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Monday Nitro - September 9, 1996

Monday Nitro #52
Date: September 9, 1996
Location: Columbus Civic Center, Columbus, Georgia
Attendance: 6,000
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We've hit a full year worth of shows with this one and it's the go home show for Fall Brawl. With the Giant having joined the NWO and the group being stronger than ever, it's time to have another member join tonight to make them ultra strong before Fall Brawl right? Tonight is the beginning of something huge and it's going to be interesting to see how it goes from a modern perspective. Let's get to it.

We recap the ending of last week's show.

Pat Tanaka vs. Super Calo

Tanaka, of Hulk Hogan's Micro Championship Wrestling fame, comes out to what would become Goldberg's music. Tanaka is in stereotypical martial arts attire and fires off kicks because he's Asian and every Asian wrestler has to kick a lot. I didn't hear a bell but I guess that's implied. Calo speeds things up to start as we need to give him a reason to be #1 contender to Rey I guess. There's a big dive to the floor to take Tanaka down.

We cut to the back (that's becoming really annoying) to see kids in NWO shirts bringing in a bunch of papers that look like newspapers. Tanaka takes Calo down with a powerbomb and in a really weird ending, he puts Calo on the top and tries what looks like a gutwrench superplex but falls backwards so Calo can fall on him and pin him. That was either a botch or really stupid.

Rating: C-. If the idea here was to make us think that Calo was a threat to Rey, they didn't do a very good job. I mean dude, Pat Tanaka? That would be like bringing in Kid Kash today. You would have to be an idiot to think that would be a good idea. Anyway, this was nothing of note and Calo was forgettable at best.

Rick Steiner says he could have beaten Luger last week but Nick Patrick screwed it up. Gene isn't sure about that and here's Luger for a rebuttal. They're facing each other later tonight. Rick sounds delusional.

Buy the NWO t-shirt!

After months and months of talking, Glacier debuted! But he did it on WCW Pro, which was a show that came on Sunday evenings. Yes, after all those months, this is what we get out of it. Are you freaking kidding me WCW?

Nasty Boys vs. Amazing French Canadians

They're the Quebecers. Jacques says he's going to sing and the Nasties jump them. We cut to the crowd with the kids from earlier passing out NWO leaflets and papers. In the brawl that starts the match, Jacques hits Sags with a Canadian flag to give the French dudes the advantage. Larry goes to get the leaflets and throws down the pile of it. The thing says “you haven't see bad but it's coming.” Preach it brothers.

Now back to our bad match with old guys in progress. Jacques slams Sags and they try the Cannonball which connects for no cover because they need to try it again. This one hits as well but Knobbs makes the save. Things break down (imagine that in a Nasty Boys match) and Knobbs clocks Oullette in the head with a flag for the pin.

Rating: C-. Not bad here and they beat each other up pretty well although I'd prefer it being with more than flags. The Canadians got annoying quickly and would soon get Colonel Parker as their manager to further their levels of annoying. Nothing too bad but it was only a decent brawl which was mainly due to how short it was.

The Nasty Boys imply they want to join the NWO but say they're not sure either way. All they care about is being tag team champions.

Scott Norton vs. Craig Pittman

The hits just keep on coming. Pittman takes over to start but his Code Red doesn't work. Norton drops him down with a single arm DDT and we go to the floor. Pittman goes into the post and the dominance is on. Back in and there's a Fujiwara Armbar and Pittman slaps the mat but it doesn't mean anything yet. Teddy Long, Pittman's manager, isn't sure what to do but Ice Train comes out to throw in the towel and give Norton the win. They have another match Sunday. This match existed and that's about all there is to say about it.

Team WCW minus Sting is in the back and Flair wants to know where Sting is. Luger says he's here but he doesn't know where. Flair wants Sting here and rants about the NWO a bit as only Flair can do. Mongo and Benoit come up and accuse Sting of betraying the team. Anderson says he has the hospital rooms reserved for the NWO.

We recap DDP vs. the Guerreros which culminates in a match vs. Chavo on Sunday. Not that either of them is wrestling or talking next but WCW just wanted you to know about it.

Joe Gomez vs. Juventud Guerrera

Speedy match to start us off with Gomez being kicked to the floor. Gomez gets on the apron and Juvy tries a rana to bring him back in and it's botched badly to draw some boos out of the crowd. He aborts a rana off the top and botches a spinning springboard splash for the pin. This was BAD and Juvy is booed out of the building.

Nick Patrick is asked about the Steiners/Luger/Sting last week. He says Luger hit him on purpose which makes no sense but Patrick stands by it. Patrick swears he's WCW and implies Gene is on the take. Patrick says he can prove his innocence.

We cut to the parking lot and the Outsiders and Hogan are putting fliers on the cars. Giant is there too. DiBiase is talking to someone in the limo and it's raining.

Lex Luger vs. Rick Steiner

Tony suggest Patrick and Luger are in on something together. Patrick isn't refereeing here. Larry thinks that Luger can get the belt back from Hogan but Savage can't. Larry would be correct by that as it would eventually be Luger that ended this current Hogan reign. They shake hands pre match and after a break we're ready to go. Steiner takes him to the mat with ease and then does it a few more times.

Hour #2 begins. I wonder if any fans ever had a heart attack off the totally random fireworks. Lex grabs a powerslam for two and takes over out of nowhere. They slug it out a bit and Rick snaps off a belly to belly for two. Steiner Line gets two. A double clothesline puts both guys down and there's another powerslam for no cover this time from Lex. He calls for the Rack but Nick Patrick runs out to get Lex's attention, saying something is going on out back. Lex runs to help and loses by countout.

Rating: C. The match was just ok with Steiner being a lot more amateur based than usual. The supelxes were always worth seeing but the rest of it was just there to set up the ending. I'm not sure what the point was in having Steiner being all insane earlier in the night and swearing he could beat Luger after the quick ending last week but Rick never was known for being normal.

We cut to the back with DiBiase talking to someone that sounds a lot like Sting and Sting is saying he's tired of this don't trust anything stuff. Luger comes out and Sting gets out to beat down Lex in the rain. That voice was really mic'd up too. Even DiBiase gets in some shots. And so it begins.

Eric doesn't know what to do so we go to a video about the events of last week and Giant turning. This eats up a good while and I'm sure the live crowd loved sitting through all this dead time. This is like 10 minutes of stuff the audience can't see at all. We go back and see the beatdown AGAIN to fill in some time.

After a break some WCW guys are still in the parking lot looking for cars to go after Sting.

Billy Kidman vs. Rey Mysterio

Non-Title here I think. The announcers are all depressed because of what they saw in the parking lot and the fans are depressed because they just sat through 20 minutes of nothing. The announcers are really getting on my nerves with being all stoic and sounding like someone died or something. Rey is doing his usual fast paced offense but the crowd isn't all that into it because of waiting around for something to happen for so long.

A rana puts Kidman on the floor but he blocks a springboard dropkick from Rey to put both guys down for a bit. A top rope splash gets two for Kidman. Out of absolutely nowhere, Rey hits a springboard front flip dive to land on Kidman in a seated senton position for the pin. And the announcers sound like they just watched their puppies be put to sleep. Too short to grade but the announcers were REALLY hurting things here.

Faces of Fear vs. Public Enemy

The announcers are still depressing. It's a brawl to start and after Eric apologizes for ignoring Rey earlier (Kidman can screw off I guess), he completely ignores this match to start it off. We get down to a regular tag match with Barbarian vs. Grunge and the Leprechaun runs around the ring. This is a full grown man (Sgt. Dwayne Bruce) so it's not as stupid as Hornswoggle right?

Off to Meng vs. Grunge as Heenan points out the issues with the NWO: “if they want you they'll buy you but if they don't want you they'll eliminate you.” And now we get to something I didn't even think WCW would do: they go to a promo during a match. I don't mean an inset or something like that. I mean there's a full promo that we go to instead of watching the match.

Now I know what you're thinking. The promo is Luger and the Horsemen talking about Sting. “It's a huge moment so this is trying to come off as real.” I get that. However, there's a simple way around this: don't have the match airing at the same time. You control when the matches air so it wouldn't be hard to cut the match down and have something else afterwards or put the interview after the match. I know it's a nothing match but things like this annoy me. It's disrespectful to the wrestlers if nothing else.

Anyway, they're all distraught and Luger is holding his left arm. Anderson is in shock because Sting was the only constant in WCW over the last ten years. That's very true actually. At this point they do make things better by going split screen with the match. This isn't as bad. Luger says he's WCW and wants to be in WarGames even more now. He knows where Sting is going to be and is going to get him. Flair says the confusion is over and we're the Horsemen so we'll be ready at WarGames.

This makes me feel like asking something: why in the world did the Horsemen never just go off on a member of the NWO old school style? They could do it back in the 80s and they had the manpower to do it here. I mean....THEY'RE THE FOUR HORSEMEN. Would anyone have questioned them picking off someone like Buff Bagwell and beating him within an inch of his life? The numbers would have been against them but are you telling me that the Four Horsemen armed with chairs couldn't pick off some of the NWO B-Team?

This is one of the big reasons why WCW died: because the good guys were treated like idiots. Flair and Arn never joined the NWO and neither did Benoit or Malenko who later comprised the team. Instead we had faces running around like idiots while we waited for Sting to make the save after like a year. After that, no one ever banded together and just mauled some of the NWO. You have the NWO beating someone down when you have a locker room of what, 40 guys (in kayfabe) who are for WCW so why did the locker room never empty and have everyone just lay out Hall and Nash and Hogan?

WCW had so many opportunities to make this takeover storyline interesting but instead we got stuff like Piper coming in to terrorize Hogan and celebrities trying to look like they know what they're doing and the same old guys beating up the other same old guys while the young guys were stuck in the same places over and over again. I'm getting off track here, but the point is that for some reason, the good guys in WCW were treated like idiots and eventually people got tired of cheering for them and it went downhill from there.

Back in the match now and Meng is beating on Rock in the corner. A piledriver gets two and Meng goes off on Grunge with rights and lefts as the Samoans/Tongans/stereotypical savages dominate. This match has been going on like 6 minutes now which is longer than almost anyone wanted it to go. Now we have something new to talk about other than the match: should it have been the Horsemen the whole time?

Eric talks about how Meng is awesome but gets bored of that so let's talk about WarGames. Things break down and Grunge is put on a table at ringside and Barbarian dives off the top but misses. Rock moonsaults Meng through another table and Patrick is cool with this. Meng gets up and puts the Death Grip on Grunge just as it's all thrown out.

Rating: C-. Who would have predicted that I'd say this much during Public Enemy vs. Faces of Fear? This wasn't a bad brawl and the Barbarian dive through the table was great. These teams wouldn't mean much as the tag titles would go between the Outsiders and the Steiners for about a year and a half.

Heenan calls Meng Haku during the post match highlight package.

The Dungeon says they created the Giant so they'll take him out too. Bubba still wants Glacier.

The NWO talks about Hogan being NWO Champion. Oh and if they win the WarGames match they want their own segment and an NWO Tag Tournament. Also the 4 life line is debuted here I believe.

John Tenta vs. Randy Savage

Tenta's music would become Jericho's in about two years. Savage hits the ring and is stomped down by Tenta quickly. Eric has to say that Meng works for WCW and not WWF as Haku to avoid legal issues. That's how messed up things were back then. Savage pops Tenta with a chair and that's cool too. There's the elbow and a second one as Teddy Long comes out, saying they're in the back. Savage runs off to huge booing and is counted out also. Too short to rate but it was in essence a Savage squash.

Out to the parking lot and a limo leaves but a second is still there. They find some yellow paint in it but no people. They spraypaint the limo. I hope that was a rental.

The Horsemen make one final sell of the PPV on the commentary table and they're fired up.

Overall Rating: D+. Their streak of one good one and one bad one continues. You can see a lot of the standards coming here as we have the focus being off wrestling and trying to make stuff real. However, Sting being redeemed would take almost 15 months and would culminate at Starrcade 97 and the biggest blunder ever. You could notice a lot by the booing for Savage just leaving like that. The fans wanted to see a match, not a guy running off to do something that the fans couldn't see. It became an issue later, but WCW never looked past that week's show, and that's a big part of why they died.


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