The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 11.18.96
So yeah, this is a big one.
Live from…hold on, the Outsiders have already destroyed everyone in the dark match with chairs and are taking over the announce desk. Nash picking on Tony like a bully is the kind of scary edge that they needed, not Nash being hilarious announcer guy. So Hall brags about how the “islanders” aren’t so tough and they head to the back, where the Faces of Fear rush in and beat the shit out of them until they brawl outside.
Your hosts are Tony and Larry, although a disgusted Tony walks off immediately, giving us Larry as a solo commentator.
La Parka v. Juventud Guerrera
Thankfully Mike Tenay steps in right away to call the historic Nitro debut of the CHAIRMAN. Parka gets a backbreaker for two, but Juvy backdrops him onto the apron, so Parka pulls him to the floor and follows with a tope suicida. Back in, they fight to the top and Parka gets crotched, allowing Juvy to bring him down with a springboard rana for two. Juvy with a quebrada for two. Another springboard is blocked by a dropkick for two, and Parka goes up and hits Juvy with a dive to the floor. Back in, powerbomb gets two. Parka gets the Romero Special, but Juvy falls on top of him for two. Juvy with a missile dropkick for two. Parka misses a charge and hits the post, and Juvy runs him into the turnbuckle 10 times and gets two. Back to the top for another rana that gets two. Low dropkick gets two. Juvy with a victory roll for two. Parka goes up and misses a senton, but he counters the Juvy Driver into a cradle for two. Juvy DDTs him for two, and then takes him to the top and gets a tornado DDT for two. To the top again and Parka blocks another rana, then finishes him with a corkscrew senton splash at 9:24. This was two crazy luchadors trying to slow it down and do a real American style match, and it worked to a certain degree, but it really needed someone like a Benoit or Eddie to smooth out the transitions between the big moves, because it was basically big move – chinlock – big move – chinlock. It would have benefitted from actually cutting 4 minutes out and just letting them go balls to the wall, and probably would have been a classic. ***3/4
Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Ultimo Dragon
You’d think in theory you’d wait until PPV to do the title v. J-Crown deal, but that’s Nitro for ya. They trade mat work and Dragon throws kicks to put Dean down and follows with a handspring elbow. They do a crazy series of reversals while the announcers go on and on about the nWo, and Dean clotheslines him for two. Dragon with a leg lariat to put Dean on the floor and they brawl out there, but Dragon misses a moonsault. Dean with the Cloverleaf, but Sonny Onoo runs in and Dean accidentally backdrops Dragon over the top rope for the lame DQ at 4:01. **1/2
The Amazing French Canadians v. The American Males
The Males clean house to start and Riggs dominates Jacques with generic babyface stuff, but the Males collide on a double-team attempt. The French double-team Riggs, including a SCARY spot where Jacques slams Pierre onto Riggs, but Riggs was sitting up instead of laying down. Holy shit, they could have broken his neck there. Hot tag Bagwell as this trainwreck rolls on, and Riggs accidentally knocks Jacques into Bagwell, leaving the heels on top for the pin at 5:30. This was just blown spot after blown spot, PLUS blown spots that were part of the script on top of that! *
Lex Luger v. Hugh Morrus
Luger no-sells a suplex, but Morrus hits him with a corner splash and chokes him down. Another splash misses and Luger makes the comeback with clotheslines and finishes with the Torture Rack at 4:15. Not terrible. ½* Given the storyline was Luger’s momentum and beating giants over and over, why didn’t they put him over at World War III and do Luger v. Hogan at Souled Out instead of the Giant? Luger does his post-match promo afterwards with Mean Gene, at which point Sting comes out and hands him a baseball bat before leaving again.
At this point there was supposed to be a Chris Jericho v. Johnny Grunge match to lead into the second hour, but it’s not here. I have no idea why. Instead, the show just cuts right to Eric opening the second hour.
Your hosts are Eric, Bobby and Mike.
The nWo immediately bullies Eric at the announce desk, forcing him to say that Hogan is the biggest star and Piper is afraid of him.
Diamond Dallas Page joins Gene for a promo, but the Outsiders immediately interrupt him with another “offer” to join. Giant is confused by why they don’t just punk him out like everyone else, but Nash has a bigger plan. That actually makes sense now, as they were assuming that Page would follow into the group with his neighbor when it happened later in the show. Also, there’s a subtle implication there that Giant wasn’t in the loop with the rest of the group. I will say that, at the time, the inside stuff with Page made little sense to people who didn’t know the whole story that we now know.
Jeff Jarrett v. Bobby Eaton
Jarrett gets an atomic drop to put Eaton on the floor and runs him into the post, then finishes with the figure-four at 2:11. That was pretty awful. DUD Flair comes out and he’s still backing Jarrett, even though everyone else hates him.
Big Bubba v. Jim Powers
Powers works the arm while Bischoff blows off the Roddy Piper “internet gossip” about how he’s here tonight, and denies being in contact with him at all, in fact. Those damn agents and attorneys! Bubba takes over and goes to the chinlock. That drags on for a while and the Bossman slam finishes at 4:00. DUD
Chris Benoit v. Eddie Guerrero
Benoit quickly takes him down in the crossface, but Eddie makes the ropes and slingshots in with the senton for two. Benoit smacks him around on the mat and takes him down with a judo throw while working on the arm. Abdominal stretch, but Eddie reverses a powerbomb into a sunset flip for two and they slug it out. We take a break and return with Eddie hitting a rana, but Benoit press slams him for two. To the top and Benoit brings him down with a superplex for two. They head to the floor and brawl out there, but Woman stops Eddie from sending Benoit into the post. Back in, Benoit cradles for two, but Eddie hits him with a backdrop suplex and misses a splash. He tries a rana, but Benoit rolls into a sunset flip to finish at 11:22. Hell of a match. ***1/2
Eric Bischoff joins us in the ring, and he wants to apologize for Hogan’s earlier shenangians and wants everyone to know how hard they’re working to sign Roddy Piper. Piper interrupts, and Eric has a great “Oh, shit” look on his face. Piper is here to tell the truth, because Bischoff is a LIAR. Piper points out that Bischoff never actually made any attempt to meet with him, at which point the nWo runs out for the beatdown, and Hogan reveals that Bischoff has been working for the nWo all along. This of course would only scratch the surface of Eric’s smarmy heel act. Piper promises to sign the contract at the PPV, and we’re out.
This one crushes RAW pretty handily, although Austin-Mankind wins match of the week. Still, what’s with the Jericho match getting cut?
Tags: Eddie Guerrero v. Chris Benoit, Eric Bischoff, nWo, SmarK WWE Network Nitro Rant, WCW Monday Nitro