What the World Was Watching: WCW Monday Nitro – December 18, 1995

WCW Monday Nitro

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

-Madusa interrupts the broadcast and says that she will always be Madusa. She has the WWF Women’s title belt and dumps it in the trash can, saying that that’s what she thinks of it. This was so damaging for the WWF women’s division that it didn’t come back for three years. Of course, during the mid-90s it was easy to forget there was a women’s division in the first place. Madusa was never great on the mic and it really hurt this segment.

-William “Refrigerator” Perry visits and squeezes Heenan’s hand really hard during a handshake.

-Opening Contest: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero:

Guerrero gets the jobber treatment and I guess the booking committee didn’t make a mistake this time in making this match. Flair plays to the crowd and does his false handshake spot with Guerrero. Both guys go through a standard wrestling sequence, with Guerrero getting the better of Flair and mocking his walk. That piece of gimmick infringement causes Flair to bail. Back in, Flair grabs the ropes and avoids a Guerrero dropkick and goes for the figure-four, but Guerrero ties him in a small package for two. Guerrero wins a battle over a backslide for two. Flair trades chops with Guerrero’s fists in the corner and fists win. A backdrop and a tornado DDT gets two. Heenan talks about how over Guerrero is, but the crowd isn’t responding to him. Guerrero turns a wristlock into a hurricanrana with the help of the ropes and gets two. Guerrero goes to the top rope, but Flair dives into the ropes in desperation and Guerrero falls to the floor. Outside, Guerrero grabs his knee and Flair goes after it. Back in, Flair works the leg and applies the figure-four. Flair uses the ropes behind the referee’s back and that gets a near-fall. Flair keeps working the ropes behind the referee’s back and eventually Guerrero succumbs to the pain and the referee counts his shoulder to the mat at 7:37. After the match, Flair stomps Guerrero and “Mean” Gene Okerlund says that he won’t conduct an interview with him, as if that is going to be the carrot that makes Flair stop. This match was good, but the crowd was surprisingly apathetic. Grade: B-

-Arn Anderson and Ric Flair are with Okerlund and Anderson reminds Paul Orndorff that for every action there’s an equal but opposite reaction and that he found that out last week. Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart interrupt and Sullivan says that while he respects Anderson and Flair, Pillman is a loose cannon and he’s insulted by Pillman’s comments last week about the Dungeon. Sullivan tells Anderson that he better keep Pillman on a short leash or he’s going to go looking for him. Flair says there isn’t a problem, but Anderson says there is a problem and if Sullivan and the Dungeon go after Pillman they are going to run into the Horsemen. Good segment that planted the seeds for a Dungeon-Horsemen feud, but having Pillman out there could’ve helped.

-Craig “Pitbull” Pittman interrupts the announce team and he asks Heenan to manage him to the World title because Heenan is one of the best managers of all time. Heenan says he doesn’t manage anymore, but he can recommend him to someone else. Pittman says that if he doesn’t get any help soon that he’s going to snap. This was a very random segment and Pittman’s military gimmick should’ve been played with more.

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

Bagwell gets the jobber treatmen,t but that’s a good thing because we don’t have to listen to the American Males entrance music. Luger pounds away until Bagwell pulls out a monkey flip and forces him to bail with a dropkick. Following a trend this evening, Bagwell mocks Luger’s taunt and then dropkicks him off the apron. Luger regroups with Hart and when he goes back in he pounds away, but but a blind charge eats buckle and Bagwell makes a comeback. Bagwell hits a flying forearm off the ropes, but a splash hits knees and Luger delivers a powerslam. Luger exercises his right to taunt and a Torture Rack finishes at 3:07. Not bad for a three minute match, but there was nothing special in it either. Grade: C-

-Okerlund interviews Luger and Hart on their way back to the locker room. Hart reminds us that Luger is the uncrowned WCW World champion and Luger says that he’s breathless in anticipation for Starrcade. I fail to see what this promo did that previous week’s promos did not.

-“Earl” Robert Eaton (w/Jeeves) vs. Sting:

After a monkey flip Sting works the crowd, but when he applies an arm ringer Eaton gets out and pounds and chokes away. Eaton gets a snapmare for one and wanting to get revenge for War Games in 1992, he applies an armbar. Sting comes back with a hiptoss, but runs into a backbreaker. However, a top rope splash misses and Sting makes the comeback. Stinger’s Splash and the Scorpion Deathlock finish at 3:58. This was a slow and boring match. Grade: D

-Okerlund interviews Sting after his match and he asks him about the Starrcade pay-per-view in nine days. I had a big problem with this pay-per-view because Sting and Luger had to wrestle for team WCW while Flair didn’t have to wrestle in the World Cup and was rested for the triangle match. How was that fair? Sting says he’d like to emerge from Starrcade as a six-time world champion. This promo didn’t want to make me buy the show and again, WHAT ABOUT THE JAPANESE TEAM?!?!?!

-WCW World Championship Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Champion) vs. The Giant (w/Kevin Sullivan & Jimmy Hart):

Savage uses his speed to outmaneuver the Giant and he unloads in the corner. Savage applies a quick sleeper, but the Giant throws Savage off. When the Giant goes to talk with Jimmy Hart on the apron, Savage gets to his feet, knees the Giant in the back and Hart goes flying. However, the Giant shakes it off and pounds away. A bearhug sends up to a commercial break.

When we return, the Giant slams Savage and signals for a chokeslam, but Savage stops that by going to the eyes. However, the Giant catches him with a backbreaker when he goes for a clothesline. That gets two until Savage puts his foot on the rope. The Giant goes to the top rope, but a humongous splash misses and Savage hits a flying elbow smash, but the Giant kicks out with authority at two. The Giant knocks Savage to the floor and takes away the padding. However, this attempt to impress Bill Watts fails as Savage grabs the ropes on a suplex attempt and the Giant hits the concrete. Back in, the Giant chokeslams Savage with ease, but doesn’t cover. The Giant hits a leg drop, but Hulk Hogan comes into the ring and hits the Giant in the back with a chair at two to draw the disqualification at 7:35 shown. Hogan goes on a rampage, KO’ing Nick Patrick and hitting the Giant in the face with the chair, as William Perry and McMichael come down and break it up. So THIS is how you book Savage’s title reign? He’s been in two major television matches to defend the belt and lost both by disqualifications right when they were going to win the title. This match was better than I expected it to be and the Giant was adding some spots to his arsenal to really make him appear unique. Grade: C

-Okerlund interviews Hogan and Savage. Hogan whines that Ric Flair and the Giant are on probation with him, but they are getting titles matches and he’s not. The Giant is detained by Sullivan and a member of security so Hogan uses the opportunity to run down the aisle and hit the Giant and Sullivan with a chair. Hogan runs back in the ring and say “oohh yeah” on the mic. So now he’s not only taking over Savage’s matches, but taking his gimmick too. Nice. Hogan says that his name is still on the title belt and that Savage owes him a title match. Savage says that he has to defend the title against Flair next week on Nitro and then face Tenzan at Starrcade, but after that he’ll face him in a match that the whole galaxy wants to see. Savage asks Hogan to give him the chair and says that he’s going to make lots of money off of selling it because it has the Giant and Kevin Sullivan’s signature on it. Hmmm…I wonder how he did that because eBay wasn’t invented yet. Anyway, this was a VERY ego driven promo on Hogan’s part. Sometimes I think he gets some unnecessary criticism from the Internet, but this segment made Hogan appear more important than Savage, which was completely unwarranted.

The Final Report Card: I was a WWF fan during the Monday Night Wars and missed a lot of the events on Nitro because of it. I heard of Hogan losing his mind on shows and making it all about him and this show is exhibit A for that. It was clear by this point that Savage was just a transitional champion because of how he was being treated in the main events. I was always bothered by the fact that the Giant was left off of the Starrcade 1995 card as well. You’d think if WCW wanted to win the World Cup that they’d put him on the team instead of Alex Wright. No offense to Das Wunderkid, of course.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.7 (vs. 2.3 for Raw)

Show Grade: C-

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