Saturday, December 13, 2014

WCW Nitro: December 2, 1996

Apologies on the slowness of these recently, I’m dealing with pneumonia and my level of concentration is not all there.

Biscuit! writes: This WCW run just killed Piper for me. I was hoping for like 8 Diamond Cutters to see him out the door.

Well Biscuit!, I ask that we not react prematurely, unless of course you can see the future or something. Piper, admittedly, has not “lit the world on fire” over his first few weeks, but maybe we should just let it all play out and see where it goes. It’s not like he’ll wind up locking himself on Alcatraz and rant and rave about Hollywood Hogan from inside a jail cell as any kind of pay-per-view build up or anything, so I think we all need to relax a little.

And speaking of seeing where it goes, I imagine Piper will be around tonight, because this is Nitro, home of fireworks, exploding street lights, TONY SCHIAVONE, and LARRY ZBYSZKO. We are LIVE from Dayton, Ohio, on a frosty December evening. Your theme tonight: Piper is the only man that Hogan hasn’t defeated.

Before Larry can even belch his first New World Odor, THE STEINER BROTHERS interrupt the broadcast table. Scott lives! Scotty says that Sting’s one of his best friends in the world, but last week he attacked his brother, and tonight he’ll make sure he doesn’t do it again. Did Scott manage to miss the fact that Rick started it?


GLACIER vs. HARDBODY HARRISON

According to Larry, the story goes that Glacier has been gone for the last couple months to work secretly on himself, and has added greatly to his repertoire overseas. I’m going to call bullshit on that, since he appeared on Worldwide on November 24. Reflecting a little on Glacier, the obvious move, after his debut match, was to advertise his second match heavily with vignettes. COMING HARDER: THE SEQUEL. Play it out for 8-12 months. Repeat. Anyway, it’s clear Glacier has in fact made changes. For example, he has lost his blue light. But that’s about it. The Cryonic Kick wins at 1:02. Then, Glacier cuts a heart-felt promo about his background. His father was an officer of the law, a good man, with honor and values. And he has years of experience as a military man, now a secret ninja warrior, and his discipline has taught him that rogue groups like the nWo must be stopped. He rallies the entire WCW roster together in a beautiful moment, where they unite as one, chanting Glacier’s name, vowing to use their numbers to overcome the nWo, including his opponent, the man named Stang. Wait, none of that actually happened, he actually sat around posing for half an hour. DUD

JOE GOMEZ and THE RENEGADE vs. THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker)

Tony can’t wait to see some great tag-team wrestling, and quite frankly, neither can I. If any is booked, I’ll be thrilled. The Canadians break into the National Anthem, a LITTLE off key and queue, but without any regard for their patriotism, Tony talks ALL over them. Fans chant “USA” for the Spanish guy. Gomez is tossed over the top rope, allowing the Colonel to stomp him like a bug! Back in, Ouellette kills Gomez with a full head of steam. A double hot shot has Joe gasping for life, but the Renegade saves him with an illegal attack. He isn’t admonished, which seems unfair. A crappy handspring back elbow hits Rougeau, and he’s so embarrassed by it that he immediately gives Renegade a spike piledriver. Quebec Crash finishes at 3:15. *1/2

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND makes his first appearance of the night, chatting with ARN ANDERSON by the ramp. Flair’s not here, because he’s in rehab. We’ll assume it’s his shoulder, but you never know. We’re talking Hulk Hogan tonight. Arn reminds the world that there was a myth Hogan couldn’t be beaten, which he destroyed by beating him twice in two weeks. (Fact!) Years ago, Hogan told Arn that the toughest matches of his life were with Piper. Anderson used to take it with a grain of salt, but he’s gone back and watched those wars, and he understands now. Even when the entire nWo attacked him, he saw no fear, but just straight up focus. And when they square off, 1-on-1, Piper’s going to serve him his receipt. The fans respond positively, chanting “nWo!” at the top of their lungs.

THE FACES OF FEAR vs. THE ROCK & MALES EXPRESS
                                            
Scotty Riggs is on the rebound, and he’s walked right into the arms of one Robert Gibson, who hasn’t won a match with old Ricky since mid-1988. This might be the great tag-team match that Tony was hyping during the last segment. Apparently the Faces of Fear have been granted a tag-team title shot at Starrcade. Now THIS would be a good time to have the nWo show a little ass, the Fear might be the only team legitimate enough to take down the Outsiders cleanly. Unfortunately, WCW is booking them like chumps early, with Riggs scoring a 14-count off a sunset flip, except that Meng has the referee distracted. I’m not cool with this. Barbarian goes for a powerslam, but Riggs holds the arm and drags him along. What the crap is this? Barbarian finally just punches Gibson in the back of the head, and in comes Meng. Riggs hits him with a crossbody off the top for 2. A double clothesline drops him again, and I am decidedly unhappy. Gibson works a headlock on a bored looking Meng. In comes Riggs, and Meng just chops him off his feet. The backdrop into a VICIOUS powerbomb very likely just put Riggs in the hospital. Barbarian delivers a backbreaker, which is silly, they already broke his back. Meng calmly chokes Riggs in the ropes, chanting in Tongan the entire time. For kicks, Meng delivers a spike piledriver, but Gibson saves his crippled partner. Barbarian chops Riggs hard in the THROAT. Yeebus! Riggs somehow manages a sunset flip … perhaps he’s a zombie? Barbarian laughs and doesn’t flip, opting to Banzai, but Riggs moves. Gibson enters, giving Barbarian a Blockbuster for 2! That draws the ire of Meng, who throws about 800 consecutive punches. Kick of Fear from Barbarian finishes at 7:41. Riggs re-enters, and slams both Fear members in the head with a steel chair. Ummm … you’re probably gonna come to regret that, pretty boy. **

KEVIN SULLIVAN vs. KC SUNSHINE

This is your usual Prime / Worldwide crap, with Sullivan attacking before the bell, and doing the fast action garbage brawling alongside the ring. Must be nice to be head booker, and feed yourself a perennial stream of jobbers to keep looking like a threat to anyone worth a damn. Granted, he never puts himself OVER in those big matches at least, but after a full year of this, I’m done with the Kevin Sullivan experience. The most entertaining thing to come out of this, is that poor Randy the Ram Robinson is given the unfortunate ring name of KC Sunshine – but it’s always good to see the old Ram out there. We’re denied a Ram Jam, or even a classic rock entrance. Double stomp finishes at 2:01. RIP Randy. DUD

Post-match, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is forced to waste time talking to this clown. Sullivan declares himself the greatest chess player in history, but Benoit’s recently got the upper edge with his mind-games, since he did something or other in Baltimore after Sullivan beat him off. Of course, he never spells it out because this angle sucks.

BILLY KIDMAN vs. DEAN MALENKO (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)

Winner of this match faces Ultimate Dragon at Starrcade. Kidman sports a spiffy 0-191 record against Malenko coming into this match. And that’s just over the last 6 weeks. Don’t get too enthralled here though, because Tony has a memo from the Executive Committee, which is headed up by the Anonymous General Manager. They state that they have all authority over titles in WCW, and not Eric Bischoff. Of course, Larry puts Tony’s hand to the fire and asks questions like “do they sanction all the title changes?” and “can they weigh in on disruptive finishes?” … Tony has no clue, of course. Meanwhile, there’s a pretty awesome match going on, and after Malenko powerbombs Kidman on the floor, SONNY ONOO wanders down to take pictures. Deano locks in a crucifix submission, and rolls backwards for 2. A brainbuster looks to finish, but this is 1996, and that silly transition move only gets 2. Kidman kicks Malenko in the face, and follows with a quick missile dropkick. Perfectplex(!) gets 2. Malenko pops up quickly, and goes for the Outsiders Edge, but Kidman swings through for 2. Both guys start trading small packages (stop it), and eventually wind up on the top rope. A nice looking superplex makes Larry say “New World Odor”. Dean goes up, and Sonny snaps a picture in his face – with the flash sending him crashing to the mat! Kidman heads up … yes, Shooting Star Press! No! Malenko blocks with his knees, and quickly applies a Texas Cloverleaf for the win at 5:53. *** So close Billy, so close.

BIG BUBBER (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JEFF JARRETT

MIKE TENAY and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN take over the announce booth, but not before Larry’s able to throw in one more New World Odor. Jarrett has, of course, now suffered his first loss, so are we prepared to start the Jeff Jarrett job-fest ‘round the nation? This would be as fine a place to start as any. Tony sneaks up behind Heenan, to join the second hour announce crew. He immediately starts saying “TRADITION!” in reference to Roddy Piper, discussing his legendary dog collar match at the first Starrcade in 1983. So basically, he’s old as hell. Jarrett hits a jumping DDT, which serves little purpose because Bubba stands on his throat against the ropes. The referee gives him an earful, allowing Hart to sneak in and choke him out additionally. Of course, he hits the deck seconds later to chase Hart. Bubba tries to save the day, but he punches Hart in the mush by mistake. Back in, Jarrett hits a crossbody off the top, getting 2. Still, he goes for the Figure Four, but Bubba shoves him off. The megaphone is tossed to Bubba, but he misses smashing Jarrett in the face. The referee finally pays attention to the match, just as Jeff dropkicks the megaphone in Bubba’s face for the pin at 4:10. We just saw this match on the October 14th Nitro, right down to the megaphone spot. Welcome to Hour #2 – the no fun zone! *

THE STEINER BROTHERS take over the ring right after the match, with Rick angrily calling out Sting. Scotty spots him in the rafters, and so do the cameras – hi STING! Rick urges Sting to come fight him one on one like a man instead of sneak attacks. Sting nods, indicating he’s accepting the Steiner challenge. Errrr, sure!

Apparently Dave Taylor was scheduled next, but the porno music brings us THE OUTSIDERS, ERIC BISCHOFF, VINCENT, and SYXX. Hall rushes the announce booth, making goblin noises and wiggling his fingers – which works because the announcers scatter like cockroaches. Bischoff declares his love for all of us, and welcomes Sting to the nWo. Concerning Piper, Bischoff says he’s actually his best friend, he was TRYING to save him from Hulk Hogan. If he remembers what happened to that “tub of goo” Vader (queue the footage), he tried and got destroyed. As did Flair and Savage. He urges Piper to stay home over the holidays with his 6 kids, and forget Hogan.

DAVID TAYLOR vs. EDDIE GUERRERO

Hall promises to take a close look at “this guy Taylor”, because they need an Englishman. Taylor immediately starts in with the European uppercuts. If this is an audition – that’s a hell of a way, those things have killed dozens of challengers during street brawling tournaments, held in the mean streets of Blackpool, England (which is where he would have met Regal, you see). Hall figures they should try and recruit Regal while they’re at it, since they handed him the strap that he’s “so proud of”. Taylor fires off a couple of dropkicks, and works over Eddie in the corner. A springboard crossbody misses Guerrero, who jumps up and finishes with the Frog Splash at 2:18. *

LEE MARSHALL starts jawing with Bischoff and the Outsiders on the Road Report. He reminds them that stepping into Charlotte against Flair and Piper is like seeing the Beatles in Liverpool. Hall: “Old and dated?”

ARN ANDERSON vs. JIM POWERS (with Teddy Long)

Anderson attacks immediately, and grinds Powers’ face in the floor. Powers comes back with a crossbody for 2. Hall mentions he’s sick of everyone talking smack against the nWo, and not folks like Arn Anderson who can back it up, but fat announcers like Dusty Rhodes and Larry Zbyszko. He sends a message directly to Larry: stick to golf. Arn misses an elbowdrop, as the Outsiders start sucking Flair’s ass trying to get him on board. DDT finishes for Arn at 3:09. Hall: “Arn can play on my team.” *1/2

CHRIS BENOIT vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (in a first round United States title tournament match)

Bischoff mentions that Benoit won’t go near a men’s room anymore. Hall: “That’s ok, he’s got the bladder of a gladiator.” I’m fairly excited for this match up – we haven’t seen it since January, and that one was fantastic. Regal and Benoit grapple, while the fans chant “USA”. For WHO? Regal throws a series of vicious palm thrusts, but Benoit retaliates with a bunch of his own, and Regal’s busted wide open the hard way. Regal sees it, and rages, sweeping out Benoit’s legs and locking on a front facelock. Benoit escapes, but walks into another palm thrust. The camera pans WAYYYY backwards so as not to show the blood. Come on! We’re like 150 feet away from the ring and can barely see anything. Half the joy of any Regal match is his awesome facial expressions, piss off WCW! Benoit is locked in something, or maybe it’s Regal, who can tell, we’re watching this further away from the ring than Sting. A scoop slam from Benoit sends him up top, and he hits the Swandive! Hall: “This guy’s reckless, that hurts him. I like that.” Both guys trade tombstone threats, but after several reversals, Benoit connects and Regal rolls to the floor. Benoit misses a slingshot plancha, and Regal quickly rolls him back in and puts Benoit on the top. A butterfly superplex has the Lord in control, but it only gets 2. Seconds later, Benoit sneaks behind Regal and nails a German suplex. Hall asks if the camera guys are on strike or something, wanting to know what the hell is with the awful work here. Dragon suplex finishes at 6:26. This looked ok, but the camera stuff was a joke and ruined this for me. **1/2

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND meets up with ARN ANDERSON, MONGO MCMICHAEL, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL – waiting for Benoit to join them as well. Gene sees momentum for the Horsemen apparently. I dunno about that Gene, downward momentum lately, things ain’t pretty. Arn says he felt the rush earlier of driving someone’s head through the mat, and he’s back. Arn asks where the hell Woman is. Benoit says it’s Horsemen business, but Anderson reminds Benoit that Nitro IS Horsemen business. Chris defends her, but Mongo is quick to state that he was part of a team that should have been a dynasty (DAAAAA BEARS!), but they fell apart. Debra’s tired of hearing Woman cutesying up to Benoit, and spraying on her cheap perfume because “Chris loooooves it”. She tells Benoit to straighten this out, immediately. Gene asks what this exclusivity agreement between Benoit and Woman is. Benoit cuts him off, and tells him they’re all Horsemen and to shut it.

ROCCO ROCK (with Johnny Grunge) vs. LEX LUGER

The fans are absolutely manic for Luger here, which the Outsiders try and downplay, but there’s no downplaying this. Rocco drops Luger throat first across the top rope, and tells Luger “don’t worry about Hogan”. Bischoff figures that it’s ok for WCW to be the #2 wrestling organization in the world, behind the nWo. Hall wants to buy a Japanese promotion and make them the #3. Nash: “Does that make ECW #4?” Bischoff: “… ha ha ha, I don’t think so.” Hall: “It’s sweet actually, you can play bingo too.” Rocco misses a blind charge, and Luger starts throwing some “forearm shivers”. Rock scores a cheapshot, sending Lex to the floor, where Grunge gets in a few shots. Luger rolls back in, and Luger hasn’t felt anything, because he gives Rock a gorilla press slam “like he’s a toy!” Grunge trips up Luger before he can finish, and holds Luger hostage on the ropes. Lex moves, Rocco crashes into his buddy, and the Rack finishes at 3:55. Grunge charges, so Luger throws Rocco into him, and clotheslines them out. Hall: “He has that loaded forearm, we need to look into that.” *

RICK STEINER (with Scott Steiner) vs. STING

Sting enters through the crowd, carrying a black baseball bat. He tosses it aside, into the arms of Scott Steiner, and turns around – offering Rick to attack. Steiner tees off on him for a few seconds, until Sting ducks a punch and flattens him with a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting picks up his ball bat, and approaches Scott Steiner, moving him aside to get to Rick. He shoves Rick into the corner, and hands Rick the bat, offering up his back again. Scotty refuses to let Rick attack Sting, so Sting wanders away… right towards the nWo at the announce table. He points his bat at the 3 clowns in the booth, before turning and heading back through the crowd. Hall: “Just send the contract to his house then.”


Bischoff wishes everyone a happy holiday, and the trio makes the Wolfpac sign as the show fades.

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