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The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–04.01.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 04.01.96

Anyone watching Gangland Undercover on History? Holy SHIT what a great show. It’s like Sons of Anarchy crossed with Donnie Brasco and it’s incredibly tense and awesome.

Live from somewhere we don’t even have time to tell you, because Sting is facing the Giant!

Sting v. The Giant

Sting clips him and hits him with a dive off the top, but Giant shrugs him off and drops an elbow. Apparently this was supposed to be Sting & Giant v. Harlem Heat, but Jimmy Hart paid off the Heat to leave and then paid off Giant to attack Sting instead. Giant tosses Sting out of the ring, but tries a chokeslam from the apron and Sting comes back with a dropkick to the floor. And then Lex Luger runs in for the DQ as backup. So I guess it’s babyface turn OFF for the Giant. But last week seemed like a pretty clear face turn, so was this a turn back to heel already? I don’t really understand what was supposed to be happening – Sting and the Giant were supposed to be defending the tag titles in place of Sting and Luger? What? I feel like this was something that would have been explained on WCW Saturday Night beforehand.

OK, let’s try this again.

Live from Cleveland, OH

Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan & Mongo

The Steiner Brothers v. The Road Warriors v. The Nasty Boys

This was well before three way matches were a normal thing, and quite the dream match at that. Bischoff had announced this as Steiners/LOD/Public Enemy before the break, showing the level of quality control at this point. Knobs slugs it out with Rick to start and Animal gets double-teamed by the Nasties. Scott and Hawk clothesline each other and Hawk hits the floor on a missed charge, but he comes back with a neckbreaker for two. Animal comes in and runs right into a stiff Rick Steiner clothesline from the apron, but Sags clobbers Scott from behind and the Nasties take over with some CLUBBERING in the corner. And then everyone starts beating on each other on the floor in crazy fashion. Back in, Hawk goes to work on Rick with a chinlock as the announcers continue pondering the mystery of who attacked the Nasty Boys two episodes ago. Does anyone really care? Sags with a backbreaker on Rick for two, but the Warriors mug him outside the ring and Scott goes to a chinlock on Knobs while we take a break. Back with Knobs pounding on Rick, but Scott comes in with a german suplex on him. Knobs and Rick both hit the floor and Knobs sends him in the post while the camera watches them and not the ring, and then Johnny Grunge runs in dressed as Knobs and lays down for Scott at 15:00 in a weird finish. From this Bischoff concludes that Public Enemy were the ones to attack the Nasties. Not sure I agree 100% with your detective work there, Lou. Match was weird and disjointed, but it was well before they were common anyway and so this was fine for the time. *** Road Warriors actually quit at this point due to jealousy over the incoming Hall & Nash, but got talked into staying.

Hulk Hogan & The Booty Man v. Kevin Sullivan & Arn Anderson

Oh god, this program MUST CONTINUE. Arn gets a cheapshot on Booty and works him over outside the ring, but Hogan makes the save. Back in the ring, Booty slams Sullivan off the top and Hogan comes in to double-team the heels by himself, but Booty ruins his plans by getting caught in the corner. Why can’t everyone just let Hogan do everything himself? The heels work Booty over and Arn stomps away while Booty twitches like he’s going in shock or something. Thankfully, he makes the “hot” tag to Hogan, who indeed destroys both heels on his own while freed from his useless partner, and then we get the stupidest finish of the week, as both Hogan and Sullivan get women’s shoes from ringside and Hogan uses his first for the pin at 7:50. How is any heel ever supposed to get heat on Hogan if he beats them EVERY FUCKING WEEK? ½* Afterwards, Hogan and Booty are ANGRY at the heels, and they’ve got a plan to get their final revenge next week. You know, after they’ve beaten the heels decisively three weeks in a row. Except there’s no show next week. Whoops. Also, Booty can’t reveal the super double secret stips, probably because Hogan hasn’t thought them up yet. I can only imagine what we’re subjected to on the next show. The crowd boos them for all this, by the way. Or maybe they were saying “Boo…ty Man”? Hogan’s heel turn cannot come fast enough for my liking.

WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Lex Luger

OK, so Luger is suddenly a full babyface now, apparently. I’m increasingly confused. Lex overpowers Flair with the usual spots and press slams, but runs into an elbow in the corner. Flair goes up and gets slammed off and Luger clotheslines him to the floor as they do the exact same match they did 300 times in 1988. I guess there’s a large chunk of the audience who wouldn’t have seen it the first time, though. Flair slugs away, but Lex no-sells it and drops him with another press slam and more clotheslines, but he stops to chase off the women and Flair nails him off the apron to take over. Figure-four, which Lex quickly reverses, and they fight to the floor, but Lex makes the comeback. Sunset flip gets two. Backslide gets two. Flair goes up and Lex reverses him into a superplex, but now Woman goes for the new stupid finish award by throwing a cup of HOT COFFEE in Luger’s eyes, allowing Flair to retain at 11:00. Jesus Christ, women’s shoes and hot coffee in the eyes on the SAME SHOW?! No wonder those Billionaire Ted skits were like shooting fish in a barrel. Match was just the guys going through the motions of their same match from years before. **1/2

The Pulse

Part of the charm of the early Nitros was the mixture of styles and guys, but this was literally all the same old guys doing the same old stuff with nothing to break it up. Too much Woman & Liz, WAY too much Hogan, too much Luger. And three cutesy screwjob finishes in the same one hour show? And yes, I know it gets even worse, trust me. Hopefully we power through this two months and get to the REALLY good stuff soon.

Comments

  1. Meanwhile on RAW, Mankind debuted and ended the show by kicking the shit out of Undertaker. A rare, clear win for the WWF during this time period.

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  2. Didn't you review the show before with Giant defeating Flair for the WCW title?

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  3. Adam "Colorado" CurryMarch 6, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    Gangland Undercover is fucking AWESOME.

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  4. If Nash and Hogan hadn't jumped, would this Hogan domination thing really just have gone on forever? There's just no end in sight, and it's actually worse now than it was in 1994 and 1995.

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  5. Different match. The title change doesn't take place until the April 29th episode of Nitro.

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  6. Hogan's contract was set to expire sometime in the Fall, but you never know... without the arrival of Hall and Nash, it all comes down to how much money was made and if it was enough to justify Hogan's deal.

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  7. I wonder, would it have been possible to book Hogan better, so to keep his face-character alive? Or did that just really run it's course?

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  8. Hogan leaves after the show that follows this. He doesn't come back until Bash at the Beach, but things were going along just find without him OR Hall and Nash, so maybe if they don't come in, Hogan just leaves quietly.

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  9. It ran it's course in late 1991. People got tired of his boring ass schtick.

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  10. In retrospect, I wish that would've happened.

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  11. Yeah , I guess so. But initially he was still over in WCW, but the booking was so horrific. But do you think his character could be tweaked? Or was that impossible with the rise of Nitro weekly appearances....

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  12. Nothing on Saturday night sadly, it ended with Sting being prepared to trust Giant with his life. Whatever happened here was explained as Jimmy Hart paying off Harlem Heat and Giant to take out Sting, Sting finding out and spitting in Giants face seconds before Nitro hit the air.

    Saturday Night shill: http://www.kickoffear.com/wcw-saturday-night---march-30--1996.html

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  13. Saw some preview clips and was turned off by the reenactment style. Perhaps I wasn't being fair and should check it out.

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  14. Reverts back to one of the Blackjacks, I'd imagine.

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  15. Man, Vince would've taken him back in a heartbeat. There goes WWF 1997, best year ever.

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  16. He has more entertaining ones on YouTube. There's even a short clip where he talks about hating Miz and wanting to punch him in the face.

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  17. Surely he's not that threatening after Joe's Styles punched him out?

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  18. As RF is run by a guy who got caught looking for underaged boys online I think that's okay.

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  19. I was saying Boo…ty Man ...

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  20. Think that might have been it for Booty. If I remember right, it's a handicap match when Nitro returns in two weeks with Hogan (sigh) single handedly beating Arn and Sullvan himself. With Hogan away, I think WCW didn't bother booking the useless lunk.

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  21. I think I remember Sullivan saying that the whole Dungeon of Doom thing and The Alliance to End Hulkamania was created just so there was a factory of heels for Hogan to run through... which would keep Hogan happy.

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  22. I felt so bad for Arn during this time. Talk about a company man.

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  23. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMarch 6, 2015 at 5:25 AM

    That triple threat should have been at the ppv. Alo, they could have just done Luger/Sting vs Hogan/Macho at Uncensored, with Sullivan stirring the pot. Giant vs Flair for the title, or just DoD vs Horsemen

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  24. It wasn't quite that fast... he was a fixture on the b-shows until about July, with sporadic Nitro spots.

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  25. To be fair, it's only the benefit of hindsight and Mick becoming a big star that might make people remember Mankind's debut fondly, but at the time most people just figured it was another generic monster heel going after Taker and Mankind will end up going the way of Kamala/Gonzalez/Kama.

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  26. Some of it is learning how to position yourself to play to their cameras, so I get that part of it, but the rest is asinine.

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  27. Johnny Ace's version of a wrestling show is easily my least favorite ever. So many green as grass cookie cutter guys.

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  28. If I remember correctly, Luger's trunks ripped on the finish here when Flair rolled him up,

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  29. Yea it was with Primo who isn't actually a lucha worker and really mad Cara look bad by sandbagging him and not selling well. Of course Primo isn't very good anyway. Nor Cara.

    Is it kinda fucked up that I still intuitively hate Sin Cara even though I know its Hunico now who is a better wrestler?

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  30. Except that Mick was 1000 times the worker of those three put together.

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  31. I was never a Hogan fan until the 2002 nostalgia kick (My dad loved Andre and I loved Warrior) so I totally biased-ly agree about Hogan being stale by that point. It was fine beating up Slaughter through the Spring because America but by Summerslam it was stale and the Undertaker program seemed odd to me. It just didn't feel like the same WWF anymore with Warrior gone and Flair in.

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  32. The Undertaker was getting cheers against Hogan. Fans were ready for something new by late 91. By late 95 in WCW it was the same thing. The dark side Hogan character was a step in the right direction but it was short lived.

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  33. Was he really that over in WCW as a face? I can see maybe vs evil Flair from BATB 94 through Halloween Havoc but (in very limited watching at that point) I think I saw him as an outsider stealing the spotlight from Sting and the other top WCW faces... especially once Duggan, Beefcake, and Honky came in. I'm surprised that the heel turn was so shocking because everyone was sick of him. I guess the 3 months off beforehand really really helped.

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  34. WWE should bring back the Booty Man and hook up with New Day.


    Then the fans can shout, "BOO-TAY!"

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  35. So Sting was turned on again? We need a definitive list for these betrayals.


    1) Road Warriors in 88
    2) Horsemen in 90
    3) Luger in 91 (Mystery Box angle) although Luger was already a heel so this one is iffy
    4) Flair in 95
    5) Giant in 96
    6) WCW in Fall 96
    7) Savage in 97 (May be too nonsensical to even count)
    8) Giant in 98 (When they were tag champs)
    9) Miss Elizabeth in 99 (Actually outsmarted her this time)


    I must be missing others and admittedly some of these are a reach but damn.

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  36. I agree. Guys who are new to WWE but veterans in the business could easily learn "WWE style" while working house shows or dark matches. I think sending them down to NXT is more about teaching them WWE culture -- the locker-room behavior and hand-shaking and ice pack rules, etc.

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  37. Hogan returned at a time when WCW needed a hero to save the day. The fans were happy to see him back. That's why they got pissed when he turned.

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  38. Hogan, as face, goes over too much and that's bad. The nWo, as heels, go over too much and that's bad. And 50/50 booking is bad to.......and how much of a pain in the ass do the Road Warriors seem to be?

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  39. I was a big fan of Alberto before this interview, and this only solidified it. He seems like a good guy who gets respect but at the same time doesn't take himself too seriously.
    I know he has plenty of critics, but honestly I don't see what they're talking about when they insist he's boring. Of course when WWE wasn't giving him any kind of angle or character motivation, Alberto didn't make for the most compelling TV, but you could say the same thing for a bunch of guys right now: Ziggler, Barrett, Ryback, whoever ... if they're just coming out and having random matches for no rhyme or reason, it's going to be boring. But when Alberto was given something to work with, I felt like he always brought the goods. And he's been killing it in Mexico since leaving WWE.

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  40. Good point. I do wish Heenan hadn't said what he said to potentially spoil it but I do understand both sides of the argument. I wish he had said something like "For once in my life, I'm actually happy to see this guy". Not perfect but you get the gist.

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  41. this is true, but there was no guarantee that the WWF was going to treat him that way.

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  42. This is very true. It was one of the few times when Hogan coming out was a good thing...until of course he turned, but the crowd was electric for him.

    That Bash at the Beach main event had to be one of the best booked matches of all time.

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  43. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!March 6, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    What a drastic change in direction....


    Women's shoes to the nWo.


    That's like going from Gallagher to George Carlin.


    Or the Monkees to the Rolling Stones.

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  44. Heenan was great after Hogan went full Hollywood mode always telling them " I told you he was no good! You didn't listen!" Plus he always was the first to run when the nWo took over the announce table.

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  45. It depended upon where WCW was holding their show. If it was in Flair country it was "No way, Jose!", but if they booked Cleveland, for example, Hogan would have SOME fans. The smarks booed him out of the building and made signs supporting the heels against him.

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  46. Since the Outsiders were booked as heels WCW fans were ready for their hero to FINALLY rescue them from this dastardly duo. What does Hogan do? HE JOINS THEM! Excellent twist and great angle.

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  47. Don't forget Bully Ray in TNA.

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  48. Only smarks and ECW fans knew this in 1996. All the marks saw was this WCW reject being fed to Undertaker...or so they were led to believe.

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  49. Look I was all for Hogan winning like in the old days, but by 1996 - it was like watching a live superman serial. And trust me, Hogan's act worked in a era where we didn't see him George Reeves'ing it every dog gone week. I liked it at the time as a Hogan fan, but seriously either the guy was either contemplating a heel turn as he says now or you have to buy Sullivan's story of him being that insecure of "his spot." I doubt he really considered a heel turn - since WCW was airing return packages in June of Hogan as a babyface - hanging out "with celebrities" - although revisionist history could use them to say they were pulling the trigger. I tend to buy Sullivan's version of the story though.

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  50. I do wish Scott would go back to reviewing Raw to go along with the Nitros. I know they weren't considered anything special, but WWF's approach does provide a nice contrast to what Nitro was doing. Although Raw didn't have the talent or matches to compete in that manner, they were at least more disciplined about their long-term booking. As one who appreciates solid storytelling, that is something to be valued.
    And hey, no Hogan!

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  51. You know that you executed a perfect heel turn when you have fans ready to riot over it. Fans throwing all their trash in the ring, non stop booing, some idiot even tried to charge the ring and go knocked out and stomped by the Outsiders. Unbelievable heat from Hogan kicking the fans in the nuts.

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  52. Fear not Scott, I think Hogan has maybe one or two Nitro appearances before he returns as a heel. The next show sounds like the infamous Hogan destroying everybody show that Sullucan wanted him to do a stretcher job for.

    Speaking of a no sell: When they had Kidman and Bischoff attack Hogan and run him over in a hummer on April 20, 2000 - Tony reported on Thunder that Hogan would be out for three weeks. Of course, Spring Stampeed was Sunday and a PPV payoff and surprise Hogan no sold the injuries and showed up in his "Stone Cold" gear to beat up Kidman and then have Russo's security guards draw guns on him. Eek!

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  53. Almost forgot about F.U.N.B. Hogan

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  54. “The Monkees weren't about music, Marge, they were about rebellion! About political and social upheaval!”

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  55. Meltzer reported that Bischoff was prepared to let Hogan sit out the last months of his contract and walk. Hogan was expecting ratings to tank without him and when they didn't, he lost all leverage.

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  56. Disagree. The KOTR result surprised me, admittedly, but that was a tremendous attack with a classic camera angle of Mankind hitting the apron dive elbow. It was the first time in years that UT had been definitively laid out to that degree, with no zombie sit-up or comeback.

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  57. Any fan who actually saw Mankind as a "WCW reject" in the first place is a pretty devoted fan--to many he'd just be a newcomer, period. And the devoted fans knew what Foley was about.

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  58. One you forgot that I think might be the dumbest of them all is Bret in 1998. Bret wrestles Hogan, gets injured mid-match and is replaced by Sting, then Bret returns to attack Sting and side with Hogan. It's a microcosm of WCW shittiness.

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  59. Never followed TNA so I have to plead ignorance there but I completely forgot about that Bret one. I hope he wipes the floor with HHH at WM31 but part of me does want to see Flair align and then turn on him for old times sake.

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  60. I think Booty Man was at Hog Wild 96 trying to celebrate with Hogan after he won the title before he got punked.

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  61. Jonathan MeisnerMarch 6, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    What about Uncensored '98? Savage was pissed at Hogan, challenged him to a cage match at the PPV. Sting comes into the cage from the rafters to help Savage, and Savage beats him up, does that count?

    Of course Savage got a title shot at Sting at the next PPV, wins the title with Nash's help, loses it to Hogan the next night on Nitro and then he and Sting are pals in the Wolfpack by June.

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  62. I'd count that. I'll edit my list accordingly.

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  63. Jonathan MeisnerMarch 6, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Which also makes the year + long story of Sting finally "vanquishing" Hogan at Starrcade look silly, cause Hogan got the belt back anyways through Savage, and Sting was happy to be a walking tomato and tag champs with Nash.

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  64. Sherri in 94

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  65. Good thing work is slow today. Can't believe she would ever be seen as or trusted as a face but this is Sting...

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  66. If u think about it, matches like Hogan/Macho vs Flair/AA or Sting/Luger & a three way dance with LOD, Steiners & Nastys are some serious mega dream bouts. Its when spectacle trumps work rate.

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  67. chavo sounds like a good idea but chavo doesnt know lucha style.when konnan came up in the early 90s they got guys from mexico and they should have done the same for sin cara

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  68. Hoooooooo usa usa WAVES FLAG

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  69. I really hated Raw during this period.

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  70. The Brain still fucked up by questioning on-air "who's side is he on?" after he did the run-in to supposedly help Savage and Sting against the Outsiders.

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  71. BOOty Man + Dave BOOtista would be an un-BOO-lievable tag team combination!

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