Giant wasn't great, and not because of LE GEANT~. The undercard was uneven as well; WCW still hasn't figured out how to book that undercard in a way that gets the crowd hyped, but they will soon. 


  • We're in Hulk Hogan's backyard of Tampa, which has a downtown that Bischoff describes as "beautiful," ahahahaha, I see we got jokes tonight, Bisch. 


  • George Steinbrenner is here and has something to do with using the State Fairgrounds in Tampa for the show or something, I guess, sure, lt's get Steinbrenner on here. I'd prefer Larry-David-as-Steinbrenner to actual Steinbrenner, but I'll take what I can get. Anyway, stills from SuperBrawl are up first.


  • After that, we have our first match: Hugh Morrus, the Laughing Man wanders out to the ring verrrrrrry slowly to face off with Randy Savage. This match is indicative of Savage TV matches against midcarders at this point, and in a case like Hugh Morrus or other midcarders that he faces (Kurosawa, Scott Norton), it's really helpful to the midcarder, who gets to do all of their cool offense and look beastly while Savage sells beautifully from underneath.


  • Anyway, Savage comes out looking shook and maybe a bit nutty. Savage comes out swinging, but he's still selling his hurt arm from weeks ago and the cumulative beatings he's been taking and Morrus struggles his way on top soon enough. Morrus needs to use this control to do more cool shit, tbh, like a lot of other guys did in this spot. Anyway, there's a bit of back and forth after Morrus's control segment, but a Morrus whiff on a No Laughing Matter leads to a Savage flying elbowsmash. Savage is so heated, though, that he's more about punishment than getting three, and he hits another one before taking the victory. He thinks about hitting another one, but Morrus wisely bails. Savage then gets on the mic and calls out Flair. This dude is mad over with the Tampa crowd, and he deserves to be. 


  • Watching Savage in 1996 I think makes me feel like he doesn't get enough credit in general. I feel like Savage with the tassels and cowboy hat was the point at which people generally argue that he fell off, but he's so good at filling this role here as a fighting veteran babyface who gets guys over as dangerous while still finding ways to win, and it's 1996. I get that maybe his career is sullied by 1999 valet-punching, super-roided, immobile Savage, which, look, it was patently awful and I can't defend it. But he was so good in so many roles and situations before then. He's got to be one of the tippy-top best wrestlers ever, at least in Canada/the United States. I can't imagine that anyone could legitimately leave him off a top-25 list, and I genuinely would look at someone who leaves him off their top ten a bit funny. 


  • Motorsports shit yawn zzzzzzzzz snore.


  • Scotty Riggs is here to face get beaten up by Giant "Lochness Monster" Haystacks. Heenan refers to Lochness's distinctive aroma, which was confirmed as TRUE in Bret Hart's book. You know, I enjoy watching UK wrestling, but I really haven't seen him work in the UK. Like, most of what I know of his work is here, and he was only around for a short time before going back home. Did he have a cancer diagnosis while in the U.S. or shortly after he left?


  • Anyway, Riggs throws the arsenal at Haystacks, who wobbles and then drops Riggs on what is supposed to be a catch and powerslam. Two elbowdrops later, and it's over. Man, it's painful watching Haystacks move and get up from the mat to some degree. The Hogan/Haystacks match that was teased and that never happened would have been a mess. 


  • Woman and Liz are here to talk to Gene Okerlund. Flair's there, too, in a suit on a gurney, but let's circle back: Liz has gone full slutty MILF, and it is glorious. Look, hey, some things that you first experienced from your teenage days are impactful with you forever. I'm gonna settle down, Smellynetico and all that, at least somewhat. Flair rants, but honestly, I wasn't really paying attention to what he was saying.


  • Elizabeth talks, and honestly, I get her point. Flair lets her talk and shit and doesn't cut her off and she can express herself. That's why she left. Then she botches a bit, but yeah whatever, and Flair is going to step in and speak for her. But she's got this, Flair! God, that's why she left Savage. Don't tell her what she's trying to say! Anyway, Liz recovers. She likes taking Savage's wealth because of the abuse she's suffered, which is so based in reality that is Savage the heel, sort of? It's worth considering!


  • Devon Storm comes out for his Nitro debut, pre-Crowbar of course. He'll face off with Konnan, the current U.S. Champ. I feel like Storm/Crowbar was pretty fun? I want to see if my memories are based in any truth. He's out here doing dives and using all the available equipment and getting powerbombed on the mat and while the crowd as a whole is slow to get into it, the side of the ring that this happens on is definitely feeling the proceedings. That was pretty fun fast-paced junk wrestling. They get back in the ring and continue to cut a decent pace. I feel like this stuff in 1996 United States should be getting more of a pop? Part of the crowd chants for Konnan, but I expected a bigger reaction. The camera cuts to Steinbrenner in the front row, looking utterly confused at what the shit is happening in front of him. 


  • The match meanders a bit after Konnan slows things down with a submission hold on the mat. Bischoff has to apologize for some joking hotline comments about some WWF show losing power, and he does so while speaking in low tones and at the pace of the Micro Machines ad guy. Then he's like, "FUCK YOU, IT'S FUNNY." Meanwhile, Devon Storm's top-rope hurricanrana gets reversed into a powerbomb from the top rope for three. There were enough powerbombs to make that whole match worth the while.


  • Tonight's main event: Arn Anderson versus Hulk Hogan. Arn only comes down with Woman. Brian Pillman has mysteriously fucked off somewhere after respecting the bookerman the previous night at SuperBrawl. Bisch plays that up a bit. Hogan comes out, beats up Arn, does a bunch of back rakes and throat thrusts like he's Hollywood already, and really looks like he's in control of the match. Arn really needs an equalizer. He tries to piledrive Hogan on the mats outside the ring, but nope. That's not the equalizer that Arn is looking for. Meanwhile, Hollywood Hogan chokes Arn with tape while Bobby Heenan points out that Hogan has done whatever he's wanted with no pushback. Is Hogan the heel? Yes. Yes, he is.


  • Arn's still looking for an equalizer as Hogan assaults him. Is raising a boot at a charging Hogan the equalizer? Nope. Steinbrenner enjoys Hogan scraping Arn's eyes with a boot. That seems about right. AXE BOMBAH from Hogan, who is pretty much meeting no resistance from Arn. Arn does get an elbow up on a corner charge. He then tries a high-risk top-rope move. Is that the equal-nope, Hogan immediately cuts him off. Arn does do some work on Hogan's injured eye, though, which his elbow opened up. Still, he needs a true equalizer - wait, whose music is that? It's Liz's high heel! Also, Liz and Flair are escorting it to the ring. 


  • Meanwhile, Arn's spinebuster gets two and Hogan's Hulking Up. He's got Arn in the Figure Four, and when Flair jumps in, Hogan pins Flair at the same time that Arn is still in the Figure Four. Woman runs a distraction with a powder attack that actually works. Then, the equalizer: Liz's high heel (3-0) finds a way to intervene and help Arn get the pinfall. What a beast. Liz's high heel (3-0) should be number one contender to Flair's title, or Konnan's, at the very least. 


  • Anyway, Hogan sits up like the Undertaker and gets all his heat back, whew, good move there, Hogan. You would have lost way too much shine after *checks notes* visually pinning Flair and submitting Arn and only losing by multi-pronged interference. Flair eats a chair from Savage, who has come to join the party. The crowd is hot for it, though! Flair goes over to the set, takes Bischoff's headset, yells at Mongo, and rants a bunch. It's entertaining. Arn talks about how he beat Hulk Hogan. He claims that he can do it again. Then Hogan ruins that by running over, scattering everyone, and threatening Bobby Heenan. He also yaps Mach's catchphrase once again and says something about Pee-Wee Herman, I think? Man, this dude SUUUUUUUUUCKS.


  • There'll be a rematch next week. Time for Liz's high heel to dominate. Hogan is bad. Everything else is pretty good! This show needed more Sting, but it still gets 3.75 Stinger Splashes out of 5. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Show #25 - 19th February 1996

"The one with big rematches"

  • The desk hypes Savage/Flair in a WCW title rematch and Arn (w/ Liz's high heel) and Hogan. Hogan has never lost twice in a row according to the desk. Foreboding, eh? Mongo thinks Hogan will bring revenge all over Arn's body and that he won't let Arn get on top and do it to him twice. Mongo doesn't even have to try to make all these double entendres. The man has a gift. 
  • Hogan and Arn are first. Hogan beats Arn up a ton. Arn gets no offense in, really. Hogan chokes, Hogan bites Arn's forehead, Hogan really knows how to build sympathy! Bischoff pimps the WCW Baywatch episode that will finally be airing, and in doing so, shits on Vader (one of WCW's guest stars) for getting beaten up by Paul Orndorff in the locker room. Mongo misses his chance to also shit on Vader, and Heenan moves things along quickly.


  • In the meantime, Hogan continues this monotonous beating. It's really really dull. He's basically killed what was a pretty hot crowd. Wait, not completely: A "Hogan sucks" chant starts. Yeah, this is terrible television. Honestly, that woke the Hogan partisans up more than anything Hogan's done in the past few minutes. Boy, this is dire. Look, you know what's going to happen until the ending (more boring Hogan beat-down), so let's fast-forward. Hogan gets Arn in the Figure-Four, and when Savage runs to the ring to cut off the Taskmaster, the ref just, um, DQs Hogan even though Savage didn't actually touch Arn? That's some awful kayfabe reffing, Nick Patrick. Pee-Wee Anderson would have let it ride until someone actually touched one of the wrestlers in the ring. Arn is 2-0 against Hogan even though he has had a total of three offensive moves across two weeks, and I hate it, thanks. There wasn't even an appearance from the high heel. 1996 Hogan pre-nWo turn is absolutely unwatchable. And yet, I have watched him once again, to little discernible entertainment value.


  • Alex Wright dances out to job to Loch Ness. Wright actually gets a flurry of (ineffective) offense before eating a snapmare off the top rope and a bearhug. Wright tries again with kicks and an elbow, but a second elbow gets countered with a kick to the solar plexus. Elbowdrop, three, threats to Hogan, the end. 


  • The Belfast Bruiser, Fit Finlay marches to the ring. I've watched a lot of Finlay over the past few years in the UK and Germany as well as WCW, and he's got to be one of my favorite late bloomers of all time. He started out kinda mid and gradually got better and better, peaking finally when he was in WWE during the aughts being an utterly awesome brawler. My memory of most of his WCW run is that it's good, but not quite peak Finlay. I'm excited to live through it again. He'll face Brad Armstrong. 


  • The anti-DUP crowd chants U-S-A in order to show their support for the U.S.-backed Good Friday Agreement. Finlay, apparently a unionist who thinks of himself as British as much as he does anything else, scoffs as he takes early control. The control segment is just sort of there, so the desk talks about Savage and Elizabeth instead. Finlay's doing too many headlocks and not enough strikes and weird, ring-based offense, until he takes control after an Armstrong flurry and bashes Armstrong's chest against the ring apron. Later, he uses the apron and post to attack his opponent's knee. Still, this isn't quite VINTAGE FINLAY~ yet. A little bit of good-looking knee work on the mat later, Armstrong fights back, but at the end of a flurry, he gets caught in a powerslam for three. This was fine, but one would expect something a bit less disjointed from these two. 


  • Flair, with Woman and Elizabeth, is here for the main event title match with Randy Savage. Bisch covers for being too lazy to change the nameplate on the belt by claiming that Flair's doing it to taunt Savage for taking things once associated with him, such as his money, his former bride, etc. OK, sure, I'll buy it.


  • They try to do something different with this match because of where they are in the story. In short, when Savage can focus his fury, he's clearly the superior wrestler. However, he is easily distracted - by Woman outside, by a desire to humiliate Flair - and typically, that gets him into trouble. They lose this thread (so maybe I'm just imagining it after all) in the middle of the match when Flair takes control for a long segment on the inside, but before then, Savage is in control when it's in the ring and Flair is in control when he can get it outside of the ring or he can break Macho's concentration. 


  • The end is poorly shot and comes with, of course, lots of distractions. Woman's high heel tries to interfere, but is intercepted by Savage, who redirects its awesome power onto Flair's temple. Not too awesome, I suppose, since Flair apparently kicked out. It fooled everyone, including the producers in the back who didn't bother to have it clearly shot and the timekeeper. Hogan is out, as is Arn, who hits a DDT that Flair uses to get three when the ref isn't looking. Then, it's a donnybrook, until...oh no...it's the Booty Man. The Booty Man is here, everyone. It's a bummer. Anyway, Flair rants at the desk. Then Hogan runs to the desk to rant about the BOOTY BOOTY BOOTY MAN, DID YA SEE THEM RUN FROM THE BOOTY MAN, oh, shut the fuck up, Hogan. 


  • Where is Sting, ya bastards?! Too much Hogan, not enough Sting, 3 out of 5 Stinger Splashes, man. 
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Why the hell did they name Leslie the Booty Man, you ask? According to Wiki:


After leaving The Dungeon of Doom, Leslie became The Booty Man, and his gimmick was that of a man infatuated with his own buttocks, shaking them on the way to the ring and during matches. His signature move was a high knee (a homonym of "hiney").

*Picard palmface gif*

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Show #26 - 26th February 1996


  • I have been so busy, and will be through the summer, but I am going to do more of these. I'm super-into these Nitros and think a lot about watching them when I am doing something else. I even started thumbing through the Nitro book by Guy Evans on my nightstand before bed. 


  • Of course, the desk endlessly hyping the Booty Man to start might dampen some of that enthusiasm.


  • Bischoff reveals taped RAW results. Diesel over Bob Holly actually sounds pretty good, but then again, it's a Big Bubba/Sting match on this channel. Decisions, man, 1996 was full of tough decisions. 


  • Sting is back on Nitro! Thank goodness. I think maybe these fellas had a match that I expected better of a few shows back? I'm too lazy to look or use CTRL+F, I guess. This match is way better than that match they last had, at least in mind it is, if that match even existed. They cut a pace to start, man, and Bubba throws some sweet punches. Bubba works a headlock, but it isn't too long and leads to him spinebusting Sting out of his boots. Hubris leads to a lazy cover leads to a 2.9, unfortunately. That was probably his best chance to win, though he hits a lot of dope moves after that. For example, Bubba grapevines Sting just to punch him as hard as he can in the solar plexus. Man, Bubba rules. He even yells at the plant granny at ringside for added entertainment. Ultimately, Sting hits a weird little piledriver and wins a punch fest, and though Bubba forces Sting out of the ring, a block of a top rope move from Bubba and follow-up top-rope crossbody are enough for Sting to sneak a win. That was fun as hell. 


  • The Road Warriors come out to the ramp to question Sting about why he's hanging out with that dick Lex Luger. Luger, who is also there, takes exception to this. He ends up talking Sting into whatever match Hawk and Animal want. Also, Animal's calling Luger a suburban-ass motherfucker and Luger's like, nah fam, I'm from the streets tho, I'll catch a body right now, and pretty much that all happened, but in '90s white guy pro wrestler talk. So, yeah, the Roadies get the champs to agree to a Chicago Street Fight, which Luger can't even explain what that is after Sting asks him, OK, that was genuinely funny. 


  • Renegade runs out to the ring. Luger comes back out to meet the Ultimate Faux-rior as his opponent. Jimmy Hart isn't here, probably because he's signing Luger to that 2-on-1,000,000 Uncensored cage match coming up like an asshole. But wait, will this scheduling conflict give Luger an out to the Chicago Street Fight match? Yes. Yes, it will. Man, Luger really is a dick. 


  • No offense, Renegade, but I just want to see a TORTURE RACK. There are some shoulderblocks and stuff. It's pretty boring. Bischoff hypes Uncensored by talking about how great past Uncensored shows were. Bisch has got jokes! Luger calls his attacks like he's in Street Fighter. He's great. Jimmy Hart comes out to cut off a Renegade comeback because Jimmy Hart just loves torturing the poor guy, apparently. Anyway, we get a TORTURE RACK and Luger and Hart celebrate like they just unified the WCW and WWF Heavyweight Championships. I love these guys.


  • Sting is disapproving, though. He comes out, and Luger pretends to shoo Hart away. Hilarious. Sting is yelling at Luger like Luger's his erstwhile kid who used to be a straight-A student who excelled at band and chess club, but now gets C's and hangs out with the bad kids. YOU'RE DOING TOO MUCH! YOU'RE NOT EVEN THE TOTAL PACKAGE RIGHT NOW! YOU ARE PATHETIC! YOU STILL GOT JIMMY AT YOUR SIDE?! WHAT'S GOING ON WITH YOU ANYWAYS?! All the while, Luger feebly pretends that he doesn't even hang out with Jimmy Hart anymore, like who said that they saw him smoking weed with Hart behind the 7-11 down on Central? That's a lie, but who even said that? It's not true, Luger was just lifting weights in the back, watching tape on opponents, being a studious pro wrestler. Why would anyone lie on him? Then he leaves the ring, promising to do better. 


  • Man, that post-match bullshit was great. I love stupid soap opera done right, and that was stupid soap opera done right. 


  • Booker T's out and talking shit to the camera, followed by Stevie Ray talking shit to the camera. Harlem Heat is fantastic. They're fighting the Road Warriors, who by comparison are extremely corny. Bischoff, who earlier said that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN (at Uncensored), calls Nitro "the Warzone." Huh. Everyone's making threats in the ring. 


  • As I've gotten older and my tastes have changed, and maybe also as the idea of what makes in-ring work entertaining has changed among the general fandom, I have found that I value solid clubbering more and more. I mean, it can still be slow and ponderous and kinda dull, just like anything can be more- or less-well-executed. I find this clubbering to be pretty fun, though. It's peppered with loud shit-talking and actual wrestling moves - a neckbreaker here, a dropkick there - and I enjoy it. Booker hits Hawk with a kidney shot from the apron to turn the tide, and Stevie follows up and drops him with a pretty nice powerbomb, which I didn't expect. These dudes did a combo clubber on a tag that was also pro wrestling as fuck. Fuck it, I've said it many times before in this thread, but I'm re-assessing Harlem Heat. They were good. I will do a deep dive to make this argument if necessary. 


  • Anyway, Animal gets the hot tag, but he's cut off pretty quickly. There's a donnybrook and all, and Booker crushes Hawk with a Harlem Hangover, but the ref is distracted and Animal hits Booker with a big boot for a Road Warriors victory. It wasn't genre-defining, but it was a nice little TV bout and I enjoyed it. 


  • Ric Flair saunters out, standing between Woman and Liz and flanked by Arn Anderson and the Taskmaster. The fellas are in a six-fella tag against Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Booty-Booty-Booty Man!!! Booty! The faces clear the ring! Booty Man and Hogan hit back rakes! Arn calls for a time out! It's as exciting as I'm typing it right here! Also, Kimberly is out here with flowers because she wants to fuck Ed Leslie, which is TOTAL NONSENSE and I WON'T ACCEPT IT and IT'S TOO UNREALISTIC EVEN FOR WRESTLING, AND I ACCEPT THE PHYSICS OF IRISH WHIPS AS SENSIBLE


  • Mongo asks if Kimberly is out here for some beef. Amazing. Bisch insinuates that he has a spy in the WWF camp. Some stuff is happening in the ring. Mostly Booty Man is being treated as unstoppable. He Greco-Roman Knuckle Locks Flair into tears or whatever and then finally tags out. Bisch talks about getting pre-empted by one of Turner's Civil War projects next week. I miss Turner being an auteur with expensive cable projects about history. He also did a lot for film preservation, man. TNT in the '90s was my jam. Wrestling, random historical dramas, sports. What a channel. 


  • If you're wondering, Savage got in, got beat up, and then Hogan got in and did like Beefcake and beat up all three guys. Look, I'll just fill you in if anything cool happens between now and the finish. 


  • OK, so the finish is that Hogan pins Arn with the legdrop. 


  • Liz handcuffs Hogan somehow in the post-match melee, and Flair whips him with a belt a couple times. I missed how they got him into this position or where Booty is, and I refuse to rewind to figure it out. Not a great way to go into a break! Shawn Michaels beating the big guy with three sub-YMCA level superkicks is looking pretty awesome in comparison.


  • The main was dire, but Sting was here, had a good match, and shamed Luger into temporary compliance. Tour-de-force performance from him. Everything else was entertaining to differing degrees. Ugh, that main, though. 3.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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Show #27- 11th March 1996

"The one with, aw man, this return bout?!"

  • Bisch welcomes us to the warzone! No, not that one. This other one. Six-man strap lumberjack return match from two weeks ago. Hooray.


  • Well, at least the undercard will save this show. Wait, no, it's Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He'll face The Giant, though! This guy has not been on Nitro enough lately. Cool spot where LE GEANT~ ("The Giant" in French) catches a Duggan apron leap. Cops at ringside have intercepted a lurking Brian Pillman, who is escorted out during a really long bearhug-and-clubber spot, so nothing was missed. Heenan makes a fantastic, tasteless joke about Duggan's head cop dad incurring his real-life broken hip reaching for a doughnut. Vintage Heenan! 


  • Meanwhile, this match basically is centered around a couple of bearhug spots and is the opposite of the awesome Giant/Norton match from a few shows back. It doesn't showcase Giant's genuinely awesome blend of size and agility. Duggan loads his fist, but Jimmy Hart eventually distracts Duggan enough to keep Duggan from continuing to cheat, that prick, and a chokeslam later this is mercifully over. Meh, Duggan has had better matches on Nitro, much less LE GEANT~. 


  • Next, the Steiner Brothers make their return to WCW! Apparently, they beat the shit out of the Nastys in the back and then got on bikes and rolled out here like kings, which they are. They're facing off with the Nastys' opponents for the night, the Road Warriors. Scott is fucking jacked, man, just cut his hair and dye it blond. Clubbering, suplexes, everyone's fired up, and so am I. There are beefy boy dropkicks and clotheslines everywhere. It's my dream spotfest where all the spots are strikes and suplexes. Are the Steiners the best spotfest workers in history? I think so. I got into wrestling as a kid to see dudes a) toss each other through the air and b) tie each other in painful knots. Also for the promos, but yeah. This is my kinda thing. 


  • The match slows down for a Steiner control period of chinlocks and shit. Nope, not what I want to see. Throw Animal into the fifteenth row or get to the hot tag, one or the other. Soon enough, hot tag, punches, powerslams, hell yeah, a Doomsday Device, but Scott saves Rick at two. Now, Scott's going to hit Hawk with a Doomsday Deviece before Animal cuts him off, everyone throws bombs, and Scott hits a Frankensteiner to a big pop before Hawk saves. The Steiners hit a super-bulldog, but Animal uses the spike pad on Rick while the ref shoos Scott out of the ring to get a cheapie three. That was fun as FUCK. The fans liked it too, though I don't think they were into the ending, which I get. 


  • Gene's here to interview the unfortunate losers. Scott yells like a lunatic. Gene tries to interrupt, but you need to let this man talk. The Steiners lament the Roadies for having to cheat to win and generally ducking them on multiple continents. HOORAY, THE STEINERS ARE BACK.


  • Hey, it's Alex Wright, looking way less gassed than he does three decades later. He's wrestling Lex Luger, who is now the TV champ, for the TV title - Badd's on his way out to be the Wildman Marc Mero over at Titan, so Bisch shits on him and alludes to his real-life discomfort with his pairing with Kimberly. Bischoff really is going out of his way to bury the guy, which I guess is what happens when you tell Bischoff that he won't be able to make you a star like Vince McMahon will.


  • Luger is pretty generous to Wright and eats a lot of offense early. He eventually takes control and slows it down, and the match is basically about Luger cutting off Wright, who's trying to speed things back up to get the advantage. Luger's really irritated that Wright's made a fool of him and gripes and bitches and yells at the camera in frustration. It's a really good performance from him here as the arrogant vet who feels like the young kid made him look like a fool. 


  • Wright makes his comeback and unloads on Luger. The crowd is not really into this, and I feel like they should be. Wright goes high risk and connects, but Jimmy Hart runs out to stop Wright from connecting. Luger uses this advantage to get the pinfall before pretending like he's appalled, APPALLED I SAY, that Jimmy Hart would even be out here. Haha, what a scumbag, man. Luger is excellent. What a 1996 this guy had. 


  • Main event time. Liz is here, but otherwise, I don't care. Well, maybe Kimberly will show up, too. So yeah, the lumberjacks are out dressed like Richard Karn in Home Improvement. The Giant (French: LE GEANT~)and Loch Ness are angry at each other for whatever reason, so they fight to the back. Booty Man beats up Arn, Hogan beats up Flair, and Sullivan beats up Macho because only one man on that team isn't so fragile in ego that he can't eat someone else's offense.


  • Hey, it's Kimberly! Yeah, yeah, she ditched Johnny B. Badd. Is it a rib on Mero that Kimberly would find Leslie more attractive than him or something? This is dumb. Animal catches an escaping Flair at the entrance and marches him back down, which is pretty good. Otherwise, it's a melee and shit, a donnybrook, a pier-six brawl. Stuff happens. Hogan gets choked by the heels. The camera is back on Kimberly. Just keep it there. 


  • Hogan hits Savage with the belt while swinging somewhat wildly. Some choking and stuff happens. Hogan wins. This wasn't any good. The heels hype that awful Uncensored cage match. Flair runs to the desk. Bisch claims that they don't want to hear it. The fans do not concur.


  • The main was dire (hey, this seems familiar...), but the Steiners showed up and the middle matches were fun. Ugh, that main, though (hey, wait a minute...). 3.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Show #28- 18th March 1996

"The one with a clear preference for tag team garbage brawls"

  • This is very cool; the show starts with THE GIANT (French: LE GEANT~) fighting Loch Ness in the aisle. The desk is confused. Love the in media res opening when it's used sparingly. Loch Ness is supposed to be wrestling Lex Luger, whose music hits. Hey, waitaminnit, Jimmy Hart was in the aisle cheerleading The Giant's assault.  How convenient.


  • Luger just poses and strolls on by Loch Ness getting his ass beat, hahaha. Luger is fantastic, man. The bell rings and Loch Ness gets counted out. Luger retains his TV Title! What a defense! What a defense! Luger celebrates. Jimmy Hart runs up to him to celebrate too, but Luger realizes what's going on and pretends to shoo Hart away. Then, he walks over to the desk holding up his TV and Tag Team titles to talk about how he's won the shortest title defense in WCW history, so watch out Hogan! Luger is TREMENDOUS, just magnificent. Holy shit, I didn't remember how awesome his act was before coming back to it again.


  • Oh great, speak of the devil: it's Hulk Hogan. Randy Savage is with him as well. They talk to Tony Schiavone about the Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored. Hogan steals a Ric Flair catchphrase. Savage talks, but I've checked out somewhat. Anyway, there's a Texas Tornado match involving the Mega Powers and Sullivan, Flair, or whomever, I don't know. We'll see. Hogan steals a Randy Savage catchphrase. Then he does it again. Look, I'm not going to belabor the point that you know I'd normally make here.


  • Everyone's waving their hands in the air because Public Enemy's strutting out. They're not waving them in rhythm, which considering that we're in Knoxville, seems about right. PE grabs a table on their way to the ring to face...the Steiner Brothers. Oh, someone's getting stiffed real bad in this thing. Bischoff shits on the "World Whining Federation." The caption renders it as "World Whining Entertainment." Boy, were they thorough back when they were bleeping out the "Federation" in their archived shows. 


  • Rocco did an armdrag out of a tilt-a-whirl suplex that surprised me early on. Bischoff pimps a potential Dennis Rodman appearance at Uncensored while the Steiners clear house. The crowd is very into this. Anyway, some plundah gets used and PE take charge. Rocco hits a second-rope moonsault, drops a DDT, and then jumps into a powerslam from the top rope in a nice little sequence. Scott Steiner hits a SWEET pumphandle suplex on Rocco from the top rope, Rocco hits a middle-rope moonsault in return, and I am thoroughly enjoying this dumb spotfest. Some more spottiness leads into the finish, where Rocco saves Grunge by knocking Scott off the top rope, and then pays for it when Scott runs over to a prone-on-a-table Rick and pulls him off the table before Rocco can follow up with a splash. Good process, bad outcome, Rocco Rock. It happens sometimes. One top-rope bulldog on Grunge later, and the Steiners win. Fun as hell, man, fun as hell. 


  • Arn Anderson, joined by Woman, is wrestling *sigh* The Booty Man. They're re-running the regressive Johnny B. Badd "win the woman and the money" angle again in triple speed with the Booty Man in Badd's place, so there'll be a match with DDP at Uncensored. *sigh* Booty Man struts around in tassels like it's 1987. His tights are cut like assless chaps, though thankfully there's fabric where said ass would normally be. He stops to smack his own ass *sigh*.  After some weak offense from Booty, Arn finally turns the match in his favor, and then he works on Booty's arm, oddly enough since Booty throws a knee for his finish. It doesn't last long. Kimberly dances out. Woman takes off her heel immediately, which is just an ace move. I'm shocked that she didn't take her earrings off, too. Booty goes outside to defend Kim, Arn takes advantage, but when Arn dumps Booty back into the ring and follows, Booty catches him with the knee on his way through the ropes for three. So yeah, that happened. *sigh*


  • The Road Warriors are out to the tones of distaff "Iron Man." WE'RE THE NASTY BOYS announces that they are the Nasty Boys, and they're out quickly to spark a wild brawl. It's entertaining! Hawk just slaps Saggs in the face at one point. It was very disrepectful! There's an ad break, and when we come back, dudes are swinging plastic chairs and punching each other outside the ring. Finally, the match gets into the ring. The Nastys got beaten up last week, remember, and they're fighting hurt. Bisch pushes the WHO JUMPED THE NASTYS?!?! angle on the desk. The match slows own, but then the Steiners show up and jump everyone they can. This distracts Nick Patrick, and Animal uses a knee pad to wallop Knobbs over the head for a pinfall. Animal is breaking bad, everyone! This match was fun when out of the ring and merely unobjectionable when it was in the ring. 


  • Ric Flair and the Taskmaster are out (w/ Woman again) for the main event tag match. Hogan and Savage follow. OK, this is pretty funny - Flair eye-pokes Hogan, who blocks a head knock into the guardrail and then grabs a giant foam Randy Savage hat and pulls it onto Flair's head and over Flair's eyes. Flair milks the absurd visual for all it's worth, stumbles around like an asshole, and then Hogan rips it back off and eye-pokes Flair right back. I genuinely enjoyed that stupid spot. Some meandering brawling happens. Woman gets involved. Bisch asks the same question that I have often asked over the last few weeks: WHERE IS MISS ELIZABETH?!


  • Bisch keeps trying to wish a Dennis Rodman appearance into reality. Yes, we know, he was eating another suspension at the time. Bisch hopes for Madonna to show up with him. He sounds thirsty as fuck. Stereo figure fours from Flair and Hogan, on Savage and Sullivan respectively, but Savage escapes. Flair is fired up and does HHH's favorite spot where he and the ref shove one another. Flair saves Sullivan and the four have another meandering brawl. They probably shouldn't have had three semi-wild brawly-type matches in the same show, honestly. Each one has had diminishing returns. Nitro was definitely not as good about offering variety in the first six or eight months of the show's existence as they were a year or so in.


  • Things slow down until Woman's high heel gets involved and spikes Hogan, but we know historically that Liz's high heel is the Shawn Michaels and Woman's high heel the Marty Jannetty of that pair, so Hogan kicks out of a follow-up Flair pin attempt at two. Arn comes out to do some fuckery and distracts Hogan when he's trying to finish off Flair. Then Brian Pillman shows up randomly and starts flinging chairs and shit. The bell rings. I don't get that - so all the wandering crowd brawling and foreign international objects were okay, but interference isn't? Here comes *sigh* the Booty Man, and all the heels run away. I mean, this got me wanting a Pillman/Savage feud because of the way they interacted, but that's about all. Hyping me for a feud that never happens and shit.


  • Cut away from the ring, and here's Deebo Zeus Z-Gangsta! He's followed by the racist , murderous Nazi plan to genocide Jewish people Final Solution Ultimate Solution. This is supposed to hype me for that dumbass Uncensored cage match. It does the opposite. Sullivan, Hart, Arn, and Flair yell about that upcoming match. 


  • I am not making it a point to stop for PPVs during this watch-through. However, I will stop for some of them. BatB '96, for certain. Uncensored '96? Not so much. 


  • This show was solid. The lack of variety hurt it, and the Hogans (Hulk, Dizzy) are awful television, but I enjoy brawls and Steiner spotfests, so that helps immensely. Also, Lex Luger is aces. I can't wait for Bisch to figure out how to balance these Nitros, though. 3.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.




Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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