World War 3 1996
Date: November 24, 1996
Location: Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators: Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Once again we’re going to do the three ring battle royal with the winner getting the title shot just after Starrcade. The entire roster is in that pretty much plus a ton of guys that are never on TV at all. We also have a man vs. woman match and Jericho vs. a referee. Yeah you can really tell how much thought there is in this show. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is just a basic rundown of what’s on the card tonight. The announcers wonder why Bischoff is trying to slow down the contract signing between Hogan and Piper. Something tells me this is going to dominate the conversation tonight.
J-Crown: Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio
The J-Crown was a collection of 8 cruiserweight titles from around the world, one of which being the WWF Light Heavyweight Title which was active since the 80s and only defended in Japan and Mexico. Therefore, a WWF Title id being defended here on a WCW PPV. It also gave us this:
Seriously, how sweet does that look? There’s just a pile of championships in the corner. How awesome is that? He has so many belts he just piles them up. Ah apparently Bischoff has already joined the NWO. Good to know. We start off in a mat based match which is kind of odd but it can work. How weird is it to think that Rey would become a two time world champion?
Now they crank it up and get a nice ovation for it. WCW fans could always appreciate good wrestling and this was no exception. Dragon is dominating here which makes sense as he was pushed as a really different kind of cruiserweight that could mix it up incredibly well. Heenan sounds like he’s on speed here as he’s talking so fast. Dragon hits a powerbomb but picks Rey up again and throws him backwards into a hot shot. NICE.
We go WAY old school with a giant swing. Someone really needs to look at Bobby’s monitors. They’re always on the blink. The crowd loves Rey here. Pay no attention to that though. He’s a small guy of Mexican descent. He can’t ever mean anything. This is basically Dragon does a big move and Rey gets up every time. Rey could sell like few others so this is certainly good.
I’ve never gotten the order of the rings at these shows. It seems like they have this obsession with how many rings there are here and there and it never works. There’s no Mike Tenay for this either, which makes the commentary more annoying than helpful. Rey kind of botches some stuff but nothing too bad. A springboard sunset flip gets two for Rey. Good freaking night that man could move back in the day. After they crank it up again, Rey goes for the West Coast Pop but Dragon counters into a slingshot powerbomb to retain the pile of belts. They say Malenko is next.
Rating: B. This was solid again and one more time the cruiserweights set the table for what could be a promising show. Dragon was definitely a different kind of cruiserweight back then as he used more power and leverage stuff rather than high flying and it worked very well. He and Malenko had some very good stuff coming up that we’ll get to soon enough. Quite good match.
There’s a new WCW.com. Remember that this is in 1996 so I wouldn’t expect much. Mark Madden is the commentator person there.
DDP, looking like he more traditionally would, is being recruited by the NWO. Him never saying yes is what made him one of the few heroes in WCW fans’ eyes. He denies being associated with Bischoff other than being his neighbor and says he’ll win the battle royal with a BANG.
Chris Jericho vs. Nick Patrick
Patrick has been an evil referee that has screwed Jericho over a few times and this is revenge time. Jericho has Teddy Long as his manager which didn’t last long. He also has to have one arm behind his back. We hear about Nick Patrick’s wrestling career which also didn’t last long. It’s the left arm here so this should be dominance. Patrick cuts a short promo and we find out why he’s a referee.
Patrick is in a sleeveless shirt and is in the NWO here. He also has a neckbrace. With one arm, Patrick wants a test of strength. That whole wrestling background falls apart pretty quickly here as it’s all Jericho who puts on a clinic with one arm. It’s all Jericho as we go to the floor. Jericho misses a clothesline into the post though and Patrick takes over for a bit. Since his offense does nothing though, we’re kind of just wasting time here. Jericho channels his inner Shawn Michaels for a superkick to end it. This was the first pinfall loss for the NWO on PPV, four months after they debuted.
Rating: D+. Pretty boring but they came up with some fairly creative spots to let Patrick get some offense in. This was just kind of pointless though as there was no challenge at all for Jericho and it just kind of fell flat. It could have been FAR worse though.
Flair comes out for an interview. He’s hurt here so he’s off the card. Even with his arm in a sling the guy looks like a million bucks. On the radio a few months ago one of the hosts said they ran into him in Florida and that Flair could not have looked better, smelled better or have been a nicer guy. That’s always good to hear about guys like Flair who comes off as a prick at times. He talks about a ton of guys and how this is about WCW and not the NWO. He guarantees the NWO will lose and stops to dance in between. That was awesome. Old guys can talk.
Giant vs. Jeff Jarrett
This was supposed to be Flair last month but since he was hurt then too they brought Jarrett in but he couldn’t do a damn thing with Giant. Giant stole the US Title belt from Flair who was champion but had it stripped from him for lack of defenses in 30 days. Jarrett is booed out of the building despite being Flair’s pick to fight Giant. Jarrett has been bragging that he didn’t get chokeslammed last month. Yeah that’s his big claim to fame at the moment.
The crowd is all over Jarrett here and loudly cheering for Giant. We hear about how Hogan got Giant into the NWO by promising him movie parts etc and sure enough Giant was in the movie Jingle All The Way which was in theaters the weekend of this show. Sting is up in the rafters and the show pretty much stops dead because of it. He comes down the steps and it’s hard to tell if he’s the real one or not. Giant misses a Vader Bomb and Jarrett takes him down with a cross body.
That might be the real Sting. He takes Jarrett out while Giant is on the floor. A chokeslam ends it. We’re of course told that Sting is clearly in the NWO now, which wouldn’t be officially answered until about March.
Rating: C-. Much better than their match last month as Jarrett didn’t try to come straight at him here and it looked like he was thinking more. Also Giant sold more of his stuff and it looked a lot better on that front too. This was just a pawn in the huge Sting chess game and on that worked very well, so definitely did its job.
Piper comes out with a contract in his hand. Bobby suggests that Piper is a bigger movie star than Hogan. I’ll leave that for you guys. Bischoff, Vincent and DiBiase come out sans Hogan. The next night Bischoff would say either join us or have your contracts voided which went nowhere but it got Bagwell to join.
Bischoff has power of attorney for Hogan so he can sign for Hogan. In a great bit of continuity, Piper shoves Vincent aside and tells him that he taught Vincent how to fight. Piper trained Vincent (Virgil in case that doesn’t ring a bell) to fight for his first match back in 1991. Piper says he can wear a leather jacket because he’s tough enough to unlike Bischoff. Piper really does come off as a badass here and this really did feel big. The problem was he actually had to wrestle.
Piper more or less says he doesn’t care about a count out or a DQ but just winning and here’s Hogan, Liz, Hall, Nash, Syxx and Giant. Bobby thinks Piper is outnumbered. I wonder if it was the 9-1 odds that made him think that. Hogan gets on the mic and lifts Piper’s skirt, showing the scar Piper has from a hip replacement. Why not just hold a big sign above their heads saying OLD GUYS?
Hogan signs the contract which Piper brought with him. For no apparent reason the match was NON title and when Piper won with a sleeper, he didn’t win the title. To say the fans were pissed would be an understatement. Piper jumps Hogan but gets caught. Hogan gets a chair and hits the weakest chair shot ever to the scar. Good to see the NWO is only taking ten minutes on this segment.
The Amazing French Canadians vs. Harlem Heat
The Canadians are more commonly known as the Quebecers from WWF. They’re managed by Colonel Parker and the Heat by Sherri. If the heat win there’s a match between the managers. Something tells me this isn’t going to be that good. Jacques, who was on New Blood Rising, sings the national anthem of Canada. I say sing loosely. He and Booker start. Please let this go fast.
To my great shock, we talk about Piper and Hogan for the opening of the match. Parker is dressed up as a French Legionnaire now and somehow looks even stupider. He stomps on Booker and the comedy is completely unintentional. This match isn’t particularly terrible bit it’s just boring as hell. It’s been about five minutes since the last thing I typed. There just hasn’t been anything to talk about.
The Canadians get the steps and put them in a corner then get a table and lay it across the top rope. They put more steps on top of that and the non-Mountie Canadian does a front flip off. He completely misses and a Harlem Hangover ends him.
Rating: D-. This didn’t get me interested at all. Why am I watching the Quebecers when it’s almost 1997? This was just garbage and boring as hell on all levels. No one cared about Parker vs. Sherri so they went with it for over a year. At least this is over now.
Sherri beats up Parker for like a minute in their “match.” Parker runs away after a cross body. Not even worth an actual introduction.
WCW needs to stop having their production guys on TV so clearly. It just takes something away from the show. Not sure why but it bothers me.
Piper vs. Hogan is called the match of the century and we get a really bad promo for Starrcade.
Someone else might be coming to WCW. I’m not sure who that was but it likely wasn’t anyone special.
Luger comes in and talks about Sting handing him a baseball bat. Luger thinks he’s NWO but doesn’t want to believe it. He had been getting the semi-Superman push lately so he was one of the favorites in the battle royal but there really wasn’t anyone that was clearly going to win.
Cruiserweight Title: Psicosis vs. Dean Malenko
Malenko was just about perfect at this point and would somehow get better the next year, actually winning best technical wrestler both in 96 and 97 from Meltzer as well as winning the PWI 500 which is fan voted I believe. They were building to Malenko vs. Dragon next month in what would more or less be a throwaway match. We start with a lot of technical stuff as you would expect us to.
Bobby picks Malenko to win the battle royal tonight. I’ll set the over under on him changing at 8.5. They’re doing the three broadcast teams tonight. That’s just going to make my head hurt. Malenko has a leglock on and the fans look at something in the audience. After more decent stuff, Psicosis falls off the top rope and slams his head into the railing. Since he isn’t dead, we can continue.
Dean goes into his finishing sequence but the ropes break the Cloverleaf. He destroys the knee and is completely dominating here. We ignore the over the top thing again and Psicosis hits a top rope flip from the top and hits his head again. Good thing he wears that mask or he’d need to get one to cover up the ugly. Then again I’ve seen him sans mask so maybe he needed it all along.
Dean takes a rana from the top for two as this is kind of pedestrian and the crowd isn’t into it at all really. He gets a SWEET reversal out of a suplex into a small package. That looked great. A tombostone gets two for the champion and then he rolls him up for the pin.
Rating: B-. Decent match but they just felt a bit bored out there. They were kind of off by a step or so and it showed badly. It’s definitely good but there was something holding it back from being really good. The crowd didn’t care at all for some reason which is odd as Malenko was usually very popular. Weird but good.
Tag Titles: Nasty Boys vs. Outsiders vs. Faces of Fear
This is the next to last match on the card so at least we’re almost done. Hall and Nash have the belts and come out first for some reason. The Faces of Fear were good for placeholders and jobbers in this division as they were legit tough so it was completely believable. The Nasty Boys continue to not be much at all. The more famous teams brawl to start before the Faces of Fear are here. Ah here they are.
The Outsiders are both jumped by a tag team and it breaks down into a brawl. Knobbs and Barbarian start us off officially and I already don’t like this match. They keep the Outsiders out as long as they can which is about a minute and a half. Hall comes in and beats up Barbarian. Barbarian needs to get up because THIS IS WCW! The problem is that no one cares about Barbarian so they cheer Hall.
We’re six minutes into this so Dusty says it’s been 15. Basically it’s just a bunch of brawling with no particular rhyme or reason. When I get bored I think in song lyrics. So sue me. I love Nash’s side slam. That this is just downright elegant. Something tells me this is going to go on for a LONG time. No one has any particular advantage but Meng gets a suplex on Hall for two and Jimmy FREAKS. It’s absolutely hilarious how much he yells and screams over it. How much caffeine do you think he has in one day?
The Nasty Boys are ordained as the masters of the Clubber. They just stand back and watch the other four fight which is smart when you think about it. This has been like ten minutes of just random brawling. There’s no flow to this match at all and no one has been in any kind of extended trouble. Meng and Knobbs tag in Hall and Nash at the same time so they have to fight. Hall lays down for Nash but the save is made, extending this torture a bit longer. A Megaphone shot and powerbomb on Knobbs end it.
Rating: F+. This was AWFUL. It runs over 15 minutes, nothing of note happens, there’s no story at all and the ending comes from nowhere. When the Faces of Fear have the best performance in a match, that’s not a good sign in the slightest. And now we get the battle royal. Oh yay.
The teams of announcers are Tenay and Dusty, Larry and Lee Marshall and Tony and Bobby. They all give their take and none of them mean a thing. Dusty picks Luger or Konnan.
World War 3
Arn Anderson, Marcus Bagwell, The Barbarian, Chris Benoit, Big Bubba, Jack Boot, Bunkhouse Buck, Ciclope, Disco Inferno, Jim Duggan, Bobby Eaton, Mike Enos, Galaxy, Joe Gomez, Jimmy Graffiti, Johnny Grunge, Juventud Guerrera, Eddy Guerrero, Scott Hall, Prince Iaukea, Ice Train, Mr. JL, Jeff Jarrett, Chris Jericho, Kenny Kaos, Konnan, Lex Luger, Dean Malenko, Steve McMichael, Meng, Rey Misterio, Jr., Hugh Morrus, Kevin Nash, Scott Norton, Pierre Ouelette, Diamond Dallas Page, La Parka, Sgt. Craig Pittman, Jim Powers, Robbie Rage, Stevie Ray, Lord Steven Regal, The Renegade, Scotty Riggs, Roadblock, Jacques Rougeau, Tony Rumble, Mark Starr, Rick Steiner, Ron Studd, Kevin Sullivan, Syxx, Booker T, David Taylor, the Último Dragón, Villaño IV, Michael Wallstreet, Pez Whatley and Alex Wright.
The list is from Wikipedia so blame them for anything weird in there.
The intros take a few minutes since 60 guys have to come out. While they’re coming out, a few notes: Jimmy Graffiti is Jimmy Del Ray of the Heavenly Bodies, Galaxy is a luchador, Jack Bruce is Buddy Lee Parker and Pez Whatley was a medium deal in 86. Benoit is all beaten up and has black eyes and cuts all over his face. The NWO are all in the same ring. Benoit and Sullivan fight before the match officially starts. The Dungeon and the Horsemen jump in and here we go.
I’m not going to even try to list off everyone eliminated here so if I leave someone out don’t be surprised in the slightest. The camera stays on Benoit and Sullivan for about a minute and a half. Oh great we’re doing the triple screen again and you can’t see anything. I think the Dungeon of Doom and the Horsemen are gone. We’ve looked at the three rings maybe 15 seconds combined and almost three minutes at Benoit vs. Sullivan. The NWO is just standing in the corner and Benoit is slammed on Marshall and Larry’s table.
No one of note is out yet. All of the Dungeon and the Horsemen are out, which is about 9 people. Marshall gets knocked out in the big fight so something has gone right tonight at least. Look up BIG ASS CLUSTERFUCK in the dictionary and you have this match. Tony Rumble, a career jobber, is gone. Once we get down to ten in each ring they’ll break up that ring. La Parka is gone as is Ciclope. Norton is gone and Pez Whatley is too. Expect a lot of that in this match.
The eliminations start picking up a bit as three no names go out in a row. We get rid of the jobbers for the most part here which is good. Joe Gomez is out. All of the announce teams run down the remaining guys and I don’t even bother paying attention. Every big name is still in it. Giant and Roadblock, an incredibly fat guy go at it. Guess who wins. JL is out. We really need to get this down to one ring for the sake of sanity.
Everybody goes after Big Ron Studd with about a dozen splashes but no one actually tries to put him out. Everyone piles on him but we’re told he has to be thrown out of course. Both Canadians and Duggan are out. Eddie eliminates himself with a plancha to Regal. Bagwell is out as we’re getting some bigger names gone. He and Riggs fight on the floor and they would split tomorrow.
Dave Taylor and Wallstreet are gone. There are 9 left in ring 3 so that ring should be broken up. Scott Steiner is out. There are 8 in ring 1 and 9 in ring 2. Juvy is out. We’re merging into ring 2 thank goodness. Wait is Eddie out or not? Yeah he is for no apparent reason. Everyone is in the same ring so they keep it with three cameras. Damn it go to one camera! Jack Boot is out. You can’t see shit and it’s really complicated because getting more than one angle of the same guys is just really confusing.
Luger tries to get Giant out but the power of fat stops him. Malenko is out and so is Craig Pittman and Booker. We’re still on three cameras because WCW is stupid. Disco is finally out. Bunkhouse Buck is gone. I’d love to see how many people are left. Boy what a basic camera shot would do to help that. A bunch of people go out quickly including Dragon. Tony says there are 13 left. Jericho going out gets us to 12 I think. Just to further the stupidity, the bottom camera goes to a single shot.
Ice Train is out. Ok, everyone is in a damn circle and FINALLY we go to one camera, 20 minutes into the damn match. We have Syxx, Hall, Nash, Giant, DDP, Jarrett, Luger, Rey Regal and Eddie left. Eddie was in the final ten last year too I think. Eddie is out and Rey goes after Nash. Giant literally throws Rey out with one hand. Jarrett goes out and we have 7 left. DDP takes us to 6. Regal, Luger, four NWO guys. Make that Luger vs. the NWO.
Giant misses a charge and winds up on the ropes so Luger racks him. Hall goes out. There goes Syxx. Like an idiot he racks Nash and Giant dumps them both to win. Bobby and Tony say it’s the best battle royal ever. Giant would get thrown out of the NWO for asking for a title shot. He would get it at Souled Out, the first NWO PPV. The heels pose to end the show.
Rating: D. This wasn’t very good. The camera work KILLED it in the end. For at least five minutes we were on one ring and you couldn’t see a damn thing at all. These matches were never really very good at all and this was no exception. They’re just big messes the entire time and nothing ever really came of them. When you have so many jobbers it makes you wonder what the point is in having this many. Cut the damn thing down to like 45 or even 40 and this is WAY better. Still though, the NWO winning was just stupid but then again this is WCW so there you go.
Overall Rating: D. This wasn’t very good. There’s some ok stuff on it, but that’s as good as it gets. SO much stuff on here is just boring as hell as the majority of the roster was in the battle royal. Things would pick up a lot in the coming year, but the end of 96 was really pretty week. These shows always sucked though and this was absolutely no exception. Don’t watch this one.