Nitro had a lot of weird one-offs and random-ass dudes from all over the place showing up, but DAVID SAMMARTINO?
With Scott Keith recently uploading David’s short history in the wrestling business, somebody wanted to see his one appearance on Monday Nitro. But even better, I found the “phantom submission” match, AND David’s appearance in the “End of Nitro Brawl” between the nWo and WCW loyalists! WOO Blog Synergy!
DAVID SAMMARTINO vs. RON SHAW:
(WWF at the Spectrum, Nov. 1985)
* So the story here is that David, sick of his lack of push from the WWF, was out to quit in a blaze of glory. Taking on balding, pot-bellied jobber Ron Shaw in a match that was being filmed, he had his way. David at this point is a short, bloated muscle-guy in black trunks, with really bad hair. Shaw’s in blue, and David gives this happy little smirk to the camera before the match. Oh, he knew.
Shaw divebombs David to start, wiping the floor with him and sending him bouncing around- Monsoon is surprised on commentary, suggesting David “wasn’t ready for the start of this bout” and the consensus is Shaw just figured “this is it” and there would be no feeling-out process. Monsoon talks of the time a year ago where Shaw broke his leg in “Saskatchewan, Alberta (yes really), Canada”, which he and his co-host immediately begin burying (“not one of my favorite places”), and Shaw slams David four times in a row (a shocking number for the time), then whips him off the ropes for a bearhug… and David SUBMITS at (2:02) while the commentators are in mid-conversation! Monsoon is completely taken aback and they have to work out that maybe David had a rib injury or something, hilariously blowing off David VERY CLEARLY signaling that he quits on the replay (“He may be waving his arm around, but…”).
Fans are heard audibly chanting “Bullshit!” as Shaw throws some boots onto David and celebrates, at least not looking confused. He makes sure to spit on David as he takes his leave. According to a YouTube comment (the most reliable of all sources) Monsoon IMMEDIATELY bolted to the back to find out what the hell happened, and the fans in attendance definitely realized something was up. Though I expected David to be done after this, apparently he lied and said his ribs were hurt and that’s why he gave up, as he was wrestling for Vince for two more years after this.
Rating: DUD (just seven bodyslams and a bearhug, lol)
WCW CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE:
DEAN MALENKO vs. DAVID SAMMARTINO:
(WCW Monday Nitro, 16/12/1996)
* The son of Bruno Sammartino, David had none of his father’s charisma nor talent, as he was just a short, roided stocky guy, and left the WWF when Bruno had a big falling out with them, doing an infamous submission to a bearhug of all things at a house show. And here he is, like ten years later, working in WCW as a skinnier, pretty shredded CRUISERWEIGHT. He looks like one of those suburban dads who gets really, REALLY into going to the gym after he hits 45 and finds coworkers younger than himself. Both dudes are hella-short and in black trunks, Dean doing his classic “Iceman” (translation: no natural charisma so treat his default state as if he was just a dangerously cold killer) stare.
They do basic sequences to start, like the standing-switch and trading wristlocks, and Malenko gets a fireman’s carry for two. Malenko keeps getting hammerlocked as David is calling spots (I mean as veteran that’s maybe his prerogative but Dean is the champion!), but Malenko scores a crossface as the crowd is TOTALLY dead, albeit for the random shout here and there. They trade forearms and David bumps going into the corner- a bit delayed, though. Malenko misses a charge and has to kick out, but small packages David for two. David scores a backslide when Malenko ducks his head, and they do more standing-switches until Malenko takes him down, double-chickenwings the arms, and rolls him onto his shoudlers for the 1… then a 1-2-3 (2:56). David looks around kinda confused and just shrugs as Malenko walks away with his belt.
Well that was a weird little 3-minute match. David calling spots and doing very basic chain-wrestling sequences with the most flat, emotionless looks on their faces. Perfectly cromulent, and the technique was legit good (save for a couple bits where David took a sec to get into position right), though the finish was out of nowhere. Not only did they over-roll on the finish first, then the fans and even wrestlers appeared confused as to what happened. Odd to construct a match entirely out of pinning combinations and simple armlocks until the very end, but Nitro was kind of unique that way. Bischoff & DiBiase on commentary (the nWo had taken over the set) ended up only talking about the angles of the day, so this was obviously just filler. Even weirder is that this is David’s ONLY television appearance for WCW, so it’s completely out of nowhere!
Rating: * (hardly a disaster, but a super-weird little match)
THE OUTSIDERS (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash, w/ Eric Bischoff) vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (Meng & The Barbarian, w/ Jimmy Hart):
* This is a non-title match featuring the nWo going up against some of their more low-tier recurring foes, the Dungeon of Doom.
It immediately turns into a huge slugfest, with Nash & Barbarian on the outside. Hall scores a big clothesline on Meng to tremendous applause (the nWo’s “Cool Heel” factor cannot be overstated), but Barbarian breaks up the Outsider’s Edge. Nash with a huge running boot to the Barbarian. But then Big Bubba, a member of the Dungeon at this point, comes out in a white-trash torn-sleeved black shirt and just awkwardly looks from side to side as he hits the ring. Then he throws an uppercut into Meng that the crowd almost misses because Meng was backing into him at the time, and everyone realizes that Bubba’s joined the nWo. That was hella-awkward, though. Bubba hefts Meng into the Boss Man Slam and squat midget Kevin Sullivan charges out, but gets beaten up, too. Konnan & Hugh Morrus run in to even the odds, but are quickly met by The Giant, Buff Bagwell, Syxx, Masahiro Chono, Vincent and Michael Wallstreet back up the nWo!
And then things turn completely wild as Steve Regal, Psychosis, Chavo Guerrero and most importantly LIGHTNING FOOT Jerry Flynn (actually I think that’s Chono and Tony was mistaken) come in to fight the invaders and defend “WCW tradition”. But Ice Train strolls out with a confused look on his face, backed up by his partner Scott Norton, who calmly turns him around and shoves him, hitting a DDT as HE joins the nWo, too! Mongo McMichael, Arn Anderson & Rey Mysterio Jr. come out, too! And then… there’s David Sammartino, who just runs in and attacks Mongo hahahahaha. Did he not get the memo? Rick Steiner and Bobby Eaton hit ringside but now STING comes in as the seas part for him. But Arn grabs him all “Who’s side are you on?” and throws a chop, so Sting decks him, then slugs down Mongo. Rey springboards onto his back, which Sting completely no-sells and hauls Rey down, then he bails, leaving his allegiance up in airs.
A wild, chaotic Nitro ending- one I always remembered ever since I first saw it, sticking with me for ages. One of the few “All of WCW comes out to fight” moments, too, but the nWo’s huge size at this point was actually a reasonable counter. Hilariously, Big Bubba & Norton joining the nWo seemed to go over people’s heads especially as it was this huge melee.