Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WCW Nitro: June 3, 1996

TONY SCHIAVONE can’t scream loudly enough about this being the home of where the Big Boys Play – because Nitro is on the air. He’s joined by LARRY ZBYSZKO who has no idea if he’s a heel, a face, or if he’s just off in Larryland.

Our hot opener to fire the people up, features THE SHARK coming to see “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND. Gene says watching him get his hair cut was one of the most sickening things he’s ever seen, and asks why Shark hasn’t cut off the other half of his hair to match. He says it’s to relive the embarrassment of the moment over and over and consume his anger. And then, the moment you KNOW you’ve been waiting for: “I’m not a fish. I’m not an avalanche. I’m a MAN! John Tenta. A 500 pound man. I’m gonna hurt the man that did this to me, and then I’m gonna shave the head of the Giant!” HE’S A MAN!


Bubba has been throwing around Tenta’s hair in the ring, and made quite the barber shop mess of it all. Tenta clubbers, and powerslams Bubba. JIMMY HART rushes down to ringside to urge Bubba to his feet – and Tenta whips out the scissors. Bubba takes off, and is counted out at 1:14. I would have DQed the guy for running around with a freakin’ pair of SCISSORS. DUD


This is High Voltage’s debut. Robbie Rage hasn’t adopted his name yet, going under “Ruckus” this week instead. I don’t see this debut going very well for some reason. Barbarian chops at Kaos, but Ruckus comes in and they throw a double shoulderblock at Barbarian. Barbarian doesn’t really care, and delivers a stiff powerbomb to Ruckus and gets a HUGE pop. Meng dropkicks Ruckus in the face, and hits a backbreaker. Barbarian follows with a pumphandle slam – shades of why he’s the current #2 contender to the World Heavyweight Title. Ruckus is put up top, and Barbarian launches him clear across the ring with a super belly to belly. Twin swandives connect, and a Mafia kick from Meng finishes at 3:14. I am completely infatuated with the Faces of Fear at this point – I forgot how awesome these guys could be when they were just sent to the ring with orders to seek and destroy. **1/2

STING and LEX LUGER are with “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND in the locker room. Sting accuses Luger of getting the Steiners fired up the week before by kicking Scotty during the suplex attempt. Luger defends himself, saying friends or not, friends do NOT try to suplex each other on the cement floor. THE STEINERS run in; and accuse Luger of the cheap shots. Sting defends Luger, by stating maybe it wasn’t such a cheap shot because he’d probably do the same. Scott gets right in Luger’s face and screams: “LexLooer amIasdfdsijffsdfsdofjsfgobdpajsnt!” And he means it.


Folks, years before there was Fandagoing, there was this special night, when WCW was hit with a plague of Disco Fever, and quite literally everyone in the building wanted in:

Disco botches an armdrag, and Pittman attacks the arm in retaliation. Pittman’s the face here, and the fans are responding in kind by booing him out of the building. Disco pokes the eyes and dances to a big pop. Pittman nails a doctor bomb for 2, and Disco crawls to the safety of the corner. Teddy Long has the audacity to mess up Disco’s hair, so Disco loses it and karate chops Pittman’s hard head – which only causes Disco insane amounts of discomfort. A spear sets up Code Red, but Disco taps out before it’s even applied to avoid being put in the hold, and Pittman’s your winner at 1:50. Disco: “If I let him put me in that thing, I wouldn’t be able to do this anymore!”

A legend is born


Larry on Duggan: “Oh not this idiot!” Tony: “He might be a little bit different.” Regal correctly points out that it’s people like Duggan who have left the USA in the state it’s in, but takes heat. Duggan stomps around, and Regal’s look of confusion and disgust is worth the price of admission alone. Duggan backs Regal to the corner, who immediately demands a break so he can lecture the announcers a bit. Regal cheap shots Duggan, but Duggan comes back with 3 straight clotheslines and Regal bails. He demands the fans “calm down” before he continue. Once the rowdiness subsides a bit – Regal gets back in and gets pounded. Regal kicks Duggan in the face of a backdrop attempt, and Regal works a crossface. Duggan stomps around, so Regal pokes him in the eyes, but misses a senton. Regal gets backdropped, and he begs for mercy. DAVE TAYLOR and ROBERT EATON rush the ring, as Duggan hits the 3 point stance. He grabs the 2x4, but Taylor steals the board. Duggan tapes his fist because he’s a grade-A cheat, decks Eaton on the apron, and Regal steals the win by rolling him up with a fistful of tights at 4:26. Duggan chases Jeeves to the back. **

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants a word with Regal about his upcoming match with Sting. On the Main Event (one of the shows I DON’T recap because I don’t have ‘em), there was a contract signing and Regal gave Sting a backhanded slap. Regal was given a fine for doing it, and Regal responded by paying double the fine just to show WCW he doesn’t give a crap about fines. Regal says he wants Sting at his best at the Great American Bash. “I want him mean, I want him nasty, I want him downright bloody rude!” Regal really should have been US Champion at this stage.


Sullivan takes Iaukea to the floor, and crotches him on the guard rail. In the ring, the Prince is tied to the tree of woe, and takes a knee to the face. Double stomp finishes at 1:21. DUD

The constant Sullivan push sort of reminds me why jobbers are such a useful tool in wrestling. I miss the days of a never-ending stream of losers being available at the hands of the booker (quite literally in the case of Sullivan), and being placed as a means to get your mid-card guys TV time to look like legitimate forces. You’ll notice, Sullivan almost never fights any name wrestlers at all, instead giving himself countless squash appearances to look as strong as possible against any future opponents. And when he loses, he has a little more credibility as a result. It’s a much more effective way of making sure you guys always have protection in between their big matches; as opposed to handing them the Intercontinental Title and jobbing them out for months and wondering “hey, he’s a champion, why can’t he get over? Why isn’t anyone taking him seriously?”

So of course, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND needs a word with Sullivan and Hart. Hart wants to separate from Anderson and Flair seeing as how they already have the World Title so they don’t need anyone else. Sullivan throws a nod over to Razor Ramon by referencing the two wars in WCW; one that the “legal department” is handling, and the other war with Hulkamania. Thus, Anderson stays. Regarding Benoit, he promises to get rid of him as he did Pillman, giving the same speech he did on Saturday.


Flair and Anderson arrive dressed in the jerseys of Kevin Greene and Mongo; though I have to admit I’m a little disappointed Naitch didn’t find something with the number 69. The commentary is completely cut out; but since it’s only Tony, it doesn’t take anything away from what we’re seeing. Arn runs over Morton with a shoulderblock, and the second hour of Nitro starts with fireworks a blazin’. Flair uses the distraction to run over to his VIP section and grab a drink of bubbly. However, that opens the door for Morton and Gibson to double team Arn in the corner. Flair tags in, and struts circles around Morton, probably reliving their glory days from the late 80’s. Flair chops away, but Morton pounds loose and tags in Gibson. Arn tries to drop a couple of elbows on Gibson, but he rolls out of the way and hits a flying crossbody for 2. Flair comes in, and is taken down with a drop toe hold and put in his own Figure Four. Arn tries to break it up, but Morton spears him and puts on another Figure Four! Flair finally breaks, and gets into a shoving match with the referee. The ref shoves RIGHT back, knocking Flair down. This continues on the floor, and again Randy Anderson drops Ric to his ass. We take a commercial break.

Upon return, ERIC BISCHOFF and BOBBY HEENAN have taken over on commentary and are clear as day, just in time for Uncle Eric to call a “Japanese Armbar Takedown”. Flair dodges a blind charge, and chops Morton down. Anderson comes in to stomp a mudhole in Morton who’s now playing Ricky Morton. Morton gets his face ground into paste, and dumped to the outside. Flair is waiting, and whips Morton to the guardrail. Back in, Anderson hits the hammerlock slam and works over Morton’s shoulder. A cross armbreaker is applied, with extra leverage from Flair on the apron. Morton won’t tap, so Flair comes in and wrings at the shoulder trying to get a submission. Morton punches loose and goes for the tag, but Flair holds the leg and keeps him back. Anderson heads in with a spinebuster that’s only saved by Gibson at the last second. Flair comes back in with a standing vertical suplex with such force he hurts himself, but that only gets 2. Anderson rushes in with a headlock, but Morton fights out and applies a sleeper to Anderson. He turns for the tag, but Anderson hits a backdrop suplex and tags Ric again who stops it. Flair goes for the Figure Four, but Morton packages him for 2. Sunset flip – Flair fights … but Morton takes him over, and gets 2. Anderson’s back in, and works a front facelock. Morton powers forward, so Anderson turns and decks Gibson on the apron. Morton is fought back to the corner; and now Bobby Heenan leaves the announce desk and heads down to ringside. He says something to Woman and Liz, and walks away. Meanwhile, Morton crawls through Anderson’s legs and FINALLY gets the hot tag. Everyone takes slams, dropkicks, and Anderson even is the victim of an enzuigiri. Double dropkick to Flair! Double dropkick to Anderson! Gibson goes for a roll up, but Woman rakes the eyes. An Anderson DDT gets the win for the Horsemen at 16:03! This was a classic old school tag-team match that worked beautifully in the middle of the show. ***

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND catches up with the crew down by the VIP section. Gene asks the boys what the hell was up with the football jerseys. Arn complains that he could barely get the thing on because he’s too thick to be a football player. Flair says his was a gift from Debra McMichael. Gene asks Heenan what the heck was up with his appearance at ringside. Heenan says he hasn’t managed in years, people have offered him money and cars, but he refused because he’s never managing again. Flair starts screaming “what about the girls?!?” However, he has a Haliburton, and in it is All Madden trophy from 1988. He says he’s sticking to his word, he’s never managing again … he’s coaching, ringside, at the Great American Bash. This is a partnership made in heaven.

4 minute Hulk Hogan video. Good lord, can’t you just vacation and leave us alone?

THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart) vs. ICE TRAIN (for the WCW World Heavyweight title)

Train spends a few good seconds face to face with Giant, getting himself pumped. Hart senses the desperation, and simply pulls on Train’s ankles for a quick distraction, and that’s all Giant needs to spin him around and CHOKESLAM for the win at 0:27. SCOTT NORTON gets all up in Giant’s grill, then he too makes the same mistake by turning his back to check on Train, and promptly takes two Chokeslams. “NOBODY GETS IN MY WAY!!!”

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND rushes down for a word; and Giant demands to know why they’re constantly running video on Hulk Hogan who isn’t the World Champion. Before Gene can answer, he calls out his “good friend” Lex Luger, and promises intensive care in his future.

Back from the break, Scott Norton still hasn’t stood up, and the trainers are having a hell of a time getting him up. He was supposed to have a match at this point, and his opponent still wants in.


The trainers clear out immediately, and Morrus drops a big leg. Morrus makes fantastic chokeslam impressions – and while the referee never rang the bell to start, he starts counting a pinfall while Morrus covers with one finger, but he pulls up at 2. 3 more elbows are dropped, but the referee refuses to count now. Norton appears to be having a seizure in the middle of the ring, so Morrus shows concern by heading up for No Laughing Matter. However, Norton fights to his feet, catches the man mid-move, slams him, and gets the pin at 1:45. DUD

A video package updates us on Mongo and Kevin Greene. It shows them taking bumps, and strategizing. Greene has various football ideas, but Mongo reminds him that these guys are wily vets who’ve been doing their thing for years. Greene munches on a Slim Jim, while Mongo shares his wrestling expertise. Finally, they make a decision … they need a coach in the form of Randy Savage. I’ll give WCW mad credit; they’re working their asses off to make these celebrities seem like credible threats against their main players, and in the context of what was happening THEN, it worked.

THE STEINER BROTHERS vs. STING and LEX LUGER (for the WCW World Tag-Team titles)

A tag-team title swap is definitely looming large as a possibility here; but as we start the match, RANDY SAVAGE has called in to the announce team. Savage re-iterates that he can’t wrestle, but he’s still allowed to coach, and has agreed to the role at the Great American Bash. Heenan gets on the phone and says he has nothing against Savage, and begs him to stay away from ringside. “THAT’S THE WEAKEST THING I’VE EVER HEARD, BROTHER!” And we take a commercial break, having missed much of Scott Steiner throwing Sting around, which is always good fun.

Upon return, Rick Steiner is working over Luger with headlocks on the mat before flattening him with a clothesline. They head up, and a super belly to belly sends Luger on a ride. That sets up the top rope bulldog, but Sting saves at 2. Luger gets a desperate tag, and Sting comes in with a Stinger Splash. Deathlock is applied centre of the ring, but Scott breaks it up with a running clothesline. A belly to belly sends takes the wind out of Sting, and Scotty takes him to the top for a super Frankensteiner! Sting is saved by Luger. Steiner goes for another suplex, but Sting slides down the back and NAILS the Death Drop. Luger is brought in for a powerslam, and calls for the Rack. It’s applied, but Rick kicks Lex in the knees. Scott drives Luger to the floor, where Luger gets the advantage to try a suplex, but Rick runs over and stops that. Back in, Rick goes for the pin, but Sting rakes the eyes and brawls. Pier 6 time – and they’re all over the ring. Sting takes Rick to the floor, and bounces him head first on the guard rail. He goes for the lethal piledriver on the concrete, but Rick fights loose … right into the meaty hand of THE GIANT who’s on the scene with JIMMY HART. Steiner gets Chokeslammed on the floor! Scott is running the ropes when Giant pulls them down and Scotty goes crashing onto a camera man! The referee throws this out at 6:39. ***1/2

Luger and Giant are toe to toe now, and Luger’s throwing punches which has Giant reeling. Giant goes for a blind charge, but hits the corner. Now the Steiners and the champs are working together, each taking their shots on The Giant, and the fans are going NUTS! Luger succeeds in clotheslining Giant over the ropes, and Giant loses his mind, throwing chairs and destroying the first hour announce desk!! THIS is how you protect your champ while showing vulnerability. WCW is on fire.

Back to the announce desk, BOBBY HEENAN is begging for mercy from Savage, but now RAZOR RAMON comes through the crowd and the crowd is buzzing. ERIC BISCHOFF begs for him to back off. “Jus’ relax Chico. Yo, Ken Doll. I have such a good time last week that I came back for more. Look mang, look look. Just relax mang. You started it. You want to go to war? You got a war. You started it. We gonna finish it.” “What do you mean?” “You know who. Hey, big daddy warbucks, he get his money yet?” STING walks over now, and Bischoff asks him to ignore it. Sting: “You came out here last week and said some real horrible things about WCW. Some real horrible things about the Hulkster, about the Macho Man, about the Stinger … Somewhere along the way you got lost because you have any idea where you are? You’re in the jungle baby! This is WCW! Hold on, every week you come out here and you say you want 3 of the best.” “That’s right, 3 of the best, mang.” “You want 3 of the best, I don’t see 2 with you. All I see is you and me. So why don’t we just do this one-on-one, right here, right now?” “You want a fight mang? You want a fight? You got one, only nobody tells me what to do. And chico, nobody tells me when to do it.” Sting gets a toothpick to the eye – which causes Bischoff to throw himself between both guys and SECURITY to rush in. “Okay tough guy, I got a Big surprise for you next week.” *Pantomime’s someone really tall*

And again, WCW goes off the air without another word.

It’s getting compelling. And really, really good.

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