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Monday Nitro - December 9, 1996

Monday Nitro #65
Date: December 9, 1996
Location: Independence Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We continue to head towards Starrcade tonight and if my memory is right, Piper is in the building tonight. There’s another member joining the NWO tonight as well but it’s not like the rest of them to put it mildly. There are a lot of matches tonight too so they should be pretty quick each. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Piper to open things up. Piper says it’s nice to be home. He used to live at a Days Inn here before it was pretty. The last time everyone saw him, there were a bunch of NWO guys pounding on his leg. Piper hops around the ring on one leg. On December 29, he’s supposed to fight Hogan in Nashville. He has six kids so he has to win this one. Piper is bombed it seems. His seven year old told him that Hogan was younger than him and has two good legs so what chance does he have?

Piper talks about boxing Mr. T. at Wrestlemania 2 and being asked to take a dive. He said no, so they added extra padding to his gloves to make sure the punches didn’t hurt T as much. I’ll leave that one alone. There’s a guy in the audience with an NWO sign. Piper says nothing bad about the NWO because he’s a free agent. He talks about a promo they did of six guys in one room in leather drinking and not one woman. Our hero ladies and gentlemen. He knows Hogan is here so let’s just do it tonight.

Mike Enos vs. Michael Wallstreet

Michael grabs a quick fireman’s carry to start and it’s a feeling out period. About a minute in here’s DiBiase. Enos hits a powerslam but gets distracted by DiBiase. DiBiase has papers in his hands and Wallstreet hits a quick Samoan Drop for the pin.

DiBiase hands Wallstreet the papers and he seems pleased. DiBiase leaves before anything else happens.
We get a video of Woman and Benoit with Woman talking about how she’s obviously not in the Florida Keys and that Kevin can’t find him. She meant it in Baltimore when she said if Sullivan kicked Benoit one more time she was gone. It’s not the 1950s anymore so she’ll do what she wants. Benoit talks about how Sullivan fancies himself a chess player. Well Benoit’s bishop just took Sullivan’s queen. We cut to Sullivan who is speechless.

Hugh Morrus vs. Renegade

Renegade still has a job? They fight for control with power moves to start which gets no one an advantage. Morrus changes things up with a spinwheel kick to take Renegade down. Small package gets two for Renegade. Morrus’ bearhug is quickly countered into one by Renegade which is quickly broken up as well. Morrus says to hit him, so Renegade punches him down. Can’t say he doesn’t take orders well. Hugh suplexes him down and the moonsault ends this. Better match than you would expect actually.
Joe Gomez, Renegade’s partner, pulls him out of the way of another moonsault.

Sullivan comes out post match and wants to talk to Tony who played the video of Benoit and Woman. Kevin says it’s a ratings game but that video wasn’t sent to WCW. It was sent to Sullivan, so why didn’t they ask Sullivan if they could show it? Tony is a pawn in a game to get ratings. Sullivan says he has a personal life and stuff that he does outside of this ring. Next time there’s something to show, screw the ratings because Sullivan has people to take care of. I didn’t remember this angle all that well but it’s starting off well.

Video on Sting set to, and I kid you not, Holding Out For A Hero.

Here’s Kevin Greene of the Carolina Panthers who got a big win yesterday. I know this because Tony has reminded us of it every 47 seconds. He doesn’t like Mongo and he doesn’t like the NWO. Greene would love a chance to fight Hogan.

Cruiserweight Title: Jimmy Graffiti vs. Dean Malenko

So Graffiti loses to Dean and then to Rey, then he gets a title match. I’ll never understand how the title contenders selection process works. Chain wrestling to start and Graffiti taking over with a hammerlock. Dean gets up and clotheslines Jimmy to take over as we take a break. Graffiti is in control with brawling stuff when we return. Clothesline gets two. Graffiti misses a charge in the corner and they head to the floor.
They both try a suplex but both guys are down as a result. A superkick puts Dean down for two. A powerbomb puts Dean down as well but Graffiti wastes time. After a very delayed cover, Graffiti tries a front suplex but Dean rolls through into a small package for a quick pin to retain the title.

Rating: C. Not a bad match but Graffiti was nothing of note at all. This was just an appetizer until we got to the Dragon feud which was more interesting. The ending was a good one as Dean used his wrestling abilities to catch the lazy Graffiti off guard. Not a great match but a good ending.

Sonny Onoo has lost his accent but says Dragon will destroy Dean at Starrcade.

We get some clips of the triangle tag match from World War 3.

Nasty Boys vs. Faces of Fear

If you’re expecting anything other than a fight here, raise your hand so I can point at you and laugh. They go split screen almost immediately and the Outsiders are standing on the ramp. I have no idea who started but it’s Sags vs. Barbarian now. Sags goes to the floor to fight Meng and it breaks down again. The NWO has left. Ok so it’s back to Barbarian and Sags in the ring and there’s a tag to Knobbs. It breaks down again and Knobbs has Barbarian pinned but there’s no referee. Jimmy GOES UP TOP with the Megaphone but it hits Barbarian. Meng hits Knobbs with the Megaphone and it gets the pin.

Rating: C. Ok so with this, if you’re going just on the wrestling this is somewhere between a Divas match and two kids in the back yard. If you’re going on entertainment and keeping things moving, this was incredible. That being said, we’ll put it somewhere in the middle. It’s a total brawl that has no order to it at all, but like I said that’s all you should have expected.

Here’s Flair for an interview. He comes out to the Horsemen music but he’s on his own. Flair is still injured here but his arm isn’t in a sling anymore. He praises the Panthers again and bows down to Greene, who he says he doesn’t like. Flair asks Piper to come out here to a big Charlotte welcome.

Flair talks about Piper getting here on a Greyhound bus and now he’s got a home next to Phil Knight (Nike boss) in Oregon. Piper has taken it upon himself to challenge Hogan, whose name draws a bunch of boos. Flair talks about the losses to Hogan haunting him but now Piper is here to rectify it. Piper says this is his last shot and he appreciates the offer but he wants to do this on his own.

Hour #2 begins.

We have a recap of the opening segment and then the announcers talk about said segment.

Chris Jericho vs. Bobby Eaton

Eaton takes him down quickly and hits the top rope knee almost immediately. Jericho comes back with a powerslam and an inset interview, saying WCW will prevail. He isn’t done with Nick Patrick yet either. Suplex sets up the Lionsault for two. It wasn’t a finisher yet. Alabama Jam misses and Jericho hits the missile dropkick for the pin. Pretty much a squash.

We recap the Rick Steiner/Sting issues.

The Steiners are in the arena to talk about Sting. Scott says it’s crazy to hand Rick Steiner a bat but when Scott did that, he saw something in Sting’s eyes. He has no idea what it is though. Sting has done the same thing to Lex and them and those three are all WCW. Rick says they’re waiting for his next message.
We recap Lex vs. Giant, which isn’t really a feud. This is more like a video on Lex set to his theme music and not much Giant. It’s Lex vs. Giant at Starrcade.

Craig Pittman vs. Arn Anderson

Pittman and Long have parted ways apparently. An inset interview by Sullivan says he blames this on Arn. Next week they’re going to fight. Anderson stalls a lot and Tony says that there’s more video from Benoit and Woman for Sullivan. We take a break (why?) and come back with more stalling. Anderson drops to the floor and wraps the knee around the post but is slammed off the top. Tony says that doesn’t happen often. I’d hit him if I could right now. Code Red is countered by grabbing the ropes and they head to the outside. Briefcase to the ribs, DDT, NEXT.

Gene asks Okerlund where Woman and Benoit are. Anderson says Benoit is in Germany and 2 + 2 = 4. Anderson says love stinks and it’s his fault. Debra goes on a rant against Nancy and McMichael says focus. Anderson tells benoit to come home and says he has a bone to pick with Woman.

Lee Marshall is in Pensacola.

US Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Jeff Jarrett

Man this would have been different three and a half years later. The winner of this gets the winner of Guerrero vs. Benoit at Starrcade. This continues the streak of “put DDP in the ring with guys that could have a watchable match with a grizzly bear so that he gets better.” Jarrett has a small advantage to start but Page kicks him in the ribs and poses. They fight over a top wristlock and we take a break.

Back with Page in control and slamming Jarrett down. Jarrett comes back with an enziguri and a swinging neckbreaker for no cover. The fans start booing something and a sunet flip and clothesline both get two for Jeff. A Blanchard slingshot suplex sets up a middle rope fist for two. There’s a sleeper and Page is in trouble.

The referee is looking at something else as Page hits a discus lariat for a big reaction. Page punches him down and suddenly is over like crazy. A top rope clothesline gets two. Page is sent to the floor and here are the Outsiders. Nash distracts so that the Razor’s Edge can kill Jarrett. Page didn’t see it and gets the pin.

Rating: B-. Remember what I’ve said before about talented guys getting time means a good match? This is a similar version but Page wasn’t quite good yet. Jarrett was reliable though and could easily get a good match out of Page at this point. The reactions for Page are getting much stronger very quickly and WCW capitalized on it too.

Page says he doesn’t need the NWO because the Diamond Cutter does whatever he needs. One more time: leave me alone. He wants to know where they were last year when he was voted Most Improved by PWI. It reminds him of a girl he picked up in a nightclub and the next thing he knows, she wants a full time thing. In short, stop calling!

Rick Steiner vs. Scott Norton

We have about five minutes left in this show so this isn’t lasting long if at all. And there’s no Steiner. It’s Roddy Piper instead and he’s MAD.

He gets a chair and gets in the ring. Piper says nothing is happening until Hogan gets out here because it’s time to fight. Here’s Bischoff instead but Piper says get out because he wants Hogan. Eric says the NWO has left and here comes the garbage. He says he tried to keep Piper out of WCW for his own safety. Eric says that Hogan will beat him up on the 29th and then he limps out of the ring to imitate Piper. Piper gets the chair and here’s the NWO. He has the chair and says bring it on but no one gets in. Kevin Greene gets in also and they stand tall to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. Most of Starrcade is set at this point so the next few weeks are going to be a lot of buildup shows and that’s ok. This show was entertaining enough but we need Hogan and Piper in the same ring soon. It’s not a bad show and the wrestling is good, but it was still a few weeks/months before we get to the Sting vs. Hogan stuff and the real drama begins. This is just kind of keeping things warm until then.

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  1. I get the sincere feeling that, given the chance, Piper would piss on Mr. T's grave. I have no idea what those two did to each other in the locker room that caused Piper to hold such a long grudge, apart from Piper just not wanting to play ball with someone from outside of wrestling. Piper did score the line on T that skirts the line between being too offensive to find funny and too funny to find offensive: "This is a guy who wears more chains than his ancestors."

  2. WCW had a good thing going with the nWo angle, and for whatever reason decided to do this Piper bullshit, thinking that people would care about a rematch from an angle that took place 10 years beforehand, and then forgot about adding celebs, which is why the original Hogan/Piper angle got over in the first place. People didn't want to see this rubbish, they wanted Hall and Nash vs. Sting and whoever else you'd consider the other top WCW guy at the time (Luger, Flair, etc...). Hogan/Giant II would have worked too (with nWo interference deciding the outcome either way), but they decided to turn Paul Wight a coulpe months before this for no good reason (kayfabe or otherwise). I love these reviews of old WCW shoes, but reading them just dives me fucking crazy about how stupid the booking was. And somehow everyone involved is still employed in wrestling, and doing the same shit with pretty much the same results.

  3. To their credit, Piper got some pretty big pops in February.  That being said, it does nothing for the long term good because the matches SUCKED and it didn't put over anyone else.  Piper is still main eventing in May along with guys like Flair.  Flair was one thing but PIper?  Why?  Also I'm dreading getting to the Alcatraz stuff.  They mentioned this on Are You Serious lately.  It showed Piper locking himself in a cell on Alcatraz "which apparently you can just do."

  4. TheRealCitizenSnipsMay 2, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Aw man, I would have loved to see Scott Norton try to no sell for Rick Steiner. 

  5. I showed my wife that part of the Piper DVD when he says that and she was shocked, mortified, and then laughing hysterically.

  6. It's hard to think of a wrestler more protected and pushed that DDP was around this period of time- he was put out there with good-to-great workers to improve as a star, never jobbed in high-profile matches (if at all), was booked as a great prospect for the nWo but looked tough as hell by saying "no!" and fending them all off nearly without help, etc. It pays to be the boss's friend.


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