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
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.