Monday Nitro (11/13/95)
Dan Hey: Mongo, Brain, and Eric Bischoff host. They recap last week’s events, which saw The Giant stripped of his belt by a WCW lawyer, despite Jimmy Hart legally adding a clause to the contract stating that Hogan could lose it on a DQ. The title is in abeyance and will be awarded to the winner of the upcoming sixty-man battle royal at World War 3. Mongo is “tickled pink” by these events, while Bischoff calls Hart a “maggot.”
Promo Time: Hulk Hogan
His promo emanates from an undisclosed location, as he grunts and groans while the camera tracks him. Hogan is dressed in a black cowl and leather mask, and he delivers his lines like Christian Bale doing Batman. The Dungeon of Doom are shaking in fear, he says, because Hulk Hogan is still walking around. It’s very much like an Undertaker video from just about any point in the nineties. They’re afraid of Hulkamania because its founding tenets (prayers, training, and vitamins) are immortal. He then pulls out a fucking sword! He calls upon Macho Man to bring him Meng’s head on a silver platter, as Meng is first on his list of people who he is taking down (better give Macho the sword then). He’s also suspicious of Sting because he left the area with Lex Luger last week. Is Sting on the light side or the dark side of Hulkamania? Does he have to be on any side? He’s moving right up to the top of that hit list if he’s with the Dungeon. This is miles removed from, and even more ridiculous than, Hogan’s pasta promo ten weeks ago.
Heenan predicts that Hogan will be the first man eliminated from the battle royal. Are you sticking with that Heenan? Not a scrub like Cobra, Disco Inferno, or Frankie Lancaster perhaps?
Meng vs. Randy Savage
Meng is accompanied by The Taskmaster. Bischoff thinks that WCW should run a species test on Meng because he doubts that he is human. I’d run one on Sullivan while they’re at it. Macho is introduced as hailing from “the dark side of Venice Beach.” He’s wearing and black and white outfit that looks like proto-type nWo attire. To show off his dark side, he sneaks in the ring behind Meng, who is watching the aisle, and hits him with a knee to the back that sends him crashing into Kevin Sullivan, knocking the lardy buffoon through the ropes. Macho is in control until he turns his back to deal with Sullivan on the apron, allowing Meng to take over. It’s just brawling and strikes. Jimmy Hart makes his way towards ringside as Meng misses with a flying headbutt. Hart tries to intervene on the apron, but it backfires and Macho wins with an elbow drop. “Shark attack! Shark attack!” yells Heenan, as Shark and Lex Luger get involved post-match. Luger takes out Savage’s arm and we go to a break. The ring will be cleared when we return.
Final Rating: ¾*
Kensuke Sasaki vs. Chris Benoit
Benoit has been involved in some great matches on Nitro since returning to WCW, so I have high hopes for this one. They start with a chop exchange and then go into fast-counters until Sasaki takes over following a short clothesline. The commentators are largely ignoring the action, putting over the sixty-man, three-ring battle royal instead. Once again, that’s too many things going on for its own good, but then this is WCW. Heenan thinks that The Giant will win that match, although he mistakes the name of the pay per view for War Games. In the ring, it has been all Sasaki. The chemistry isn’t as good as I’d expected, either, with a couple of Benoit counter attempts appearing to be fluffed through miscommunication. Fortunately, the match springs into life when Benoit takes over on offence, hitting multiple German suplexes and a Dragon suplex for the three count. After the match, Bischoff reminds us that, by the way, Benoit is now a member of the Horsemen. Aside from what seemed like a couple of miscommunications, the match was solid if not too spectacular, and not really long enough to warrant a snowflake fest.
Final Rating: **¼
WCW Television Championship
Johnny B. Badd (c) vs. Eddie Guerrero
DDP has Badd’s confetti gun, so Johnny brings Frisbees to throw in the crowd instead. He’s got good technique on his throw. I played Ultimate Frisbee for a few years; throwing them is harder than it looks! Bischoff interrogates Heenan on his recent dealings with Sony Onoo. It’s implied that because Heenan is heel and Onoo Japanese, the deal must be dodgy. In the ring, the match is as fast-paced as might be expected. Badd hits a crisp tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but then he goes to the well once too often and has a second attempt countered into head-scissors. I think Benoit and Sasaki were going for something similar in the last bout and missed it. The match is played out with each wrestler mirroring the other’s moves and then countering one another to a stand-off. It works because it is well executed and looks smooth. Both men break out springboard manoeuvres for two counts: a leg drop from Badd; a ‘rana from Eddie. Eddie looks like he landed hard on the back of his neck on that last move, though. Badd fends off a superplex attempt and gets impressive height on a top-rope sunset flip, which leads to a set of back-and-forth pin attempts. So far so good. The former New York Golden Gloves champion breaks out a couple of right hooks, knocking Eddie senseless and completely changing the pace of the match, which comes to a standstill while Eddie rests on the apron and the referee keeps Badd in the opposite corner. When Eddie gets back up, the match descends into a brawl. The ref takes a spill, but that’s not a DQ. Instead, it’s announced that two minutes remain of the time limit. I smell a time-limit draw. Badd reverses a tombstone attempt for one of his own, which gets two. Selling then goes out the window as Eddie pops up for a tornado DDT… for two. They hit simultaneous crossbodys and the time limit expires. The match was really good in places, but the abrupt change of pace in the middle disrupted the flow somewhat.
Final Rating: **¾
Hogan’s been on the blower. He wants Sting next week. I hope he had to phone the premium-rate number.
Promo Time: The Dungeon of Doom
Groan. Not these nitwits again. DoD is represented by just Sullivan, Hart, and Giant tonight. It seems like these idiots are out here every week rambling their incoherent nonsense, complete with added gurning and, hammy, exaggerated theatrics. Mean Gene publicly admonishes Jimmy Hart for his “despicable” actions at Halloween Havoc. Jimmy thinks that’s a complement and thanks him. Frankly, Hogan should’ve paid more attention to who had control of his contracts. Rocky Balboa took his eye off his finances in Rocky V and look what happened to him. Hart puts over how clever him and Sullivan are for beating Hulk Hogan. Sullivan tells the world that he’s lay awake at night for ten years trying to figure out a way to beat Hogan. It’s took you ten years to come up with slipping an added clause in a title match contract? At least he’s been safe from Freddy Kruger in that time, I suppose. The usual hyperbole ensues from all involved: World War 3 biggest event ever… yak yak yak… Giant will win… yak yak yak. The Giant repeats what has just been said, while Sullivan has another of his seizures on the floor. Jimmy Hart covers him up with one of his two-hundred Hulkamania ring jackets (he only has the one with him). Mean Gene finally brings the segment to a long overdue end. I hated this.
Dean Malenko vs. Sting
This is more like it. The man with a thousand holds starts off with a waistlock, which Sting takes a while to break. It’s part of the psychology that they’re working towards: Malenko as a competent scientific wrestler; Sting’s mind partially on other things. Surprisingly, Bischoff puts over Malenko’s vast knowledge of holds and counters, while Heenan talks about the wrestling pedigree of Dean’s father, Professor Boris Malenko. See, this is how to get your mid-card guys over. Instantly, Mongo buries him: “Sting’s just too powerful for this guy. Who you kidding, Bobby?” That’s disappointing and ignorant from Mongo, who is usually the one putting over these guys while the other two are bickering about Hogan. Bischoff continues to put Malenko over, even though he qualifies it by pointing out that Sting might be a little distracted from Hogan’s challenge. Distracted or not, Stinger impressively catches a Malenko leap frog into a press slam. Malenko regains control quickly, though, targeting the legs as we go to a break. When we return, we see footage of Sting almost getting Malenko in the Scorpion Death Lock during the commercial. Malenko continues to work over the legs after regaining the impetus, and Mongo starts to eat his own words. “Malenko’s been treating Sting like a red-headed step child,” he declares. Malenko does seem to have a counter for everything Sting does. He evades the Stinger Splash and hits a dropkick off the top. Unfortunately for Dean, he gets caught in a small package for three. Despite the loss, Malenko looked really impressive here. Stinger was really put through his paces, despite Malenko, on my count, only using fifteen-twenty of his one-thousand holds.
Final Rating: ***
Bischoff reminds us again of the circumstances surrounding Hogan’s title loss. You know, the best way to have gotten The Giant over would’ve been to have him beat Hogan clean. Hogan would have fair claim on a rematch anyway. He plugs World War 3 again, the key events of which will probably be shown the night after on free TV anyway.
Promo Time: Sting
Sting looks cream-crackered after going five minutes with Malenko. Mean Gene wants to know what’s going on with the Stinger right now. Sting responds by stumbling over his words in a series of unfinished sentences of mangled syntax. “I don’t want to do it, but I will, because as they say, this is where the big dogs play.” Dogs? I thought it was boys. He’s looking forward to next week, and he’s a big dog. Okerlund interrupts with an absolute gem: “If it looks like a rat, if it smells like a rat, and it quacks like a rat, you can rest assured that it is a rat.” Quacks? Fucking quacks? It could be a duck! Sting responds by saying that he’ll see Hogan next week.
THE NITRO RECAP:
Most Entertaining: Dean Malenko. He looked clinical in the main event tonight.
Least Entertaining: No surprises here: Kevin Sullivan. It might seem as if I’m picking on him – and perhaps to some extent I am – but his horrible promos, his constant presence in multiple segments, his cheek to be anywhere near the main event performers, and his preposterous theatrics during recent promos make me detest the sight of him. He specifically gets the award this week for another of his in-ring seizures that was meant to be an impression of a beaten Hogan.
Quote of the Night: “If it looks like a rat, if it smells like a rat, and it quacks like a rat, you can rest assured that it is a rat.” Mean Gene gets his rats and his ducks in a muddle.
Match of the Night: Dean Malenko vs. Sting
Summary: Three out of four matches rated between above average and good, with each match on the show getting better as it progressed. The promos, on the other hand, are some of the worst that you will ever see. The Dungeon of Doom’s promo in particular was the worst of the bunch, with the same old rubbish being spouted from tubby Kev. Sting’s promo offered nothing extra to fuel my interest in his clash with Hulk Hogan next week, either. Perhaps worth checking out for the last two matches, but don’t go out of your way for the whole show.