Live from Minneapolis, MN
Airdate: September 4, 1995
Hosted by Eric Bischoff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Steve “Mongo” McMichael
Welcome to the Mall of America! Considering that I’ve actually been there I can honestly say that it is NOT a one-day shopping spree type of place. Pack a few meals, rather than a lunch, and shop ‘til you drop!
Regardless WCW wanted to create a NEW and atypical first setting that made it stand out completely differently than the WWF Monday Night RAW tapings. Why not broadcast in a mall?
In related WCW news a backstage brawl between Vader and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff transpired at Center Stage in Atlanta. Orndorff had undertaken agent responsibilities; therefore, he kept his job with WCW; however, Vader was suspended and ultimately FIRED. That threw a wrench into the Fall Brawl (WarGames) main event. I wonder if anyone new shows up on this show.
Great introductory video segment (which actually includes Vader) opens the show.
Match 1: “Flyin’” Brian Pillman versus Jushin “Thunder” Liger
Summary: Holy solid openers, Batman! This was exactly what WCW needed to show an unopposed wrestling audience as this match had high-flying and (almost) perfect execution with intricate maneuvers.
After the match both men embrace in a show of good sportsmanship.
Hulk Hogan cuts a promo at his restaurant Pastamania at the Mall of America.
Match 2: Sting versus “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Summary: With the exception of four press slams this match was the usual chocolatey-goodness these guys made legendary.
After the match Arn enters the ring and gets in Flair’s face. They go toe-to-toe until Flair high-tails it to the back.
Making his WCW debut Scott (Don’t call me "Flapjack") Norton interrupts the broadcast team and gets in McMichael’s face. “Macho Man” Randy Savage gets in his face and challenges him.
Video package on the soon-to-be arriving Sabu.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is in the ring and announces the winner of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a trip to Halloween Havoc.
Eric shills WCW Saturday Night.
Michael Wallstreet returns to WCW and cuts a promo from the locker room. He makes “New Generation” and IRS references. His last TV appearance was at WWF: In Your House 2 on 7/23.
Prior to the bell Eric mentions that Savage will face Norton next week in Miami on Nitro.
Match 3 for the WCW World title: Hulk Hogan (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Big Bubba Rogers
Summary: If you’ve seen one Hogan main event then you’ve seen this one.
After the match the members of the Dungeon of Doom storm the ring. Luger comes to Hogan’s aid to thwart the attack. Hogan and Luger stand face-to-face but don’t exchange blows. Sting and Savage arrive to cool down the situation.
Fall Brawl will take place on September 17. Vader was mentioned in this pre-recorded ad.
Gene interviews Hogan and Luger in the ring. Luger wants to challenge him for the World title. He stated that he’s beaten the same competitors that Hogan has (insinuating Yokozuna). They agree to a match next week on Nitro. Shoving ensues but peace is made.
Conclusion: What an excellent debut for WCW! This show certainly has the moxy to stand toe-to-toe with WWF Monday Night RAW. With matches such as the opener as well as Sting-Flair wrestling fans got PPV-quality entertainment at no cost. I wonder what next week’s show entails.
According to Meltzer Vader was supposed to face (and beat) Hogan in Miami; hence Luger will take Vader’s place. I wonder if the title changes hands.
I would be remiss if I did not note McMichael’s WCW debut here. Let’s just say I hope he either improves or becomes a full-time wrestler because his announcing skills were not great here.
See you for the next episode!
TV Rating: 2.90
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