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Smelly watches every Nitro while on the treadmill (except for the ones that he watches while on the bike)


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Posted (edited)

Show #15 - 11th December 1995

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Show #16 - 18th December 1995

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

Edited by LoneWolf&Subs
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Posted (edited)

Show #17 - 25th December 1995

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Show #18 - 1st January 1996

"The one that starts a year of hot Nitros"

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

Show #19 - 8th January 1996

"The one where Vince must have pissed Bischoff off"

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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