The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.09.96
Live from somewhere, which turns out to be Columbus, GA. Well I don’t blame them, then.
Your hosts are Tony & Larry.
Super Calo v. Pat Tanaka
Tanaka is now full on into Charlie Chan mode, complete with racist outfit and facial hair. Calo gets a pair of crazy dives on poor Tanaka, but walks into a superkick while kids in nWo shirts distribute propaganda sheets backstage. That’s quite the undertone. Tanaka blocks a rana with a powerbomb and they head to the top, where Calo reverses a gut wrench suplex into something of a bodypress and gets the pin at 2:22. Major style clash here, but they tried hard. *1/2
Meanwhile, Rick Steiner meets Lex Luger later tonight and Rick’s back to being confused and wacky.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER
BUY THE SHIRT! All proceeds go towards the Ric Flair retirement fund.
THE PRECEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Meanwhile, Glacier actually debuts on WCW Pro! Why that show? Because WCW.
The Amazing French Canadians v. The Nasty Boys
Even by WCW standards this might be one of the laziest repackagings ever done. They couldn’t have even become French Legionnaires or generic cops or something? The Nasties attack during the Canadian national anthem, but Jacques hits Sags with a flag to get the heat. Jacques backdrops Carl onto Sags for two and they set up the Cannonball, hit it TWICE, and still can’t get the pin because they’re such geeks. Finally Knobs just grabs the flag, hits Carl, and Sags gets the pin at 3:10. Hell of a way to go into the PPV. ½* Oddly, Rougeau had “retired” a couple of years prior, and of course Carl Ouelette was last seen as a pirate on RAW weighing about 100 pounds less before retreating to Montreal over political issues with the WWF, so it didn’t seem too likely that they’d pop up again on national TV. And then to come back for THIS lame role?
Scott Norton v. Sgt. Craig Pittman
Pittman throws headbutts to the gut, but Norton drops him with an armbreaker and they brawl to the floor. Back in, Norton cranks on the Herb Kunze armbar and Ice Train comes out and throws in the towel at 3:30 over Long’s objections. This of course earns the Pepboys Power Pin of the Week, because WCW.
Meanwhile, The Horsemen confront Luger over the whereabouts of Sting, who is missing this week. Oh yeah, THIS show.
Juventud Guerrera v. Joe Gomez
Who booked this shit? Why waste the genius of Joe Gomez against some jobber named Juventud? I bet that’s not even his real name. In fact, I bet he’s not even Mexican. You don’t see Joe Gomez out there pretending to be some other nationality or hiding under a mask. It would just mess up his beautiful hair and hide his perfect face. Really, Joe Gomez is whatever the fuck he wants to be. Gomez bails off a pair of dropkicks and Juventud gives him a blatantly illegal dropkick into the railing because he’s a poor sport. An incredibly shitty rana brings Gomez back into the ring on an embarrassing bump (all due to Juvy I’m sure) and they fight to the top, then manage to blow a dropkick spot before Juvy finishes with a twisting springboard splash at 2:10. This was so bad I might have to rethink my Joe Gomez worship. No, wait, that’s insane. -** Apparently this match put Gomez in the doghouse for a long time afterwards, just showing that they had no eye for talent or great hair.
Meanwhile, the nWo distributes flyers onto windshields in the rain.
Lex Luger v. Rick Steiner
I’m having 1991 flashbacks now. Steiner wrestles him to the mat to stall until the second hour fireworks.
Your hosts are Eric, Bobby and Iron Mike Tenay.
Steiner catches him with a slam for two and slugs away, then follows with an overhead suplex for two. Steinerline gets two. Luger comes back with a powerslam and Nick Patrick suddenly runs out and calls for Luger to leave, so Steiner wins by countout at 6:50. *
So we head to the parking lot, where Dibiase is apparently talking to Sting in the back of the limo (using a tape of Sting’s voice from last week) but “Sting” jumps out of the limo and attacks Luger. This was a huge angle, but there’s no video wall so the live crowd had no idea. Here’s something that kind of blew my mind: I didn’t realize that Fake Sting Jeff Farmer (aka Pittman’s nemesis Cobra) was actually the same guy as famously terrible promo Jumpin’ Jeff Farmer. Yup.
(Edit: Apparently Jumpin’ Jeff showed up on Reddit recently to prove they were different people. Well, mind un-blown then.)
At this point they fill 10 minutes with recaps of last week’s angles, including Hogan and Giant doing $40,000 in damage to the announce table set without telling anyone beforehand. Also, due to bad time management, the big angle actually ended the show 10 minutes early, which dropped the overall rating from 4.4 to 3.whatever as a result. Whoops.
Rey Mysterio v. Billy Kidman
They head to the floor right away and Rey hits him with a rana, but Kidman blocks a springboard move with a dropkick on the way back in. Kidman with a flying splash for two. Rey finishes with a springboard senton at 1:30. Well that was brisk. *1/2
The Public Enemy v. The Faces of Fear
Time for the Public Enemy staple, the SPLIT SCREEN OF DOOM. Thankfully it slows down into a standard tag match while the Leprechaun runs around ringside and the announcers have to sell a super-serious Sting angle at the same time. Thankfully we cut away from the match and get a Four Horsemen promo instead. They’re all very upset about Sting turning, which is pretty fucking ironic coming from RIC FLAIR, who personally turned on Sting on two occasions. So yeah, back to this trainwreck of a match as Rocco Rock is face in peril and I’m bored. Grunge gets the hot tag and gets nowhere with it, and Rock gets put on a table in the aisle. Barbarian of all people tries a flying dive and goes through the table, which is the one exciting thing to happen in this match because BARBARIAN?! Meng gets moonsaulted through a table in the ring, but no-sells it as even the announcers are pointing out how shitty this match is. I think it’s some sort of double DQ at 10:55 as the bell rings while they’re brawling. ½* for Barbarian’s table dive. Bobby Heenan refers to “Haku” during the replay, which prompts Eric to once again give his disclaimer about how no association with other organizations is implied in any way. WWF’s legal team had him WHIPPED but good.
Mean Gene interviews the Dungeon of Doom about all the scoundrels jumping to the nWo, which ends up being kind of funny since Bubba and Konnan jumped ship relatively soon after this.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Ted Dibiase announces that if they win WarGames, they get their own segment on Nitro, and then Scott Hall invents the “4 Life” hand gesture before our eyes.
THE PRECEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Randy Savage v. John Tenta
Jesus, how long is this show? Thankfully Savage drops the elbow in short order, but Teddy Long runs out and calls him away for more shenanigans backstage that the fans can’t see. So now Tenta wins by countout at 3:00. Then in the parking lot, the WCW guys all ambush another limo in the rain and try to spraypaint “WCW” on it, but, you know, RAIN. Well, it’s the thought that counts.
I can see how this would’ve killed back in the day, but taken out of context now you’re left with a bunch of bad finishes and rain almost wrecking their big angle. Obviously the Sting thing worked out well in the long (long, LONG!) run but, let’s face it, jobbing out Joe Gomez like that was a mistake that nearly cost them the company and the ratings wars.