Monday Nitro (09/25/95)
James Dixon: Usual rotten trio hosting tonight (I love Heenan, but his WCW work is awful), and this week Mongo has dressed his pet Chihuahua in a saddle. That’s not an innuendo.
Alex Wright vs. Disco Inferno
Why do I always get Alex Wright matches first? This is the Nitro debut of Disco Inferno, and believe it or not this is the start of a rivalry between these two comedy relief guys. In later years they would form a tag team called The Dancing Fools, who suffice to say did not challenge the great duos for a place in the annals of wrestling history. Both guys like to work at pace, which makes for an entertaining match, even if it is impossible to take Disco seriously. I mean, come on, he is John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever. Ripping off movies and, well, anything, is Eric Bischoff’s forte. The guy wouldn’t know an original idea if one smacked him across his big fat smug face. Disco, the babyface, gets plenty of heat with the Southern yokels for having such an effeminate gimmick. “Get out of here, boo!” yells one unenlightened fan. Bischoff stops off to remind us of an upcoming interview with “UCW” champion Hulk Hogan after this match, which is a head-scratcher. Meanwhile in the ring, the early Nitro tradition of the new guy doing the job continues when Wright catches Disco with a backslide for the pin. Energetic match.
Final Rating: **½
“The biggest man in the history of this great sport is standing by,” says Bischoff to segue into the Hogan backstage interview. He is a dimwit. Hogan is wearing a neck brace for his promo, and he has some strong words for that “big, stinky, nasty” Giant. He is building a monster truck, it seems, and he challenges Giant to a monster truck duel! Of course he does. Oh, he wants a title match with Giant too, in order to prove that Hulkamania can survive any test, or something.
Promo Time: Randy Savage
We get highlights from the Luger-Savage promo confrontation last week. Savage wastes little time getting to the point today and calling out Luger. Lex heads straight out for another verbal battle, and he wants to rumble. He suggests that Randy has no common sense for daring to slap him last week, but Savage is not intimidated. Luger decides to up the ante, challenging Savage to a match… next week on Nitro, and Luger promises he will leave WCW if he doesn’t win. Yeah, that is likely to happen four weeks after his return. As much as the verbiage used was generally fairly weak, the aggression and believability of the delivery sold me on the match.
Kurasawa vs. Sgt. Craig Pittman
In case the idea of this is lost on those unfamiliar with how wrestling tends to operate, it is the battle between an United States army man and an “evil” Japanese. Yes, it is a World War II reference. Heenan confirms as much by calling them “natural enemies”. Fifty years ago, sure! This is just an out and out fight, the kind of match you might refer to as a “donnybrook”. Kurasawa bosses things for a while, even hitting a suplex onto exposed concrete outside the ring. Pittman finally mounts a head of steam with a diving headbutt to the gut, then follows with attempts at breaking Kurasawa’s arm. Turnabout is fair play, as Kurasawa broke Hawk’s arm recently, and was looking to do the same to Pittman during the heat earlier. Pittman locks in his Code Red submission hold, but Kurasawa escapes and locks on an armbar of his own. They switch around and Kurasawa catches a German suplex for two. Only, the referee decides it is three and that’s the match. Japan beat America! This wouldn’t have happened in the WWF on McMahon’s watch. Another surprisingly good match between two guys you wouldn’t expect would work well together.
Final Rating: **½
Promo Time: Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman
Mean Gene has figured out, all by himself, that Anderson and Pillman have “concocted something”. Well, duh. They have made no secret of that. Pillman and Anderson are good foil for one another, because Pillman’s wild-eyed energy and raspy-voice is countered by Double A’s measured and thoughtful approach. Anderson criticises Flair for his desperate attempts at finding a tag partner, questioning how he could dare to consider asking Randy Savage after having beaten up his old man Angelo, and wondering why he thought Sting would ever accept an offer of a union, what with Flair having tried to cripple him a couple of years ago. Good points, all. Short, but concise and worthwhile.
Randy Savage vs. Kevin Sullivan
This is happening because the booker-man jumped Savage on a beach as he was trying to lift some weights. I can only assume that the dumpy, tubby Sullivan was jealous of Savage’s impressive physique. Savage is at war with everyone at the moment. If I was Lex Luger right now I would be delighted that Savage’s focus is so split, especially with my career on the line. That’s how I would frame this, anyway, but Eric Bischoff and Mongo don’t know how to sell wrestling storylines, and Heenan is too busy making dog poop jokes to care. WCW is almost like a bizarre form of post-modernism, where themes and narratives are subtly implied rather than explicitly stated. I despise post-modernism. As per every Savage match in WCW, he gets a licking but keeps on ticking, fighting the numbers when Zodiac gets involved, but getting too excited and taking out the referee. That’s a DQ, but he couldn’t care less. Zodiac takes the elbow post match, bringing out The Giant. Savage gets decked with a chokeslam, and FRANKIE LANCASTER makes the save. Savage must feel about two foot tall having to be saved by a jobber. I say “saved”, but Lancaster gets pasted. Mark Starr, whoever the fuck he is, follows and gets a battering too. Alex Wright doesn’t fare much better. See, Vince, this is how you book Paul Wight. Lex Luger makes the real save, though why he would help Savage with his career on the line next week, I don’t know. He briefly suggests he will hit Savage, then tussles with Giant instead. To much surprise, Luger doesn’t get the better of Giant, who drills him with a chokeslam. Helluva showing from The Giant here. This is how to make a star overnight. The match was the drizzling shits, of course.
Final Rating: ½*
Lex Luger vs. Meng
Despite the attack from The Giant, Lex still has to work a match immediately against the former Haku. That will teach him for sticking his nose into things that don’t concern him. Meng runs to the ring so he can take advantage of Luger’s predicament, whaling away at him with body shots and choking. Meng dominates, as he should, but sadly that means a ten-minute rest hold and not much else. It’s unspeakably dull. After suffering through it for what feels like the duration of everything on the show that preceded it, Meng uses a spike to the throat and picks up the win. For those keeping count, Lex Luger has now jobbed twice since his return to WCW, and is currently winless. Politics, everybody, politics.
Final Ratings: DUD
THE NITRO RECAP:
Most Entertaining: The Giant. This man, or rather the man behind the gimmick, will win countless “least entertaining” awards in future years for his horrible body of work in the WWF, but tonight he was the star of the show.
Least Entertaining: Meng. The match with Luger was atrocious. Meng takes this ahead of Lex due to the latter’s decent promo duel with Savage, and the fact that it was Meng who led the match and decided to fill it will tiresome rest spots.
Quote of the Night: “These two are natural enemies” – Bobby “PC” Heenan on Kurasawa and Craig Pittman.
Match of the Night: Kurasawa vs. Craig Pittman. More a fight than a wrestling match, but it was hard-hitting fun.
Summary: It was shaping up to be a perfectly enjoyable way to waste an hour until the final match went and ruined it. The rest of the broadcast was entertaining though, with the undercard guys putting on a satisfying showing, and the top guys in the talking spots selling their programs well. That is a pattern that WCW will fall into for the next five years.