-Eric Bischoff, Steve â€œMongoâ€ McMichael, and Bobby â€œthe Brainâ€ Heenan are in the booth and are live! McMichael says that Sting-Hogan should have been put on pay-per-view instead of on this show and I canâ€™t disagree with that.
-Opening Contest: Scott â€œFlashâ€ Norton vs. The Shark:
This is billed as a â€œspecialâ€ rematch and the Shark attacks Norton from behind on his way to the ring. The crowd boos once they realize what the match is and the Shark pushes Norton into the ring post. We finally get to the ring where the Shark hits a belly-to-belly suplex and drops an elbow. The Shark no sells Nortonâ€™s punches and splashes him against the buckles. Who really thought John Tenta was going to be taken seriously being billed as â€œThe Sharkâ€ and wearing shark tights and ridiculous makeup? Whoever it was needs to be shot. Norton gets tired of selling the Sharkâ€™s blows and he slams the Shark after a blind charge misses and gets the win at 1:42. After the match, we have a shoving match until the Shark decides to leave. I love Norton, but I donâ€™t think I couldâ€™ve endured this match going a second longer. Grade: D
-â€œMeanâ€ Gene Okerlund interviews â€œThe Taskmasterâ€ Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart. Hart says that tonight is Stingâ€™s night and that Sting is being used by Hogan and Hogan is giving TV roles and benefits to his new best friend, Randy Savage. Sullivan says the Dungeon is going to win World War 3 because there is strength in numbers. I liked Hartâ€™s manipulation of Sting, but Sullivan didnâ€™t need to be out there because he didnâ€™t contribute anything meaningful and dragged down the segment.
-The Disco Inferno is back to dancing in the entrance, this time with a CD that bears his likeness, until Eddie Guerrero comes out. Guerrero intimidates Disco and he backs away.
-Eddie Guerrero vs. â€œThe Nature Boyâ€ Ric Flair (w/Brian Pillman):
Flair comes out in street clothes so it doesnâ€™t look like heâ€™s going to wrestle. Flair gets on the mic and says that Guerrero is below him so there mustâ€™ve been a booking mistake. He says heâ€™s too busy focusing on Sting and that heâ€™s going to let Pillman do the honors tonight. Pillman uses his entrance jacket as a bull fighterâ€™s cape to anger Guerrero and Guerrero outmaneuvers Pillman to start and slaps him. Guerrero hits a side suplex, but when he dives off the top rope Pillman dropkicks him in the mid-section for two. Guerrero gets a fluke schoolboy off the ropes for two and Pillman quickly slams Guerreroâ€™s face into the mat. Guerrero quickly comes back with some chops, but Pillman catches him with a backdrop for two. Pillman covers again for two. Pillman gets a suplex for two and he and Guerrero exchange chops in the corner until Pillman goes to the eyes. Chinlock time, but Guerrero quickly gets out of that, only to get caught with a powerslam off the ropes for two. Pillman taunts Guerrero and then spits in his face. Guerrero tackles Pillman in response and unloads, but Pillman suplexes him to the floor from the apron. However, when Pillman dives at Guerrero on the floor, Guerrero moves and Pillman eats the guardrail. Guerrero then hits a flying body press off the top rope onto Pillman on the floor. Back in, Guerrero wins a reversal sequence and hits a brainbuster. Guerrero goes to the top rope, but Pillman crotches him in an act of desperation and goes for a superduperplex, but Guerrero pushes him to the canvas and hits the frog splash for the upset at 6:26. I forgot how much they pushed Guerrero when he first came into the company. This was a good match and they finally got the crowd into it by the end. Grade: C+
-A replay of Lex Lugerâ€™s assault on Randy Savage at the beginning of last weekâ€™s Nitro is shown.
-Big Bubba Rogers vs. Hawk:
Hawk attacks Rogers on the outside and backdrops and clotheslines him when they get into the ring. Hawk slams Rogers but a top rope splash misses. A roll of quarters keeps falling out of Rogers pocket and he keeps picking it up and putting it back in. Talk about a spoiler. Rogers unloads, but a blind charge eats elbow. Rogers is unfazed and he whips Hawk into the corner with authority and hits a clothesline. Rogers applies a bearhug and Hawk immediately fights out, but runs into a spinebuster for two. Rogers whips Hawk chest-first into the corner, but both menâ€™s heads collide and we have a double KO. Hawk gets up first and goes to the top rope, but Rogers side steps a flying clothesline and he tapes a roll of quarters into his fist. Rogers goes to hit Hawk with the newly taped fist, which doesnâ€™t look suspicious at all to referee Nick Patrick, but Hacksaw Jim Duggan trips him and Hawk covers for the pin at 3:46. This was much better than I thought it would be. Grade: D+
-Sting vs. Hulk Hogan (w/Randy Savage):
Heenan points out that Sting is wearing the red and yellow while Hogan is going to be wearing all black and that heâ€™s sending the ultimate insult. Bischoff merely says that Sting is trying to get Hulk Hogan back to the good side and abandon his dark side. As Savage motions for Hogan to come out of the entrance and Sting awaits his presence, Hogan comes out of the crowd wearing a black mask and sneaks behind Sting. Hogan teases ambushing Sting, but just taps him on the shoulder. After a staredown, Sting unloads, but Hogan reverses a whip into the corner and clotheslines Sting against the buckles. The crowd is firmly behind Sting as Hogan fires away. Sting goes under a clothesline and delivers two dropkicks, which send Hogan over the top rope and to the floor. Hogan pulls Sting to the floor and takes him to the apron and the guardrail. Hogan delivers a suplex and the crowd voices its firm disapproval. Back in, Hogan whiffs on a clothesline, but Sting sells it anyway. Sting hits a body press off the ropes for two as Bischoff keeps whining about how watching this match makes him cry. Heenan finally does me a favor and tells him to shut up about it. Both men fight over a hammerlock and Hogan takes Sting down and works the arm. Sting comes back and works Hoganâ€™s arm in return and rakes Hoganâ€™s eyes. They fight over a headlock and then Sting takes a page out of Bret Hartâ€™s book and goes after the leg. Sting goes for a Stinger splash, but Hogan traps him in a bearhug and yells at the crowd. Hogan hits a running forearm for two. A side suplex gets two. A suplex gets two. Sting comes back by kicking Hoganâ€™s leg off the ropes Bret Hart-style and the crowd cheers when Sting locks in the Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan powers out and the crowd tells Sting to quit beating on Hogan as Hogan starts to hulk up. Sting doesnâ€™t listen and Hogan gets his three fists and big boot, but the leg drop misses. Sting reapplies the Scorpion Deathlock, which would be an awesome finish, and Hogan begs the referee to help him. Right when it looks like Hogan is done for the Dungeon of Doom hit the ring and create a double disqualification at 9:28. This wasnâ€™t quite Hogan-Warrior, but itâ€™s very interesting to see what a pre-crow Sting vs. Hogan match wouldâ€™ve looked like. Itâ€™s a shame that there wasnâ€™t a clean finish, but for all hardcore WCW fans out there they wouldâ€™ve had Sting go over in the same manner that he nearly did here. Even though this match is fifteen years old and I remembered the finish, I was still marking out for it. Grade: B-
-Sting and Hogan lay out the Dungeon of Doom, but the Giant comes down and chokes them. When the Giant lifts both men, Savage hits him in the back with a chair. The Giant turns around and chokeslams Savage, demonstrating that good deeds donâ€™t go unpunished, but that enables Sting and Hogan to take the chair Savage dropped and knock the Giant out of the ring.
-Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart yell a lot near the announce booth as we close the show.
The Final Report Card: This Nitro had a very special feel to it with the Sting-Hogan match and although the finish was inconclusive, for me it still let Sting come out as the winner. I never cared for â€œcrowâ€ Sting so this is the purest Sting-Hogan match we ever got and watching these two face each other for the first time is worth getting a copy of this show.
Monday Night War Rating: 2.5 (vs. 2.3 for Raw)
Show Grade: C+
Tags: Big Bubba Rogers, bobby heenan, Brian Pillman, Eddie Guerrero, Eric Bischoff, Gene Okerlund, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Hawk, Hulk Hogan, jimmy hart, Kevin Sullivan, Lex Luger, Nick Patrick, Nitro, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Scott Norton, steve mcmichael, Sting, the Giant, the Shark, WCW, What the World Was Watching