The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 07.08.96
I’m skipping the BATB redo because RAW is already getting added a rate where I’m falling behind anyway. I’m strongly considering just motoring through one show or the other to finish off 1996 rather than alternating, which would probably make me lean towards RAW because it’s faster.
Live from Orlando, FL, at the Disney Studios outdoors. Now THIS is exactly what RAW is lacking. The arena looks and feels like nothing else they had done to that point, like something FRESH.
Your hosts are Tony & Larry.
Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Hearing their entrances back to back just makes you realize that they both have exactly the same song. Tony encourages us to call our non-wrestling fan friends and tell them to tune into the second hour of this wrestling program for still photos of an angle from a PPV on the previous night. Somehow I don’t think that’s realistic. In fact, my girlfriend at the time called me DURING the heel turn and quite pointedly didn’t give a shit that she was interrupting one of the most stunningly important moments of my wrestling fandom. Luckily I was taping it. And she was cheating on me anyway, so in the grand scheme of things we were both happier. Although to be fair, she was cheating on her previous boyfriend with me. Women, am I right? Rey gets a quick springboard dropkick for two, but Dean hits him with a wheelbarrow suplex for two and a backbreaker, and we take a break. Back with Dean faceplanting Rey and a powerbomb gets two. Poor Rey gets suplexed to the floor and Dean goes to a bodyscissors. Back to the floor and Dean drops him with a goddamn brainbuster on the floor. WCW was definitely starting to clue in that having Rey take a shitkicking was a ticket to money. Back in, Rey reverses a slam for two and takes Dean to the floor with a rana, then follows with a moonsault that kind of misses. Back in, Rey with a flying rana for two. Springboard moonsault gets two. They fight to the top and Dean brings him down with the exploding gutbuster for two. Overhead suplex gets two. Dean keeps pulling him up, which seems like a bad idea to me. Just a hunch. And indeed, Rey snaps off the West Coast Pop to finish and win the title at 11:45. ****
Meanwhile, Glacier is coming to WCW, but no longer has a set date to do so. Apparently our world changing forever is TBA.
Hugh Morrus & Big Bubba v. Lord Steven Regal & Squire Dave Taylor
The Bluebloods dominate Bubba, but Hugh goes to the eyes while John Tenta attacks Bubba. Bluebloods hit a double suplex on Morrus in all the chaos and get the pin at 3:00, of which 1:30 or so was stalling. DUD
Psicosis v. Eddie Guerrero
Nitro debut for Psi, who has one of the most annoying names to type. They trade armdrags and reach a stalemate, but Eddie dumps him on a monkey flip. Back in, they trade headlocks and Psi dumps him, then follows with a somersault dive to the floor. Back in, Psi works on the arm with some good stuff, but Eddie reverses to a rana for two. Psi goes up and lands in an atomic drop, and Eddie misses a blind charge and hits the post into his bad arm. Psi with a top rope rana for two and they fight to the top again, where Psi gets a sunset flip for two. Back to the top, but Eddie catches him with a superplex and follows with the frog splash to finish at 8:30 for the big comeback. ***1/4 Unlike Rey, Psi kind of got slotted into the jobberweight slot after losing both his PPV and Nitro debuts.
The Nasty Boys v. The Steiner Brothers
Winners get the tag title shot at Hog Wild, and holy crap it must be humid out there at that point because you see the guys just dying before they even start the match. The Nasties unleash some CLUBBERING in the corner on Scott, but he fires off a butterfly bomb on Sags and damn near looks like he’s going to expire in the process. Crowd is obviously tiring of this wrestling thing at this point as well and dying off fast. Rick comes in and gets double-teamed in the corner for two, but comes back with a powerslam on Knobs. Scott gets taken down and put on the floor, and Sags hits him with a nasty chairshot as we transition to Hour #2, the hour that set the standard for all other hours!
Your hosts are Eric Bischoff & Bobby Heenan
Continuing on, this match still sucks. Scott with a suplex on Sags while Parker and Sherri look on, but Parker accidentally hits Sags with the cane and Scott gets the pin at 6:05. Total shit. DUD
The Nasty Boys bitch at Mean Gene about getting no respect the way that Luger and Sting do, and tease joining the nWo. That proved to be an idle threat.
US title: Ric Flair v. Jim Powers
Thankfully Flair saved us from the Konnan era last night, making John Cena proud by bringing the US title back to America through ridiculous cheating. Flair is nice enough to give Captain Steroid some offense, but casually sidesteps a dropkick, clips the knee and finishes with the figure-four at 5:03. I know it’s Flair and that’s what he does, but giving so much shine to Anabolic Billy Kidman is a waste of everyone’s time. *
Chris Benoit v. Craig Pittman
Pittman gets a suplex, but that just annoys Benoit and he beats on him in the corner. Benoit hooks in the Crippler Crossface (still unnamed at this point) and Teddy Long throws in the towel at 2:39. Total squash.
Sting v. Arn Anderson
We get a bunch of nothing much and take a break with Arn stalling. Back with Arn choking away and using the abdominal stretch, but Sting fights out and then misses a splash. Arn with a Boston crab while the nWo limo pulls up, but Sting makes the comeback while the Outsiders join us at ringside. Sting with a flying clothesline for two while security geeks intercept Hall & Nash, and the Scorpion Deathlock finishes at 11:35. *
Sting cuts a hell of a promo on Hulk Hogan afterwards, and then Randy Savage follows with a bunch of rambling nonsense. We take a break and the Outsiders promise that Hulk Hogan will join them next week.
We finish with pictures of Hogan’s historic heel turn, and we’re all quite disgusted by his actions. Especially Bobby Heenan.
Super hot first hour (literally), but without a Hogan appearance to build towards and the stifling heat, the show just kind of dragged to a finish. Still, a very cool change of scenery this month.