Live from Palmetto, FL

Airdate: August 26, 1996

Attendance: 1,384 (sold out)

Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Eric Bischoff, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Opening montage.

Hey! It’s the Manatee Civic Center! I’ve been there although the only wrestler I remember seeing was Barry Horowitz.

Match 1: Juventud Guerrera versus Billy Kidman


Rating: **

Summary: Encore! Encore! Five more minutes! I want more! That was exciting!

After the match, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Guerrera who speaks Spanish to a chorus of boos. At this point in time,his English proficiency wasn’t very strong, and Okerlund cut him off to rescue the segment.

Another Glacier promo. Get this ham’n’egger in the ring already! My frozen pizza isn’t as COLD as the reception for this guy’s debut.

After a commercial break, we revisit the “surprise” delivered by Sting last week.

Match 2: The Taskmaster & Big Bubba Rogers (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Marcus Bagwell & Jim Powers (w/ Teddy Long)


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Strange finish that helped to maintain the shred of doubt over Patrick’s character. Also, the crowd loved the match from the hot tag going forward.

After the match, Long confronts Patrick about his decision.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Taskmaster and Rogers. Remarkably, Rogers complains about the elongated arrival of Glacier just like I do. Woohoo! Afterward, Taskmaster questions Okerlund’s presence on Hogan’s boat. When Okerlund points the finger at Bischoff, Taskmaster tells him otherwise.

After a commercial break, Okerlund interviews Sting and Luger in the locker room. While Arn and Flair will join Sting and Luger at WarGames, Benoit and McMichael want a piece of them tonight. Sting questions the Four Horsemen about their change of heart.

Prior to the next match, Tony informs us that on October 27, WCW will hold Halloween Havoc from Las Vegas, NV. In the main event, Hollywood Hogan will defend the World title against Savage. Why did they announce it so soon? Because tickets went on sale later that week.

Match 3: Chavo Guerrero, Jr. versus Mike Enos


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Despite the chicanery of Rough’n’Ready, Chavo still came out on top.

After the match, Okerlund interviews Chavo by the entrance. Chavo then calls out DDP in anticipation of their match at Fall Brawl.

Ad for the WCW Monday Nitro t-shirt. I WANT ONE! Someone in the WWE Shop had better make an XL and send it to me, dammit!

On WCW Saturday Night, Luger defends the World TV title against Lord Steven Regal (aired 8/31, taped 8/20). Also, the Steiners face the Nasty Boys.

Match 4 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: Rey Mysterio, Jr. (champion) versus Mr. JL


Rating: **1/2

Summary: It seemed like JL was trying to wrestle like Malenko when he should have aired it out alongside Mysterio. That definitely would have garnered a higher rating.

Back in the locker room, Okerlund interviews Benoit and McMichael with Woman, Elizabeth, and Debra. McMichael wants to prove that he and Benoit should be in WarGames instead of Sting and Luger. Benoit then cuts a great promo as Woman caresses Okerlund.

After a commercial break, we revisit the chair shots from Hogan to Savage followed by Savage’s comments and “match” from last week.

Back in the locker room, Okerlund interviews Savage who promises to have the “scariest match of the century” against Hogan at Halloween Havoc. At Fall Brawl, Savage will face Giant.

Match 5: Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan


Rating: *

Summary: The highlight of the match was DiBiase’s involvement.

After the match, DiBiase sits in the front row and counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and mouthed “next week.” It would appear that the nWo may be growing in numbers. Either that, or he’s really thirsty.

Okerlund then interviews Giant by the entrance. After Giant stammers through his promo, Okerlund wipes off the camera lens with his pocket square and refers to the wrestlers as “messy.” HA!

Ad for Fall Brawl coming September 15 only on PPV.

Match 6: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson (w/ Woman & Elizabeth) versus the Rock’n’Roll Express


Rating: **

Summary: Too short to be really good, but it was exciting for what it contained.

At ringside, Okerlund interviews Flair and Arn while Woman hits on Okerlund. After Arn cuts a great promo, we revisit the Clash again, and Flair’s ready for WarGames in Horsemen country.

Wait a minute! Where’s Bubba Rogers? Another Glacier promo that needs to be removed is calling his name. C’mon, Rogers, don’t let me down!

Match 7: “Lionheart” Chris Jericho versus "Das Wunderkind" Alex Wright


Rating: **

Summary: More time is needed for these guys to showcase their talent. Make it happen, WCW!

After the match, Okerlund interviews both Jericho and Wright and calls Jericho a “breath of fresh air.” Jericho shows his support for WCW and dismisses the nWo. The disoriented Wright didn’t get a chance to talk.

Match 8: The Steiners versus the Bluebloods


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for the Steiners.

After the match, the Bluebloods fight each other. In the end, Eaton gave Taylor a swinging neckbreaker. He then mounts the top turnbuckle, but they end up brawling back to the locker room.

Thereafter, Okerlund informs the Steiners that they will face Harlem Heat for the tag titles at Fall Brawl. Rick screws up his promo, but Scott corrects him and rights the ship for their team.

Match 9: The “Total Package” Lex Luger & Sting versus the “Crippler” Chris Benoit & Mongo McMichael (w/ Woman, Elizabeth, and Debra)


Rating: *1/2

Summary: This was more angle than match as the nWo beatdown caused the match to be thrown out.

After the “match,” Hogan spray paints “nWo” on Mongo’s back. In the ring, Hall gives Benoit the Outsider Edge as Nash jackknife-powerbombs Sting. Hogan then spray paints Sting’s back. Suddenly, Flair and Arn hit the ring and nail Hogan and Hall consecutively. Hogan sprays the paint in Flair’s eyes to regain the upper hand then colors Flair’s blond hair black with spray paint. As the nWo celebrate in the ring, the crowd pelts them with garbage. Afterward, they overtake the broadcast table. Hogan yells “Heeeere’s the nWo” similar to Ed McMahon for the Tonight Show.

Conclusion: Well, I was concerned that, without any competition, that Nitro would cruise its way through two hours. However, with the involvement of the nWo and the inclusion of DiBiase, the program outperformed outstandingly. Once again, Nitro will be unopposed next week, and I’m anxious to find out what happens.

TV Rating: 4.30

Stay tuned for WCW Monday Nitro 9/2/96!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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