Get your excitement in check because WCW Nitro is fired up and ready to go. For the first time since I started these recaps, you can also watch with me if you’re subscribed to the WWE Network (just $9.99 per month!). That link will take you directly to the episode of Nitro I’m reviewing, but I have no idea if the content will be exactly what I see, because I’ll be working off the old VHS-transferred-to-digital-copy that I own. If you choose to check out the Network, spot the differences for me would ya?
Live again from an undisclosed location, TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us to the show. I don’t mean to alarm you, but in less than one week, there’s a pay-per-view. New World Odor belches its way out of Larry’s gut within minutes.
Calo has a Cruiserweight title shot at Fall Brawl, which would pretty much be his peak in WCW over the next 3 years. Whoops, there I go spoiling stuff again. MIKE TENAY comes bolting out of the dark corner he lurks in to join the announce booth at the mere whiff of a luchador. Tanaka drops Calo with a side kick, but Calo comes back with a pair of triple jump crossbody blocks. Tanaka rolls to the floor, and tope con hilo is on point! Do you care? WCW doesn’t, because …
In the back, some YOUNG FOLKS wearing nWo shirts are mulling around. The announcers claim this is outside the arena, but I wouldn’t bet against it being Any High School Anywhere.
In the ring Tanaka blocks a rana with a harsh powerbomb, yikes! They fight on to the top rope, where they sort of awkwardly fall forward together. Calo appears to be dropped on his head, but for some reason this leads to Tanaka getting pinned at 2:27. 1/2*
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND has found RICK STEINER, but no audio. Thankfully, it turns up, and so does LEX LUGER. Rick says he beat Luger last week, and he can do it again. Luger says he’s on top of his game. Rick continues to howl that he can beat Luger. Gene: “Rick Steiner doesn’t have it all upstairs.” That’s an understatement.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NWO
First nWo t-shirt commercial. Just $20 + $5.95 shipping. Nash: “All proceeds go to the Ric Flair retirement fund.” HAH!
Here’s some footage from WCW Pro, where the alleged Glacier finally debuted. But, quite frankly, I recap lots of WCW shows, and if I never saw it, it never happened. And instead of seeing any actual wrestling, we see him standing around in a blue snowy mist, flexing a lot. He’s part of the Dungeon of Doom, right?
THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS vs. THE NASTY BOYS
Oh dear god, we’re into the French Canadians era of Nitro. Tony correctly notes this is their debut. Jacques Rougeau grabs the stick, and insists that the fans show respect as he sings the National Anthem. Just to twist it a little more, they do it in French to some serious heat.
In the crowd, the YOUNG FOLKS are passing out nWo flyers.
Meanwhile, Rougeau nails Saggs with a flagpole, and then he backdrops Ouellet over the top towards Saggs, but before I get to see what happens …
Larry is accepting a flyer to find out what’s written on it. It says “you haven’t seen bad … but it’s coming.”
In the ring, Rougeau backdrops Ouellet as a mid-ring senton, but it only gets 2. Rougeau slams him onto Saggs, but it’s not enough. They do a super assisted top rope senton, and hit a second one, but the morons take their time going for a pin and Knobbs is able to save. Knobbs steals the Quebec flag, hits Carl in the back of the head, and Saggs steals the pin at 3:27. **
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND hits the ring to talk to the Nastys. Gene hilariously refers to the Canadians the “Rougeau Brothers”. Knobbs announces his allegiance to WCW, and wants the straps.
SCOTT NORTON vs. SGT CRAIG PITTMAN (with Teddy Long)
NICK PATRICK is your referee, which Sting and Luger are apparently okay with because they’re not running around trying to kill him. Tony is VERY excited because Pittman and Norton have the same finishing move, the armbar, so he figures this will absolutely determine which is better. Norton has at least one week’s experience with it, since he has that Very Important Submission Match against Ice Train at Fall Brawl, so it should come as no surprise that he wins with it at 3:02, after ICE TRAIN who has appeared at ringside throws in the towel. Yes, Craig Pittman isn’t allowed to tap out because lord knows he MUST be protected so he can continue to stink up the Saturday Night and Worldwide status quo. DUD
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is hanging out with ARN ANDERSON, LEX LUGER, and RIC FLAIR. Flair demands to know where on earth Sting is, considering they have a match together on Sunday. Luger says Sting’s there somewhere, because “Steiner” saw him earlier. Well, if “Steiner” saw him, he MUST be there. MONGO MCMICHAEL comes shouting onto the scene wondering where Sting is. CHRIS BENOIT questions Luger some more, but he swears if we can count on ANYONE, it’s him.
JOE GOMEZ vs. JUVENTUD GUERRERA
Once again, NICK PATRICK is your referee. Juvi has a title shot this Sunday against Konnan for the Mexican Heavyweight Vanity Belt, so a warmup here against Gomez seems apropos because he’s also Mexican and thus is like wrestling the same person. Juvi tries a 360 dropkick off the springboard, but whiffs. Thankfully, Gomez is a pro and sells it anyway. Juvi then blows a springboard rana that is supposed to drag Gomez over the top and back in, so Gomez is forced to jump over the ropes to sell it, and the fans have had just about enough of this and turn solidly against Juvi. He opts not to hit a super Franksteiner, and finshes with a hiro con plancha that’s sloppy as all hell at 2:20. I really love me some Juice, but if he was nervous here, it was written all over his ring-work. DUD
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND grabs Nick Patrick on his way to the back, and asks to talk about the DQ from last week’s show. Patrick shows that Luger clearly struck him, and says it’s a disqualification by the book, anywhere in the country. Patrick asks why Luger isn’t suspended for chasing him out of the building last week, because anyone else would be for threatening to assault a referee. Patrick reminds Gene that the only reason people suspect him for being a traitor is because of him. He promises to keep enforcing the rules to the letter of the law, and continue to do his job. Gene says he didn’t “get off the turnip truck”, he knows that Patrick has a new $23,000 rolex. Patrick calls him “Mr. Mercedes Benz” in return, and tells him if he doesn’t stop with the wild accusations, he’ll take him to court. That actually works, as Gene nervously ends the interview. Brilliant. Everything with Nick Patrick has been done to perfection so far.
Meanwhile, in the very rainy parking lot, THE NWO are putting their flyers all over the cars for the fans in attendance. TED DIBIASE is talking to someone inside a nearby limousine.
LEX LUGER vs. RICK STEINER
WCW has wisely assigned PEE WEE ANDERSON to this match, so shenanigans should be kept to a minimum, in theory. Larry angrily asks where the hell Sting is, when it’s clear that the nWo has leadership and WCW needs someone to step up. Gosh these guys are paranoid! (Okay, perhaps rightly so.) Tony mentions that nWo shirts are now on sale in the merchandise stands, because they have strong financial backing that’s arranged it via DiBiase. However, that’s all she wrote for Fat Tony, because it’s HOUR #2!
Welcome aboard ERIC BISCHOFF, “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN, and MIKE TENAY. Rick gives Luger a nasty hard powerslam, but only gets 2. An overhead belly to belly gets a loud reaction, but Steiner can’t get the pin. Both guys knock each other out, but Luger recovers faster and powerslams Rick. He calls for the Rack, but for some reason NICK PATRICK hits ringside and calls Luger to the back, screaming “OUT BACK!” Luger rushes back, and is counted out at 7:02.
From inside the limo, Sting’s voice is screaming at TED DIBIASE. Luger comes over, and gets in DiBiase’s face asking where his buddy is. DiBiase plays innocent, but out from the limo pops STING, and he beats Luger right down!! The rest of THE NWO rush over, and join in. They scatter, and Luger recovers enough to beat up THE CHAFFEUR. Otherwise, he’s left standing in the parking lot, a cold, wet mess, with a broken heart. Sting turning??? If you thought the Giant’s turn made no sense, this one is a thousand times worse.
Except I’m totally cool with it, with the benefit of spoilers and hindsight and all that jazz.
After a long recap of the last few weeks, we head back into the rain, where Luger is tearing apart the limos. BRIAN KNOBBS and RICK STEINER, dressed in their full garb are walking around with umbrellas, are also looking for Sting which is just amazing to see. THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS and SCOTT NORTON also join the search. Tenay reminds us that the lack of leadership has been the problem with WCW from the get-go, and with Sting’s defection, WCW’s in a lot of trouble.
BILLY KIDMAN vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Tenay figures that this is far too soon for Kidman who’s only 21 years old, but given time, he will be a critical piece of the Cruiserweight division. What’s up, Nostradamus? Rey makes him look like a chump early, with a series of ranas both in and out of the ring. However, Kidman blocks the West Coast Pop with a dropkick, and follows with a top rope splash for 2. Rey quickly takes back control with a ridiculous springboard senton for the pin at 1:42. Rey is ridiculously amazing at this point, and makes the modern day Rey look like a slug. 1/2*
THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart) vs. THE PUBLIC ENEMY
TPE has been back in the fold for nearly a year, and it has yet to be determined whether or not they are heels or faces. I’m all for shades of grey and what-not, but Jesus guys, pick a side! NICK PATRICK referees this one, and he’d better get his working boots on because the Fear are all over Public Enemy. Grunge takes Meng to the floor and awkwardly whips him into the guardrail, which isn’t sold at all. Meng fires back with a headbutt, and sends Grunge into the guardrail. Meanwhile, on the split screen, Rocco tries a moonsault, but he’s given a Bossman slam by the Barbarian. In case there wasn’t enough going on, RON THE LEPRECHAUN shows up and starts chasing Hart around for awhile, before returning to the back. And speaking of things in the back …
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants a word with the FOUR HORSEMEN and LEX LUGER. Gene says his emotions are running high, and he can feel it in the room too. Arn isn’t disturbed that Luger lost a friend, and he couldn’t care about losing a teammate, but he can’t believe that Sting, the constant in WCW for 10 years, turned his back on the company. For the first time in his life, he’s speechless. Gene demands to know if everyone’s selling out these days? Luger says his best friend stabbed him in the back, and he vows to stalk Sting everywhere he goes. He knows where he lives, where he works out, and he’ll be there. Flair promises the confusion is over, they’re going to Wargames with or without Sting. Arn promises to fight to the death.
Meanwhile, there’s a match still happening, and Meng is giving the spike piledriver to Rocco. He turns to Grunge for god knows what reason, and HE’S CLUBBERIN’ TONY! The Fear double team Rocco with headbutts, but Patrick misses the pinfall opportunity because he’s busy with Grunge. Meng works a headlock, before releasing and kneeing Rock in the stomach. He misses an avalanche, but makes the tag out to Barbarian quickly. Still, Rocco makes his corner, and Grunge starts the house o fire routine. That doesn’t last, because it’s the Faces of Fear for god sakes. Rocco hits a double bulldog, and matters break down fast between them as they pair off. Barbarian slams Rock’s head into the ringpost, and puts him on the table. Barbarian heads up while Jimmy holds Rocco’s legs, but he still manages to move and Barbarian comes CRASHING through from the top rope right to the concrete! Insane, I would have never imagined that from Barbarian. In the ring, Grunge hits a swinging neckbreaker on Meng, and Grunge brings in a table to the middle of the ring. Meng is placed on top, and Rocco hits the moonsault on Meng. Meng doesn’t even sell THAT because he’s Meng and fuck you. Tongan Death Grip is applied, and Rocco taps at 10:44. The Fear have been amazing for months now, and it looks like a push might be on the way. **1/2
KEVIN SULLIVAN, HUGH MORRUS, MAXX, BIG BUBBA, and KONNAN(?!?) come down to join the victors, and “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is never far behind. Jimmy says he’s tired of being accused of creating the mess with the Giant. Hart says the minute he jumped was the beginning of the end of the Giant. Bubba turns his attention to Glacier, and demands that he “come get a bit of this”. Konnan tries to be super street and Latin, by praising Kevin Sullivan and hating on the nWo “Paid For” ads. He challenges them to come to the ring right now and fight him. Errrr, I’m thinking they’d probably be totally cool with that. Sullivan warns the Giant to watch his back, and knows he can’t trust anyone anymore after Sting’s turn (while eyeballing Okerlund accusingly).
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Hogan introduced DiBiase as the boss, because he’s got more money than Ted Turner. They’ve got the cash, they’ve got the belt, and WCW is next. They brag that nobody saw #5 coming (fair). They laugh about the face WCW doesn’t even know who they’re gonna face in the cage at Wargames. DiBiase figures they need to start making demands. They want their own segment on the show, and their shot at the tag-team titles.
JOHN TENTA vs. RANDY SAVAGE
I’m not sure we’ve seen Tenta since Bash at the Beach, but he’s got some serious follicle problems because not a centimetre of hair has returned from the part Bubba shaved off. Savage looks quite slim (Jim) and ripped here. Tenta attacks as soon as Savage slides into the ring, but Savage doesn’t put up with that and goes for a slam. Of course, Tenta is fat, so he falls on top and gets 2. Savage takes a dropkick and Savage rolls to the floor, while Bischoff yammers on about the WWF, because putting on a superior product isn’t enough for him. A chair drops Tenta, and Savage follows with a pair of Elbows. TEDDY LONG rushes down begging Savage to join him in the back for some reason, screaming “THEY’RE BACK”. He’s counted out presumably.
Savage is joined by THE FOUR HORSEMEN, RICK STEINER, and THE DUNGEON OF DOOM. One limo immediately takes off, but a second one is nearby and unattended. They check out the limo, but find nothing more than a can of spray paint. Savage demands the boys spray WCW all over the limo. BOY YOU SURE SHOWED THEM, WCW!
The announcers chat things up. Heenan gives a spirited rant, insisting WCW stop worrying what the nWo has – and start concentrating on their deep roster, and just work together. ARN ANDERSON rushes the booth to tell the world that nobody’s hotter than the Horsemen right now. The rest of the FOUR HORSEMEN arrived, and Heenan has to be Heenan by immediately taking the time to shake their hands, a nice character touch. Anderson reminds Sting that by joining the nWo, he’s trying to be a Faux Horsemen. Flair steals a headset and cuts off Bischoff, asking if the nWo is ready to bleed, sweat, and pay the price. He vows Hogan won’t leave Winston-Salem alive. Bischoff says WCW made a huge mistake bringing Hogan to the company, and promises to put his faith in the Horsemen going forward, as he signs off.
Is he being honest? We’ll probably find out more on WCW Saturday Night. But before we get there, the bizarro world of WCW Prime MUST be checked out, which we’ll do next. See you then.