The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 12.09.96
By Scott Keith on 23rd September 2023
The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 12.09.96
(HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: As we hit 1997, I actually don’t have the first 5 episodes of Nitro done as standalone episodes, only as a part of the “Monday Night War” show on WWE 24/7. So we’ll be getting some fresh rants of those once we get there again and you have that to look forward to.)
Live from Charlotte, NC, drawing 6400.
Your hosts are Tony and Larry.
Rowdy Roddy Piper joins us to start, and he’s WEARING A CAROLINA PANTHERS SHIRT! Tony is absolutely losing his shit over this. Piper relates the story of how he has six kids and they don’t want him to fight Hulk Hogan on one leg. Also, he was asked to take a dive for Mr. T at Wrestlemania 2, but he doesn’t take dives. Oh, Roddy. Also, the nWo may be gay. You know, there’s something to be said for scripting promos to a certain degree, especially listening to Piper ramble here. Anyway, Piper wants Hogan tonight.
Mike Enos v. Mr. Wallstreet
Real barnburner to start the show here. Ted Dibiase quickly heads out to watch while Enos gets the advantage on Wallstreet, but Enos gets distracted and pinned with the samoan drop at 1:30. So Michael Wallstreet joins the nWo and shakes up the foundations of the promotion or something. DUD
Meanwhile, Chris Benoit and Woman send a home video to Kevin Sullivan where she talks about how women have rights and she’s leaving to be with Benoit. Chris actually does a really good promo about “my bishop takes your queen, checkmate” but MAN is it icky watching this stuff now.
Hugh Morrus v. The Renegade
“This should be a great matchup” Tony declares with a straight face. Thankfully Joe Gomez is at ringside to save things if need be. They engage in the wrestlings and Morrus gets a terrible leg lariat, but Renegade cradles for two. Hugh with the bearhug, but Renegade reverses to a powerslam for two and slugs him down. Renegade with the handspring elbow (which is more like “handspring and then vaguely make contact”) but Morrus shrugs him off and finishes with the moonsault at 3:00. And then the replay is actually the god-awful leg lariat, from an angle that shows him missing by a mile! DUD
Kevin Sullivan comes out to yell at Tony about showing the Benoit video, and even Tony is like “What the fuck is this guy talking about?”
Let’s take a special look at Sting, who is still an astonishing YEAR away from returning to the ring at this point.
Kevin Greene is here with a hot take: The nWo is CRAP. And Hulk Hogan is gonna be “Chokin’ Hogan” because he’ll be choking on Kevin’s fist.
WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Jimmy Graffiti
They trade hammerlocks on the mat to start and take a break. Back with Graffiti in control while Sonny Onoo takes photos at ringside and this match is kind of sucking. Finally Malenko makes a comeback and puts Graffiti down with a backdrop suplex for two. Leg lariat puts Graffiti on the floor, but Malenko misses a baseball slide and he gets dropped on the railing as a result. Back in, Malenko with a superplex, but Graffiti catches him with a superkick for two. Powerbomb gets two. Dean bridges up into his own powerbomb and that gets two. Malenko with a rollup for two, but Graffiti puts him down with a stungun. He tries a suplex, but Malenko hooks him in a small package for the pin at 7:30. Well that certainly got better. ***
Sonny Onoo does a promo with Mean Gene and drops the pretense of having a Japanese accent, which Gene calls him out on. So Onoo says he pretended to use it all this time so he’d get preferential treatment from the US government. That certainly would no longer be the case.
The Nasty Boys v. The Faces of Fear
They do the big messy brawl to start, and then the Outsiders come out and pose on the ramp to earn their $750,000 a year. The FOF double-team Saggs on the floor and hit him with a chair, which is somehow not a DQ, but Barbarian misses the diving headbutt and Knobbs gets the “hot” tag while the crowd stopped giving a shit the moment that Hall & Nash left. It’s BONZO GONZO and Knobbs is doing flying splashes on Barbarian with no ref, but Jimmy Hart hits Barbarian with the megaphone by mistake. Meanwhile Haku is hitting people with a plastic chair out of a high school gym, and Barbarian recovers enough to hit Knobbs with the megaphone for the pin at 5:30. I have no idea what was going on with that finishing sequence. ½*
Ric Flair joins us for a promo, despite not having a match at Starrcade due to injury. So he brings out Roddy Piper and puts him over like crazy, even talking about how he lost to Hogan in 1994 because he dropped the ball and how Piper can’t do that.
HOUR #2! The hour that taught DDP how to do yoga!
Your hosts are Tony, Bobby and Iron Mike.
Bobby Eaton v. Chris Jericho
Another weird matchup tonight. Eaton quickly takes him down and gets the flying kneedrop for two, and he gets some SERIOUS hangtime. That gets two, but Jericho comes back with a powerslam and cuts an inset promo against Nick Patrick. Lionsault gets two. Kind of hilarious to hear young lion Jericho cutting promos as compared to aging sleazebag rock star Jericho today. Jericho goes up and Eaton brings him down with an electric chair and goes up to finish, but misses the legdrop. Jericho with the missile dropkick for the pin at 2:33. Not much to that one, but it was energetic. **
The Steiner Brothers are pretty confused about the behavior of Sting as of late.
Sgt. Craig Pittman v. Arn Anderson
Kevin Sullivan cuts a rambling inset promo against Arn, and poor Tony has to translate into English as we take a break. “I guess it means they’re going to have a match next week on Nitro!” he declares. And Sullivan is the guy doing the booking! Pittman quickly gets the armbar, but Arn makes the ropes and bails. Pittman follows for the brawl, so Mongo wrecks him with the briefcase and Arn finishes with the DDT at 3:00. DUD
US title tournament, semi-final: Diamond Dallas Page v. Jeff Jarrett
Page slugs away on Jarrett in the corner to start, acting like a total babyface even before his turn. They fight over a wristlock and we take a break. Back with DDP hitting a backdrop suplex out of the corner and a sideslam for two. Jarrett comes back with an enzuigiri and gets a neckbreaker, then stomps away on the ropes. Lariat gets two. Slingshot suplex and fistdrop get two. Page with a small package for two. Jarrett faceplants him for two as the crowd dozes. Sleeper, but Page breaks out with a spinning clothesline to make the comeback. To the top with a flying clothesline for two, but he charges and lands on the floor. This brings out Scott Hall, who makes sure that Page is out and then hits Jarrett with the Razor’s Edge behind the ref’s back. Page misses all of this and gets the pin at 9:40. Decent enough. **1/2
Mean Gene calls out DDP for getting help from the nWo all the time despite protesting his innocence. So Page again tells them to stop calling him “like a broad he picked up in a club”.
Roddy Piper joins us, robbing us of the promised TV main event of Scott Norton v. Rick Steiner. He still wants Hogan tonight, and you can’t play mindgames with someone who’s taken as many punches as Piper. This brings out Bischoff, who gets absolutely DRENCHED by drinks and garbage on the way to the ring. “He’s sweating!” declares Bobby. Bischoff calls him a gimp again, so Piper slaps him upside the head and beats him down to a big pop while the nWo tries to surround the ring. That brings in Kevin Greene to help while Piper continues putting the boots to Bischoff, and we’re out. And then the WWE Network is nice enough to add the after-show exclusive footage with Mongo and AA also storming in to chase off the nWo, which was pretty much the first time that they had ever been booked to back down and run away from the babyfaces.
Hot end to a dull show.