Sunday, September 7, 2014

On This Day: WCW Saturday Night - September 7, 1996

So last time we left off, I was fairly critical of The Giant’s idiotic turn to the nWo. A retrospective look at what occurred was shared with me from the Wrestling Observer, courtesy Justin Shapiro:

After the original plan to debut Davey Boy Smith as the new member of the New World Order fell through, WCW instead turned The Giant.

The Giant turn was WCW's last minute panic move since it had promised to introduce two new members of the NWO on the 9/2 television show. The other new member in the original plan, Sean Waltman, was also not introduced on the show, apparently because he's also being held up as a pawn in the legal battle between the two companies. The latest word we've heard is to play it safe and to avoid giving WWF more ammunition in its lawsuit against WCW, that WCW at least as of our last word wasn't going to use Waltman for nine months, until his WWF contract expires. There were hints at the end of the show of more NWO members being introduced, and one is believed to be Jeff Jarrett, whose WWF contract expires on 10/4.

The last minute turn changes already scripted plans in regard to house shows and upcoming PPV events. Giant was scheduled to wrestle Kevin Nash at Halloween Havoc on 10/27 in Las Vegas and obviously that will have to be changed. The other matches on the original plans for Halloween Havoc, besides the Hogan vs. Savage WCW title match, were Flair vs. Hall for the U.S. title, Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko in a two of three fall match for the cruiserweight title, and Ultimo Dragon vs. Jushin Liger for all eight national and world titles since Dragon is slated to win the eight belts on 10/11 in Osaka.

The plan to make the Horseman look like jobbers wasn't the original angle, but a revised angle came up with by Hogan which has caused at least a few of the wrestlers to complain once again Hogan is booking for his own ego rather than for business. The original plan was to create a situation where the Horsemen would be involved in a scenario where they would jump and run off Hall and Nash, and about that time Hogan would arrive and be by himself. As he was being beaten on, then the Giant would come out for the finishing touches on Hogan, but instead Giant would choke slam all the Horsemen. However, Hogan refused that scenario and came up with the one that was used.

They are back in the syndrome of Kevin Sullivan, Arn Anderson and Jimmy Hart putting together all the television shows, and then Hogan shows up on Monday and re-does everything. Right now nobody can complain about it because ratings are up, but it's killing the other bookers because all their long-term plans are constantly having to be thrown out the window such as the Giant vs. Nash and Hogan impending feuds.

This makes a lot more sense to me than any scenario anyone can concoct, trying to tie the logic strings together that allowed The Giant to make his decision to turn into a rogue conformist. Wait, Dr. Unlikely says he can do it?

I like to think, had we been given the full Kevin Sullivan treatment here instead of the one, er, sullied by Hogan's last minute changes, we would have actually seen a taped segment of Ted DiBiase delivering The Giant to Hogan's mansion done as a direct parallel to Hogan being transported to the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant staring in awe at a row of three motorcycles and saying "There's hundreds, DiBiase!" The Giant dipping his hand in Hogan's jacuzzi and shouting "That's not cold!" The Giant, now completely out of his element seeing the vast opulence of the Hogan Estate, wandering into Hogan's den where Hollywood Hogan would be watching The Princess Bride, and the sight of his father, Andre, would awaken buried desires of being a Hollywood Superstar within The Giant, all while DiBiase would be using the same pitch to turn The Giant that he once successfully used to turn Andre.



Condensed version of Saturday Night this week; I assume the Cyborg Factory had a malfunction and was unable to finish production on the second half of the required jobber construction. Still, DUSTY RHODES and TONY SCHIAVONE are here, dressed in black because WCW is dead baybee! Tony calls this the biggest shocker yet (oh hell, Tony, Hogan JUST turned a month ago), and Dusty figures the balance of power is now in the nWo’s section, and why not, they clearly have the numbers advantage of 4 to 846.

“HARDWORK” BOBBY WALKER vs. ARN ANDERSON

Walker wins via DQ in 0:08 due to racism when Arn tosses him over the top rope. Oh, did I mention your referee is one NICK PATRICK? Still, rules is rules. Arn asks for the stick, and I hope it’s to apologize for his embarrassing behavior here. Instead, Arn announces the Horsemen aren’t going to curl up in a ball and die, despite the Giant’s turn. He’s placed some calls of his own. Oh my god, he’s recruiting ECW!

No, in all seriousness, he heads to the back where he crosses paths with KEVIN SULLIVAN and JIMMY HART. Arn says he feels utterly helpless like he never has before. Sullivan reminds Arn that they’ve worked together before, and he got backstabbed at the Great American Bash. With that in mind, he recognizes it was a Horsemen move, and he can let bygones be bygones. Sullivan promises that if anyone from the Dungeon ever thinks about defecting again, they’ll be struck down by Sullivan himself. Why wouldn’t he do that NOW when SOMEONE DID?

KENNY KAOS vs. CHAVO GUERRERO JR.

Tony announces that TOMORROW, Glacier is COMING! I don’t believe him. Wikipedia indicates he’ll debut on WCW Pro, but I go with “if I didn’t recap it, it didn’t happen” – and since I don’t recap that show, it never happened. Kaos takes early control, which is pretty much the template for Chavo Guerrero Jr at this point. Wait for the fluke ending, it’s coming. Lo and behold, Kaos gets cute and takes Chavo to the top, where he shoves him off, and a lousy moonsault gets the pin at2:51. Chavo is seriously all kinds of awful at this stage of his career. *

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND talks to Chavo about Fall Brawl’s match against DDP. Chavo blames Eddie and himself for turning their backs on Page in the past, but this time, he’ll be watching him like a viper. Perfect.

“SQUIRE” DAVID TAYLOR (with Jeeves) vs. BOBBY EATON

Eaton uses the old recycled “Stunning” Steve Austin music. Eaton has decided to abandon his British roots which go back as far as 8 months ago. Taylor attacks before the bell, and, YES, the European uppercut is out in full force! Two of them even! Dear god, this is a ruthless man! How Eaton is not on life support is beyond me. Eaton throws some punches, but Taylor launches his THIRD European uppercut! You can have your Brock Lesnar German suplexes, I’ll take these. Eaton comes back with a swinging neckbreaker, but Taylor’s a real man, and he comes back with the fallway slam. For some reason, Jeeves throws down the British flag now, and that just sets Taylor off to tell him where to go. Back in, Jeeves trips him up and Eaton steals a pin at 1:58. ROBBERY! VANDAL! SCUMBAGS! 1/2*

PRINCE IAUKEA and JIM POWERS (with Teddy Long) vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart)

It’s been nice knowing you gentlemen. Sure enough, the Faces give the faces absolutely nothing, and I’m totally cool with that. Iaukea throws some sad dropkicks that doesn’t pack much more punch than a bite from a mature mosquito. Faces laugh it off, Meng hits a spike piledriver, and the boys launch the double headbutts. RON THE LEPRECHAUN runs down and attacks Jim Powers, while Barbarian finishes Iaukea at 3:14. Braun tries to eat Iaukea post-match. *

VK WALLSTREET vs. RANDY SAVAGE

Savage attacks before the bell, Rubbermaid trashcan in hand, in the aisle. The referee throws this out before it starts. Savage angrily drops 3 elbows, beforeTHE GAMBLER and HIGH VOLTAGE try to save. Savage easily disposes of them all. Including the Gambler, much to my annoyance.

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants to know what on earth just happened. Savage says there’s no more rules in WCW, all bets are off, and promises that Hogan’s finished at Halloween Havoc. Gene signs off, closing on the footage of the destruction from Nitro.

Well that flew by! Worldwide tomorrow.

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