Welcome back to my own personal hell. It’s The WCW Nitro Saga, where this week we’re getting the debut of Chris Benoit, plus Ric Flair, possibly by himself, taking on Brian Pillman and Arn Anderson. Halloween Havoc is almost here, and tonight is most definitely a show that will happen. So let’s get into it, shall we?
When?: October 16, 1995
Where?: The Albany Civic Center in Albany, Georgia
We get right into this episode with Eric Bischoff telling us that Sting will be teaming with Ric Flair, so, there goes that. So much for suspense. I swear in this day and age with all this internet and technology, you just can’t keep things a secret anymore, unless you really, really try. I consider it a modern day miracle that The Hardy Boyz appearing at WrestleMania this year didn’t leak beforehand. Now on Nitro we’ve got the company themselves just giving away these big secrets. It’s mildly annoying as there already isn’t much to look forward to tonight. I mean, we’ve got Meng vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan tonight for god’s sake. Help me help you, WCW. We can work through this together. We see a recap of Sting agreeing to be Ric Flair’s partner on WCW Pro. Sting says if Flair swerves him, he’ll leave Naitch for dead. Talk about bad timing, holy shit. Hopefully, by the time this article is released Flair will be out of the hospital and woo-ing everywhere. Either way, we love you Naitch, and we always will. Wrestling changed drastically for the better because you were around.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Johnny B. Badd
I mean, I guess technically this is a match. It doesn’t really get started though as after both men make their entrances, DDP attacks Johnny B. Badd with the WCW World Television Championship. DDP runs around afterward saying he’s a “bad man” and then lays on Badd to count the pinfall for himself, despite the fact that he’s been disqualified. It’s weird seeing DDP as a heel. I’ve always seen him as a babyface even when he was Sara’s stalker and all that. He was a heel, but not overtly so. It’s hard to describe. Also, I know he got into wrestling at a pretty old age, but I am convinced that DDP has never looked young. That’s it for this one as we cut to commercial.
Match Rating: N/A (thanks, Hogan)
Back from the break and out comes Eddie Guerrero for his match against the debuting Chris Benoit. This should be good.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit
Benoit enters to some weird, funk rock type of music. It’s not bad, but I’ll always associate Benoit with “Whatever” so it’s a bit jarring. Chris Benoit is another one who I’m convinced never looked young. He’s just an old looking, strange little man. We start off here with some very fast action. Both men trying to one-up each other, until Guerrero gets Benoit on the mat to slow the pace down a bit. Benoit hits a head-scissors takedown from a surfboard-esque position, and then Eddie gets up to do the same, which sends Benoit to the outside to regroup. Eddie teased flying through the ropes but does a 619 back into the ring to stop himself. He then proceeds to the top rope where he hits a beautiful dive onto Benoit on the outside. Back inside the ring, we get multiple German suplex attempts, before Benoit hits a back-suplex over the top rope, and both men end up falling out to the floor. God damn.
Guerrero sends Chris Benoit face first into the ring post outside the ring, and then immediately follows that up by smashing his forearm into the back of Chris’ head, which looked absolutely brutal and caused me to say “holy shit” out loud. Somehow Benoit recovers before Guerrero, and gets him back in the ring to punch away. Man, Eddie’s holding his arm. I wonder if he’s legitimately hurt there or not. Benoit hits a chicken wing suplex type of maneuver and then continues to stomp on the injured arm. It’s so strange hearing Bobby Heenan call a match between Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. These are like two completely separate generations in my mind and they’re meeting here. Eddie is still down as Benoit kicks his head and then picks him up to hit a suplex. Benoit chops Guerrero down, and then Eric Bischoff mentions Mike Tenay being on a hotline with news. Why yes, of course, that is indeed “the voice of TNA” Mike Tenay. He was the character that I played the most in the TNA Impact video game. Fuck AJ Styles, Abyss, Christian, etc. its all about Mike Tenay.
Eddie Guerrero begins to build some momentum here, with a small flurry, and it included one hell of a springboard DDT. Eddie goes for a cover, however, he only gets a two as Benoit gets his foot on the bottom rope. Benoit hits a clothesline and then tries for another chicken wing suplex deal, but it gets countered into a pinfall attempt, which only yields a one count for Eddie. Benoit and his sweet hair continue to stomp on Eddie’s various body parts while shouting at him to get up. That’s quite mean Mr. Benoit, Eddie’s hurt. These two men go to Chop City with each other, before Benoit once again takes control and slams Eddie down. There’s been a lot of stalling in this match, a lot of taunting the crowd. I’m starting to notice it now. Benoit continues working over the arm, but eventually, Eddie is able to hit a springboard head-scissors. Eddie was freaking amazing, guys. He tries to pin Chris Benoit again, but once more Benoit gets his foot on the bottom rope. I’ve already seen that more in this match than I have in the WWE overall in the past month. Eddie hits a back-suplex where Chris lands on his neck. Ouch. He then hits Chris with a brainbuster, and it looked awesome. Mongo says “if you’re not a WCW fan after watching this, you’re dumber than dirt.” Screw you Mongo. I’m an Eddie Guerrero fan first and foremost. WCW can get fucked for all I care (oh wait). I am being extremely petty, but Mongo seriously makes me mad with his stupid commentary.
Latino Heat goes up to the top for a frog splash, and I start to get really hyped. Unfortunately, Benoit gets the knees up. Sad face. Benoit hits one of the most brutal looking powerbombs I’ve ever seen, yet Eddie is able to kick out at two. Well god damn. Benoit tried for another powerbomb, but Eddie is able to escape. He then strikes Benoit with his bad arm, which would ultimately be his undoing, as Benoit is able to lock him up in a full nelson suplex to get the three count and the win. What a match.
Match Rating: 3 stars
I’d expect no less from Eddie and Benoit. Great showing.
I’m kind of surprised at how much the commentary team is putting over the cruiserweights. It was such a big change for the time, all things considered, I would have thought they’d be less… I don’t know, welcoming, to it. I’m sure it wasn’t really a choice, but regardless, it’s nice that they’re not being verbally buried. At least not yet, anyway. They’re going out of their way to make Eddie, Benoit, Dean Malenko and those guys feel like legitimate superstars. Nonetheless, we head back to the ring for Mean Gene Okerlund’s weekly interview segment. Before that though, he makes mention of a WWF employee being done for, like he apparently mentioned on the hotline on Saturday. It’s funny seeing the “number no longer in service” text on the screen, ’cause it’s so much clearer and better quality than the rest. It makes no attempt to hide that it was put in there after the fact. I really love it.
I decided to get a screenshot of it. Anyways, Mean Gene then says that a WWF Superstar got into a fight with a fan in the parking lot and came out on the losing end of the stick, which is amazing. He then advertises the hotline number so that people can hear more about the story. Now out come Mean Gene’s guests, The Giant and Rubber Ducky Man himself, Kevin Sullivan. This oughta be good. Kevin Sullivan begins to talk in the most monotone voice imaginable. What he’s saying is basically adding up to “I’m evil” which is cool. Do what you do, my friend. The crowd chants for Hogan and begin to look somewhere that’s not the ring, which leads me to believe that he is about to appear. Let’s see if I’m right when I unpause the show. Okay, I was wrong, at least for now. I don’t know how anyone could take Kevin Sullivan seriously when he’s wearing a god damn bathrobe in the middle of the ring. He doesn’t look intimidating at all. It probably doesn’t help that he’s standing next to the Big Show, but still. Come on my dude.
Kevin Sullivan says that all the little Hulkamaniacs will become the “children of the Dungeon of Doom.” Imagine the world where The Dungeon of Doom became the most popular thing in wrestling, and kids grew up wanting to be like them. Dear Lord. Big Show starts talking now, all the while Kevin Sullivan feels up his hands, which is kind of odd, but okay. The Giant is already super charismatic this early in his career, and he’s a blessing to this entire god awful storyline. Goes to show why he’s been around for so long. Giants usually have a timer on their mainstream wrestling careers. They come in for two or three big matches, and then eventually leave or become bottom-of-the-card guys. Big Show has endured. Big Show’s been up and down and inside and out. I feel like we don’t appreciate him enough. The dude’s a legend. Big Show asks if Mean Gene wants to see the hand that’ll destroy Hulk Hogan, and then he fuckin’ palms his face. This is officially the new greatest thing that I’ve ever seen.
Tell me that’s not the greatest picture you’ve ever seen, ’cause you’d be one incredibly talented liar. After this lifetime moment, we head back to Bischoff and his team, which is slightly disappointing. Mean Gene didn’t act scared of The Giant at all. How the hell is he supposed to get over as a threat to Hogan if even Mean Gene isn’t running away in terror from him? I thought that was pretty dumb. He should have bolted out of the ring like referees do whenever Undertaker starts chasing after them. Regardless, next up is Meng vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Nobody asked for this. Not a single soul asked for this match to happen. Before we get to the action, Easy E runs down the WCW Saturday Night lineup, which features the Macho Man Randy Savage taking on Bill DeMott.
Disco Inferno appears because that’s what Disco Inferno does. He quickly disappears however as Meng shows up to make his entrance. Hacksaw follows soon after and gets attacked before he can finish doing so. Gotta love WCW etiquette.
Meng vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
In the famous words of The Rock, “who is bookin’ this crap?” I mean really. It’s 1995, who the hell wants to watch Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Haku? For fuck’s sake. This was something that could have been a SummerSlam undercard match in the 1980s. Nobody wants to see this. This match is essentially a collection of punches and Jim Duggan making spots look extremely obvious. Exposing the business, my guy. Meng shows off some impressive athleticism later on by jumping and landing on the middle rope, and then attempting a backward cross body. Beautiful. Jim Duggan does his “HOOOOO” shtick and then hits Meng with a suplex. Meng spikes Duggan with his thumb, and this one’s over. Thank goodness.
Match Rating: N/A (thanks, Hogan)
It was barely a match. The very definition of TV time filler.
We get an ad for Halloween Havoc, and then Hulk Hogan appears. Still wearing black too.
Wrestling is an interesting thing. You know everyone always goes on about how The Ultimate Warrior was crazy and how his promos made no sense, but since starting this Nitro series I’ve gotta say, Hogan is giving him a run for his money there. This guy just somehow manages to ramble about absolutely nothing. He seems to hit certain keywords during his promos (“big stinky giant” being one), but other than that it’s the verbal equivalent of the wild west. Holy shit. It’s been about four minutes now and this promo is still going. What on earth. This is awful. Please make it stop. Finally, it comes to an end after Hogan threatens to “gouge” The Giant and Kevin Sullivan. Okay then.
Out come Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman for the main event. Flair comes out next, and this match begins, despite Sting not being there. The commentary is playing up the history between Sting and Flair, so it makes sense. Nonetheless, here we go.
Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman vs. Ric Flair and Sting
We start off fast paced, with Arn and Pillman trying to use the numbers to their advantage. Flair, however, is holding his own against these two. Flair takes em both down and then struts around the ring. I freaking love it. I love you, Ric. Where the fuck is this jerk Sting though? Dammit. Some poor fan dropped what appeared to be a beer into the ringside area. That thing is done for. Meanwhile, Flair is still dropping these two on his own. Ric Flair doesn’t even need a tag team partner. The crowd chants “we want Sting” as Flair and Anderson lock up. That leads to the corner where Flair unloads with chops. Slick Ric locks in a Figure Four on Arn Anderson, which leads to Pillman attempting a Frog splash to break it up, which fails. Ric Flair is too witty, lads. He’s two steps ahead of you at any given moment.
Ric gets a Figure Four on Pillman now, but it doesn’t last very long as Arn Anderson rakes the eyes and breaks it up. Flair does his turnbuckle flip spot and takes down Pillman on the apron, then goes to the top rope for a double ax handle onto Arn Anderson. Man, Ric Flair just looks like he’s having a blast out there. His happiness is making me feel happy. Naitch gets nailed with a spine-buster by Double A, but not very long after that Sting appears to even the odds in this one. Flair is unable to make the tag though as he’s in a chop battle with Pillman. Ric is finally able to make a tag to Sting and the crowd goes absolutely wild. That was a serious pop, god damn. Sting takes it to both men with some fast and furious offense, eventually hitting Stinger Splashes to the duo. Clotheslines are the special tonight, and Anderson and Pillman get served many times. Pillman tried for the top rope but gets crotched for his efforts. In the end, Pillman and Anderson get counted out, therefore your winners of this match, Sting and Ric Flair.
Match Rating: 2 stars
A very fun little main event. I can’t be mad at it.
We go to a commercial because no post match fun will ever be allowed. When we get back Mean Gene is in the ring interviewing Sting and Flair. Sting says his doubts about Ric may just be out the door after tonight. Sting says Flair showed heart and guts, and at Halloween Havoc he will team with The Nature Boy to take on Anderson and Pillman. They high five to end the segment, and we’re done here.
This show was fantastic. Eddie and Benoit had a pretty decent match, we got to see Ric Flair being Ric Flair, and that’s always fun. Plus a nonsensical Hogan promo. You can’t really ask for much more than that. Next week we’ll see a few tag matches, and hopefully some more Hogan cluster-fuckery as well. Until next time I am JeriKane, and this is the WCW Nitro Saga.