WCW Monday Nitro
Live from Phoenix, AZ
Airdate: December 4, 1995
Attendance: 9,000 (3,000 paid)
Hosted by Eric Bischoff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Steve “Mongo” McMichael
A quick aside before getting started: While Nitro has usually run between 44-47 minutes long in previous weeks this episode clocks in at 55 minutes! Methinks this was the beginning of another production trick of starting early (approximately 8:55pm ET) and finishing late.
Eric hypes the triangle match scheduled for Starrcade that might be affected by the outcome of tonight’s main event. Also, Hogan, the Giant, and Ric Flair are all on probation. But is it double SECRET probation?
Match 1 for the WCW World tag team titles: Harlem Heat (champions w/ Sister Sherri) versus the American Males
Summary: Tag formula worked here, but aside from the finishing maneuver this match wasn’t spectacular.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund stands by the entrance and interviews Sting and Lex Luger. Sting’s hair is almost 100% brown. According to Sting friends are friends, but business is business.
Match 2: Sting versus Kurasawa (w/o Colonel Parker)
Summary: Good showcase of Sting and a poor one of Kurasawa without his manager by his side.
Starrcade ’95 will be on December 27 only on PPV! It’s New Japan versus WCW on a Wednesday night!
On WCW Saturday Night Disco Inferno will face Johnny B. Badd (aired 12/9, taped 11/29). “Flyin’” Brian Pillman and “The Crippler” Chris Benoit are in tag team action. Hugh Morrus will be in action, and the main event will pit Eddie Guerrero against Big Bubba Rogers.
Match 3: The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart and the Taskmaster) versus Scott “Flash” Norton
Summary: While I advocate showcasing the Giant his selling skills were terrible, and Norton wasn’t the right guy for him to beat since he had been rather hot recently.
In the ring Gene interviews “Nature Boy” Ric Flair who brings Phoenix Suns forward Charles Barkley with him. Barkley tries to keep the crowd from booing Flair, but the crowd does not appreciate his support of the “Nature Boy.” A promo by Flair on Hogan, Sting, Luger, and Savage includes adding Barkley to the Horsemen. Are the kamikazes flowing early perhaps? The “Round Mound of Rebound” looks slender here and isn’t terrible on the microphone.
Prior to the main event Eric mentions that the teams of New Japan and WCW will be announced on WCW Saturday Night.
Match 4 for the WCW World title: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (champion) versus “The Total Package” Lex Luger
Summary: Much better match than their previous encounters. Luger’s selling made this match really good although the finish was all angle.
After the match Hogan prepares to hit Luger, but Sting runs in and gets nailed. Sting shoves him and reads him the riot act. Savage plays peacemaker before heading to commercial.
In the ring Gene interviews Hogan, Savage, and Sting. Hogan’s not worried about being on probation and questions Sting’s allegiance to Luger. Since Luger is Sting’s best friend he’s conflicted but is on Hogan’s side. Sting and Hogan shake hands in agreement to battle the Horsemen next week. Finally Sting agrees to keep Luger away.
Conclusion: Very exciting episode with a good main event. With the extra time Nitro had the necessary time to show a good match as well as tell a good story at the end. I wonder how it fared against RAW.
TV Rating: 2.60
WWF Monday Night RAW
Taped from Richmond, VA
Airdate: December 4, 1995 (taped 11/20 before some very thrilled fans, I’m sure)
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Pre-recorded comments by Sid (who whispers) and Jannetty adds to the preview of tonight’s program.
Match 1: “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (w/ Jim Cornette) versus “Sparkplug” Bob Holly
Summary: This was a lot more competitive than I thought it would be. If the purpose was to showcase Smith’s selling he’s got the Giant beat hands down.
ATTENTION ALL INSOMNIACS: According to Vince Bret has a non-title match against Bob Backlund next week. You have been forewarned. No offense to Bret, of course.
We revisit Backlund’s attack of Bret from last week. During the previous weekend on Superstars Backlund applied the cross-face chicken wing to Jim Ross.
Lawler interviews Backlund at ringside. Backlund flips out that the match is non-title and rants until they have to cut him off. Even the guy with the cue card is shown. Wow! Way to not take a hint.
During the break Backlund sought after the sound engineer for turning off his microphone.
Match 2: Fatu versus the Brooklyn Brawler
Summary: Why is Fatu being showcased on RAW? He doesn’t have a match at the next PPV.
Dok Hendrix informs us…hold on…
Backlund attacks the sound engineer with a cross-face chicken wing. Seriously?
…that Owen will face Diesel at In Your House V.
RAW is brought to you by Twix, Tyco Haunted Highway, and Burger King.
Match 3 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon (champion) versus Dean Douglas
Summary: As far as Douglas’ back is concerned he had suffered two fractured vertebrae which could terminate his WWF tenure according to Meltzer.
Brother Love interviews King Mabel , wearing the Undertaker’s urn chain, who will face the Undertaker in a casket match at In Your House V. He questions the whereabouts of Sir Mo and provides a surprise for Mabel. A casket is being pushed by a hooded druid toward the ring, and Sir Mo is revealed under the hood. Also, the casket has been vandalized with spray paint.
WWF World Tour de Force:
On 1/1/96 instead of watching the Fiesta, Rose, or Orange Bowls, watch the RAW Bowl!
Barry Didinsky shills the life-size standees of both Diesel and the Undertaker for $25 each.
Match 4: Marty Jannetty versus Sycho Sid (w/ the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase)
Summary: This match was set up specifically to highlight their tag team match at the upcoming PPV.
After the match Ramon nails Sid sending him over the top rope to the floor. The Kid escapes the ring and flees through the crowd with Ramon in tow. Back in the ring Sid plants Jannetty with a powerbomb. Afterwards DiBiase stuffs a $100 bill in Jannetty’s mouth.
In a taped interview Todd Pettengill interviews Dr. Jeffrey Unger about Shawn Michaels’ condition. We revisit Shawn’s collapse followed by the diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome. According to Dr. Unger, Shawn’s return is uncertain. We revisit the ending of the Royal Rumble followed by the vicious powerbomb by Sid the night after WrestleMania. Next we see brief highlights of his ladder match at Summerslam against Ramon along with his somewhat gruesome appearance at IYH IV. Well, just about everything on that show was gruesome. Anyways, according to Dr. Unger, Shawn “has brain damage.” As his final analysis Unger believes that Shawn should retire due to health concerns. In a soliloquy Vince attaches larger-than-life personas to the WWF Superstars then informs us that they are just as human as we are.
Conclusion: Touching ending aside this show wasn’t good at all. Whose idea was it to put a taped interview in the main event slot of the program? Oh, yeah, Vince. So how’d they do?
TV Rating: 2.40 (Oops.)
Who won? I can see Eric Bischoff in a board room at CNN Center pointing to his head and reciting from the Looney Tunes cartoon: “Wiley E. Coyote…super genius.” Why? Because he outsmarted his competition with the five minute head start and overlap Nitro grabbed additional ratings that were not available to the taped RAW. A tip of the hat to Mr. Bischoff is well-deserved.
Next week Nitro emanates from Charlotte, NC which is Horsemen country. I wonder what the crowd reaction will be with the HUGE main event. Meanwhile RAW was taped in Salisbury, MD on 11/21 along with Superstars, so the Bret-Backlund match will headline that show.
Other happenings during this week in wrestling history: Dwarf wrestler Little Beaver passed away at the age of 61. King Kong Bundy was nowhere nearby in case you were wondering.
See you next time for the Monday Night War week 14!
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