The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 06.24.96
This show was the first sign of really bad news for the WWF, because Nitro destroyed RAW in the ratings even coming off the King of the Ring PPV.
Live from Charlotte, NC
Your hosts are Tony & Larry / Tony & Bobby
We start with another recap of the Outsiders powerbombing Eric Bischoff at the Great American Bash, and Dave was out of his mind guessing at the third man in the Observer at this point. Lex Luger was the original plan, but now speculation has moved to Mabel (?!), Bryan Adams and Bret Hart as an extreme outside chance. Or maybe just someone from inside the company turning heel.
Meanwhile, Team WCW is all facepainted up in a show of solidarity. This interview marks the first official naming of the invaders as The Outsiders. Sting is like “You challenge three guys every week but you only bring two, WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?” Look at the big math brain on Steve! Sadly, the Steiners and Harlem Heat interrupt Sting’s Seinfeld-ian comedy routine and we apparently have a three-way main event tonight.
Lord Steven Regal & Squire David Taylor v. The Public Enemy
I don’t know what the hell is with the music, but TPE’s usual theme is clumsily overdubbed with even more generic music, which drowns out the commentary and crowd. That was an in-house produced theme! They own the rights to it! Regal takes Rocco down and busts a move, but he gets dropkicked and bails, hilariously overemoting the whole time. Taylor comes in and pounds away on Rock in the corner, but he too tastes the wrath of Rocco’s dropkick. Rocco misses a bodypress and Regal shows more dance moves before putting the boots to him. Taylor throws forearms, but Johnny Grunge gets the hot tag and runs reasonably wild until Bobby Eaton trips him up. He literally knocks himself out with his own cast, but recovers and hits Taylor with it instead for the pin at 7:00. Who seriously thought putting these two teams together would produce anything good? Just a colossal train wreck style clash. -**
Kevin Sullivan v. some jobber
Sullivan hauls the guy immediately into the crowd and takes him into the concession area, which results in him getting disqualified at 1:30 or so. The fate of the poor geek is never explored, as Sullivan returns to the ring to cut a promo.
BLOOD RUNS COLD…coming next month! We think.
Hardwork Bobby Walker v. Dean Malenko
Malenko methodically squashes Walker and puts him in the Cloverleaf, but Disco Inferno comes out and provides distraction with dancing. This allows Walker to make the comeback with a backdrop and a rollup for two while Disco is literally standing in the ring dancing, and Malenko basically ignores all this and finishes with a northern lights suplex at 4:37. What a mess this was. DUD
The Barbarian v. Eddie Guerrero
Well this is super random. Barbarian tosses Eddie around for a few minutes, but Eddie takes him down with a terrible rana and goes up very slowly. Barbarian finally gets up and crotches him, and follows with an overhead suplex where Eddie hurls himself literally the entirety of the ring and to the floor. Come on, we’re not on the moon! Back in, Barbarian tries a superplex and Eddie falls on top for the fluke pin at 5:26. This was pretty bad. ½*
The Rock N Roll Express v. Arn Anderson & Chris Benoit
Always a good choice to haul the RNR out of mothballs in the southern states. At this point we get a disclaimer stating that the show is presented in the most complete version available due to “production problems”. Now what was THAT about? Typically they do that message when they’re cutting out something controversial and lying about it. Benoit quickly beats on Morton, but Ricky hits a moonsault press for two and goes to the arm. Over to Robert, who gets caught in the Horsemen corner and put in a sleeper by Arn. Robert counters out as the crowd openly cheers for the heels at this point. Arn lures Morton out to the floor for a sneak attack by Benoit, and Ricky Morton plays Ricky Morton. More importantly, at Bash at the Beach, Mongo will face the PPV debut of the juggernaut himself, the Big Dog, the Desperado JOE GOMEZ. Gibson quickly gets the hot tag and tries a backslide on Benoit, but Mongo waffles him with the briefcase and Benoit gets the pin at 6:00. The Horsemen’s beatdown is interrupted by the awesome force of JOE GOMEZ, who is dressed in his best Nelson tribute band outfit (“Thank you Charlotte, we are After The Rain!”) complete with leopard skin vest and fringed jeans. Sadly, he gets his ass kicked before he can sing “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection”, but it takes three of the Horsemen to put him down because they’re all cowards who would have been destroyed in a one-on-one showdown with the Desperado. Nothing match. *1/2
Diamond Dallas Page v. Alex Wright
Another weird music edit as DDP’s usual generic music overdub is redone with a staple gun and again cuts out the commentary. Usually they’re really slick with this stuff, but this show has been all over the place from an editing standpoint. Page gets a snap suplex on Wright and follows with a gutbuste, but he dramatically misses a kick and lands on his ass. Wright puts him down with a back kick and goes up with a double axehandle, but Page puts him on the floor and Wright springboards right back in with a missile dropkick. Page bails and Wright follows with a dive, but he hits Page’s knees on a splash in the ring. Diamond Cutter finishes at 4:05. Not bad. *1/2
Meanwhile, Kevin Greene is ready for Mongo and feels like the Panthers have a good shot this year. Well, the FLORIDA Panthers did go to the Stanley Cup final that year.
Randy Savage v. VK Wallstreet
Mr Wallstreet tosses Savage over the top behind the ref’s back and pounds away in the corner, but Savage boots him down for two. Tony notes that the face of pro wrestling will change on July 6 1996 at the Bash PPV…and in this case he was actually 100% correct. Wallstreet makes a minor comeback and goes up, but lands on Savage’s foot and Macho makes the comeback and goes up for the big elbow. Wallstreet moves and bails to escape, but Kevin Greene tosses him back in and a second elbow finishes at 4:30 *
WCW World tag titles: Sting & Lex Luger v. The Steiner Brothers v. Harlem Heat
The Heat work Scott over to start, but he hits Booker with a butterfly powerbomb for two. Stevie comes in and misses a blind charge on Rick, who puts him down with a Steinerline for two. Over to Sting, who gets beat up by the Heat, but Booker does an awesome miss of the sidekick and lands right on the top rope. Sting gets two off that. He misses a pump splash and Stevie goes to a nerve hold as we take a break. Back with Sting fighting back as they collide and Luger gets the tag and runs wild. Powerslam for Booker, but now the Outsiders head down to ringside and a ZILLION cops storm the ring to head them off, while one of the Heat rolls up Luger and pins him to win the titles at 11:00. The scene was so chaotic that the winning pin wasn’t even shown on TV until the replay. That was a crazy ending. **
Pretty bad show, but I will say that Tony did an amazing job of hyping the PPV and really building the importance of each and every match that related to the show tonight. And the ending with all the guards going for their guns while the Outsiders stared them down with baseball bats was the kind of anarchy you don’t get any more. I’m pretty pumped to redo Bash at the Beach now this weekend.