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The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–01.15.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 01.15.96

Live from Miami, FL

Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan & Mongo

Lex Luger v. Randy Savage

Gotta love all the carefully planted Hulk Hogan merchandise in the front row to prove how popular he is. Bischoff announces that Savage gets a shot at the World title next week because reasons. Luger lays him out and tosses him to start, then runs him into the stairs as Savage immediately begins his regimen of laying around and selling. Savage makes a quick comeback on the floor and back in for the double axehandle for two, and the fans start chanting for Luger! Savage chokes him down in the corner and slugs him down for two. Savage on offense is just so weird at this point. Luger finally takes him down and drops elbows to take over. Savage drops him on the top rope, but goes up and misses the flying elbow in spectacular fashion, allowing Luger to finish with the Rack at 5:05. Kind of a weird, junky match where both guys were kind of working heel and didn’t click. *1/2 And so Savage is getting a title shot, and he loses clean to Luger in five minutes? You could say “Well, that sets up Luger for the title shot after Savage wins it”, but no, that didn’t happen at all.

Mean Gene brings out both the Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom, who are all apparently out to have a sit-down. One Man Gang is now with the Dungeon and has magically become the US champion without anyone airing a title change or explaining it. Arn Anderson tries to broker peace with Kevin Sullivan, who agrees to lend them the Giant at the Clash of Champions because he respects Arn. He does not respect Brian Pillman, however. Pillman won’t shut his big mouth, so AA slaps him around and promises that sort of thing will stop. Related note from the Observer at the time: Zodiac was being featured more because Hulk Hogan saw that Bischoff was pushing his friend DDP, and Hulk wanted to push his own friend again. So that’s why he got repackaged into The Booty Man a few weeks after this as a “secret agent” in the Dungeon.

The American Males v. The Public Enemy

So Public Enemy leaves ECW, and immediately gets ridiculously exposed without Paul Heyman protecting them at every turn. Wisdom from Mongo: Just because your head is shaped like a hubcap don’t mean you’re a big wheel around here. The Males get dumped and beat on, but Bagwell comes back with a flying bodypress on both Enemy. The crowd starts a quick “ECW” chant while Riggs takes a cheapshot and he’s face in peril. Man, Grunge looked like SHIT here, way out of shape and with terrible timing. Bagwell gets a hot tag almost immediately and powerslams Grunge, but Rock hits Bagwell behind the ref’s back and Grunge rolls him up for the pin at 3:35. OH MY GOD this was fucking awful. -* And then they set up tables and put Bagwell through a double stack of them, which is exactly what they SHOULD have been doing instead of wrestling shitty matches to introduce them.

WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Sting

Sting no-sells a bunch of Flair’s stuff to start and gets his press slam, setting up a Flair Flip and a suplex back in for two. Superplex and Sting tries for a big splash, but he hits the knee and we take a break. Back with Flair in control and trying for a pin on the ropes, and Jimmy Hart gets a cheapshot in behind the ref’s back. Flair with a chop for two, but Sting comes back with a sleeper and Flair escapes with a backdrop suplex. They slug it out in the corner and Flair gets the figure-four, but Sting reverses for two. Backslide gets two for Sting. Sunset flip is blocked by Flair, so it’s another press slam, but a blind charge misses. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, but Sting no-sells all the chops and now Luger comes out and “accidentally” hits Sting with the megaphone while trying to stop Jimmy Hart. Flair finishes with the figure-four at 13:00. Flair and Sting could literally do this match in their sleep, but it’s always fun. ***1/2 The Megapowers save Sting, and Hogan, self-serving bastard that he is, keeps trying to stir up trouble by telling Sting that he can’t trust Luger. MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS, HULK! And who is he to talk about people who can’t trust their tag partners? He alienated both Paul Orndorff and Randy Savage! And then he has the nerve to bitch at Savage about getting a title shot next week because it’s HIS title! Who would possibly cheer this selfish asshole? He’s worse than John Cena! And Hogan was writing his own material! He actually thought people would LIKE him for acting like a douchebag!

Hulk Hogan v. Meng

Meng and Sullivan randomly beat up a photographer on the way to the ring. What the fuck was that about? This has been one of the weirdest shows in the run of Nitro I’ve ever seen. Meng attacks and chokes him down, setting up the SHOULDER MASSAGE OF DEATH for two. Meng goes up and misses a diving headbutt and Hogan comes back and slugs away in the corner. Meng spikes him for two, but Hogan makes the comeback to a dead silent crowd and uses the foreign object on Meng for the pin at 4:41. WHAT A FUCKING HERO. He literally already had Meng down and beat and chose to use an illegal object on someone who couldn’t defend himself. DUD

Next week: Ric Flair v. Randy Savage for the World title! Harlem Heat v. Sting & Luger for the tag titles! Hulk Hogan probably acts like a douchebag again and then wonders why no one cheers him!

Comments

  1. Unaware douchebag Hulk Hogan is one of pro wrestling's underated gems.

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  2. Shake shake your nepotism
    ShakeShakeShakeShakeShakeShakeShakeIt!

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  3. I would love to have a crystal ball that would show me what would happen if Hogan turned down turning heel, and instead heroically defeated Hall and Nash by October, and tried to keep Hulkamania running wild.

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  4. No Nash with the book,

    Maybe... WCW lives?

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  5. I don't know. Without nWo success, that's a WHOLE lot of merch money, ratings, and PPV buys they DON'T get. My guess is without any big successes, Bischoff is out on his ass by this time in 1997. WWF already has Austin by this point, so maybe WCW dies off sooner?

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  6. I'd call this episode the low point for Hogan's babyface act but Uncensored is still more than a month away yet.

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  7. I think FUNB on the Austin-style vest was more cringey, but technically that's Terry Bollea, not Hulk Hogan.

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  8. One of the many reasons why i hated Hogan from 1989 onwards.

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  9. Apparently One Man Gang won the US title in a dark match at Starrcade that was never aired.
    It wasn't just the Russo era that devalued the title.

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  10. Boos. Massive boos.

    Hall, Nash, and whoever was the third man in that scenario would be so much cooler than Hogan's tired old schtick.

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  11. FUCK VITAMINS AND PRAYERS

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  12. "Bash at the Beach was one of the worst shows I've ever seen so things
    have to pick up here."

    This is friggin' Shakespeare compared to what we'd get starting about 3 months after this.

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  13. CruelConnectionNumber2December 3, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    The American Males would've been a pretty damn good heel team in 1996, as egotistical stripper types everyone hates. Riggs was so lame as a babyface but they coulda been a good team, with Bagwell doing the "Buff" poses and stuff.

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  14. What was with 1996 pro wrestling and male strippers? You had Shawn as the champion of WWF who would strip in the ring while Vince would go "Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho!" on commentary.

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  15. As long as they keep the theme.

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  16. CruelConnectionNumber2December 3, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Little kids in leather caps and heart sunglasses and earrings dancing and pretending to take their shirts off.

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  17. I didn't ask you what you dreamed about at night.

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  18. CruelConnectionNumber2December 3, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    LOL ull pretend I said 18.

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  19. Hogan was like the Sidney Crosby of wrestling. The announcers would tell you he's a great guy but there was no shortage of whining, cheat tactics and sense of entitlement.

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  20. Yeah but who created that monster to begin with?

    I learned it from you, Vince! I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!

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  21. Oh shit, I legitimately lol'd in the office at that.

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  22. Probably Luger, right? With the past WWF association and tweener "kinda friends with Sting" thing going on.

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  23. 95-96 Hogan makes Cena seem like the greatest babyface of all time.

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  24. It was weird though, they never really said how he won it right? That whole Sting, Japanese guy, OMG, Konnan time was weird

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  25. Hogan's run of not being over went on for 2-3 years. Cena is going on 10 years.

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  26. CruelConnectionNumber2December 3, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Cena is the most over pro wrestler today and has been for like 8 years.

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  27. CruelConnectionNumber2December 3, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    He has a target demographic, you're just not it. WWE is for kids. Difference in 1996 was that WCW was marketed to "everyone" and everyone thought Hogan as Captain America was cornball.

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  28. They were supposed to air the match on this show, but plans changed. It was really bizarre and wacky.

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  29. CruelConnectionNumber2December 3, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    They aired it on both SN (two days before this) and in full on WCW Main Event.

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  30. Who thought ONE MAN GANG should be holding a title in 1996? Blech. I do love watching the WCW crowds practically give up on Hogan's bullshit.

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  31. WCW are lucky the Hogan deal didn't COMPLETELY burn out before the heel turn, or the reaction wouldn't have been half as big and the nWo wouldn't have resurged WCW. They would've needed a really good Plan B for Hall and Nash.

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  32. Adam "Colorado" CurryDecember 3, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    WWE is for kids, yet something like 3/4 of their fans are over 18.


    Their marketing sucks.

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  33. Sounds like we need some kind of international board to sort that out.

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  34. "You know what these January 1996 shows need, brother? A solid Brutus Beefcake push!"

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  35. think that audience as been continually shrinking for 8 years... so depends what is considered "over"

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  36. If I had Meng 'beat,' I'd give him one more shot just to make sure he was down for good. That guy was a pure badass.

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  37. I think it's pretty clear his one story of overcoming the odds to LOLWIN is not captivating the imagination of the audience, but it can't be 10 years, can it? That's an interesting question; when exactly did Groundhog Day start for the Cenation?

    And Hogan not being over was years in the making. Fans were already sick of his shit in 1990 when friggin' monster Undertaker got a huge pop for beating him.

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  38. they gave the fans in Nashville a special title change for their eyes only as a heartfelt apology for 1994 Starrcade the year before...

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  39. It is very strange to go back and forth between these reviews and KBW's 1999 Nitros; it is essentially the same cast of characters yet one is exciting, fresh, and unpredictable and the other is stale and depressing. I guess going from two hours prime time to five a week a long with wrestler creative control will do that...

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  40. the big rumor at the time was King Mabel at the 3rd member

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  41. Theberzerker! HUSS!December 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    And just because Vince loves you for 8 years doesn't mean you're the most over. I mean, it DOES, but it doesn't.

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  42. I don't know if not jobbing to the Gang was a Sasaki thing or a New Japan thing. I always heard it was the latter (not that you can blame them).

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  43. Theberzerker! HUSS!December 3, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES, AMERICAN MALES,

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  44. It's not at all in Theberskerker's character to repeat some catchphrase over and over.

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  45. Virgil's Gimmick TableDecember 3, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    I would say CENAWINSLOL started in 2009 and they went full retard with the PG shit. Before that, him, Batista, Edge, Orton, HBK and Triple H were the main event scene on pretty much equal footing. After 2009, it was basically John Cena and others.

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  46. Did he ever fake being out only to death grip the other guy when he tried to cover him? That would have been excellent

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  47. Virgil's Gimmick TableDecember 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    We have that now. And its name is John Cena.

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  48. Virgil's Gimmick TableDecember 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Now how would they get a T-shirt big enough to fit him?

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  49. I'd love to see him do it to Cena after he does that stupid "you can't see me" shit.

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  50. "The X-Factor plants Vampiro and they head outside so Vampiro can pelt
    a chair at Vampiro for the DQ."

    Que?

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  51. Yeah, his online reputation used to be 'moderately good worker who brings the goods on PPV.' Christ, he got great stuff out of YOU-MANGA.

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  52. I can picture that meeting with Nash. "Well, I ain't fuckin' wrestling him again, so he may as well join us!"

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  53. Get used to saying that a lot over the next few months. It seems like every other week Hulk was setting a new low for babyface douchebagery.

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  54. It's not his fault that you can't understand the subtle nuances in "HUSS!!!"

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  55. I'd say the crowd siding with Sid at the Rumble and enthusiastically boo'ing Hulk at the Rumble in '92 was the definitive sign he was done as the top babyface in WWE.

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  56. Clearly Hogan was planting seeds that made his nWo heel turn all the more successful. The man is always thinking two moves ahead.

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  57. Only Hogan circa '96 could turn face by turning heel.

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  58. Dies off...no, 'cuz Turner was still in Time-Warner's ear about programming.

    Maintain as a steady #2 promotion? Definitely until Jamie Kellner abolishes wrestling after the AOL-TW merger.

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  59. Raw is on when most know kids are asleep.

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  60. that would be late 91. And "sick of his shit" is obviously harsh. Hogan was still a big star until the day he left WWF. The backlash towards Hogan, even in 93 isn't a pimple on the ass of Cena's current backlash. The booing of Hogan at the Rumble in 92, was specifically for the incident with Sid, It represented two things. The first is that Sid was hugely over. The second is that fans had become smarter and a dick move that once would have not made fans bat an eyelash in 1986, would cause them to (briefly) turn on Hogan at that point. But saying fans were sick of his shit in 90, 91, or even 93 is VASTLY overstating it. Now as for WCW, yeah is his 94 run had some backlash, but he was doing ok until spring 95 when the fans really started to turn on him.

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  61. you might want to check on the demographics of the average Raw Viewer (much less the average Network viewer, the alleged future of WWE). Google it. I'll wait.

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  62. Riggs went down that route during his short run in ECW. Cyrus would threaten the audience that Scott was about to give them all "the clap." Then he would do the clap. Gold.

    Then he left abruptly. Probably wasn't being paid. I know: that's a difficult accusation to accept.

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  63. I agree a bit but that really was a huge smarky crowd, as many cheered heel Flair the entire rumble

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  64. Public Enemy got a tryout dark match with the WWF at Survivor Series '95, needless to say they were not offered a contract.


    PE,911,New Jack,Sandman, Man the Philly mutants sure loved them some shitty workers.

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  65. It's cliche now... but Paul could hide their weaknesses and accentuate the positives pretty damn good.


    For instance, I've never seen an official match of 911. Not saying there aren't any by any means... but him coming out to chokeslam people was all that was needed.

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  66. I never thought Umaga was so bad as to warrant thinking of Cena as a miracle worker for getting a good match with him. Umaga had good ones with Hardy and a few others too. Getting something watchable out of Khali was more impressive,but that's the magic of using the Hogan formula.

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  67. I can only assume that was a delusional Hogan thing too... so when Beefcake left the Dungeon of Doom, he'd have a guy to go after.

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  68. I wouldn't say it was a smarky crowd, at least nowhere near the standards of today. The months preceeding the Rumble, crowds at MSG popped for Flair, and reacted normally to Hulk, but to lesser degrees compared to years previous. Hogan was always a poor sport, but the fans never backlashed him as badly.

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  69. It's not that so much as... well... it's SID.


    Seriously, just look at the guy. He made Hogan look like crap.

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  70. I was salivating at the thought of Umaga/Cena matches. I wanted it about six months before it finally happened. They were amazing together.

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  71. I loved ECW but taking their guys and trying to fit them into a regular wrestling context was like taking a guitarist in a hardcore punk band and trying to have them sit in on a jam session. While they are technically doing the same thing, the skills don't translate.

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  72. Sid definitely should've stayed face and got the "Hogan Push", but instead got flavor of the month treatment before cheating a piss test.

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  73. Well, that was his own doing too. Vince gave him "Hogan's boots" so to speak and Sid's response was... "Yeah, but I'd rather be a big vicious heel."

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  74. I'm shocked Beefer never won a title in WCW. Not even a token US or TV reign.

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  75. it just seemed like some, definately not a majority, of fans started to see Hogan's behavior for what it was. He SHOULD have calleed Orndorff. He shouldn't have left Savage in a match when qualified medical staff could take care us LIz. He should have had some boundaries with Liz. He always eye poked, back raked, cheated, etc. But as crowds aged and got a bit smarter in 91 and 92, some started to create a small backlash for his behavior.

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  76. I think that's all a testament to just how over the guy was. He could literally do no wrong. Leave your friend out to die? Steal your buddy's wife? No problem.

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  77. As much as people hate on Cena (he bores me at times), he's nothing near how unlikeable Hogan could be. Cheated, beat up women, scratched backs and poked eyes... he was such a fucking asshole. I don't know why I brought Cena up there, I might be over-tired.

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  78. kbwrestlingreviewsDecember 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    The thing is I'm looking forward to the Russo era. I can live with horrible far easier than I can live with boring.

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  79. kbwrestlingreviewsDecember 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    El typo.

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  80. What did Public Enemy do to continually piss people off? We probably went over this before but why did they get ran out of New York after being there 15 minutes?

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  81. Probably obnoxious attitudes, or a mass effort in bullying the outsiders. We need answers!

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  82. Adam "Colorado" CurryDecember 3, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Only one I remember is him squashing Ron Simmons in about 30 seconds. Of course I'll never forget his WCW match with Tank Abbott. "I could fucking kill you right now!"

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  83. I'm shocked cultstatus hasn't shown up yet to say you're just jealous.

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  84. Adam "Colorado" CurryDecember 3, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    He would have got the TV title if he would have just taken out the garbage.

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  85. Adam "Colorado" CurryDecember 3, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    I'd say Verne Gange post-1975 takes that honor.

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  86. I actually just went back and read the WON recapping this one, and Dave's ratings at the time matched mine exactly. I don't think that's ever happened before, actually.

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  87. Scott's love affair with Meltzer is sort of cute.


    Creepy but cute.

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  88. That was 911?

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  89. I thought that was former #1 contender to the WCW World title and partner to Kevin Nash Al Green.

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  90. That seems to be the go to Crosby defense. He might spear a guy on his way off the ice because the other team had the nerve to keep him off the score sheet but if that bothers you it's because you're jealous!

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  91. I still have no understanding of why there was no nWo/Wolfpac blowoff. Hogan talks about the nWo-ites, yet the B&W aren't even on this show, none of the other members have been seen together for at least two months and there was no story of they breaking up. Largest angle in wrestling history is just simply forgotten?

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  92. Hogan almost killed this promotion with this shit... Duggan, Bossman, One Man Gang, Shark, Beefcake.... Im sure there is more I'm not thinking of....

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  93. Had anyone ever done that spot (playing possum to fuck Cena's shit up on "you can't see me") before Punk did?

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  94. Wasn't Sting the Plan B? Woulda been wildly different but probably still pretty legit.

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  95. Hogan, hero to millions.. "Give me your title shot Savage!!"

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  96. is he though? Or is it a self fulfilling prophecy whereby they keep pushing him relentlessly so he seems like the most over? I mean just listen to when punk came out in his return after cena beat rey on that Raw in 2011 and when he held the belt up over Cena's, the cheers we're hugely in favor of Punk.

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  97. Noticing vince is out of touch is news?

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  98. I think we actually spoke about this on a diff thread a while back, but I have no doubt at all that he would've booked himself to hit all three with leg drops after hulking up while Lugar and Savage laid dead on the apron. Then he'd also squash the sting/hall/nash trio in a rematch again later that summer and the whole thing would've been forgotten

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  99. Adam "Colorado" CurryDecember 3, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    911 was Big Al (and Tombstone) in WCW, but Al Green is a different guy.

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  100. Adam "Colorado" CurryDecember 3, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    Yeah. Sometime in 1995, I think it was Simmons' only ECW match. Pin me, pay me indeed.

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  101. That wasn't him but he often gets confused for Big Al

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  102. And tho he was called Big Al at some point, he was not the 'Big Al' who fought Tank Abbott.

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  103. I liked that he originally was booked six on one, and someone was like no, that's crazy, at least have a tag team partner in savage, and then he was like well brother, if your adding savage dude, we need two more people to make it believable, so they brought in Zeus and Bane from Batman and Robin.

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  104. They were promoting his interview in playgirl on TV! In 1995! Like hey nine year old kids, go ask your parents to get a copy of playgirl so you can read Shawns interview!

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  105. See also, dark Phoenix hogan

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  106. Just a year earlier Nash vs hogan would have been a dream match. Now it's nothing special. Also, has savage ever pinned hogan?

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  107. The Ghost of Faffner HallDecember 3, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    There were a LOT of "big rumors at the time" as to who it was--Mabel, Bret Hart, Sting, Luger, Flair... It just depended on where you read the news, that's all.

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  108. I recall the APA just beating the ever loving fuck out of them on Sunday Night heat.

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  109. Was Golberg still filming Universal Soldier at this time?

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  110. Bret, Sting, and Flair were never rumored to be joining Hall and Nash at the time... but if we're just going to throw out names that sound right in retrospect lets add Macho, Waltman, and Sid

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  111. kbwrestlingreviewsDecember 3, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Yeah it was kind of odd, though whatever got them off TV faster was a good thing.

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  112. kbwrestlingreviewsDecember 3, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    He was, though he appeared the previous week on Nitro and said I'M BACK.

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  113. yeah Mabel was sloppy in the ring but he was main eventing SummerSlam 11-months earlier in WWF and that was close enough... Hogan joining wasn't in the plans until Hogan himself suggested doing it

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  114. kbwrestlingreviewsDecember 3, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    You know I don't think he has. If he did I don't remember it and it wasn't in a high profile match.

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  115. I do remember liking the setup to Hogan/Nash being that Nash had now handed the belt to Hogan twice and was now demanding that he get his shot at it. It seemed to be a rare bit of continuity from WCW. Of course what it lead to was crap, but that's a story for another night.

    Also, that was the 2nd time in a row that Savage won the title on the Sunday, only to lose it to Hogan the next night on Nitro. I wonder how much that po'd Savage.

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  116. It is so crazy that WCW wasted so much of March-June 98 with Nash and Hogan cutting promos on each other, but never actually building to a match between them, and then out of nowhere we get this. This was such a wacky period coming up as Hogan turns full face.

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  117. I remember the Kidman Shooting Star incident felt like they had to rapidly improvise after Kidman fucked up, and Bischoff was legit checking on him. I haven't seen it since it was live, though, so I might be way off. But the whole awkwardness of the segment, and the roll-up bit at the end, struck me as them scrambling for something.
    This, to me, is where Kidman got the rep for being "the guy who fucked up his own finisher".

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  118. That, to me, might be the most bizarre thing about the nWo era- the fact that it just dissolved without anybody TALKING about it. They ran roughshod over WCW for YEARS, and then suddenly just vanished? Nobody got their comeuppance, and nobody got the HUGE rub of wiping out the group forever. Say what you will about Russo-era WWF, but we would have had Steve Austin or Mankind be the guy to get the final fall in some match that dissolved a stable like that forever.

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