Venue: Denver Coliseum (Denver, CO)
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, & Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael
The beef between Randy Savage and Lex Luger gets physical this week as Luger puts his WCW career on the line in their first-ever encounter. Also on the show perennial ECW opponents Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko face off in a WCW ring, Hulk Hogan wants The Giant (BROTHER), and Ric Flair and Arn Anderson square off once again in a Fall Brawl rematch.
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan
- WCW United States Champion: Sting
- WCW World Television Champion: Diamond Dallas Page
- WCW World Tag Team Champions: The American Males (Marcus Bagwell & Scotty Riggs)
- If Luger Loses He Must Leave WCW: Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger (*1/2)
- Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (***)
- Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson (***)
We get our usual introduction from the announce trio, McMichael’s dog Pepe wearing slinky eyes because why the hell not. They’re interrupted by Ric Flair, who steals Bischoff’s set to cut an ANGERY promo on Arn Anderson. We then get a video recapping the verbal sparring between Randy Savage and Lex Luger over the past few weeks, including Luger appearing to be on the side of The Dungeon of Doom, or at least of interest to The Taskmaster before The Giant decides to Chokeslam him anyway during a post-match brawl.
If Luger Loses He Must Leave WCW
‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs. ‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger
Both men lock up and jockey for position around the ring before spilling out to the floor, horns still locked as we go to commercial. Oh okay. Back live Savage returns to the ring and holds the ropes open, inviting Luger back in. Luger ignores that and hops over them instead. They lock up again but it ends much quicker as he throws Savage right into the corner. Savage shoves Luger, Luger slaps him, Savage catches him with a back elbow. Luger escapes the ring, Savage immediately goes after him and tries a suplex on the floor but Luger keeps on blocking it and eventually counters with a neckbreaker. Back in the ring Savage catches Luger with an inside cradle but Luger easily kicks out and makes him pay with a full-reach gorilla press. Savage catches Luger with a kick and tries to counter a hip toss with a backslide but Luger fights him and uses the rope to make sure he doesn’t go over. Heenan praises the move for being smart, I gotta agree. Luger reverses the backslide for a two-count, both men collide skulls and go down. Savage takes to the air, Luger catches him with a right hand to the gut, Savage throws him out to the ring via handful of tights. Savage follows up with a flying double axhandle and drops Luger throat-first across the guardrail. Back in the ring Savage catches Luger with a flying knee to the back, then errantly bumps the ref with an Irish whip. Savage hits the Flying Elbow and gets the visual pin but there’s no ref to make the count. The Giant makes his way to the ring and delivers a Chokeslam to Savage (ONLY Savage, hmmm), and Luger takes advantage with a Torture Rack and gets the win via KO.
Lex Luger defeated Randy Savage via KO with the Torture Rack/assist from The Giant (8:05 shown)
- Not particularly great but it had its moments. I enjoyed their BIG BOY lockup at the start as well as Luger’s freakish gorilla press slam. The Giant coming in to assist Luger was an interesting turn as well, building on last week where The Taskmaster initially seemed like he was welcoming Luger in on the Savage beatdown. Granted Giant hit him with a Chokeslam anyway but you know what I mean. Anyway Luger is sticking around, which is probably a good thing since he burned his bridge with the WWF fifty times over by coming back to WCW in the first place. (*1/2)
Bischoff hypes Saturday Night, which will feature Arn Anderson/Brian Pillman vs. Bunkhouse Buck/Dick Slater plus an update as to why Johnny B. Badd didn’t show for his United States Championship match last week. Aw man he never even got the match he fought so hard for at Fall Brawl? LAME.
Disco Inferno shows up unannounced to entertain the masses with his dance moves. His music gets interrupted by Eddie Guerrero, who’s ACTUALLY supposed to be here. Guerrero is not amused with Inferno, telling him to get lost en route to the ring.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
Guerrero and Malenko had a series of classic matches in 94 and 95 for ECW, so naturally WCW signed them so they could take advantage of their skills. Part of the ‘WCW RAIDS ECW’ conspiracy nonsense those Philly dorks like talking about so much. Sorry they wanted to make more money and be on national television? Before the match begins we get footage of Guerrero’s win over Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger on Main Event the night before. I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO SEE THAT MATCH, WWE NETWORK.
Guerrero shoves Malenko, who rolls into a kip-up to show off how cool he is. Malenko tries a monkey flip and Guerrero shows off himself, landing on his feet. Malenko with a front facelock, Guerrero counters into a hammerlock. Guerrero flips over a backdrop attempt, Malenko counters a pop-up with a dropkick and the crowd gives them a round of applause. Guerrero and Malenko trade pinning combinations and WE LEAVE THIS MATCH TO GO BACKSTAGE where Hulk Hogan has arrived to the building. Jimmy Hart begs him not to enter the arena and face The Giant, Hogan does not heed the warning. What the actual hell, WCW.
We finally get back to the match where Guerrero brings himself and Malenko out to the floor with a bodyscissors. Guerrero slams him on the floor and takes to the air, clearing the ring post for a beautiful plancha (which reminds Mongo of a ‘Mexican cliff diver’, ugh). Back in the ring Guerrero connects with a brainbuster but Malenko counters the Frog Splash with a pair of knees. A couple of standing switches, Malenko tries to roll Guerrero up but Guerrero sits on him instead for the 1…2…3.
Eddie Guerrero defeated Dean Malenko via pinfall (5:25)
- A really good technical affair that lost all of its momentum the second WCW decided that Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart were more important to cut to. What a stupid decision. That aside though this is worth watching, as they two do more moves in five minutes than the majority of the main event roster in WCW has done all year. The Cruiserweights are coming, get excited. (***)
Afterwards Malenko asks Guerrero for a rematch. Guerrero agrees and they shake hands to seal the deal. Yes please.
‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund introduces his guests, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan (with neck brace) and his manager Jimmy Hart. Hogan talks about getting inspired by a little Hulkamaniac facing double lung surgery, then rips his shirt off and starts slapping hands of the fans at ringside…until an ‘old woman’ throws salt in his eyes and starts hitting him with a cane. Turns out it’s The Taskmaster, and out come The Giant and Zodiac. Giant rips Hogan’s neck brace off and once again tries to twist his head off, further injuring his neck. To add insult to injury Taskmaster then SHAVES OFF Hogan’s trademark mustache! The American Males try to help but fail, as do The Nasty Boys. Nice try, guys. They were supposed to meet for the Tag Team Titles in the next match but that’s not happening anymore.
- A goofy segment with Hogan doing something he never does (slap hands all around the ring) in order for Taskmaster to stunt granny his ass. Didn’t feel natural in the slightest. I did love seeing Hogan get his mustache shaved off though, as well as Heenan’s unabashed enjoyment at the attack. His hatred for Hogan is one of his defining traits as a wrestling personality and I appreciate how much he stuck to that across companies.
‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson
This is the big rematch from Fall Brawl, which was an absolute classic. I doubt this will be to that level but it could still be great. Flair goes on the offense early with a series of chops, Anderson counters a corner Irish whip and connects with a backdrop for a two-count. Anderson goes to work on Flair’s left arm, stomping at the joint and tying it up in a hammerlock. Flair goes on another chop/punch fest and does a little strut in celebration. The announcers don’t care though, they’re concerned about Pooch-Hulk Hogan. Flair gets sent to the apron, then holds down the top rope so Anderson can launch himself out to the floor like a dummy. Flair whips Anderson hard into the guardrail, moving it across the floor. Flair charges at him and gets backdropped on the protective mats for his troubles. Anderson rolls Flair back in, who begs off despite sorta being a face? Anderson catches Flair with a spinebuster but is too out of it to make the immediate cover. Anderson goes back to the arm, kneeling over Flair as he applies an armbar. Flair escapes and slaps on a sleeperhold, Anderson whips him off and applies one of his own. Flair with a corner Irish whip followed by a belly-to-back suplex. Anderson drops Flair with an elbow, Flair with an elbow of his own into the Figure Four, Bischoff plugging the big OJ Simpson verdict scheduled for tomorrow. Anderson escapes the hold and catches a flying Flair on the floor with a right to the gut. He tries a piledriver, but Flair counters with a backdrop. The action moves back inside and Anderson tries a DDT, but Flair blocks it by holding the top rope. Flair has a REAL NASTY WELT on his back, it’s pretty gross. Anderson comes off the middle buckle and Flair catches him with a chop, then goes back into the Figure Four. Brian Pillman shows up and breaks the hold with a top-rope splash, causing a DQ.
Ric Flair defeated Arn Anderson via DQ when Brian Pillman interfered (8:18)
- Unsurprisingly this wasn’t nearly as great as their Fall Brawl encounter but it had its own merit. Whereas the first match felt more like a wrestling contest between friends, this one was more of a brawl between enemies as they set out to hurt one another. I enjoyed it a lot, though I guess I should have seen the Pillman interference coming, eh? (***)
Anderson and Pillman beat up on Flair before finally leaving the ring at the behest of the referee.
After a commercial we return to the announce table, where Bischoff announces that Flair will meet Anderson next week…IN A CAGE MATCH. Hell yeah. Also on the show Sting will face The Shark, Sabu takes on Mr. JL, and Road Warrior Hawk will face Big Bubba Rogers. Interesting lineup.
Final Thoughts: A good night of in-ring action this week on Monday Nitro as Guerrero/Malenko and Flair/Anderson delivered in their own ways. The Hogan segment was hokey but if you gotta write him off TV so he can go shoot a movie no one cares about that’s one way to do it. I think we’re headed into DARK HOGAN territory which is hilarious, so my body is ready.
- Best Match: Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
- Worst Match: Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger
- Best Moment: The Taskmaster dresses up like an old woman to blindside Hulk Hogan
- Worst Moment: WCW deciding that Hogan’s arrival backstage was more important than a damn good Guerrero/Malenko match