What the World Was Watching: WCW Monday Nitro – December 25, 1995

WCW Nitro

-Who has a show on Christmas? WCW does! Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan and they say they are live, but since they don’t give a location I doubt it.

-Opening Contest: “The Total Package” Lex Luger (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Scotty Riggs:

What is this? Part II of Lex Luger’s destruction of the American Males tour? If so, I’m not arguing that that is a bad thing. Bagwell isn’t with Riggs for this match, unlike last week. Luger pounds on Rigg’s back until Riggs gets some dropkicks and a flying forearm, which causes Luger to bail. Back in, Luger corners Riggs and pounds away but a blind charge eats buckle and Riggs gets an arm drag and works the arm. Riggs gets a body press off the ropes for two. However, Luger blocks a suplex and suplexes Riggs on the top rope and then clotheslines him off the apron. When Riggs gets back on the apron Luger suplexes him inside for two and works the back. A blind charge eats boot and Riggs makes the comeback. A small package gets two. Riggs goes to the top rope, but Luger avoids a missile dropkick and a powerslam and Torture Rack, which gets a huge pop from the crowd, finish at 7:06. If Riggs wanted to work the arm he should have watched Savage’s match with Luger a few weeks prior to this. This match got more time than Luger’s match with Bagwell last week and was your run of the mill TV encounter. Grade: C

-In an obviously taped interview, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Sting. Okerlund asks him what’s up with Luger yet again and Sting says he’s tired of being asked that question and says that he’s just a friend. I don’t think Okerlund was implying THAT Sting. Sting reminds New Japan that WCW is the best. At least Sting addressed the World Cup this time.

-Big Bubba Rogers vs. Sting:

Rogers delivers a shoulder block, does the Owen cheer, and proceeds to botch an enziguri. Sting fights his way out of the corner and drives Roger’s face into the canvas and Rogers bails. Sting gets tired of waiting for Rogers so goes out after him and drives his face into the arena floor. Yowzers. Rogers takes a while to recover from that and when he gets back in Sting reverses an arm ringer. Rogers goes to the eyes and takes control. Bischoff announces that Hogan is suspended until the end of 1995 as Rogers scores a near-fall and locks on a chinlock. For real? That’s hardly an effective suspension when there are only SIX DAYS left in the year! Rogers hurls Sting to the floor, but when he goes out after him Sting unloads and tosses him back in. Sting goes to the top rope, but Rogers rakes his eyes. Unfortunately for Rogers, when he tries to throw Sting off the top rope Sting catches him with a small package and gets the pin at 5:14. That was a nice counter and someone should steal that spot. This match didn’t have enough action and you could tell Rogers was just going through the motions. Grade: D+

-Okerlund interviews Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart. Luger says there is a lot of history in the triangle match at Starrcade and repeats how he’s the uncrowned WCW World champion. Sting is shown smiling in the aisle at Luger’s comments and Hart repeats Luger’s claim to be the uncrowned WCW World champion. Craig “Pitbull” Pittman comes out and asks Jimmy Hart to be his manager. Hart has Pittman take his shirt off and says that his physique doesn’t compare to Luger’s so he gives him a quarter and tells him to call a manager who needs a few guys. Burn! If they were serious about getting Pittman over they would’ve had him trap Hart in an armbar and made Luger beat him up in response. Instead, they just made Pittman look weak.

-Dean Malenko vs. Mr. J.L.:

Malenko takes control early after dropkicking JL in the back. JL floats over on a suplex and resists a Malenko rollup with the help of the ropes and after a reversal sequence JL gets a rollup for two. JL gets a headscissors and Malenko bails. Malenko tries to avoid a JL pescado, but JL merely gets on the apron and cannonballs onto him instead. JL takes Malenko to the buckle when he gets on the apron and suplexes him inside for two. Malenko blocks a monkey flip out of the corner and gets a rollup for one, but JL bridges out after a delay and hits a sitdown powerbomb for two. Malenko comes back and hot shots him out of a powerbomb position and then hits a stomach breaker off the second rope (which Bischoff calls a side breaker). Malenko then applies a hold referred to as a “Malenko leg lock” (a kneebar) which gets the submission at 3:41. Interesting submission hold, but Malenko’s shoulders were on the mat so the referee should’ve counted a pinfall. Both guys weren’t given a lot of time, but put on a solid match. Grade: C

-Okerlund interviews “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Flair says that Savage is about to wrestle him and that he won’t be denied the World title. Jimmy Hart comes out and apologizes for last week’s interruption by Kevin Sullivan. Hart says he owes Flair one because of how he saved his life on Nitro a few weeks ago and he proposes that he accompany Flair to ringside. Flair says that’s cool with him. Hart’s overacting was really funny in this segment.

-WCW World Championship Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Champion) vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/Jimmy Hart):

Flair’s going for his twelfth title reign here and if Savage gets disqualified in this match too I’m going to laugh. Flair goes to the eyes, but a knee drop misses and Savage works the knee with the help of the ring post. Savage applies a figure-four, but the crowd is dead for it. I’m sorry for any readers out there who are from Augusta, but their fans suck. Flair grabs the ropes to force a break and holds the ropes to keep Savage from dragging him out of the corner. However, Savage comes back after Flair and gets some second rope punches in the corner before Flair delivers an inverted atomic drop to get a break. Flair goes for a figure-four, but Savage gets a small package for two. Savage unloads in the corner, but the referee stops Savage’s attack and Flair gets a cheap knee shot. Flair tosses Savage to the floor and that allows Hart to get in a few kicks behind the referee’s back as we go to a commercial break.

When we get back from the break, Flair is beating on Savage in the aisle and he whips him into the guardrail. Flair drops Savage’s throat across the top rope when he gets on the apron and snapmares him into the ring. Flair and Hart continue to cheat and Flair covers Savage with the assistance of the ropes but only gets a series of two counts out of the whole deal. Savage hits a clothesline after going under Flair’s for two and wins a battle over a backslide for two. Savage blocks a Flair punch off the ropes and gets two of his own for two. Flair begs off and when Savage doesn’t allow him to Flair just mule kicks him in the corner. Flair hits a suplex for two. Flair unloads as we go a second commercial break.

After returning from our second break, Flair is pounding on Savage in the corner, but Savage eventually blocks his blows and gets in his own. Savage whips Flair into the corner with authority and hits a backdrop for two. Flair flips and falls to the floor and Savage goes for an ax handle off the top rope, but Flair just punches him in the gut on his way down. Back in, Savage traps Flair in a sleeper, but Flair delivers a kneebreaker to escape and we have a double KO. Flair works the leg and locks in a figure-four. Flair uses the ropes for leverage, but Savage gets in the ropes. The referee doesn’t force a break for some reason and instead counts Savage’s shoulders to the mat twice. Randy Anderson is really having a rough go of it tonight by blowing calls and opening up Savage to cheap shots left and right. Savage grabs the ropes again and Anderson forces the break this time. Flair applies a sleeper, but Savage runs him face-first into the corner to get a break and we have double KO #2. Savage gets a fluke small package for two. Flair goes for a piledriver, but Savage backdrops out for two. The crowd remains dead for this, which I can’t understand, and Savage gets a top rope ax handle for two and covers again for one. Hart grabs Savage’s foot when he runs the ropes so Savage knocks him off the apron and unloads on Flair. Suddenly, Lex Luger comes out and unloads on Savage for a disqualification at 15:18 shown. Savage chokes Luger and Sting comes in, seemingly to get Savage off of Luger, but Flair intercepts him. Sting forces Flair to flee as Savage does the same to Luger and as the show goes off the air, Sting and Savage have a staredown. Of course, Flair and Savage have had better matches than this but this wasn’t bad at all. The crowd being dead for the ENTIRE match really hurt it, though, and I would’ve liked to see Hart interfere more than he did since he was making up a debt to Flair. Also, Flair didn’t work the leg THAT much to cause Savage to limp around like he did. Grade: B-

The Final Report Card: This show had a fun main event and an appropriate final segment that built up the Starrcade pay-per-view. Of course if any fans thought that when they bought that show they’d get to see Sting face off with Savage for the belt then they were the suckers of the century (although that match would’ve made a LOT of sense with the way they booked Nitro over the last few months). Needless to say, you can check how that show went if you don’t already know or you can wait until I recap the 1996 season to find out what happened there. This was arguably one of the better Nitro’s as far as wrestling was concerned because three out of the four of them were C’s or above.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.5 (Unopposed)

Show Grade: C+

Up next for my reviews: The 1996 season of Monday Night Raw!

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