The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 07.15.96
Overwhelming sentiment seems to be that I should continue on with Nitro since they were getting incredibly hot and I’ve never seen these shows before anyway. So we’ll plow through until the end of the archived material in December 1996!
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Tony & Larry
Let us take you back to a magical time called two weeks ago, when Hulk Hogan betrayed WCW and kicked off the hottest period in wrestling history.
Fire & Ice v. The Steiner Brothers
Norton throws Scott around to start while the announcers discuss the friction between Fire & Ice. Their name is LITERALLY “Fire and Ice”. This is somehow coming as a shock to them? You might as well call a team “Oil and Water”. Which begs the question: Why was WCW in 1990 so retarded that they never teamed up Curtis “Big Cat” Hughes with the Junkyard Dog? They could have been The Big Lazy Black Guys! Norton chokes away, but misses a blind charge and takes an overhead suplex. Rick throws Ice Train around with a suplex for two and an inverted DDT for two. Tony and Larry are just all over this “New World Order” catchphrase, and now they think more people might be joining. Norton comes in and takes over on Scott with a middle rope clothesline, but lands on a foot and it’s back to Rick. And surprise surprise they go right back to beating the hell out of each other and throwing suplexes. Powerslam gets two. Fire & Ice double-team Rick , but Train is so useless that he manages to splash his own partner and Rick throws another suplex for the pin on Ice Train at 10:00. They had a million matches and it was all big dudes throwing down. **1/2
Glacier is now coming at an indeterminate time again instead of the previously promised July 1996. Perhaps they need better time management at their ninja training center.
Meanwhile, Fire & Ice split up despite the best efforts of Teddy Long. Holla playa, no more tag matches for them.
Dean Malenko v. Billy Kidman
This would obviously be a much more competitive match years later. At this point, Malenko clobbers him and puts him on the floor, but is unable to successfully execute a powerbomb on Kidman. Somehow I’m not surprised. Kidman comes back in with a missile dropkick for two, but Malenko takes him down with an anklelock and goes to work on the leg. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Here’s the balls on WCW at this point: Tony openly brags that Sting, Giant, Flair and Savage are all absent from the show tonight, and they still beat RAW by a bazillion viewers. Give or take. Malenko chokes away and goes to a headscissors, then hits him with a whiplash slam, which Kidman reverses to a jackknife pin for two. Kidman with a bulldog out of the corner for two and goes up, but the Shooting Star Press misses and Dean kills him dead with a brainbuster and this time he CAN powerbomb Kidman. Butterfly bomb into a Texas Cloverleaf finishes for shizzle at 5:13. Remind me not to upset Dean Malenko, because he just destroyed him like the computer AI in No Mercy on Hard with a Special. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Kevin Greene is also pissed about HOLLYWOOD Hulk Hogan turning on his fans. They wasted no time in trying to ditch the “Hulk” name and replacing it with “Hollywood” so they could cut Marvel out of the deal. In fact when Hogan was originally signed they attempted to have him introduced as Hurricane Hogan for the same reason. Interesting because at the time Marvel was a pretty low point and Turner could have bought and sold the entire comics industry 100 times over. Now of course Marvel makes more off one movie than WCW ever did in their entire run, and more than WWE has ever made in a single year either, for that matter. In fact I wouldn’t be shocked if Disney bought WWE one day and added them to their IP empire.
WCW tag titles: Harlem Heat v. Rough & Ready
That would be Mike Enos and Dick Slater in the most generic tag team name ever. Every time I hear them I think of “Shake & Bake” from Talladega Nights. Kind of a major downgrade from Jimmy Golden for Slater. And they couldn’t spring for the $50 it would cost to get Wayne Bloom? Stevie Ray overpowers both Rough as well as Ready, but Slater tosses Booker and beats on him on the floor while a young Dean Ambrose takes notes at home, I assume. Thankfully we get clarification thanks to the embroidery on their chaps: Slater is “Rough” and Enos is “Ready”. Thank god, that one was gonna keep me up nights trying to figure it out. The Heat beats on Enos in the corner while Sherri and Parker argue over who is actually managing who here, but Sherri gets involved and kisses Dick Slater, allowing Booker to roll him up to retain at 7:38. I have no idea what the deal with the Parker-Sherri stuff was supposed to be. Did that even have a payoff? Because I remember Parker accidentally costing them the tag titles to the Outsiders in October but I don’t even remember where they went with the whole thing. ½*
Meanwhile, Kevin Greene is also really upset with Mongo, and he’s literally the only person in the building who still cares about that feud with the New World Order about to overshadow everything ever.
Madusa v. Malia Hosaka
This is pretty random. Hosaka puts her down with a spinkick and chokes away, then goes to a chinlock. Neckbreaker and she goes up, but misses whatever as we’re under a minute to Hour #2 so you know someone is screaming at them to go home NOW. And of course Madusa finishes quickly with the german suplex at 4:08. This was no good. *
Hosted by Eric & Bobby. Anyone see that picture of Bobby from the convention with Ted Dibiase and Roddy Piper that was posted recently? Man that was sad.
Meanwhile, Hall and Nash hang “NWO” letters over the WCW sign on the roof. You could tell this was gonna explode into the stratosphere soon.
Arn Anderson v. Meng
Meng puts him down with the Tongan Martial Arts and pounds away while there’s literally a fireworks show going on in the background. That’s pretty hard to compete with, even for Hour #2 of Nitro. Arn takes him down and goes after the leg. Meng comes back with those devastating back leg front kicks, and Barbarian joins us as we take a break. Back with Arn choking away and stuff while the crowd chants for Razor and Diesel. Meng with a suplex for two and he chops away, then Barbarian sneaks in for a double-team with Jimmy taking the ref, and Meng gets the pin at 10:50. Holy crap was that terrible. Just a boring, sloppy match with no heat segment or climax, and the crowd was literally distracted by the Outsiders AND a fireworks show at the same time. -*
Eddie Guerrero v. Chris Benoit
Benoit fires away with chops in the corner and grabs a chinlock, but Eddie reverses out of a powerbomb and hits him with a dive to the floor. Springboard senton back in and Eddie follows with a backbreaker. Benoit puts him down with a backdrop suplex and follows with a rare press slam before going to a camel clutch. Powerbomb with MUSTARD gets two. Backbreaker and Benoit works the back while Heenan questions why someone from WCW doesn’t go up and rip down the nWo banner if they’re not afraid of the Outsiders. Fine question, Bobby, and the cowardice from WCW would only get more pronounced. Benoit goes up, but Eddie catches him with a superplex. Bischoff notes that the question for WCW is “When, and whom, and where, and how many”. That’s more accurately about four questions, Eric. Eddie comes back and tries a rana, but they tumble to the floor as Dean Malenko runs down and sends Benoit into the post. Guerrero wins by countout at 9:40 off that. Bischoff notes that Benoit’s brains are scrambled from that one. Um…yeah. Usual great TV match from these two. ***1/4
Glacier is coming, OK? So just lay off him. He’s got shit to do. Ninja shit. And errands to run. Ninja errands. What are you, his mother?
WCW TV title: Lex Luger v. Big Bubba
I had literally forgotten that Luger was still TV champion. He’s gotta drop it to Regal pretty soon, right? Lex uses the power of grunts to dominate, but Bubba goes to the eyes with a cheapshot to take over. Luger’s doctor said he’s not supposed to get anything in his eye! Bubba continues pounding away while the Outsiders join us via limo and we take a break. Back with Bubba biting in the corner, but Luger comes back with the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM and the Outsiders run in for the DQ at 9:34. We get our first ever nWo beatdown finish as Hollywood Hogan debuts the black outfit, and then they offer membership to Bubba before turning on him and tossing him out as well. Hulk finally does his post-turn interview, and he reiterates that the fans can stick it. And also Macho Man’s divorce was his own fault because he couldn’t “rise to the occasion”. And then the crowd starts PELTING the ring with garbage as Hulk promises that there’s more members to come. He promises to take the WCW title from the Giant at Hog Wild and make it into the nWo belt, which is of course exactly what happened. There was no “cool heel” heat for this, this was a crowd that was PISSED at Hogan. Talk about a money promo, as he basically talked himself into another World title reign just with this one.
A much more even show than last week, and man was that Hogan promo at the end something to behold for sheer hatred coming from the crowd. But I mean, it was no DX riding a tank or anything.