The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 08.26.96
The skip weeks for RAW really threw off my recapping mojo, so now we had back a couple of weeks to an unopposed Nitro to get us caught up again.
From Palmetto, FL. Really, THAT city warranted a mention? It’s only a 1500 seat building, too.
Your hosts are Tony & Larry.
Juventud Guerrera v. Billy Kidman
Another future mainstay debuts. Kidman quickly catches him with a powerslam and they both tumble to the floor off a dive that the camera misses. And then Juvy proves that you CAN powerbomb Kidman, in this case off the ring apron to the floor. He follows with a slingshot legdrop to the floor, and back in with a springboard corkscrew splash for two. Kidman catches a rana attempt and powerbombs him for two, and a slingshot legdrop gets two. Kidman goes up and gets the Shooting Star Press for two, although it looked like Juvy forgot to kick out and the ref had to stretch out the count. Back to the top and Juventud finishes with a rana at 4:00. This was pretty damn good stuff for a couple of guys jerking the curtain with four minutes given to them. ***1/4 Guerrera gives a weird Spanish-laden heel promo afterwards, so I guess his English improved tremendously by the time he was doing color commentary as The Juice years later.
Glacier: He’s still on the way!
Marcus Bagwell & Jim Powers v. Kevin Sullivan & Big Bubba
Scotty Riggs is injured, so we get the AMERICAN STALLIONS dream team here instead. I think that’s actually a better team than the Males in a lot of ways. Powers gets some shine on the Dungeon to start and it’s already BONZO GONZO as the babyfaces clear the ring. Back in, Bagwell dominates Bubba and slugs him down for two, but Bubba powerbombs him to take over and hangs him in the TREE OF WOE. Bubba misses a splash and it’s hot tag Powers (which again Tony actually calls a “hot tag” for some fourth wall weirdness) who runs Sullivan and Jimmy into the turnbuckles 10 times in an entertaining spot. Crossbody on Bubba gets the clean pin at 4:00, but evil ref Nick Patrick changes his mind and restarts the match, allowing Bubba to hit the Bossman slam on Powers instead to finish at 4:30. I would classify this as shockingly entertaining, with Bagwell being an amazing babyface in peril at this point. *** Afterwards, Big Bubba is even complaining about Glacier taking forever to actually show up at this point. There’s another interesting bit of foreshadowing, as Sullivan accuses Mean Gene of hanging out with Hulk Hogan on a boat in Florida, but Gene denies it and wonders if it was Eric Bischoff he saw.
Meanwhile, Sting and Lex Luger are confused as to why Benoit & Mongo suddenly have an issue with being left out of WarGames against the nWo. Well, Benoit certainly did become known for sudden changes of mood.
Chavo Guerrero v. Mike Enos
We haven’t even made it to Fall Brawl yet and they’re already announcing the main event of Halloween Havoc as Hogan v. Savage. Chavo dropkicks Enos to the floor and tries a dive, but Enos catches him with a slam. Back in, Enos with a backbreaker while Dean Ambrose Sr. joins us at ringside and Konnan watches from ringside in his new gangsta persona. Apparently he just woke up one day and decided he was a gangbanger, I guess. Enos with a powerslam for two. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Chavo takes him down with a figure-four, so Enos pokes the ref in the eye and Slater switches in. And then Chavo rolls him up and pins him anyway at 4:30. Not much to this one, aside from the laughable effort of trying to make Mike Enos look like a badass. Dick Slater at least has the cred of being legitimately batshit crazy in real life. *1/2
WCW Monday Nitro: The T-Shirt! Only $20. I bet you if they put that on the WWE Shop site now, they would make back the cost of WCW’s purchase price in a month or two.
Cruiserweight title: Rey Mysterio v. Mr. JL
We immediately head back to the parking lot, where the nWo are spraypainting Turner trucks, so the guys in the match do a bunch of restholds and we take a break. Back with Tony making a note that WCW does not condone VANDALISM, and the match finally starts going somewhere. Rey with a springboard dive while Dean Malenko comes out to watch now and JL stalls on the floor because he’s apparently a heel now for some reason. You see, I figured this out because he stopped to point to his head to indicate the level of his intelligence. Back in, JL gives Rey the down position, but then turns on him and powerbombs him for two. A second one is reversed for two and JL tries a Boston crab this time. The crowd is pretty bored by this match. And then we break up the momentum AGAIN with the second hour of Nitro fireworks before Rey finally just finishes with the West Coast Pop at 14:00. Pretty lousy match for these two. *1/2
Meanwhile, Benoit and Mongo are out to prove that they should have been in WarGames.
Meanwhile, we recap the last couple of weeks of Randy Savage, as they’re already skipping over Fall Brawl and building the Hogan-Savage match up. The booking of Savage was really weird, as he got steamrolled by the nWo and the Giant at various points and then suddenly got a title match out of it. Which did draw pretty decently, to be fair.
The Giant v. Jim Duggan
They brawl to the floor right away and Duggan actually sends Giant into the post, which does more damage to the ring than to Giant. Back in, Giant catches him with a bearhug, but Duggan slugs out of it while the crowd of hicks is actually going nuts for this. Giant pounds him down again and now it’s time for the FOURTH MAN, as Ted Dibiase heads down to ringside via the crowd. Duggan goes for the tape, but Giant just shrugs it off, so Duggan’s like “Hold on!” and wraps even more around his fist. Another shot gets nothing, and Giant chokeslams him for the pin at 4:23. Dibiase declares himself the fourth man and promises that next week, there’s a fifth one. And what a debacle that turned into, but we’ll get to that next week. This match was fine for what it was. **
Ric Flair & Arn Anderson v. The Rock N Roll Express
I feel like we’ve seen this match a bunch of times lately. Arn pounds on Ricky to start, but Robert comes in for some double-teaming as Flair takes a breather. Back in, Flair cheats and tosses Gibson, allowing the Horsemen to take over while the announcers are basically ignoring the match. Much like the crowd. Hot tag Morton and he pounds on Flair in the corner, but Arn DDTs him for the pin at 4:30. I thought that was just going to be the start of the heat segment, but no, they just went with a squash win instead. *
Chris Jericho v. Alex Wright
The era of Jericho begins! They trade dropkicks and armdrags to start and Jericho takes him down and works the arm. Back elbow and springboard dropkick puts Wright on the floor, and back in with a suplex for two while Bischoff makes sure to tell us about all the martial arts that he knows. Jericho goes up and Wright catches him with a dropkick coming down, and a crossbody gets two. Jericho comes back with a pair of corner clotheslines, but he knocks himself silly on the post and Wright follows with a dive that misses and HE also knocks himself out on the railing. This match would be the WWE legal team’s nightmare. The ref wants to count out Wright, but Jericho doesn’t want the win that way and it’s a no-contest at 4:50. LAME. 1998 Chris Jericho would want to win EXACTLY that way! Decent match before that. **1/4
The Steiner Brothers v. Robert Eaton & David Taylor
Rick pounds on both Bluebloods to start, and the heels are having troubles on the floor as they threaten to break up ANOTHER tag team. Back in, Taylor gives it a shot, but nails Eaton by mistake. They try a Doomsday Device on Rick and Rick somehow manages to fall on his own head taking the bump, then rolls over and pins Eaton anyway at 3:30. I think that was supposed to be Rick catching him with a powerslam in mid-air, but it was totally not. DUD Sadly, the Bluebloods erupt in violence afterwards while the Steiners do commentary at ringside.
Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael v. Sting & Lex Luger
Big brawl to start and Mongo drops Luger with a stungun to take over right away. The Horsemen double-team him and Benoit drops a leg for two. They collide on a clothesline and it’s hot tag Sting, who quickly hooks the Scorpion Deathlock, but Mongo breaks it up and everyone brawls until Hulk Hogan heads down to cause trouble. And he’s armed with spray paint, so it’s probably VANDALISM. I can just hear Tony yelling at the TV screen in disgust as we speak. Mongo goes for Hogan, but the nWo attacks for the no-contest at 5:30 and lays out everyone. I believe this was the first ever nWo finish, in fact. And garbage fills the ring to end the show.
You sure can’t say they didn’t know how to put the heels over strong at that point. Rest of the show was a bit of a mixed bag, but it was entertaining enough for two hours.