The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 01.22.96
LIVE from Las Vegas, NV
Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan & Mongo
WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Randy Savage
Hulk Hogan, before Savage even makes it to the ring, makes sure to come out and challenge him to a title match. What an asshole. Savage brings out a harem of women, including Linda Hogan, Debra, and Nancy Sullivan, although only Woman is named. Flair immediately tries to hit on her and that goes badly for him, leading to a brawl on the floor. Savage gets a clothesline for two and chokes away in the corner, but Flair tosses him and they continue their fight on the floor. Savage dives and hits the railing and we take a break. Back with Savage pounding away in the corner and it’s back to the floor again. Back in, Savage gets two off a backslide. They slug it out and Flair takes him down for the figure-four, but he cheats too blatantly and gets caught. Flair goes up and gets slammed and Savage comes back with the double axehandle, but now AA runs in, hits Flair by mistake, and the big elbow finishes at 10:27 to give Savage the belt back. Weird finish as the bell was seemingly ringing for a DQ before the elbow, but Randy Anderson counted anyway. Not much to this one. **1/2 Savage calls out Hogan for acting like he won the match, and tells Hogan to make himself #1 contender before he asks for a title shot. They talk about making the match for Caesar’s Palace, which is because Halloween Havoc 96 was basically a sold show in Vegas that year with a promised main event of Hogan v. Savage, which is what they were building towards before the entire direction of the company changed.
Dean Malenko v. Brian Pillman
Malenko quickly takes Pillman down and chases him out of the ring, but Pillman goes all crazy and chokes away. Malenko comes back with a corner clothesline and brainbuster, and a neckbreaker gets two. Blind charge hits boot and Pillman follows with a tornado DDT. Malenko comes back, but tries a shoulderblock from the apron and somehow gets tied in the ropes and pinned at 6:27. What a stupid finish. He was literally wrapped up in the ropes while Pillman was pinning him! **
WCW World tag team titles: Harlem Heat v. Sting & Lex Luger
Luger quickly hits Stevie Ray with the forearm, but walks into a boot that gets two. Sting gets the tag and hits both Heat with Stinger splashes, but gets caught from behind with an axe kick to become face in peril. Booker holds an armbar and faceplants Sting off the top for two, and the Heat work him over for the boring heat segment. Booker drops a knee for two and goes to a chinlock, but misses the Harlem Hangover and it’s hot tag Luger. This brings out Jimmy Hart, who hands Luger a roll of coins, and Luger & Sting win the tag titles at 9:15. About as exciting as Stevie Ray chinlocking Sting for 10 minutes could be. **
Hulk Hogan v. One Man Gang
So the Gang is freshly introduced as the new US champion with a push, so OF COURSE who gets to legdrop him in his first match on Nitro? Gang attacks to start and Hogan beats him up on the floor and back in for some ridiculous eyerakes before putting his head down and getting caught. The glare of the bald spot probably gave him away. Gang hits him with the 747 splash, but Hulk no-sells it to dead silence and finishes with his usual bullshit at 3:00. DUD. Wow, way to make your US champion look badass. How ridiculously insecure was Hogan at this point? He seriously makes HHH look like a reasoned diplomat when it comes to these booking decisions. And then the entire Dungeon/Horsemen group runs in for the beatdown, at which point Hogan and Savage single-handedly fight them all off without even taking a punch. Make sure to watch the Clash tomorrow night for more of the same, guys!
Next week: It only continues to spiral down the toilet for a while as Hogan gets worse and worse.