It’s the night after WWIII, what could WCW do to maintain their status as the number one wrestling promotion in the world?
We open the show with highlights of the contract signing.
Match 1 for the WCW US title (first round): The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson
Can the “Enforcer” succeed his fellow Horseman by becoming the new US champion?
Arn’s ribs were taped. That cannot be good.
After Luger sent Arn between the ropes to the floor, he joined and rammed him shoulder-first into the ring post.
According to Tony, Starrcade will be live on PPV on December 29.
He then shills the eastern shore of Maryland. After last week, I’m surprised he’s not crabby.
After a snap mare, Arn gave Luger a knee drop.
He then mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a back elbow.
Next, he laid Luger across the apron and delivered a pair of elbow smashes.
He then used a catapult to guillotine Luger with the bottom rope for a pair of 2-counts.
Upon tossing Luger outside the ring, Arn tried to nail him against the ring post but got rammed back-first into it instead.
Luger then rammed him back-first into the apron.
Back in the ring, Luger gave Arn a cross-corner whip followed by a vertical suplex waking up the Salisbury faithful in the process.
As Luger gave Arn a backbreaker, the Giant interrupted the match from the crowd.
While Giant spewed about possessing the US belt, Luger gave Arn a powerslam.
Arn then countered a cross-corner whip with a DDT that only got 2 thanks to Luger’s foot on the bottom rope.
After another knee drop, Arn mounted the top turnbuckle, but Luger caught and straddled him across the top turnbuckle.
Upon punting Arn a couple of times, Luger tried to apply the Torture Rack, but Arn grabbed the ropes to block it.
Luger then clotheslined Arn over the top rope to the floor.
He then leaped from the apron but ate a shot to the midsection.
Arn then attempted a piledriver but received a back drop on the concrete instead.
In a not-so-wise-move, Luger applied the Torture Rack on the floor.
Ultimately, referee Mark Curtis called for the bell ruling the match a double countout.
Summary: Luger’s disdain for Arn fueled his desire to injure him rather than advance in the tournament. Not smart but certainly understandable.
We then revisit stills from last night of Mysterio-Dragon, Jericho-Patrick, and Jarrett-Giant with Sting’s involvement.
Afterward, Bischoff leads the entire nWo minus Hogan to the ring. According to Tony, “(Bischoff) is the executive producer of (WCW), and he’s siding with the (nWo).” For those who didn’t pay attention to Meltzer or the credits after a WCW show, that’s considered a shoot. Nevertheless, Bischoff credits Nash’s powerbomb at the Great American Bash where he swore allegiance to the nWo. He then gives WCW wrestlers 30 days to convert their contracts to the nWo. Lastly, he uses the expression “possession is 9/10 of the law” with respect to the Giant and the US title.
Suddenly, the American Males come to the ring. What are they thinking? These pretty boys are going to become the Giant’s dinner. As Bagwell enters the ring, he immediately high-fives each member of the nWo. Riggs questions why Bagwell would do such a thing and receives a blockbuster for his troubles. Sucker! To put the cherry on top for them, the Salisbury faithful chants “nWo” to cheer its acquisition.
So far, this is a really good program. Can the momentum continue?
Match 2: Diamond Dallas Page versus Disco Inferno
It’s now time for DDP’s contractually-obligated match during Nitro.
Before Disco Inferno can finish his pre-match dance routine, DDP attacked him from behind.
He then demolished Disco Inferno in the corner, reversed his own cross-corner whip, and sent him sternum-first into the top turnbuckle.
Next, he crotched Disco Inferno on the aforementioned top turnbuckle.
After a cross-corner whip, DDP ate boot on his follow-through.
Disco Inferno then gave him a swinging neckbreaker.
Upon swiveling, he delivered a second one.
DDP came back, and, out of nowhere, hit the Diamond Cutter.
Summary: Ho hum. Another showcase match for DDP.
After the match, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews DDP in the ring. He acknowledges his previous managing of Scott Hall as well as his tag team partnership with Kevin Nash. Next, he also acknowledges that Bischoff lives across the street from him. However, he was still left in the dark about Bischoff’s allegiance.
Check out wcwwrestling.com for the latest updates on WCW. Zbyszko calls it “spider-friendly.” HA!
Match 3 for the WCW World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion) versus Tony Pena
Tony who? The catcher from the Pittsburgh Pirates? No, but he must be quite the villain.
After a clothesline, Pena delivered a reverse thrust kick.
He then reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered a back elbow.
Upon delivering a DDT, Pena got 2.
Regal came back and delivered a butterfly suplex for a series of 2-counts.
After a takedown, Regal applied the Regal stretch.
Summary: Showcase match for Regal.
Sony Playstation sponsors the replay.
At the entrance, Okerlund interviews Rick Steiner who notes that the Steiners are “110% WCW.” He then questions what Sting’s doing. Be careful, Rick.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
Buy the shirt! Send it to Rock Star Gary. Make it an XL.
THE PRECEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER.
Match 4 for the WCW US title (first round): Eddie Guerrero versus Konnan
Zbyszko had the nerve to refer to Guerrero as a “crash test dummy.” While I disagree, can you see him singing this song back then?
After Guerrero gave him a flying headscissors, Konnan sought refuge outside the ring.
Guerrero then mounted the top turnbuckle and nailed Konnan with a tope. Woohoo!
As Konnan gave Guerrero a face plant, HOUR #2 began (sans Bischoff at the helm).
Afterward, Konnan delivered a somersault clothesline.
Upon giving Guerrero a cross-corner whip, Konnan delivered a dropkick and hooked a fisherman’s suplex for 2.
Next, Konnan hit a powerbomb but only got another 2.
After a fisherman’s buster, Konnan gained yet another 2.
The unloading of Konnan’s arsenal continued with a powerbomb.
Not like that!
Does he advance?
Guerrero put his foot on the bottom rope.
After a slam, Konnan mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a dropkick on the way down.
Guerrero then gave Konnan the ten-punch count-along.
Upon receiving a cross-corner whip, Konnan floated over but received a clothesline.
Next, Guerrero mounted the top turnbuckle, got caught, and received a superplex for 2.
Ever so confident, Konnan picked him up, attempted another powerbomb, but Guerrero used momentum to land on top. That didn’t look crisp.
Summary: Superb little match that showcased Konnan’s talent, but Guerrero’s swiftness earned him the W.
After a commercial break, stills of WWIII from the Harlem Heat-Amazing French Canadians match along with Malenko-Psicosis, and the triangle match for the tag titles.
Match 5: Rick Steiner versus Big Bubba Rogers (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Ever-so-foolishly, Rick made his entrance calling out Sting. Uh oh.
Nevertheless, he reversed a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
Immediately, he retaliated with a powerslam. Those were much crisper back in the ‘80s.
While Rogers attempted to seek refuge outside the ring, Rick rammed both Rogers’ and Hart’s heads together.
He then leaped from the apron and gave Rogers a double axe handle. In the process, Rogers ate a mouthful of steel steps. Sorry, but it can’t taste as good as the steel railing.
Back in the ring, Rick slammed Rogers, hit an elbow drop, and got 2.
Rogers came back with a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
Rick then delivered a German suplex for 2 thanks to Rogers’ foot on the bottom rope.
Afterward, he gave Rogers a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through again.
Meanwhile, Sting made his way down to the ring through the crowd.
When the focus of the match returned to the ring, Rick was sitting atop the top turnbuckle.
He then gave Rogers a flying bulldog and clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
Sting then jumped the railing, entered the ring, and gave Rick the Scorpion death drop.
In the meantime, Hart distracted referee Mark Curtis.
Rogers re-entered the ring, made the cover, and got the pin.
Summary: Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it. More angle than match here.
Next, a battered and bruised Lee Marshall provides the 1-800-COLLECT Road Report “from Dayton, OH.”
While the show has progressed swimmingly thus far, I present to you…the REST of the show.
Match 6: Rey Mysterio, Jr. versus Psicosis
As the match began, Ultimo Dragon, Sonny Onoo, and the collection of cruiserweight belts peered from the entrance.
Upon giving Mysterio a face plant, Psicosis tossed Mysterio over the top rope. Is that a DQ?
Back in the ring, Psicosis slammed Mysterio, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a guillotine leg drop for 2.
He then placed Mysterio backward on the top turnbuckle, attempted an Outsider Edge, but Mysterio countered with a huracanrana.
Summary: Great finish to an extremely short match. The show must be running long.
At the entrance, Okerlund interviews a beaten but not destroyed Benoit with Woman. Benoit acknowledges Taskmaster’s stroke while Woman calls it quits as a Sullivan. Hey Taskmaster! Need an attorney?
Next, we revisit the contract signing from last night. Read my reflection of that show to learn about it. WCW didn’t need to replay this to generate ratings. They only did it because they could.
Match 7: Jeff Jarrett versus “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright
After a pair of flying headscissors, Wright delivered a dropkick.
Jarrett then reversed a cross-corner whip, caught an attempted float-over by Wright, and delivered Snake Eyes to him.
He then gave Wright the running guillotine.
Wright then reversed an Irish whip and hit Jarrett with a spinning heel kick.
After a cross-corner whip, Wright delivered a back elbow.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a corner splash for 2.
Next, he gave Jarrett another cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
Jarrett then hooked a rope-assisted figure-four leg lock for the victory.
Summary: Showcase match for Jarrett.
After a commercial break, stills from the 60-man battle royal were shown. In case you aren’t aware, the Giant won.
Match 8: Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) versus Faces of Fear (w/o Jimmy Hart)
Upon whipping Meng into the corner, Stevie Ray delivered a corner clothesline.
He then reversed an Irish whip and gave Meng a Mafia kick.
Not to be outdone, the Barbarian entered illegally and gave Stevie Ray his own Mafia kick. I wonder which one is a Gambino and the other Lucchese. You make the call!
Nonetheless, Booker T entered illegally and gave Barbarian a Harlem sidekick.
Booker T tagged in as Harlem Heat double-teamed Meng.
Barbarian tagged in as Faces of Fear delivered their backdrop/powerbomb combo.
That only got 2 thanks to a save by Stevie Ray.
After a slam by Barbarian, Faces of Fear delivered a double diving head butt to Booker T for 2.
All four men were in the ring.
Meng then countered a back drop attempt with a double axe handle.
He then gave Booker T a backbreaker for 2.
When Meng attempted a piledriver, Stevie Ray came in to put a stop to it.
As the teams brawled, the nWo hit the ring.
Referee Mark Curtis called for the bell to throw the match out.
Summary: Too short, and these guys worked like they knew that a clean finish wouldn’t happen.
After the match, the nWo made Booker T HIT THE POLE while they rammed Meng face-first into the steel steps. As Bagwell is already sporting an nWo t-shirt, Giant gives Booker T and Meng consecutive chokeslams.
Conclusion: The only worthwhile moment of the show was Bischoff’s announcement. After Sting drops Rick Steiner, the rest of the show belonged with Benoit in the Baltimore bathroom.
Say that five times fast! What’s on RAW?
TV Rating: 3.10
WWF Monday Night RAW
Taped from New Haven, CT
Airdate: November 25, 1996 (taped 11/18)
Attendance: 4,968 (hanging in there)
Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Prior to the first match, we see Shawn Michaels and Jose Lothario LIVE from San Antonio in split-screen.
Match 1: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus WWF tag team champion the “Rocket” Owen Hart (w/ Clarence Mason)
As the match began, Ross compared Lawler to John Madden. Honestly, can Lawler pull off one of these?
Anyway, according to Vince, Bret will face Sid for the WWF title at the next PPV.
After an Irish whip, Bret gave Owen a back elbow followed by an elbow smash.
Upon winning an exchange of slaps, Bret rolled Owen up for 2.
He then gave Owen a hip toss and a clothesline.
Next, Bret reversed a cross-corner whip and gave Owen a back drop.
Meanwhile, WWF tag team champion Davey Boy Smith watched the match backstage on a monitor.
Bret then rolled Owen up again and got 2.
Owen came back with a HARD cross-corner whip injuring Bret’s back.
He followed with a backbreaker and a second HARD whip into the corner.
Afterward, he delivered a SWEET belly-to-belly suplex for 2.
Upon giving Bret an enziguri, Owen mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught and slammed down to the mat.
Bret then gave Owen a shot to the midsection and followed with a side Russian leg sweep for 2.
After a backbreaker, Bret mounted the second turnbuckle and hit an elbow smash.
While Bret jawed with referee Mike Chioda, Owen rolled Bret up for 2. Bret’s kick-out sent Owen between the ropes to the floor.
Owen then re-entered the ring via a sunset flip, but Bret countered with the Sharpshooter.
Suddenly, Stone Cold Steve Austin ran into the ring and WALLOPED Bret in the back with a steel chair.
Chioda called for the bell disqualifying Owen.
Summary: As great as this match-up is, it isn’t 1994 anymore, and Austin wants to make Bret pay for beating him at Survivor Series.
After the match, Austin attempts to Pillmanize Bret, but Smith runs in to stop him. While Smith argues with Owen, Austin HAMMERS him in the back with the steel chair.
In split-screen, we see a pre-recorded interview of Bearer and Mankind during their entrance.
Match 2: The Executioner (w/ Paul Bearer & Mankind) versus Freddie Joe Floyd
According to Vince, the Executioner will face Undertaker in an “Armageddon rules” match at the next PPV.
Pass the popcorn, please!
After delivering a dropkick, the Executioner clotheslined Floyd over the top rope to the floor.
He then gave Floyd a cross-corner whip followed by a face plant.
While the Executioner bored the New Haven faithful into submission, Dok Hendrix provided the lowdown on the happenings between Austin and Bret backstage.
Meanwhile, the Executioner delivered a belly-to-back suplex, gave Floyd a cross-corner whip, and slammed him.
He then missed an elbow drop.
After Floyd delivered a standing thrust kick, he got 2.
The Executioner came back with a cross-corner whip followed by a corner clothesline.
Make that 2.
He then gave Floyd a clothesline followed by the Asiatic spike.
Summary: Showcase match for the Executioner.
After a commercial break, Michaels and Lothario are LIVE from San Antonio, TX. We then get footage of the Royal Rumble press conference from last Wednesday. According to Vince, Michaels will face the WWF champion in the Royal Rumble main event. Wait a minute! The show will emanate from the Alamodome? Considering the financial state of the WWF, there’s no possible way they’ll sell that place out. According to Michaels, he’s bringing back the ire that got him to the top so that he can be WWF champion again.
In the semi-final of the Karate Fighters holiday tournament, Sunny beats Sable, but she gets disqualified for using chewing gum. What did she do afterward? Clocked the referee! Entertainment at its finest, folks.
Match 3: Rocky Maivia versus Salvatore Sincere
Sunny replaced Ross at the broadcast table for this match.
As Maivia made his entrance, Capt. Lou Albano, in split-screen, stated that “(Rocky) can go even higher than the Maivia family.” That’s an understatement if there ever was one. Don Muraco also endorsed him.
While Sincere played mind games with Maivia, Hendrix, in split-screen, provided another update on Bret.
After a pair of leap frogs, Maivia delivered a dropkick.
As Maivia gave Sincere a pair of arm drags, Sunny drooled at ringside.
Maivia then attempted a cross body block, but Sincere ducked sending Maivia between the ropes to the floor.
Sincere then gave Maivia a baseball slide sending Maivia back-first into the steel railing.
He then tried to bring Maivia in the hard way, but Maivia turned the tables sending Sincere over the top rope to the floor.
When Maivia tried to bring Sincere back to the apron, Sincere guillotined him using the top rope.
Sunny then told Lawler to “get in the gym” while being compared to Maivia. OUCH! Lawler got torched.
Regardless, Sincere gave Maivia a sidewalk slam.
However, after a cross-corner whip, Sincere came up empty on his follow-through.
Maivia came back with a slam followed by a shoulder breaker.
Summary: Showcase match for Maivia. The New Haven faithful couldn’t care less.
Backstage, Mero, standing with Sable, wants a piece of Helmsley.
After a commercial break, Hendrix informs us that the tag champs have calmed down and will be ready for their title defense at the PPV. Woohoo! Cooler heads prevail!
Match 4: “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable) versus Billy Gunn
WWF Intercontinental champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley joined the broadcast table for this match.
After a flying headscissors, Mero gave Gunn a back drop.
He then clotheslined Gunn over the top rope to the floor.
Mero then leaped from the apron and delivered a double axe handle.
Upon tossing Gunn back into the ring, Mero re-entered via a guillotine leg drop for 2.
While Helmsley ran down Mero, the “Wildman” gave Gunn the ten-punch count-along.
Gunn then reversed a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
Mero then mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the Merosault, but only got 2.
Gunn came back with a Rocker Dropper followed by a standing dropkick.
He then hooked a rope-assisted rear chin lock while Helmsley was full of himself on commentary.
After a knee drop, Gunn got 2.
Mero came back with an inside cradle for 2.
Immediately, Gunn delivered a clothesline followed by a hangman’s neckbreaker for 2.
According to Vince, Mero will face Helmsley for the IC title at the PPV. Supposedly, it’s subtitled It’s Time. Time for what? A new marketing director?
Nonetheless, Gunn delivered a swinging neckbreaker, mocked Mero, mounted the top turnbuckle, but got crotched thanks to Mero.
After a commercial break, Mero gave Gunn a superhuracanrana. Wow!
Helmsley then left the broadcast table to pester Sable.
After a cross-corner whip, Mero gave Gunn a Samoan drop.
Mero then got between his valet and Helmsley.
Gunn and Helmsley then double-teamed Mero as referee Mike Chioda called for the bell.
Summary: While Gunn has some good maneuvers, his lack of charisma is glaring. Moreover, this match was just a setup for the IC title match at the PPV.
After the match, Jake “The Snake” Roberts hits the ring to even the odds.
Conclusion: Aside from Michaels’ sour puss, this is NOT counter-nWo programming. The wrestling audience will not change the channel to watch this stuff instead of Hogan, Piper, and the rest of the WCW clan. Pass on this show BIG TIME.
TV Rating: 2.10
Who won? RAW again lost by a full point. Nitro outshined RAW by a mile even with the filler at the end.