WCW Monday Nitro – 22nd January 1996 – Viva Las Hogan and Savage

Date: 22nd January 1996

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve McMichael, Bobby Heenan

For once, this feels somewhat of a big show for WCW, as Nitro comes to Las Vegas tonight for the first time, with a main event of Randy Savage challenging Ric Flair for the WCW World Title tonight. Also, Sting & Luger challenge Harlem Heat for the tag team titles. Should be some good action here, so let’s begin. Continue reading

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WCW Monday Nitro – 15th January 1996 – The Ten Minute Drama.

nitro3WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                 15th January 1996

Location:           Miami, Florida

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

We are heading towards SuperBrawl VI which is only a month away, although you wouldn’t actually know it. Seriously, they are pushing Clash of the Champions (a free show) much harder than SuperBrawl (a Pay Per View, so money is on the line). Such is WCW anyway. Let’s get to the “Hogan/Savage v Horsemen and Dungeon of Doom Show”. Continue reading

WCW Monday Nitro – 8th January 1996 – No, it’s still Hogan Country.

nitro3WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                    8th January 1996

Location:             Charleston, South Carolina

Commentators:   Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

We’re in Flair country this week, so it’s a homecoming for the World Champion! Until you realise that Hogan is in the main event this week versus Flair in a tag team match, so it’s not going to go well. Other than that, nothing else has really been announced, which is standard fare at this time. Oh, Clash of the Champions is two weeks away in Las Vegas. Brilliant. Let’s do this. Continue reading

WCW Monday Nitro – 1st January 1996 – All the Horsemen and Hogans men.

nitro3WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                 1st January 1996

Location:           Atlanta, Georgia

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

Happy New Year… 1996 Nitro style! This is the year where WCW finally took it to the WWF and would help revolutionise pro-wrestling forever. Unfortunately, that would not be for another 6 months or so, so we still have to wade through six months of awful to mediocre storylines, featuring Hulkamania versus the world. Starrcade has come and gone, with Ric Flair now a 12 time World Champion. Yes, the older guys are still dominating and it would only get worse. Let’s do this. Continue reading

WCW Nitro – 25th December 1995 – A lousy Xmas present for the fans

WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                   25th December 1995

Location:             Augusta, Georgia

Commentators:   Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

Merry Christmas!! 1995 style! Considering it’s Christmas Day for Nitro, this show was taped seven days in advance after the previous Nitro episode. WCW’s present to the fans is a World Title match between the champion Randy Savage and Ric Flair, just two days before Starrcade. Seems a bit weird they had a pay per view on a Wednesday but it’s not the first time it had been done. Let’s begin.

Apparently, Hogan has been suspended until the end of 1995 for his attack on Flair last week. So he’s gone for less than a week? Oh right he also misses the biggest PPV WCW can offer, Starrcade. Apparently.

Segment 1: Lex Luger def Scotty Riggs

Another warm up match for Luger for Starrcade, which was a formality in its result. Despite that, this was a fairly competitive match, as Riggs gave a fair amount of offense. Of course, no one bought that he had a chance against Luger, and the Rack ended this pretty quickly. Solid match, if not spectacular. Rating: C-

Sting is tired of being asked about him and Luger being friends. Ithink we should find out in a few episodes.

Segment 2: Sting def Big Bubba Rogers

Another warm up match, but this one was VERY boring, with a lot of stalling by both men/ Thankfully it was over in short order, but this match is not a fail for the fact Sting was MAJORLY over with the fans at the time. Rating: C-

Sgt Craig Pitman is turned down by Jimmy Hart to be his manager in humiliating fashion. Oh well.

Segment 3: Dean Malenko def Mr J.L

Very entertaining match from these two, as you would expect, but unfortunately this may be the last we see of Mr J.L, as Malenko broke J.L’s arm from a fireman’s carry off the top rope. I’m not sure he had another match on Nitro after that. No rating because of the unfortunate incident, but we have seen this match many times before.

Segment 4: WCW World Title: “Macho Man” Randy Savage def Ric Flair (via DQ)

Interesting fact: this match was one half of the main event at WrestleMania VIII nearly four years before for the WWF Championship. The problem here is this is ANOTHER disqualification in the main event of Nitro, which is getting annoying to see week after week. It sets up potential clashes at Starrcade (especially the clash between Sting and Savage to close the show) based on the triangle match to meet the WCW Champion in the main event, but it’s still annoying to see. Rating: D+

Overall: D+ This was a poor go home show for the company’s biggest pay per view of the year. I haven’t seen the pay per view at all, so I have no idea if it was any good at all or not, but judging by this show alone, I’m not sure if there are enough reasons to want to watch it. Poor ending; poor show and poor promotion of a major pay per view.

Naturally, because WWF RAW was not on at Christmas this year, Nitro won in the ratings. That was one way to get the fans interested in Nitro.

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WCW Nitro – 18th December 1995 – A WWF title belt disgraced

WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                    18th December 1995

Location:              Augusta, Georgia

Commentators:    Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

It’s almost Christmas…. 1995 that is. With Starrcade only 9 days away, the WCW World Champion, Randy Savage will have a busy time defending his World Title until then, starting tonight against The Giant. Also, I think a famous moment occurs here with a defection from the WWF and one of their titles. Long time wrestling fans know what I mean here. Let’s begin.

Segment 1: The debut of Madusa from the WWF

And yes we start with the famous moment of the program: Madusa (formerly Alundra Blayze in the WWF) debuts with the WWF Women’s Championship, as she was still recognised as the champion. So what was her first action? Dumping her title belt in the trashcan. On live TV! Classy move, don’t you think? That one move sparked the Monday Night Wars into life even more, as it was a statement of intent by WCW. It hit Vince McMahon where it hurt the most: his pride in his company and its tradition. Rating: B-

Segment 2: Ric Flair defeats Eddie Guerrero

This was the first of three warm up matches for those competing in the triangle (Flair, Sting and Luger). A competitive match here, but Flair (in the style only he can do so well) cheated to win in the Figure Four leglock. Eddie is getting better reactions each time he goes out there, so it’s a shame he was never used to his full potential in WCW. Rating: B-

Dungeon of Doom come out after the match and threaten the Four Horseman about Brian Pillman attacking one of their guys. I think this was where their year long feud originated.

Segment 3: Lex Luger defeats Marcus Bagwell

Second of three warm up matches tonight. Just above a squash here, with Bagwell submitting to the Rack by Luger. No rating here, but Luger looked ready for Starrcade.

Segment 5: Sting defeats Earl Robert Eaton

The third and final warm up match tonight. Total squash in the end, with a Stinger Splash and Scorpion Deathlock ending Eaton. There was some doubt before the match about whether Sting was a good or bad guy, due to his affiliation with Lex Luger recently.

Segment 6: WCW World Title: The Giant defeats Randy Savage (c)

This match was given some good time, which was mostly dominated by The Giant, as was to be expected. The announcers were smart to push The Giant as having a chance of him winning the title, but did anyone believe the title would change hands here? I should have expected this, but Giant won by disqualification after Hogan interfered and took out everyone in his path. Surprise, surprise. Rating: C-

Hogan want’s his title shot at Savage, who agrees to it. Providing he gets past Ric Flair next week (another World Title match two days before Starrcade?) and through the Starrcade pay per view. This may be overkill on the World Title scene but I suppose they needed to keep the audience tuning in over Christmas.

Overall: B- This episode was mainly a warm up for the triangle match and a TV World title match, because this is WCW after all. I think the World Cup of Wrestling was mentioned once throughout the show, which is not the way to promote a pay per view effectively. The opening segment was a shocker at the time, with the tradition of the WWF slapped in the face on live WCW TV. Decent show tonight with a great opening scene.

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WCW Nitro – 11th December 1995 – Here lies the career of Mr Wonderful

WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                   11th December 1995

Location:             Charlotte, North Carolina

Commentators:    Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

We continue towards Starrcade, with a big focus being put on the three way dance between Sting, Lex Luger and Ric Flair for a shot at Randy Savage and the WCW World Title. Well, they assume it will be him if he gets by The Giant tonight in a title defence next week (why can’t it be this week?). Tonight’s main event is Hogan and Sting versus Flair and Anderson of the Horsemen. Let’s begin.

The World Cup of Wrestling is mentioned for the first time on Nitro, with the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling facing the stars of WCW at Starrcade. Is this what the Heenan and Sonny Onoo deal was about a few weeks before?

Segment 1: Eddie Guerrero defeats Mr J.L

Should have mentioned this before, but Mr J.L is Jerry Lynn and I believe he was the reigning NWA World Champion at the time. This match got the crowd into the show, but it was short and it typified what these two did in WCW. Apart from great matches, they didn’t do anything else for their time in the company. It’s a shame as well, because they were phenomenal athletes. Good match anyway, with Guerrero looking particularly impressive here with some great athleticism and techniques. Rating: C+

Segment 2: “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff defeats Disco Inferno

This was more of a battle of the most awful theme songs in wrestling history, as my ears couldn’t take either man’s theme anymore. Short match thankfully and I couldn’t care less about this match. Unfortunately for Paul Orndorff, this was his last match on Nitro I believe, as he retired shortly afterwards. No rating for this one.

Segment 3: Horseman interview goes wrong

During an interview by Mean Gene to the Horseman, Orndorff came out and complained that he could have been a Horseman before Pillman, which angered Flying Brian. Can you imagine Orndorff as a Horseman? Unthinkable. Unfortunately, this is where Orndorff’s career ends, as a piledriver by Anderson and Flair goes wrong, with Mr Wonderful’s head and neck hitting the concrete. Scary stuff to see, as even Heenan went to help Orndorff (Heenan himself had neck surgery earlier in 1995). A sad end to a long and successful career, although Orndorff made a small comeback in WCW in 2000.

Segment 4: Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeats Hacksaw Jim Duggan

This match was here to give Luger momentum into Starrcade. Nothing more, nothing less. Moving on.

Segment 5: Hulk Hogan/Sting defeats Ric Flair/Arn Anderson

The story to this match was trust issues between Hogan and Sting, stemming back to last week when Sting got hit by Hogan. This match was good, but the ending ruined it for me. Anderson and Flair beat down Sting for the majority of the match, but Hogan got the “hot tag”, did two moves and got the pin on Anderson. So what was the point of the beatdown by the Horsemen if Hogan ruins that in two moves? Good match, with Anderson and Flair working well together, but a poor ending. Rating: C-

By the way, I could have sworn I heard “Hogan Sucks” chants throughout that match.

Horsemen attacked Hogan and Sting after the match, but Luger saves Sting and Randy Savage came out and got punched out by Sting. I believe this has been overbooked a bit now, because this is getting confusing a bit now. Hogan/Sting/Savage make up at the end of the show, which makes me wonder when these three will fall out. To be honest, I don’t even care now, it’s been too long.

Overall: C Aside from the World Title scene for Starrcade and the World Cup of Wrestling, no other reasons have been given to watch Starrcade ‘95. The neck injury to Orndorff was horrible to watch, knowing that injury ended his career. Things seem a little stale at the moment, but I am hoping this picks up as we get closer to Starrcade. Average show tonight.

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WCW Nitro – 4th December 1995 – The Road to Starrcade ’95

WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                   4th December 1995

Location:             Pheonix, Arizona

Commentators:   Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

We are getting closer to the biggest event on the WCW calendar, Starrcade ’95, although you could be forgiven for thinking that isn’t the case at the moment. To be fair there is still time to build any rivalries for the big event, so let’s get going with this episode of Nitro (been a while since I have done one of these, so I may need to refresh my memory of what is going on).

The main event is Lex Luger v Randy Savage for the WCW World Title. Wow indeed. Who will be the champion at Starrcade? At the moment, it will be Sting v Luger v Flair in a triangle match at Starrcade, with the winner facing the WCW Champion later in the night. Shouldn’t the challenger be determined BEFORE the pay per view normally?

Segment 1: WCW World Tag Team Titles: Harlem Heat (Booker T/Stevie Ray) (w/ Sensational Sherri) (c) defeats American Males (Marcus Bagwell/Scotty Riggs)

Looks like Harlem Heat won the titles back at some point since they lost the titles to the Males in September. No idea when that happened. This match was just there, as Colonel Parker gave Sherri a ring (?) and they left together in the middle of the match. Some manager she was. A sweet looking Harlem Hangover ends Bagwell, with this match picking up a little bit at the end. Riggs looked sloppy in some of his moves though. Rating: C-

Sting says he will win the triangle match and face Luger for the title.

Segment 2: Sting defeats Kurasawa

This match just made Sting look good. Nothing more, nothing less. Kurasawa was in WCW more or less as a jobber to the stars, with a few wins thrown in against undercard wrestlers.

New Japan wrestlers will fight WCW wrestlers at Starrcade ’95. Any reason why this is happening then?

Segment 3: The Giant defeats Scott Norton

Pretty obvious outcome as soon as I saw the Giant was in this match. Giant remarkably got picked up by Norton (a first at that time), but the chokeslam by Giant ended this pretty quickly. Were you expecting anything else? Rating: C

Ric Flair (accompanied by Sir Charles, a former basketball player I think), puts a warning on Hogan, Sting and company.

Segment 4: WCW World Title: Randy Savage (c) v Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Considering Luger beat Randy Savage once before (with the help of the Dungeon of Doom), he was a slight threat to say the least. This was a good main event, but a lot of overbooking at the end bought it down for me. Ok, I knew this match would not have a clean ending, but with Hart, Flair, Hogan and Sting involved, plus a referee bump, it seemed to be way too much to have here. At least the crowd finally woke up for this match, but then they seem to wake up for the big stars mostly. Rating: C-

After Hogan hit Sting (again), they make up, along with still-World Champion Randy Savage to end the show. Yeah, this won’t last long I think.

Overall: C- Apart from the main event and the triangle match made for Starrcade, this show more or less set up the huge tag team match next week on Nitro (Hogan/Sting v Flair/Anderson), which defeats the purpose of this episode. Still, this show was just there, but at least the build to Starrcade has begun, which is the important thing to take from this show, and two title matches on free TV is not something to complain about anyway. Decent show, but not the greatest to watch.

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WCW Nitro – 27th November 1995 – Luger and Sting? I’m intrigued…

WCW Monday Nitro

With RAW happening tonight, I figured it was time for another episode of WCW Monday Nitro, just to get us in the mood. Before that, I just want to say two things here:

1)      I just want to get this section of Nitro done, so we can eventually get onto the NWO period of Nitro (it gets way more interesting then);

2)      I am going to start putting up more opinion posts based on current news and thoughts in wrestling. The reviews may be getting a bit old here, so I figured its time to shake things up a little. Watch this space.

Date:                   27th November 1995

Location:             Salem, Virginia

Commentators:   Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

World War 3 has come and gone, with Randy Savage the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion, after winning the 60 man battle royal the previous night. Finally, a Nitro without Hogan/Giant as the champ or the title being vacant. I would have to get used to that otherwise. Oh wait…..

Anyway, I have no idea what happens in this episode, aside from maybe an appearance by Savage, so let’s see what goes down.

Apparently, there was some controversy surrounding the WCW Title and Hogan. Can’t he ever lose cleanly without any controversy? Hogan ditched his dark side attire last night  on PPV and declared Sting his best friend forever. Oh that is ironic for later on (next year)!

Segment 1: WCW TV Title: Johnny B Badd (w/ Kimberly) defeats Diamond Dallas Page

This was a rematch from last night, when Badd retained the title and won Kimberly’s services from DDP. Well, she certainly looks happier with him. This match was a squash for DDP, but a chain thrown by Kimberly (part of the flowers DDP gave her) to Badd ends this with one solid punch. Nothing match really, but this was about Kimberly and deciding between DDP and Badd. I think her choice was made clearly. Or was it? Rating: C-

Luger has apparently pissed off the Dungeon of Doom, so Hart has a plan. Who cares anymore about the Dungeon?

Segment 2: Akira Hokuto/Bull Nakano (w/ Sonny Oono) defeats Cutie Suzuki/Mayumi Ozaki

All the way from Japan and I believe this had something to do with the business agreement between Sonny and Heenan a few weeks ago. Now, to me this was a short, but good display of power by Nakano and Kokuto, but no one really cared until the ending when Nakano tried a splash off the top rope. This was pretty new at the time for American fans and certainly a great direction for WCW to go with the cruiserweights, though not necessarily the women sadly. It’s a shame, as this was a solid match, with a lot of high flying moves and they got time out there (even to create false finishes). You wouldn’t see WWE do that today with the Divas. Rating: C+

Segment 3: Hulk Hogan defeats Hugh Morrus

Hugh Morrus became a part of the Dungeon of Doom? Ok then, I still couldn’t care much. Beating by Morrus, Hulk Up by Hogan, leg drop and it’s over. What else did you expect here? Too short to rate.

Segment 4: Randy Savage interviewed as WCW World Champion

Savage is happy to be champion, but the PPV footage shows Hogan never went over the top rope in the battle royal… scrap that as the Giant attacked him and Hogan after the tape had a malfunction. Ok so Savage gets taken down easily by a chokeslam but Hogan fights off the Giant without going down? Why must Hogan always take the spotlight from Savage (slight bias here)? It continues the Dungeon/Hogan storyline but Sting is questioned about calling off Hogan. Get used to it Sting, there’s more where that came from. Rating: C-

Segment 5: Arn Anderson/Brian Pillman v Sting/Luger

Luger comes out after Sting, but without Jimmy Hart. This was your normal style TV tag team main event, but it was interesting to see Sting/Luger work well together without as much as a word between them. I know they were tag team champions I think before in the early 90’s, but still it was weird to see. Despite that, there was still some miscommunication between them, on the part of Luger. You may notice I’m not talking about the match but that’s because it was all about Luger/Sting teaming up here. Rollup by Sting wins it and a mildly interesting main event overall here. Rating: C+

The Horsemen (including Ric Flair) attack Luger and Sting after the match until Hogan makes the save. Sting even stops Hogan from beating Luger up. I forgot what happens from here between Sting/Luger, seriously.

Overall: C+ This wasn’t so much about wrestling tonight, but the fallout from World War 3 and advancing the stories, which was fine for me. You can’t ignore the happenings from a pay per view, hence they are supposed to draw the fans in and keep them guessing and watching Nitro for more. As far as the stories go for this episode, I could care less about the Dungeon of Doom, but the whole Sting/Luger angle is intriguing me to say the least and that’s all I can ask for. See how wrestling can hook a fan at times? Who knows what you’re interested in on a wrestling show? As long as it draws you in to see the next episode, it’s usually a success to you.

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WCW Nitro – 20th November 1995 – Hogan v Sting BEFORE Starrcade ’97

WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                   20th November 1995

Commentators:   Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

This is a quick episode to view before RAW goes up tomorrow.

At least this build to World War 3 is not so long tonight, as we will have the long build to Starrcade ’95 after this. I have no idea what happens in WCW between now and February ‘96, so it will all be a huge surprise for me, which I am a sort of looking forward to. Tonight we have the main event of Hogan versus Sting, which will be intriguing to say the least. Let’s begin.

We begin with McMichael saying the Hogan v Sting match should have been on PPV, but we get it on free TV! And we get the major problem for WCW over the next few years: giving away awesome PPV matches on free TV.

Segment 1: Scott Norton defeats Shark

This is a rematch from one or two weeks ago, when they fought to a double countout. Shark attacks Norton before the match outside and dominates the match, until a powerslam by Norton ends Shark. Short and pointless really, as neither man advanced any further from this feud. Rating: D+

Segment 2: Taskmaster and Hart interview

Hart tries to talk up Sting for his match with Hogan, saying Hogan dumped him for Savage. Taskmaster wants Hogan to face the entire Dungeon this Sunday in the battle royal. Same old, same old promo. Next please.

Segment 3: Eddie Guerrero defeats Brian Pillman

Disco decides to dance before the others come out. Have to admit that’s something different, but his dancing is awful and generic. Still, it’s better than my dancing. Actually, it was supposed to be Flair in the match, but Pillman instead replaces him for no reason. Oh it’s because Flair is “so” focused on the Stinger, which is better than no reason at all I guess. Can’t complain here to be honest, as this should be good.

To say this would be better than Flair versus Guerrero is an understatement. These two were hammering each other out there, with Guerrero impressive in flying about in and out of the ring. This match was a bit short, but considering this is a one hour show that’s fine. Good victory for Guerrero off the frog splash, which does not come off as a fluke. Rating: B

Apparently, Benoit was already introduced as the fourth member of the Four Horseman. That must have been announced on WCW Saturday Night then a week or so ago.

Recap of Savage having his arm injured by the Dungeon last week. Moving on.

Segment 4: Hawk defeats Big Bubba Rogers

This is a rematch from about a month ago on Nitro, when Disco interfered and caused Hawk to lose by countout. Does anyone really care about this match? Bischoff implies someone will jump from the WWF to WCW at World War 3 this Sunday. I can’t remember anyone doing that to my knowledge.

This match got longer than the last one, which was an ok match at best. Duggan trips Bubba for Hawk to get the pin. Really? That’s how you end a match, with a trip? WCW hurts my head at times. Rating: D+

It is time for Nitro’s biggest main event to date: Hogan versus Sting.

Segment 5: Hulk Hogan (w/ Randy Savage) v Sting (No contest)

Hogan came in from the crowd, which was the first time I have ever seen Hogan do that. This match can be broken down into three parts: first part was the punches and kicks by both guys; second part was the rest holds (and they were legion in this part!) and thirdly, the “Hulk up” comeback. Seriously that was it…. until Sting had Hogan in the Scorpion Deathlock. Predictably, the Dungeon of Doom attacks both guys for a no contest. The rematch between these two? Starrcade 1997. Match was fine for what it was, but it got boring with all the rest holds, which was vintage Hogan. Rating: C

Savage gets chokeslammed by the Giant, who gets clotheslined out by Hogan and Sting with a chair. That’s smart at least. Taskmaster and Hart yell at the announcers to end the show.

Overall: C This was a decent show, but nothing much above that. The main focus here was the World Title battle royal, which was fine as this was the go home show for the pay per view. A good wrestling match and a solid yet unspectacular main event means this show was a great way to kill time, but a lot of it meant nothing for the long term, which is a shame considering the talent they have here at the moment.

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