WCW Monday Nitro - September 11, 1995
by erick von erich
Now that they've finished their run on "TNT", WWE 24/7 (errr, "WWE Classics on Demand") has reverted to their old "Monday Night Wars" installments. So now, in addition to RAW and Nitro from 1998, they're also airing stuff from 1995. Even though both shows are competitors, the overall 'rasslin product just seems much more...innocent in 1995. It's also important to note that Nitro ran unopposed in its debut episode as RAW was pre-empted (Sept. 4, 1995). Thus the Monday Night Wars didn't officially start until the following week.
Now here's that week! Fans, let's kick things off with pro wrestling's hottest hour-- it's "Monday Nitro on TNT"! With your hosts, Eric Bischoff, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Steve "Mongo" McMichael (with Pepe the puppy in tow). It would've been too much if Heenan had insisted on being billed as the "host", but whatever. Mongo declares that Nitro is the "biggest thing in TV since that lil' ol' lady said: Where's the Beef?" Actually, that was the biggest thing in advertising, circa 1985. Still, it's somewhat prophetic, as both Nitro and "Where's the Beef" would fade from the public lexicon within six years. But fans, there is BIG NEWS in WCW this week, as Vader hasn't filed the necessary paperwork for Fall Brawl's War Games and is now AWOL! Basically, Vader was in the process of leaving WCW, which is kinda' weird because his image was on the opening graphics of the brand new show...and now he's already leaving. We also get a brief recap of last week's show, when Lex Luger made his return to WCW and challenged Hulk Hogan for the World Title! But with so much going on in World Championship Wrestling, let's get down to ringside for...
Match 1: "Das Wunderkind" Alex Wright vs. Sabu
WCW debut for Sabu. As part of their plans for Nitro, WCW had raided ECW, picking up Sabu, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero. The others would debut shortly, but by that time, Sabu would have already left. Mongo continues his run of worthless analogies by saying Sabu reminds him of "a lotta' little fullbacks I used to play with". Match starts with both guys angling for limbs, until Sabu springboards off the ropes with a leg-lariat. Followed up by head-scissors takedown and both guys are sent to the floor. Sabu with a baseball slide and then a somersault splash out onto Wright (which Bischoff calls "a moonsault"). Sabu sets up a chair for Air Sabu, outside, but charges and eats the rail. Wright comes back with a series of kicks, drop-kicks, then slams Sabu on the floor. Wright pulls him back in the ring for another drop-kick off the top rope, then knocks Sabu outside with a baseball slide and follows up with a flying bodypress through the ropes. Sabu fights his way back in, but Wright manages to super-plex him off the top turnbuckle. Heenan begins to take issue with Mongo's goofy comments and asks: "how long is he gonna' be here with us?!" Meanwhile, Wright flips off the top turnbuckle and delivers a German suplex for a 2 count. Both guys go up top again, but Sabu manages a flying victory roll, head-scissors move to score the pinfall. Rather sudden, heat-less ending to what had been a steady match. After the bell, Sabu beats away on Wright and set him on a table outside the ring. Sabu leaps from the top with a flying shoulder-tackle to break the table (with Sbau taking the brunt of the blow). Referee Nick Patrick then reverses his decision-- Sabu has been disqualified for his post-match antics and Alex Wright is now the winner. Yuck...that downgraded the ending even more.
Mean Gene Okerlund in-ring interview with Ric Flair
Flair talks about his upcoming opponent at Fall Brawl-- none other than Arn Anderson. For no real reason, Lex Luger walks out and enters the ring. Flair gushes on about Luger, reciting his stats and saying how great it is to have the "Total Package" back in WCW. Luger gets the mic and simply says: "some things never changes. You are too much, Nature Boy"....then leaves. Um, okay. In case you didn't know, Lex Luger is back.
Match 2: WCW United States Championship:
Sting (c) vs. V.K. Wallstreet
Wallstreet gets a fireman's carry takedown, then both guys jostle around. Sting works a headlock, then bounces off the ropes for a hip-toss and two drop-kicks. Brain accidentally call Wallstreet "Michael". Hell, I'd rather call him "Rotundo". Criss-cross rope action (JUMP-JUMP), but Wallstreet dodges and uses the "leverage move" to send Sting flying out to ringside. Sting slingshots back in, using the ropes to land a shoulder-block. Wallstreet drops some elbows, then tries an airplane spin. Stinger rolls out of it and turns into a pinning combo for a 2 count. Sting then finishes his man off with a series of punches, running clothesline, Stinger Splash and a flying body-press from the top turnbuckle to get the pin. Basically a "tune-up" match for Stinger.
Match 3: "Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Scott Norton
Norton attacks right away, thumping on Macho's back and blasting him with a short-arm clothesline. Norton then jaws with... Mongo?! Macho comes back with a hip-toss and clotheslines Norton over the top. Macho flies with a double axe-handle, then tosses him back inside. Macho tries flying again, but this time he leaps right into a bearhug. Macho sells a rib/internal/back injury like crazy. Norton keeps working the back and power-bombs Macho for a 2 count. 2 consective backbreakers, a press-slam and a slam nets another 2 count for Norton. Norton then hits a suplex/DDT type of manuever. He foolishly tries something off the top, but Macho dodges and face-plants him. Macho fights back, until the Dungeon of Doom's Kamala and Shark hit the ring (with Bischoff calling Shark "Avalanche"). Shark is decked and falls on top of Norton's legs, pinning him down. Macho lands his flying elbow on Norton and scores the pinfall victory. Egads, that was stupid. The commentators spent the whole match putting over how strong Norton was.. but he gets trapped when a tubby guy falls on his shins?! For more fun, Macho bails, but more DoD guys hit the ring; including the Zodiak, "Taskmaster" Kevin Sullivan and Meng. We can't get a close-up, but it appears that Meng is wearing facepaint. Weird.
Match 4: WCW World Heavyweight Championship:
Hulk Hogan (C) (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Lex Luger
In case you didn't know, Lex Luger is back. Cameras manage to show a fan holding up an old WWF Hulk Hogan Wrestling Buddy. They start off by trying to trade holds, until Hogan works go-behind waistlock into a drop toe-hold and a half-nelson to the mat. He pulls Luger up for a suplex, but Luger completely no-sells it and poses! Luger works a headlock and delivers his own suplex... but Hogan completely no-sells it and poses! Hey, I like the old "trading identical holds and both no-selling" spot. Hogan hits a backdrop, then blasts Luger in the corner with a charging clothesline. He misses another, eats turnbuckle, and stumbles right into Lex Luger's Torture Rack submission hold. The ref lifts Hogan's arm once... twice... but not the third time. Luger drops the hold and thinks he's won the title. He soon realizes what's happened, but can only cover Hogan for a two count. In a shocking turn of events, Hogan makes the Spinach Comeback with a big boot and a legdrop. The Dungeon of Doom runs in and ends the match with a beatdown. Umm... no contest? Double DQ for outside interference? Macho Man and Sting arrive to make the save. Curiously, while Sting and Macho got involved, Luger was left untouched by the DoD. Hmmmmm.
Post-match, all four good guys clear the ring and are rewarded with...the house mic! Sting suggests that Luger become the fourth man for their upcoming War Games team (replacing Vader). Macho is suspicious, but Hogan argees and welcomes Luger to the fold.
Why'd You Tape This??
Thankfully, it was only an hour. At the time, it was cool to see a full hour of non-jobber matches. There's also an enthusiastic energy level amongst the crowd and, yes, even the commentators. That kept your attention, along with the first-ever meeting between Luger and Hogan. It can be whimsical and fun at times, yet this show has not aged well, as it has little going for it outside of the curiousity and nostalgia elements.