Lex Luger vs. Randy Savage, Arn Anderson vs. Ric Flair, and more in the fifth edition of the WCW Nitro Saga.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we’ve officially made it to the spooky month. Welcome back to the WCW Nitro Saga, where tonight we watch Macho Man Randy Savage take on Lex Luger, an almost-guaranteed-to-be-awful segment with Hulk Hogan and The Giant, and oh so much more. As I mentioned last week, I saw Eddie Guerrero in the thumbnail for this episode on the Network, and that’s about the only thing keeping me excited for this show (along with the chance to tear into Hulk Hogan and this Dungeon of Doom silliness once more). Regardless of all that, it’s time to retire the apple pie, light jackets, and songs titled “September”, because it’s October now, and we’re on the road to Halloween Havoc. MONSTER TRUCK FUN. LET’S GO.
When?: October 2, 1995
Where?: Denver Coliseum in Denver, Colorado
WCW Nitro Sage – Episode #5 start!
Here we go with this fuckin’ guy. Mongo says even the little dog knows that we’re in for some action tonight (which is absolutely true, Savage/Luger, Guerrero/Malenko, and Flair/Anderson. That’s a great lineup if you ask me). Eric Bischoff says words, as does Heenan. I like how Eric and Mongo look annoyed with Heenan in that screenshot above, yet Heenan is the most decent person there. Anyways, before anything else can happen, Slick Ric shows up and says this’ll be a night that Arn Anderson will never forget. Then WOO’s and heads off. I say it every week, but it always needs repeating; I love Ric Flair. He’s psycho and it makes for absolutely amazing television. What a bold personality. You’ve gotta love it. Next, we get a look at the previous events in the Savage/Luger feud, while I go to eat an Oreo because I’ve seen this before and I’m over it. Even now, all this talk of “playing” with boys is still making me very uncomfortable. WCW really should have picked a different slogan. Stuff like this could have been avoided. Bischoff is promoting this week’s episode of WCW Nitro as a “double main event” show, which is such a modern WWE thing. Hey, guys, we’ve got six main events tonight! SIX! Get hype.
Luger and Macho Man make their entrances, and we’re off and ready to go.
Match #1: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger
Macho Man looks dope as hell, like always. I’m really digging this paranoid Macho Man we’ve got going on here on WCW Nitro (really, that’s just the way he was). He’s not necessarily a heel, but he’s kind of being too much of a jerk to be a straight cut babyface. He’s a “feel.” Yes, that’s right. A feel. You can bet your ass I’m going to try and get that over. No more of this “tweener” nonsense. I am rooting for Mr Paranoia to win this match because he’s a fuckin’ boss and I never liked Lex Luger anyway. I’m really enjoying this episode already, as we’re getting straight into the action with the bell ringing. No filler, no twenty-minute Authority promo. None of that. It’s quite nice. Yes, I’m still stuck in 2015 and the endless Authority storyline. Talk about tough times as a viewer, shit.
Both men lock up to start us out as Eric Bischoff mentions that Lex Luger’s career is on the line, and that makes me second guess my pick to win this match. Eh, people have come back from these stipulations in the past, so let’s go, Macho Man. They stay locked up for a good while until they both fall to the outside of the ring. Reminds me of the Paige/Sasha match I reviewed for the Hidden Gems series (available now, on Screen Critics *thumbs up*). Both men are still tied up as we go to a commercial break. Damn, what a time for a sudden break. While on break we see that scary Halloween Havoc promo again with The Zodiac. I never thought I’d see the day where I was legitimately freaked out by Brutus Beefcake, but here we are. We’re back from commercial now, and Savage is in the ring while Luger is outside of it. Neither man is down, however, which leads me to believe no offense moves have been dealt yet.
Luger and Savage lock up yet again, but this time Luger shoves Macho Man into the corner and then poses because he’s big and strong. Eat your vitamins, kids. Back on the outside after a slapping, and they both attempt a suplex, but Luger turns it around and hits a neck breaker. Ouch. In the ring, Savage attempted a small package, to only get a two count. Luger gets Savage up for a press slam while Bischoff babbles on about Hulk Hogan and how he’s in contact with his vehicle or something like that. Flexy Lexy showed off that strength, holding Macho Man up for a while before slamming him down hard. What a guy. Savage gets up to make a comeback, including going for a backslide, but the power game comes into play once again. Mach almost gets him, until Luger hooks his foot up on the rope to prevent himself from falling backwards. Smart man, there. Honestly, as I’m watching this, all I can think about is that scene from The Emperor’s New Groove when Pacha and Kuzco hook their arms together to climb out of that mountain gap area. That’s one of my favourite movies. I should get the blu-ray.
In the end, it was Lexicon who capitalized on the backslide, but it only netted him a two count. What a god damn shame. Both men quickly get up and we get some fast pace athletic action, until they each go for a should tackle, and both men go down. Savage went to the top rope for what appeared to be a double axe handle but gets punched in the gut on the way down for his efforts. No momentum-building here, lads. Not today. Luger goes to pick up Savage, but he gets dumped to the outside instead. Macho then goes to the top rope and this time connects with the double axe handle, which Eric Bischoff called a “double slam.” Savage then picks up Luger and slams him throat first into the barricade. This match got violent real quick. Luger recovers and slams Savage face first into the ring post. In the ring Savage has control, tossing Luger into the turnbuckle, but he takes out the referee in the process. Macho Man apparently can’t see anything because he goes to hit the famous top rope elbow drop, and covers Luger, but he just took the ref out. Maybe he is a heel after all since all heels are idiots. Nonetheless, this match continues, and here comes The Giant for one reason or another. He hits a huge chokeslam on Macho Man and makes me question my Big Show fandom afterwards. Second verse, same as the first.
Lex Luger recovers and picks up Savage for the Torture Rack. Our referee calls for the bell, and this one is over. What a disappointing finish to an otherwise fun match. Luger lets Macho Man go and then falls down, showing both men are spent after one hell of a match. This was kind of the first match here on WCW Nitro to really feel like a match. In the sense of, the match being what was important, and it not just being a vehicle to further another segment or some other non-wrestling thing. It was great. We cut away rather quickly afterwards in a somewhat anti-climactic fashion, but regardless, what’s done is done, and what’s done was good.
Match Rating: 4 stars
We get a look at the WCW Saturday Night lineup for this week, with the main match being Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Big Bubba Rogers. If that’s not some early nineties WWF bullshit, then I don’t know what is. We, unfortunately, get another look at Mongo, as the commentary team puts over how scary The Giant is. Bobby Heenan dances as Disco Inferno’s music plays, and out he comes.
Holy shit this is hilarious. It feels like a fever dream. Disco’s out here dancing, while Eric Bischoff is asking where Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko are. He sounds so confused at what’s happening, that’s what’s really putting this over. This may just be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. Disco’s theme is amazing, by the way. Just want to make sure that gets noted. Mark me up for it, I don’t mind. Ultimately his music gets interrupted by Eddie Guerrero and his theme song. Eddie confronts him down the ramp, and he disappears. Now we’re back on track (as said by Eric Bischoff). Here comes Dean Malenko now down to the ring, and we get a face-off. We see footage of Eddie Guerrero defeating Jushin Thunder Liger on WCW Main Event the night before, which was pretty cool. Back to the live footage, and this one is underway.
Match #2: Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
We start off with a lockup and some friendly taunting. Deano with a kip-up, which leaves me impressed. We get some more fun flips and technical holds, lots of fast paced action. After some more back and forth, Dean hits that lifted dropkick like Sami Zayn does these days, nice. See, this is why the cruiserweights in WCW got over. They were allowed to go out there and really have at it. These days they’re too limited, too normal. If WWE truly let Cedric and Swann and Metalik and all these guys go out there and fly around, then people would actually want to watch 205 Live. Of course keep Kendrick and Gulak and such for the rest holds and keeping down the high flyers, that’s great heel heat. I’d like to see Brian Kendrick, in particular, do something similar to what Cactus Jack did in ECW, where he’d spend as much time as possible with his opponent in a headlock. He would be the polar opposite of what a traditional cruiserweight is, and it would be great. No, I totally wasn’t waiting for a cruiserweight match to finally write all of this out. Nuh-uh. You’ve got me all wrong, fam. Wink wink.
Back to the action here, and neither man is really able to keep control of this match. They’re countering their counters and it’s so fun to watch. Or, it was, until Uncle Eric decided to freak out because apparently, Hulk Hogan is in the building. Look, I know he’s the World Champion and all that, that’s great, awesome. Good for him. However there’s an amazing match going on right now, so if he could fuck off, that would be lovely. Well actually since he’s in a car, he can cruise or wait, brother. Much to my dismay, we get a full shot of Hogan in a neck brace, talking about finding The Giant. Hulk says it’s not about him (laughing out fucking loud), but his little Hulkamaniacs cheering his name. Let’s see, Hogan originally won the WWF title in 1983, correct? Let’s assume the median age of the kids in attendance that night was six years old. That would mean a lot of those kids at that point in 1995 watching WCW Nitro were likely eighteen years old, and done with The Hulkster’s BS (much like I already am. I’ve watched five episodes, guys. Hogan sucks). Just a little something to think about. Obviously, there’s never a lack of new kids around to watch wrestling and become a Hulkamaniac, but you’ve gotta think that by 1995, it was getting old for the majority of viewers.
Thankfully we’re back to the ring, where Eddie and Deano are still going at it. Eddie sends Malenko tumbling to the outside of the ring and then hits him with a big suplex on the floor. Eddie then heads to the top rope and hits a huge dive to the outside onto Dean! Holy shit, awesome. That was the one that you see sometimes in video packages. Eddie hits a brainbuster back in the ring and goes up for a Frog Splash, which he does not land, as Dean gets his knees up. Eddie sat down on him after some exchanges to pick up the big win. What we saw of this match was pretty good. Not sure if I can rate it though, as it was clearly just background noise to the bigger Hogan vs. Giant storyline that happened throughout it. Still, it was a solid effort from both guys.
Match Rating: N/A (thanks, Hogan)
After the match, Dean Malenko pulls Eddie back into the ring and asks for a rematch, and Eddie responds with “any time, any place, brother, you’ve got it.” Good shit. I needed that after the Hogan fiasco.
Mean Gene Okerlund is in the ring now, and he brings out Hulk Hogan for an interview. A neck braced Hogan is now attempting to set his record for the most times “brother” has been said in a single promo. He rips his shirt off, all while still wearing the neck brace, and that just makes it hilarious. Well, Hulkster is off to the back to find the “big, nasty, stinky Giant.” Oh, wait, not quite. An old lady in the crowd throws powder into Hogan’s eyes and then assaults Jimmy Hart with her cane. I can’t make this shit up, guys.
She is now fucking destroying Hogan with the cane in the WCW Nitro ring, and I couldn’t find this any funnier than it is. Oh man…. this WCW Nitro might be my favourite one yet. So many hilarious moments, whether intentional or not. Anyways, out comes The Zebra Man and The Giant. What a shocker. Giant removes the neck brace, and twists Hogan’s neck like something a chiropractor would do. Granny Sullivan then shaves off Hulk Hogan’s moustache as the American Males try and fail to help. The Nasty Boys also come out, and they too get choke slammed for their efforts. Bischoff says the Nasty Boys/American Males match is now off, and all I can say is thank goodness for that. We head to commercial break and see that god damn Halloween Havoc promo again. Sigh.
Arn Anderson gets the jobber entrance for the main event. Poor man. Here comes Ric Flair, however, and you know shit is about to go down because it’s our WCW Nitro main event and it’s right now.
Match #3: Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson
Things are off to a quick start here, as Flair takes down Arn Anderson with a chop. More punching and chopping from Flair, until he gets back dropped by Anderson, and now Arn is in control. Ric takes it to Double A with more chops and then struts like only he can. Both men end up on the outside, and Arn Anderson goes back first into the barricade. More of the same from Flair here on the floor. There really isn’t much to comment on here. It’s a Flair match, basically. Condensed into a TV time frame. I do like their attires in this match, I must say. I might make them in 2K17 later. Double A hits a big spine buster inside the ring, and both end up down. Cover by Arn, kick out at two by Flair. Arny locks in what Eric called a “chicken wing armbar” so I’m gonna roll with it. Flair escapes and locks in a sleeper hold. Doesn’t last long though.
Flair knocks down Arn Anderson with an elbow and locks in the Figure Four, but Arn quickly gets to the ropes. Ric attempted a dive to the outside and got caught with a gut punch. Typical Flair. Stay away from the ropes, my friend. It never ends well. Maybe it will in your last match in WWE though. Y’never know. Having said that, I still don’t advise it. Brian Pillman shows up while Flair had Arn in the Figure Four, and now they’re both attacking Slick Ric. This match gets thrown out. Anderson is kneeing Flair in the ribs while Pillman holds him down. Looks pretty rough, to be honest. I dig it.
Match Rating: 2 stars
Every match on this weeks WCW Nitro has followed the same format tonight, it’s been really weird.
Back from commercial break, Bischoff announces Flair vs. Anderson inside a steel cage. That’s unexpected and exciting. Another big main event for WCW Nitro. We’re also getting Sting vs. The Shark. As well as Big Bubba vs. Road Warrior Hawk. At least it’s not Johnny B. Badd vs. Paul Orndorff. That’s it as Uncle Eric signs us off for this week’s episode of WCW Nitro.
Good show, good show. We had a fun opener with Savage and Luger, really exciting cruiserweight action (what was shown of it, at least), and we had a Flair match. Not to mention all of the comedy in between (I still can’t get over Granny Taskmaster beating up Hogan). I can’t really complain this week. Looking forward to next week and the cage match. Until then, I’m JeriKane, and this has been The WCW Nitro Saga.