Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–03.25.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 03.25.96

Live as live can get from somewhere not mentioned.

Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mongo.

Randy Savage v. The Belfast Bruiser

That truly sounds like a parody of a wrestling match that you’d see on a sitcom or something. Kind of ridiculous that Savage is the night after a supposedly brutal 8-on-2 DOOMSDAY CAGE MATCH and he doesn’t even have a band-aid on his head or anything. Finlay works on a headlock and beats on Savage with elbows and Cesaro-like forearms, but Savage comes back with clotheslines to put him on the floor. They brawl out there and Savage goes HEADFIRST into the post like a man. Bruiser drops him on the railing and Savage is staggering around, finally with a good reason to sell like a man fighting death. Normally the heel is just stomping and choking and Savage is selling it like a vicious beating, but this really is a walloping. Back in, Finlay with a short clothesline for two, but he misses a blind charge and Savage pops up for the flying elbow at 5:02. Still the usual formula for Savage, but Finlay made it GOOD by beating on him with gusto. ***

Ric Flair and his harem join us, and Liz feels like he’s more of a man than Randy Savage or Lex Luger. That opinion would soon change.

US title: Konnan v. The Mysterious Mr. JL

JL takes him down with a flying headscissors, but Konnan escapes a dive. Back in, they trade wristlocks on the mat with some neat lucha style work, but Konnan hits a DDT to take over. Senton gets two. JL takes him down into an armbar as this goes nowhere, and both guys are down off a collision. JL recovers first with a missile dropkick for two and now Konnan is selling a knee. And then he ignores that and powerbombs JL for two. What the fuck is with this match? Is Konnan blown up or just being a dick? Even Bischoff notes that he seems really winded. Konnan goes up and JL DDTs him off the middle for two, but Konnan hits a whiplash slam out of the corner to finish at 6:30. Just a total trainwreck. Oddly enough, the “WCW” section of the Observer for that week is missing, so I have no idea what the deal was or if Dave talked about it. *

The Booty Man v. Disco Inferno

Speaking of trainwrecks. Booty with a pair of atomic drops as Kimberly, who is now “The Booty Babe”, joins us at ringside in what must be a very cold arena. Booty finishes with a high knee at 1:10. DUD

WCW World tag titles: Sting & Lex Luger v. The American Males

Riggs hits Luger with a dropkick, and Bagwell continues frustrating him until Sting comes in. Luger then turns into a smiling babyface on the apron, clapping and cheering for Sting. Sting gets a pair of slams on Bagwell, and Luger comes in and pounds on Riggs before getting caught in the Males corner and double-teamed. Bagwell whiffs on a bodypress and Lex beats him down, but Bagwell comes back with a flying forearm and it’s tags on both sides. Riggs with a small package on Sting, but Sting gets a bodypress for the pin at 6:30. Sting stops to celebrate with the Males in a show of sportsmanship, while Luger takes the belts and gets the hell out of there. Mostly a nothing match. *1/2

WCW World title: Ric Flair v. The Giant

Elizabeth and Woman literally throw Randy Savage’s alimony money into the crowd in a genius heel move. Giant throws Flair around in impressive fashion, including a press slam that sends Flair running. Flair fights back with chops and gets nowhere, and Giant whips him into a Flair Flip before catching him with a backbreaker. Giant goes AIRBORNE, but misses a flying splash. Jesus. Flair goads him into trying a charge as well, and Giant hits the post and bumps to the floor. Flair decides to eschew finesse and just chokes him out with a piece of wire before slugging away on the mat. Giant fights him off, so Flair kicks a field goal on the nutsack while the women distract the ref. And then Woman chokes poor Giant down with the wire from the floor, and that’s a little icky to watch. Finally Giant has had ENOUGH of this shit and chokeslams Flair, but Kevin Sullivan and Arn Anderson run in with chairs for the DQ at 8:50, and Giant destroys them as well and walks out on Jimmy Hart. So there’s the historic first babyface turn for Paul Wight. Really fun match, especially once Flair resorted to every ridiculously over-the-top cheating tactic in the books to even the odds. ***

The Pulse

Not much of a show coming off the PPV, to be honest, as the company had very little direction before you-know-what happens about two months from here. Really good main event, though.

74 comments:

  1. If you had a time machine and could get them side by side, would you believe 1996 Giant is the same man as 2015 Big Show?

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  2. Sure, because I'm guessing those frying pan hands existed 19 years ago, too.

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  3. Depends. Am I seeing them in person where I can truly appreciate their size?

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  4. Before he was a wrestler, Big Show conned money from rubes by frying panhandling.

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  5. All of Flair's heel tactics are pretty awesome in this angle. I particularly liked when he would set up a buffet table next to the ring during Savage's matches and eat and drink wine with Elizabeth and Woman, and then boast about how Elizabeth was his sugar mama using Savage's money.

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  6. Stranger in the AlpsMarch 5, 2015 at 12:38 AM

    If I had a time machine, why would I waste it on getting The Giant and Big Show side by side? It's all about sports betting and preventing the Kardashians from being a thing.

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  7. Ain't no one that spends other people's money like Ric Flair!

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  8. Gray's Sports Almanac

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  9. And I'm pretty sure that throwing money to fans is a face move. Or did Andre turn heel at Wrestlemania?

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  10. You've put more thought into the characters than any of the writers or Vince has. One thing I've been thinking lately, given WWE's real need for new heel stars: imagine if instead of Big Show and Kane as the Authority's heavies, they'd chosen Cesaro and Harper. How much fresher would the Main Events feel? How much more important would Cesaro and Harper feel? How much less bored would everyone be? Instead we get ol' frying-pan-hands and THEDEMONKANE stinking up the main event while guys like Harper and Cesaro remain on the midcard treadmill.

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  11. Turns out if you book things simply and logically, they work and are easy to follow. If anything, NXT proves that many smarks have been right all along when it comes to their complaints about WWE overthinking their booking. It's really fucking easy: two guys have argument and want to fight to settle the score. OR one guy has belt and other guy wants it. Wrestling is quite easy to do effectively - it's just that the WWE is stuck on all it's Attitude Era habits when they've far outlived their usefulness.

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  12. I think Sasha Banks is my favourite wrestler at the moment. Or Kevins Owens. Or Sami Zayn. Or Finn Balor. NXT is fun.

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  13. So there’s the historic first babyface turn for Paul Wight.

    And it took all of 5 months. Actually, that's probably a record for him

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  14. I actually have more interest in Alex fucking Riley than I do Wrestlemania. That's the difference good booking and structure can make.

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  15. The pacing here leaves you wanting more, the pacing of Raw leaves you thinking "is it over yet?"

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  16. But which one would be the power and which one is the glory?

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  17. I'll find something for Alexa Bliss to do. How bout it?

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  18. Any show where Bull Dempsey gets jobbed out hard gets a thumbs up in my book!

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  19. An historic eight-star turnaround for Randy Savage in a period of less than 24 hours.

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  20. There are such things as pictures.

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  21. Sasha is great, I loved the way she grabbed and clutched the title like it was the most important thing in the world after she won. It's the little things.

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  22. It must have been so disheartening to future Savage opponents to watch his matches. No matter how long or hard you pummel the man, Randy will always come back and finish you with the elbow.

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  23. How long did The Godfather go around getting cheap pops with "pimpin ain't easy?"

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  24. Unless you're Hogan and the elbow makes you stronger.

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  25. Anyone that throws money my way is a face in my eyes.

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  26. The McMahons probably think that giving money to the fans is another liberal loser handout, or something. And anyone who gives money to fans should be booed.

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  27. In a couple of weeks - Hogan had his infamous "farewell" where he goes all greek mythology by destroying the entire roster before going on vacation to shoot a movie. Rumor had it he was supposed to do a stretcher job, but Sullivan says he balked because he didn't want to lose stroke.

    I'm almost convinced some anti-Hogan retortic might be true when it comes to the nWo if Hogan stayed a face. But Hogan did turn heel and wrestling changed forever. Although rumors prior to the heel turn had Hogan destroying Nash in a match at HOG Wild.

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  28. Technically - if Hogan always hulks up from the elbow - it makes sense. Although, I like the 1985 rule better.

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  29. Giant really didn't turn babyface as he still hung out with Jimmy Hart. Giant was a tweener here and became like a defacto babyface upon Hogan's NWo turn.

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  30. Heh, that reminds me when Vince did that weekly giving away of his money.

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  31. Injuries and just being a guy that size will change you over time. Andre used to be super lean, too.

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  32. Then Hogan konked him in the head with the belt and after days of lying on the mat - he joined the nWo until he won a title shot and Hogan konked him in the head again and then he turned face. Only until Nash broke his neck - and then in a odd turn of events Nash turns face while Giant joins back up with Hogan to turn heel - only to get konked on the head with a wrench and thrown out of the nWo when Nash turned heel again. Wouldn't call that a face turn since Giant was heading to the WWF/E. Then Paul Wight shows up as a corporate giant and even jobs to Aystin the week before mania and then turns face. I stop now.

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  33. Threadjack--Maffew just shared this and it's great

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20s8u_iPm-w

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  34. The Big Show has had a legendary career

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  35. It's like HHH-Jericho except with giants.

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  36. All talks of reviving elbows made me find a match where reviving elbows didn't exist.

    http://youtu.be/xmY6QhW6Ge4

    And Savage did kick out - kayfaybe or not

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  37. This video is a bunch of bs and I bet it was made by trolls....The WWE is better than ever and this years Lesnar vs Reigns mainevent is the biggest WM match of all time....

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  38. I never knew Randy Savage had a match with Finlay. It's the little things like this that make me glad I have the Network.

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  39. I guess I disagree on what you're using as grading criteria. I think the last two weeks have been superb based on how much character progression and angle advancement they've done in a short amount of time. Everything that happened last night built to the next episode, from the upper card to the women's division to the lower card. Everyone that appears on-screen has purpose. Emma was on for 30 seconds and had meaning. What NXT does is no small feat.

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  40. Hogan was treated like a face at Hog Wild anyway. Those redneck bikers loved him. Sang happy birthday to him and everything.

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  41. I guess Nancy should have championed "do as I say, not as I do"

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  42. Yep and they made sure to book his comeuppance by having the set collapse on him.

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  43. AverageJoeEverymanMarch 5, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    "And here comes that you Mejican . . . Meel Mascara!! OH BOY WHATAMANEUVER!!"

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  44. I didn't understand why he made his debut as a heel and started teasing the face turn immediately. If you want people to hate him have him act like a big scary heel, if you want people to like him don't have him be a heel.

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  45. He got rick rolled.

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  46. Sid was okay. They just didn't have the right people to elevate him. There was always the Spring Stampeed rumor of Hogan putting him over prior to the "reboot." Hey crash TV and reboots were cool back then, but so was the Joe Schmoe show and I'm not interested in either concept now. WCW might have died anyways, but oh I wish Russo never got hired. If he hadn't gotten hired, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H may not have really married in 2003. Remember kids - it is all Russo's fault or WCW fault or whatever.

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  47. They should have never done the child stuff, but Seven could have been a great Goldust alternative. Of course, Russo has him trash the gimmick and become Dustin Rhodes again. Maybe if Dustin had better work rate the shoot promo could have led somewhere -- because it was a good shoot promo - but sadly most shoot promos were great because they were cutting edge and you wondered what was real and what was fiction. Dustin's shoot was good, but sadly Dustin is a guy who needed a gimmick. I mean the guy might be low again now, but I've read for a Midcard vet - he still tries to improve - in spite of almost being as old as sting

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  48. Oh, you poor, dumb troll. You don't know what you're getting yourself into.

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  49. Totally disagree on the tag match. They had good action with Sting and Bagwell, brought up the history of Sting training Bagwell early on (which was a story pushed back in '92) and Luger freaking out and destroying MAB was a great moment.

    The Savage/Finlay worked because it was far more of a back-and-forth struggle than the usual 1996 Savage formula.

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  50. Let's take him to mess with the WWF - but what is so funny - the WWF didn't need him and WCW refused to use him. He would have returned to WCW maybe in 1999-2000 if Owen hadn't died. Might have returned as early as 2005, if he hadn't had the career ending concussion or stroke. I wish Russo hadn't used him post-Stroke because fans could never accept their wouldn't be a payoff. I'm still shocked he agreed to "wrestle" in 2010. And I don't mean the McMahon angle either.

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  51. It was a pretty quick transition though, wasn't it?

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  52. Admittedly dumbass question, but I'm assuming Mr. JL is Jerry Lynn? If so, what is up with the moniker?

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  53. I'm not sure... I think that's what makes it mysterious.

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  54. I wish he had returned in 2005, during Shawn's promo. The roar of that crowd when his music hit nearly broke my speakers.

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  55. He was.

    Why Mr JL? BECAUSE WCW.

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  56. Upvote for the "How bout it?" reference.

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  57. James M. FabianoMarch 5, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    ...to make fun of the TNA guy dying when it happened to him.

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  58. James M. FabianoMarch 5, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    What about the MOONSAULT????

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  59. Jerry Lynn is also Jerry Lynn, and he uses the same music as JL. They also sometimes share music with Jerry Flynn who is neither JL nor Jerry Lynn.

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  60. The bit about the bandages made me think of the old post-PPV bandages people would wear the next night on Raw. It's not really necessary due to the lack of blading now, but it helped sell the brutality of matches.

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  61. for some reason young me assumed it was Jushin Liger in a different outfit and mask.

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  62. Everyone's going wild over that "Rise and Fall of WWE" parody video and how it totally sums up the company now but I still don't feel the same agonizing pain from current WWE than with '99 WCW.

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  63. You know, there's NOTHING earth-shattering about these shows, and that's JUST FINE. It's simple, it makes sense, and there's wrestling involved. I fuckin' love it.

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  64. What exactly did people see in Jerry Lynn?

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  65. The world needed a jerry Lynn vs jerry Flynn match.

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  66. "No corporate sugar daddy is going to keep flushing their money down the crapper forever."

    Mr. Davison, allow me to introduce you to my friend Robert Carter.

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  67. Well, obviously, that's what they split up and feud over... ;)

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  68. CruelConnectionNumber2March 5, 2015 at 1:14 PM

    This highlight video of the Konnan/JL match makes it look like a 4 star match. Check out all the lucha counters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kQTT7IT6NY

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  69. My working theory is that, in order to justify their paychecks, the writers in WWE Creative OVERTHINK things.

    EXAMPLE: The whole idea of The Ascension is the simplest thing ever...and it's worked before. So, upon moving up to the main roster...they made it complicated and ruined it before it had a chance to work.

    Maybe The Ascension wouldn't have worked--people here have pointed out that they're not "that" big and that they aren't believable as monsters. But the idea was simple...and there was no reason it wouldn't have worked had they tried. But instead, we get "The Ascension thinks they are what they were designed to be, but actually they're not that good and deserving of being buried right out of the gates" and then they act surprised that they couldn't get that over.

    I like your idea for Cesaro/Harper. "But then what do we do with Kane & Big Show" is not a good enough reason to keep doing something that doesn't work very well.

    I suppose that one way that I agree with you that WWE Creative just hasn't put any thought into something is Kane. Corporate Kane makes no sense to me. Does Glenn just hate the mask so much that he forced Creative into stripping his character down into a featureless lump? Fine...he's no longer THEDEMONKANE--then change his music, his tron...and maybe give him something, a personality trait...a catchphrase...something (anything) to base a new character on.

    I still think that the way to go with Kane would be to keep up the "Hell No" comedy character. Imagine THEDEMONKANE trying to fit into the corporate world. In mask, trying to make copies...etc.

    Vignettes could have been done in the style of the "This is SportsCenter" ads. One where a bunch of WWE employees are showing up for work at the home offices...then suddenly flame strikes blast up right at the front door, freaking everyone out. They all turn and look at Kane--in a suit, but still wearing his mask. "Sorry," he says with a shrug.

    (If WWE Creative needed a template for this, they could have simply looked to Worf on ST:TNG. Missed opportunity there.)

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  70. 20 years is a quick transition?

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  71. 2 years isn't...compare 96 to 98.

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  72. @SodiePop for some reason WCW felt the need to put Jerry Lynn in a luchadore outfit as Mr. JL rather than just letting him be himself.

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  73. Damn those evil Exes! Damn them to hell! Actually, checking Bognar's bio, I see he ended up in New Japan after the fake Razor thing got shit canned. So he kind of did end up landing on his feet. Unfortunately a serious neck injury put him out of action shortly afterwards. So it was the injury, rather than the fake Razor gimmick, that put paid to his career.

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