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


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On 7/29/2022 at 2:53 PM, SirSmellingtonofCascadia said:

Show #47 - 5 August 1996

Some stuff about Eddy/Benoit and the Malenko interference from a couple weeks ago (Show #44). They speculate that Jimmy Hart helped Malenko get a title shot of some type in exchange for fucking with the Horsemen. I forgot all about that after all the Outsiders shenanigans that culminated in the lawn dart. Alex Wright is going to face Benoit next. Benoit walks out with Woman and Liz, and I think, this guy has to be the second- or third-worst Horseman ever. When were the Horsemen ever solely about wrestling ability? They were about that, yeah, but they were about swag, about drip, and I'm going to be real, guys like Luger and Sid are way better Horsemen than Benoit or Malenko, neither of whom have even a remote amount of coolness to them. Luger or Sid wouldn't look completely out of place with Woman and Liz like Benoit does. 


Yes, nobody had more swag or drip than <checks notes> Ole and Arn.


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17 minutes ago, kafkonia said:

Yes, nobody had more swag or drip than <checks notes> Ole and Arn.


You really going to try to make this argument? Ole and Arn in suits at least fit in with the look and the vibe. Benoit and Malenko, on the other hand, look completely out of place. 

Shit, Paul Roma at least sort of looked the part if you squinted. 

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Show #49 -19 August 1996

"The one that shows how to do main event fuckery effectively"

  • We are starting with action from the get-go according to Tony S.! Said action is a rematch of the V.K. Wallstreet/Hacksaw Jim Duggan match from last week's Clash! 


  • FUCK


  • Duggan gets his win back. Nick Patrick stops him from using tape the first time, then lets him do it the second time. Whatever. Post-match, Duggan cuts a promo about Hogan and the nWo. He calls Hogan "Terry." WE SHOOTIN', FELLAS. Fuck off though, FRFR. Savage walks down to parlay with Duggan. He basically hijacks the interview. Good for him! 


  • Clash recap from Tony S. and Larry Z. Benoit and Woman are having communication problems. I'll bet. Hogan's still the champ after what was a pretty good main event title match between himself and Flair


  • Earl Robert Eaton is out to wrestle the benighted Benoit next. Stop slapping five with the humanoids, Liz! Woman really leans into the "MILF of your dreams" look and nails it. This is fine TV wrestling, obviously. These two are going to have a good sub-ten minute match in their sleep at this point in their careers. Eaton takes a hip toss on the protective mats outside that sounds gnarly. I will never not be impressed by Woman doing an American football kickoff into some dude's ribs while wearing heels. Underrated athleticism on her part. This is pretty much an extended squash with a hope spot where Eaton gets a bit off offense before whiffing on an Alabama Jam and eating a flying headbutt. 


  • Recap of nWo stuff at the Clash. They're selling that Hogan gave up from the Figure Four as he tossed the ref, which I don't recall them really selling that hard at the Clash. 


  • Sting and Luger have a plan for the Four Horsemen tonight when they meet them in the ring. They spend this interview time with Gene Okerlund hyping the surprise that they have for Flair and Arn


  • Wooooooo, it's DISCO FEVER, DISCO FEVER, DISCO FEVER, YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH. The very cocky, very cool Disco Inferno dances. A fan holds up a sign asking "Where's Glacier?" Scott Norton comes out. The dancing stops. So, this is a neat little match because it builds on what we found at about Disco in his Cruiserweight Championship match against Dean Malenko; he's actually pretty good at pro wrestling, but he's always distracted by his hair or his dancing, and that ends up being his downfall. He ducks and dodges Norton's moves, but dances instead of capitalizing. That lack of focus, and likewise a lack of punch power, makes this a mismatch and extended squash that ends when Disco pretty much immediately gives to a Norton armbar. Ice Train and Teddy Long are in the back to cut a promo about Norton getting his due after his constant attacks on Train. 


  • Huh, Dean Malenko and William Regal is a promising matchup. Unfortunately, it has an early break during the feeling-out process. We come back to a tidy little sequence that ends with Regal cartwheeling away from Malenko and then hitting an enziguri. The crowd is somewhat surprised by this big guy pulling that off. Regal slowly starts to use his size and weight to turn the tide, which is a common approach from him when he has the size advantage. He starts out wrestling, but quickly turns to strikes and laying his weight on top of the smaller opponent. I like the logical approach. It's also interesting to see Malenko have to deal with this when often in past weeks, he's been the guy with a stronger base and more weight smothering smaller dudes like Rey Misterio Jr. Malenko does shoot some of his power stuff off, but he gets countered with Regal suplexes. They end up having another lovely sequence of near-falls leading to a Malenko rollup for three. The crowd actually pops even though both guys are heels. This was fun stuff. It actually made me want to see them wrestle under British rounds rules, which I think would be amazing. Alas. 


  • The Four Horsemen stand on the ramp with Gene Okerlund and talk shit about Sting and Luger to end the first hour and kick off the second one. 


  • It's another Nasty Boys/Public Enemy match. Move on, fellas. Bischoff mentions WWF suing WCW, though he doesn't mention why (Axel and The Bad Guy, that's why). He wants the audience to know that WCW isn't going anywhere or changing how they do business. As we all know, they stayed as they were and did their finest business five years from now...no, wait, they were sold for a song to Vince McMahon by then, sorry, I forgot. Anyway, you'll be shocked to hear that they go to a split screen as all four men involved pair off in different parts of the ring and the ringside area. This isn't terrible or anything, but there are rapidly diminishing returns to these wandering tag brawls. PE whiffs on a table splash and Knobbs pins Rocco Rock with a simple elbowdrop shortly afterward. It was what it was. The Nastys stick around to talk to Gene Okerlund after the match. They want to be champs and they're still friends with Hogan, same as the last few interviews with them. 


  • We see a recap of the DDP/Eddy Guerrero Clash match, which needed more time, but which was still good even in its compressed state. Chavo Guerrero challenges the former Battlebowl champion DDP to a match tonight after DDP's show of poor sportsmanship post-match against Eddy. They work a classic size vs. speed match in which DDP uses his size and striking to great effect on Chavo after the latter eats a post. Chavo uses his quickness to briefly turn the tide and get two-counts on a couple of occasions, but DDP mostly works the shoulder that Chavo posted and taunts Eddy while he does it. A sweet sitout powerbomb should, could, would get three, but DDP isn't finished with Chavo. He hammerlocks Chavo and does a belly-to-belly (AWESOME!!!), but again pulls Chavo up at two. You know what comes next: Chavo reverses a Diamond Cutter attempt into a backslide for three. DDP goes banana after losing, hits a Diamond Cutter on Chavo, and then rips off Nick Patrick's belt and whips holy hell out of Chavo until Randy Anderson comes in and takes the belt away. Patrick is just like IDK what you want me to do, man, DDP is an imposing man who impulsively did some wild shit, I was just trying to get control of the situation. Patrick is generally incompetent enough that he probably didn't even plan to let DDP whip Chavo's ass after the bell, to be fair. 


  • Eric Bischoff next implores us to look to history to inform the present. Remember when, in Show #3, September 18th, 1995, the American Males won the tag titles from Harlem Heat because Sherri was too busy shtupping Rob Parker to run interference? Well, tonight, we get another tag title match between the two teams. These teams are going to have a perfectly cromulent matchup as they would do until the end of time if frozen at this age and ability level, were they trapped in some sort of time warp or pocket dimension where all they did was wrestle one another in decent TV tag matches. Actually, they really rush to the hot tag, which is set off by a Riggs counter-dropkick to a diving Booker T. Bagwell is on fire and gets a couple close counts before getting caught diving from the top rope by Stevie Ray. Stevie's counter-power slam gets three. I will forget that this ever happened not long after I'm done with this show, or at least until I read this back and see four typos that I somehow missed the first time around, at least two of them probably in this blurb about this match. 


  • Our big tag match between the Horsemen and the team of Sting and Luger is next. Sting and Luger get to the ring and tell Flair and Arn that they want the other two Horsemen to come down to the ring RIGHT NOW. OK, so instead of a match, we come back from break to Gene Okerlund in the ring. Sting actually makes some sense; he's like, Yeah, we could fuck each other up yet again, but the nWo seems like a bigger threat right now, so maybe let's focus on them? Also, we're going to have a War Games against the nWo coming up, and we have more experience in that match than Benoit and McMichael, so let's just put all our dislike aside and maybe team up together against the nWo. Arn doubts Luger's mentality, which, you know, fair concern. Luger's like, yo, we fucked a bunch of dudes up in War Games before, you know we're good for another one. This is all paraphrased by the way. 


  • Arn tells Sting that he needs to be meaner if he's going to be on their team. I refuse to paraphrase Arn because he's spitting fire. I don't want to twist his words. Sting is just like, come on, I live and breathe WCW, you know I'll do whatever to save it. Flair is cool with it if Mongo and Benoit agree to give up their spots. Benoit tosses the decision back to Flair and Arn and will do whatever they think is best. Mongo agrees and says that he'll sacrifice his spot if Flair and Arn think it's best, but that if Sting and Luger fuck up, he's going to haunt them. It's really nice work from him. Anyway, Sting and Luger are --->  IN War Games and Mongo and Benoit are <--- OUT of War Games. 


  • We come back to an announcement paid for by the nWo. Hall and Nash cut a promo from Rome, Italy Denver, Colorado in which they talk a lot of shit about pretty much all of WCW. 


  • Our main event is The Giant and Randy Savage. Savage jumps The Giant in the ramp with a chair. The Giant gets the upper hand, and this match is basically thrown out before it can begin. Savage escapes a chokeslam with a kick to the nuts. He cuts off Jimmy Hart and takes away the chair Hart is holding, which he uses to beat interfering Dungeon members with before hitting The Giant and taking off. The Giant leaps over the top rope to the floor (!!!) and takes off after Savage. 


  • This was pretty amazing because they blew up their two hyped matches to do angle-heavy, character-building stuff, and it worked! They pulled it off nicely. Things felt chaotic, even from our future where this sort of thing is more common than it was in 1996. Neat show, and there was some solid wrestling mixed in there as well. 4.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.





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Show #50 -26 August 1996

"The one that really got a bit too out there on that end-of-hour-one/beginning-of-hour-two segment"

  • We start immediately with Billy Kidman and THA JOOOCY ONE Juventud Guerrera, the latter in his WCW debut, ready to wrestle in the ring. I love that Nitro sometimes starts in media res or has action about to start immediately. Anyway, this crowd doesn't care about either guy yet, which is a shame since they pull out a sunset flip powerbomb and a pescado and a top rope legdrop and all sorts of cool shit. Kidman stuffs a rana attempt with a powerbomb, in a reversal from his usual "turn powerbombs into ranas" spot.  But yes, this is a nice, fast-paced little showcase for both guys. Kidman hits a shooting star press, which only gets 2.9, and Juve drills an avalanche rana for three. THA JOOOCY ONE cuts a promo afterward, but mostly in Spanish. The crowd boos because I DON'T WANT TO PRESS ONE FOR SPANISH, WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PRESS ONE WHEN ENGLISH IS OUR NATIONAL LANGUAGE and Gene is basically like, "Speak a language we all understand, dummy" and cuts the post-match segment, which should not even have existed if they were going to do THA JOOOCY ONE like that. 


  • Last week (Show #49), Sting and Lex Luger barged their way into War Games. We see a recap of that. 


  • Scotty Riggs is hurt, I guess in kayfabe? Maybe not. I don't know. He's supposed to be out here with Marcus Bagwell, but he is not. Is this just a fuck-up on the part of the ring announcer, who did say that Bagwell was accompanied by Riggs, or are we officially teasing the American Males breakup? Bagwell teams with Jim Powers against Kevin Sullivan and Big Bubba. Aw, when the Dungeon music hit, I was hoping for the Faces of Fear, who are awesome. Powers is managed by Teddy Long now, which means he's a jobber. He has quite the exchange with Sullivan, though, and the babyfaces get off to a solid start. Then Bagwell pretty much begs to get powerbombed, and Bubba eventually obliges. The heel control segment is exactly long enough for Sullivan to tag in, hit the Tree of Woe, and tag back out. Powers gets a hot tag and is just beating everyone's asses, he's on fire, and he appears to get three on a crossbody. The babyfaces celebrate, but Nick Patrick is like NAH and decides that Bubba's shoulder was up, and the heels jump the faces and Bubba gets a pinfall. I really hate this Nick Patrick shit. Turn him already. Again, I mean. 


  • The Dungeon cuts a promo in the ring after the match. Bubba thinks he should be in all the main events. He's also as sick as I am of these fucking Glacier promos. Jimmy Hart agrees, too. Sullivan complains about Hulk Hogan a whole lot. Then he complains about Chris Benoit a whole lot. I. Don't. Care. Sullivan is trying to cast suspicion on Gene as a turncoat, I guess? This guy is dreadful at this point. Not enough is said about Kevin Sullivan booking himself on TV in 1996 to increasingly negative effect.


  • Sting and Luger are backstage. They talk smack about Benoit and Mongo, who want to test their mettle in a tag match. Sting is confused because he thought this whole War Games replacement thing was all settled. Dissension in the ranks! This is why WCW is going to get worked for the next three years or whatever. 


  • Mike Enos is Ready to fight here tonight. He's going to have an entertaining eight-minute TV match (probably) with Chavo Guerrero Jr. Chavo has really good young babyface fire and Enos does mean shit like hitting a fallaway slam on Chavo on the protective mats and toting Chavo over his shoulder up the steps so that he can dump him unceremoniously over the top rope and back in the ring. We cut to Konnan sitting at ringside, dressed like a cholo. In the ring, Enos has gone from a long backbreaker spot to doing a bunch of power moves to put Chavo away. He goes for a powerbomb, but Chavo breaks it up and lands on Enos's leg in the process before trying to get a submission on a reverse figure four. Enos pokes the ref in the eye before he can submit, and Dick Slater, who has been seconding his tag partner at ringside this whole time, comes in, saves Enos, and does a switcharoo with Enos that fails to work when Chavo gets a quick small package for the win. That was what I expected - entertaining and about eight minutes long. Chavo cuts a fiery babyface promo on DDP after the match and sounds like a doofus who yells too much. 


  • Mr. J.L. will test the resolve of the WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Misterio Jr. in the next match. Rey is so good at getting over with his work. His body language and movement is pretty great, too. He's like a tiny little superhero. We cut away from this match to watch Hogan, Hall, and Nash graffiti a Turner production truck. Cool, but maybe book a match I don't care about and then cut away from it instead. We come back to Lynn getting counted out after some cool shit that Misterio did, probably. He gets in the ring, and...we cut backstage, then back to the match again, where...we immediately take a commercial break. After the break, they're in the middle of a fun sequence that the crowd is interested in, but then we cut over to Dean Malenko watching the match from the ramp for a minute. There's maybe a bit too much going on in the middle of what should be a fun little TV match, I think. There's this long J.L. control segment that bleeds into the fireworks for the second hour. Why did Eric Bischoff decide to produce the segment like this? What a weird series of decisions. This is a title match, too, so all these cutaways and the fireworks that distract everyone really undercut the importance of the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan are announcing now and are focused on talking about the nWo shenanigans from earlier in the match, right up until Rey hits a springboard rana for the win. Ick, this was some awful television through no fault of the wrestlers in the ring. 


  • Steve McMichael, Chris Benoit, and the Horseladies are in the back to cut a promo. Mongo is all like, Yo, I changed my mind about letting y'all take my spot and I'm not here to give you material for your 1-900 number either, Gene. It's great. Benoit cuts a Keith Lee-like promo, in that he talks like he's the narrator for an Edgar Allan Poe poem instead of a regular person from his current decade. He sucks, is what I'm saying. 


  • We review the Hulk Hogan/Randy Savage beef that has been renewed after Hogan gave Savage a chairshot on Nitro a couple weeks back. We also review that Randy Savage is pissed at LE GIANT~ for choking at Hog Wild. Savage has beef with like everybody, man, everybody. Gene Okerlund interviews Savage back in the locker room. Savage has a shot at Hogan's championship and plans to finish what the WCW team starts at War Games. The cameraman silently is like KEEP TALKING, WE'RE STILL ROLLING, so Savage starts talking again until he finishes out the last forty-five seconds of the segment. It's not even that awkward. What a pro.


  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan is on this show every fucking week for some reason. Why? Why? You know, actually, he does consistently get at least some reaction from the crowd, but still. Eddy does, too, but he's not on every week. The Giant is hopefully going to murder him in fifteen seconds or so. Hoping and reality are two different things, though. Hacksaw works over the Giant for an extended period before the Giant puts a bearhug on Duggan, oh man, this sucks. But the crowd is pretty invested in it! I'm judging them harshly. Anyway, Ted DiBiase walks through the crowd and takes a seat in the front row, and as a guy who isn't a big fan of the Ringmaster's now-banished former manager, I'm oddly happy to see him in this moment. In the ring, Duggan is just allowed to hit the taped fist on the Giant twice before Jimmy Hart distracts Duggan long enough for the Giant to administer the chokeslam. DiBiase signals to the camera that he's the fourth man and that next week, there will be a fifth. Hurry up and let's get to the Syxxth member, please. The Giant cuts a rampway promo in which he tells Savage that he is the World Champ, er, I mean he will be again, not Savage, so there! The crowd chants U-S-A at the large Frenchman South Carolina native as he leaves.


  • Arn Anderson and Ric Flair replay an '80s dream matchup against the Rock 'n Roll Express. It's a solid tag match, as you'd expect, that ends when a distracted Pee-Wee Anderson misses Flair hitting an inverted atomic drop that causes Ricky Morton to stumble painfully into an Arn Anderson DDT for three. The winners cut a ringside post-match promo in which Arn tells the nWo that they won't be able to hit and run when they're locked in the cage during War Games. He also intimates that the nWo is not man enough to attack them face-to-face, which is a mistake, as we will see later. Flair swears that Hogan submitted to his Figure Four at the Clash. He generally goes into conniptions and says that the Horsemen have home-field advantage at Fall Brawl, the event being held in North Carolina. At ringside, DiBiase looks skeptical of this claim (or maybe he's just bloated) as we go to break. 


  • It is the Nitro debut of Chris Jericho, a guy who I think I'm just entirely sick of at this point. Back when I watched AEW briefly, for about the first four or five months that the promotion was on TNT, I think I'd just hit Jericho overload. I hated his whole heel act. There are probably just guys who you see for two-plus decades whom you are entirely sick of no matter how much they try to reinvent themselves for everyone. Jericho is that guy for me. His debut is against Alex Wright. This is a good TV match, obviously. Jericho has had negative-level athleticism for so long now that I almost forgot that he was a decent athlete back in his day. They have a nice semi-competitive tilt. Jericho hits a clothesline that Bisch describes as a Wall of Jericho. Not quite! Wright wipes out on a dive to the outside, and Jericho is so lion-hearted soft-hearted that he asks the ref for a no contest because he doesn't want to win by count-out instead. He also cuts a promo on Hulk Hogan and the nWo. Solid acting on Jericho's part to appear like a compassionate dude! 


  • The Steiner Brothers and the Bobby Eaton/Dave Taylor Blue Bloods are in the ring. Then the Blue Bloods are out of the ring because they're too busy disagreeing about who will start the match. Rick Steiner attacks them for wasting his time, dude, he's got places to be, Real Estate Steve is going to give him tips on getting into the housing market. The Steiners dominate and the Blue Bloods are not happy with one another and the Blue Bloods whiff on every double-team attempt they try, even the last one where it sure looks like Eaton hit the crossbody on Rick Steiner cleanly, but somehow gets pinned anyway. The Blue Bloods explode after the match, as Taylor and Eaton beat each other up. The Steiners commentate said explosion from their position at ringside where they're supposed to be giving an interview, hahaha, it's pretty funny. Then they cut a BONKERS promo where, look, I can't even explain all the crazy nonsensical shit they say. Rick cuts a promo about a tag title match at Halloween Havoc, and Scott tries to correct him by noting that it's actually at Fall Brawl, but he actually says Harlem Heat's name instead. Also, they both quote nursery rhymes. It's incredibly dumb and also the best thing to happen on this show by miles. 


  • The main event starts out hot: Sting, Luger, Mongo, and Benoit all scrap in the ring as soon as they meet up. It's pretty good stuff and feels intense. Mongo finally takes over in the ring with a Stun Gun, and we settle into a tag match with a bit of typical structure. The Horsemen work Luger over until he gets a hot tag, though the crowd is oddly subdued about the whole thing. Sting attempts to lock Benoit in the Scorpion Deathlock, but has to break it to dodge Mongo's clothesline. Meanwhile, Hogan shows up at ringside, where he immediately backs off of Mongo's threatening advance. Hogan continues to back up until he leads Mongo into position for Hall and Nash to jump the erstwhile Horseman. They spray paint Mongo, then fuck up Benoit and Sting and spray paint them. Luger is knocked out at ringside and therefore is spared a beating. Flair and Arn run in and beat down the nWo until Hogan and Nash spray them in their faces. The crowd flings their half-empty sodas and beers in the ring while the nWo poses. 


  • Hogan, Nash, and Hall then walk over to the commentary desk and take it over. Hall and Nash do some commentary over the whole thing while Hogan steals Johnny Carson's catchphrase and then his own Right Guard commercial catchphrase. Well, at least he yapped himself instead of someone else. The show ends with video of DiBiase promising the fifth man next week. 


  • The show-ending angle was flames and the Steiners were wacky, but this show was sort of irritating to sit through. I get that Bisch was trying to break the mold on how segments were typically packaged on a pro wrestling show, but mistakes were made. This viewer paid the price. 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Show #51 - 2 September 1996

"The one with the fifth man"

  • It's been nine days since I've been able to sit down and focus on a Nitro so that I could write about it. Much of my viewing is done a) sans notes or b) while I'm doing something else and thus, with shorter and less focused notes. I'm really trying to leave these Nitros as the only thing that I'm giving my attention to during this watch-through, though. That means nine days of thinking about Nitro without being able to sit down and write about Nitro since the last one that I re-watched.


  • I'm almost to 1997, though, sort of! That's something!


  • The screen cap for this Peacock-uploaded Nitro spoils the "Who is the fifth man?" mystery for viewers who are living through the Nitro experience for the first time (or any of us olds who have forgotten where we put our car keys, much less the specifics of the nWo angle from week to week). 


  • Larry Z. and Tony S. talk up War Games, Ted DiBiase, and the nWo shenanigans from last week. 


  • Diamond Dallas Page - ring-less, but not swag-less - matches up with Alex Wright. Wright starts out hot, and the crowd is into it! He hits a nice dropkick and dive over the top rope and is thoroughly fired up. This is because he's friends with the Guerreros and wants to avenge their treatment at the hands of DDP, according to Tony S. DDP ducks a diving clothesline to cheers from the half of the crowd who's not rooting for Wright. We get a tilt-a-whirl side slam and a sitout powerbomb after some cursory heel choking and stuff. The young dudes in the crowd are very into DDP killing Wright with sweet moves. Wright uses a lovely belly-to-belly suplex to take control, but Wright's attempt at some fancy shit in the corner gets stuffed with a Diamond Cutter for three. Yeah, fun little five-minute sprint there between two good workers. 


  • Nick Patrick cuts an interview with Gene Okerlund after the match about Patrick being a bad ref in that previous match. What? Patrick was fine. The commentary didn't see anything to put over as "bad reffing," either. I do like the so-far-unspoken idea that Patrick is surreptitiously helping DDP out under orders to prime him to join his old buddies Hall and Nash in the nWo, but otherwise, this ref angle is hot trash. It's going to go on and on and on, too, at least as I remember. 


  • Marcus Bagwell and Gene Okerlund hawk WCW-logo'd denim shirts. The shirts are fugly. 


  • Rob Parker and Sister Sherri are in the back with Okerlund. Parker bought Sherri a super-trashy vest and also some super-trashy chaps. He's taking Sherri home to his ranch and is therefore too busy to manage World Tag Team Champs Harlem Heat, who are in the ring to wrestle Greg Valentine and Buddy Valentino, the new team of Two of Hearts. OK, that's not really their team name. Anyway, Ted DiBiase walks down to a seat on the hard camera side. A whole lot of stuff is going on right now. Anyway, this is a non-competitive match which includes an awful close-up camera shot that catches Booker not even close to hitting Valentino on a kick that the latter takes a big bump for. But we get a Harlem Hangover! So yeah, that was worth watching solely for the finish. 


  • After the match, Okerlund interviews Harlem Heat. Stevie Ray calls the Nastys two "fat, beer-drinkin' suckas," so yeah, this was also worth it. Harlem Heat is a real bust/boom team on the mic and in the ring. The Nasty Boys jump Harlem Heat from behind in the middle of the interview and beat the shit out of them, concluding with a spike piledriver on Booker and some fisticuffs on Stevie Ray outside of the ring as they leave. Sure, that's a reasonable quickie heat-builder for their tag title match at Fall Brawl. 


  • Mike Tenay joins the desk to nerd out about this Dean Malenko/Chris Jericho matchup on tap. An ECW chant breaks out during the early exchange. Jericho's early flurry of offense gets closed off by a back suplex and a brainbuster from Malenko. Malenko slows thing down with an interminably boring headscissors, a favorite go-to of his, and at least this gives security a chance to come down to ringside and walk Ted DiBiase out of the event. You wanna focus on that, production truck, go ahead because this in-ring stuff has been headed nowhere for a couple minutes now. I don't need high-impact shit all match, but at least put some struggle and effort into your matwork. Oh great, now commentary is going to analyze how Nick Patrick has called this match. Wonderful. Malenko and Jericho have worked back up to standing and have sped up into a quick pace with lots of dives. Jericho hits a missile dropkick off the top after hitting a splash off the top, but only gets two. Jericho tries to hit a Tombstone, but it's reversed into a Malenko Tombstone for two. Jericho hits a German suplex and bridges for two, then rolls through a suplex attempt for three shortly after. Solid match except for the dead spot in the middle. 


  • Rey Misterio Jr./Super Calo hype vid. They're matching up at Fall Brawl, I think. Rey was an insane athlete, man. 


  • LE GEANT~, who may or may not have been spoiled as the fifth-man traitor already (THANKS PEACOCK), comes out to murk Brad Armstrong. Armstrong tries to wrestle the Giant, which is dumb because his idea of wrestling the Giant is using a super-ineffective waistlock instead of clipping a knee and wrapping it around a ringpost. The Giant does a boot choke and no one cares, so we cut back to a limo arriving. Exciting! Now back in the ring, it's rope burns and boot chokes and no one cares, still. Chokeslam this jobber and let's move on. Armstrong tries to slip out of a backdrop with a rollup, but it doesn't work. Next, after getting bealed across the ring and dumped outside, BA drops the Giant's neck across the ropes and hits a dropkick, which works for about two seconds until Armstrong runs right into the Giant's outstretched arm for a chokeslam. Three seconds later, and why couldn't we have done this two minutes ago and then showed the limo rolling up?


  • THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER. It's Hogan cutting a shitty promo. I zoned out pretty quickly, but I did hear Hogan call WCW World Crybaby Wrestling and say that it's important to change with the times, which is really ironic for him to suggest in the light of his current promo approach. He sprays nWo HH on the wall behind him, and this is really not the time to share your questionable political and historical views, Hogan. 


  • HOUR NUMBER TWOOOOOOO and hey, Mike Tenay's still at the desk with Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan. We all talk about the nWo together! Again! Video of last week's nWo prodction truck spray-paint-a-thon. Nash was wearing a shirt for Beauvais Gym in Tempe, Arizona during said spray-painting. This gym, the Phoenix New Times tells me in a piece from 1991, was known for one of its trainers putting homophobic stickers all over everything in the gym and the owner, a Mr. Beauvais, saying that while such stickers were inappropriate, everyone thought that the gym was gay as hell and that wasn't cool, man, that wasn't cool at all. I did not make this up. Kevin Nash is not bothered by the implications of wearing said shirt or by working out in a gym that potentially employs and attracts as customers gay Phoenicians and East Valley residents. Good for him! Though this is the East Valley I'm talking about, and a lot of those East Valley folks think everything and everyone is gay to a point that borders on grim obsession. But you didn't want to know about Kevin Nash's t-shirt! Then again, they made me relive all the nWo stuff from that last show in a long video package, so that's what you're gonna get. 


  • Ron Reis Studd has a great "big, hairy goon" look. He will probably beat the shit out of Randy Savage for a few minutes before eating a Savage Elbow tonight. We see some of said shit-beating before cutting back to Hall, Nash, and Hogan getting out of the limo and chasing the camera away. We come back to Savage getting a beating before he turns it around, hits a double-axehandle to the outside, slams Studd, and hits the Savage Elbow for three. Just as I predicted! Not that it takes much in the way of foresight to predict that. Savage cuts a promo in the after-match interview with Gene Okerlund in which he plans to beat Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc and also the Giant at Fall Brawl. He says that if you're not LIVIN' ON THE EDGE, YOU'RE TAKIN' UP TOO MUCH ROOM and calls the Giant MEAT (which momentarily confuses a twentysomething Shawn Stasiak watching at home) and the crowd is very into everything he's saying and doing. 


  • Sting and Lex Luger come to the ring. They're going to wrestle the Steiner Brothers, and I see a couple of quick breaks coming up on the timeline here, which means that fuckery is probably afoot. Indeed, we cut to the back, and the Four Horsemen trot out to the limo and check it. It's empty. Where's Poochy? Hogan? the nWo? I think I'm unfairly nWo-weary already because I lived through the whole thing. I thought this was cool as hell back in the day. Though then again, if I haven't seen this show in 25 years, and I'm already tired of the nWo, that also probably says quite a bit about how long that whole angle got dragged out. 


  • We're back after the break, where Rick Steiner and Luger lock up, and Steiner shoves Luger, who stumbles into referee Nick Patrick, who DQs Luger for touching him. Well, this got a REF, YOU SUCK chant going and some heat on Nick Patrick, but the crowd doesn't even seem to know the ref's name, so how good is this heat, really? 


  • Our main event is the Dungeon of Doom (Sullivan, Meng, Barbarian, and Bubba) vs. the Four Horsemen. We get a report on Nick Patrick being berated by Sting and Luger backstage, and I am so, so tired of Nick Patrick, heel referee. Mongo gets in the ring with Sullivan and has no clue what pro wrestling actually is, takes a forward bump off a clothesline that connects with his chest, and generally is terrible in there, bless him. This match exists to be a thing that happens in the arena while we at home watch all the backstage fuckery. Patrick runs away from Sting and Luger, who are distracted by the sight of Ted DiBiase standing next to the parked limo in back. DiBiase jumps in and it drives off. Sting and Luger steal commandeer a police car and chase the limo. The crowd doesn't know what's happening back there and doesn't care because Ric Flair is doing the whole Ric Flair routine, and they are eating it up. In the back, the cop whose car was jacked is calling it in. Arn is the guy-in-peril back in the arena. He gets beaten down as we go into our next break. 


  • We come back to Benoit trying whatever he can to liven up this lukewarm Kevin Sullivan feud. He plays guy-in-peril. Flair chokes guys from outside and jumps in to punch people and generally gets a nice reaction for doing stuff. This match is very much just here to kill time before the big show-closing angle, though, and I think it would feel like that even if I didn't have the luxury of hindsight. At least we get a Faces of Fear double-headbutt attempt! They miss, though. I wish we could have seen Meng and Barb kill some jobbers tonight. What an awesome tag team. Flair gets leverage help from Woman to get the pinfall on Kevin Sullivan via Figure Four. Benoit is yelling at Woman before she does so, I think because she didn't immediately help Flair? Whatever. The nWo show up and attack everyone while Woman and Benoit bicker. The Giant comes out for the save, ostensibly, but instead he chokeslams Barb and Meng and trash is thrown in the ring and the nWo spray-paints folks and Savage runs out and ends up eating a beating and spray-painting after initially getting in a few good licks with a chair. I wrote the last sentence without any breaths because the desk was breathless as everything in that sentence happened. The nWo chases the commentary team away from the desk and yells a lot over audio. I sort of tune it out, except that Hogan says there are SYXX nWo members, fuck yeah, get Sean Waltman on my TV right now! The Giant's all like, Man, Hogan called me up and asked me if I wanted to get paid, and I was like, fuck yeah, but he's interrupted by the Dungeon and Horsemen coming up to attack everyone, and this is actually pretty cool and is a very hot brawl. Things finally get broken up by officials, and the Giant goes back to talking until Hogan jumps in and seizes the rest of the big guy's mic time. Then, the nWo destroys the set and rolls out.


  • Hogan is really worn out with me. I honestly could never watch this guy again, ever, in any context, and be well pleased. Some of the tropes that WCW is pioneering here (stable beats down everyone in the ring, then runs off the commentary team and takes over) are also long in the tooth, but things would be better if Hall and Nash were doing more of the talking for the group. Oh, well. This show showed some early cracks in the nWo booking, specifically the laborious focus on a Nick Patrick heel turn that seems to be taking FOREVER and the constant cuts back to a limo idling somewhere in the parking lot. Some things are still wonderful even after the passage of time (DDP's offense, Harlem Heat talking shit and Booker doing Harlem Hangovers) and other things, less so. 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Show #52 - 9 September 1996

"The one with too much nWo already, oh man"

  • Larry Z. and Tony S. introduce the go-home show before Fall Brawl, a show I'll be stopping to watch. I still think it clever that WCW piggybacked off of DiBiase's Million Dollar Man gimmick as a way to explain who was bankrolling the nWo. I mean, most of that money is actually the state of Mississippi's and not DiBiase's, but the point remains the same.


  • Pat Tanaka comes out to GOLDBERG's music. No offense to Tanaka, but I'd rather watch Goldberg beat the shit out of Super Calo in a three-minute squash than the semi-competitive match we're getting instead. Calo's mask, and indeed his whole look, is absurd in the most pro wrestling (and therefore, best) of ways. The camera cuts to a bunch of pimply nerds in nWo shirts toting flyers. Back in the ring, the crowd is entertained by the dives and kicks and counters that Tanaka and Calo are performing, though the finish is weak - Calo falls on top of Tanaka to counter a superplex, but in a sort of awkward way so that I didn't know if it was meant to be a counter or what. 


  • Rick Steiner is being a slowpoke in the back with Gene Okerlund. Lex Luger calmly talks through Steiner's confused rants and then leaves, promising to be focused in their match later tonight. They really should have done a "Flowers for Algernon" storyline with ol' Rick Steiner at some point. 


  • nWo t-shirt ad. All proceeds will go to the Ric Flair retirement fund. Haha, Ric Flair retiring! How quaint. 


  • I guess Glacier showed up on WCW Pro, finally! Let's see, that was way back in Show #33 when I first saw a Glacier promo. 


  • It's not the Mounties the Quebecers the Amazing French Canadians: Jacques Rougeau and PCO. Vive le Québec, leur patrie et leur terre natale! They are carrying both a Canadian and a Quebec flag. I'm excited, an excitement that is only somewhat tempered by the fact that their opponents are the Nasty Boys. The AFC's sing O Canada, which is a top-tier national anthem, even if they sing it in French. I prefer the English version, sacrilege though that may be to someone from the province of Quebec. The pimply teens from before are passing out nWo flyers to the crowd while Rougeau hammers Sags with the Canadian flag. Ouellet is doing an awesome cannonball that we cut away from to see Larry Z. getting a flyer from one of the teens. It says basically You think we've been bad so far? We're fixing to be REALLY bad, muahahaha. Meanwhile, Rougeau is slamming Ouellet onto Sags in as many ways as possible, culminating in two top-rope assisted senton splashes (or is it a senton bomb when done off the top rope?). Sags basically is getting killed, but Knobbs grabs the Quebec flag, hits PCO with it, and Sags rolls on top for three. I don't know why the AFCs didn't get a longer run than they did, but they're a dope tag team, and it's a shame that they didn't stick around for long. 


  • The Nastys are interviewed post-match by Okerlund, who calls the AFCs "the Rougeau Brothers." The crowd is really into them for whatever reason. I'd get it if it were 1991 or even 1994, but by 1996, the Nastys are so tired, IMO. They confirm that they are WCW and Hogan doesn't matter to them and Knobbs drops a hard -er, but thankfully only on the word "sucka." 


  • We come back to Craig Pittman/Scott Norton in the ring, preparing to fight. Norton is wrestling Ice Train at Fall Brawl in a submission match that I have only just learned about right now this instant. A lot of the build for the undercards of these PPVs is still on WCWSN, I'd suppose. I wonder when that will shift. Anyway, Pittman is so much fun with his graps and his midsection headbutts, and this match should have been better and been given more time. It only lasts a couple minutes, though, even though the crowd is pretty into things, especially when they spill outside. Ice Train comes out and throws in the towel for Pittman even though the Sarge refused to give up to Norton's armbar. Why are they doing this to my boy Pittman? Train and Norton have a face-off before Norton just wanders away. Bleh.


  • Okerlund is backstage with Luger, Arn, and Flair. Flair and Arn want to know WHERE'S STING?! Mongo and Benoit come in all yell-y and stuff and apparently, no one trusts Sting even though he's like the most trustworthy dude in kayfabe ever. Luger is still backing Sting, of course, until he's fooled by a questionably-disguised dupe in six days a few minutes. I've said this before and will probably say it later, but Sting going all Crow and then collecting a stable of disaffected other wrestlers (Savage, DDP) to fight back against the nWo would have been great, and I'm bummed that they started to go that direction and then just turned Macho, even if that Macho turn made a lot of sense in the context of everything that Savage had been through. But I digress. 


  • The crowd is into waving around these nWo flyers. One benefit of Hulk Hogan being a dork heel who no one with any sense would like is that no one would really ever want to root for him, and by extension, the nWo. Hall, Nash, and Syxx doing the cool heel thing so well really was a long-term problem. It makes perfect sense why, by 1997, the crowd would score another one for the good guys so often.


  • Recap of DDP/Guerrero Family feud. Excited for the Chavo/DDP match at Fall Brawl.


  • Joe Gomez and his uber-stylish vest are out to face off with Juventud Guerrera. Mike Tenay joins the desk to talk more about the Juice and this match in general. The two have an early speedy exchange while Tenay explains Konnan's cholo style without using the word cholo. Straight-laced Tenay talking about the style that is "seen in East L.A. and many other major metropolitan areas"  is pretty amusing. Meanwhile, Gomez is basically a punching bag for Guerrera, who wins with a twisting springboard plancha. Nice show of athleticism and dominance for THA JOOOOOCY ONE. 


  • *sigh* Okerlund interviews Nick Patrick about his decision in the Steiners/Luger and Sting match last week. Patrick is all like it's a conspiracy against me and I'm still WCW and I bought that Rolex with my own money, I wasn't bribed and I'll sue you for slander. I DON'T CARE. We cut to the nWo sticking flyers on cars in the arena's parking lot like the true heels they are. DiBiase converses with an unseen person in the nWo limo. BRING ME SEAN WALTMAN


  • Rick Steiner is able to find his way to the ring without needing his bro to lead him there. Lex Luger is very serious as he flexes and stuff. Larry Z. thinks that Luger, not Savage, is the man to beat Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Solid prognostication there, Zbyszko! After a handshake, the two men lock up and Steiner wins a head-and-armlock exchange. Luger goes to power moves to win the second exchange. Steiner responds by wrestling Luger and trying to keep him on the mat. The desk does a great job of pointing out the logic of these strategies and reference Steiner's amateur wrestling skill. That was really refreshing and enhanced this feeling out process that is clearly planned to fill the rest of the first hour before we switch over to hour two.


  • A Steinerline and two-count ends the first hour; Eric Bischoff hits the mic with Tenay and Heenan for the start of hour two, which is when the match picks up a bit. The desk is more concerned with talking about Nick Patrick, though. Steiner gets two counts off a powerslam and a belly-to-belly. Luger blocks a belly-to-back, but another clothesline from Steiner gets two. Luger turns the tide with a clothesline of his own, and the crowd is definitively behind him and his comeback. Then, Nick Patrick comes out and calls Luger out to the back. We cut to the back, where DiBiase argues with what is a CLEAR recording of Sting's voice from a previous promo, like SUPER-OBVIOUS. The desk is fooled, though, and they're also fooled by the VERY OBVIOUSLY Fake Sting. I mean, not quite as obvious as Barry Windham Sting or Jeff Jarrett Sting, but come the fuck on. Anyway, Fake Sting and the rest of the nWo jump Luger when he comes outside to confront DiBiase. Luger tosses the limo's chauffeur, but everyone else takes off. It's raining, which does give the scene a very cool look, though Heenan really over does it when he says "It's DANGEROUS out there, it's lightning, it's thundering." It is just softly raining, man, come on. 


  • You know what this was effective at? Making me feel bad for Sting. This guy is so pure, and yet everyone is easily taken in by yet another fake Sting? Man, I'd be peacing out to the rafters if I were him, too. We recap all the nWo nonsense from last week with Tony Schiavone. Oh yeah, Sting stole a cop car. Maybe he's not here tonight because he's got to show up in court for, you know, stealing a cop car? They present Ted DiBiase being nWo as some sort of mystery solved. Uh, I thought that was established when he was sitting around signaling how many members the nWo would be adding to their ranks. Yo, the Giant trying to tell his story about meeting with Hogan and deciding to turn nWo, but getting cut off multiple times while doing so, is comedy. Anyway, the poor crowd has been sitting here this whole time and are getting antsy. Hell, I'm getting antsy. 


  • We come back...to some WCW guys digging through one of the nWo limos parked outside. Rick Steiner grabbed an umbrella before coming out to find DiBiase and the nWo, which genuinely got a chuckle out of me for some reason. 


  • Oh wow, some more wrestling! Billy Kidman and Rey Misterio Jr. are up next, as the Filthy Animals EXPLODE! The two gents shake hands before doing a lot of cool shit. There are ranas, there are dives, they fight around the ring, and Misterio is like the most crisp wrestler ever. What a joy to watch. The crowd was pretty dead by this point, but they like Misterio and just as I'm excited to see these two ramp things up, Misterio wins suddenly with a springboard, uh, a springboard something for three. That was only like two minutes, man, come the fuck on. 


  • Fuck yeah, the Faces of Fear are here! Public Enemy is out to face them, but this could be pretty good if PE takes a bunch of wild bumps and get kicked in the face a lot. The desk is depressed about Obviously Fake Sting. I sure hope FoF lighten up their nights with a top-rope double-headbutt! Meng and Barbarian jump PE before the bell and we go to the split-screen. Lots of brawling ensues. We get a semblance of a match after a couple of minutes. Braun the Leprechaun runs out and the desk barely sells it. Then, we cut to the Four Horsemen and Lex Luger in the back to have an interview. Aw, fuck off, man. This second hour has been awful. Arn cuts a decent promo about Sting being the only constant in WCW, and eventually, we go back to a split screen, but I think I've mentally checked out of this match and basically this show. 


  • I have been wondering how fair it would be to grade these Nitros maybe lower than I would have when I first watched them. The nWo stuff was excellent, mostly, in the moment. Even the misfires were fine. It was so new and fresh, and on first watching, I was just willing to follow the story where it went. Is it fair, now, to look back and say that this stuff sucked more often than I would have said in 1996? I think so; we spend our life re-evaluating things with time and experience. But I am sort of surprised how early in this angle I've started to tire of it. 


  • Anyway, Flair yells a lot and then we go back to the match and only the match, where there's some back and forth before Barb completely fucking wipes on a headbutt attempt through a table from the top rope to the floor, okay, I'm paying attention again! The crowd was into that wild bump, too. We get a moonsault through a table on Meng in the ring, but Meng and Barb are both like FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOUR TABLES and they barely sell that shit before Meng Tongan Death Grips Johnny Grunge for the win. The crowd is somewhat deflated, but I thought it was awesome. FoF doesn't give a fuck about your tables. 


  • The whole Dungeon comes out to interview with Okerlund after the match. Jimmy Hart threatens the Giant. Big Bubba threatens Glacier. Konnan joined the Dungeon, I guess? Probably happened on WCWSN or Pro. He shits on the nWo. Maxx is out here with the Dungeon, too. When the fuck did any of this happen? And why would Konnan join these lames? Kevin Sullivan is rambling while Maxx stands apart from the whole group and flexes to the crowd. This was an absurd post-match segment. What is happening? 


  • nWo promo. DiBiase and Hogan are bringing down the coolness of this whole group to some degree, but as I was discussing earlier, maybe the nWo needed a bit more of that. DiBiase at least tones it down and talks like a scumbag businessman. Hogan hams it up a bit too much. Hogan is good when he reels it in a bit, like I've before said. DiBiase is laying out the demands for what they want when the nWo wins War Games. The promo started out a bit too goofy, but it got better when Hogan talked less (and when he did talk by about halfway through, he didn't go too '80s). 


  • Good news: John Tenta is on his way out! Bad news: It's post-prime John Tenta. Randy Savage is his opponent. Let's see if we get "Savage goes nuts, uses a chair, and kills a guy in three minutes" or "Savage eats a lot of offense and then hits a Savage elbow out of nowhere for the finish in three minutes." 


  • It's kind of both. Tenta dominates, but Savage uses a chair and some punches to clear the way for two Savage Elbows. Before he can get the pinfall, Teddy Long runs out and calls for Savage to *sigh* run to the back. If I were in this crowd, I'd have no desire to come to the next Nitro in GA, even as hot as the company got. There are two limos again. One drives away again. They search the other limo, find spray paint, and tag the remaining limo. 


  • The desk rants about Sting and the nWo. I don't care. The crowd is booing a bit. Yeah, I feel you. The crowd cheers a bit, but as we find out, that's because the Horsemen come out. Arn puts on a headset and cuts a promo in which he calls the nWo discount Horsemen, basically. I mean, that's pretty good, but guys, you can't tell that was a fake fucking Sting? Ah well. Flair puts on a headset and yells a lot. 


  • This show had promise, but after that second match, things went straight downhill. What is innovative in its time is putrid years later. I think the worst part is that the matchups in the ring had lots of promise! Misterio Jr./Kidman should have got more than the 180 seconds that it did. FoF and PE deserved better. I get that we have a hot angle here, but it's no wonder that there was nWo burnout with some folks even before Starrcade '97. EWR would have hit the "you had the nWo in too many segments" warning on this show, and it would have been justified. 3 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Show #53 - 16 September 1996

"The one where previously, the preceding announcements had been paid for by the nWo, but NOT ANYMOOOOOOORE"

  • Tony S. and Larry Z. are at the tiny ringside desk to recap Fall Brawl, and specifically War Games. The latter was fine, but the former was not very good overall, IMO, not very good at all. I love that Tony only remembered just now that Sting was in Japan last Monday night, so it couldn't have been him attacking Luger outside the arena. Man, WCW look like a bunch of dolts, Lex Luger especially. I couldn't recognize that it wasn't my friend Sting at close range, and also I forgot that he was going to be on that Japan tour he'd been talking about with me for weeks. Man, what a mess WCW is kayfabe-wise. 


  • Juventud Guerrera and Rey Misterio Jr. kick off the show. Good choice there. They have a nice match. THA JOOOOOCY ONE hits a nice fallaway slam early on. That's a move that isn't used enough. More fallaway slams, more slingshot suplexes, please. The crowd loves Rey and pops for all his shit. They are really into the springboard rana to the outside that Rey hits going into break. I, too, am into it! The issue is that Juve is at this point a total JAG, as talented as he is, and thus doesn't really get a heel reaction. Most of the time, the crowd sits on their hands waiting for Rey to get back in control, no matter how slick the Juice's work is. Rey reverses a top-rope powerbomb into a rana to the absolute joy of the crowd, and it gets three. I'm so impressed at how his work is so good that, even though he's putrid on the mic at this point, he basically got himself over in-ring. He's got so much physical charisma that it compensates for his mic work. 


  • Tenay's in the locker room to interview Mongo, Debra, and Benoit. Mongo and Debra are mad at Luger for not believing in Sting, which, um, was the same exact way Mongo felt. Benoit, I swear to fuck, starts his promo like this: "It was prophesized that Sting and Luger would debilitate the team..." Total Keith Lee energy there, like an alien in a human skinsuit trying to reproduce spoken English. It's not even good, high-energy nonsense like the Ultimate Warrior would spit. It's almost worth pulling this Nitro up just to see Benoit be one of the worst mic workers in history for the forty-five seconds that he talks. Awful. I am once again reminded why I was never into this guy like most smark-minded fans. 


  • Glacier promo vid. He's going to be having a match with Scorpion Big Bubba to start his short WCW Nitro tenure. He explains how he became a badass ninja over some video of him kicking the air and swinging weapons around. 


  • Diamond Dallas Page vs. Ice Train is an intriguing matchup. As usual, DDP hits some really nice offense. I'll call out the top-rope shoulderblock and the swinging neckbreaker for this particular match. Ice Train has some nice offense too, especially his belly-to-belly suplex counter out of a Diamond Cutter attempt. He's also got a nice powerslam and a cool jackknife splash. Of course, we cut away to see some dorks in nWo t-shirts AND MISS THE FINISH OF THE MATCH, and when we come back, DDP has won because of some towel shenanigans with Teddy Long and Nick Patrick, oh, fuck you, WCW. The replay shows that DDP was in the full nelson, grabbed the towel that Teddy Long had around his neck, and tossed it into the ring, so Patrick called for the bell and gave the win to DDP. I hated the hell out of this. Missed finish for nWo shit + Teddy Long on the apron with the towel for no logical reason + Nick Patrick, shady ref. Truly awful television. 


  • They've been cutting back to the teen dorks with nWo shirts on, including in the middle of both matches so far tonight. This is some bad TV, and through no fault of the workers, who are very good as usual. 


  • Fuck yeah, it's Sean Waltman in the front row! Get him in the ring to wrestle some of these cruisers. I honestly don't remember Syxx's match quality during his relatively short WCW run, so I sure hope I will get to see him against Eddie, Chavo, Rey, Juve, Psicosis, and Malenko and not feel disappointed. Dude is one of my favorite workers. 


  • Super Calo is contending for Konnan's Mexican Heavyweight Championship, which is actually AAA's Americas Heavyweight Championship and which is a sweet-looking belt. This match is fine. Konnan's an awkward in-ring guy who moves like he's covered in glue or something, like really slowly. He's got great charisma, though, and I think his in-ring and on-the-mic abilities help cover for some of the awkwardness. I love that Calo tries to headscissors/rana Konnan off the top rope, and Konnan lands right on top of him. Konnan matches are good for at least one super-awkward looking spot.


  • Calo clearly feels like he has to do something to salvage that spot and hits a senton bomb outside and then a missile dropkick outside as well. It was all pretty sick, but got little response from the crowd. Konnan hit a cradle brainbuster that absolutely should get three whenever it's hit, but that got two. Anyway, this match goes on way too long, and a bunch of spots should have gotten three, but finally Konnan hits a sit-out crucifix bomb for three. I will never get enough of Jimmy Hart yelling VIVA LA RAZA, though. Never ever. 


  • Tenay interviews Waltman at ringside. I can't tell if Waltman is talking like this because he's been drinking, or if it's just his natural Minnesota drawl. He pretends to be bummed that the nWo won War Games. Hugh Morrus outro. I can't believe that this guy is going to be a midcard centerpiece who gets WAY too much TV time in a dumb gimmick by 2000-ish. 


  • Morrus heads to the ring to face off with Brad Armstrong after we come back from break. I should clarify that I think Morrus is perfectly acceptable in ring, and his finish is really good (especially considering that he's a bigger guy doing it), but that's not really the type of guy who I'd turn face and then have in a long chase for a secondary singles title. They have a decent-enough TV match that Armstrong wins with a reversal of Morrus's cocky pin attempt. Right after that, we go to HOUR NUMBER TWOOOOOO with Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan


  • Tenay interviews Randy Savage in the aisle after a long recap of all the stuff that's happened to Savage over the past few weeks. Savage cuts a cliche-ridden promo that's a faint facsimile of his old, awesome, nutty '80s promos; think the "Danger Zone" promo except not nearly as good. He then goes to the ring and stands there, at least until he glimpses his opponent for the night, Scott Norton. He meets Norton in the aisle and they clubber a bit before heading back to the ring. Savage is fired up and brawls real nice until he eats a Samoan drop. Norton hits some nice big dude offense, including a dangerous-looking powerbomb that Savage takes an awkward bump on. There's a bit of back-and-forth after the initial ended heel control segment before Randy Savage goes nutty on Norton with a chair and gets DQ'd. He whacked the hell out of Norton, actually. 


  • Bubba cuts a promo in the outro about how he's going to beat up Glacier after the break. He then fails to beat up Glacier after the break. We get a super-long entrance for Glacier. Man, somebody loved Paul W.S. Anderson's Mortal Kombat movie almost as much as I still do, what with the techno beats and the Sub-Zero ripoff homage. Bubba is irritated by the fake snow that's falling from the rafters and flummoxed by Glacier's sweet martial arts moves and agility. The problem is that Bubba's heeling is more over than anything Glacier does, especially when the former hits a spinebuster and then does a martial arts taunt that culminates in a crane kick pose. In retrospect, Bubba probably shouldn't have gotten any offense in, not even one move. Anyway, one Cryonic Kick later, and Bubba's done. Then, there's the whole Glacier outro. I get what they're trying to do here, and this looks different and in a vacuum is a cool way to showcase someone, but, man, it's just Coach Buzz Stern Glacier in the end. 


  • Sting walks out to the ring to a hero's welcome. It's a nice touch that the desk acts as though this is totally unexpected. It's also a nice touch that Sting turns his back on the hard camera (though Bischoff over-explains the symbolism of the act). Sting's emotionally hurt, as he should be, dammit! His rant about how he's supported Lex Luger for a fucking year and put up with his antics, and for that matter, he's put up with the rest of WCW, and yet he's got no love back is some REAL shit. He tells all the people who didn't believe in him to stick it, and lets everyone know that while he considers himself a free agent, he'll be around. In the rafters. Fucking dudes up with a baseball bat.




  • The desk speculates that Sting is willing to go nWo for the right paycheck AW COME ON MAN, DID YOU NOT LISTEN TO WHAT STING JUST SAID ABOUT NOT BELIEVING IN HIM AND SHIT


  • Chris Jericho and Marcus Bagwell are an impromptu tag team tonight. They'll be facing two of the Horsemen, maybe, assuming that any of them come to the ring because their music's been playing awhile. We cut backstage where Ric Flair and Arn Anderson are trying to convince a reluctant Liz to come to ringside. Woman, the sensible, hyper-competent one in this whole stable, wants to stay with Liz and let her talk out her problems, but Arn's basically like, eh, fuck it, leave her back here. This is why you lose, WCW; you really don't support your own. As the Horsemen make their way down the aisle, Sean Waltman stands up in the front row, holding a device in his hands, and presses a button. On cue, a bunch of nWo flyers float into the ring. Cue the nWo nerds from earlier marching out, holding signs about how shitty WCW is and how great the nWo is. I mean, these guys look much smarter than WCW in a way that's beginning to become problematic already. I didn't think it was so early that WCW looked totally hapless, but yeah, they look totally hapless. 


  • The tag match itself can't be any less than good TV wrestling by the very nature of the talent in the ring. Jericho shows some nice offense, hits a lovely missile dropkick, and makes the most of this spot, generally. The story is that the faces get the early control, Flair loses his shit, and (of course) Arn gets things under control with a spinebuster on Jericho. There's a control spot that is interrupted by the camera showing the nWo in the parking lot playing the recording of Sting that they fooled everyone but the viewers at home with last week. I don't like all the mid-match interruptions. Bagwell eventually seizes control of the match, but Woman surreptitiously rakes his eyes, and that gives Arn the chance to hit him with a DDT and Flair the opportunity to slap on the Figure Four for a three count (as Woman's helping Flair out with leverage). Man, she is so good at her manager/valet job in kayfabe and outside of it. 


  • Chris Benoit and Mongo McMichael come to the ring to face off with Lex Luger and Sting. Sting has left the building already. Let Luger solve his own damn problems for once, I agree. Luger's early flurry is erased by his lack of numbers, and he sells the back injury that he got in the previous night's War Games match when he was put in a Scorpion Deathlock/front facelock combo for the L. Anyway, dude takes a beating, but eventually gets Benoit in the Torture Rack. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the Horsemen invade the ring. He does get the win by DQ, but he also gets beat the fuck up. He's getting stomped out in the ring, and in the back, we get to see a view of the nWo watching the show in their limo. They're excited that most of WCW will be in Japan except for Hogan's Halloween Havoc opponent, Randy Savage. They're super-excited about their takeover of Nitro next week. I, on the other hand, feel trepidation. 


  • The Sting promo was great. Some of the wrestling was good! The show is trying stuff in an attempt to innovate, and it would all feel a lot more fresh if I hadn't lived through not only it, but years of shows that ape a lot of its characteristics. I'll tell you what I don't dig: Constant cuts to something going on backstage in the middle of matches. I get why you might do it once a night, maybe twice, but not more than that, and not every week. 3.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.


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Show #54 - 23 September 1996

"The one where it's nWo Nitro for an hour"

  • Tony S. and Larry Z. show off the nWo's USA Today ad for tonight's show. It's interesting that Tony indicates that much of the WCW crew being in Japan will offer an opportunity for the nWo to dominate. Uh, it's not like WCW being around has really done much to deter the nWo. Randy Savage is in the building, though! And it's not like he's been getting beaten up by the nWo every week or anything! 


  • Sorry, I have just been informed that Randy Savage has, in fact, been beaten up pretty much every week by the nWo. 


  • Kevin Sullivan and Konnan are a tag team this week. What a wacky tag team: The Cuban faux-cholo and the Boston mystic originally from the Gates of Fate. Their opponents are Brad Armstrong and Juventud Guerrera, and hell yeah, most of WCW being overseas means that we might just get some weirdo matchups this week! The Juice understands that this is an opener in which he must get the crowd excited and picks up the speed, leading into a plancha on Konnan. Konnan gets control with a package DDT, but Kevin Sullivan is disinterested in tagging in. It's obviously a gang initiation into the Dungeon, Konnan, which you'd know something about if you lived that East L.A. cholo lifestyle! The Taskmaster only tags in when Konnan is about to pin BA after a powerbomb, when he gets a pinfall off a quick double-stomp. Konnan is pissed off about doing all the work and gets in Sullivan's face, which leads to a beatdown from Sullivan and Bubba...yeah, it's an initiation, as Jimmy Hart tells the nearest cameraman. Konnan goes along with it because that's the way he grew up in the barrio, according to Mike Tenay. Yes, he said that exact thing. Hilarious.


  • We watch the nWo watching Nitro, which happened last week at the end of Nitro. After this, Tenay interviews Randy Savage in the locker room. He is very intense, and he has decided that he's the last hope for WCW. He says that he stuck around instead of going to Japan to beat up the whole nWo. He waxes philosophically upon the natures of fate and time, using the life of a goldfish as his metaphor. If you've ever heard Randy Savage cut a promo, you'll know that I didn't make that last bit up. 


  • Mike Enos, AKA Ready, is out to wrestle Chris Jericho. I can't imagine that this is anything less than solid, and my imagination is basically reflected in reality. Enos is a good mean heel, but he also busts out some nice stuff (belly-to-belly, flying clothesline from the apron to the floor). Jericho has solid offense and is reasonably good at selling damage, even though he is utterly miscast as a fiery babyface. Anyway, Enos hits Jericho with a vertical suplex onto the overturned steel steps, and it's sick and awesome and probably too much for a TV match like this, but whatever. Jericho probably needs a more explosive comeback since they're trying to establish him, though. He gets the win off a counter to a powerslam, but something more definitive is probably better for a new guy in WCW who they're obviously putting something behind. 


  • Goldberg Pat Tanaka heads to the ring. He and Glacier will kick each other in a martial-arts style for the next few minutes. It's short and sweet, and Tanaka hits a nice powerbomb. Unfortunately, he eats a Cryonic Kick for three shortly after that. Glacier spends a lot of time demonstrating the art of kick in the center of the ring after the match is over. 


  • Public Enemy is out, w/ table. There's an U.S. Olympian at ringside, a silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling (Atlanta 1996) named Matt Ghaffari. Larry Z. shits on him for not winning gold. Fuck that, how about winning gold with a BROKEN FREAKIN' NECK?! They're getting a shot at WCW Tag Team Champs Harlem Heat, who are A COUPLA O.G.s who are GONNA HURT SOMEBODY and IT'S ON LIKE THAT, BRUH. Harlem Heat shit-talking to the camera on their way down to the ring is pro wrestling in its purest form, folks. 


  • The match devolves into a disordered brawl for a split second before turning into a structured tag match. It was better as a brawl, but PE does a lot of double-team moves and Booker does his signature spot where he whiffs a kick and crotches himself on the ropes. That spot gets a reaction every time. This match isn't very good, but the crowd is basically into it, so it must be doing something right. I don't think a long Stevie Ray chinlock spot is that thing, but even then, the crowd claps for Johnny Grunge. We split-screen it to watch the nWo show up to the arena. Exciting. At least this is the first time tonight and not the third, like last week at this point in the show. In the ring, Rocco Rock eventually gets a hot tag, and this leads into a finish in which Booker T misses a Harlem Hangover and then small packages Rocco Rock, who shifts the small package, but not quite enough...or maybe so, as referee Nick Patrick first declares Harlem Heat the champs, but then switches it and declares Public Enemy the champs. More ref controversy: Just what this show needs! This reign won't last long since Harlem Heat are the ones to drop the gold to the Outsiders, but it's a nice little milestone for PE. 


  • Hour number TWOOOOOOOOOOOOO and we are handed over to Eric Bischoff, Mike Tenay, and Bobby Heenan. The Hollywood Blondes Greg Valentine comes out, and aw man, y'all at WCW gotta stop re-using your entrance music and getting me excited for a split second. Nothing against Pat Tanaka. I will say that I saw the first Greg Valentine match that I've ever loved, the bout with Ronnie Garvin at the 1990 Royal Rumble. I've seen it before, but didn't remember it in particular detail, and upon viewing it again, it is GREAT. Anyway, Valentine's opponent is Randy Savage in what would be quite the matchup in mid-'80s WWF. In mid-'90s WCW, it's merely inoffensive. Bischoff lets us know that Super Calo exploded his elbow in a dark match that I am grateful didn't make tape tonight. Savage gets a chair and beats holy hell out of Valentine after a short brawl, and of course, the Outsiders come to the ring and kill Savage. I love that Valentine just moseys on out, so unimportant that the nWo doesn't even care enough to give him a cursory beatdown. Elizabeth does her "awkward concern" thing in the aisle as the Outsiders and Syxx beat Savage down. Trash fills the ring, the Giant grabs a mic and introduces Hogan, etc.


  • This was entertaining in 1996, but yeah, I'm basically bored while this extended beatdown gets drawn out. The crowd is HOT though. Can't even be mad about this booking. Nash whips Savage with a Slim Jim, which is pretty stupid in a good way, but you know, legdrops, spray paint, trash, blah blah blah. 


  • Well, now it's nWo Nitro! So, thankfully we're done listening to Hogan in the ring, and Nash and Hall sit down at the desk. Tenay and Heenan escape, but Bischoff doesn't quite make it away in time. They introduce Virgil Vincent, the nWo's new head of security. Yeah, this right here is the moment of the genesis of the birth of McGillicutty the nWo being WAY too bloated. Even if it's logical that DiBiase would mend fences with him and bring him in, it's ultimately a legit jobber who joins this "exclusive" group.


  • We're back with the nWo at the desk. They got their own stock car. The best part of this is Bisch getting bullied, honestly. Virgil slaps him in the back of the head every thirty seconds, and it's endlessly funny to me. Kyle Petty is a name I've heard, and apparently he's the guy racing the nWo car. The Giant does ring announcements as Nash and Hall do PBP and color commentary, which is really the only way to make a Jim Powers/V.K.M. Wallstreet match palatable in any way. Hall straight up says that Powers is "juiced up and ready to go." Already here with the fuckery. Nash puts over Wallstreet's Syracuse athletics background and Bischoff's model looks. Aw, they leave the desk and we're stuck with DiBiase on commentary. You'd think DiBiase would warn his old partner from Money Inc., but nope. Hall and Nash go down and beat up Jim Powers, but I guess Wallstreet booked it ASAP while Powers was being beat up. Mark Curtis is basically not paid enough for this shit, so he leaves and Nick Patrick comes down to do the reffing instead. We get a split-screen of Hogan spray-painting the arena walls backstage. 


  • So, let's stop and talk about who fits in the nWo and who doesn't: Fits are Hall, Nash, and Syxx (obviously). Non-fits are HoganDiBiase, Vincent, and the Giant (who is a little too dorky for this whole thing, even if he can be funny). Also not fits are the Nasty Boys, who Hogan talks to in the back. He seems to be inviting them back to his hotel room to fuck invite them into the nWo. Trust me, I'd never lie to you, thanks for inviting me to your sister's wedding, it was lovely, the cheese plate was excellent: These are all things that Hogan says to entice the Nasty Boys to meet with him. 


  • We come back, and the crowd is standing. I'll credit them for doing something different here. It's got the live crowd in thrall. They're not super-loud, but they're definitely interested. Jim Duggan is down next. OK, let's get a ten-minute long beatdown on this douchebag going! I like that they didn't even bother to clear the ring of trash, which is a great visual for this sort of nWo-led chaos. Ron Studd is the opponent, at least until Hogan and Nash jump him in the aisle. The nWo music starts playing. Hall calls it "the soundtrack from your favorite adult movie," and I wonder: Is THIS why the rumor in the lunchroom and the school gym was that the nWo's theme music was ripped directly from a porno scene that some liars had claimed to have seen with their very own eyes using this music as its soundtrack? Or did someone use Rockhouse in a porno (unlicensed, I'd assume) shortly after this nWo started using it, and that's where the claim came from? Or was this merely an isolated claim at my middle school and then high school, but not elsewhere? Investigation is needed.


  • Oh yeah, the match. Syxx is now fighting Duggan, and Duggan no-sells his strikes and does some shitty clubbering. It's basically a squash match that Syxx only wins after the Giant grabs Duggan and chokeslams him on the protective mats outside, with Nick Patrick not bothering to pay attention to any of it. It was bullshit. For some reason, the truck accidentally hits the Giant's Dungeon music, if I heard correctly, and then stops it. Back to the desk, and Hogan is talking way too much. 


  • We go to break and come back to Fake Sting beating up some jobber. The crowd chants WE WANT STING and Bischoff says that the crowd "is not dumb enough...is not gullible enough to fall for a fake Sting." But you were, you idiot! You and the rest of WCW! No wonder these bums got their asses whipped by the nWo for months. Hogan talks some more at the desk after said match ends with a Fake Sting Scorpion Deathlock for the submission.


  • High Voltage head down to the ring looking like assholes and saying dumb fiery babyface shit into the camera. They're facing the Amazing French Canadians, maybe. Nope, they're facing Hall and Nash. The AFCs jet immediately after finishing their rendition of the Canadian National Anthem because they're not interested in eating a gang beatdown. Rock beats scissors, so Hall starts out. He does his typical stuff, which entertains me. A little paint-brushing, a nice clothesline. Nash gets in next and does his thing. This is an extended squash that goes through the final commercial break. It'd be more pleasant except that Hogan yammers his way through the whole thing. 


  • We watch Savage getting beaten down again, except with nWo commentary this time. It just happened fifty minutes ago! Anyway, the nWo celebrates at the desk and makes threats and promises before we close the show.


  • I will say this: This was a smart way to book a show that is missing almost all of your top non-nWo stars. I think it works in that context. That, plus me respecting its novelty for the time is probably going to give it a better score from me than if I'd seen it outside of context for the first time in 2022. 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.


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Show #55 - 30 September 1996

"The one where Liz is going through some troubles and we see a lot of the nWo's hotel suite and Nick Patrick is all up in the video and it's a bit much, I think"

  • Last I was able to do this, the nWo was beating down a valiant WCW babyface in the ring. I bet I'll be writing some variation of that sentence more often!


  • Speaking of valiant babyface, blah blah blah, Tony S. and Larry Z. remind us of the nWo takeover last week and the beatdowns and stuff. Larry drops a NEW WORLD ODOR. He is very clever. We cut over to Eric Bischoff at the desk used for hour two commentary so that he can talk about the greatness of the NWA WCW. He mentions Lou Thesz. I just watched a Lou Thesz match in Secret Santo, and as with the other two Thesz matches that I've seen, Thesz is GREAT. He works my kind of style and is so good at the little things. Bischoff is rallying the troops, and meanwhile, I'm thinking that I would love to build a time machine and use the royalties earned on licensing said machine to be the money mark for a show that has Thesz/Hitman as its main event. 


  • THA JOOOOOCY ONE is out with a masked dude named El Technico. Very clever. I guess they were going to call Scott Hall The Bad Guy at one point, though. Anyway, El Technico is Billy Kidman in a mask because Psicosis, Juve's original partner for tonight, got detained at the border IRL. Shoot detained, I guess I might say in the context of this most professional of wrestling shows. They're wrestling Public Enemy, who are tag champs after last week, for the gold. For someone who didn't care about the tag belts by late 1997, Bisch did a fine job of booking those titles in '95-'96. 


  • This is one of those weird matchups that is so novel that it's worth watching. Classic WCW midcard stuff, in other words. It's super-short, too. There are a couple of nice spots (PE turns Kidman's Technico's mask around so they can more efficiently fuck him up, for one) and they basically squash Technico once he tags in for a quick three.  Of course, Technico takes a senton bomb through a table just for emphasis post-match. 


  • Dean Malenko is super boring on the outro. He wants to be champ. Like, you could be more interesting in explaining your interests and goals, Deano. He threatens Alex Wright, his opponent for the night, with all the passion and spirit of a sedate hospital patient. 


  • Hacksaw tries to sell WCW t-shirts. Nope. 


  • Mongo, Benoit, and Debra are in the locker room. Tenay interviews them. Mongo and Debra are very entertaining on the microphone. Benoit talks directly to Rick Steiner, who he'll be wrestling tonight. I find it funny that he says that Steiner has a long list of accolades, but only mentions that he was WCW tag champ before. Uh, did we forget the NWA TV title saga so soon? 


  • Quantum Leap reboot ad from Peacock. I walked past live shooting of an episode in downtown Vancouver. They had the whole thing looking like an American town in the '50s. I'm intrigued. Time Tunnel, Sliders, Doorways, Quantum Leap: I'm here for all of them, baby. The thing about it is that I'm always scared to get invested in a show because it feels like all the shows I like get canceled. I didn't get too invested in the last one of these that NBC did that I was interested in (Timeless), and I think I saved myself a lot of first-world stress that way. 


  • nWo ad paid for by Billionaire Ted, per the stipulations of War Games. Hulk Hogan sits on a hotel suite sofa with future (shoot) attempted manslaughterer Nick Bollea on his lap. The rest of the nWo is there. Nash tells a joke that legitimately - wait - that shoot cracks the room up. He also is convinced that Debra McMichael is totally into him. Then, he sips some wine, as is his way. There's more jabbering on until the ad sort of randomly ends. 


  • Tony and Larry talk about how Debra might just be dating Nash behind Mongo's back since women are naturally untrustworthy because of the very unfortunate nature of their sex. I'd expect that from the heel commentator, but you're a face PBP man, Tony, damn. Meanwhile Dean Malenko and Alex Wright are here and that's good, because the time for Malenko's attempt at talk is over and now we get a nice wrestling match. We get a good feeling out period on the mat that leads to our first two-count. Wright does a solid job of working holds, but Malenko powers out of a headlock with a sweet back suplex and takes over into the break. 


  • We come back to Wright just starting his comeback, or so it seems until Malenko uses Wright's momentum against him to dump him outside.Tony talks about the tremendous amount of punishment that Wright took during the break, but since the commercial breaks on Peacock are so short, it doesn't seem like he'd have had enough time to really do that much damage. I would assume the original breaks were longer, and therefore the idea that Wright ate a lot of damage felt more realistic? I'm not faulting anyone for this; it's not like they could know anything about streaming ad break lengths sometimes being shorter. I digress. Wright starts his comeback, and they have a GREAT finishing sequence in which Wright dodges a Malenko crossbody off the top rope and rolls the stunned Malenko up for three. This is a nice finish not only because it pushes the "competition is so close, anyone can win these matches" idea that makes the cruisers' division so good, but that Wright won precisely because he controlled the pace, got Malenko to wrestle quickly rather than methodically, and capitalized on Malenko going up top to do a move he normally wouldn't do as a result of said pace quickening. I just wish there wasn't a break in this thing. It was a decent TV match as it stands, though the finish was really the best part.


  • WCWSN video of Randy Savage chin-checking Nick Patrick. Back at ringside, Tenay is supposed to interview Savage, but he doesn't come out when his music hits. INTRIGUE!


  • Eddy Guerrero's on the outro and shades Jim Powers by saying that he's got big muscles, but maybe that his brain is considerably tinier than the norm. He just says it in a nice way so that it doesn't sound like an insult. He didn't do that for no reason; they're wrestling a match tonight. 


  • Savage is definitely all up in this promo for Slim Jim and Halloween Havoc in which you can win a Slim Jim monster truck (pass) or a trip to Vegas with three of your friends (hell yeah). He tells corny jokes and calls Frankenstein's Creation a COOL DUDE and tells us how to enter the sweepstakes. They look at a Slim Jim/WCW/Havoc race car, and then Ric Flair shows up? And uh, he's ready to enter the sweepstakes? I thought these two hated each other. Like, in a "fight each other when they're in the room together way." This was like two or three minutes long and frankly was a fascinating piece of wrestling-based advertising. I couldn't find it in a quick Google Videos search, but if I do, I'll add it here for anyone who is interested. 


  • We're getting Powers/Guerrero now. The silver medalist in wrestling from last week, Matt Ghaffari, is here again this week. I assume WCW was going to sign him, but then didn't. A quick Wikipedia check tells me that this is true and also that he wrestled in ZERO-ONE back in the day, and oh man, that reminds me of when I first started to become cognizant of modern wrestling outside of the big two - the ECWA Super Eight competition, ZERO-ONE, Pro Wrestling NOAH - and while most of what I saw back then (on tapes friends had gathered and in magazines that I bought) has long since drifted out of my memory, I do appreciate that time of growth in knowledge as a pro wrestling fan. 


  • Oh yeah, the match! Eddy hits that great tope from the apron to the ring and has a cool little face-vs.-face match with Powers, who is a decent worker. They get fired up and tackle and punch each other, but commentary is more interested in referee Nick Patrick and his neck brace and the sweaty nerds with nWo signs marching around the arena. The real issue is that this match is probably a bit too long. Powers has a couple of nice moves, but he spends a lot of time on offense using headlocks and chinlocks, and that's too bad because this match got heated and they wrestled like it until Powers went to a chinlock spot that felt interminable. These guys brawl? It's fun. Eddy does offense or bumps off of Powers offense? It's fun. But they get moving again, and the match is a fun TV match again. Powers stuffs a Frog Splash attempt with a superplex for two and gets a rollup for two before Eddy hits a bridging German suplex and gets his own shoulders up for three. Uh-oh, Teddy Long and Powers think that his shoulders were up! Is Nick Patrick just incompetent or is he crooked? They are setting up a Teddy Long/Nick Patrick side feud here. Sweet Baby Lord Jesus, no. 


  • Another nWo announcement. We're in the hotel suite again. The Nastys show up to hear about that business proposal Hogan said that he had for them during last week's show. Brian Knobbs has no chill, which is why he's not going to be allowed in the group. Scott Hall calls the Nastys rednecks, which, I guess that's their word and they can say it. Jerry Sags does an Eric Bischoff imitation that should have moved up the planned nWo beatdown by an episode. Nash is too busy reminiscing upon the piña colada he had at Trader Vic's earlier that day to do much about it, though. I wonder how many of those he's had at the (now-defunct) Scottsdale Trader Vic's, which was a great place to go for breakfast if you could look past the expense. 


  • Back in the locker room, Tenay interviews Arn, Liz, and Woman. Arn lectures Liz on her feelings for Randy Savage. Woman lectures Liz next and would like to know where Liz's head is at, GURRRRL. She (Woman, that is) also wears a fantastic top. 


  • Hugh Morrus, who I am steeling myself to watch eat up a disproportionate amount of midcard focus in 2000, is wrestling Brad Armstrong next. Hour two starts about a minute into the contest. The match is fine. Morrus is a decent TV wrestler, and Armstrong is solid (though not nearly the worker that people often say that he is, IMO). Morrus wins with two No Laughing Matters. 


  • We cut to the back where Arn and Woman are still haranguing Liz. I don't think this "will Liz go back to Randy" stuff is as interesting as Bischoff apparently does. 


  • We come back from break and Bischoff takes off to find out about the nWo meeting or Randy Savage or whatever. Chris Jericho and Arn Anderson (with Woman) make up our next match. No Liz. Brain asks if Bischoff is actually headed to join the nWo. Boy oh boy, this guy loves to spoil all the future nWo membership turns, doesn't he? Jericho and Anderson are fine wrestlers, but I'm just waiting to see Woman interfere. Oh yeah, a few minutes in, it spills outside, and she just walks up and slaps the shit out of Jericho, followed by Arn punching him in the face. Woman is awesome. The match itself is solid, but Jericho is a fiery babyface with no crowd support, so his fiery babyface offense comes off kinda lame. The dude is trying his hardest, but he gets no love. Part of the problem is that there's just no way for the Horsemen to be heels. Indeed, Jericho whiffs on an Asai moonsault and gets DDT'd to a HUGE pop. I get what that match was supposed to do, but Arn's over as a face to this crowd, so it didn't work. 


  • Now we're watching Liz leave the arena. I'm sorry. If I'm the Horsemen, I say, fuck it, see ya Liz, and focus on the nWo. Bobby Heenan says this very thing right as I end that sentence, so yeah. I also don't find "What's Liz feeling right now?" to be very compelling as a plot focus.


  • But you know, it's more interesting than watching V.K. Wallstreet wrestle. Alas, I must do so. The good news is that he's wrestling Lex Luger, who will make this at least marginally entertaining with his unique brand of vocalized selling and the awesomeness of the Torture Rack. And yeah, we get a few AUGHs and a Torture Rack, and it's fine, just fine. I mean, Wallstreet gets in a boring shitty chinlock spot that makes the earlier Jim Powers chinlock spot feel like Dynamite and Tiger Mask running through offense, but you know, at least I got to read the Meltzer article on CM Punk blowing up AEW's spot while it happened. Anyway, has Rotundo always stunk? I feel like he has, but you know, I remember almost NOTHING about the U.S. Express because I was super-super-SUPER young when they were in their heyday, and I always seem to watch around them on '80s WWF rewatches. I should watch some U.S. Express matches. What are the best ones to check out?


  • Three of my favorite wrestling-affiliated people cut a promo on Rock 'n Roll Express in the outro: Jimmy Hart, Barbarian, and Meng. Jimmy talks, the other two guys growl. Man, when a legit rock 'n roll musician like Jimmy Hart declares that tonight will be the night that rock 'n roll dies, you know some serious shit's about to go down. 


  • Tony Schiavone apologizes to Sting for being too stupid to recognize him. They even painted his visage on WCW's stock car as a mea culpa! I think Sting would rather that you offer to put a down payment on a strip mall in Orlando that he can have for his portfolio, but okay. 


  • Faces of Fear! Rock 'n Roll Express! Aw, man, this is going to be good-ass TV pro wrestling, I bet. This is initially well-worked in a power vs. speed sort of mold. Ricky Morton realizes that punches aren't going to do it against Meng. He tries multiple sleepers, but that's a "no" as well. Double-teaming is the next resort, and it typically worked well for the Rock 'n Rolls in the '80s, but Barbarian kicks out of both dudes trying to hold his shoulders to the mat. Great, we've established that the FoF are beasts; now, it's time for the cool offense. 


  • Unfortunately, we get a break and then Morton trying to pull off a couple of rollup attempts. Not what I want! Give me awesome FoF offense! On cue, Meng hits a piledriver on Morton. It takes forever, but we finally get a Barb powerbomb and a nice big boot and Barb celebrates about the powerbomb, and this guy rules. I am certain I've said this before, but I think Barbarian should get more burn as a great tag guy. He was in FoF and Barb/Warlord, and both of those tag teams were fun as hell. I guess Barb doesn't have enough twenty-minute classics, but he's got a lot of fun TV stuff and the Outsiders match is legit awesome. This match is less awesome, though. I think it's just a bit too long, and the FoF's impact offense is meted out too slowly. FoF wins with a kick to the head, but then PE comes out to attack them. It goes poorly, and now the PE/FoF Halloween Havoc match is in (kayfabe) danger because Johnny Grunge got his ass straight WHOOPED and was still getting it whooped as we went out to break.


  • Back to Hogan's suite, and the Nastys are stuffing their faces and waiting for champagne to be delivered. Hogan notes that Nick likes racecars. I BET HE DOES. Some NASCAR dude is there. Maybe this is Kyle Petty? Yes, it is. He actually shits on WCW in a pretty funny way in this promo. Hogan cuts a less effective promo than Kyle Petty, damn. That's some shit. 


  • Mongo McMichael, Debra, and Hal E. Burton walk Chris Benoit down to the ring. Oh yeah, he's wrestling Rick Steiner. I wonder if Scott's in Japan. This is kind of an interesting matchup. I wonder if they just beat the shit out of each other. Oh man, Nick Patrick heels it up into the camera. NO ONE CARES. Maybe someone cares, actually. Not me. But someone. Oh yes, the match. They do just beat the shit out of each other. About 45 seconds in, Steiner dumps Benoit with a nasty release belly-to-back. They do some mat stuff, but you know, I just want to see these two stiff, somewhat-uncaring workers beat the crap out of each other. We get stiff clotheslines and such, but soon enough, Debra runs a distraction so that Mongo can smash the Halliburton over Rick's back; the three-count is academic after that. Mongo then chases off Patrick to cap it. That was impressive. 


  • The final segment takes us back to the hotel suite. Liz is there, sandwiched on the couch between LE GEANT~ and Hulk Hogan. The Giant tries to sell Liz on the potential for Hollywood helping break her into Hollywood. Vincent has a gift in his hands, but he is told to bug the fuck off for awhile until they can finish pitching Liz. They finally turn her loose, and then Savage runs up on Liz in the hallway and curses a lot at her and, uh, that was weird and unsettling. I guess she has a contract? And the contract is for alimony money? I genuinely don't remember any of this, even though I'm sure it's leading to Savage and Liz joining the nWo. Generally, this little side-angle feels like a total flop, but I could well have missed something important from a WCWSN that would connect the dots a bit better for me. 


  • Speaking of WCWSN stuff that I missed, Lord Steven William Regal won the TV Title off of Lex Luger a couple weeks before this show, and I am looking forward immensely to him trying to weasel his way out of timed title defenses on Nitro in the future. There are many other things I'm looking forward to on Nitro, but the Saga of Liz and Randy is not one of them. Nor is Nick Patrick, Heel Ref. I am trying to remember how I received this stuff at the time I first watched it, and honestly, the stuff in 1997 WWF (and even sort of in 1996 WWF) is more prominent in my memory. I know I watched Nitro during this era (usually on the replay, admittedly), and I definitely watched SN. I'm thinking that these little angles that branch out from the main nWo angle are, to me, unmemorable for a reason. One caveat: I know for sure that I didn't fuck with the Nick Patrick angle at the time and definitely do not now. Hmmm. The angles I remember fondly are mostly midcard angles: all the Eddy heel turn stuff and the Malenko/Jericho/Ciclope disguise stuff and Raven clobbering DDP with a stop sign on TRL. 


  • Anyway, I'm not really into the nWo at all right now. Too much talking, too many offshoot angles, not enough wrestling. I get that you want to keep them special and mostly have them wrestle on PPV to drive buys, but the ratio of wrestling to talking re: nWo segments is ROUGH. Anyway, this show was perfectly adequate for a weekly wrestling show. 3.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.


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Show #56 - 7 October 1996

"The one where there's an nWo beatdown at the end. No, not that one. No, not that one either. Maybe this was a bad descriptor"

  • I need to edit this thread title, as I am not on a treadmill or a bike while watching these anymore. I'm jogging through the neighborhood now, especially since the fall weather is coming in. Jogging and free weights are way less conducive to taking in a Nitro, so these Nitros are done the proper way - sitting on my ass. 


  • Recap of the Liz/Savage/nWo stuff. 


  • Recap of Harlem Heat winning the WCW Tag Team Championship back from Public Enemy on WCWSN. It paid off Johnny Grunge's leg injury from last week's Nitro, too! Excellent. 


  • Speaking of Public Enemy, they're re-matching Harlem Heat tonight, but the Heat are locked in for Halloween Havoc and a defense against the Outsiders. This is just a grudge match with (it looks like) clubbering and tables on deck. The Heat get a jobber entrance, which is some bullshit. PE is pissed and take early control, outmaneuvering Booker with a well-placed eye poke and some good double-team work, but soon Harlem Heat is a-clubberin'. Sherri talks shit to a prone Rocco, and he goes after her on the outside before he's cut off and we go into the break. 


  • Before we come back, Macho shills his own t-shirt. I actually wouldn't mind one of those black shirts with the MACHO MAN on front. It's not the lavender sunglasses t-shirt by a long-shot, but I like the simple black shirt/white lettering design. Hey, it worked well for a couple of other shirts from around this time. Then, we see Liz in the back looking for Savage. She can't find him in his dressing room. We finally get back to the ring, where the Heat are putting in work on Rocco. He eats a Booker side kick and a Sherri forearm to the chest. He gets a tag, but Nick Patrick doesn't see it, and he catches a beatdown in the wrong corner. The crowd is definitely behind PE here. 


  • Cut to the stands: The nWo is here. The crowd stops watching the match. Hall and Nash cut a promo on Harlem Heat as the match continues. Hall calls the Heat "a couple of hillbillies." Uh, they're from Houston. They talk some more shit and then leave. Booker finally misses a second-rope elbowdrop, which leads to a Rocco hot tag. PE takes control and hit a double-bulldog, but they are undone by Sherri running interference, which leads to Johnny Grunge getting chopblocked and half-Pillmanized for three. Rocco Rock ate a table bump in there as well. Nick Patrick was pretty deliberately commiserating with Sherri so this could all happen behind his back. 


  • We go to the parking lot. It's a limo, and out of the limo steps *sighs* Jeff Jarrett. Modern super-carny Jeff Jarrett is entertaining, to be sure. I would argue that after he left Memphis, though, he was hard to watch up until his face turn in TNA after his wife passed, where he showed an incredible amount of range as a wrestling dad just trying to keep the household together for his kids. Anyway, he's got stuff to say in the ring, as is his way of debuting during this period of pro wrestling.


  • Nick Patrick told Tony S. at WCWSN that he'll get the lawyers involved for Randy Savage popping him one. He wants a million dollar fine and a long suspension for Savage, and implies that he got a commentator fired for spreading lies about his allegiance. Who on WCW's commentary team left WCW around this time? I'm only halfway through my coffee, and I'm drawing a blank here. 


  • Diamond Dallas Page! I'm always glad to see this dude. He'll put together what is probably an interesting little TV match with Jim Powers. Uh-oh, Nick Patrick is the ref, and Teddy Long is Powers's second. Great. Yeah, they argue, Patrick has the timekeeper ring the bell just so he can start counting Teddy Long out ASAP, and getting a bunch of heat on a ref in multiple matches and segments is a terrible idea. We go split-screen so a DDP promo from earlier in the day can play in which he calls Eddy "burrito boy," as if we all don't love a good burrito regardless of ethnicity. Shoot, I want a breakfast burrito right now. I might make one, actually. I talked myself into it. In the ring, we get a match in which Jim Powers is fired up and gets a short burst of offense, only to get said offense reversed into a Diamond Cutter for three. At least Patrick didn't play directly into the ending. DDP kicks Teddy Long over post match and Nick Patrick doesn't do all that much to stop it. Well, that post-match jibber-jabber could have been worse. 


  • Macho Man comes out with some doofus in racing gear. Evil refs, nWo/Liz/Macho intrigue, and NASCAR bullshit - the unholy trinity of things about this era of Nitro that I do not like. Macho cuts a promo and there's a car involved, but I tuned out for a bit. Wait, hold on, Macho yells THEY HIT THE WALL and apparently the nWo car crashed and Macho gets super excited about the WCW Slim Jim Halloween Havoc car finishing in the top twelve and yells PRAISE THE BIG MACHO MAN IN THE SKY. OK, somehow Macho took those three things I hate and made them really fucking entertaining. This guy is the best, man. Liz comes out and asks to talk to Macho, but Macho's like No, the time for talking is over and stomps off, and the race car driver loyally stomps off after him. Haha, that was entertaining because of the combo of Randy Savage on a microphone and pictures of a stock car crash. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself.


  • Looks like the Faces of Fear are going to murder High Voltage again. This happened previously in Show #38 - 03 June 1996, and it was GREAT and I loved it. In this match, Meng no-sells a bunch of stuff, but the crowd is distracted by Benoit, Mongo, and Debra coming to watch the match. Apparently, we're getting FoF vs. Benoit and Mongo at Havoc. Oh yeah, I'm here for that. It might be good, it might be bad, but it won't be boring. Mongo yells at the ring that one of the wrestlers is a SONNY BONO WANNABE. Uh, what? Does Barbarian like skiing intro trees or engaging in California state politics? Mongo, you so crazy. In the ring, this is a bit more competitive than the match a few months ago, which makes sense in kayfabe since High Voltage have probably gotten better since then. It's less entertaining, though. Don't get me wrong; it's still a solid TV match and there are multiple powerbombs, so I'm satisfied in the end. 


  • A guy named Mike Wenner comes to the ring. He wrestled in the sixty-man battle royal at World War 3 in 1995, which is definitely his career highlight. Glacier is his opponent tonight. The crowd is actually into his whole routine! That's the first time I've seen a crowd be into that whole thing. Glacier is an interesting idea in that a) stealing from Mortal Kombat in the '90s isn't the worst idea, gimmick-wise and b) having someone do almost straight martial arts as a style with only a little pro wrestling mixed in is an interesting idea in terms of the stories of strategy you can tell in the ring. In practice a) this gimmick was about two years too late to work and b) his style doesn't work well for squashes; he gets a tiny BORING chant about two minutes in because of how he works so methodically. Anyway, a Cryonic Kick gets three. File this whole thing under good ideas that just didn't fit their time/needed some tweaking. 


  • Hour number two is here. Jeff Jarrett is actually going to wrestle tonight, not just talk, and he'll be opposing Hugh Morrus. On the desk, Eric Bischoff notes that Jarrett called him a few months ago to get an opportunity, but now he thinks that Jarrett is just using that promised opportunity to audition for the nWo. The Brain grills Bisch about where he took off to last week, and Bischoff deflects. Jarrett struts early on, and though Morrus gets some control, he whiffs on a top-rope elbow drop. Jarrett uses that mistake to wrap the Figure Four on Morrus for the submission victory. The crowd doesn't care very much. 


  • Tony Schiavone interviews Jarrett on the ramp post-match. Jarrett lectures Hulk Hogan about Hogan's claims that he built the wrestling business. He's a good guy because he respects history! Also, he steals Sting's "stick it" line. The crowd was chanting something during this impassioned speech, but it didn't seem like something supportive.


  • The desk talks about how Arn Anderson is mad about, like, everything going on right now, and yeah, I can see why. He's going to take his frustrations out on the Renegade, who is only somewhat Renegade-like. No face paint, no running to the ring, none of that. As usual, I'm most excited to see Woman. She talks strategy with Arn on the outside after an early Renegade burst, and this leads to Arn suckering in Renegade and taking control. Arn basically works chinlocks and chokes on the mat for a lot of this thing. It's what it is. The crowd is bored, though, and start chanting for the DDT. Arn responds by working an armlock. I'm fine with working a body part, but this isn't exactly compelling. Arn eats knees on a Vader Bomb attempt, which is to him what going to the top rope is for Ric Flair. The Renegade makes a comeback that people aren't really into, and then Arn hits the DDT and the crowd goes fucking NUTS because DDTs are awesome. Arn beats Renegade down with Woman's assistance after the match, and Lex Luger comes out to break it up. 


  • I get excited because I think that Lord Steven William Regal is out, but it's Squire Dave Taylor instead, which isn't bad, but isn't my ideal. Taylor bullies Jeeves, which in a class-based system like the UK's is perfectly fine, and if Jeeves can't pay his energy bills this winter, he should just freeze to death, that commoner. Lex Luger is back out to exact a measure of revenge against Regal's buddy Taylor. Regal's apparently defending the WCW Television Title in Japan and the UK to certify it as a true world's title. I don't know if that's a work or not and can't be bothered to check. We get another inset promo (I love inset promos!) from Luger, who details his intentions w/r/t Regal and Arn. Meanwhile, Taylor gets a bit of early control, but Luger pretty quickly overcomes him and locks him in the Torture Rack for the submission. We follow Luger back down the aisle, so who's jumping him? It's Arn, with a chair, in the aisle. Luger/Arn will be a hot feud if this crowd is any indication of things. 


  • Rick Steiner (w/ Scott Steiner) is facing off against Chris Benoit (w/Mongo McMichael and Debra McMichael) in a rematch from last week. This is just a natural matchup, style-wise. The two men brawl early on, and it's entertaining. It's wrestling throws that give Steiner the initial, edge, though, as a belly-to-belly gives Steiner control. There is a little story here, which is that Rick Steiner's lesser conditioning leaves spaces for Benoit to fight back, and Steiner needs to use another throw to regain control. That's how things work into the TV break. 


  • Coming back from break, that's pretty much how it works. Benoit gets control through an energetic flurry, but he struggles to keep it. This is an interesting match that is interrupted by footage of an nWo limo backing into the loading dock of the arena. How exciting. Hulk Hogan and the Giant pop out and Hogan keeps the Giant in the back while he heads off somewhere in the arena to "take care...of some business." Sure. I guess Randy Savage/Ric Flair is the main event, so I'm thinking that it won't actually happen. Meanwhile, the match currently in the ring is back and forth, and it's pretty good. Benoit hits a flying headbutt, but he delays the cover because headbutting Rick Steiner is an act of self-harm, and it gets 2.9. Steiner takes over from there and hits a top-rope bulldog, but only for 2.9. Scott Steiner is mad at Nick Patrick's count. Debra pops up on the apron to run interference, but Scott cuts off Mongo with the Halliburton and Rick grabs it, smacks both Horsemen, and gets three. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and the Nick Patrick stuff didn't really get in the way of things. 


  • Hogan, Ted DiBiase, and the Nastys talk business in the back while Flair and Savage enter the ring to wrestle. Well, Savage enters. Flair gets his ass whipped by Hall, Nash, the Giant, Syxx, and Vincent. The Giant takes Flair's U.S. Championship and then backs Elizabeth, who was valeting Flair, into the arena. Savage comes up with a chair to protect her, but Hogan jumps him from behind. It's time for an nWo beatdown! The Giant hauls Savage back to the ring and Hogan drags Elizabeth along to watch this beating. WCW is very incompetent as everyone backstage just lets it happen with no resistance. One of the big issues with this whole nWo angle is that heels should look vulnerable at some point, even monster heels. I don't think the nWo has looked vulnerable at all at any point during their run. It's been almost three months. Maybe you can count Sting nearly single-handedly winning War Games for WCW before walking out as one instance, I'd guess. But yeah, I'd re-book this to make Savage look like even a remote threat to do something positive against the nWo. 


  • Anyway, this is a really long, boring beatdown. Hall and Nash come out while Hogan grabs a mic. Hogan talks a lot. Syxx comes out in a Hollywood Hogan monster truck. Show over. That was BOOOOOOORING. 


  • At least there wasn't much nWo stuff. There was too much Nick Patrick stuff. They really should have restricted him to one match a night in storyline because he was under investigation or whatever so that they could do their "what's up with Nick Patrick" thing once a night and then focus on the wrestling for the rest of the matches. I'm not feeling the major angles, but I'm interested in Luger/Arn, Luger/Regal, DDP/Eddy, and FoF/Mongo and Benoit. They have pieces here that are good and interesting, and I hope they get a bit more focus in the weeks ahead. 3.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.


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Show #57 - 14 October 1996

"The one where Randy Savage realizes that this old heart of mine been broke a thousand times, each time you break away, I feel you're gonna stay"

  • We're two weeks out on Halloween Havoc, a show that I'm deeply interested in seeing. I only remember so much about it. Stop me if you've heard this before w/r/t nWo-era WCW: The undercard is coming together nicely, but the main event seems like it might be a slog. 


  • We recap last week's nWo beatdown. Larry Z. wants Liz to go away because she's got Savage sprung, and Zybszko thinks it's taking Savage's focus off of Hogan. OH THAT'S RIGHT, JUST BLAME THE WOMAN, LARRY. 


  • It's probably her fault, actually, in this case, though. Yeah. 


  • Dean Malenko (w/ Rey Misterio Jr.'s mask) comes down to the ring. OK, I missed that whole mask-jacking incident; must have been on SN or Pro. Dean's been struggling the past few weeks and falling back in the pack when it comes to potential opponents for the champ, so I'm not shocked that he did something drastic to center himself. Brad Armstrong will put up a spirited fight; he upset Malenko on WCWSN awhile back, I see in an inset. The crowd is bored enough by a perfectly fine opening feel-out process to start chanting for the nWo. Armstrong uses his speed and his above-average dropkicking abilities to get an early advantage. Malenko has to toe the line of good sportsmanship to claim the advantage for himself. Malenko locks in a low-struggle hold for a bit, but figures out that no one wants to see it and instead picks up the pace, which is also when Armstrong takes the advantage. Actually, Malenko is wrestling like a guy who is frustrated and not able to stick to his strategy after eating a few losses. He let up on the matwork and Armstrong immediately was able to win control standing up by using his speed. Malenko is just barely able to use his smarts and ability to reverse Armstrong into a rollup for three. Good TV match that was thoughtfully laid out. 


  • Video of the nWo rolling up in the limo and walking around outside the arena. Then video of a Jim Duggan/VK M. Wallstreet match on the WCWSN that occurred two days before this show. Did we need another one of those matches? Nick Patrick reverses a Duggan win when Duggan uses the tape. That makes Patrick the face! What the fuck? Duggan is a consistent cheater. Why would punishing him for cheating be a heel move? Oh God, now there's going to be another match between these two on Nitro. Wonderful. A U-S-A chant breaks out. This Memphis crowd, man. Anyway, I sat through this match for the purposes of watching every Nitro in full or I would have just skipped this thing. It's not that long, but man, it could have been shorter. Duggan wins with a clothesline. 


  • Hugh Morrus bought himself a new vest and is feeling fancy. Jim Powers needs to get himself a new manager because Teddy Long is kayfabe washed as a manager at this point. Tony references a Mr. Lawler helping them to promote this show in Memphis. Uh, wasn't dude back in WWF by this point? Strange. This is a match reffed by Nick Patrick, so I'm sure we'll get a continuation of this smoldering-hot Patrick/Long feud. This is a decent TV match with big dudes hitting fairly impactful clotheslines. Morrus's gimmick of screwing around and not taking things seriously almost does him in, but Patrick super-slow-counts a Powers pinfall, then another. It works to make the crowd shit on Patrick, so that's something. Powers reverses a Morrus charge, sending Morrus into Patrick, and he sells it enough to slow-count a Powers small package. You know what happens next; Morrus gains control and hits a No Laughing Matter for a properly-counted three. Teddy Long and Nick Patrick argue after the match about Patrick's shitty, selective counts and the legitimacy of Patrick's neck injury. You know my feelings on this whole thing already. 


  • The Rough and Ready/Faces of Fear match on the upcoming WCWSN that Tony shills sounds good. I did not find it in a quick search of Google's video tab, unfortunately. Anyway, Greg Valentine is going to wrestle an injured Lex Luger (kayfabe), who if you'll recall ate a bunch of chairshots from Arn Anderson on last week's Nitro. Luger's ribs are taped and offer a tantalizing target for Valentine...but Valentine focuses on the arm first. It's only a matter of time, though, before Valentine focuses on the ribs, and he does so to escape a Luger flurry. Luger sells the rib injury and can't even get Valentine up in a vertical suplex. We see Arn watching Luger wrestle backstage. Unfortunately, Valentine's back-and-rib focused offense is sort of boring, but I'm sort of glad it isn't too exciting since the nWo comes out into the crowd and the camera focuses on them for awhile. We go back and forth between dull Valentine control segment and the nWo standing around. Finally, Luger makes his fiery babyface comeback...and gets cut off, with Valentine trying to use the ropes for a pinfall. Mark Curtis isn't down with that, though, and Valentine pops up thinking he's won and is distracted enough by his false victory that even with a back injury, Luger finds it easy to Torture Rack him for a submission victory. I dig Luger's whole fiery babyface deal, but Valentine was boring as usual. 


  • Tony S. interviews Nick Patrick about his neck and his reffing. Patrick is mad that Savage isn't getting fined a million bucks for knocking him around. We see clips of an nWo match from WCWSN where a clearly masked Nick Patrick was the nWo ref. Patrick, of course, denies that it was him. I will simply remind you once more that Patrick already turned heel (and it was presented as such) back on Show #48 - 12 August 1996


  • Hour two starts with Mike Enos in the ring and Mike Tenay on commentary. Randy Savage is Enos's opponent, and Eric Bischoff is planning to interview him pre-match. Bisch wants to ask Savage questions, but Savage just wants to fight. He spends a couple of seconds challenging Hogan before trying to take off to the ring again. Bischoff just wants to talk about Elizabeth, which Savage is irritated about. WCW techs have rolled out a giant CRT television and it plays a video from Liz, who is all cried out and is like please forgive me and is all oh baby, give me one more chance (show you that I love you), won't you please let me back in your heart? Liz is actually perfectly fine in this video, but no one has any patience for it in the arena. Also, I don't have patience for it in my office. Savage is trying to process Liz's sentiments, and Bisch is like TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK RIGHT NOW ABOUT THAT VIDEO, DO IT, WE'RE ROLLING, WE'RE LIVE like a jackass. Savage just wanders off all sad and Bischoff won't leave him alone. Let this man think for awhile. Anyway, we're not getting our match, thanks a lot, Bischoff. Savage plays it like he's hyperventilating and needs to just jet, which he does. I mean, this was not a terrible segment in a vacuum, and if you're into this storyline, you'd like this. I am not into this storyline at all, but I accept that it was pretty well-executed by pro wrestling standards. 


  • I love that Heenan calls Bischoff out for being a dick back at the desk. Eddy Guerrero is going to do some wrestling tonight, and he's wrestling the Cheetah Kid, AKA the Artist Someday to Be Known as Prince Iaukea. Eddy cuts a fiery promo on DDP in the inset, and it's kinda mid, but you know what, he's learning on the job. The match is a quick little thing that I enjoy because there are headscissors and a dope Cheetah Kid powerbomb. The athleticism is of high quality and the movez are sweet. Eddy hits a top-rope rana and a Frog Splash for three. Cool!


  • It's our first Tony the Tiger Lee Marshall 1-800-COLLECT On the Road report. He's supposedly in Minneapolis. Great city. Oops, I mean: Minneapolis! It's GRRRRRRREAT!


  • Big Bubba and Jimmy Hart walk the aisle. Bubba talks some shit about his opponent tonight, Jeff Jarrett, as he does so. Jarrett comes out to a nice pop, as one would hope he'd do in Memphis. Haha, Bischoff admits that contrary to past belief, Jarrett can't actually sing very well. Well played. "Double J" chants. Jarrett struts. Crowd pops. Bubba heels. Bubba has a bit of control, but Jarrett takes over and winds up a huge punch. Jimmy Hart distracts Jarrett for long enough that Bubba takes control on the outside of the ring. The crowd loves the Jimmy Hart/Jeff Jarrett interactions outside, as anyone from Memphis or with knowledge of its programming might. This is a decent match because Bubba times his cutoffs really nicely so that when Jarrett finally overcomes him (and Hart at ringside), the crowd goes nuts. Bubba gets one more cutoff after Jarrett drills Hart, but his attempt to hammer Jarrett with Hart's megaphone goes haywire when Jarrett dropkicks said megaphone into Bubba's face for three. This was decent. They wrestled the right match for the situation and did a fine job of controlling the crowd via Bubba cutoffs until just the right moment. 


  • Tony S. interviews Jarrett in the aisle post-match. Jarrett calls himself an "impact player." In one way yes, but in another way, put some respect on Lance Storm's name. He's wrestling the Giant at Halloween Havoc, it seems. I'm not sure if that's for the United States Championship that the Giant yapped off of Ric Flair last week. Maybe? I think it might be? I'll find out a couple shows from now, I suppose. 


  • The Faces of Fear are probably going to murk someone. Ah, it won't be easy; they've drawn Harlem Heat as their opponents tonight. It's non-title; Harlem Heat won't put the belts on the line until they meet Hall and Nash at Havoc. They've been quite the fighting champs over the past few months, though, so I'll allow it. Booker threatens the nWo. This match immediately starts with clubbering, as it should. The crowd is distracted by Mongo McMichael, Chris Benoit, and Debra coming out into the aisle, though. The trio is again scouting a now somewhat-distracted Faces of Fear for Halloween Havoc. I'm into a lot of these PPV matchups, but (as I've mentioned before), missing the context for these feuds and why they're happening is a bummer. I don't have access to the full SNs and Worldwides from this time, so if there's feud-building there, I'm missing it. If not, the booking of these shows is really suffering from too much nWo/Savage/Liz focus. 


  • Booker and Stevie take over and clubber, kick, and generally beat up Barbarian for awhile. Barb turns it around with a huuuuuuge belly-to-belly off the top rope. Sherri yells at Meng, who does a stupid dance and then powerbombs the SHIT out of Booker. This is really fun stuff, but the crowd is super lame about it. Booker is in peril for awhile now, but as he tries to fight his way out of his predicament, Hall and Nash walk down through the crowd and to the railing. The match ends in a countout as all four men join together to confront the Outsiders. The commentary team of Chet Lemon and Black Snow EXPLODES! WCW is unified! Great! Let's re-start the match, though! Hall and Nash walk away as Bischoff wails for Sting to come back and give the business to the nWo. 


  • Bischoff is bummed about Savage being in emotional pain before Havoc. Like a true heel, he refuses to acknowledge his part in said pain. The whole nWo comes down, Liz in tow - she signed a movie/valet deal with the nWo last week, I guess? I don't know. I don't think it's been super-well-defined on these shows. Hogan cuts a promo on Savage that I tune out somewhat. He's excited about his 3 Ninjas movie - 3 Ninjas Kick Back, if I recall correctly. I'm not looking it up. The Nasty Boys come down wearing nWo shirts and holding contracts. It's not going to end well for them. Knobbs is bummed about the contract being entry level on the pay scale and says so; Hogan's like, WELL I AIN'T SIGN THIS CONTRACT YET ANYWAY, WHY YOU GOT THE SHIRTS ON and - get this - the Nastys get jumped by the rest of the nWo in the ring. Then Hogan goes back to ranting. Yo, let one of the good talkers in the group talk instead. Oh, look, on cue Hall, Nash, and Syxx run off the commentary desk. Hall's SHOOTIN' that Harlem Heat is actually from Texas, but again, living in Houston does not make one a country bumpkin. For some idiotic reason, we leave the desk to watch a replay of Randy Savage struggling with his feelings for Liz. I would have at least liked to hear where Hall, Nash, and Syxx were going to take their little promo. 


  • The general pattern of the past few weeks held for this show. The matches are generally good and at least one or two are really thoughtfully laid out; the undercard is interesting, though maybe the feud builds feel incomplete because I'm only watching Nitro; the main event/nWo stuff is not doing it for me at all. I'm most surprised about how boring and repetitive the nWo already feels. How much of that is because I'm watching these shows in 2022 and not in 1996 is up to you.  3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.


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Show #58 - 21 October 1996

"The one where Lex Luger shows that perseverance is a key attribute to personal success"

  • It's the go-home show for Halloween Havoc! Tony S. and Larry Z. talk about Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth's tiresome romantic entanglement. We watch Randy watch Liz on TV from last week. But I'm ready for some red-hot pro wrestling action!


  • Bobby Eaton is not English nobility anymore. He's back in the starred tights, just a good ol' boy from Alabama. His opponent, Chris Jericho, is a good ol' boy from Cold Florida Manitoba. Fake Sting and Syxx are in the crowd putting up an nWo banner; Tony tells me something I didn't remember, which is that Jericho is Syxx's opponent at Havoc. Hell yeah. I'm real excited for that. 


  • Anyway, you won't be surprised to note that these fellows have a solid TV match. There's a nice early competitive exchange and the pace is pretty quick, but not mindlessly so. Pockets in the crowd are more interested in looking up at Syxx and chanting for the nWo, unfortunately. Jericho has some solid offense, including that nice corner dropkick to Eaton on the apron, but the crowd is sort of a bummer, man. You can argue that the arm work is meaningless, but I think it's actually cool that Jericho works the arm early and then Eaton does it later with a bit of nasty vet feel, like "here's how you really cinch this in, kid." Eaton hits a top-rope kneedrop for two, and that's as close as he gets to victory because Jericho nails him with a gorgeous missile dropkick for three not too much later. Jericho struggling with Eaton might be a bad sign for him at Havoc, but then I recall a couple weeks back when Syxx got rolled by Hacksaw, so I think he'll be fine. 


  • Eaton magnanimously raises Jericho's arm after the match, and then Jericho cuts a corny face promo at ringside with Tony S. This guy is such a natural heel/Attitude-era face (which is nearly the same as heeling), and they need to turn him ASAP to get the most out of him. 


  • Hype video for Rey Misterio Jr. I can't believe they unmasked this dude. He looks like a real-life superhero with his wild offense and dope mask/tights combinations. Everything about him screams "money."


  • I forgot that Jimmy Graffiti (as a gimmick - I didn't forget about scumbag Jimmy Del Ray, RIP) existed until this very moment. Holy shit, the things you forget completely, storing them in the deepest recesses of your brain, until you are reminded of them. Dean Malenko comes to the ring with Rey's mask and bad intentions. This is a cool match. Del Ray is real good, and he hits a sick floatover DDT and an equally sick sitout powerbomb. These two just work their best match, go total WERKRAET in fact, and it's awesome. I notice that Graffiti's name is misspelled on his shirt - only one "F" on it - and will make a note as to whether or not someone fixes it in later appearances. Graffiti whiffs on a dropkick, and Malenko drills him on a belly-to-back, and yeah, this is some dope-ass wrestling. I love it. Larry Z. stops making stupid "New World Odor" references to actually enhance this match by noting that Graffiti's early domination was probably due to Malenko being a bit lax against the new undercard guy, but Malenko has since realized that he's in a fight and picked it up. They tumble outside, and when they get back inside, Graffiti misses a top-rope dropkick, and Malenko uses the opportunity to transition into a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory. That was fantastic stuff. 


  • Before Diamond Dallas Page heads to the ring, Tony S. shills the upcoming WCWSN. I note that the nWo's free-TV wrestling segments are now on SN, which is a smart way to keep that show relevant. DDP comes on down, and we get a supercut of Diamond Cutters in an inset as he walks the aisle. I will probably regret saying this later, but is someone booking this show exactly for my tastes? Oh look, someone is booking it for my tastes because it's Craig Pittman (w/ Teddy Long)! I don't want this show to ever end! Well, there's one downside, which is that Nick Patrick is the ref, so we're getting Patrick/Long feud continuation. Page jumps Pittman while Patrick spends twenty minutes checking Pittman's tights, and he uses that opportunity to dominate. Cool DDP Offense this match includes the DDPancake, which is a new one for him when it comes to Nitro matches. Anyway, Pittman gets the advantage outside the ring when DDP eats a post on his shoulder/arm, and Pittman does a bit more arm work and then puts on the Code Red. DDP submits, but Long is too busy arguing with Patrick in the corner for Patrick to call said submission. DDP gets a rope break and, ten seconds later, a Diamond Cutter on Pittman as Pittman makes the case to Patrick that he should have won. Pittman is understandably irritated with Long, who is irritated with Patrick, and if we could just excise this ref fuckery from a match between these two, it would be perfect. 


  • Nick Patrick then defends his actions and affiliations in a ringside interview with Tony Schiavone


  • Recap of Flair getting jumped by the nWo and Jarrett issuing threats to the Giant for their Halloween Havoc match. 


  • I like Big Ron Studd/Reese. Am I alone in this? He's not great, but he's got such a great goonish look and is in fun TV matches more than you'd expect. As he did for Chris Benoit a few weeks back, he serves as a practice Giant for Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett wants to strut, but Studd is in the way and Jarrett has to direct him to an alternate corner so that Jarrett can make like Jackie Fargo. Flair saunters down the aisle before the match starts, though, and are we not going to get our match? What we're getting is a strut-off between Jarrett and Flair. Flair shows nimble feet and hits a double-strut, but all I can think of is the last strut I saw him do in that retirement match against Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal. It was sad. I hope Flair took some time during this segment to reflect on the impermanence of being and the processes of aging as he strutted around the ring this night in 1996; I hope that he used that reflection to enjoy his relative youth and health and to really live this moment. On the other hand, Ric Flair and self-reflection don't seem to go together, so probably this didn't happen. 


  • We do get the match! Flair shakes Jarrett's hand and leaves the ring after the strut-off, and after an initial Jarrett flurry, Studd hits a slam and celebrates. Jarrett blocks a suplex, though, and hits one of his own before wrapping on the Figure Four for the submission victory. That was a solid segment. No complaints here. Jarrett cuts a promo at ringside with Tony S. after the match in which he loves on Flair and WCW and hates on the Giant and the nWo. Naitch comes on over and, though he finds it hard to admit that the nWo has out-Horseman'd the Horsemen, he does. He swears that they'll turn things around starting with the Havoc; he plans to be in Jarrett's corner for Havoc. Hey, good promo work! This has been an entertaining hour number one. Let's hope hour number two is as good.


  • Eric Bischoff welcomes us to the second hour of Nitro; he introduces Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan. They talk about Flair showing up at Havoc even with the injured shoulder that he got in the nWo attack (IIRC, he actually got it while in Japan on a tour) and about Savage's mental state. 
  • Holy shit, it's Roadblock! I LOVE THIS NITRO. Oh yeah, I think this is the CLASSIC (to me) Lex Luger match! I'm fucking stoked. If it is that match with that spot, this Nitro is getting the full five Stinger Splashes from me no matter what else happens. Luger comes down, tries to break down Roadblock, knocks him over the top rope with a clothesline, and generally celebrates while Roadblock goes ballistic outside. We get an inset promo in which Arn Anderson claims that Lex Luger quit at War Games and that he wants to hear Luger say those quittin' words again, but this time in response to Arn beating his ass at the Havoc. It's great. Luger hit a body slam during this inset promo, in which Arn said You're doing amazing stuff in that ring right now, but you're not doing it to me, so don't get a big head, so that was cool timing. Roadblock takes over for awhile, but Luger Hulks Lex Flexes Up. Then we get that AWESOME Torture Rack spot where he drops Roadblock twice before getting it on him the third time, and the crowd gets behind Luger and encourages him to try again before exploding when he does finally lock it on. It's fucking SWEET, just awesome television wrestling. 


  • Five Stinger Splashes, dear reader. 


  • Lee Marshall Road Report. He's in Phoenix. If I were in Phoenix, I'd get some creamy asparagus soup and a BLT Plus from Wildflower Bread Co. Ooh, and some chocolate chip cookies.


  • AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES hey, it's the American Males. We're getting another matchup between the Males and Harlem Heat. Booker is like WE'VE BEEN CHAMPS SIX TIMES AND CAN'T NOBODY DO NOTHIN' ABOUT IT, but I mean, someone did do something about it because you lost the gold five times. Including to the fucking American Males of all teams! Bischoff enjoys Nitro giving RAW that work in the ratings each week while we wait for the match to start. The match itself spans a commercial break and is sort of just there for the most part. The crowd wakes up when a) Booker bumps big off a Bagwell clothesline and b) the Outsiders stroll out. The Heat take over, but Bagwell hits a counter-dropkick on a diving Booker that leads to a tepid Scotty Riggs hot tag. Bagwell and Booker are clearly the stars in these teams. Riggs fights off Sherri and Parker on the apron, but turns right around into a Booker side kick for three. Commentary debates whether or not Patrick fucked up the count (he did not). It was time-filler, mostly, but not entirely unpleasant time-filler. 


  • The Fantastics are looking a little rough in their ring outfits. I mean, they're an awesome tag team, better than the Rock 'n Rolls, IMO, so I'm glad to see them, but y'all are old. Dress your age. I recall the Fantastics wrestling one another in the WWF's Light Heavyweight Championship tournament not long from now, and no one on WWF's commentary team even noted that the Fantastics were EXPLODING. Speaking of EXPLODING, the Faces of Fear might explode Bobby Fulton's face with a double-headbutt tonight. Fulton and Rogers are such a dope tag team, frfr. I think their double-team moves are the best of any tag team I can think of. Wait, Meng just backdropped Fulton into a Barbarian powerbomb. OK, the second-best of any tag team I can think of. Fulton eventually dodges an elbowdrop and gets a hot tag. The Fantastics hit a few double-team moves, culminating in a double-dropkick from the middle rope, but Barb catches Rogers on a dive and holds him in place for a Meng Mafia Kick that gets three. I liked this! Jimmy Hart talks shit about Debra McMichael into the camera. He's so mean. I'm hyped for Faces of Fear vs. Benoit/Mongo at Havoc.


  • Eric Bischoff is excited about surprises and upset about Randy Savage not showing up; he wants to look back at the Randy Savage/Liz shit again. We saw it already. Please stop. I don't care. 


  • Mr. J.L.'s opponent tonight is Fake Sting. Oh, an nWo match on the big show! I guess the ones filmed in black-and-white with Nick Patrick as their masked ref are only for WCWSN. The rest of the nWo come through the crowd to catch this match. Why would Craig Leathers agree to play Sting's music for Fake Sting? Traitor. I have decided that Craig Leathers is a secret nWo member. This is a squash, so let's talk about something that I think is important to note: Fake Sting > Fake Diesel > Fake Razor Ramon. Real Sting comes down the aisle dressed in black and beats up Fake Sting. Everyone on commentary's like OH STING IS DRESSED IN BLACK LIKE THE NWO because they are IDIOTS, do you not listen to anything Sting says, like ever?! The nWo gets in the ring and pitches Sting on membership. Haha, Hall insinuates that they got the idea for Fake Sting from Jim Ross introducing Fake Razor and Fake Diesel. Quality stuff. Sting calls Fake Sting a cheap imitation, and Hall hilariously agrees. Then, Sting heads outs without a yes or a no to the nWo's membership invitation. Bischoff plans to track Sting own and get a more definitive answer, but then apparently he gets news that Randy Savage has shown up and is thus diverted.


  • Bisch splits, leaving Tenay and Heenan at the desk to commentate tonight's main event, Chris Benoit vs. Randy Savage. Savage does come out, but he looks ABSURD, dressed like a stripper cosplaying as a cowboy mourning the loss of his trusty steed. Bischoff catches him in the aisle and shows him another video of Hogan on the set of this 3 Ninjas movie. I correct myself from last review: This film is 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, which also starred Loni Anderson and Jim Varney. I wish Varney would cut a promo on this video. Anyway, Hogan and the Giant use some set time to coach Elizabeth on how to act properly in sad, sob-filled videos. Ooh, a set-up! Liz is actually like Please leave me alone, I really just want to live my life, but Hogan is a creepy weirdo and will not stop badgering her. Or is she acting now? Is she pretending to pretend not to want to cut that video? These are questions that I would ponder if I gave two fucks about any of this. 


  • The video ends. Savage does a Kubrick stare after seeing it and then wanders off, but then he decides that he has something to say. He comments upon the nature of relationships, whether in friendship, romance, or business, and wonders at how delicate they are. Then he threatens to literally murder Hulk Hogan. It was actually pretty good stuff! He walks off to make his shift at the Pony Express. No, not the defunct mail carrier company. The ladies' club in a strip mall in Destin. 


  • This show was mostly awesome, but Luger/Roadblock gets a million, billion snowflakes for being pro wrestling as fuck. 5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.






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Show #59 - 28 October 1996

"The one where Sting decides that ominously hanging out in the rafters is the cool thing to do"

  • Larry Z. rocks the Superman shield on his t-shirt. Tony S. runs through the results at Halloween Havoc. A despairing wail went out from this room as I watched the end of that show; Roddy Piper came out and talked and talked and talked and literally talked through the end of the show. It all sucked. Hogan responded like You have a vagina Piper LOL and that means you're a woman and women are weak LOL, so now we're getting a feud between the two. Zbyszko is wrong about a lot of things and is trying to make fetch New World Odor a thing, but he's right about Piper's movies being a lot better than Hogan's. 


  • It's Lord Steven William Regal, our TV Champ! He's going to defend against THA JOOOOOOOCY ONE Juventud Guerrera, which seems like it's a surefire good match on deck. Before we start the match, we see Sting all in black, chilling in some seats in the catwalk. Regal is distracted by the nWo nerds walking around with signs and gets caught napping for an armdrag reversal. But things go downhill from here because Syxx walks out in the crowd and cuts a promo about the nWo taking over Nitro; he also pitches Sting on membership. I just wanted to watch a good match, man. And it is good (though very short), once it gets the focus! Regal is excellent at wrestling high-flyers because he knows how to leverage his size and weight advantage and create a real contrast between the styles. Regal dodges a 720, celebrates, and locks on the Regal Stretch for a submission. Look, I'm not asking much from WCW when they let Regal work five- and ten-minute TV matches, but I do ask that we let this man do his magic without distractions. 


  • Schiavone supposed to catch up with Regal at ringside, but instead he talks about Sting chilling up it the catwalk, and Sting's irritated by the attention, so he leaves. Then we go into a break. Regal just wanted to get into the back and get a post-match cup of tea, I guess. 


  • We get the Faces of Fear shilling Nitro t-shirts, but not in English. I hope they took liberties with matching what they actually said with what was in those subtitles.


  • Regal never did come back to talk. We see stills of Arn taking a stretcher job after Lex Luger whipped his ass at Havoc. Now we see in real time Diamond Dallas Page, reunited with his Battlebowl ring and prepared to do in-ring combat with Mike Enos tonight. DDP acts like a dick, and the crowd is into it. Enos gives DDP a receipt for a slap and clotheslines him to the floor. The crowd is very much into that! These two just do cool shit in their short time tonight, including a sitout powerbomb and a diving clothesline from the top rope and an overhead belly-to-belly and a reverse neckbreaker and a stun gun and of course a Diamond Cutter, the latter of which DDP hits by slipping out of a running powerslam.  Hall and Nash watch the match from a stairway, rooting for their old pal from the Diamond Exchange/Vegas Connection


  • Stills from the truly awesome Rey Misterio Jr./Dean Malenko Havoc match, which Malenko was able to win (along with the Cruiserweight Championship) after significant struggle. Malenko's going to wrestle Jim Powers, who unwisely brings Teddy Long out with him even though Nick Patrick is the referee *sigh*. A.C. Green is in the crowd since this is a Phoenix show. Back on Show #14 - 4th December 1995, Booker T crapped on Green and looked like a future star doing it. Tonight, Green's wearing an nWo shirt and trying to beef up his shit talking if he becomes a target again. Powers is a pretty fun fiery babyface, and he does a good job of working a power vs. precision match with Malenko. Psicosis shows up to scout Malenko, the latter of whom struggles to contain a game Powers. Of course, the end is never in doubt; Powers again looks really good, but can't quite put Malenko away, and when Powers finally hits a powerslam that should get three, Nick Patrick wanders over to jaw at Long. Malenko recovers and finagles a pinfall a few seconds later, and the WHITE HOT Teddy Long/Nick Patrick feud rumbles on!


  • Stills from the Dungeon of Doom/Horsemen conflagration at Havoc. No one actually burned. But passions ran hot!


  • Ricky Morton is alone tonight and will have to draw on his well of veteran caginess knowledge in order to upset Jeff Jarrett. They work a pretty good match in which these two cagey vets try to outwit one another. The loser is clearly going to be the one who makes the first mistake, and it's Morton who runs into a shinbreaker that leads to a Figure Four submission win for Jarrett. The Giant comes out to the stairwell to talk shit at Jarrett and the Horsemen. Jarrett retorts at ringside in an interview with Tony S. He gets a WRAP IT UP, B sign from the cameraman, but blathers on anyway, Roddy Piper style. It sucks. 


  • DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE. There's not really much danger in fighting these jobbers. Anchorage's finest come on down to the ring, and they're followed by - YESSSSSS - the Amazing French Canadians. WITH OPEN HEARTS WE SEE THEE RISE THE TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE. Actually, I would assume these fellas are Bloc Quebecois, but I guess not. This match goes into the second hour, and it goes hard as High Voltage does a bunch of fired-up babyface stuff to start. Jacques helps PCO gain control by tripping Kaos (I think), and then the AFCs do cool double-team shit because they are awesome. The enlightened Phoenicians in the crowd start a U-S-A chant, and it powers High Voltage to victory! No, wait, I was mistaken; it leads to the AFCs setting up for the assisted top-rope cannonball before the Nasty Boys come over the railing and beat up High Voltage just because. 


  • Oh great, now the Nastys grab a mic.  Now these two hangers-on claim that they don't need to belong, so they don't care about not being allowed into the nWo, but also they notice that Sting and Piper are also loners whom maybe they could philosophically align with? Knobbs is hurt, so hurt by Hogan's betrayal, and he tries to cover it up with bluster instead of just sitting with his discomfort. We mercifully make it to a break. 


  • Jimmy Graffiti's name is still misspelled on his gear. Rey Misterio Jr.'s wearing a dope mask with a jewelled crown on it. Misterio's already ahead on points as far as I'm concerned. Graffiti jumps Misterio at the bell, hits a sitout powerbomb on Rey, and generally looks awesome for a second straight week. They both cut a pace, but Misterio's quickness is far too much for Graffiti, who ends up being a base for awesome Misterio offense in the first three or four minutes of the match. Graffiti uses power to start his control segment in the middle of the match, but Misterio does a bit of over-elaborate, fake-looking offense before hitting a rana into a rollup for three. Post-match, Rey tells the camera that he's hurt by losing the gold and wants to get it back. That's an honest admission to make, Rey. Knobbs could learn something from you. 


  • Lee Marshall (whose name is also misspelled each week) calls in from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I'd pop on over to Ontario and get some breakfast at Cora and Italian pasta from Bulk Barn if I were him. 


  • Now A.C. Green is getting into it with Nick Patrick. It's as scintillating as it sounds. Eddy Guerrero, kayfabe injured from the beating DDP gave him at Havoc, limps out! He's wrestling a wrapped-up, injured (kayfabe) Chris Benoit. Benoit is accompanied by Woman and Woman's magical top, which I am pretty sure helped to accelerate my ongoing leap into puberty at the time. Well, technically, it's not the top itself that accelerated my leap...you know, I'm just going to settle down. Mongo and Debra stroll on down early to watch Benoit's back. We get an inset promo from Jimmy Hart and Kevin Sullivan about their actions at Havoc. Because both guys in the ring are selling injuries, they work a bit slower and more raggedly, which makes perfect sense. I think the issue is that I'm waiting for the tainted finish that I'm sure is coming. A.C. Green tries to out-talk Mongo at ringside, which, come on, that's a mismatch like Hakeem posting up Kevin Johnson, and Green is KJ in this metaphor. 


  • Anyway, this jibber-jabber at ringside is fine with me, because this is a slow match with an interminable Benoit segment in which he sinks in an abdominal stretch a couple times with minimal struggle on either side. Eddy has a nice comeback, but Mongo stabs him in the ribs with the Halliburton so that Benoit can roll over and get three. On commentary, Bisch is focused on booking Green/Mongo and the nWo's demands and basically everything but this match. It was sort of a black hole in the middle of this show.


  • Awesome, a Nick Patrick interview! Patrick's attorney is with him, and he's a real Jerry McDevitt-like shark! He insults Tony S., the interviewer, and really overdoes his praise of Patrick, as a good heel's lawyer should. He's no Clarence Mason, but he's okay. The lawyer claims that Jericho injured Nick Patrick in the Syxx match at Havoc, and Jericho comes down to retort. The lawyer insinuates that Jericho is a hotheaded jerk, which, um, okay, fair point. Teddy Long comes down and impugns homeless people for no reason in his angry rant against Patrick. Yo, this segment is ass. The outro music plays while everyone is still talking, and I long to be advertised to. 


  • The ad is for an L&O mega-crossover special. Sure, whatever. I'll take it. 


  • Booker T and Sister Sherri walk down. Booker's smack-talk into the camera is a bit dispirited, but that happens when you're not champ anymore. He's looking to pull the upset against Lex Luger. Colonel Parker tries to smooth his transgressions as co-manager of Harlem Heat over in an inset promo. It's probably not going to work. Luger can't hold Booker up for a press slam and hits a weak inverted atomic drop instead, but even though his muscles are apparently more for show than go, he still gets a huge pop after clotheslining Book over the top rope. OK, enough A.C. Green cutaways...though Booker talking smack to him before eating an elbow is good. Does Booker remember the last time Green was at ringside? He should channel some of that energy, but Luger pretty much controls the match into a break and then out of it. Booker does hit an Axe Kick, but it's not leveled up yet and only gets two. From there, Luger basically takes right back over and racks Booker for a submissi--nope, Sting stands in a stairwell in the crowd and stares daggers at Luger. Luger leaves the ring to confront Sting and Booker goes to the pay windah! Cool! Sting is like, Nah, I don't wanna talk to you, bruh, I'm still heated and leaves. Luger chases. Booker wins, though, that's the most important thing. 


  • Oh no, video of Roddy Piper jabbering at Havoc. Piper goes on and on and fucking on. He sucks. Even better, Hogan comes out to talk after the video!  Hogan pretends to be contrite, but then he basically says that Piper is a woman and that's bad. Let me say a good thing about this stuff: It's contained to one segment that I can half-watch. Let's keep it that way. I cannot imagine being hyped for Hogan/Piper in 1996. I can honestly and happily say that I did not give a fuck about this feud then, so it's not hindsight on my part. I was way more into Austin/Hart and Sid murdering fools at the time, to the point that RAW's main event segments pretty much always got my non-Nielsen watch on Monday nights. I will say that WCW's crowd was into it, so Bisch wasn't wrong to book it. I just think it's complete trash. Oh yeah, Hogan's response is typical goofy heel delusional shit. 


  • This was a decent enough show brought down by Patrick/Long/Jericho and Hogan/Piper stuff. I wish we could just somehow isolate the Hogan/Piper-verse a bit better, though. Like, we could give one of them a special belt, and they could trade it back and forth on PPV. 3.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.




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Show #60 - 4 November 1996

"The one where the Hogan/Piper-verse is already a bit too prominent in these shows for me"

  • Sting's chilling in the rafters as the show begins. Ted DiBiase and the Giant are standing in the crowd, as confused by this as Tony S. and Larry Z. are. Hey, they're allowed to be at the nice desk off the rampway and not at that rickety wooden table at ringside. How nice! The WCW Ladies Championship tournament starts this evening. Here's what else starts: Eric Bischoff's (ill-fated, IMO) heel turn, as I recall it happening as a part of the Hogan/Piper buildup. Larry Z. compares the nWo to OPEC. We get it, you read the newspaper.


  • Brad Armstrong and Marcus Bagwell are in the opener. Scotty Riggs seconds Bagwell at ringside. I'm surprised at how receptive the crowd is to this opener between two lukewarm babyfaces. Bagwell gets them to do the American Males overhead clap! How?! We go into a break, and when we come back, Bagwell slaps the shit out of Armstrong in a moment of heelery. The crowd EXPLODES. Armstrong fucks Bagwell's world up, culminating in a clothesline that takes Bagwell over the ropes. The crowd goes NUTS. Fuck, man, Grand Rapids is here for some hot pro wrestling action! Bagwell takes control and returns the favor with a clothesline, and Armstrong takes a nice bump over the ropes. I am excited for the rest of this show if this crowd is going to be hyped like this all night. Armstrong lands a tornado DDT for 2.9, but eats a wicked rib-breaker shortly after. Armstrong fights his way back, but falls to a really nice-looking crossbody for three after a rope run. Take a bow, Grand Rapids; I think your energy got these dudes in the ring to work a little harder and put on a wonderful opening match. 


  • Diamond Dallas Page and Ice Train should be no worse than good. They really fucked up by breaking Fire & Ice up so quickly. Oh no, Teddy Long is here as Train's manager. I can guess the finish of this match right now. Tony S. recalls Hall and Nash's cheerleading for DDP last week. They're here again to do it this week; they've also somehow made sure that nWo ref Nick Patrick is in position to both help DDP and screw Teddy Long yet again. This is a perfectly acceptable TV match that is somewhat marred by a bunch of angles going on at once that are really the focus. The "is DDP going to be recruited into the nWo" angle is perfectly fine, of course, but you know, the other angle. Well, whatever, we get a DDP top-rope clothesline and a pancake, so that's cool. He also hits a swinging neckbreaker, a move that isn't used enough in modern times, I think, maybe, at least the last time that I regularly watched modern wrestling. Ice Train kicks out so hard that DDP is launched onto Patrick, and yada yada yada...wait, I don't want to yada yada yada over Ice Train's dope powerslam and awesome sitout splash. Uh, after that, it's yada yada yada and DDP wins it after the Outsiders destroy Ice Train while Nick Patrick is indisposed. Train actually gets back up after taking a beating and looks like a beast, but he's too busy looking at his attackers to avoid a Diamond Cutter. Push Ice Train, idiots. He's a nice midcard piece or a nice member of a power tag team. Which, in fact, Bischoff had going and then ended to run a heatless breakup angle, as I recall. 


  • Tony S. insinuates that WCWSN gets better ratings than RAW as part of his SN shill. I wonder under what conditions this is a true statement. Scotty Riggs is back out with Marcus Bagwell as his second. Riggs is getting a Cruiserweight Championship shot against Dean Malenko for reasons that I cannot parse. Well, Riggs taking an L and then Bagwell dumping him is the meta-reason, but what championship committee overlooked Juice and Psicosis and Eddy and Rey and Jericho and Syxx for Scotty Riggs? Speaking of Syxx, he chills in the stands while Riggs and Malenko have a pacey opening exchange that Riggs scores a two-count from. Riggs eats post and I think they're going to work a shoulder injury, but Riggs just keeps going like nothing happened and takes control. He hits a couple of high-risk moves, but Malenko topples Riggs on another top-rope attempt. Bagwell is disgusted by this bum Riggs choking his opportunity away and tosses him back into the ring, where Malenko makes an easy cover on a still-hurt Riggs. Finally, the American Males are exploding!


  • Hector Guerrero is going to wrestle Chris Benoit, apparently to avenge Eddy's recent loss to Benoit by way of Halliburton, or at least that's what the commentary desk says. Chris Benoit is out. Also, so is Woman, and I swear she is working a Sue Ellen Mischke gimmick. That is just a bra! It's not a top! I suddenly have a craving for an O Henry bar. Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart cut an inset promo. He's thrilled about the chance to fight Benoit in a Baltimore bathroom again. OK. Hector comes out hot and does a cool springboard splash to Benoit on the outside; then, he works Benoit's still-wrapped shoulder. Haha, he just eats Benoit's punches and does whatever he wants. Like seriously, he absolutely beats Benoit's ass into a break. 


  • OK, Benoit actually gets a bit of offense as we come out of the break. He has an extended control spot with some decent offense mixed in there. That's how we go into hour two; Grand Rapids goes BANANA when the fireworks go off. Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay replace Larry Zbyszko at the desk. In the ring, Guerrero gets a couple of two-counts on reversals; at the desk, we're talking Hogan and Piper. Guerrero has some pretty cool offense, but this match is sort of losing me. Woman distracts Guerrero right after I make that observation, and Benoit gets a cheap win off a rollup. 


  • Recap of Jeff Jarrett beating Ricky Morton last week and his repartee with the Giant


  • Now Jarrett is talking in real time...and then Benoit talks...and then hooray, Mongo talks! Uh, he shouldn't use racial slurs about Vietnamese people while he talks, though. I mean, at least he didn't use it toward a Vietnamese person? That's something! The Horsemen who are actually in the group aren't a fan of Jarrett and make their point. Jarrett wants to involve himself in everything and talk shit about everyone and it's not good. He's getting the WRAP IT UP, B, or says he is - I think this one's worked - and then whines about Sting, who watches from the crowd. I feel like ol' Jarrett's getting a receipt for that one. 


  • Lee Marshall (name spelled correctly this week!) is in St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Petersburg, Russia at least has the Winter Palace. I'm sure an establishment by the name of the Winter Palace exists in St. Petersburg, too, but it's the name of a ratty strip club just off the highway. 


  • Reina Jubuki? It's Akira Hokuto in a mask. Oh no, it's Madusa. She is the WORST. Well, the worst is the desk saying "let's talk about why Nick Patrick is allowed to ref a match in an important tournament," actually (thanks, Schiavone). But Madusa is the second-worst. Chigusa Nagayo comes out, but in some gimmick called Zero that I don't know anything about. Sonny Onoo's out with her, quite uncomfortably playing up Asian stereotypes for a guy from Iowa or wherever. I don't like any of this nationalistic stuff surrounding Madusa's programs, so much so that I long for dusty-ass MILFdusa and her domestically-violent couple with Evan Karagias, which says something about everyone - me, Madusa, Bischoff and Russo - and with her presentation on her return to WCW. Anyway, Madusa wins after a decent  back-and-forth match and jaws at Onoo. NOPE. 


  • Let's see if Chris Jericho can drag Michael Wallstreet to something watchable! 


  • Not really, but it's not his fault. He tries, but there is a certain proportional amount of Wallstreet offense that kills the prospects for any match. I don't have the mathematics on this, but I can sense it, and we passed that amount of Wallstreet offense in this match. Jericho wins with a small package. 


  • Nick Patrick, Patrick's lawyer, and Chris Jericho all parlay at ringside, assisted by Mike Tenay holding the stick and directing the conversation. The lawyer brings the hockey-goon dads into this, unnecessarily. Teddy Long comes down! Exciting! The lawyer points out that Teddy Long was quite the shady ref himself! But despite the guilt by association and ad hominem tu quoque fallacies, Tenay and the desk declare Jericho and Teddy the winners of that pointless argument!


  • Booker and Luger have a return match from last week; Luger cuts an inset promo in which he begs for a minute of Sting's time to explain why he's a dope. OK, he didn't say the why I'm a dope part. He should have, though! Oh Luger, you dope, you dunce. Luger is on fire into a break, but Booker takes over with a Stun Gun. I love the height he gets on that axe kick, but he doesn't even go for the cover. Instead, he dumps Luger outside so Sherri can punt Luger's ribs. Booker does a lot of kicks and clubbers and generally has a nice control spot before he does his signature crotch bump off a whiffed kick that always gets a pop. Luger goes for the Torture Rack, but Booker blocks it by grabbing the ropes, and the desk does a nice job of selling that Booker has improved his ring awareness ("a year ago, he wouldn't have done that," says the Brain). Booker takes over and prepares to hit the Harlem Hangover, but Rob Parker comes out and hops on the apron. Booker walks over to throttle the colonel. He doesn't get much of a chance to do so because Luger schoolboys him for a quick three. Good match! 


  • We get to hear from Eric Bischoff, who is pretending to be in Portland signing a match between Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan. I mean that both in kayfabe and IRL. We see Bischoff's picture over a map of the region. Portland, Vancouver, and Kelso are all towns shown on this map, and they all have Burgerville franchises - Buddy Rose's favorite burger joint!


  • hrym5a09dse21.jpg?auto=webp&s=ba1dcca7cc


  • Burgerville is delicious, and I've said this many times elsewhere on this board, but I want to again offer up my love for Burgerville and my hopes that they'll open one up in Tukwila or Federal Way or Auburn or Tacoma, at least. I'll even go to Covington if it means I can get some Burgerville. COVINGTON.


  • *ahem*, so we have to sit through the Piper/Hogan Havoc gaga again. Ew, I forgot that Piper said I'M SHOOTIN' WITH THIS ONE, FOLKS. I still don't care. It takes forever. Then Hogan comes out and talks in real time. It sucks. The end.


  • This was a decent enough show brought down by Patrick/Long/Jericho and Hogan/Piper stuff. I wish we could just somehow isolate the Hogan/Piper-verse a bit better, though. Like, we could give one of them a special belt, and they could trade it back and forth on PPV. Hey, wait a minute, I felt like I wrote this exact paragraph before... 3.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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re: Jimmy Graffiti

he didn't wrestle under that name a ton, it was definitely a short-term thing in WCW. when i did my rewatch a couple of years ago, he caught my interest and i also noticed the inconsistency in how his name was spelled. 


10/21/96: Nitro vs. Dean Malenko
10/26/96: Saturday Night vs. Cheetah Kid [aka Prince Iaukea]
10/28/96: Nitro vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr.
11/02/96: Main Event vs. Chris Jericho
11/02/96: Saturday Night vs. Eddie Guerrero
12/09/96: Nitro vs. Dean Malenko
12/15/96: Worldwide vs. Chris Jericho [this one is missing from the graphic]
01/04/97: Saturday Night vs. Chris Jericho [he wrestles as "Jim Richland" in this, but i still count it as part of the Graffiti run]
01/04/97: Worldwide vs. Billy Kidman
01/11/97: Worldwide vs. Bobby Eaton

Edited by twiztor
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Show #61 - 11 November 1996

"The one where the show is good even though I am subjected for the first (but unfortunately not the last) time to a Roddy Piper music video"

  • We're LIVE from St. Petersburg as Tony S. and Larry Z. discuss Sting, Piper, and Hogan. The WCW Ladies Championship tournament continues, as does Jeff Jarrett being sort of a member of the Horsemen, but not really so much. We see last week's interview where Benoit and Mongo crap on Jarrett. Then, Jarrett craps on Sting. Then, Sting files that away for later. Jarrett's "defender of the old school" gimmick is awful and his promos are rambling garbage. 


  • Chris Benoit, seconded by Woman, opens up the night's matches against the overly-chatty Jarrett. Jimmy Hart and Kevin Sullivan cut an inset promo again about this shit-ass Benoit/Woman/Sullivan love triangle. It's a bummer. What's not a bummer is the crisp opening these two have, full of counter-moves that end when Benoit gets annoyed and just punches Jarrett in the face. As we go into break, Jarrett trips Benoit and struts. OK, this is promising. We come back into both guys losing their cool and punching the hell out of each other. This is a really interesting match in which Jarrett is a half-step ahead of Benoit and is able to counter his over-aggressiveness with smart wrestling moves. They have a pretty sweet match, actually, that ends when Jarrett suplexes Benoit over the top rope and struts around. Unfortunately for him, he's too busy strutting and not busy enough looking out for Sting. Sting walks into the ring, hits a Scorpion Death Drop on Jarrett as a receipt for last week's shit talking, and leaves. Woman pleads with Benoit to make amends with Jarrett considering that they don't know what's in Sting's head and thus need to collect sure-thing allies. As usual, she's the voice of reason and the master strategist. Benoit kinda half-heartedly does it, but there's obviously still tension between Jarrett and the non-Flair Horsemen. Good match with a non-finish that was cool, so I didn't mind it. 


  • Some nerd with a tape shows up and dumps said tape with Tony and Larry before being dragged off by Doug Dellinger. The note that comes along with the tape has some jibber-jabber about Piper and Hogan, blah blah blah. Then, we see a short video with Dr. James Andrews talking about Ric Flair's shoulder injury that he picked up in Japan (shoot)/a backstage attack by the nWo (kayfabe). Flair's out of in-ring action for three to four months. 


  • Malia Hosaka's name is misspelled (Malya) in the chyron. But man, I'm glad to see her! She's a pretty fun wrestler. Chigusa Nagayo comes out next in the Zero gimmick, which I forgot to look up some info about. She's the champ of GAEA, which I have never seen, but know of, and I'm pretty sure it's her own promotion. Zero does some monster shit, eats a bunch of blows to start, and basically dominates for awhile. Larry Z. keeps being confused about Zero's gender on commentary. Bang up job, Larry. Zero hits a crucifix bomb for three in what was a straight-up squash. 


  • Gene Okerlund interviews DDP and asks DDP about being recruited for the nWo by Hall and Nash. DDP's like I don't need any help, and yeah, I used to be friends with them, but it's not any big thing. Then Hall and Nash crash the interview and invite him on board directly. DDP's unhappy about being the eighth guy they decided to talk to, though. Where was my invite, he wants to know? Nash asserts that DDP was too close to Bischoff to invite him - he lives two doors down from you, says Nash - but DDP takes it as an affront, a dig that he got where he is by being friends with the boss, and is still upset that Hall and Nash waited so long to get at him. The interview ends at an impasse. Man, that was good TV! 


  • Rey Misterio Jr. is rocking a dope Spiderman mask/boots combo and wrestling Ciclope tonight. He's being scouted by Ultimo Dragon and Sonny Onoo at ringside. Rey hits a wild suicide dive on some legit Peter Parker shit and basically looks like the coolest wrestler ever in this match. Ciclope has his moments; he clotheslines Rey out of midair on a springboard and hits a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor. Sunset flip powerbombs should almost always be a finish, IMO. That's a move that needs protection. Dean Malenko comes out to the ramp to scout...and then Psicosis comes out behind Malenko to scout the scouters (and Misterio, I guess). Misterio makes a comeback, but gets caught on a flip and Tombstoned. He gets right back up, though, and catches Ciclope on the top rope just to headscissors them both out to the floor. Then he hits the springboard rana back in the ring for the win. Rey is entertaining as hell, but you didn't need me to tell you that. 


  • Hall, Nash, Syxx, a Cable Ace award, and some nWo nerd sign-holders are all in the aisle to talk about how great they are and about how the nWo has made TNT an important cable partner for so many providers. They come over to Larry and Tony. Hall calls Larry short, which I think legit triggered him, haha. Hall pimps the nWo website. Nash makes fun of Larry's shirt. He has a point. Nash has decided that they're going to run an nWo Nitro in a couple of weeks since the WCWSN segment isn't enough for them. They leave. It's no wonder that everyone likes them. Wait, Hall comes back to chuck a toothpick at Larry, then leaves again. Hahahahaha!


  • It's hour number two with Eric Bischoff, Mike Tenay, and Bobby Heenan at the nice desk with a logo and everything. Scott Norton kicks off hour number two against Lex Luger. The desk is confused about why Sting would attack Jarrett because they're idiots. Arn Anderson cuts an inset promo in which he threatens Lex Luger and plans bad things for Luger in their WW3 rematch. Sting watches on from the rafters. The match starts slow and sort of stays there, though I do enjoy Norton's very nice shoulderblock. Norton's clubbering is okay, but he's not as good at it as I feel like he should be. What makes good clubbering? I've never really thought about it. Good meaty forearm shots are a big part of it, at least for me. Norton's out here throwing chops when he should be hitting big forearms, that's definitely part of it. He should also hit more shoulderblocks, especially the leaping one where he really launches into it. Anyway, Luger makes a comeback and submits/racks Norton even with an injured arm.


  • We review Sting hitting the Scorpion Death Drop on Jarrett (to a massive pop, by the way). Then, Okerlund interviews Luger in the ring. He's upset about Sting not returning his calls and Arn continuing to be a thorn in his side. He pleads to Sting to stop the rafters business and help WCW, but he's not quite the best messenger for that message. 


  • Bischoff has been jabbering on about this stupid videotape, and I'm not excited about it because I remember exactly what it is. We check in with Lee Marshall, who is a week ahead of Nitro in Florence, South Carolina. 


  • I am a huge fan of the Amazing French Canadians, but unfortunately for them, they've hired a recently-unsuccessful Colonel Rob Parker as their manager. They're wrestling Harlem Heat, who have Sherri seconding them on the other side. Sherri and the Heat kicked Rob Parker out of their little consortium after a WCWSN match against the AFCs when everything blew up and Sherri gave Parker the fisticuffs...and then so did Stevie and Booker. The AFCs jump the Heat and do a lot of good double-team stuff. They're so good, and I think because their big run came in a total dead zone for the WWF, they are massively underappreciated. PCO in particular finally getting his flowers after this advanced-age indie run is well-deserved, and I'm glad it happened. We cut away from the match to see the Nasty Boys getting barred from the building, like I give a fuck. We go to split-screen to watch this shit when I'm trying to enjoy this tag match. Irritating. The match breaks down and Sherri yells I'LL KILL YOU at Parker; meanwhile, Ed Leslie stops the Nastys outside the arena to talk to them. Terrible segment because of the split-screen stuff. 


  • Konnan and Chris Jericho mix it up. They actually have some chemistry - did they work together in Mexico before this? - but it's ruined by the ongoing Nick Patrick saga. Well, maybe "ruins" is a bit much because it's a solid match. But you know how I feel about the Patrick stuff. I can at least be grateful that it took well into the second hour before it continued. Patrick slow-counts a few Jericho pinning combinations and then DQs Jericho after Konnan dropkicks Jericho into Patrick. Why is Heenan so distrusting of Sting, but fully bought into Patrick's neck being hurt? It doesn't make sense in this very narrow context where Heenan is a paranoid, reluctant face announcer who hates the nWo. 


  • We come back to Juventud Guerrera jumping Miguel Perez and then getting clotheslined when he's a bit too rambunctious in pressing his advantage. The Brain talks up Antonino Rocca and Miguel Perez Sr. as a tag team, which is cool. This is a showcase for the Juice to do some of his high-flying offense and also to take wild bumps, like a powerbomb to the mat that sounds terrible. Perez hits that awesome somersault plancha I've seen him do. Then Perez gets a win on a roll-up, which I did not expect! Interesting decision, especially since Perez is going to end up in Los Boricuas in a year and Juvy will actually be an important part of the Cruiserweight division.


  • Ted DiBiase is in the stands, where he invites Sting to the nWo. Not bloody likely.


  • The Faces of Fear are interested in murdering some chumps tonight. I am also interested in that. Said chumps for this evening: the AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES. The Males hit a couple double-team moves, and Bagwell holds his own against the FoF, which is impressive! Don't get me wrong, he gets kicked a bunch and Barb powerbombs the fuck out of him, but he still holds his own! Bisch compares Piper/Hogan to Holyfield/Tyson (I, I think) as Riggs tries to make a comeback. It's too bad that when Riggs shoots Barb in for a dropkick, Bagwell trips Barb as he's running the ropes. Riggs kisses air, lands on his head, and gets back up only to be kicked in the face by Meng for three. Jimmy Hart grabs a mic and excoriates the WCW Championship Committee for giving the Nastys a shot at the tag titles rather than the Faces of Fear. He demands a shot for his boys. He's got a point, as I and the desk agree upon. 


  • Oh great, now we get to watch Roddy Piper's "I'm Your Man" music video. I hit mute and put the Mariners game on the radio. Hey, I sat through the video. That should be enough. The Royals hit a two-run shot while I listen. I blame this Roddy Piper video for fucking up the vibe (added later - the M's never got out of the inning and choked up a nine-run lead. I DEFINITELY BLAME THIS MUSIC VIDEO). It ends, but then Bisch wants to study the tape like it's the Zapruder film. Fuck off. Then Hogan comes out to pose. Double fuck off. At least Liz comes out in a slutty Mrs. Claus outfit. All I have to salvage this segment is the male gaze. Then, admittedly like a good heel should, Hogan sends her out of the ring. Now I've got NOTHING. 


  • Limit Hogan and Nick Patrick, have more Hall and Nash, and advance the angles that I care about, and the show is better! I just wish we could stop the split-screen stuff and running angles during matches. I get that this is cutting edge for its time, but also its irritating for any time or era. 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.


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Show #62 - 18 November 1996

"The one where authority heel angles began their scourge on the professional wrestling world"

  • While I remember a lot of this awful Roddy Piper stuff, I don't remember much about WW3 1996, and I'm hyped for the sixty-man, multi-ring battle royal, as I am a mark for all battles of a royal nature. I'm trying to get there ASAP, and it's a lazy Sunday, so why not watch another Nitro while I make dinner?


  • The in media res approach to Nitro remains cool when used sparingly. We start with Hall and Nash wielding chairs and four men knocked out in the ring; it seems that they blew up a tag match. Nash and Hall come over to the desk, compliment Larry Z.'s jacket, and Nash quotes Goodfellas because he's well-read and -viewed. Nash is quite menacing toward Tony. Hall is unnecessarily bigoted toward the Polynesian masters of fucking shit up as he calls them out. On the other hand, it's nice that he's being a despicable heel rather than a cool one. It looks like the Nasty Boys and High Voltage got KO'd in the ring. Hall and Nash leave...and are jumped in the back by the Faces of Fear. Barb and Nash have a trash can battle. This shit is GREAT. They just fight through the fire exit as we cut to break. This was a fantastic segment. AWESOME stuff. 


  • We go back and watch the start of the chair massacre when the break is over. Tony's heated that Larry wouldn't protect him, and he pitches a fit and walks out. Larry's like FINE, I'LL DO YOUR JOB BITCH, ANYBODY CAN DO IT ANYFUCKINWAY CUZ IT'S SO EASY and then La Parka comes out and we are officially at a Five Stinger Splash episode right now. We can only slide backwards from here. THA JOOOOOOOOCE is Park's opponent. Tenay joins the desk on commentary. This is sweet stuff. La Parka has such a dope-looking suicide dive. There's a nice 2.9 on a Juvi top-rope rana that he wins after some struggle. This match is a textbook example of how to do a bunch of flips, but still have the match feel like a fight rather than a choreographed air dance. They struggle over a surfboard, and Juvi comes out on top, but only gets two on a follow-up missile dropkick.


  • Juvi just can't get Park down for three. He gets two off a dropkick to a seated Park, then two on a rana into a cover. Larry Z. argues that the weight Juvi is giving up is hurting his ability to get three, which is a nice touch. Park tries to use power moves to keep Juvi down, but is caught by a DDT for two. Juvi then hits a tornado DDT...still only two. He goes for the spinning top-rope rana, but gets blocked and eats a corkscrew splash for three. Juvi eats a second tough loss in two weeks. I enjoyed this!


  • We get an Ultimo Dragon hype video. He's getting a shot at Dean Malenko's Cruiserweight Championship tonight in the hopes of adding it to his belt collection. I'm a sucker for belt collector angles/gimmicks. Rey Misterio Jr. cuts an inset promo declaring that he's ready for another title match with Malenko. The yutzes in the crowd chant U-S-A! Dragon responds by winning a graps-fest with Malenko and putting on a legbar. Dragon controls early with a mix of graps and kicks. This is worked at a real slick pace, lots of switches and counters and two-counts. It picks up when Dragon tries to hit a baseball slide to a standing Malenko on the floor, he dodges, and then eats a rail anyway on a whip counter. My issue with this match is that dudes are not selling at all. They're just shrugging off elbows and chops to do their counter-shit. Malenko goes for the Texas Cloverleaf after Dragon whiffs on a top-rope splash. Sonny Onoo, Dragon's manager, jumps on the apron, and Malenko breaks the hold to attack Onoo. Dragon charges him from behind, and Malenko deliberately back body-drops him over the top rope, drawing a DQ. This was solid, but it needed to breathe in places to really have maximum impact. 


  • We get some video of Sherri wilding out on Rob Parker from last week. It appears that the Amazing French Canadians (w/ Colonel Rob Parker) are on their way to the ring. They'll face Harlem Heat (w/Sherri) at WW3. If the Heat win, Sherri gets five minutes in the ring with Col. Parker. I mean, look, that stip has to spoil the match outcome, right? Speaking of match outcomes, I'm guessing this match outcome is a mess for their (likewise flag-wavin') opponents tonight, the AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES AMERICAN MALES. The Males get on top of things first as Bagwell outsmarts PCO and the Males hit a couple of nice double-team moves. Pierre gets in the ring and suckers Riggs into a boot to the gut. Haha, the poor weak link in this match is struggling, though he does take control with a monkey flip and headlock. Bagwell's in for some reason and runs into Riggs on a leapfrog - did he attempt a blind tag? I can't tell. Bagwell's irritated at Riggs as Jacques claps mockingly. Then the AFCs do dope double-team moves, including a sick looking spot in which Jacques slams PCO onto a seated Riggs. That looked like it could be a finish, almost. PCO misses a punch on Riggs and hits Jacques, allowing Bagwell to get the hot tag. Bagwell has control until a Riggs knee to the back of Jacques sends him headfirst crashing into Bagwell's face. PCO rolls Jacques onto Bagwell as the ref shoos Riggs out of the ring, and this communication error is the end of the Males. They argue in the ring. I'm excited because soon, Buff is going to don his stupid hat that I love so much. 


  • We get a look at the NEW WCW.com. Unfortunately, no captures from 1996 show up at the Wayback Machine. Hugh Morrus is out to get racked by Lex Luger, who is mad over. Arn cuts another inset promo on Luger to hype their WW3 match and swear to Luger that Arn hasn't been broken by Luger's rack. Meanwhile, Luger is in control. Morrus finally hits a vertical suplex, but Lex no-sells it and takes control right back again. Morrus eventually suckers in Luger and sends him tights-first into the buckle, and it looks hilarious (and sounds hilarious, too - Luger's AWAUGH as he hits the buckle is great). Morrus is just so uninteresting on offense even though he's a big dude with some agility. He's totally his finish. The control segment is boring, but luckily it isn't too long until Luger makes his comeback. Morrus hits a clothesline and tries a top-rope splash out of desperation, but he whiffs and gets racked for a Luger submission win. Luger was accidentally dropping him about five seconds in, but luckily Morrus gave up pretty much immediately. Luger is convinced that Pee-Wee Anderson called for the bell too soon, like legit, and that's actually pretty funny. 


  • Gene Okerlund interviews Luger after the match is over. Luger's talking about his odds at WW3 when Sting enters the ring through the crowd. He's got a red baseball bat rather than the typical black color. Wordlessly, Sting nudges Luger with the bat, then hands it over to him and leaves. Okerlund asks what that was all about, but Luger just shakes his head in confusion and leaves. 


  • That was a great hour one! Eric Bischoff welcomes us to hour number two. He leads us into some WCWSN footage of Tony S. talking to Nick Patrick and Patrick's lawyer. There's yet another parley between these two and Teddy Long and Chris Jericho. It's a really, really bad segment that I'm surprised they're showing again, but I guess since a Jericho/Patrick match is made, they have to. It's the one where Jericho can only have one arm free. *sigh* What a waste of Chris Jericho. Even 2022 me, who is utterly sick of the guy, would prefer that he's used better than this. 


  • Hey, it's Public Enemy! No, wait, it's just Johnny Grunge. He'll wrestle Chris Jericho, who has "Break the Walls Down" dubbed over his generic theme. It's weird. The crowd is distracted by Nick Patrick coming out to scout the match, so they miss Jericho's kick combo to take control. Jericho and Grunge proceed to have a perfectly acceptable TV match, and Jericho hits some of his signature spots nicely. He dodges a chair shot and trips Grunge, but eats a Stun Gun in response. Grunge goes back to the chair, sits Jericho down in it with an inverted atomic drop, and then hits a clothesline on a seated Jericho. This all felt contrived and looked weak. Grunge grabs a table and slides it inside the ring. He sets Jericho up on the table, but misses a chair-assisted splash and is downed for three by a Jericho missile dropkick. It's fine, but you can only get so much out of a singles match that includes Johnny Grunge. 


  • Gene Okerlund interviews Jericho on the ramp post-match. Teddy Long cuts in immediately and basically tells Jericho you're probably fucked, so oops, sorry about getting you into this match. Jericho shrugs it off and calls Long an "intelligent man" with "many great ideas" about wrestling and pretty much is excited about the chance to wrestle Patrick any way he can. This was dumb, but in a pretty funny way, I guess? Why does Jericho talk like that as a face? That's how a heel being disingenuous would talk about someone. 


  • It's an nWo invasion. Hollywood Hogan walks over to the desk, flanked by DiBiase, Vincent, and Liz. They make Bischoff - well, "make" since I think by this point Bisch has defected to the nWo even though we don't know that - talk about how awesome Hogan is compared to Piper. Bisch does it, and it gets the nWo to leave. Once they leave, DDP comes down to the ramp to cut an interview with Gene Okerlund. Page is cool with just doing his own thing and letting the nWo do theirs, but Hall, Nash, Syxx, and LE GEANT~ come out and cut into the interview. The Giant's just like let's fuck this dude up already, c'mon! Nash quotes 2001: A Space Odyssey because he watches good films and wants you to know that he does, sort of, which is his thing and I don't entirely hate it. Then they all leave. OK. 


  • Bobby Eaton and Jeff Jarrett match up next. Jarrett's return has been pretty shitty so far character-wise, but he's on a run of fine TV matches, and I'd expect this to continue that trend. It's perfectly fine, in fact, though brief. Jarrett wins with a Figure Four, and the crowd is thrilled...but they're thrilled because Flair comes to ringside to support him more than because of anything that Jarrett has done. They strut and Okerlund joins them for an interview. Ugh, let Flair do most of the talking, please. Aw, man. Jarrett talks and talks and talks some more. We see Sting stick him with that Scorpion Death Drop again as Jarrett continues to rant over the video. He finally throws it over to Flair. Flair gives Jarrett his endorsement again and promises to be back soon. He tells the rest of the Horsemen that they're just going to have to accept Jarrett because he's Ric Flair, dammit! I mean, fair point. 


  • Lee Marshall calls in from Norfolk, Virginia, which is the location of the WW3 PPV and - he swears - is the warzone. No, stupid, that's the other channel. He has what I suppose passes for witty banter with Heenan. Then Big Bubba walks down the aisle with Jimmy Hart. His opponent? Jim Powers, who is smart enough to leave Teddy Long's ineffectual ass in the back. Bisch is focused on talking about how Piper is apparently totally out of contact or whatever, but I'm slightly less annoyed by it because this is a nothing match. There's a long-ish chinlock spot. '96 Bubba is not exactly '91 Boss Man, though hey, Bubba does hit a nice enziguri! But then there's another chinlock spot. Powers makes a comeback, finally, with some basic offense, but he gets caught in a Boss Man Slam for three. Jimmy Hart is wearing a great jacket tonight with the Dungeon members' airbrushed faces on the back. That wasn't bad, but it was just there. 


  • Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero is next, almost as a make-good for those not impressed with the in-ring action of the previous match. Early on, they do what you'd expect: Nice switches, nice counters, work at a blazing pace. Benoit gets an quick Crippler Crossface, but Guerrero's in the ropes. Another in-set promo from Kevin Sullivan plays while these men do their work. You know the score on these Sullivan promos, so I'll instead focus on Benoit being mean during his control segment and slapping fire out of Eddy while he's working a limb. Honestly, these holds Benoit is working are overall dull. There's no struggle in any of this. There's selling, but no struggle. I get the idea that they're working a kayfabe shoulder injury for Eddy, but yeah, this is some boring-ass matwork. It picks up a bit when Eddy reverses a powerbomb attempt, but we go right into a break. We come back to Benoit trying to put Eddy away with high-impact moves. He hits a nice superplex, but it catches him pretty hard as well. This match isn't bad, but it never really found the gear that would make it notable. Woman jumps in front of Eddy when they're outside the ring to give Benoit the advantage, but it doesn't last long. Eddy rolls through a splash attempt and hits a rana, but Benoit rolls through the rana for three. That's a nice finish for a meh match. 


  • In our final segment of the night, Eric Bischoff decides to center himself in the middle of the main event angle. Hooray! Haha, no, I'm kidding, the only time this sort of thing was any good was Vince McMahon doing it from 1997 to 1999. Roddy Piper comes out and cuts off Bischoff's promises that he'll try to sign the Hogan/Piper match. I mean, wow, Piper is mad over! I'll give him credit for that. Were people as into Piper earlier in the year during his WWF run as commissioner? I don't recall crowds being like that. Piper does his old man ramble horseshit for awhile. He name checks LL Cool J, who name checked Piper in "That's a Lie." Piper questions Bisch about how and when he traveled to Portland, then calls him a PIECE OF SHIT before the Giant and the rest of the nWo tackle him. Was anybody asking for this? I remember hating it intensely when it happened, and I still feel that way now. This isn't some Montreal Screwjob type of logical opening to Bisch turning heel. This is just some doofus wanting to thrust himself into a main event angle because he loves the nWo so much. It was hurt by Dr. Harvey Schiller finally showing up after months to tell Bisch to kick rocks. Why did it take so long for WCW upper management to do that? But the crowd eats this up! A whole crowd of cops can barely hold Roddy back, who grabs a mic and decides that he's gonna rant some more. He yells NO SURRENDER, NO RETREAT. What, is he planning on making it to opening day of Thundergun Express after he sells the rest of his Invigiron blueberry energy supplements? 


  • Well, that was a show of two halves. 4 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.


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Show #63 - 25 November 1996

"The one where the nWo starts to get over-filled"

  • It's the show post World War 3 1996, which was an uneven show that was sort of killed by the mid-show Piper/Hogan contract signing. It was a big expense of energy for the live crowd; it was super-shitty as a segment for me. Tony S. assures us that we'll...ugh...watch the "highlights" of that signing later on. We'll also get a U.S. Championship tournament, starting with two matches tonight. This should end in Giant/Jarrett as the final match, but we'll see. 


  • I was wondering when we'd get Arn Anderson and Lex Luger having their rematch from Havoc '96, and we get it here, in the opener. It doubles as a U.S. Championship tournament matchup. So, when WWE does these tournaments, they actually show a bracket at the beginning. I assume that WCW is not showing a bracket because they're going to book this by ear and there isn't exactly a plan on how to get to the end game. Hey, it's WCW's M.O. historically! 


  • Arn's still hurt from Luger's Torture Rack at Havoc, but Luger ends up focusing on the arm rather than the back. Luger basically dominates going into the break; Arn gets glimmers of offense that get snuffed out. Arn is able to get the match outside of the ring after the break, but it costs him when Luger rams his back into the post and then the apron. Luger's well on his way to victory when the Giant comes out into a stairwell with the U.S. Championship and a mic. He argues that he's the champ because he has the belt. He agrees only to meet the winner of the tournament for the gold because he ain't turning it over to the winner of this tournament at WCW's behest. Oh, hey, half of the should-be final match is locked in! Meanwhile, Arn hits a DDT, but can't capitalize, and he's summarily dumped outside the ring again. Luger gets punched in the gut, reverses a piledriver, and then activates LEX LUGER CHOKE MODE as he racks Arn outside the ring like a stupid-ass, and both men get counted out and eliminated from the tournament. Where does this rank on the list of Lex Luger choke jobs? Is it even top ten?


  • WW3 '96 stills, specifically Ultimo Dragon/Rey Misterio Jr., Chris Jericho/Nick Patrick, and Jeff Jarrett/Giant.


  • The nWo's music hits. Eric Bischoff leads the Giant, Syxx, Hall, and Nash down the aisle. Oh, and Vincent's back there, too. I have zero interest in heel Bischoff or Bischoff on camera in general, at this or almost any point. There's an alternate universe where the nWo split happens much earlier because Hall, Nash, and Syxx get sick of hanging out with Bischoff, DiBiase, Hogan, Vincent, and these other nerds, and WCW uses this schism to win the war. I wish I could watch the Nitros from that alternate universe. 


  • Bischoff explains why he decided to turn heel, which is basically that he didn't want to get beat the fuck up again by Kevin Nash. That's reasonable! I also get a kick out of his "What a wonderful country!" when he explains that he's the highest-ranking member of both WCW and the nWo at the same time. OK, maybe Bisch is okay at this sometimes. Bisch tells everyone in the back that they need to decide if they're going to convert their WCW contracts into nWo contracts, which is an offer that Marcus Bagwell takes about two seconds to accept. Scotty Riggs comes out with him and tries to convince him otherwise, so Bagwell does what any of us would do in the situation: He hits Riggs with a neckbreaker. Tony S. ends the segment by saying I don't get how someone who is the head of two companies can be so biased! Uh, Tony? Let me tell you about the future...2001, to be exact...


  • Hey, Disco's back on Nitro and is wrestling one of my favorite other WCW scumbags, Diamond Dallas Page! Page does not have time for Disco's dancing and jumps him immediately. DDP beats the shit out of ol' Disco until Disco sneaks in a swinging neckbreaker, then another. These dudes get into an entertaining punch-out that DDP wins; shortly after, Page hits a floatover Diamond Cutter. That was a really fun semi-squash! 


  • Gene Okerlund interviews DDP in the ring post-match. DDP is still hurt about not being asked to join until now and feels like the nWo needs him to kill dudes with the Diamond Cutter to become a true dynasty. Okerlund's like, but you're friends with those guys, right? Page is like, shit, okay, yeah, and Okerlund thinks he's proved his point. The thing is that Okerlund doesn't get that DDP is an emotional dude, and he's hurt that not only Hall and Nash, but also his two-doors-down neighbor Eric Bischoff would cut him out of all this nWo planning that's been going on since the days after Bischoff got dumped through a soundstage. Which is fair! 


  • Tony Peña gets a TV title shot. Why? And no, it's not that Tony Peña. It's a Villano, IV to be exact. This dude is getting a shot on his debut. WCW, everybody! Speaking of, it's WCW's last belt holder, Lord Steven William Regal! The TV Champion comes down to the ring ready to make short work of this rando, and the match is perfectly cromulent! They have some nice early exchanges in the opening minutes; Peña gets to the ropes on a Regal Stretch. When they get to standing again, Regal offers up a few uppercuts, but eats a forearm and a DDT in response. Regal does what he tends to do with smaller wrestlers who are hitting explosive offense on him and smothers Peña a bit, and though Peña tries to strike his way out of trouble, Regal re-applies the Regal Stretch in the center of the ring for the submission victory. Regal's got to be a top-five TV worker of all-time. There's always something worth watching in his matches. 


  • Rick Steiner tells Gene Okerlund, in a rampway interview, that he and Scott are WCW and that he's confused by what the fuck is even happening in the company since he and Scott have been away in Japan. Steiner yells a lot and does the slowpoke bit that is endearing if somewhat regressive, and hey, it's not full-on Eugene-level so I won't criticize much. 


  • Konnan and Eddy Guerrero are up in our second U.S. Championship tournament match of the night. It starts just about at the start of HOUR NUMBER TWOOOOOO, when Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan join the desk. Eddy does some high-flying stuff that the crowd appreciates early. Konnan takes over into the fireworks. Konnan continues to dominate, gets two off a powerbomb, and then gets two off a fisherman buster. I think I like Konnan on offense most when he's throwing a smaller opponent around. Speaking of, Konnan gets another two-count off a gutwrench powerbomb. Konnan eventually errs by trying to match flippies with Eddy, who dropkicks him out of a splash attempt and then doubles the error by pulling out of a cover to hit another powerbomb. Eddy counters into a sitting position, hooks the leg, and gets three. This was fine.


  • More WW3 '96 stills. This time, we see Harlem Heat/Amazing French Canadians, Psicosis/Malenko, and the Outsiders/Nasty Boys/Faces of Fear. That middle match was not nearly as good as one might expect just seeing the matchup on paper. Actually, it was kinda shitty. 


  • Big Bubba, Jimmy Hart at his side, challenges Rick Steiner. Steiner's all hurt about Sting hanging out in the rafters and says it right into the camera, which I feel like is a mistake considering the fate of Jeff Jarrett. This is acceptable TV wrestling. Bubba is washed at this point, pretty much. Rick Steiner hits a couple suplexes, which is always watchable, and it's not very long. Why, you ask? Well, a couple minutes in, Sting comes out of the rafters. I think we see where this is going. With lucky timing, Steiner dumps Bubba at ringside with a clothesline. The ref is so focused with such laser-like precision on Bubba outside the ring that he doesn't have any clue that Sting enters the ring and hits Steiner with a Scorpion Death Drop. Bubba heads to the pay windah after he crawls back in and makes the cover. 


  • Lee Marshall got beat the fuck up by the Faces of Fear at WW3 and then was sent to Ohio in advance of Nitro, which is cruelty on top of cruelty. 


  • Rey Misterio and Psicosis have a match that is watched by Ultimo Dragon and Sonny Onoo. Onoo's wearing a pretty dope "Year of the Dragon" t-shirt. Psicosis dumps Misterio over the top rope by just dropping him backwards on a powerbomb attempt. That was neat. Then he hits a guillotine legdrop. Also neat! He tries an avalanche crucifix bomb that Rey smoothly turns into a rana that gets three. That was slick as fuck. What a fucking finish. This was a short match full of dope spots. I liked it very much. 


  • Gene Okerlund interviews Woman and Chris Benoit. Ick. He cuts a promo that's only partially shitty. It's an improvement! But you know, let Woman talk since she's good at it. Oh no, now Benoit is SHOOTIN' and talking about Sullivan being the bookerman! Well, this started out much better than it ended, though at least Woman does get to finish by telling Sullivan that they're through, done, finito. Besides the obvious uncomfortable nature of this angle, I'm not sure why Kevin Sullivan would have been cool with Woman being in the Horsemen when he was warring with them this whole time. Wouldn't, um, he have been upset with Woman in interviews like months and months ago? What the hell? This angle is stupid. 


  • While I have committed to sit through every Nitro segment, no matter how shitty, I have not committed to have the audio on for each one. I say this because they're showing the dreadful Piper/Hogan contract signing, which I already sat through a couple days ago. MUTE.


  • Jeff Jarrett is wrestling Alex Wright. Um, is this not a U.S. Championship tournament match? Oh, WCW. Bless your hearts. I don't even like Jeff Jarrett, but come on. Well, maybe he'll get his first-round match on SN or next week on Nitro. Let's hope they do the obvious thing here. Wright is under-utilized and should be more than a jobber to the stars. This is a semi-competitive match that is worked smartly. Jarrett's the veteran and always one step ahead of Wright, even though Wright's got explosive offense and is a threat for that reason alone. Wright hits a nice springboard splash, but whiffs on a kick and falls victim to the Figure Four. 


  • Final WW3 stills of the big-ass battle royale, won by the Giant.


  • Harlem Heat/Faces of Fear is the main event. I'm into it! We get a dope Harlem Sidekick and the backdrop/powerbomb combo on Booker. The teams brawl until the nWo decides, ay, fuck it, let's jump them both. Hey, they are the biggest threats to the Outsiders. The Giant chokeslams Booker and then bats a soda out of the air, chewing his gum all the while. I mean, come on, that's awesome. End show. 


  • This show had some fine, fine wrestling action. I'm not really into the major angles, but that's okay. Hopefully, the midcard angles will pick up in quality soon. 4 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Show #64 - 02 December 1996

"The one that kicks off Starrcade Season, 1997"

  • It's been a minute, but not as long a minute as usual! I've watched a lot of old wrestling since the last review - mostly Coliseum video compilations - but no WCW since 1996's WW3 PPV, which I briefly-ish reviewed elsewhere on this site. 


  • Glad that I have a chance to sit down and watch a Nitro once again, to be sure! It's my favorite viewing. I'm thinking about expanding this into a Nitro-and-Thunder watch-through when that time comes. What's another sixteen years before I finish this thing, anyway?


  • NOTE: I wrote this whole thing with the Mariners game on in the background. I had it on mute, thinking, oh well, we get a game three that's winnable, at least. Then a fucking MIRACLE happened and now I feel very good and maybe this whole Nitro is good, all of it, ignore any complaints that I may have had when I was writing this. Those are fifth-inning complaints, not real ones. Anyway, I need to compose myself, so who knows when this will actually get posted. 


  • Larry Z. and Tony S. hype up Hulk Hogan/Roddy Piper. Thankfully, they don't get long to do this because the Steiner Brothers run up on them and call Sting out. The Steiner Brothers are very smart! They a) divert their needed attention from the nWo to get at Sting and b) Sting walks around in the rafters with a bat, jacking dudes up from behind anyway, so I doubt this will get him to, like, wrestle them in a formal match or anything. Vintage Craig Leathers leads to an awkwardly-delayed replay of Sting dropping Rick Steiner after Steiner talked mild shit about him from the last Nitro. 


  • Glacier comes out to a somewhat toned-down version of his entrance. Call me weird, but I can't wait for the Glacier/Norman Smiley short-lived angle from dying-days WCW. It cracked me up at the time, but I haven't seen it since it first aired. Glacier's opponent is Stang Hardbody Harrison. Glacier's act is the most over that it's ever been in front of a live crowd, but also this match is about two minutes long instead of eight, which helps. Harrison is utterly squashed and eats a Cryonic Kick for three without ever getting an offensive move it. 


  • A bunch of forgettable Cincinnati Bengals players are in the arena. I don't see Jeff Blake or Ki-Jana Carter, so IDK. Some minor league hockey team has also bought up a bunch of tix and are repping the nWo, mostly. 


  • Joe Gomez and the Renegade are tagging up, which is a bummer. I quickly turn my frown upside down, though, as their opponents are the Amazing French Canadians! They're led out by Robert Parker, who wears that ridiculous legionnaire's uniform. Highlights are Parker and PCO beating Gomez up outside the ring and all the cool double-team shit the AFCs do. They don't do enough of it before a Renegade hot tag, though it's a decent enough hot tag, in fairness. Eventually, Renegade gets iced and eats the assisted cannonball for three. This was perfectly acceptable, perfectly enjoyable TV wrestling. 


  • Gene Okerlund interviews Arn Anderson so that Arn can talk about Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan. OK, sure. Arn saves this to some degree, and it's funny that Gene's out here agreeing with Arn that Arn showed that Hogan can be beaten by beating him two weeks in a row. It wasn't that long ago that I remember that two-match winning streak and your response to it, Okerlund. Anyway, I see that everyone will be asking where Poochy is tonight when Poochy's not on screen. 


  • The Faces of Fear are wrestling the thrown-together tag team of Robert Gibson and Scotty Riggs. Man, Riggs is quite the step down from Ricky Morton. Let's see if Gibson can make this team-up with a poor substitute for tag team royalty work out! We see in split-screen the nWo run down and attack the Faces of Fear and Harlem Heat in last week's main event. Jimmy Hart used this attack to get the Faces of Fear a title shot against the Outsiders at Starrcade. Meanwhile, in the ring, Riggs and Gibson get in some early double-team moves and give Meng and Barbarian some fits. They actually put in quite a lot of work against both Faces of Fear members for a huge chunk of this match, using quick tags and the occasional double team move to stay on top, until Meng boots and chops Riggs down, and he and Barb combine for the backdrop-powerbomb combo. Basically, this is what I came to see. Barbarian has a sweet backbreaker, which he hits. He's an underrated offensive wrestler. I just recently watched him wrestle Bret Hart on one of those Coliseum Video collections on Peacock, and they made a good pairing, particularly Bret selling Barbarian's power-based offense.


  • Anyway, Riggs gets beat the fuck up for a long time before dodging a sitdown splash and an elbow from Barb, but the hot tag eventually ends up going nowhere, as Riggs is so incapacitated that Gibson eventually falls to the numbers game. A Meng side-kick gets three. Riggs gets a chair and starts beating on dudes out of frustration and also an attempt to preserve Gibson's life, but the FoF are the winners. 


  • Video of the Baltimore house show rematch between Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan. This video continues until the whole Dungeon beats the shit out of Benoit in the ring while Woman is forced to watch. Eh, whatever. 


  • Here comes the Taskmaster, as a matter of fact. He storms to the ring, jumps his opponent for the night, and beats the shit out of him. They don't even give the jobber a name. I don't recognize him and don't care enough to look it up. Wild brawling, Tree of Woe, double-stomp, end. Not Sullivan's best jobber-killing, but not unenjoyable to watch.


  • Sullivan cuts a promo in the ring with Gene Okerlund holding the mic. Sullivan's like, Hey, women, y'know, Okerlund? Yeah, you know. Okerlund's like, Oh, you best believe that I know! Anyway, this angle sucks. Moving on. 


  • It's Billy Kidman! It's Dean Malenko! It's a wrestling match in which these two compete against one another! Larry Z. is confused by Sony's U R NOT E tagline for the first PlayStation. Oh God, we're up to five of them now? Death, entropy, the passage of time: All of these are inevitable, it becomes clear. I've looked into the void, and I don't like it. Malenko and Kidman doing sweet counter-wrestling sequences to start the contest is a welcome distraction. Kidman keeps surprising Malenko on these quick exchanges, so Malenko rolls outside and then somehow completes a successful powerbomb on Kidman on the protective mats. Sonny Onoo, the famous Iowan wrestling manager, comes out to watch and to take a lot of pictures. I hope he got a shot of Malenko murdering Kidman with a stalling brainbuster that should be so protected, it gets three. Alas, it gets two only. Kidman even finds the energy to hit a missile dropkick and a sloppy fisherman suplex for two, followed by a backslide and a small package, then a second small package after a reversal of a Dean Malenko reversal of that first Kidman small package. All this gets a series of two-counts. This match rocks. Tony S. wants to talk about Piper instead. BOOOOO. Malenko gets control and goes up top, but Onoo uses the finish of Hogan/Yokozuna at KotR '93 to blind Malenko and knock him onto the mat. Kidman looks to take advantage and hit the Shooting Star Press, but Malenko gets knees up ON A DIVING KIDMAN'S FACE and then locks on the Texas Cloverleaf for a submission victory. That match was FUN AS FUCK. Great stuff. 


  • Big Bubba and Jimmy Hart walk down the ramp, and they have stuff to say to the camera. They say it while we count down to hour number twoooooooooooo, and after the fireworks that indicate the start of hour number twoooooooooooooooo, we kick it over to Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan. Also, Jeff Jarrett comes out. Jarrett's been good in the ring since coming over from the WWF, but getting something decent out of a totally washed Bubba is going to be a challenge. Jimmy Hart does a shitty Fargo strut at ringside after Bubba shoulderblocks Jarrett. It's fantastic. This match, while not fantastic, is alright, folks. Jarrett takes control, but Hart distracts Jarrett to help Bubba wrench control away, then cheats effectively from the outside, and finally gets his comeuppance when Jarrett comes after him and he eats a punch from Bubba that was meant for Jarrett. Shortly after this, Jarrett eats a buckle after Bubba blocks a Figure Four attempt. Jimmy Hart pops up onto the apron and tosses Bubba the megaphone. Bubba whiffs with it and then eats it when Jarrett dropkicks it into his face. Jarrett gets a simple three-count off that move and dances on out of the ring. This is fine TV wrestling yet again. 


  • The Steiners hit the ring and call Sting out. A wild Sting appears! Rick Steiner makes it clear that he would like a one-on-one, face-to-face opportunity in the ring tonight. Sting wordlessly accepts. Then he rolls out. Sting-as-Crow should be a very '90s thing that only works in the '90s, but I still think it's dope as fuck even in 2022. 


  • Here comes the nWo! Well, some of them. Mostly the ones that are cool (Hall, Nash, Syxx). I mean, Eric Bischoff and Vincent are also here, dragging the whole thing down somewhat, but hey, nothing's perfect. They hit the desk and chase away the WCW crew. It looks like Bischoff, Hall, and Nash are going to be taking over the PBP and commentary duties. Bischoff claims that he was trying to protect Piper from Hogan by running interference for the latter. He uses video of Hogan beating up Vader to prove how dangerous Hogan is. I'm shocked that Vince McMahon didn't show Vader beating up Razor at IYH: Good Friends, Better Enemies in a RAW response at some point. 


  • They put over Eddy Guerrero as he comes to the ring to wrestle Dave Taylor. Hall says, "[Guerrero] can go. He's no Syxx, but he can go." Very well done, heeling and putting guys over at the same time. They also put over Konnan's skills (though not his style, which I think is unfair as Cholo-style dress is so iconic that young South Koreans dress in it without actually understanding any of the cultural background that comes with it). This is a nice little three-minute match that ends with Guerrero hitting a Frog Splash. The nWo hopes to recruit him and will hire his family members to get him. Also, this was a U.S. Championship tournament match, so Eddy advances. 


  • Lee Marshall's on the road in Charlotte, North Carolina. He trades barbs with the nWo, and he does it somewhat poorly, but that's Lee Marshall. He's supposed to be corny. Hall declares that we've just heard  "the velvet tones of Lee Marshall" as the call ends, and yes, that's pretty accurate. Hall thinks the kilt-wearing Piper is a "girl" and a "queen" (which, no, not nearly enough style), and Nash thinks that Teddy Long is "robust." OK, that's somewhat accurate. Arn Anderson comes out to beat up Jim Powers. Arn mostly dominates except for a small flurry of Powers offense toward the end that this easy-to-please Cincinnati crowd sits on their hands for, like wow, you must be lame if you can't get this very amenable crowd interested in your shit. Arn comes up with a DDT for a nice pop and a three. 


  • We've got another WCW United States Championship tournament match tonight: Chris Benoit vs. the reigning TV Champ, William Regal. Benoit is out alone, no Woman, which is great, PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THIS GUY. Bisch and company are mildly annoyed that they don't officially or legally control the U.S. Championship because it was, y'know, stolen by them, but they are cool with giving it back as long as the winner of this tournament agrees to wrestle the Giant for it. Meanwhile, Benoit and Regal have a perfectly cromulent match. The Outsiders do a Beatles impression and Nash asks the audience to buy more nWo t-shirts so that he can send his ungrateful-ass wine-drinking kid to Harvard. Well, I mean, he's not drinking wine at this age he's at during the Nitro, I don't think. You know what I mean. Anyway, someone must be bleeding because most of this match is shot wide, and that harms it a bit, unfortunately. Hall argues that the cameraman is being difficult and should be fired once the nWo takes over, haha. Benoit gets the win with a full-nelson suplex as Hall threatens to do the camerawork himself. Fantastic stuff on commentary. 


  • Okerlund interviews the Horsemen and Horseladies, sans Flair and Woman, on the ramp. They talk about Luger and love and life and where Woman is tonight. Mongo wants to give Benoit some advice, and I assume that it's going to be nonsense, but actually he makes this argument about egos disrupting team focus using his experience as a Chicago Bear, which is cool. Aw, then Debra cuts in and shits on "Nancy" and "Nancy's" choice of perfume. I wanted to see where Mongo was going with this, as deliciously irritating as Debra is. She basically bigs herself up and shits on Woman and Benoit, and it's pretty funny, man, she's such a dick. Mongo and Debra are a very good power-couple. Was Debra anywhere near this entertaining in her WWE stint?


  • It's Public Enemy! They're facing off with Lex Luger, or at least one of them is. Or maybe both of them? I dig Hall and Nash putting over Luger's popularity and general ability to get wins. I guess it's just Rocco Rock he's facing off with, though Johnny Grunge does get himself involved whenever he can. Hall gives Lex Jerry Lawler's "slow starter" label, which actually, yeah, that's how a lot of his stuff on TV is structured. Luger eventually gets Rocco up for a press slam, and then hits Rocco with a clothesline that the latter takes a lovely bump for. Grunge gets involved, but he moves out of the way of a Rocco charge as Grunge is holding him and then racks Rocco for the win before loading up the elbow and knocking Grunge out of the ring. This match was short and did what it was supposed to. Haha, Luger is easy to hate according to Hall because he both looks great, but also his muscles are for go and not just for show. Yeah, I feel that. That's sort of a face-ish thing to say. Or maybe I'm just a bitter heel. Probably that last one. 


  • The desk is very excited for Sting, who they are pretty sure will be signing an nWo contract tonight, but first Rick Steiner comes down the aisle (seconded by brother Scott). The crowd has been intermittently chanting WE WANT STING during rest holds and shit in other matches, and they are stoked by Sting coming from the crowd and entering the ring. I am too! Sting tosses his bat away and turns his back on Rick Steiner, who clotheslines him out of the ring. Scott tosses Sting back in, and Sting refuses to really defend himself for awhile until, uh, Rick's not getting it, and so Sting ducks and hits a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting grabs the bat and uses it to move Scott out of the way of Rick, who he's protecting from further attack. Then, he shoves Rick with the point of the bat before handing it to him and once again turning his back. Rick, being a dolt, is going to swing for the fences before Scott stops him. Sting is glad that at least one of these idiots understands what's going on. He grabs his bat and leaves, walking right past the expectant nWo crew, who is expecting a contract signing. Well, to be accurate, he points the bat at them and then leaves through the crowd. Sting is cool, man. I love it. Hall just figures that he wants to sign the contract at home. Sure, that's it. We're out to the strains of Rockhouse!


  • I really liked this show, especially after that ninth inning! 4.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Show #65 - 09 December 1996

"The one that invades Kevin Sullivan's privacy in multiple unfortunate ways" 

  • I sure hope Halloween is Ending soon. Poor Laurie Strode


  • Anyway, enough about the ad before the Nitro. Let's talk about the Nitro!


  • Oh, awesome, it's Roddy Piper


  • I'll tell you, when it comes to wrestlers who aged poorly, Piper might be in the top ten  five  one. This guy is still over, though. He's pretty much always mad over once he turns face in the mid-'80s. It's impressive! I mean, even old man rambling Piper is fucking beloved tonight. I sort of don't blame him for this WCW run because the crowd only encourages him. Why would he change his approach?


  • I think it's also pretty impressive that Piper is cutting 1986-style promos in 1997 and is over with them. You can tell me that WCW's audience skewed older and all that, but this is a crowd full of guys with nWo shirts on. I don't understand it, and maybe sitting through this stuff again will reveal that the crowd gets sick of him eventually. But who knows, maybe he'll stay hot through 1999 or whenever. 


  • Maybe the live crowds just love Piper spitting casual homophobia, as he does in this promo. Piper is considered a great mic worker by many, but really it comes down to Piper saying racist and homophobic shit for cheap pops. That's his one note. Anyway, it's all fascinating to me. 


  • Mike Enos and M. Wallstreet wrestle for a couple minutes before Ted DiBiase comes to ringside holding an nWo contract. Enos is distracted by the prospect of being offered an nWo contract and eats a Stock Market Crash for three. DiBiase offers his former tag partner the contract. Wallstreet smiles. DiBiase laughs. Enos is bummed. 


  • We get a camcorder vid of what should be a pretty good Woman promo in which she snaps her fingers like she's a guest on Men on Film and is empowered in this Year of Our Lord 1996 and she's stepping out on you, Kevin Sullivan! It should be pretty good, but she's stepping out on Sullivan with Benoit in a worked-shoot that becomes a shoot-shoot and then Benoit murders Woman. So, yeah, not great because of what ended up happening, but if Benoit wasn't a family-annihilating psycho and he and Woman had a healthy marriage and grew old together (or even just divorced amicably, you know, anything healthy, really)...man, that would have been more fun to watch. 


  • Hugh Morrus wrestles Renegade. It's not bad or anything. It's just there, filling time. I will say that the two work this really weird spot where Renegade reverses a Morrus bearhug into one of his own. It just doesn't quite look right. Morrus turns a Renegade bulldog attempt into an impromptu back suplex and follows up with a No Laughing Matter for three. He goes to hit another one, but is denied by good friend Joe Gomez, who pulls Renegade out of the ring. 


  • Kevin Sullivan comes out to ringside all heated because his sultry wife left him. He's wearing a Four Horsemen shirt with black tape over the logo because he's real mad. Actually, Sullivan's anger is reasonable in this particular case because Woman sent that video directly to Sullivan, but WCW got hold of it and just aired it because they thought it was juicy gossip. Yeah, I mean, that's fucked up! Sullivan rants angrily about it and about the whole situation for a bit before stalking off. 


  • Video package in which we see Sting brood a whole lot. The music is this guitar riff-y sort of thing, and I know that's a WCW staple, but probably we needed something more Gothic to match with what we saw. 


  • Hey, it's meathead jock Kevin Greene! Greene is one of my favorite celebrity wrestlers, a guy who I think would have picked up the nuances pretty darned well if he tried it full time. He reminds Mongo that they have unfinished business and threatens the 49ers, Hulk Hogan, and the nWo in short order. He plans to re-name Hulk Hogan "Chokin' Hogan" because Hogan will be choking when he's eating Greene's fist! Greene delivered itway better than I wrote it, in the meathead jock spirit that the wrestling gods intended.


  • Jimmy Graffiti (two "f"s on the chyron and the shirt) is out for a rematch with Dean Malenko (see Show #58). Yo, this could be good. They start with a fight over an armbar that Malenko eventually clotheslines his way out of as we go into a break. We come back to a fistfight and Sonny Onoo (w/ defective camera) out at ringside. Graffiti basically uses his size advantage to keep control, and he cuts off Malenko at the first sign of trouble. Graffiti hits a couple of nice suplexes (including a sweet-looking gutwrench suplex) for two-counts. Malenko eventually slips behind Graffiti for a back suplex and two-count of his own; he follows up by dodging a Graffiti charge and knocking him outside. His follow-up baseball slide attempt, however, gets stuffed, and he ends up getting draped throat-first over the railing. Graffiti rolls Malenko in and goes up top for a big finish, but Malenko cuts him off and hits a superplex. This is pretty good, but Charlotte is bored with it. Graffiti feints on a rope run and hits Malenko with a superkick for two, then buries Malenko with a powerbomb for another two, but his bridge pin gets powered out of for a Malenko powerbomb in return. They pick up the pace, but Graffiti hits a Stun Gun and goes for a brainbuster that gets reversed into a Malenko small package for three. Man, these two have good chemistry. What a fun random pairing (as WCW is known for). 


  • Gene Okerlund interviews Sonny Onoo on the ramp. Onoo answers Okerlund's questions in his Iowan-American accent, which Okerlund points out. Onoo explains why he goes so far as to affect such an accent - is it because all too many American fans are racists who expect him to speak in a stereotypical accent? No, actually it's because Onoo is a welfare queen king who uses his accent to get free things from the government without working. Hey, I think Ted DiBiase's still in the back - maybe you can connect with him on this one. I bet he can give you pointers about how to do it without bothering with the accent!


  • Video of the Faces of Fear/Nasty Boys/Outsiders triple threat tag match at WW3. We're getting FoF against the Nastys tonight. I'm excited to see Barb, but I am bummed that this starts as a four-man brawl that goes into split screen. It's just not a great way to watch wrestling. The match settles down after a couple of minutes, when everyone is distracted by the Outsiders standing at the top of the ramp, watching the show. On top of the cuts to the Outsiders, which are too many, the Nastys spend most of this match in control, which means I don't get enough of Barbarian's really awesome offense. The match breaks down again, and the FoF beats up Sags on the outside after Jimmy Hart distracts him. The match gets into the ring again, and Barbarian almost immediately whiffs on a flying headbutt, leading to a hot tag to Brian Knobbs and another breakdown in the match. Knobbs hits a second-rope splash for three, but the ref is dealing with everything going on outside for some reason, even though the two legal guys are in the ring. Hart tries to interfere and whiffs on a top-rope megaphone shot (!!!). Knobbs somewhat recklessly tosses Hart in the general direction of Meng on the outside and turns right around into Barb with the megaphone, which scores three for the FoF. That wasn't good and made the FoF look like they couldn't beat the bum-ass Nasty Boys without a load of subterfuge. Not the way to make them look like a threat to the Outsiders at Starrcade.


  • Ric Flair comes out to cut an interview on the ramp. Flair shows love to Kevin Greene because, you know, Charlotte. At least he acknowledges that they still have beef. Then, Flair asks Roddy Piper to come down and join him. He talks about how he and Piper are legit icons, firing a few shots at Shawn Michaels in the process. LOL, Gene says "he said BEAVERton" with a stupid smirk on his face after Flair notes that Piper lives there. That is stupid as hell. It's sort of like the low-art version of Julianne Moore saying VAGIIIIIIIIIIINAAAAAAA in The Big Lebowski. Piper and Flair love on each other a bit, and Piper makes it clear that he doesn't want the Horsemen's help to beat Hogan at Starrcade. Then he does a truly awful Fargo strut and kisses Flair on the forehead. The crowd loved this. It was fine! 


  • It's time for hour TWOOOOOOO and a change at the desk (Larry Z. out, the Brain and Tenay in). Bobby Eaton is up against Chris Jericho tonight, and I realize for the first time that I haven't had to put up with any stupid heel Nick Patrick shit tonight. Or last week, I don't think. That's wonderful. You know what else is wonderful? Eaton's diving kneedrop, which he hits early for two. Jericho cuts a dull face promo on the inset and, aw, mentions Nick Patrick. Awww, he's planning to continue this feud. Well, shit. I typed too soon. It strikes me that Chris Jericho is like another Chris - Pratt, I mean - in that he did a charming role early in his career and it was good, but that's about his range and now he's all up in the videos trying to be a convincing A-lister or main eventer or whatever. Jericho hits a missile dropkick for three. This was a short match and inoffensive, but I'm hoping we get to this Jericho heel turn quickly, which I expect to still enjoy well enough. I must say, though, I won't miss the guy when they job him out and he leaves to be absolutely INSUFFERABLE in his early WWF run. 


  • The Steiners are out so that Rick can yell about Sting. Rick is asking for Sting to give them a message. I mean, he did that! Last week! With the bat and all! Scott seems confused as well. I don't think Okerlund is the guy to lead these two out of the fog. 


  • Video package in which Lex Luger is awesome. Yes. Yes, he is. 


  • WOOOO, it's Sgt. Craig Pittman! Can we get this dude a win on Nitro? Probably not, as he's grown his jobber mustache. Oh, that's the Horsemen's music, so definitely not. Debra leads Arn Anderson and Mongo out to the ring. We get a inset promo from Kevin Sullivan in which Sullivan threatens to snatch someone's kids. I guess Arn's? I don't know. I don't care. We go to an early break as Arn consults with Mongo about how to avoid the armbar. Pittman's in control when we come back, but Arn quickly takes over. He goes for a top rope move and is caught by Pittman, who immediately locks on the Code Red. Arn inches to the ropes and rolls outside; Pittman follows and clubbers, but Debra runs interference and allows Mongo to ambush Pittman. Pittman's rolled inside and wobbles up and into a DDT for three. Decent little TV match. 


  • Arn meets Gene Okerlund in the aisle to talk about Woman and Benoit. Debra is there to cut Arn off and hate on Woman/love on herself. She's a real piece of shit, haha. She says that beauty is power, and therefore she is the most powerful Horsemanperson, and WOW, somebody needs to check her. Mongo just agrees with her, and Arn stands there looking somewhat sheepish. See, if Tully were around, he would have done some scumbag shit in response, maybe have Baby Doll pluck out one of Debra's eyes or something. Man, the Horsemen are slipping. 


  • Road Report with Lee Marshall. He says that he's doing outstanding, but he's in Pensacola, Florida, so that seems unlikely. 


  • It's a semi-final match of the U.S. Championship tournament! Diamond Dallas Page will face off with Jeff Jarrett right now, and Chris Benoit will meet Eddy Guerrero in the other semi. This crowd definitely prefers DDP based on their early exchanges, in which each briefly gets the better of the other. They're pretty heated as they shove each other and re-engage into a break. It's still an even contest when we come back, though DDP hits a back suplex to get a breath and a bit of control. He hits a tilt-a-whirl slam for two, but eats a jawbreaker and an enziguri in response. Jarrett cuts a strut part-way through to boot DDP, then hits a swinging neckbreaker. He's very proud of his work. Jarrett has the first extended period of control in the match, in fact, and though DDP hits a desperate sunset flip for two, Jarrett shuts down the comeback attempt with a clothesline and then a SLINGSHOT SUPLEX, fuck YES! I mention Tully, and this is what happens! Jarrett bridges for two, gets frustrated, and gets caught by DDP for a small package for two. DDP punches his way out of the corner, but is still in a lot of trouble, and Jarrett easily sidesteps a backdrop attempt and hits a facebuster.


  • This crowd should be louder, IMO, because this is a very good match. Jarrett puts a sleeper on DDP, but DDP fights up and hits a discus clothesline to a pop - yeah, the crowd is just desperate for Page to win, I guess. DDP and Jarrett get up, and Page wins a slugfest, then goes to the top rope and nails Jarrett with a sweet flying clothesline for two. This match is great, and DDP spills outside when, aw, the Outsiders come out. I get why, but this match was so good. Nash distracts the ref, and Hall slips behind Jarrett and hits an Outsider's Edge a Razor's Edge (it makes sense and sounds better that way). DDP rolls back in and gets three, though he didn't see any of this stuff because he was flat on his back the whole time. This was the right finish for the angle, but in a vacuum, I really just want to see this match with a clean finish. Jarrett is a guy who I've been very low on in the past, but man, he's produced banger after banger in this WCW run so far. 


  • Gene Okerlund gets in the ring to grill DDP about what all this Outsiders stuff is about, and DDP asks the Outsiders to leave him the fuck alone. He cites a) his Diamond Cutter, and b) PWI giving him their "Most Improved" award as proof that he doesn't need them. Tremendous. Then, he tops it by saying that he fucked the sense and propriety out of a lovely woman, but she wanted to get with him long-term, and he wasn't into that, and he's saying the same thing to Hall and Nash that he did to her: STOP CALLING. Truly a tour de force performance from this piece of shit DDP. I love this guy. 


  • The Steiner Brothers are on their way out! No, it's fucking Roddy Piper. Great. Piper grabs a chair, slides it in the ring, asks for his music to be cut, and tells Hogan that he's having a sit-in until Hogan comes out to fight him. It doesn't take long for the nWo's music to hit. Is Hall? Nash? Syxx? One of the nWo members with endless charisma? I'll accept Buff or the Giant, shit. No, it's Eric Bischoff. He dodges a bunch of trash as he walks the aisle and then has a dueling promo with Piper that I sort of zone out on. Well, actually Bisch talks for a long time and then Piper coldcocks him from behind, which brings the nWo to ringside. They surround the ring, but Piper threatens them with a chair, and Kevin Greene runs out to join him in the ring. The crowd goes NUTS for this. In what is admittedly a nice touch, the nWo make a move toward the ring as the show goes to black, and they let the audio run for a bit longer than the video, so the last thing the viewer hears is a heightened shriek from the crowd.


  • This episode shows the video of what happened after the end: Piper and Greene fend the nWo off, and Mongo and Arn come down to help. I'm interested to see if Mongo and Greene reignite their feud, but nope. The crowd chants for Piper and Hall crotch chops everyone in the ring and then Arn and Piper hug to a heartfelt pop. Wait, Piper invites Greene back into the ring to celebrate, but in a nice touch, Greene refuses, threatens Mongo ("I GOT SOMETHIN' FOR YOU, TOO") and leaves. 


  • Page/Jarrett and Graffiti/Malenko were very good. Unfortunately, this was a promo/angle heavy show, and I'm not digging most of the angles or promos that were featured tonight. However, those two matches were so much fun that they took this show a long way for me. The random racism and homophobia knock it down a quarter-of-a-Stinger Splash, though. I have a threshold for wrestling racism, but I've seen JYD headbutt a bunch of guys because he's genetically pre-disposed to it over the past few days, so I really didn't have much patience for Piper or Onoo tonight. 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
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Show #66 - 16 December 1996

"The one where Sting realizes once again that his co-workers are complete idiots"

  • It's been a busy work day and I need a break. World Class has gotten me through the morning as I worked; now I get to inch closer to 1997 with another December Nitro as a treat. 


  • The nWo's music hits in the middle of Tony S. and Larry Z.'s intro. Unfortunately, it's just Eric Bischoff, Ted DiBiase, and Vincent. Oh, look, they're replacing Tony and Larry at the desk! I love a nice downgrade! Larry wants to scrap with Ted, which I am sure has happened before. Hold on. Uh...a quick search of Google turns up nothing. They must have crossed paths, right? I bet heel Zbyszko could get something good out of bland face DiBiase, who can get a bit fiery when pushed by the right heel opponent. Anyway, Vincent finally runs the dude off. 


  • The nWo announce team introduces us to a video of last week's show-ending donnybrook. Well, actually, it ends with Bisch walking down the aisle so that the nWo can fill in the rest with their own partially-true version of events. 


  • Psicosis is getting a shot at the World Television Title, held by Lord Steven Regal. We do get a faint U-S-A chant before everyone figures out how dumb that is. Bisch is actually pretty solid when he's calling the match, but he spends a lot of time talking about the nWo instead, to my chagrin. Regal has a lot of cool counters, like his heavy knee strikes to kill Psicosis's armbar. He keeps Psicosis grounded early as we hit a break. Out of the break, Psicosis simply cannot get out of first gear, as Regal continues to stuff his offense. Finally, Psicosis hits a wheel kick out of a rope run and seems to finally start playing his game, culminating in a dive onto Regal at ringside.


  • I recognize that Psicosis is dressed reminiscent of the white Power Ranger. It enhances the top rope hurricanrana he hits because the man looks like a true superhero doing it. Psicosis jams Regal on a springboard legdrop, but can only get two. Regal reverses an arm twist and commits attempted murder on Psicosis by hitting a back suplex, but dumping him on his neck and shoulders instead of his back. Regal smacks the shit out of Psicosis with an open palm and locks on a facelock, then a full nelson. He's incredibly mean on the mat, kicking and palm striking Psicosis while he twists him up. He stands with Psicosis and punches fire out of him in the corner, then hits a lovely double-underhook suplex for two. He goes for a top-rope double-underhook suplex, but gets knocked to the mat and hit with a BIG top-rope splash for 2.9. Regal and Psicosis fight over flash pins, but Psicosis hits a superkick and then tries a headscissors. Regal stops Psicosis's momentum as Psicosis hangs in mid-air, drops him face-first to the mat, and locks on the Regal Stretch for the submission victory. I've said it before and say it again: Regal's a top-five TV worker ever. Psicosis was good in this match, but this was sort of the Regal show. 


  • Video of Sting dropping Rick Steiner a few weeks ago (Show #63), We'll get Fake Sting vs. Rick Steiner tonight. We also get Big Bubba, by himself, coming to the ring to wrestle Chavo Guerrero Jr. Bubba works really hard, but is shot physically. He does the rope-fulcrum spot where Chavo uses the ropes to see saw Bubba back up and into his punches. He tries to bump big for Chavo. It's clear that he wants to put in a shift for the guy. I appreciate it, but it's also very apparent that 1996 Bubba is a shell of ever 1993 Bossman. Bubba gets control and smothers Chavo for a bit before missing a splash. Chavo tries to chop Bubba down, finally getting him to fall over with a bunch of punches after he's caught on a rana attempt. He runs the ropes and hits a hip attack successfully, but goes back to running the ropes and gets caught for a Bossman Slam that sends Bubba to the pay windah. I liked this, and Bubba worked his ass off as best he could. I just have visions of a (then) near-future black-vested Bossman being a complete slog even in two-minute TV matches. Blargh. 


  • Sonny Onoo has brought Masahiro Chono out. Gene Okerlund stops them on the ramp for an interview. Oh yeah, I remember this: Chono goes nWo and then ersatz-Rockhouse is created at some point after that:



  • You know, people hate that thing, but I like it even though it's a low-rent knockoff of a low-rent knockoff of like three Hendrix compositions. Even copycat Hendrix is pretty good. 


  • Anyway, I don't think anyone even mentioned Chono's name during the segment. Maybe Gene did at some point, eventually. This might have been bewildering to some viewers, particularly the ones who weren't around for last Starrcade and the New Japan partnership being more prominent. Chono pushes Onoo around a bit as DiBiase and Bisch cackle over at the desk. Ah, Chono has a match on top of this. He's wrestling Chris Jericho, and I don't see how this match will be any good. Chono kinda sucks and Jericho needs someone better than him who can also curb his worst impulses to be very good. I will give Chono love for a nice big boot, though. Still, overall Chono is one of those guys with a fantastic look, and you get excited for him (or at least I do) until the match starts. He's a look >>>>>>> work all-star; put him in a match with fellow all-star Brian Adams, and the pre-match staredown would be amazing, and it'd also be straight downhill from there. Chono controls most of the match, but climbs up top and awkwardly stalls so that Jericho can cut him off and hit a superplex. Bischoff shits on IYH: It's Time. Nah, that show was decent. I can't go there with you, Bisch. I do have a soft-spot for Fake Diesel and Fake Razor, so you have to consider that, but Bret/Sid and Mero/HHH were good, even with the screwy finishes. Chono gets the win when he's disqualified for putting the boots to Jericho as Jericho is caught in the ropes. It was a snoozefest. 


  • More video of last week's show-ending Piper segment. Hooray! Oh, now we get video of Flair talking about how awesome Piper is from last week. Great! This is just a lot of cuts from Piper being all over the show last week. A certain EWR notice would have popped up had someone booked last week's show in the game. 


  • The Horsepeople, minus Benoit and Woman, come to the aisle for an interview with Gene Okerlund. Flair, who has sort of evaded all of this Woman/Benoit/Sullivan stuff, sort of sidesteps it tonight as well. Debra shits on Woman and Benoit and no one is like, Hey Debra, please stop. You are only inflaming this issue. Instead, the rest of them broadly threaten Sullivan, and then Flair loses his voice while supporting Piper in his fight against Hogan. I doubt that it was on purpose, but this is actually pretty compelling stuff watching the Horsemen disintegrate because Ric's hurt and off doing his own thing anyway, and Arn is left unable to tamp down this feud with the Dungeon or even the infighting in his own group. 


  • David Sammartino, huh, is out to wrestle Dean Malenko. Sure, why not? This is some peak WCW weirdness in terms of matchups. In a nice touch, Bisch alludes to David's dad feuding with Larry Zbyszko. So, I dig Dean Malenko, but man, Sammartino is cranking his arm, and he's not bothering to sell. He's like, hey, let's just do another spot, forget all this "selling" business. Malenko hits the Arn punch-fake spot to wrap Sammartino in a small package for two. This isn't really a good match so much as it's an exhibition in counters, followed by what I appears to be an accidental early-finish where Sammartino is counted down for three on a backslide. Everyone looks confused; I think Sammartino forgot that he was supposed to kick out at two, and the ref re-started the count, but ended up counting for three on the second go. Malenko pulled off the ol' King Kong Bundy/Big E pin there. For some reason, I don't think Sammartino will be invited back to Nitro.


  • It's hour number twooooooo and we're still stuck with Bischoff and DiBiase at the desk. No, wait, they call Schiavone, Tenay, and Heenan over to replace them because they're done with all this commentating stuff. I mean, the WCW team isn't great or anything, but I prefer it to nWo announce teams (with the exception of Hall and Nash). 


  • We get video of Chono going nWo from like fifteen minutes ago, which I guess is meant to catch the flippers who were watching RAW. 


  • Jerry Flynn (no, not Mr. J.L.) and his magnificent unibrow make their Nitro debut against Ice Train. Teddy Long is out with Train, but not before he topples over in the entranceway. Train no-sells Flynn's early flurry and Flynn bumps nicely off a great-sounding clothesline. Train is a fun offensive wrestler. I love his splash and he throws a slick clothesline. I again suggest that his best use was as part of a tag team, where he could play hot tag and do cool fired-up power spots. Flynn is just a full-on ugly creep, plus he yells WUAAAAAUGH when Train kicks out of one of his pin attempts. I enjoyed his "hairy gross jobber" act immensely. After a double-clothesline spot, Flynn is up first, but Train catches a Flynn kick and turns it into a heel hook for a submission. Hey, that was a fun TV match! 


  • Train doesn't even get time to celebrate, though, as Syxx comes right out after the bell sounds and introduces the Outsiders. Syxx is interviewer for this little segment. The crowd is split 50/50 on these dudes. The Outsiders would like to fight the Faces of Fear tonight rather than Starrcade, then Hall talks in his regular everyday Florida hick voice before calling FoF "savages." Alright, Florida Man, keep throwing stones in your little glass house.


  • Video package in which we review Sting being really bummed out about WCW and the nWo and everything about his wrestling career in general over the past few months. 


  • Rey Misterio Jr. and Bobby Eaton? Sure! This seems really interesting. Eaton throws a sweet right that puts Rey down early and then starts doing all this cool bigger-man offense. He catches Rey on a rope run and boosts him up before bringing him down into a backbreaker. Uh, I didn't know Eaton had all this in back pocket. I would like to see him exclusively wrestle cruisers now. I'm not sure he really did bully power moves like this against smaller tag teams like the Fantastics very often, and I've seen him wrestle those guys a bunch. Rey gains control, hits a suicide dive, and gets caught on camera clearly clapping his hands on a wheel kick. People hate slapping thighs, but that can be done much more surreptitiously, I think. Eaton hits a nice clothesline and I want him to do more huge guy offense, but he goes into a chinlock. He really sinks it in, too. He doesn't lean all over Rey like Regal does, but it's one of the better chinlocks I've seen recently. Eaton hits the diving kneedrop and covers, but only for two. Eaton goes up top again, but gets springboard rana'd for three. I really liked this! I would love to see these fellas wrestle a longer match. 


  • Before the 1-800-Collect Road Report with Lee Marshall, we see a bunch of young men in WCW and nWo shirts screaming in the crowd, and they are surrounding two older ladies who dressed up all nice to come to the wrestling show, standing there demurely. Oh, man, the times are changing. Poor traditional WCW crowd. Marshall is in Macon, GA. Little Richard is mentioned (no, not Marc Mero).


  • We get another uncomfortable Woman and Benoit video. Ewww, I don't like this. The promo work is actually good from both of them in a vacuum. In a dark vacuum where reality doesn't penetrate the void. 


  • Here comes a very angry Kevin Sullivan, Jimmy Hart trailing behind. If you'll recall, Arn Anderson is his opponent tonight. Arn comes out without backup, weirdly. This incarnation of the Horsemen is like the worst unit ever in terms of kayfabe being able to work together effectively. Flair went nuts trying to harass Savage and then got hurt, Arn was in over his head trying to hold it together and was beaten up by Luger a bunch while being unable to quell the feud with the Dungeon, and Mongo won't check his significant other at all and simply indulges Debra's open dissent and general troublemaking. This is really good long-term storytelling, the fall of the Horsemen, though again, I'm not quite sure that all or even most of it was intentional. 


  • This is a wandering brawl to start, but I don't buy the intensity because I honestly will never buy that Pillman isn't the real catalyst for all this trouble. I will try to stop typing this, but Pillman leaving should have solved the whole issue between the Horsemen and the Dungeon in kayfabe. I still don't think any of Pillman's heat has transferred to Benoit, and Sullivan didn't either to the point that he willingly torpedoed his own marriage to try and ignite this thing. What is this all in aid of? Luger/Arn was the way more compelling feud anyway. Is it to break up the Horsemen? If so, they could have done this just by having Debra be an incredible heel who ignites in-group tensions without including the Dungeon. 


  • You'll note that I haven't discussed this match. It makes no sense; there's a ref bump, the whole Dungeon interferes, and they get to Arn and allow Sullivan to get a three-count before Mongo even bothers to wander out. It'd be great if they used that delay in Mongo coming out to speculate on the Horsemen finally being cooked because of Debra and Mongo's consistent dissent, but they didn't, so again, why wouldn't Mongo have been out here in the first place? Am I overthinking this whole thing?


  • STEINERLIIIIIIIINE brings Rick and Scott Steiner out. Sting's chilling on the catwalk, on the catwalk, and then he decides that he's got places to be other than on the catwalk. Apparently, the primary place he has to be is the ring. This crowd is HYPED for Sting, man, they are thrilled that he's here. They chant for him and then freak out when he comes down the stairs. The camera cuts to a less excited portion of the crowd that the Fake Sting walks through. Of course, the idiots at the desk think that it's still the Sting they were watching before the camera cut to the second, obviously fake one. Poor Schiavone, always made to sound like a total idiot. The two Stings get in the ring, and Real Sting and Fake Sting give up their bats to the Steiners. They both turn their backs, but Real Sting uses the opportunity to Scorpion Death Drop Fake Sting. He gets his bat back and rolls out. Man, Emo Sting is awesome. The Steiners look confused because, much like poor old Schiavone and really, the rest of WCW, they are idiots.


  • There has been too much nWo on this show for my tastes, so excuse me if I'm none too excited to hear Rockhouse hit and see Hulk Hogan walk out, flanked by the Giant, DiBiase, Vincent, and Liz. I admit that as soon as Hogan sat down and called Piper out, I checked the time left on the segment. Hogan bloviates. It sucks. He won't shut the fuck up already. I get that he's trying to generate heel heat by talking and talking and then posing. But he's so fucking boooooooring. The mic work should be at least somewhat entertaining. 


  • Oh wow, it's Rockhouse! Again! Well, at least it's Hall and Nash. There is zero chance that we're getting the Faces of Fear match that the commentary desk is certain that we are. We've got five minutes left. Basically, it's a four-man brawl as soon as the Faces of Fear come out. What we get is pretty good! Scott Hall hits Meng with a wicked clothesline. Barb and Nash hit some sweet boots. Then, Bubba runs out and defects to the nWo. I do want to note that Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase were fawning over Bubba earlier in the show during his match, which now I recognize was immediate foreshadowing rather than something to pocket away for later. The rest of the Dungeon comes down, followed by the nWo, and they have a huge punch-out.


  • Oh wait, then some WCW dudes come out and we get like thirty guys throwing hands to end the show. Ice Train comes out to join the fight, but Scott Norton jumps him from behind and then fights Mongo; is Norton nWo now? Tony seems shoot unsure as he speculates. Sting, not yet back up in the catwalk, figures what the hell. He walks down the aisle, gets in the ring and shoves past Arn so he can whip some nWo ass. Everyone in the ring (and the stands) watches, enthralled, while Arn gets in Sting's face and then attacks. Sting drops him. Mongo attacks next. Sting drops him. Rey dives onto Sting like an ass. Sting flings him off, and with what I can only describe as the ultimate "disappointed dad" face, he just U-turns back on out of the ring and walks up the ramp. 


  • This show, man. There were good matches. There were interesting matches. The wrestling was generally fun (Chono/Jericho aside). The problem is that the majority of the angle segments were focused on Hogan/Piper and Benoit/Sullivan, with a whole lot of talking to, from, and about the nWo. The funny thing is that Hall and Nash already feel somewhat marginalized by Hogan and Bischoff living out their fantasies as the proxies to cool heels. 


  • However, I will say that all the Sting stuff was GREAT. That's their one major angle that they're getting right. Sting was fantastic tonight. Plus, man, his face when he realized that WCW was still too stupid to understand that he was on their side. Sting rules. 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.


Edited by SirSmUgly
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i have a pretty good memory for who pops up during this run of WCW, and can usually come pretty close on when.

but man, i have zero recollection of David Sammartino even making an appearance, let alone wrestling. '96-'97 WCW truly is the ultimate wtf crossover.

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Show #67 - 23 December 1996

"The one where Chris Benoit shows he's down with the kidz"

  • Tony S. is SUUUUUUPER excited about Benoit/Guerrero, who will contest the other semifinal bout in the U.S. Championship tournament. We look back to mid-November, Show #62, where Benoit was able to finagle a win. He's here without Woman tonight, though. The timing of the intros is a bit off, but does that matter? We're getting a banger to start this show. Benoit is grumpy as fuck and slaps Eddy, who is also not in his finest mood and slaps right back. The crowd pretty clearly senses the volatility between these two and are into it. Basically, these dudes chop and slap the shit out of each other. Well, you know, sometimes I guess you just take the painful shortcut of beating the shit out of each other to get things hyped.


  • Kevin Sullivan mutters through a long inset promo that no one cares about, and then DDP comes out to join the desk while wearing a Three Stooges shirt. He says he flew down from "Hotlanta", which is very, very DDP. The pace in the ring has slowed down, which is fine except they don't really do enough to sell the matwork, which is mostly Benoit laying around in a headlock for a couple minutes. Really, they're just sucking in some oxygen. They pick back up into the break, and when we come back, the crowd goes nuts for Benoit hitting Eddy with a Stun Gun. These two basically decided to work super-snug in these faster-paced segments of the match, which everyone in the arena buys into, and which I also buy into. Benoit hits a sick powerbomb, but generally, he seems more interested in looking for the camera and telling Sullivan that the Taskmaster's gonna get some of what Eddy is getting than he is with getting a pinfall. 


  • They take a breath for a minute in a chinlock before picking the speed back up. Eddy hits a tilt-a-whirl slam, but gets cut off on the top rope for a superplex. Benoit sells a head injury from the impact, which delays his cover and only gets two. Eddy dodges a punch on a sunset flip attempt, then gets two on a small package. He wins a chop-fest, but loses a suplex struggle that ends with him draped over the top rope. Benoit goes for a cover, but Randy Anderson sees him using the ropes for leverage and breaks it up. Benoit sets Eddy up for a top-rope back suplex, but Benoit is distracted by Anderson trying to get him down from that illegal position, and Eddy knocks Benoit to the mat with a back elbow, then twists around and hits a Frog Splash for three. It's Eddy and Page at Starrcade for the U.S. Championship in name, if not in physical title. This was a fine opener. I would complain about the laying around except that they worked at such a frenetic pace the rest of the time that I can't begrudge them the couple of minutes of rest between each burst. Very good TV match. 


  • The Four Horsepeople (again, minus Woman), talk to Gene on the ramp. He's doing his yellow journalism deal where he's like Whoa Arn, you took an asswhooping that was really meant for Benoit last week, how do you feel about that? Arn knocks Benoit for being unfocused and losing his match tonight before launching into a comparison between Sullivan and a beer-bellied sharecropper who comes home to his wife banging the mailman. Arn's annoyed that Woman's not here to face up to her increasingly-complicated personal life and its consequences. Debra cuts Arn off to hate on Woman like usual. Benoit just sort of ignores her at first to tell Arn that they were putting in work. Then, he addresses Debra, and when Mongo jumps in - and I swear, I forgot this until it happened - Benoit is filled with the spirit of the '90s youth: He holds up his hand to Mongo's face and says TALK TO THE HAND CUZ THE FACE DON'T UNDERSTAND, and it is absolutely like someone taught a robot to speak by introducing the robot's AI to English colloquial speech by showing it a bunch of '90s-era UPN and Nickelodeon pre-teen programming. It is, as the kids annoyingly say, cringe. Very, very cringe. But also hilarious! 


  • Mongo's real heated about that, and Flair has to step between Mongo and Benoit and assert that Woman's dissatisfaction with her home life, particularly her sex life, naturally would lead her to trying out a Horseman-affiliated alternative. That's how I'd put it. Then he flatters Debra, who is easily flattered, and Mongo is flattered by proxy. Yay, the Horsemen aren't fighting anymore! For like two seconds probably, but still!


  • The nWo's music hits so that we can get more talking: Hogan struts down the aisle, flanked by Ted DiBiase, Vincent, and Liz. Hey, the Horsemen just totally gave up on Liz. When Arn was like Forget her, just leave her back here, I guess that really was it for them. Woman was the only one to care enough to try and help. I actually do think that this deserved follow-up, even if Flair in the next week or three was just like I was using Liz to drive you wild Randy, but I get hotter women every day, and she's not Horsemen material or something. Hogan's cutting a promo on Piper, and I'm blanking out a bit.


  • I was watching the WCW Classics show that aired on Turner South for about six months after the WWF's purchase of WCW. If you don't know about this show, It was hosted by Dusty Rhodes and showed all these old matches that originally aired on World Championship Wrestling in the early '80s. I just watched an ep from June 2001 in which current Nitro color commentator Larry Zbyszko had an awesome little TV match with a very green Rick Rude from 1983 that was partially worked around the strong rookie frustrating Larry Z. by doggedly refusing to be countered out of a headlock. Larry Z. was fantastic, man, I'm kinda looking forward to seeing him wrestle Scott Hall even considering Hall's deteriorating abilities due to alcoholism. Anyway, I do snap back in time to hear Hogan call himself "the star of the nWo," which I'm sure gave Kevin Nash literal hives backstage when he heard it. As he talks, I realize that Hogan even stole Flair's whole "I'm with your ex, Savage" deal. God, this dude just steals everything from more over wrestlers, doesn't he? What a sociopath. No wonder Liz just left the Horsemen and Flair never bothered to comment on it. Hogan was like, THAT'S MY THING NOW, DUDE, I WANNA DO THE LIZ THING FOR HEAT NOW, huh? Hogan poses. Please get me a wrestling match after the break, please. 


  • WCW obliges me by next offering a match including Tombstone, a guy I forgot worked for WCW. He's out here so Luger can rack the fuck out of another big dude. Luger is wild over on his way out, too. Luger always does something that entertains me, and in this match, here it is: Tombstone gets in a shoving match with him. Luger is confused about Tombstone's seeming venom toward him and mouths HEY, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?! and it's great. Luger does clotheslines and a few WAUGHs and OUHHHHs, but then he hits the flying metal forearm and gets the rack for the win. Luger is so enjoyable, and I love that they just have him racking the biggest dudes they can find each week right now. 


  • Speaking of the biggest dudes WCW can find, the Giant comes down to jump Luger, but Luger uses that pipe-wrench loaded forearm to wobble the Giant and then rack him, and it is SWEET, but he only has him up there for a few seconds before Nash and Hall come down and Luger bails. I guess Luger and the Giant are wrestling at Starrcade, which sounds like a match that I want to see. The crowd definitely wanted to see more. 


  • Video of Real Sting putting Fake Sting down from last week. They really go a bit too close-up on Fake Sting's bat, which is clearly rubber. No one used either bat, so they might as well have gone with real bats for the tight shot. Whatever, Real Sting murked Fake Sting, and it was cool. Then we get video of Real Sting's WCW compatriots being dumb, which is par for the course. 


  • Hey, haven't seen Mr. J.L. for awhile! He's fodder for Rey Misterio Jr. tonight. There's some cursory matwork, but I'm here for the high spots. Let's get to it since that's what will be treated as important. We soon get that stuff in a sequence that ends with J.L. dropkicking Rey off the apron, but whiffing on a tope. Rey fakes his own tope and then hits a running rana from the apron to the floor. Much better. Rey hits a top-rope legdrop on a hanging J.L., but Lynn takes over with a sitout powerbomb on a rana reversal that gets two. I think Lynn is a pretty darn good base for Rey's offense, and in general for the cruisers in WCW. I take this TV match as another exhibition to see Rey do some wild shit that is promised to be replicated, but even better somehow, on PPV. Lynn gets another two count, gets frustrated, boot chokes, and whiffs on a corner charge. Rey hits a rana that sends Lynn outside, then hits a wild suicide dive. Hey, don't give it all away for free, my man! Make 'em pay to see the best stuff! Rey rolls Lynn inside and tries to hit the springboard rana, but Lynn dodges it and gets Rey in a La Magistral for two. Lynn goes up top, but gets caught by Rey for a top-rope rana for three. I mean, seriously, this should have been shorter just because Rey gave too much awesome shit away on free TV. I can't complain about the quality, though! 


  • Rey drags himself over to the desk to cut a promo. Oh no, Rey is still bad at these. Whew, he actually does a solid bit of work here where he says that he's pretty sure that last week, Sting was just reacting to a guy leaping on his back when he tossed Rey, not trying to actually hurt Rey like Nash or the Giant did. He's convinced that Sting is WCW and defends his actions. Sting is probably glad to see that someone gets it, finally, GEEZ. The Sting super-cut that they showed on past Nitros where he walks around giving dudes receipts and looking mopey plays again, at Rey's request. He sees a pattern in the video (which is, of course, that Sting only tags the nWo or the very vocal idiots in WCW). Well, that's one somewhat-aware WCW wrestler! Can we go for two?!


  • It's hour number two, so swap Larry Z. for Mike T. and Bobby "T.B." H. They talk about Hogan and Piper, and then we get a replay of some of Hogan's earlier remarks, which really bums me out. 


  • Will Glacier's entrance + outro tonight be longer or shorter than his match? I'm not going to time it; let's just play this one by feel. I appreciate that Glacier's name is outlined in a frosty-looking light blue on the chyron. That's a nice little touch. His opponent, already in the ring, is Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. Parker jumps him early, but basically eats a bunch of trips and kicks and sweeps and even a chop somewhere in there. This crowd, which has been into everything so far tonight, is pretty quiet for this. Glacier kicks Parker to the floor, then tosses him back in and does some more kicks...and some more kicks...and some more kicks...and this is a reasonable squash in that Glacier's kicking the dude from everywhere, highlighting the thing he's supposed to do better than everyone else on the roster. Problem is, there are so many kicks that Parker doesn't realize that the Cryonic Kick is the one he's supposed to stay down for, and he kicks out at two before Glacier hits a second Cryonic Kick for three. Oh man, I think Buddy Lee Parker just killed the Cryonic Kick dead. The match was actually probably slightly longer than the entrance + outro, but it probably didn't need to be. I continue to maintain that the idea of Glacier makes sense, but the execution does not. 


  • The nWo sells shirts, which they were very good at. 


  • O CANADA/OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND/TRUE AWESOMENESS/THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS! They're going to work Public Enemy, who I'm pretty sure aren't very long for WCW at this point. Man, people love putting their arms in the air and waving them like they just don't care. Ah, the '90s. I love 'em. Do you know how hard it is to sing the Canadian national anthem poorly? Even beer-chugging hockey fans can truly put on a great performance when called upon to do so in a public arena. This terrible singing by the AFCs is legitimately a secret talent. PE jump everyone and pull a ski mask over PCO's face and beat him up, and I thought the crowd would be hotter for this. PE feels that way too, I think, since they spend some time trying to hype the crowd. They set Rougeau up for a table splash, but PCO cuts Rocco off, and the AFCs get the jump on Grunge. They hit him with a top-rope Thesz press (!!!) while Robert Parker puts the boots to Rocco on the outside. I want to stop here and say that while I don't think PE is particularly good, I find them strangely compelling. Even their awkward matches like this one that feel very stilted tend to captivate me for some reason. Anyway, the AFCs are going for a table-assisted cannonball for some reason (the table doesn't do anything but give an extra two inches of height on the cannonball). PCO gets knocked down, the table breaks, and the PE get DQ'd for using the table to batter both of the AFCs before hitting a top-rope cannonball of their own onto PCO and the broken table. See? This wasn't good, but I couldn't look away. 


  • Video recap of Big Bubba defecting to the nWo. Norton did too, I think. The nWo is officially too large. 


  • Bubba comes out to the nWo theme. Get the B-team theme composed already because Bubba is too washed for Rockhouse. Konnan comes out with Jimmy Hart at his side. Hart unfortunately does not grace us with a VIVA LA RAZA followed by maniacal cackling. Oh great, Nick Patrick is reffing again. Thanks, I hate it. Actually, Patrick is a perfectly fine referee, but you know, this angle. I still don't understand why Konnan joined the Dungeon, honestly. That's not a fit for him. The Wolfpac(k)? Yeah. The nWo? Sure, I can see that. Patrick slowly counts Bubba out after Bubba's dumped at ringside. Konnan gets mad, so Patrick runs a distraction or two so Bossman can take control. Bossman uses a scarf to choke Konnan and toss him outside, where Patrick fast-counts to five before Konnan can get back into the ring. Whatever, let's take this home. I admit to looking at the My Nintendo store to see if that new Kirby keychain is available to order yet while Bossman did a bunch of slow choking in front of a nonplussed Patrick. I'm sort of interested in Kirby's Dream Buffet, but I feel like I should be able to play it for free with my Expansion Pack subscription. Oh, somewhere in here, Patrick sends Hart away from ringside for trying to cheat in Konnan's favor, and Konnan is DQ'd in short order for tossing Bubba over the top rope. I mean, yes, this is a DQ, but also yes, Patrick was very selective about calling the cheating in this match. Riveting stuff. Can't wait for more. 


  • I do wonder, seriously, if I will look back on this Nick Patrick stuff when I finally make it into late 1999 Nitro/Thunder and sort of miss it from the standpoint of Vince Russo being even more consistent at booking bad angles and stupid matches and segments.


  • Lee Marshall does his Road Report from Knoxville, Tennessee. Nashville (the home of Starrcade 1997) is an underrated dining city, IMO. Never been to Knoxville, though. 


  • Oh, it's TV Champion Lord Steven William Regal! I missed who came out before him as his opponent...and it looks like Dean Malenko. Ooh, this could be good. Regal jaws with the ham-and-eggers in the crowd and gives very specific directions to the woman who takes his robe. Malenko's all ready to wrestle and shit, and Regal's just taking his time heeling. Regal works Malenko's arm early with some dope offense, some of which I can't really name. They cut a pace because that's what Malenko loves to do, and it ends with Regal whacking the heck out of his thigh as he hits an enziguri. Sonny Onoo's back out here with that camera. One thing that I find interesting is that Regal's working a match that's more Malenko's match than his match. He's moving quicker and working more high spots, two-counts, and counter-counter-counter spots. Usually, he'd be grinding a smaller opponent down, laying on him, leaning into him, grinding him down. He does a very little of that stuff, but yeah, this feels much more like a Malenko match to me than a Regal match. He's pretty much good at everything, so this is entertaining, but I do really like when he effectively uses his weight advantage against smaller opponents. I will say that even though it's entertaining, it all feels a bit like empty calories more than anything. They do a bunch of stuff, and a lot of it looks real nice. Malenko hits a brainbuster, but can't even get a one-count before the time limit is up. Malenko looked like a legit competitor, but the crowd did not get into the drama of the time limit at all. Oh yeah, and Sonny Onoo got kicked from ringside as well this match. 


  • Rick Steiner and Jeff Jarrett get the final matchup tonight. Rick's giggling like a maniac during the early mat wrestling for whatever reason. The crowd chants for Sting. Rick really gets to giggling as he hits an elbowdrop. I'm not really sure what's going on in this match, but Jarrett gets belly-to-belly'd and stuff and it's cool. The match only lasts for a couple minutes before Fake Sting comes out, tries to hit Jarrett with a Scorpion Death Drop, but gets Steinerlined and then pinned by Jarrett for some reason. The ref counts three and everything. Jarrett and Steiner stand around for a bit while the crowd chants for the actual Sting, then they randomly kick Fake Sting and leave. Well, that was a thing that happened, I suppose. 


  • Rockhouse hits one more time. Hogan's back out because Piper is apparently not here, on this go-home show before the biggest PPV of the year for WCW. Sure, he's not. Oh man, too much Hogan. He talks shit before Eric Bischoff walks out while dressed as Piper, but with an old-school red-and-yellow Hulkster shirt on. Bischoff has so much material to work with here in his Piper impression, and this could actually be pretty funny, but nope, it's bad. Instinctually, I try to flip over to RAW. What was the main event? Bret Hart vs. Fake Razor. Yeah, I might just rather watch that. Piper comes out, led by some bagpipers. Bagpipists? Oh, just pipers. Obviously, duh. Thanks, Google. Anyway, they trade a few punches before the nWo comes out and helps Hogan get the upper hand. Real Sting watches from the rafters, clearly thinking that he's the only person competent enough to handle this nWo mess. 


  • For comparison, here's Bret/Fake Razor with Honky Tonk Man on guest color:


  • Personally, I'm more into watching Rick Bogner as he is clearly thinking about doing Razor-type mannerisms and doing wrestling moves at the same time while HTM yammers on like a lunatic than I was into watching that last Nitro segment. Bogner's control segment is so bad that it's perversely entertaining, unlike that Hogan/Bischoff stuff, which didn't get bad enough wrap back around and be enjoyable to watch. I think you can see Bret give up like three minutes in and decide to just take it easy for this one. Can't blame him. 


  • I'm off to watch Starrcade. That main event is going to suck, but everything else seems amazing. 3.5 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.



Edited by SirSmUgly
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