What the World Was Watching: WCW Monday Nitro – October 23, 1995

Monday Nitro

-Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan are in the booth and they are live from Huntsville, Alabama.

-Opening Contest: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Kurasawa (w/Colonel Robert Parker):

Savage slaps the cigar out of Parker’s mouth before the opening bell and Kurasawa stands up for his manager and pounds away. After enduring a minute of kicks, Savage tosses Kurasawa to the floor by his tights but that merely delays another beat down. Kurasawa slams Savage on his arm for two. Kurasawa works the arm as we go to a commercial break.

When we get back from the break Kurasawa pounds away and kicks Savage to the floor. A baseball slide misses and when Kurasawa tries to kick Savage while he’s against the ring post Savage moves. Back in, Kurasawa goes for the armbar, but Savage throws him against the ropes (which is supposed to be a hot shot but it’s botched) and clotheslines the back of his head. A top rope elbow smash finishes at 5:50 shown. This was your typical “Savage gets beat up” match where he takes a beating but makes a two or three move comeback and wins. Savage sold the arm well, but you never sensed that he was in any danger of losing and the crowd only came alive for the finish. Grade: D+

-Bischoff says that WCW Champion Hulk Hogan will be there and that there’s no restraining order to keep him and the Giant separated.

-The lights go out in the arena and the Master of the Dungeon of Doom yells a bunch of stuff and talks about an insurance policy being encased in ice. Ah, the old credit card trick. “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan and the Giant. Sullivan says that evil exists in Hulk Hogan’s heart and the Yetti is coming. The Giant says that Hogan is running out of lives and that he’s the true immortal in WCW. Not a bad interview to build the pay-per-view, but if you know about the Yetti then the whole thing looks really goofy.

-Okerlund interviews Hogan. Hogan is still in black and he rips off the Lord’s Prayer to say he’s not afraid of the Dungeon of Doom. Hogan warns us that we all know what a guy with black gloves can do. Please tell me he did not just go there. If you don’t know what I’m talking about Google “black gloves” and “OJ” and you’ll get it. Hogan rips off his neck brace and he runs down the problems Luger, Sting, and Savage are having and he says he can beat them all. At least Sullivan and the Giant tried to sell the pay-per-view and made a coherent argument.

-Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko vs. Mr. J.L. & Eddie Guerrero:

Alex Wright comes out on crutches so Mr. JL is taking his place. Guerrero and Benoit start the match and Guerrero takes down Benoit and works the leg. Benoit gets to his feet, tags Malenko, and delivers a hiptoss. Guerrero goes to the floor and Malenko hits a pescado. Malenko holds Guerrero for a Benoit suicide dive, but Guerrero moves and Malenko takes the blow. I just got a WCW/NWO World Tour flashback. Guerrero hurls JL over the top rope and onto Benoit and Malenko. Back in, Guerrero arm drags Malenko out of a slam, but Malenko connects with a high dropkick. Guerrero gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker after reversing a whip into the ropes and tags JL. Guerrero tosses JL into Malenko into the corner, but Malenko gets a side suplex to turn the tide. As action unfolds in the ring, we see the Shark and Scott Norton fighting each other in the locker room in the split screen. The heels work over Guerrero and Malenko gets two after a snapmare and a dropkick to the back of the head. Malenko applies an abdominal stretch as we go to a commercial break.

When we get back, Malenko clotheslines JL against the buckles and gets a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Tag Benoit and he gets two on a side suplex before Guerrero breaks it up. Benoit knocks Guerrero to the floor and swats away a JL dropkick for two. Tag Malenko and he hits a leg drop for two. JL gets a fluke sunset flip off the ropes for two as Wright tries to rally the crowd (and it works to some degree). Benoit hits a superduperplex for two. Tag Malenko and JL traps him in a backslide for two. JL gets a spinning elbow off the ropes and that gives us a double KO. Momentum swinging tag to Guerrero and he cleans house. Guerrero arm drags Malenko from the top rope and gives a headscissors to Benoit simultaneously in a sweet spot. All hell breaks loose and when Benoit and Guerrero spill over the top rope, Wright trips Malenko with his crutch and JL gets a victory roll to win at 9:10 shown. The flow of this match was disjointed because of the spots everyone was working in, but the action after the break was solid. After the match, Brian Pillman assaults Guerrero in the aisle and DDT’s him on the floor. Grade: C+

-Harlem Heat (w/Sister Sherri) vs. Lex Luger & Sting:

As Harlem Heat make their way to the ring Bischoff and McMichael rip on the WWF’s latest In Your House pay-per-view. You’ll notice when you watch these shows that Heenan never participates in any WWF bashing. In a nice gesture, Sting shakes a young fan’s hand on his way to the ring and has some kind words with him. Shoving commences before the opening bell and when things settle down Sting and Booker T start. The crowd is completely on the Harlem Heat’s case and Booker takes out his frustrations on Sting. Booker gets a shoulder block, but Sting catches Booker with a dropkick. Sting hiptosses Booker over the top rope and AGAIN we get no disqualification despite the “over the top” rule still existing at this time period. Back in, the faces work over Booker as we go to a commercial break.

When we get back (after Bischoff hypes a Burt Reynolds movie that comes on next) Stevie Ray has Luger in a nerve hold. Luger tries to get out but Ray just nails him and tags in Booker, who gets two off of a dropkick. Sting comes in and rakes Booker’s eyes illegally when he covers again but it doesn’t turn the tide. Harlem Heat work over Luger legally and illegally as Bischoff questions what a yetti is. As the Heat beat down Luger, Sherri pulls out some pictures of her and Colonel Robert Parker and kisses them. Ray gets two off a beat down and puts Luger in a chinlock that doesn’t look very debilitating. It’s like a nine out of ten on the John Cena STF scale. The Harlem Hangover misses and we have a double KO. The crowd goes apeshit as Sting is tagged in and cleans house. Sting gives the Harlem Heat Sting splashes, elbow drops Booker, but when he goes for the Scorpion Deathlock Ray intervenes and all hell breaks loose. The Heat double suplex Luger, but Sting delivers a flying clothesline to Booker and that gets the pin at 7:10 shown. The ending was nice, but the Heat had really boring offense here and that was eighty percent of the match. Grade: D+

-After the match, Kevin Sullivan and the Giant come down and the Giant chokeslams Luger and Sting. Randy Savage comes out, knocks Sullivan out of the ring, and before the Giant can lock up with Savage Hogan comes out. Savage leaves the ring and the crowd goes nuts. The Giant doesn’t sell Hogan’s punches and clubs Hogan to the mat. Hogan starts hulking up and suddenly his fists have magical powers and knock the Giant silly. Sensing trouble, the Dungeon of Doom hit the ring and Hogan and Savage take them out. Before Hogan can follow up on the Giant, Doug Dillinger comes into the ring with a billy club and makes Hogan stop. Then, a rumbling sound is heard in the arena, the ice sculpture explodes, and the Yetti appears to play us out. This was a very ECWesque ending to the show and despite the ridiculousness of the Yetti, the crowd was eating it up and I was too.

The Final Report Card: You can skip the first half of this show, but the closing segment and the Benoit/Malenko-JL/Guerrero tag match are pretty fun, especially considering that this was 1995 where wrestlecrap went to a whole new level. Harlem Heat and Luger and Sting would meet again and that match would be more than just filler for a main event angle.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.6 (vs. 2.2 for Raw)

Show Grade: B-

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