WCW Monday Nitro
Florence Civic Center
Florence, South Carolina
Monday September 25th, 1995
Last week on Nitro, we saw new WCW World Tag Team Champions in The American Males! This week on Nitro…we hear absolutely NOTHING about that! Randy Savage and Lex Luger are having tense altercations, with Luger accusing Savage of jealously, and harboring a secret desire to be the WCW World Heavyweight Champion himself. Savage admitted to wanting to be the champion, and guaranteed it would happen. And Ric Flair is in the midst of a feud with his former Enforcer, Arn Anderson, who has found himself an ally, in the increasingly unpredictable Brian Pillman.
This week’s Nitro opens with a Happy Rosh Hashanah from Eric Bischoff! That’s nice. What’s not so nice is, not only is Mongo’s stupid dog Pepe in a saddle, but Mongo takes the time to explain to the audience why. I’m not going to repeat what he said here, because frankly, I don’t care.
Alex Wright vs. Disco Inferno
Alex comes down to the ring to a strong reaction from the WCW female fan base. Once again, I am just shocked that a WCW female fan base exists, but apparently it does! Mongo comments that Alex “may be looking to saddle someone up” himself. So many jokes, so little time.
Disco Inferno makes his way to the ring for his Nitro debut. I defy anyone reading this article to attempt to not hear his music in their head right now. Disco Fever, yeah yeah yeah yeah! Bischoff starts to explain the possibility of monster trucks working their way into the Hogan vs. Giant feud, and says more information will be made available on TBS on WCW Saturday Night.
Disco attacks immediately and drops Alex with a back elbow. He deposits Wright onto the floor through the second rope. Wright attempts to comeback with a springboard dropkick, but slips, and hits Disco rather low in his back. Bischoff covers by calling it a strike “to the kidneys.”
He follows up with a nice spinning leg lariat, and Disco winds up on the floor. Wright hits a beautiful plancha over the top rope. No hands Ma! Back in the ring, Disco whips him towards the ropes, and Alex cartwheels out of the way. Disco must’ve had no idea that was coming, as they quickly have a sloppy exchange, which ends with a attempted belly to belly suplex that turns into a stiff hot shot across the top rope on Wright. Disco lands an elbow smash into the corner. These guys are moving extremely fast, and that may be the problem. They’re definitely giving all they’ve got, but it’s led to several mistakes so far. Disco would be much improved all around when he returned to WCW in the late summer of 1997.
Disco climbs the top rope, but Wright recovers, and dropkicks him off. Alex lands several punches, and a European uppercut. He’s European, you know. Disco counters a backdrop attempt, and hits a back suplex. He sets up his spinning neckbreaker finish (homage to The Honky Tonk Man) but Wright counters it into a backslide for the win. Disco loses his debut, and would quickly become a comedy character on WCW Saturday Night.
Result: Alex Wright defeats the debuting Disco Inferno via pinfall. Unfortunately, not only were these guys moving too fast, but they didn’t appear to be on the same page too often. If I were Bischoff at the time, I’d definitely have Disco on WCW Pro or Worldwide, beating old journeyman jobbers, who could teach him how to slow it down. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s what happened, or something similar, because a year or so from this match, Disco was actually a very polished mid card worker.
Hulk Hogan & Jimmy Hart deliver a pretaped promo. Hogan has a neck brace on, and seems a little off. He claims he hasn’t missed a workout since Giant tried to twist off his head, brother. He challenges Giant to take on a new and improved Hulkamania monster truck, and afterwards, they will have a match. Oh yeah, I am sure this is going somewhere good. Hogan will prove Hulkamania is the most powerful force in the universe, and he promises to lay Giant to rest (murder him?!) right next to the spot he defeated his “father” Andre.
They recap the heat between Savage and Luger, including Luger asking Savage if he wants to be World Champion, which Savage has no problem admitting to.
Lex Luger and Randy Savage have another confrontation in the ring, with Gene Okerlund moderating…sort of. Luger complains about a lack of respect for him from Savage. He says to earn that respect, going to war together wasn’t enough, so perhaps they need to go to war AGAINST each other. He knows Savage is bonkers because he “dared to slap” him in the face last week. They agree to wrestle next week on Nitro, with the winner getting Luger’s championship match (which he already had). Luger claims that if he doesn’t win, he will leave WCW. See, that’s a little too far. There’s no way the fans could possibly believe Lex would lose this match now. He just walked out on the WWF, how could he possibly lose this match?! It may intrigue the marks, but the blossoming internet fan base had to groan at this one.
Kurasawa w/ Col. Parker vs. Craig “Pitbull” Pittman
This should be an interesting clash of styles. I am not sure how much American experience Kurasawa has, nor what other names he wrestled under, either here or in Japan. The only thing I know about him is that he broke Road Warrior Hawk’s arm in storyline. Surprising they were able to get Hawk to agree to look so weak against what is basically a guy with no name value.
We get “USA” chants to begin the match. The commentators note the breaking of Hawk’s arm by Kurasawa. Pittman starts with running headbutts, including a headbutt to the gut. He utilizes a lifting wristlock, which is interesting, and then basically just dumps Kurasawa over his head to the mat. Kurasawa comes back with a kick that sends Pittman to the floor. He hits a baseball slide dropkick and Pittman hits the guardrail hard. Kurasawa comes to the outside, and moves one of the protective mats. He then uses a sort of overhead arm bar takedown, and Pittman hits the concrete! Rough spot.
He continues to stomp away at Pittman back in the ring. He hits several over the shoulder arm breakers. “The Brain” notes that he has no doubt that Hawk is watching from home. Hmmm, I doubt that. If he is watching, I am guessing he is down at “Greg’s Saloon,” enjoying a pint and a sandwich.
Running kick in the corner by Kurasawa, but he misses a follow up move, and goes over the top rope. The two men brawl around ringside. Kurasawa gets bealed back into the ring, and Pittman scores with a belly-to-belly suplex and hooks on the “Code Red” submission. Kurasawa gets to the ropes to break the hold.
My notes indicate what a physical match this is, and indeed it was. Kurasawa turns an armbar of his own into a gut wrench suplex. He lands a German suplex with a bridge, and gets the 1, 2, 3.
Result: Kurasawa wins via pinfall. If they were trying to push Kurasawa as the guy who broke Hawk’s arm, and is so dangerous in that way, he definitely should’ve won by submission. This was like a 50/50 match, so perhaps they had plans for both men at the time. Personally, I would’ve had Kurasawa squash a lesser name, and “break” their arm as well.
Brian Pillman and Arn Anderson are in the ring for a promo with Gene Okerlund when we come back. Pillman mocks Flair, who is apparently looking for allies in this war with his former Enforcer and “Flyin” Brian. He calls it “groveling like gutter slime.” Pillman notes he and Arn’s right to assemble, and holds up the legendary four fingers.
Man it’s such a shame what happened to Brian Pillman. Firstly, of course, because his children had to grow up without their father around. In a distant second, he could’ve been really great as a “next generation” Horsemen. The car accident and his jump to the WWF ended that chance, and his untimely death concluded a whirlwind two years for him. R.I.P. Brian Pillman.
Arn lists all of Flair’s past crimes against the WCW babyfaces, and says no wonder no one trusts him or wants to be his partner. Arn smirks and tells the “Nature Boy,” that what goes around, comes around. It’s now come around for Flair.
We hear from the announce team that Johnny B. Badd will get his United States Championship match against Sting on WCW Saturday Night this week. Badd earned the shot with a victory over Brian Pillman in a fantastic match at Fall Brawl ’95.
Then we cut to a recap of Kevin Sullivan’s attack on Randy Savage on the set of Baywatch. Sullivan battered Savage in front of some of the cast, and choked him with the weight bar he was lifting. Savage vs. “The Taskmaster” is up next.
Kevin Sullivan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
I may be in the minority, but I love Sullivan and the Dungeon of Doom’s music, especially now that I hear it weekly on Sullivan’s MLW Radio podcast. It’s just great stuff, and let’s face it, Sullivan is a genius. He convinced Hulk Hogan, who had a history of feuding with big guys, and loving that formula, that 5”8 “Taskmaster” should be the top heel and his top rival.
Savage’s WCW music however, is pretty awful. It’s like an electric guitar version of his WWF music, “Pomp and Circumstance,” is what it’s called. Interesting side note, that Savage himself demanded that song not be played at his funeral at any point.
Zodiac Beefcake is down at ringside to back up Sullivan. The “Taskmaster” immediately retreats to run away from Savage around ringside, who gives chase. Zodiac attacks, and runs Savage into the steel post. He is then crotched on the guard rail. Macho tries to get back in the ring, but Sullivan quickly kicks him back to the floor.
Randy finally gets back into the ring, but Sullivan is waiting with several punches and a chop. Savage starts a comeback, but is quickly cut off. Sullivan executes a back body drop, and Randy is sent back to the floor. This is yet another Nitro match when Savage takes the vast majority of the offense. Again, this surprises me, because he is selling for the 5”8 Kevin Sullivan.
Kevin is outside with Savage now, and gets back dropped on the floor. Savage goes up top and hits his flying double axe handle inside the ring. Zodiac comes in for the save, and Savage rams both men into each other. He continues his beating on both men, and the referee tries to intervene, but gets thrown by Savage, and that’s gonna be it for this match. Savage is disqualified.
Randy piles Sullivan on top of Zodiac, and goes for the flying elbow drop on top of both, but Sullivan moves, and Zodiac takes the brunt of it. The Giant makes his way down to the ring to kill Savage dead. He hits the “Macho Man” with a big chokeslam, as the WCW locker room starts to empty to make the save.
Big names come out for the rescue, such as…Frankie Lancaster? Mark Starr? Both get choke slammed. Alex Wright comes out, and flies from the top right into a Giant bearhug. Lex Luger comes out, and Heenan drops a “whose side is he on?!” line similar to his mistake in 1996 when Hogan came out to save Savage and Sting from an attack by The Outsiders…and then promptly turned heel. Some say Bobby spoiled it, some say Bobby was just acting on his usual hatred of Hogan, in character. But he also plants the seed for the fans to expect Luger to turn here.
Luger stares down at Savage, and appears to be turning heel, but he winds up attacking the Giant and eats a chokeslam. Sullivan apparently didn’t approve of that, and he and the Giant are arguing. Did Sullivan not approve of his attack on Luger due to Lex joining up with them? The suspense is killing me!
Result: Kevin Sullivan wins by DQ when Savage attacks a referee. Not much to this match. As I said, it’s surprising to me how much Macho let himself be seen in jeopardy week after week. First Norton, and now Sullivan. I mean he was never a “Hulk Hogan” as far as not wanting to look weak, but I think he’s been giving too much thus far, in Nitro history.
Lex Luger vs. Meng
Luger has to face Meng immediately after the Giant’s attack. Meng clearly has the advantage immediately. Bischoff lets us all know that Hogan has “CALLED THE TRUCK” and he wants the fans to know he doesn’t like what he is seeing, and he will be at Nitro next week. Rah rah….
Meng chokes away at Luger, and hits a nasty piledriver. He continues the assault with a suplex, and locks on a nerve hold to kill some time. Luger begins to “Hulk up,” starts to land some punches, but gets cut off. Meng goes for a gutwrench suplex, but there’s a miscommunication somewhere, and Lex lands extremely awkwardly, and is visibly pissed off.
Meng goes back to the chinlock, then drops a leg. Back to the chinlock, as Mongo blabs about how he’d never put devil horns on his dog again because they are evil, or something like that. Unbearable commentary from McMichael for all four weeks, except maybe one or two lines.
Luger attempts another comeback, but Meng stays in control. Meng goes to his tights for a foreign object, and waffles Luger. The ref doesn’t see it, and MENG gets the three count, for the upset win over Lex Luger.
Result: Meng wins via pinfall after nailing Lex with a foreign object. I’m surprised they had Lex job so soon into his run. Maybe it was a test? Maybe it was a way to build suspense for Luger vs. Savage the following week, by making Lex look weak?
I found it odd that the American Males championship win from the previous week wasn’t mentioned at all, nor were they promoted, but I am only watching Nitros here, so maybe something already happened on Saturday Night to negate the change.
Disco Inferno had a sorta sloppy debut, but people were already dancing along to his music. Wright picking up the win over the newcomer seemed like backwards booking to me. But as I said before, luckily, Disco would improve by leaps and bounds in the next year and a half.
Luger and Savage have had difficulty in promos together so far, and that trend continued tonigh. Both men seem scared to let the other man one up them, so they wind up trampling over each other’s words. Next week should be a good match though. Let’s see if Savage once again takes the bulk of the offense.
Craig Pittman and Kurasawa was another sort of sloppy match, though stiffness and uniqueness made it a good watch. Kurasawa was definitely put over as a threat, and I am interested to see where that leads…if anywhere.
Hogan’s promo, and the monster truck silliness? The less said about it, the better. Why would WCW and pro wrestling bring monster trucks into their equation? Pro wrestling is definitely the more popular venture, by a huge margin. It’s not like you’re attracting new fans. Hell, I bet every monster truck fan is ALREADY a wrestling fan.
Savage vs. Sullivan was interesting. Sullivan kills it as both a dastardly and cowardly heel. The Giant looked invincible, which is exactly how he should look at this point in time. Luger vs. Meng quickly followed, with Meng looking ultra dangerous, and Lex doing the job, which shocked me.
I’ve really enjoyed recapping Nitros so far. There’s some good, some great, but there is also a little sprinkle of awful in there. With Hogan vs. The Dungeon still ongoing, and the upcoming appearance of “Dark Side Hogan,” as well as the YETAAAAY, I’m not very confident that my positive attitude will continue. One thing I’ve definitely noticed, and that I have heard is a hallmark of Kevin Sullivan’s booking, is that the heels are always looking strong. It’s refreshing, and obviously different for me as a viewer, as it keeps throwing me off.