I hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday season. I’m back after a quick road trip with my wife, where we shuffled on over to the North Pole, and met Santa Claus. The original plan was to see Mick Foley’s favorite, Santa’s Village in New Hampshire, but unfortunately they shut down during the holiday season (what the heck?). Nevertheless, it was a wonderful getaway, where I was able to forget about things like Work, and whether or not Glacier Is Coming.
With 3 days left in the year, will I meet my goal of getting the entire WCW 1996 run completed before then? 8 shows, including a PPV? I may never sleep again!
TONY SCHIAVONE is shrieking like a giddy school girl, LIVE from Pensacola, Florida, one of the 30 largest cities in the great state of Florida! LARRY ZBYSZKO sits nearby, but is interrupted before he can say anything of significance (which may have taken another 25 glorious years).
ERIC BISCHOFF, TED DIBIASE, and VINCENT kick the announcers out of the booth. Bischoff tells them that they are done for the night, sitting in their seats. Larry refuses to move, telling them that they’re not enough to make him go. DiBiase removes his headset anyway, and Larry promptly does nothing as Vincent walks him away. You show ‘em Larry!
They replay Piper’s segment from last week, because that’s what we do now. Sting vs Rick Steiner is announced for later tonight. Again.
PSYCHOSIS vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW world television title)
This is a rematch from the 5:23 “time limit draw” from 11/16. I am hoping they extend the limit to at least 8:52 tonight. Bischoff promises a new international nWo member tonight. Well, this match would be an excellent place to start speculating. Fans chant USA, which is cool by Psychosis but NOT Steven Regal who elicits so much rage that cartoon steam fires out his ears. Psychosis takes down Regal, but a knee to the face changes that quickly. Regal starts working over the elbow with a number of stretches and jerks, as the nWo porno music takes us to commercial break.
Upon return, Regal’s still in command, getting in a schoolboy for 2. Psychosis wrings the arm to change things, and Regal rolls around in pain, trying to slap feeling back into his arm. As he stands, he’s met by a couple of spinning heel kicks, so he heads to the safety of the floor. Or, so he thought, until Psychosis comes flying at him with a tope con hilo! Regal is tossed back in, and Psychosis flies in with a super sunset flip, getting 2! Psychosis waits for Regal to stand before he strikes, hitting a well-timed dropkick to the mush. Regal’s placed on the top, and Psychosis is quickly on him with the super Frankensteiner for 2! Psychosis doesn’t let up, with a tight package for 2. Sensing the end, Psychosis hits the guillotine legdrop, which is his finisher … but Regal kicks out at 2! Psychosis tries something else, but Regal quickly switches places and hits an overhead German suplex, and both guys fall on their heads painfully. Psychosis recovers first, hitting another spinning heel kick for 2. Regal rolls over quickly to apply a crossface, and gets an elbow to the mouth. That pisses him off, so he reapplies even harder, before moving to a full nelson stretch on the mat. Once released, Regal waits until Psychosis gets to a knee, before hitting him with a double knee strike to the face. A butterfly suplex gets 2. Regal uses a forward suplex to put Psychosis up top, but he fights Regal off. A super splash connects, but Regal kicks out at 2 again! Hell, what is it going to take in this one? Psychosis moves in for the kill, so Regal pokes him in the eye and rolls Psychosis up for 2. Psychosis quickly backslides Regal for 2, and as the Lord is back to his feet, he takes a superkick! Psychosis mounts Regal, but Regal shoves him forward, faceplanting Psychosis to the mat, and he dives on to the luchador with the Regal stretch, showing some mad intensity, getting the quick tap out at 10:38 to retain. This wasn’t for everyone, but I dug it huge. ***1/2
BIG BUBBER vs. CHAVO GUERRERO JR.
No Jimmy Hart with Bubba tonight; he may figure Chavo’s not worth his time. However, he puts up a fight, as Bubba misses a clothesline and gets beat up in the ropes. Chavo dropkicks him to the floor, where Chavo quickly dives … right into his awaiting arms. Bubba slams Chavo on the floor a couple of times, and heads back in to pose. Chavo gets back in at 8, walking into a meaty fist. Bubba now has a moment of clarity, where he ushers back to his early days in Georgia, and hauls out the classic wrestling move, a shove. Takes years to perfect that one, kids. He misses a leaping headbutt though, and Chavo dives on his shoulders with a dick to the face, getting 2. A butt butt to the mush gets another 2. And that’s all she wrote, as Bubba gets up quickly, hitting the Bossman slam for the win at 2:55. 1/2* for the homoeroticism.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND brings out SONNY ONOO and “one of the greatest stars in Japan”, and promptly fails to name him. Sonny has helped THIS MAN negotiate with New Japan, but “this man” opens his coat to reveal an nWo shirt while Bischoff and DiBiase yuk it up. After This beats up Sonny Onoo, he’s revealed as Masahiro Chono. Of course, Chono’s been here before, having wrestled at Starrcade 92 & 95, but considering the audience has basically turned over during the last 12 months, some kind of intro might have been nice.
MASAHIRO CHONO vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Bischoff calls their new recruit “Masa He’s My Hero Chono”, of which I approve. Jericho takes a big boot to the face, but comes back with a sunset flip for 2. Chono claws at Jericho’s eyes, and they hit the floor to trade punches to the face. Back in, Chono hits an atomic drop with a little oomph, and Jericho sells it like he’s been crippled. Chono heads up, but Jericho’s spine re-fuses itself, and he cuts Chono off. He successfully hits a superplex, and follows with a spinning heel kick while Bischoff mocks In Your House 12 from last night, for some reason. Why give them the attention? The WWF is so far below WCW in terms of quality right now, it’s not even worth the mention. Jericho finds himself tangled up in the ropes, and Chono leaves him hanging towards the outside by one foot. With Jericho strung up and vulnerable, Chono kicks the crap out of him and is issued a DQ for excessive violence in a professional wrestling match at 5:50. *1/2
Piper’s segment from last week is replayed AGAIN.
The Shank of the evening is upon us, as “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND welcomes RIC FLAIR, ARN ANDERSON, MONGO MCMICHAEL, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL, all wearing nWo shirts. Ok, they’re not, but don’t rule it out in the coming weeks. Gene wants to talk about Chris Benoit, and Arn’s cool with that. He tells Sullivan if he’s caught in the crosshairs, that’s fine, and he plans to mend Sullivan’s broken heart with a broken body instead. Flair calls Benoit a good man, having a good time in a hot spring in Germany. Debra says that Benoit has hit on her a few times, but she has no interest in “little boys”, just “real men”. She’s noticed that the women in this industry wouldn’t have a dogs chance in hell of winning a beauty pageant, so forget the rest and focus on Miss Debra. Flair cuts a promo on behalf of Piper, and promptly loses his voice.
DAVE SAMMARTINO vs. DEAN MALENKO (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Yes, yes, yes! The Nitro debut of the legend David Sammartino! He’s built like a wall, but none of that matters, because he has a parted mushroom cut. I remember when I had one of those. I was 7 years old and really into Super Mario. I’ll assume Sammartino has the same excuse. Bischoff insists if we order one pay-per-view this year, we order Starrcade. The problem is, he’s gone to the well with that pitch nine other times this year, and you can’t use your one time more than once. It’s as true in poker as it is in pay-per-view. Meanwhile, these two are allegedly wrestling or something, and Malenko wins completely out of nowhere with a double underhook thing which comes out of nowhere and leaves everyone confused (including David) at 3:10. Don’t be a stranger, David! DUD
Hour #2 kicks off, and Bischoff welcomes TONY SCHIAVONE, “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN, and MICHAEL “MIKE” TENAY back to the booth. Schiavone is being booked to look like such a stooge. Art and real life I suppose. Tenay tries to talk about Chono cuz he loves him a foreigner, but that’s all for naught because Tony’s been DYING to say “Piper” all night and just lets loose a string of them in an incoherent babble about Starrcade.
JERRY FLYNN vs. ICE TRAIN (with Teddy Long)
A LEGEND DEBUTS!!!! Between the chest hair, the slight beer gut, and telling the fans to “get out of my face!” when he’s about 50 feet away from them at the top of the entrance ramp immediately delights me. And of course, he’s stolen Jerry Lynn’s music, which is all kinds of tasty. Train clotheslines my new favorite jobber, and rallies the fans to bring the noise. Train Wreck looks to finish, but no sir, he ain’t done yet. Instead, he hits Flynn with an avalanche, and goes for a second, but Flynn EXPLODES out of the corner with a clothesline! An awful spinning heel kick propels Flynn outside the ring with his momentum, where he looks into the camera and yells “SHUT UP!”
Back in, Flynn hits Train with an enzuigiri, or “back leg round kick” if Bischoff were still here. Speaking of Bischoff, Tony announces, as ordered by King Eric, that tickets go on sale for nWo Souled Out on Friday, a new pay-per-view airing in January. Flynn keeps on with the kicks, but Train catches it in mid-air, and locks Flynn in an anklelock for the win at 3:27. This would have never happened if they’d fought in THE BLOCK. DUD
Before anyone clears the ring, SYXX is on the entrance ramp, introducing THE OUTSIDERS. Tenay wants to bail, but Tony has decided to stand his ground NOW, as opposed to earlier when all the weakest members were chasing them away. Nash says he saw the Faces of Fear giving each other a poi bath earlier, and challenges them for tonight. Hall demands an answer before the hour is up.
BOBBY EATON vs. REY MYSTERIO JR.
Eaton takes the early control, by hitting Rey with a backbreaker. Tony breaks the news about a match at Starrcade; Mysterio will take on Jushin Liger. Fantastic! Rey, propelled by this great news, sends Eaton to the floor, and nails him with tope suicida! Rey brings him back in with a forward headscissors over the ropes, but Eaton gets up first and goes for a suplex. Rey slips off the back and hits a spinning heel kick, which is the preferred move of Cruiserweights tonight. A double jump moonsault gets a quick 2. Eaton fires back with a clothesline, and applies a headlock. Bobby goes to finish, but changes his mind half-way through the air, hitting a kneedrop on Rey instead of the Alabama Jam, and only gets 2. That proves to be his demise, as Rey snaps off a quick rana, and scores the pin at 4:59. Tony hints at Rey’s future in backstage politics, by pointing out that Rey never seems to lose. Pfft, just wait Tony, just wait. **
Speaking of Tony, he really starts flapping around his newly discovered set of balls, by airing the latest video from CHRIS BENOIT and WOMAN. Wearing the same clothes they’ve been wearing for at least 2 weeks, and still working over that bottle of wine, Benoit breaks out his poor French (by Quebec standards) to seduce Woman. Benoit then looks into the camera, and asks Sullivan how it feels to come home to an empty house every night, while Woman nuzzles up to him like a kitten. Tony: “We didn’t need to see that!” Then why air it, you horse’s ass?
KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. ARN ANDERSON
Sullivan points towards the announce booth, and promises death to Tony Schiavone, and rightly so. First however, he has the important task(master) at hand of facing Arn. Sullivan meets Anderson in the aisle, and decks Arn in the mouth. They start to roll around on the concrete, viciously trading blows with each other. Kevin grabs a chair and whips it into Arn’s face, so Arn picks it up and swings for the fences, missing and hitting the ring post. They head into the ring, as Sullivan beats Anderson down in the corner. Back to the floor, Arn is tossed into the front row, and they tee off on one another in a sea of fans. Anderson brings it back to ringside, and into the ring. Anderson drives his knee into Sullivan’s groin repeatedly, and accidentally elbows the referee in the face during his assault. Sullivan pokes Arn in the eyes, and blinded, Arn grabs the first head he stumbles into, DDTing poor Mark Curtis. Sullivan, hobbled by the hamstring assault, still manages the double stomp, and ties Anderson to the tree of woe. He picks up a head of steam, and Anderson stops the train by punching Sullivan right in the pooter! Sullivan makes the same face as Bald Bull, so HUGH MORRUS races in to protect his master. A DDT puts an end to THAT in a damn hurry. KONNAN is next, and gets back handed as soon as he hits the apron. Hart is yanked into the ring, as BIG BUBBER lumbers down. Bubba hands a wooden chair to Sullivan, who smacks Anderson over the head HARD. The referee is revived at his point, and Sullivan wins at 3:51. That was absolutely wild. ***
RICK STEINER (with Scott Steiner) vs. STING
Sting is lurking in the rafters as usual, and disappears into the darkness, presumably to come down to the ring. The fans are rabid, chanting “WE WANT STING” in grand unison. And Sting they shall have, as he makes his way through the audience and towards the ring, carrying a baseball bat. However, it’s *very* clear it’s the NWO STING, as the real one emerges without the bat. It turns out they’re working in unison, as nWo Sting holds the ropes open for the real deal; dah hell? Real Sting stops suddenly, and starts burning a hole in the nWo version. Fake Sting puts his bat to Sting’s chin, but the real one has one hidden under his trench coat as well, and whips it out. The bat is knocked out of the imposter’s hand, knocking it towards the Steiners. Scotty picks it up, while Sting tosses his to Rick. Both Stings turn their backs, just as Sting did 2 weeks ago … but the real one grabs the phony and delivers the Scorpion Death Drop!!! Rick tosses Sting his bat back, which he accepts, disappearing into the crowd once more.
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN, THE GIANT, VINCENT, TED DIBIASE, and ELIZABETH strut down to ringside with about 15 minutes left in the show. Hogan calls out Piper immediately, since he “knows” Piper’s here and in the back. Of course, Piper’s nowhere near the building tonight. Hogan asks us to be patient for Piper, he’s on a bad hip. He goes off on some weird tangent about beating up Andre the Giant in his youth here in his hometown of Pensacola. Hogan asks Liz to show him how much she loves him, demanding a kiss for Macho to see. She complies with a quick peck. DiBiase whispers something to Hogan; it turns out that Piper ran out the back door as soon as Hogan came through the front door. Hogan laughs, and can’t wait for Starrcade, when he gets the chance to put the old cripple in a rocking chair for the rest of his life. So with no brawl to give the fans, Hogan poses for them instead so that they’re not left without a quality show. I must be delirious, because “off the deep end, crazed with power” Hollywood Hogan was all kinds of fun here.
THE OUTSIDERS vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart) (in a non-title match)
I’m not impressed the belts aren’t up for grabs here, but I’ll accept a full dismantling of the Outsiders of course. Instead, I’m given a quick advantage by the Outsiders, attacking before the Fear are in the ring. BIG BUBBER hits the ring to stand by his friends … and immediately turns on them, as the latest member of the nWo. As Meng takes a Bossman Slam, KEVIN SULLIVAN rushes the ring with KONNAN to attack their former ally. Hall and Nash waste no time wiping the floor with them. HUGH MORRUS is next, and fares no better. Now THE GIANT runs down – is he torn between friends? Nope, he goes straight to beat up the Faces of Fear, and MARCUS BAGWELL joins them. STEVEN REGAL, PSYCHOSIS, CHAVO GUERRERO JR., and JERRY FLYNN get involved now, with SYXX, VINCENT, and MASAHIRO CHONO coming in to keep the nWo numbers stacked. ICE TRAIN comes to ring side with a bad look in his eye – is he next? No, SCOTT NORTON stops him and drops Ice Train on the floor. He enters the ring, and goes straight after MONGO MCMICHAEL for some reason. Is Norton nWo now?!? REY MYSTERIO JR. joins the frey, and hilariously, so does DAVID SAMMARTINO. Tony officially announces Norton as an nWo member. STING comes down to the ring just as ARN ANDERSON gets involved, and Arn immediately goes after Sting because he’s an idiot. Sting punches him in the head, which draws Mongo to attack. Everyone stops to watch Mongo and Sting brawl. Mysterio jumps on Sting’s back, trying to choke him out, and pissed off, Sting throws him aside and storms to the back as the show heads off the air.
Team WCW really doesn’t get it, do they? Sting has drawn them the map, but they’re too stupid to follow it. He made his allegiance clear earlier; he is with WCW, as long as they embrace him. They haven’t, so he doesn’t need them.
So for the time being, he’ll be Batman. And hell, there's a lot worse people you could be.