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  1. 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.
  2. I don't think the instinct was entirely wrong. Vince understood that the jingoistic '80s were giving way to the counter-culture '90s. The problem is that for whatever reasons (steroid trial distractions, the drop in domestic business scaring him into incremental action, having to wait until his TV partners were more open to that shift), he was really bad at reacting to that shift for the first half of the decade. It might be revisionist, but choosing Kevin Nash as his champion made a lot of sense from that perspective. He booked the guy into the ground, but again, the instinct was right.
  3. Who is the largest wrestler to be an effective FIP in a tag team setting? I ask this because I just watched John Tenta once again be an awesome FIP in a random match against the Nastys. The Natural Disasters shouldn't ever have worked as a face tag team, but they did largely because of Quake's believable FIP work even as large as he was. Is there a bigger dude who was able to be as believable in that role?
  4. I remember the very end of the match, which I won't spoil, being pretty treacherous for poor Heenan. I don't think I've got it mixed up with another event.
  5. I watched this show a few months ago and remember almost nothing about it except for the Ultimate Warrior nearly murdering Bobby Heenan in the main and Vince yelling IT'S RODDY'S ROWDIES VERSUS RUDE'S BROOD in the introduction.
  6. I knew that Arn's neck was going to force him into retirement soon enough, but I had it in my head that he'd make it well into '97 before that happened. I had my timeline all messed up.
  7. Yes, they did, but Arn was doing inset promos on a return match after the Havoc match that Lex won. I thought it'd be here, but maybe it's at Starrcade instead.
  8. World War 3 1996 notes: Tony drops that insider lingo about Bischoff: "he made his turn...or did what he did." No need to correct yourself, Tony, we already had I RESPECT YOU, BOOKERMAN. Ultimo Dragon and Rey Misterio Jr. (the latter of whom is wearing the awesome Spidey-Suit) is a really fun opener. Dragon does some cool shit in his offensive control segment, and the crowd appreciates it. Special shout-out goes to the airplane spin backbreaker and the powerbomb/Stun Gun combo. They're also delighted by the Giant Swing spot because Dragon sells dizziness after tossing Rey. No one reacts for the sick fisherman buster Dragon hits but me, though. They have a 2.9 run that ends when Misterio's springboard rana that he's using as a finish gets reversed into a sitout powerbomb that finally gets three. This was awesome. I question the booking of Teddy Long as Chris Jericho's manager for his match against Nick Patrick. Teddy Long's been doing nothing but managing jobbers to losses for the last three or four months. The crowd is into this at the start, though. I accept that the there is a difference between the WCW crowd's interest in Nick Patrick breaking bad and my interest in it. I am roundly in the minority. They do calm down pretty quickly. I guess there are only so many arm drags and kicks that Jericho can do before the crowd is ready for the fuckery and the finish. I think this match, while not long, could have stood to be even shorter. Jericho wins relatively easily to a somewhat muted pop. Was Nick Patrick's arm under the ropes? Let's hope this isn't a continuation of the angle. At least the commentators don't say anything about it on replay. Jeff Jarrett continues what might be his most enjoyable (to me) run of in-ring work ever with his match against the Giant. It's a solid big man/(relatively) little man match to follow up on their match at Havoc. We cut away to Sting walking around in the catwalk, which is too bad because it takes the focus off Jarrett getting murked and doing some excellent bumping and selling. But Sting is awesome, so I'll accept it. The Giant has his working boots on, too, and takes a sweet bump to the floor. What's hilarious, though, is that EVERYONE IN THE ARENA is focused on Sting, losing their fucking MINDS about Sting, and only Pee-Wee Anderson is unaware that Sting is stalking to the ring at molasses speed. He is TOTALLY focused on the Giant spilled out at ringside while Sting walks the catwalk, comes down the stairs with an escort, slowly enters the ring, Scorpion Death Drops Jarrett, paces around a bit, and then slowly leaves. What the fuck? It's a hilarious visual. In terms of "refs be acting dumb," this might be the pinnacle of that trope. Oh man, it was so stupid that it genuinely enhanced this match. Five Stinger Splashes. Anyway, the Giant beats the count and wins with a chokeslam. Tony's on fire tonight. As Eric Bischoff, Ted DiBiase, and Virgil Vincent saunter down the aisle to meet Roddy Piper in the ring for Hogan/Piper contract signing, Schiavone says "I never thought I'd see Eric and Vince walk down the aisle together." It got a genuine laugh from me and, while it didn't make this shitty segment worth it, I appreciated it. Piper is all like YOU'RE GAY BISCHOFF, YOU TOTAL GAY GUY, YOU and references the New Kids on the Block in 1996 and yells a bunch of shit and it's fucking AWFUL. This guy fucking SUCKS. Terrible, terrible, terrible. He's also stupid enough not to make the match a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match even though he gets the contract he wrote signed as-is. Oh man, this was some truly shitty TV PPV. If I'd paid to watch this garbage, I'd be heated. Hogan comes out and shows everyone Piper's hip replacement scar. It comes off poorly. Then there's a one-sided brawl since it's Piper versus the entire nWo. I am dreading Starrcade's main event. "O Canada" is one of the best national anthems, fun to sing, and so the Amazing French Canadians butchering the hell out of it is a legit heat-getter for me. This is a solid match they have with Harlem Heat because the AFCs have awesome offense and so their control segments are always fun. Booker is also a good FIP because he'll over-elaborate on bumps. The crowd is quiet as hell, though. I guess they're coming down from the black hole of a segment before this match. The AFCs hit a Boston Crab/top-rope legdrop combo that deserved more love, dammit! They wake up a bit for Stevie's hot tag, but only a bit. A ref bump leads to a ridiculous assisted cannonball attempt from the AFCs that includes stairs and a table. It whiffs, PCO eats a Harlem Hangover, and Sherri gets to beat up Rob Parker, which the crowd is solidly into and so am I. TAKE THAT, YOU CAD. Dusty rightly warns Sherri against a potential wardrobe malfunction considering what she wore to this impromptu match. Is there anything a southern wrestling crowd loves more than a woman kicking the shit out of a man in the wrestling ring? I include myself in this even though I wasn't born in the south myself. I can't wait for Miss Jackie to beat the shit out of Disco or to help Kevin Sullivan out by fucking up his jobber opponents. Dusty calls it the "cruiser heavyweight title" during the Dean Malenko/Psicosis match. Classic Dusty. This is a very mat-based match that loses the crowd almost entirely, and I just don't see the struggle in the matwork to make it compelling at all, either. The match just never makes it out of first gear. It's a surprisingly poor effort for these fellas. Malenko wins with a rollup and bridge to mild applause. I love the start of the triangle tag match: Hall and Nash come out first, are dumped from the ring by the Nasty Boys when they come out, and then are beaten up around ringside when the Faces of Fear come out. I wish this had just been a tornado tag (which is a common wish of mine in these triangle tags, so sorry for being repetitive). Then, as the Nastys and FoF attack each other, the Outsiders just chill and watch the chaos. It's a safe bet since they know that their opponents are dumb enough to tag them in rather than having the insight to lock them out of the match. Then again, Nash ends up blind tagging Meng anyway, so they always had things under control. Anyway, this match just got me hyped for the eventual Faces of Fear/Outsiders two-on-two match, is what it did. The crowd wants wild brawling and wakes up when it happens. I am in agreement with the crowd on this point. Anyway, Meng and Knobbs are dumb enough to tag Hall and Nash in. Tony's smart enough to call this out, at least. Anyway, this ends up causing fuckery that leads to Hall using Jimmy Hart's megaphone on Knobbs's head. A Jackknife Powerbomb later, and the Outsiders retain. Great, let's get the Nastys out of the way and put some good tag teams in here against Hall and Nash going forward. It's battle royal time! Before it starts, we get an update on the Benoit/Sullivan feud (a Dungeon-led bathroom attack on Benoit at a Baltimore house show pushes the feud forward, though man did they milk the "fight in a bathroom" stuff a bit much for my tastes). Anyway, random notes: DDP smokes a cigar on his way to the ring. What a guy. It's a Bunkhouse Buck appearance! Wait, I thought Lex and Arn were wrestling at this PPV? I realize now that they did not. Maybe I misunderstood and they're wrestling at Starrcade. Jimmy Graffiti leveled-up his ring attire. The pop for Hacksaw is dispiriting. Chris Benoit looks fucked up, man, fuuuuuuuuuck. At least some of that is makeup, I hope. The Horsemen and Dungeon jump on each other outside the ring before the match even starts. They fight into the stands and never actually enter the battle royal proper. I love that while WCW continues its petty feuding with one another, the nWo is just chilling in the corner of one ring watching everyone else get beat the fuck up. They only stray from the corner to pick off individuals who wander into the wrong neighborhood. I mean, they are SO MUCH SMARTER than WCW. They are the Doink to WCW's Crush. Poor Lee Marshall got knocked down. He looks legit hurt, but I didn't see what happened. I Googled quickly and it looks like the Faces of Fear legit fucked him up for some reason? What the fuck? Very uncool if it's legit. Why would they do that? I love the idea of this match, but the split screen makes it aesthetically tough to watch at home until it gets knocked down to ten guys all in one ring. I am very excited about this Giant/Roadblock showdown. It delivers, too! Everyone ganging up on Ron Studd is awesome. I'm a huge fan of the "ganging up on the big dude" spot in battle royals. Of course, everyone is dumb enough to forget the rules of the match and try to gang pin him, but still. Bagwell eliminates Riggs; the American Males consider exploding. They keep the split-screen even when everyone is in the same ring for some unknown reason. VINTAGE CRAIG LEATHERS. We finally get WCW to face off with the nWo..when WCW is down to six dudes. Total Kona Crush move, WCW. The Giant's elimination of Rey Misterio Jr. is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in a wrestling ring. He tosses him with about the same amount of care as he did when he slammed a restrained Misterio laying on a backboard into the ringpost, but at least Misterio could protect himself this time. Luger taking on four nWo guys is perfect booking. Luger nearly racking the Giant gets a massive pop. His twin eliminations of Hall and Syxx are great. On the other hand, choosing to rack Nash when the Giant is still in the ring is a poor decision that is befitting of Luger's inability to get the job done when it matters in big spots. The Giant wins, which I'm pretty sure facilitates his exit from the nWo in a few months. When is the WW3 winner's title shot normally cashed in? Slamboree? I'm thinking the Giant's nWo stint doesn't last until that PPV. The first half of the show and the last ten men part of the battle royal were generally quite good. Everything else was fine. Good show and worth stopping to watch. Now back to Nitro!
  9. Yeah, I am going to that AEW show in January, too. Someone asked me if I wanted to go if they got tickets, and I was like, what the hell.
  10. 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.
  11. Bret Hart gives a secondhand account of News walking out on Vince in which he reports News claiming that Vince broke a bunch of promises. Man, News was so cool. Young me was a massive fan
  12. 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.
  13. What grade of coke was Vince shoving up his nose to think that Rocco was a great addition to the Legion of Doom? Specifically, the sketch on 6/27/92 where they find Rocco in the rubble of their childhood home is a death knell for the Road Warriors being even remotely cool as far as the WWF goes. Contrast that with Scott Hall being the coolest scumbag ever in the Razor sketch, but he probably came up with most of that shit himself. There's nothing more dangerous in early '90s WWF for a lot of these dudes than not taking control of your own character development. OK, this is quite the episode. Vince compares Ted Turner and Jane Fonda to Kim Chee and Kamala; then Kamala does a sweet leapfrog and thrust kick that I didn't think he had in his bag at all. Wrestling is weird.
  14. Bill Watts is a genius because IMO the only time Duggan was remotely worth a watch was Mid-South. He booked him in a handful of memorable angles and worked to Duggan's - er, I mean DOOgan's - strengths. Even someone like JYD, who isn't the greatest talent in-ring, has the limited Stampede stuff I've seen where he looks like a future star, so Watts's booking of him isn't as miraculous as it is Duggan's, but it's still booking that enhances him immensely. Or, shoot, take Butch Reed, who I'm a big fan of, but who really was only consistently awesome in DOOM outside of his Mid-South stuff. Watts was really good at getting the most out of the guys he pushed. It feels like he could get almost anyone over in his day.
  15. I'm not going to take my thanks back, but it's just some dude talking about wrestling. I've done this before, too, where I'm like OOH I FOUND IT because I just saw the title and I didn't hit play, and then I go back and hit play and it's some dude telling me his opinions about wrestling that I don't care about...or worse, it's a WWE 2K sim of a match that I desperately wanted to see IRL.
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