Sunday, December 21, 2014

WCW Saturday Night: December 14, 1996

Jabroniville writes: RIP Jimmy "Graffiti" Del Ray. I remember this Nitro! I couldn't place who Graffiti was, but he didn't last long in WCW.

Their fatal flaw in the booking was in never giving him a chance to talk to Okerlund.

Gene: “Are you Jimmy Del Ray?”


wannaberockstar: Watching the Horsemen in 1996-1997 is, I assume, what it was like in the last days of the Roman Empire when they were down to a handful of territories, struggling to keep themselves relevant. I mean Jeff Jarrett and Mongo McMichael?

To a certain degree. We’re a couple years away from seeing them get a shot at resurrection, only to see it buried dead and good at Starrcade 1998. The current incarnation with the Jeff Jarrett nonsense right through to the spring of 98 is definitely the lowest point in the group’s history; and that’s saying a lot considering Paul Roma.

Dr. Unlikely: Does Piper go on about "Tootsies Bar & Grille" in this episode?

You mean where Hogan played the BASS GUITAR when Piper was FIFTEEN YEARS OLD?

texasranger9: Its funny reading these reviews and then watch the programming of today. If this would happen today what would the WWE do? Like, lets just say, a wrestling ICON showed up at the end of one of its biggest PPV/Special Events to save the company from a group of heels lead by a blonde, 40+ year old. If that would ever happen would they re-air that segment every show for a month? Or would they only mention it in one segment and forget about it a week later?

To be fair, Roddy Piper gives WCW fresh batshit crazy material to work with weekly, which they beat into the ground until the following Nitro. Sting hasn’t even bothered sending Maggle a mysterious package, which would be aired carte blanche, in which an embarrassing video contains messages that prove he’s wanted a match with Triple H since at least 1993. In fact …



53 seconds in to this, Vader challenges Sting to play A Game. The Game? Did I just out-scoop Dave Meltzer?

Let’s head to the Cyborg Factory, where men who know use Valvoline.


DUSTY RHODES and TONY SCHIAVONE hype the Starrcade card, giving equal amounts of attention to all the matches slated. And if you believe that, I’ve got WCW stock I’d like to sell you. Piper Piper Piper. I haven’t heard repetition like that since Shari Lewis was alive.

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

I’m glad that WCW gave these guys some time apart in order to keep this matchup fresh and vibrant. I’ve really come to appreciate their work together over the last 12 days since this one last ran on TV, and I’m ready to renew this old rivalry. Kidman earned this non-stop slew of title matches by beating Jerry Lynn on Worldwide once. Kidman hits a nice slingshot headscissors take over, and Malenko hits the floor to slow him down a little. It works, and Dean takes over with a fallaway slam. Kidman tries a sunset flip but gets punched in the head for his effort. A crossface is applied, for some “bone marrah on bone marrah” action. Welcome to Planet Dusty, if you need to drink go see the Debulish Woman down by the Pay Windah. A crossbody off the top connects, but Billy rolls through for 2. Malenko is up first, and clotheslines Kidman so hard he does a full 360. A brainbuster is tried, but Kidman slides off the back and hits a tornado bulldog for 2. Malenko sidesteps a dropkick, and hits the brainbuster this time for a close 2. Kidman comes back with another bulldog attempt, but Malenko reverses it mid-hold into a slam, and locks on the Cloverleaf for the submission at 6:55. **1/2

HIGH VOLTAGE vs. THE RENEGADE and JOE GOMEZ

High Voltage are the underdogs here on the basis that unlike the opposition, their Nipples have never been given their own segment on Nitro. I’ll keep this match to a high level summary: we saw a wide array of hiptosses, and Renegade wins with a big splash off the top at 5:25. 1/2*

As part of Gene’s propaganda report; he’s hearing that WCW is investigating the signing of “one of the biggest names in wrestling history”, who reeks of “tradition”. While I assume this report has about as much legitimacy as the financial reports at Los Pollos Hermanos, I’ll call out the WON guys to ask if there was anything here, since both Bret and Shawn were locked up at this point. Was this just an overhyped Mr. Perfect?

JEFF JARRETT vs. LARRY SANTO

Dear god, we haven’t seen Larry Santo in years, and man does he look grizzled. Of course, anyone who spent their livelihood getting worked over by Vader may have suffered the same fate. Jarrett hits an early swinging neckbreaker, but Santo retaliates with hiptosses. A blind charge misses, and the next thing you know, Santo’s locked in the Figure Four and tapping out at 1:43. Welcome back Larry. DUD

Hey, speaking of embarrassing Sting videos…



DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. REX KING

Page is chewing gum today, while simultaneously smoking his cigar. I don’t know if the gum is standard for every cigar, but that’s positively disgusting. Not disgusting is his fantastic finisher however, in which he backdrops Rex into the air, and hits the Diamond Cutter on the way down in one smooth movement, for the easy score at 3:19. *

LEE MARSHALL gets a word with the big winner, who pantomimes the move all over again. His enthusiasm is completely infectious; and his evolution this year has been a joy to watch. Marshall asks about the nWo again, and Page reminds us he doesn’t need them or anywhere, because he has the greatest finisher in the world. He says if they keep it up, he’s gonna drop them. Page can’t wait for his shot at the US title at Starrcade, throws in a racist joke about Eddie, and finishes with a BANG.

ICE TRAIN (with Teddy Long) vs. LUSCIOUS LUTHER BIGGS

I don’t mean to speculate idly, but I think it goes without saying that Glacier is scouting this one very carefully. A quick Train Wreck sets up a shoulderblock off the top, and Biggs hits the floor. He acts incapacitated, but it’s a ploy, because he gets back in and throws a punch. Ice Train doesn’t care for that, and hits a clothesline to set up a senton. Still choosing not to finish, a standing vertical suplex sets up a banzai drop, and FINALLY he goes for the pin at 2:27. It took Luther Biggs nearly 3 years to recover from this loss, but when he did, he came back with a lot of Buzz. *

RON STUDD and ROAD BLOCK vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart)

Holy crap, now THIS is a match up! I can’t imagine anyone coming out of this alive? Just ask Fit Finlay, who Ron Studd killed overseas months ago. Nobody sells anything here, and it’s glorious. Seeing Meng take the giant arms of Road Block to the face and just giving it back, with neither guy giving an inch is amazing. Road Block hits a big boot, and Meng’s up at 1. Both members of the Fear start with the CLUBBERIN’! Barbarian goes for the Kick of Fear, but Road Block just slams him and GOES UP TOP! A big splash MISSES, dear god! Kick of Fear is right there, and we have winners at 3:25. This was at least a 5 star matchup, and possibly 6.

KEVIN SULLIVAN won’t talk to Tony anymore, so he’s talking with LEE MARSHALL instead. Marshall promptly stabs him in the back and airs a new Chris Benoit video.

CHRIS BENOIT and WOMAN are still sitting around drinking their wine. Benoit brags that Woman wants to be with a young stallion, and is finished with the old generation. Woman: “Woman gets what Woman wants. She always has, and she always will.”

Back to the arena, Sullivan snaps and asks Marshall if he heard a word he said to Schiavone on Monday? He reminds Lee that the video was sent to HIMSELF and no one else. He also knows Tony Schiavone is the producer of this show, so he doesn’t blame Marshall, but is livid no one’s asking him if it’s ok to show this stuff. Sullivan reminds us that he has a family, and at home he’s not the nut he pretends to be while he’s here. He might be wrapped a little tight, but he has nothing left in his life to lose now. He sends a message to Arn Anderson, because he’s been arrested before but it took 12 officers to get him in the car. With his personal life now a mess, he blames Anderson for starting this because he’s the one who brought Benoit into the Horsemen. For every cold and lonely night he has moving forward, he’s going to take it out on Anderson and split his head open. He can’t tell him what he really thinks because this is on TV, but if he ever shows another video without his permission, something’s gonna happen.

The complete Piper/Bischoff confrontation from Nitro is aired.

HUGH MORRUS vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW world television title)

This is a big of a styles clash, but I’m digging the idea. Morrus puts his arm behind his back like Regal, and prances around the ring laughing his ass off. He quickly pays for that, finding himself trapped in a hammerlock. Regal sweeps the legs out from Morrus, and powers him down to the mat, but Morrus overcomes that by winning a test of strength and getting back to his feet. Regal throws a ton of palm thrusts, but it doesn’t stop Morrus from springboarding off the ropes and hitting a clothesline. Regal hits the ground, looking shocked, so Morrus follows him out of the ring. Big mistake, because Regal rolls in first, and waits to start hitting the palm thrusts and European uppercuts upon his re-entry. Morrus spears forward, and uses a ground and pound technique, looking seriously pissed. Regal pokes him in the eyes, stops to plead innocence with the ref, before moving to the corner to work Morrus over some more. Regal works a headlock on the mat, grinding his elbow into the ears because he’s a dick. Upon release, Morrus hits a boot to the face, and starts running over Regal with clotheslines. Morrus heads up for No Laughing Matter, but Regal pops up and powerbombs him from the reverse position and gets the pin to retain at 5:06. That was fantastic. Post-match, Regal tells us to forget the nWo, the Horsemen, and the Dungeon, because he’s all alone and kicking ass. ***

Meanwhile, over in the world of nWo Saturday Night…

K.C. SUNSHINE
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 210 & 1/2
Reach: 15 1/3”
Fist: 15
Hometown: Flooring, IL
Pro Record: It ain’t much
Studying “Dance Art” at Skivies Dance downtown

Because of his lack of a track record, Sunshine isn’t worthy of a ring entrance. SYXX is our ring announcer, THE OUTSIDERS work the commentary, and DOCTOR X referees.

THE GIANT (with Marcus Bagwell) vs. K.C. SUNSHINE (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)

Hall notes Giant’s beautiful hair, with his recent change in conditioner. Sunshine throws himself at the Giant like a tennis ball, but gets clobbered all over the ring. A Baldo Bomb leaves Sunshine worse for wear, and Bagwell throws in a taped fist shot. The referee, after a brief discussion with Bagwell, decides it was legal. The Giant goes to the mat to try some shoot style wrestling, and hooks a “large package” for 2. Nash: “KC has blonde hair and dark eyebrows, he must be dying those eyebrows.” KC hits the floor, where Syxx chops away at the poor jobber, and Bagwell laughs at him. Giant does the world’s laziest version of La Magistral (you probably don’t believe me, but I swear!), before palming KC’s head like a bowling ball to throw him around. Bagwell slides into the ring as Giant holds KC in place, and gives him a play by play how-to instructional on how to do a Chokeslam. This is easily the highlight of the match, as it takes nearly a minute, with Giant talking him through each step, eventually getting the pin.

In case you needed to see the Roddy Piper segment from Nitro one more time, in full, we play it again.

DAVID TAYLOR vs. “HACKSAW” JIM DUGGAN

Duggan’s waving his flag around like a bloody lunatic, and nearly takes the head of poor Taylor off in the process. Off the bell, Duggan dumps Taylor over the top, but fails to draw a DQ because WCW makes no sense. Taylor pulls Duggan to the floor for a little brawling, but promptly gets himself thrown into the ring post. The world’s ugliest American cheerleader starts a USA chant, before taking a jawbreaker across the top rope. A snapmare leads to a headlock, where Duggan’s eyes and tongue take on a life of their own. Duggan elbows his way out of the hold, and drops Taylor with a shoulderblock. A knee to the midsection allows Taylor to put the headlock back on. Duggan fights out again, so Taylor pokes him in the eyes. Duggan sells for a second, but stomps around like a Nazi on speed. Taylor rapidly puts a stop to that, and re-applies a headlock. Duggan gets to his feet, so Taylor rocks him with a European uppercut! I was waiting for it! Then back to the headlock, because Taylor’s amazing. Duggan gets loose, so Taylor snapmares him and puts the headlock on for a 5th time. I know this must be driving most viewers at home nuts, but I’m loving every second of Taylor’s dickery. Duggan escapes, and finally gets away long enough to punch Taylor 10 times in the corner. Taylor takes a big step forward, and falls on his face. However, it was a ruse, and he pops up like a torpedo, and promptly applies his 6th headlock. Duggan fights loose, screams at the referee to get off his back, and dives at Taylor, face first into the buckle. Taylor heads up, so Duggan tapes his fist up, and levels him on the way down for the pin at 6:11. Dave Taylor is a god amongst men. **1/2


Our main event segment features ARN ANDERSON, by himself in the locker room. About 2 years ago, he was in Japan wrestling, and saw a young guy named Chris Benoit, and knew immediately “that’s a Horseman”. He went to WCW to get him hired, and Benoit’s exceeded all expectations since his arrival. He told Benoit that anything he wanted was his, just reach out and take it. However, there’s an unwritten rule that applies to every aspect of a man’s life. #1 – you take care of your family. #2 – you don’t mess around in another man’s family. Arn says with his age and wisdom, he can tell Chris that there’s going to come a time when he’s a nobody, and no one will have any interest in getting his autograph. And whether he walks away from the sport on his own terms, or is rolled away in a wheelchair, the one constant will be his family. So he closes by asking if destroying Kevin Sullivan’s life is worth losing his soul.

13 comments:

  1. Jeez that last promo is something else.

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  2. It sounds like a great promo by Arn, actually, but in hindsight, yeah, it's eerily prophetic and depressing.

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  3. This writing is far too good to waste on 1996 WCW or Monday Night Piper. Yeah, I'll keep reading, but still...

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  4. Kick of Fear just might be my favourite move title.

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  5. I disagree. I think 1996 WCW was great and totally worthy of this effort. What time period would you rather see?

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  6. I'd rather see the writer cover current shows and issues in any way he sees fit. He's phenomenal

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  7. He is a lot of fun. I wonder what contemporary wrestler or tag team would get his Faces of Fear love.

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  8. Hahaha- Johnny Ray. Such a fucking '90s song.

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  9. Ha - thanks guy. I'd totally take on the current product, but I need a steady stream of highs and lows. You'd wind up with a weekly 4000 word stream of vitriol; and that would grow cumbersome real quick, for both of us. I think the last angle I really enjoyed was the Dusty / Dustin / Cody angle from a year ago in all honesty, everything else seems to blend together.


    The big reason I loved WCW was that I always had something I could look forward to (last week's Nitro aside). With a roster of 1000 wrestlers, it could come from anywhere; be it a random colorful jobber, a hard-hitting fight from Fit Finlay (back when he was alive, may he rest in peace), or a horribly produced video montage.


    With the WWE, you're confined to a roster of about 30-40 guys, who have all fought each other 1000 times. Because everything is so homogenized, you don't get random stupid creativity from guys desperate from TV time. On this show above, we just had a 500 pound guy named Roadblock who literally carries a "Road Block" on his head. I don't care that he doesn't get interview time, you remember that guy, because he doesn't look or wrestle like everyone else.


    We're all better off with me here.

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  10. Hats off man. The WCW roster was crazy fun, and the announcers were actually pretty good at making me believe that some new guy might actually breakthrough a guy they were high on (Kidman vs Malenko in 96) or that some star from the 80's might recapture their old glory and beat someone actually being pushed ( Bobby Eaton, Robert Gibson, etc).

    They also had so many legit main eventers that they could run 6 PPV main event pairings without repeating a guy if they wanted to.

    Can you imagine 2014 WWE even attempting World War 3?

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  11. Total agreement with the phenomenal assessment. Dude is my favorite writer here, and the fact that he's covering the trainwreck that was WCW that I forced myself to continue to watch back then is an added bonus.

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  12. Was Larry Santo still the king amongst jobbers when it came to facial expressions at this time?

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