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WCW Monday Nitro - December 25, 1995

by Scrooge McSuck

- Eric Bischoff, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, and Steve "Mongo" McMichael are calling all the action. 1 out of 3 isn't bad, I guess. One of the few times that Nitro wasn't broadcasted live, taped along with the previous weeks live episode. Starrcade is a few days away, airing on Pay-Per-View this coming wednesday night.... remember a time when PPV's weren't always broadcasted on sundays?

Scotty Riggs vs. Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart):

Luger had recently joined the Dungeon of Doom, going from tweenter to heel at the Halloween Havoc PPV. Luger pounds away on Riggs with forearms. Irish whip, and Riggs nails Luger with a series of dropkicks, followed by a diving forearm, knocking Luger out of the ring in frustration. How DARE Luger give that much offense to a midcard tag team wrestler... hey look, it's the Hulk Hogan Superfan that's always dressed up like him. Back in the ring, and Luger pounds on Riggs in the corner. Bischoff questions the relationship between Sting and Luger (Sting a babyface, Luger now a heel). Riggs takes Luger over with a hip toss, and works the arm. Starrcade is only a couple of days away, remember! Riggs continues working the arm... Luger avoids another dropkick, but Riggs surprises him with a cross body for a two count. Luger blocks a suplex and slams Riggs across the top rope, then clotheslines him off, like this were No Mercy on the N64, or something. Luger brings Riggs back in the ring with a suplex for a two count. Riggs with the half-hearted comeback, and a small package gets a two count. Riggs to the top rope, and he misses a missile dropkick. Luger with a powerslam, and he calls for the end to a fairly decent reaction. The torture rack is applied, and Riggs gives it up at a trimmed 6:31. After the match, Luger stomps Riggs some more, just because he can. Perfectly acceptable Nitro opener. Luger is set for a Triangle Match for a Title Shot at Starrcade, so it makes sense to give him a semi-warm up match.

- Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by with the man called Sting, and he too will be a participant in the Triangle Match of Terror. Everyone wants to know the deal between Sting and Luger... Sting is fed up with all the questions about their friendship. Sting is willing to bring him back to the good side, and that's all he has to say about it.

Sting vs. Big Bubba Rogers:

This match was done to death on PPV in 1995 (three shows, but all in a row, so it really was a little too much), so now we get it done a bunch of times on Nitro. Big Bubba was just barely above JTTS at this point, a major step down from his status in the company at the start of the year. They do a face-to-face, and Bubba with a bitch slap. Irish whip, and Sting no-sells a shoulder block. Bubba with a semi-blown enziguri, followed by a back breaker. Sting mounts a comeback and takes Bubba down with a bulldog. Sting follows Bubba out of the ring, and gives him a bulldog on the concrete floor. Back in the ring, and Bubba works the arm. Whip to the corner, and Bubba with an avalanche for a two count. Bubba slaps on a chinlock, as Bischoff explains to us that Hulk Hogan has been suspended through the end of 1995... I should note, again, this is December 25th. Hogan's appearances definitely were all over the place until his shocking heel turn at Bash at the Beach '96. Bubba uses his strength advantage and tosses Sting out of the ring. Back inside, Sting goes to the top, but gets a thumb to the eyes. Bubba tries to slam him off, but Sting turns it into a small package, and that gets the three count at 5:14. That looked a little sloppy, and the match was pretty boring for the most part. I don't understand why Sting couldn't have flat out squashed the guy.

- Gene Okerlund, sporting a Santa hat, is standing by with the Total Package and the Mouth of the South. Gene Okerlund wants to know the deal between Luger and Sting. They're friends. Get the fuck over it, you bald headed geek! Suddenly, Sgt. Craig Pittman comes to the entrance aisle. He doesn't have a problem with Luger, and wants Jimmy Hart to manage him... talk about throwing people out there for the sake of doing it. Jimmy Hart tells him no, because he doesn't have the body of a Lex Luger.

Dean Malenko vs. J.L.:

This seems like something put together just for the sake of putting on a decent match. J.L. is the oh so clever name for the masked Jerry Lynn, and Dean Malenko is bad ass. Malenko attacks from behind with a dropkick, then charges into the corner with a clothesline. Malenko with an overhead powerslam for a two count, followed by a body press, dropping J.L. on his face. J.L. counters a suplex and roll up, then cradles Malenko for a two count. They do more criss-crosses and counters until J.L. sends Malenko out of the ring with a head scissors. J.L. follows out, and connects with a senton from the apron to the floor. J.L. brings Malenko back in the ring with a suplex for a two count. Bischoff makes a vague reference to Alundra Blayze showing up on Nitro and dumping the WWF Women's Title in the trash. They do a bridge sequence, and J.L. with a Ligerbomb for a two count. Irish whip, Malenko with a boot the midsection, and he drops J.L. across the top rope, throat first. Malenko heads to the top with J.L., and kills him with a super gutbuster. Malenko drags J.L. off the canvas, applies an unusual step over leglock, and it's over by submission at 3:44. Energetic match to keep the crowd popping. Too bad most of the Cruiserweight division stuff was pointless, and only put on shows for token good matches.

- Gene Okerlund is talking to Ric Flair, and out comes Jimmy Hart. Blah blah blah... didn't every top of the card heel join forces to take on the tandem of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, then get jobbed out in the process?

WCW World Championship Match:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair (w/ Jimmy Hart):

I almost forgot that Randy Savage got a World Title run around this time, winning the inaugural World War 3 Battle Royal for the vacant championship. Of course, it wasn't without controversy, because Hulk Hogan couldn't do clean Battle Royal jobs (see also: WWF @ MSG, 2-23-92). Flair gets a title shot here, despite being in a #1 Contenders Match at Starrcade... unexplained logic in wrestling. Lockup into the corner, and the referee forces a break. Flair thumbs the eyes, and takes Savage over with a snapmare. Savage rolls away from a knee drop, drags Flair to the corner, and wraps the leg around the post on a several occasions. Savage pulls Flair to the center of the ring, and slaps on a Figure-Four! Flair manages to make it to the ropes, forcing the break. Lockup into the corner, and Savage with mounted punches. Flair counters with an inverted atomic drop, but hurts himself. Flair goes for a figure-four of his own, but Savage counters with a cradle for a two count. Flair with a knee to the midsection, then dumps Savage out, through the ropes. Jimmy Hart gets his token cheap shots in. We return from an edit, and Flair whips Savage into the security rail. Savage grabs a padded folding chair, but the referee takes it away for being too lame. Flair hangs Savage up across the top rope, brings him back in with a snapmare, and catches him off the ropes with an elbow. Flair stomps away on the injured arm of Savage, then cranks on a hammerlock. SMART! Mongo's commentary sounds like a drunk idiot complaining about stuff... Irish whip, and Savage with a clothesline for a two count. Flair with a hip toss attempt, but Savage counters with a back slide for another two count. Slugfest, won by Savage, and he covers again for two.

Flair lures Savage into the corner with his begging taunt, then goes low with the referee not looking. I typed that before it happened, by the way, but it's a spot that always works. Flair with a semi-delayed suplex, then covers for a two count. We return from another break, and Flair is laying into Savage with chops in the corner. Savage attempts a comeback, trading blows with the Nature Boy. Whip to the corner and a back drop from Savage for a two count. Whip to the corner again, and Flair flips onto the apron. Savage to the top rope, and his axehandle smash is countered with a well-placed fist to the midsection. Back in the ring, and Savage slaps on a sleeper hold. Flair counters and takes Savage down with an atomic drop to the knee. Flair jerks the hamstring and drops the weight of his body across the left knee of the WCW Champion. Flair puts him down with a chop, then calmly applies the Figure-Four, and yes, he does use the ropes for leverage. Savage manages to grab the rope, but gets pulled away. That still should've forced a break, but whatever. Savage hooks the rope again, and this time gets the hold broken. Flair measures Savage up, and brings him over with another snapmare. Flair to the top rope, and of course, Savage slams him off. Savage with a pair of clotheslines, and Flair responds with a thumb to the eyes. Irish whip, and Flair slaps on a sleeper hold. Savage takes it to the corner to break, and Flair does his face flop. Savage with a cradle, and that gets a two count. Flair goes for a piledriver, but Savage escapes with a back drop for another two count. Savage to the top rope, and he nails an axehandle for a two count. Savage gets tripped by Hart, but then Luger hits the ring to draw the DQ at 14:26. Savage fights Luger off, but then Sting makes it to the rope, and gets cuts off by Flair. Who was he gonig to help!? Sting sends Flair to the corner and hits the splash, then takes him over with a press slam. In the meantime, Savage dumps Luger out of the ring. Sting and Savage punk each other out, as the show comes to a close. Solid match for the most part, but it seemed the entire time like it was building to nothing, and the finish eventually confirmed my beliefs. I'm all for high profile matches, but giving away the potential main event of Starrcade for free, TWO DAYS BEFORE THE PPV? Yes, WCW. Smart move.

Final Thoughts: ...Just to give a comparison, WWF's Monday Night Raw barely opposed Nitro that week, airing a recap show rather than any sense of a taped program with first run matches. Nitro wasn't GREAT, but it had a solid main event, a couple of decent undercard matches, and kept a decent pace without much filler. I'm not a fan of WCW's tactics and gloating about the whole Women's Title situation, but WWF repsonded in 1996 with the Billionare Ted sketches, so both companies were ran by immature pricks. You can find much better between Savage and Flair elsewhere, so no need to really track any of this down. Just a decent waste of 45-minutes.

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