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The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–09.04.95

(I have the first three weeks of this show done from the 24/7 days, so we’ll repost those and then start plowing through WCW’s side of the Monday Night Wars.) 

The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Monday Nitro #1 (September 4 1995)

- Live from the Mall of America

- Your hosts are Eric Bischoff & Steve McMichael & Bobby Heenan.

Brian Pillman v. Jushin Liger.

Liger catches a kick in the corner and a moonsault press gets two. Pillman takes him down with a headscissors for two. Rollup gets two. Liger comes back with a bow-and-arrow, but Pillman gets another headscissors before missing a charge and landing on the floor. Liger follows with a senton off the apron, but Pillman suplexes him off the apron and follows with a cross body to the floor. Back in, they fight on top and Liger superplexes him for two. Back up, but Pillman dropkicks him for two. Pillman comes back with a swinging DDT for two and reverses a suplex attempt into a victory roll for the, well, victory, at 6:42. Too short to be worth much, but it really kicked off the new era of cruiserweights on Monday nights. **1/2

- Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan shills Pastamania, as he proves that yes, marking up a can of Spaghettios to $6 CAN be a losing proposition. (Maybe Hulk was the business advisor for the Network launch?)  Whatcha gonna do when Chapter 11 runs wild on YOU, brother?

Sting v. Ric Flair.

It is of course fitting that this match bookended the history Monday Nitro, but this match is also historic for being the atomic bomb that launched the Monday Night Wars. Namely, Lex Luger, who walks down to ringside while supposedly being a part of the WWF at the time. I think that later he may have regretted that move. (Boy, that’s a tough tradeoff, though, because he was rocketing to the bottom in the WWF at the time and at least made some huge money for a few years with WCW.  In the long term, though, he probably would have been better off staying loyal.)  Lockup to start and Flair grabs the headlock, but Sting escapes and gets the military press. Another one for fun and he follows with the hiptoss and dropkick to put Flair on the floor. Back in, Flair goes for the eyes and throws the first chops of the Monday Night Wars, but Sting no-sells as we're apparently doing the abbreviated version of their matches. Another press slam, but Flair goes low and takes Sting to the floor with a bodypress. Flair takes a run at him on the floor, but Sting catches him in another press and dumps Flair back into the ring. Stinger splash misses, but Sting no-sells that too and keeps coming with a bulldog instead. Finally he runs into an elbow, and we have to take a break. Back with Flair going up, and Sting slamming him off for the first time on Nitro. Not the last. Yet another press slam (OK, you're strong, we get it), but he misses a flying splash while Arn Anderson wanders out. Flair with the delayed suplex, but Sting no-sells and comes back and sets up the Flair Flip before pounding away in the corner. They do a low-grade version of the pinfall reversal sequence and Sting puts Flair on the top for a superplex, but doesn't cover. Flair clips him while he's jawing at AA and gets the figure-four, but he uses the ropes and gets caught. Arn simply walks in and it's a DQ at 9:20. Arn attacks Flair to build towards the Horsemen reunion at Halloween Havoc, showing that Sting, as usual, is a moron for buying any of it. This was the Reader's Digest Condensed version of their usual match, but it's Flair v. Sting, so it's pretty much an automatic thumbs up. ***1/4

- And now, another huge shock, as Scott Norton invades WCW! Oddly, people don't still talk about that one today like they do with Luger. Randy Savage gets in his face to set up a feud that no one cared about anyway.

- Sabu: Coming soon to a do a quick job and then leave.

- Meanwhile, Michael Wallstreet returns to WCW. (So how did he get around the standard 90 day no-compete, I wonder?  Unless he was working without a contract at the end of his WWF run in 95, but all that Meltzer said at the time was that he was retiring and working as a road agent after In Your House 2.)  Don't know how they managed to screw up that gimmick. Take Ted Dibiase's just-as-talented former partner, give him Dibiase's gimmick, and then give him no more promo time and do nothing with him. OK, I guess I do know how they screwed it up.

WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Big Bubba Rogers. Bischoff announces that Norton v. Savage will be next week's main event. Whew, glad I don't have to sit through it. Bubba grabs the headlock to start, but Hogan shoulderblocks him down. Bubba slugs away in the corner and follows with an avalanche, then chokes him out in the corner. Hulk comes back and rams Bubba into the turnbuckle, but gets poked in the eye. Bubba pounds on the ribs in the corner, but walks into a boot, and Hogan pounds away on the mat. Bubba comes back with the running choke, but goes after Jimmy Hart and gets attacked by Hogan again as a result. Hulk throws punches in the corner and follows with the corner clothesline, and slams him to set up the elbow drops. It's interesting that after the initial star pop that Hogan got, the crowd is no longer interested in his act and really dies off, foreshadowing Hogan's future problems in that regard. Bossman Slam gets two, but it's time to hulk up. Big boot, legdrop, goodbye at 7:04. Short and pretty painless, although it felt like a Saturday morning cartoon at times. ** And speaking of cartoons, the Dungeon of Doom attacks Hulk afterwards, but Luger saves and teases a confrontation with Hulk. Sting and Randy Savage intercede to calm things down, and I'll say what I've said before again: Whoever couldn't put 2 and 2 together and book Sting & Lex Luger v. The Megapowers on PPV is a giant idiot and should be beaten with a large piece of wood. If they done a passing the torch deal with those guys at Starrcade 95 it would have drawn HUGE money.

- Next week: Hulk Hogan v. Lex Luger for the World title!

Well, this was pretty close to a perfect debut for Nitro, as they led off with a pair of good matches and dropped a huge surprise on the fans, then headlined with two of the bigger stars of the WWF's biggest era and set up a match for the next week that people wanted to see. Hell, I'd watch again. Thumbs way up for this show.

Comments

  1. Thanks for doing these reviews, Scott.

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  2. Luger had no future in the WWF. Maybe he should have given notice but he made the right move by leaving.

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  3. Oh yeah, Mo was dreadful, even when I honestly believed what Well Dunn vs. The Bushwackers could be a Main Event in any arena in the country I knew that. I remember they used to put him over as the "Scientific Wrestler" of MOM or as a "Street Fighter" (Sesame?) and I just thought of him as the little useless one who looked 50 years old.

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  4. They blew it with Wallstreet and Norton. Amazing.

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  5. "Whoever couldn't put 2 and 2 together and book Sting & Lex Luger v. The Megapowers on PPV is a giant idiot and should be beaten with a large piece of wood. If they done a passing the torch deal with those guys at Starrcade 95 it would have drawn HUGE money."


    WHO'S "passing the torch", BROTHER? Because I'm pretty damn sure it wasn't going to be the Orange Goblin, and why bury the "hot new acquisition" in Luger?

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  6. Rotunda had nowhere near the charisma to pull of that gimmick.

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  7. Also, were no compete clauses even a thing back then?

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  8. With as many run-ins and fuck finishes as they were doing at the time, it still blows my mind that the time it would be most reasonable to do it, they don't. That match was just screaming for an nWo run-in, or even a Dusty finish to set up the rematch in a cage on PPV. Doesn't seem like it's all that difficult.

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  9. So how did he get around the standard 90 day no-compete, I wonder?  Unless he was working without a contract at the end of his WWF run in 95, but all that Meltzer said at the time was that he
    was retiring and working as a road agent after In Your House 2.

    Isnt the 90 only if released. If your deal is expired you can walk anytime. He was probably under an office work deal as an agent.



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  10. It's hard to say. I can't think lf anyone who was released back then. X-Pac maybe?

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  11. When you screw a face out of a title, it goes back to the heel! Didn't those bookers pay attention in Prof. Blackburn's Professional Sports Management class?

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  12. (Boy, that’s a tough tradeoff, though, because he was rocketing to the bottom in the WWF at the time and at least made some huge money for a few years with WCW. In the long term, though, he probably would have been better off staying loyal.)



    I'm not sure he would have survived the talent purge of 96 that saw them get rid a lot of New Generation stars like Tatanka, 123 Kid, Bigelow, etc.

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  13. That's it. He'd given notice and was working without a contract at the time, and it took Luger (and later Medusa) walking onto Nitro for Vince to realize that was kind of a bad idea.

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  14. If Sting/Luger vs. Megapowers went down, we all know Savage would have done the job while Hogan single handedly fought off The Horsemen, The Dungeon of Doom, the country of Kuwait and the local football team all at once.

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  15. I believe the Kama angle you talked about occured on Superstars, but I thought the same thing at first too.

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  16. Looking back, it's shocking to me how quickly WCW went from awful, cartoon-y garbage like Dungeon of Doom, to the awesome nWo/Jericho, Benoit, Eddy era, and then back to a whole new kind of terrible by 99...

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  17. "Yep Mode" ABeyAnce1©September 14, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    What can I say, I love Florida.

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  18. Hogan pins Luger, who then turns heel on Sting and Luger/Flair/Anderson/Pillman/Benoit + the Dungeon of Doom lay out Hogan Sting and Savage.

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  19. Robert Bradley CurranSeptember 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    I was thinking the same thing. I don't see him sticking around the WWF to be an aimless midcarder forever. He's not anywhere near as big a deal if he jumps to WCW later/doesn't have that memorable return.

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  20. Sid would have been stripped yet again by Nash, because the submission happened in a pinfall only match. But, against all odds, Nash got injured, so they decided to just let the title change stick.

    Probably the only time an injury prevented a title vacancy.

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  21. If he stuck around in 95, he would have been the SIXTH FROM THE TOP BABYFACE, behind Diesel, Razor, Bret, Shawn, Undertaker.


    They turned Davey Boy heel and outside of his match with Bret in Hershey, that shit made no sense.


    Lex turning heel and teaming with Sid against Diesel and Shawn would have made way more sense.


    And people can talk all they want about how talentless Lex was and not giving a shit, but I've been watching him on Nitro and I've been amazed with Luger's tweener role, particularly when he's teaming with Sting, acting like an over-the-top smiling babyface while Sting is watching, then as soon as Sting's back is turned acting like a prick. He could have been SO MUCH MORE than a flag-waving smiling jerkoff babyface for Vince.

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  22. Luger vs. Hogan at Starcade 95 would have been epic business. Typical.

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  23. WWF vs End of the Line AWA?

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  24. If I remember Summerslam 1995 correctly, I'm sure Lugar & Diesel were being set-up to fight for the title at the next PPV. so he was hardly being turned into a jobber, he was about to challenge for the title!

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  25. He did okay with Michael Wallstreet in 1990.

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  26. Yeah you're not. Luger was positioned for a fight with Bulldog in September, and the Triple header match was announced at the end of Summerslam 95.

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  27. Their match on the next Nitro is actually pretty good. Well, maybe not good, but certainly a lot of fun to watch.

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  28. Hogan wasn't even on Starrcade 1995. I wonder why.

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  29. Wouldn't say the blew it with norton. He just plain sucked. And they pushed him for quite some time. I think he was the last remaining member of the nwo when they were just jobbers at the end actually.

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  30. What was the reasoning for Hogan not working Starrcade '95? They could have easily done Hogan/Luger for the belt with Savage/Flair and Sting/Sasaki for the US Title filling out the top of the card.

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  31. He probably had to be in Minnesota taking care of some important Pastamania business.

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  32. The strangest one ever is David Arquette and not because of the obvious (him being an actor). He won the title from his PARTNER in that match! DDP was the champion and it was a tag match where the first pin won the title. Arquette pinned Bischoff (even though Bischoff's partner Jeff Jarrett simultaneously had DDP pinned...adding to the stupidity of it all) to win the title from DDP. And then DDP moronically celebrates with Arquette.

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  33. Reading up on the timeline of Luger leaving WCW, I found this on the history of www: "Lex Luger defeated King Mabel via disqualification when Sir Mo & Davey Boy Smith interfered and left Luger laying; the match was taped to air on the 9/16/95 episode of Superstars but did not, due to Luger leaving for WCW"


    I wonder why Vince didn't use the footage of Luger being left laying as a way of explaing Luger's departure. He could have spun it as "this happened and as a result Mr. Luger realized he could not cut it int he World Wrestling Federation and has decided to compete elsewhere, where the competition is easier."

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  34. It was during his time off gaurianteed in his contract. December was traditionally bad for ppv buy rates. He would leave anytime business would be bad anyway and come back whenever business would pick up anyway. Thus making himself more valuable.

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  35. Others had to be let if right? Aside from hart, smith and bulldog. But I think the NCA were in effect - Jericho had to wait right (I know his contract was up and he wasn't released)

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  36. Good to see Scott Keith survive the purge.

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  37. It's crazy how much Savage lost in WCW. Other than Page and Flair, he didn't really beat anyone in the later years except for his two one-night title reigns. In the first half of 98 when he was active, he tapped on just about every ppv he was on.

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  38. No competes were absolutely a thing. Just ask Rick Rude.

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  39. Don't forget Hogan was later sued by a woman associated with pasta mania as she accused hogan of forcing her to swallow his pasta sauce (yes i mean something else). It allegedly happened before this show.

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  40. I guess she's not a fan of alfredo.

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  41. He probably had worked the required number of dates in his contract by that point, or something to that effect...still, you'd think they would have figured out a way to use him for that show.

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  42. Yeah, but maybe not for a guy like Mike Rotundo? Maybe it hadn't evolved to the point where every guy had one.

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  43. "Jericho had to wait right"
    Nope. A contract expiring means exactly that. A no-compete clause is for when a wrestler has a contract with 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, or whatever left on it, but that wrestler and/or the company wants out of the deal right now.

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  44. I dunno, I just checked the WON and Meltzer was pretty non-chalant about the whole thing, basically saying in the August 21 issue "Well, Rotunda and Luger gave notice this week and both will be showing up for Nitro." So clearly Vince knew in advance that Luger was jumping and his bullshit stories about being all betrayed are just that.

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  45. Or she was producing marinara at the time.

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  46. YankeesHoganTripleHFanSeptember 14, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    "but this match is also historic for being the atomic bomb that launched the Monday Night Wars" They started it...we ended it

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  47. And with that, my trip to the Olive Garden is indefinitely postponed

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  48. Now when I think about it, Sting and Luger vs. Hogan and Savage would've been a good main event for Halloween Havoc 95.

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  49. Yeah but most contracts that include am NCA will have a time frame attached. Not uncommon. Not surer out Jericho but I though he had a 30 or 60 day window where he couldn't wrestle or appear but I could be wrong.

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  50. Seriously? Then why was Luger still working house shows 24 hours before Nitro. I never knew that.

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  51. He's probably banging the site's owner

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  52. As someone who used to WORK at an Olive Garden, I think you owe me a debt of gratitude! Unless you want to fill up a never ending toilet bowl ;)

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  53. He didn't have a contract. Was working as a freelancer for the wwf (who apparently had no one with a law degree on staff to point this out )

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  54. From the 08.21 issue:

    "All kinds of behind-the-scenes news. First off, they began a Davey Boy Smith heel turn, which was almost clearly not planned out in advance, on the 8/12 Madison Square Garden show and more subtly on the 8/13 Albany, NY house show, and officially turned him during the portion of the 8/14 Raw that airs on 8/21. Smith turned on Lex Luger at the Garden, but instead of turning on Luger, turned on Diesel at TV and will be managed by Jim Cornette. That may be because Luger at the taping gave notice. Adam Bomb also gave notice at the taping. Apparently he's been disappointed with his push and what he feels are unfulfilled promises. Don't know the situation with Luger but Bomb was told on Monday to talk to Vince McMahon on Tuesday and try to get everything resolved. Last week Sting made a play in the WCW offices to try and get Luger a job and was successful enough that they were at least strongly considering it, supposedly with the caveat that Luger come in as a heel and immediately put Hulk Hogan over clean."

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  55. For monthly access, will you start charging $9.99?

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  56. YankeesHoganTripleHFanSeptember 14, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    What? they gave you tag matches in the 80's what more do you want?

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  57. Thank god Scotsman doesn't own the site anymore.

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  58. The local football team consists entirely of Hulkamaniacs, dude.

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  59. I was thinking 94/95 time frame.

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  60. Not the 90-day no-competes we know from WWE. They are strictly for when a contract is being broken early, not when someone stays for the entire duration of the deal That's how Christian was able go from WWE to TNA in 2 weeks in 2005. He continued to appear on WWE TV right up until his deal expired, then he debuted on TNA the first time they ran a show after that.
    A no-compete clause at the end of a contract doesn't even make sense. During a no-compete, you still get paid and any bookings you get have to be approved, so basically, you still work for the company. Putting it at the end of a contract would basically mean the contract isn't actually expiring on xx-yy-zz but 90 days later.

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  61. Probably because Luger had already been on Nitro twice by the time it would have aired.
    Didn't stop WCW, though, when Nash jumped to WWE in 1993 as they still aired Vinnie Vegas matches a couple weeks after he showed up as Shawn's bodyguard.

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  62. YankeesHoganTripleHFanSeptember 14, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Is it just me or does scott seem really angry? It happened 20 years ago. get over it.

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  63. I'm just happy we didn't see Pex BOOGER with the Huckster and the Nacho Man.

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  64. Adam "Colorado" CurrySeptember 14, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    That was the least of their problems when it comes to the 1993 tapings.

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  65. Adam "Colorado" CurrySeptember 14, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Not like IRS was the one that turned the tide for WCW...

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  66. Speaking of shitty business ideas, Hogan's latest restaurant go under yet?

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  67. Adam "Colorado" CurrySeptember 14, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    "Take Ted Dibiase's just-as-talented former partner..."


    That's a bit of a stretch, especially in 1995.

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  68. Adam "Colorado" CurrySeptember 14, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Didn't he turn down the Foreman grill for that?

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  69. *sadly turns off the stove* I was so looking forward to my spaghetti.

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  70. Then again, wasn't '95 Dibiase near immobile with a bad back?

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  71. Who amongst the following people that have received shots at the WCW or WWF Championship was the most ridiculous:

    Eric Bischoff
    David Arquette
    Vince Russo
    Vince McMahon
    Stephanie McMahon

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  72. So he claims. He also auditioned for Metallica if u ask him

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  73. It always bugged me that hogan never once jobbed for savage. Just one time for the guy he calls his greatest opponent.

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  74. Maybe it was referring to his bedroom prowess, as Rotunda fathered far more talented children.

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  75. Exactly. Kidman and Vampiro pinned Hogan, for fuck's sake, and Randy Savage never did. I think that Hogan knew Savage was potentially as big of an icon as he was (plus infinitely more talented), and made sure to do what he could to appear out of his league.

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  76. This is a repost...I'm sure he's over it by now.

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  77. Oh wow, never knew that fact before. Kind of surprising how quickly Mabel's stock fell after Summerslam. He went from a guy that was protected and never did jobs to a guy that was jobbing to everyone.

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  78. He may have not turned the tv product around but he was responsible for saving WCW a whole bunch of tax money.

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  79. Thing was Luger was making main event money despite being pushed as a midcarder so if Vince was smart, he had to let him go if he had no plans on pushing him again.

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  80. I'm not much of a Luger fan, but the guy was *on* in his first year in WCW.

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  81. If Bayless got cut - I hope to find his web page. He had some great reviews.

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