Venue: Mall of America (Bloomington, MN)
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, & Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael
Despite having many of their competition’s former stars and the corporate backing of billionaire Ted Turner, World Championship Wrestling struggled to compete with the longstanding dominant force in professional wrestling: the World Wrestling Federation. Running out of ideas Eric Bischoff, then the company’s President, presented Turner brass with an idea: a weekly live show on Monday nights to directly compete with the WWF’s flagship Monday Night Raw. Although many believed it was a fool’s errand, Turner agreed and on September 4, 1995 WCW debuted its first-ever episode of Monday Nitro live on its new home TNT during a week where Monday Night Raw was pre-empted due to the U.S. Open tennis championship. This gamble would eventually pay off and not only did it raise the profile of WCW, it led into one of pro wrestling’s boom period.
But while we know Nitro’s impact on a broad scale, I want to dive deeper and see how the shows themselves hold up. I want to see what stories really stand the test of time, which matches deserved to be remembered, and most importantly I want to relive the rise (and, sadly, fall) of my favorite wrestling company. This is #everyNITROever and there’s no other way to begin than the first episode, aired live from the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. Let’s do this.
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan
- WCW United States Champion: Sting
- WCW Television Champion: The Renegade
- WCW World Tag Team Champions: Buckhouse Bunk & Dick Slater
- Brian Pillman vs. Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger (**1/2)
- Sting [c] vs. Ric Flair for the WCW UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/2)
- Hulk Hogan [c] vs. Big Bubba Rogers for the WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (*3/4)