Dan Hey: Eric Bischoff, Mongo, and Brain host. Oh, and Pepe, of course. “Can you turn that tarantula around for a second? Oh, there’s where the batteries go” (Heenan). Flair ended the last show by offering to take on Pillman and Anderson on his own, or to find himself a partner. Sting is that partner, and we see Naitch daring him to say no on WCW Saturday Night. The Stinger threatens to leave him for dead if he “swerves” him.
WCW Television Championship
Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Johnny B. Badd
DDP cost JBB his US Title shot by puncturing his tyres; Badd responded by punching him in the face. They’re facing off for the TV Title at Halloween Havoc in two weeks regardless of the result tonight, which begs the question: why give away the match for free now? The answer is, that they don’t. DDP hits Badd in the back of the head with the belt before the match begins. His Diamond Doll is appalled. Page initiates his own three count, but it’s actually called as a DQ in Johnny’s favour rather than a no contest. Pointless.
Final Rating: N/R
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit
Now this is what we want to see. I hoped that Bischoff wouldn’t spend the entire match talking about Hulk Hogan, but he immediately does. He also refers to this match as Benoit’s WCW debut. It’s his in-ring Nitro debut, yes, but he wrestled with the company – and on several pay per views – in 1992 and 1993. They go at a considerable pace in the early part of the match, combining chain wrestling with a few lucha spots. Once again, it’s Mongo who puts over the athleticism on display, while Bischoff assures us that, “Hulk Hogan will be here without his moustache, and I dare say without his pride, without dignity, but with a whole lot of anger.”
Benoit takes control and slows the pace down, methodically taking apart Guerrero with a variety of suplexes, dropkicks, and stomps. Bischoff finally puts the match over, calling Benoit’s moves, “crisp, strong, and accurate.” He’s right. Eddie stops Benoit’s momentum with a springboard DDT, but he’s selling an arm injury from when Benoit wrapped it around the ring post earlier (while Hogan was being put over). As they start to exchange chops, Eric points out that the action is live, unlike the WWF, while Heenan reveals that Sting and Flair have separate dressing rooms. At least there has been some attention paid to the match this week, unlike the Guerrero-Malenko match a fortnight ago which was second-fiddle to everything Hogan.
Benoit applies an arm bar, which is the only rest hold of the match, yet it makes sense that he would target Eddie’s injured arm. Guerrero comes back with a springboard ‘rana and suplexes of his own. Bischoff, meanwhile, claims that the “C” in WCW stands for commitment. Not quite, Eric. We all know what the “C” stands for in relation to him though… Benoit gets knees up on the frog splash and hits a vicious powerbomb for just two! Heenan thinks that the “C” might stand for crippled. No, it’s still “Championship”. Eddie fights back with punches, but his arm is too weak, and he loses clean to full nelson bell-to-back bridging suplex. A fantastic TV match and easily my favourite bout on all of the Nitros so far. The commentary team even go as far to put over the cruiserweight division afterwards!
Final Rating: ****
Mean Gene Okerlund shills the hotline again. This week you can find out which top official in the WWF is history (Bill Watts), plus hear all about a rumour that one of their top superstars (Shawn Michaels) got into a fight in a parking lot with a fan (not quite) and came out on the short end of the stick (he did). He can’t talk about it on Nitro, though, so you have to call the premium rate hotline to find out more. Odious twerp.
Promo Time: Kevin Sullivan and The Giant
Bischoff thinks that The Giant is a sick, demented psychopath who shouldn’t be allowed in any arena on the planet. Sullivan told us all along that he is pure evil and that Hulk Hogan created him. The difference between him and Hogan, apparently, is that he is evil personified, while the Hulkster still has some good in him. He doesn’t look the least bit evil; he looks like a short, dumpy buffoon. At best, he looks like Hulk Hogan in the most unflattering, distorted mirror in the entire hall of mirrors. The Giant plugs the sumo truck match that’s happening on a roof – oh, and he’ll take the belt, too. The crowd chant for Hogan. Nothing worthwhile here.
WCW Saturday Night: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. V(incet) K(ennedy) Wallstreet, Disco Inferno vs. Alex Wright, Macho Man in action, and Hogan will be there too.
Meng vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Disco Inferno comes out first to dance in the rampway. Meng ignores him completely. To be fair, I’d rather watch Disco boogie than this match. Eric wonders where The Taskmaster is; nobody else cares. Meng attacks Hacksaw before the bell, which isn’t a DQ in this match (unlike the opening bout). There’s no wrestling as such on display here. They do at least go at it at some pace, although they really should do too considering the match is barely over two minutes long. Haku wins with the spike (read: illegal choke). The brevity of the bout prevents negative stars.
Final Rating: DUD
Promo Time: Hulk Hogan
Hulk is back in black, and so is Jimmy Hart. He refers to his “Hulkamanioids” and tells us that the evil within Hulkamania is real – real, but not subtle. He refers to himself as Don Corleone and promises to take care of family business. The Giant doesn’t realise that Hogan can stop an elephant and bring promoters to their knees. WCW obviously made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse. WrestleMania III comes up, as it frequently does with Hogan – naturally, he’s going to press slam Andre’s “son”. But Jimmy Hart is concerned, so Hogan tells him to stay out of it. He’s taking down the machine first, and then he’s going for the “stinky” Giant, threatening to bury him in the Motor City right next to his father. Andre wasn’t buried, he was cremated, and his ashes were scattered on his ranch in France. Unless he means Wight’s real dad, in which case Big Bubba would probably exhume him anyway. Hogan changes his usual signature line (as he’s a bit evil now, you see): “What you gonna do when the shadow, the darkness, the evil of Hulkamania gouges you?” Hogan was full of crap here, though it was perversely entertaining in parts.
Arn Anderson & Brian Pillman vs. Ric Flair and Sting
Where’s Sting, Mongo wonders. Hang on, Mongo, Flair’s entrance hasn’t finished yet. Mongo is in a flap because Flair is coming out by himself. I’d expect those two to have separate entrances, even as a team. However, Mongo is right! Sting doesn’t show, so Flair starts the match alone. He goes on a chopping spree, and at one point the ref even goes down untouched, such is the power of the chop. The crowd call for Sting. Flair tries to put the figure four on Arn but turns the wrong way. Eventually, he gets it on, but every time he applies the hold he leaves himself vulnerable to attack. Pillman attempts a top-rope splash while Arn is in the move, but Flair adjusts his position and Pillman “eats canvas” (Bischoff). Eventually, Flair falls foul of the numbers game and gets hit with a spinebuster, only for Sting to come out and take his position in the corner. Flair takes the heat before getting a hot tag. Stinger cleans house. “I haven’t seen a house cleaned like this since the Republicans took over from the Democrats” (Mongo). “Ouch” (Bischoff). Pillman gets crotched on a press slam: “Ouch” (Pillman). This is turning into a decent match, but is then abruptly cut short as Pillman and Arn take a powder for the count out. Flair and Sting celebrate, though Flair should really be annoyed with Sting’s tardiness.
Final Rating: **¼
Promo Time: Ric Flair and Sting
Apparently, the agreement between the two was to be partners at Halloween Havoc, which is confusing because the announcers put it over as if it was for tonight. Mean Gene stirs the pot by pointing out Stinger’s reluctance. He says that he was watching in the back to take a closer look at Flair’s heart and resolve as he took (“not too much”) of a beating before deciding whether to team up with him or not. What a horrible person to have as a tag partner. They high five each other and Flair puts over Sting. I’m just waiting for Flair to sock him one, but that doesn’t happen tonight.
The commentary team wrap it up. In a nutshell, Heenan likes the heels; Mongo and Eric like the faces. Heenan: “You can slap each other on the back all you want, but a slap on the back is only twelve inches away from a kick in the butt.” And exchanging a hand for a foot. Next week it’s Sting & Luger vs. Harlem Heat, Benoit & Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero & Alex Wright, and Hogan will of course be there too. So will the YET-AY, though they don’t spoil that surprise yet.
THE NITRO RECAP:
Most Entertaining: Chris Benoit. A truly great in-ring performer.
Least Entertaining: Kevin Sullivan. No explanation necessary.
Match of the Night. Benoit vs. Guerrero.
Quote of the Night: There were a few contenders for this one, but I’ll give it to egomaniac Hulk Hogan this week: “The Giant doesn’t realise that Hulk Hogan can stop an elephant in his tracks, [and] make promoters drop to their knees and start crying because Hulk Hogan is more powerful than their whole stinking promotion.” Humble, isn’t he?
Summary: These one-hour Nitros are really flying by, and are jam packed with action and angles. This week was a bit hit and miss, though. On the one hand, there was a great match between two of the finest wrestlers that WCW had on its undercard, a main event that was decent but for the count-out finish, and a clad-in-black Hogan promo that is worth checking while the persona was still novel. On the other hand, there was a couple of worthless matches, pointless angles that are going nowhere fast, and a couple of unnecessary promos that said nothing of interest and took up the limited air time. This one is worth checking out for its high points, but skip the rest.