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WCW Nitro: September 4th, 1995
Posted by Peter "FakeRazor" Ramon on Apr 24, 2003, 20:27
I guess everybody has their breaking point.
From August to late March, I have faithfully recapped Sunday Night Heat for this fine website, but after 8 months of repetitive, redundant (IRONY) matches, I have called it quits. Not from the whole site... just from Heat recapping. I guess there’s only so many Molly vs. Jacqueline matches a guy can take before they start to lose their mind.
Anyway, I still feel that there’s plenty I can add to The Smart Marks, so I’ll be sticking around with tape reviews, a revival of The Last Word, and whatever other crap I can slop together. I might even be putting up a joint column with my old Smarkboard running buddy, who currently runs The Getaway. Again, it's no whacked Out wrestling, and he may not write for a big time site like this one, but hey, we all gotta slum it every once in a while. :)
Now, in all honesty, I was never a huge WCW fan. I watched WCW a decent amount in 1996-1997, during the nWo’s hey day. Later on, I would check in on WCW when RAW was boring the crap out of me (Man, I wish I had an alternative now) for the cruiserweight action and such, but I’ve always been more of a WWF/E fan; primarily because I grew up watching them.
Setting that all aside, the first episode of WCW Monday Night Nitro is still worthy of a review, as it’s a very important historical show. On September 4th, 1995, the first shot in the Monday Night wars was fired by WCW, and the wrestling industry would never be the same again.
WCW Monday Night Nitro: Debut Edition, September 4th, 1995
Coming to you LIVE from the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Nitro is hosted by Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby Heenan.
Mongo kicks off the festivities with his now infamous line, “LOOK AT THIS VENUE, THIS PLACE IS ACROPO, AND THAT DON’T MEAN YOU’RE DICKIN’ AROUND WITH FARM IMPLEMENTS BABY!” I think that’s what he said anyway. I couldn’t understand half of the words he said. He makes me yearn for Lita on commentary.
Speaking of Lita on commentary, it’s pretty ironic that AS SOON as I quit the Heat recapping spot, she gets fired as a Heat commentator. I’m now convinced that Lita was given her spot on Heat merely to annoy the crap out of me.
Bobby Heenan shows up to save this fledgling announce team, and immediately starts kissing McMichael’s ass to make up for some previous negative remarks he made about Mongo. God damn it, I miss Bobby Heenan. Even though his voice has been mangled by throat cancer and he can’t pronounce some words correctly (I’m sure Ernest Miller mispronounces more words than Heenan, and he’s got a clean bill of health), he’d be better than ANY commentator currently employed by WWE.
Bischoff announces that the WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Hulk Hogan will be here tonight.
Representing NJPW, Jushin Liger is here to start things off. He gets a nice response from the crowd. His opponent is the late great Flyin’ Brian Pillman. Pillman gets little reaction, probably due to his lame ass generic gimmick.
Opening Bout: Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman
Pillman starts off with an armbar, but Liger flips out of it into a side headlock. Irish whip by Liger into the corner followed by the Rolling Wheel kick. Chop by Liger, and he gets whipped towards the corner, he leap frogs Pillman, and hits a moonsault for two. Liger goes back to the headlock, and chops away in the corner. Whip to the turnbuckle, Pillman leapfrogs into a hurricanrana. Pillman takes advantage with some more chops and a boot to the face of a running Liger. Hurricanrana off the top by Pillman for two. Snapmare by Pillman, followed up by an abdominal stretch. Pinfall by Pillman for two.
On the commentating side, McMichael tries to bitchify Heenan by calling him “The Stain” and “Bobby Hernia.” Man, I had forgotten how bad Mongo was. I almost have a newfound appreciation for Jerry Lawler after re-watching this. ALMOST.
Whip by Liger, drop toehold by Liger. Surfboard by Liger. Liger eventually lets up and Pillman hits a flying head scissors. Pillman gets backdropped to the outside, rolling wheel kick off the apron by Liger! That was pretty sweet. Liger slides back into the ring. Liger tries to suplex Pillman into the ring, but Pillman blocks it and suplexes Liger to the outside. Pillman climbs to the top rope and hits a cross body to the outside on Liger! Pillman tosses Liger back into the ring and climbs to the top rope again. Liger trips Pillman up and they both climb to the top. Top rope Superplex by Liger for a long two count. Liger leaps to the top rope, hops off but Pillman dropkicks him in mid air. Two count. Pillman goes to work with a chop and a whip, but Liger nails him on the back of the neck and hits the Liger Bomb, but Pillman kicks out! Liger sets Pillman up on the top rope and hits a Hurricanrana for two. Oooh, Liger landed right on his head on that one. Liger sets Pillman up on the top rope again, but Pillman hits a Tornado DDT for two. Pillman tries for a German suplex, but Liger reverses it into a waistlock. Liger tries for a German suplex, but Pillman rolls under into a roll up for the win. Good stuff. A good amount of wrestling mixed in with some pretty cool spots. If the match was given more than the 6 minutes it was given, it easily would have hit *** or higher. At the time, you wouldn’t see spots like these in the WWF, save for matches involving the likes of Hakushi.
“Let me tell ya, if the fans weren’t tuned into this baby, they didn’t see a match worth watching.”
I’ll give you three guesses as to which commentator said that...
A pre-taped Sting promo is aired, hyping up a match with Ric Flair for the US title. Pretty lame promo. Commercials follow.
Michael Jordan’s got his restaurant in Chicago, but he doesn’t have PASTAMANIA.
“I’VE EATEN SO MANY HULK-A-ROOS AND HULK-U’S THAT I FEEL KINDA SORRY FOR BIG BUBBA, BROTHER!”
This segment has two purposes. The first is to hype what will NO DOUBT be a snoozefest of a match between Hulk Hogan and Big Bubba Rogers. The second is to hype the opening of PASTAMANIA, Hulk Hogan’s very own restaurant in the Mall of America, which was in business for all of a few months at best. I’ve gotta give Hogan credit, somehow he managed to work actual dishes from the menu and the name of the restaurant into the promo a few times while still cutting up Big Bubba.
Heenan says the food there is fine, it’s the personality he can’t stand.
One of my biggest regrets is never having eaten at Pastamania. Or the WCW Nitro Grill. Or WWF New Yor... err, The World. Oh well, such is life.
Mongo and Bischoff take their first shot at RAW by saying if you’re not tuned into this match, then you might as well be watching... DON’T SAY IT!
At the time, both companies were putting out a pretty crappy product, but WCW had a major edge in the talent department, at least in my opinion. Their main problem is that they kept most of their talent at the bottom of the card and loaded up the main event scene with pretty much any WWF cast-off they could get their hands on. You know, sort of how WWE is keeping most of their talent at the bottom of the card now, and loading up the main event scene with any old WCW cast-off they can get their hands on. History constantly repeats itself...
WOOOOOOOO! IT’S THE NAI-TCHA BOY!
This match should be awesome, but I have to admit I don’t like it’s placing on the card. What we have here is a classic rivalry between two outstanding franchise wrestlers in Ric Flair and Sting for the UNITED STATES title of all things, smack dab in the middle of the card. Okay, I can live with that, but the MAIN EVENT is Hulk Hogan vs. Big Bubba Rogers for the WCW title. I’m sorry, I know it’s not that big of a deal, but I do tend to get a little emotional when Ric Flair and Sting go on before The Big Bossman to fight over a lesser title.
The Stinger won the US title in a tournament, going over Meng in the final round after Vader was stripped of the title by Nick Bockwinkle. Vader had been fired in August. He headed over to Japan for a few months, before debuting in January of 1996 alongside Jim Cornette in the WWF.
WCW United States Title Match: Sting vs. Ric Flair
BUT WAIT, SURPRISE! Lex Luger is here to watch the match. This was Luger’s re-debut in WCW. Luger stands in the aisle to watch as the match begins.
Flair bounces off the ropes meaning this one is ready to go. Tie-up to start, Sting shoves Flair off and yells “WOOOOOOO!” Side headlock by Flair, but he’s whipped out by Sting. Shoulder tackle by Flair. They fly off the ropes a few times and Sting Press slams Flair twice. Hiptoss by Sting followed by a nice dropkick. Flair rolls to the outside in pain to catch his breath. Sting goes for a knuckle lock, but Flair pokes him in the eye, and goes to work in the corner with a barrage of chops. Sting starts shaking them off and whips Flair. Another press slam by Sting. Flair gets right up and whips Sting. Flair cross bodies Sting off the ropes, and both guys topple over the top rope to the outside. Flair charges at Sting, but Sting military presses Flair and tosses him through the second and third rope back into the ring. Sting whips Flair into the corner and tries for the Stinger splash. He misses, but hits a bulldog. Whip to the corner again, but Sting runs right into an elbow. Flair plays to the crowd a little. The match is broken up by commercials.
After the break, Sting is still down. Flair climbs to the top rope, but, as per usual, gets tossed off the top by Sting. Flair pleads with Sting to back off, but Sting whips him and hits another press slam for two.
Here comes Arn Anderson. At the time, things were shaky between he and Flair. Arn was sick of being in Flair’s shadow and angry that he’s never gotten a shot at Flair’s title. They had a pretty awesome match together at Fall Brawl, just a few weeks after this show aired.
Back in the ring, Sting tries for a splash off the top, but misses. Suplex by Flair. Sting stands right up and hits a clothesline. Flair gets whipped to the corner and flips over to the apron. Sting hits a clothesline on Flair as he runs across the apron. 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM by Sting in the corner, followed by a hiptoss. Sting sets Flair up on the top, but gets shoved off by Flair. Flair gets off the top rope and takes Sting down with a headlock take down. Sting body scissors out of it, but Flair bridges over Sting for a two count. Sting bridges up, always an impressive sight and hits a backslide for two. Nice pinning sequence there. Sting sets Flair up on the top again and hits a top rope superplex. Flair twitches, selling it well, and Sting stares down Anderson. Flair takes advantage and takes Sting down by the leg. FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK by Flair. Sting tries to turn it, but Flair uses the ropes to help. He breaks at 4 each time. Anderson gets in the ring, and the ref rings the bell. Anderson stomps Flair and takes off his jacket. They trade blows, with Anderson gaining the advantage. This could have been a very good match if it were given more time.
Scott Norton comes out and starts screaming at Bischoff and Mongo, angry that he doesn’t have a match at Fall Brawl, or something. Heenan, like a true cowardly heel, high tails it out of there. He gets in Mongo’s face, until Randy Savage comes out and challenges him to a match. EB isn’t having that, and he has the man who cried on the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland thrown out.
They cut to a Sabu vignette. This was a pretty cool vignette showcasing a lot of Sabu’s cooler spots, you know, back when he only blew about 3 spots per match, instead of blowing all of them. Commercials follow.
Mean Gene Okerlund is in the ring and makes some joke about buying land in Minnesota. He’s in the ring to congratulate Mike Hill for winning the WCW Harley Davidson sweepstakes.
Bischoff shills WCW Saturday night. Johnny B. Badd took on Dick Slater, and Sting and Randy Savage took on the Blue Bloods. They shill Fall Brawl again.
They air a debut promo for Michael Wallstreet, better known as IRS or Mike Rotunda.
From Cobb County, Georgia, Big Bubba Rogers is here for his match with Hogan. Big Bubba Rogers = Big Bossman in a suit. They cut to commercial as Rogers walks out.
They return from the break and “American Made” glares over the speakers. Hogan (accompanied by Jimmy Hart) gets a nice response from the crowd.
Main Event: WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Big Bubba Rogers
They pace around the ring for a good minute, until they tie-up. Hogan shoves Rogers off and poses. He tells Rogers to bring it, and Rogers locks Hogan in a side headlock. This brings Hogan down to his knees, as Roger cinches it in. Hogan whips Rogers off and uhh, I think that was a shoulder block. I think. Rogers just kind or ran into Hogan, stumbled for a second and fell into the middle rope. A Hogan chant fills the aren... mall, but Rogers uses HEEL TACTICS by kicking Hogan in the gut when he called for the test of strength. Rogers hits Hogan with lefts and rights and sends him into the corner. Splash in the corner by Rogers followed by an eye rake. Rogers tries to beat Hogan’s head on the top turnbuckle, but Hogan blocks it and slams Rogers face into the top turnbuckle a few times. Hogan punches him a few times, but the ref breaks it up. Another kick to the midsection by Rogers. Backbreaker followed by some more punches from Rogers. Rogers tries for another splash in the corner, but he’s met with Hogan’s big boot. Well, they didn’t really meet. Hogan missed Rogers face by a good 6 to 10 inches, but Rogers sold it anyway. Hogan, not satisfied with that boot, calls for the spot again, and this time nails him on the forehead. Hogan punches Rogers some more, but Rogers hits an uppercut. Hogan leans on the second rope a la the setup for the 619, and Rogers jumps on the back of his neck. Hogan nails Rogers with some shots on the outside, and chokes him with the American Flag. 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM by Hogan followed by a whip to the turnbuckle and a clothesline by Hogan. More punches from Hogan in the corner, followed by a body slam. Hogan drops 2 quick elbows and then steps on Rogers’ face. Rogers hits a few uppercuts again and knees Hogan in the midsection a few times. Body slam by Rogers.
Mongo says that this is the best wrestling action that he’s ever seen on television. I envy Heenan even more for putting up with McMichael’s stupidity.
Rogers tries for the splash in the corner AGAIN but misses. Hogan tries for a clotheslined but gets sidewalk slammed. YES, it’s time for the Hulk up, meaning this one is over. Hogan Hulks up, whip, big boot, legdrop, end of match.
After the match, the Dungeon of Doom runs in to attack Hogan, but the Hulkster takes care of all of them. Wow, way to put them over for their impending Wargames match against Hogan, Luger, Savage and Sting at Fall Brawl. Sure, they sucked ass, but at least TRY and make them look like credible opponents. Luger runs in to help him, and almost nails Hogan. They stare each other down, but Sting and Savage run in to break it up. Those four end up teaming together despite none of them trusting each other or whatever at Fall Brawl to face the Dungeon of Doom in one of the worst Wargames matches ever. They cut to commercial.
Mean Gene is in the ring for an interview. Hogan tells Luger he’s got no business in his backyard. Luger says he’s there for one reason, to take Hogan’s belt. Luger says he’s been where Hogan’s been, done what he’s done and he’s sick and tired of playing with kids, he’s here to play WITH THE BIG BOYS! Hogan tells Luger that he doesn’t have to prove anything to Hogan, he just has to stick his STINKY palm out and shake his hand, and Hogan will give him a shot next week on Nitro for the title.
For a debut show in 1995, it doesn’t get much better than this. None of the matches were anything groundbreaking, but much like a pilot to a new TV show, this show was designed to give you a taste of what to expect in the future from Nitro.
They had a very good opener that showcased WCW’s younger talent and a Japanese crossover. The two wrestlers who’s names are synonymous with WCW, Ric Flair and Sting put on a decent contest. A big name in Lex Luger re-debuted in WCW.
The main event was hella lame, but Hogan, the company’s biggest draw (even if he was stale as hell by 1995), had to be on the card somehow. The show also debuted Scott Norton, Sabu and Michael Wallstreet, as well as PASTAMANIA! The Anderson/Flair angle was continued nicely, and the announcing Luger vs. Hogan for next week gave the fans a reason to tune in next Monday. Again, this isn’t a great show, but for historical purposes, it’s worth checking out.
Peter "FakeRazor" Ramon
As always, you can reach me here.
whacked Out wrestling