In the eighth edition of the WCW Nitro Saga, we get Harlem Heat vs. Sting & Lex Luger in the main event, plus cruiserweights and more.
Welcome back to the WCW Nitro Saga ladies and gentlemen, where this week we’re getting tag team action in the form of two (yes, two) tag matches, as well as the Macho Man Randy Savage in singles action. We’re inching ever so closer to Halloween Havoc, and the hype is getting real. Let’s get into this week’s episode of WCW Monday Nitro.
When?: October 23, 1995
Where?: Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville Alabama
Eric Bischoff welcomes us to WCW Nitro and says that we’re “T-minus 6 days away” from Halloween Havoc. Thank goodness for that, finally no more of that scary commercial after tonight. We’re wasting no time as I see Kurasawa in the ring already, with pyro going off all around him. The life of a pro wrestler. Well, not anymore I guess, but in 1995, definitely. Randy Macho King Man Savage makes his way down, and we’re off and running with our first bout of the night. This will never not be jarring to me. Where’s the twenty-minute promo to kick off WCW Nitro? What kind of wrasslin’ program is this? Nonetheless, here we go.
Match #1 – Randy Savage vs. Kurasawa
Up first on this weeks WCW Nitro. Eric Bischoff mentions that Macho Man has an arm injury and that that will put him at a disadvantage tonight against the man who broke Road Warrior Hawk’s arm, Kurasawa. This is all news to me, I don’t think they mentioned any of this on Nitro last week. When do we get to the point where they stop having storyline progression on Saturday Night and Pro? ‘Cause I feel very out of the loop right now. Especially considering we’re only a few days away from Halloween Havoc. Hashtag major implications, brother. Macho Man Randy Savage decides to get ‘savage’ here, like the kids these days say, as he shoves Col. Parker to the ground before Kurasawa goes on the attack. Don’t mess with Macho Man, my dudes. It won’t end well for you. Kurasawa with a ton of chops and leg kicks here to start things off. It’s been almost a full minute of these same moves, and it’s quite a spectacle, to be honest. Macho Man is getting messed up. I like this Kurasawa, guys. I was a little hard on him when he had that random match against… Craig Pittman, but I am coming around on him.
Savage seems to be in a permanent bent-over state as Kurasawa lays into him. Finally Savage is able to grab the tights and pull Kurasawa out of the ring for a bit of a reprieve. However, it doesn’t last long as Kura does his best Rusev impression on the outside of the ring before getting back in and nailing Savage with another huge chop. I’m now convinced Mr. Sawa did the motion capture for the AKI wrestling video games. The way he got back into the ring looked exactly the way it did in No Mercy when I played that game. Kurasawa sends Macho Man into the ropes and grabs him for what at first appeared to be a spine-buster, but ended up becoming some kind of suplex-esque maneuver. He attempts a cover, and Macho King kicks out at two. All the while Col. Parker is losing his shit on the apron. Kurasawa now back to work, going after the elbow-padded arm of Macho Man. This is not good news for Mach. This guy is an arm breaking machine. Beware. We get a good shot of the crowd here, and all I really see are people bored out of their minds and some very stereotypical 90s hairstyles on the women. It’s like watching Full House and Boy Meets World rolled into one.
Macho Man rakes the eyes of Kurasawa, but quickly Sawa regains control with a throat chop. A very, very theatrical throat chop. Savage ends up on the outside of the ring and gets met with a baseball slide by Kurasawa. More stomps to the back of the Macho Man follow soon after. Back in the ring, We get an elbow breaker of sorts by Kurasawa, and Bischoff really puts over how devastating it is on commentary. That’s cool, man. We get pulled away for a commercial break, and right before that happens, Savage manages to land a quick kick. When we come back, however, Kurasawa is back in control. He gives us some Ric Flair-like chops in the corner. Savage tries kicking at Kurasawa’s midsection to make a comeback, yet it doesn’t work. What do you have to do? This guy’s a beast. Savage goes to the outside and thwarts another baseball slide by Kurasawa. He follows that up by dodging a kick by K-sawa. and he ends up kicking the ring post as a result. Inside the ring now, Kurasawa tried for a submission move, however, Macho Man sends him throat first into the top rope, then hits a clothesline to the back of his head for good measure. Savage scales the ropes as Kurasawa gets into position. Elbow drop from the top, one, two, three, we have a winner ladies and gentlemen.
Match Rating: 2 Stars
I am personally not a fan of that sudden win. Kurasawa was in control for quite literally the entire match, and Savage just hits three moves and wins? That’s kind of annoying. Otherwise, it was an… interesting opener. I can’t say for sure if it got the crowd hot or not. Still, it was a good showing for Kurasawa. I’m not too mad at it. Solid if unspectacular opening to WCW Nitro.
We see the commentary team for the first time tonight. Bischoff goes on about how Hogan is in the building, as well as the Dungeon of Doom. He mentions that there are no restraining orders in place tonight. Whatcha gonna do, brother???? Hopefully, we’ll get some interaction between these guys tonight. Even if it’s just Hogan burying the entire group. Pretty much anything will be better than another Hogan promo at this point. While Heenan talks, the lights go out on WCW Nitro. Ooooh, mystery.
I don’t know what to say. I feel like I got transported into some Star Wars galaxy or something. What in the ever loving fuck is this? Who? Why? I have so many questions. This dude out here looking like Abdullah The Butcher, Jabba The Hut and the Emperor from Star Wars all in one. I can see where WWE might have gotten some inspiration for Ministry Undertaker though. He…. sat in a chair, too. I mean that’s blatantly copying WCW isn’t it? Hahaha…. uh…. anyway, this guy is shouting words that I can’t really make out. So far I’ve recognized “Sullivan,” “my son,” and “the eyes of the demon.” Maybe Finn Balor is about to appear. Mean Gene is in the ring with The Giant and Kevin Sullivan. He asks what the meaning of this strange man is, and what’s in the iceberg that’s at ringside. I’m glad he said what it was, I wasn’t too sure. Taskmaster says that inside that iceberg is the Dungeon of Doom’s insurance policy (yet another thing WWE stole smh) and that they went and got “The Yetay.” Dude, I thought The Yetay wasn’t until, like, 1997.
Kevin Sullivan legitimately looks like a small child, it’s almost adorable. He says that there is no goodness left in The Hulkster, while the crowd actually chants for Hogan. That’s new. The Giant grabs the mic and Mean Gene struggles to hold on to it. He says Hulk Hogan is running out of lives, and some other stuff, but that line stood out to me because he’s comparing Hogan to a cat. Sullivan then says in Detroit the title will be The Giant’s. Mean Gene thanks them and says that later tonight Easy E will have an interview with Hulk Hogan. Exciting times, my friends. We get a few advertisements in, then it’s back to the ring where Mean Gene introduces Hulk Hogan. That was quick. I am not mentally prepared yet for what’s about to go down. Hogan says he has nothing to fear but does so in many, many words. He then implies he will murder The Giant. He THEN proceeds to rip off his neck brace in what I’m sure was supposed to be a huge moment, but I’m honestly just glad it’s off. Stop playing games, Hogan. It’s time to get serious brother man dude jack.
Holy shit, Hulk Hogan just called himself “the big dog” and then “the bad guy.” That was extremely unexpected. I think you all know what this means. It’s time for Roman Reigns to reclaim his yard, by taking on Hogan in a match at WrestleMania 34. ‘Cause you see, he’s not a good guy, he’s certainly not a bad guy like The Hulkster over here. He’s THE guy. We get a look at the WCW Saturday Night card, and it features The American Males vs. Harlem Heat for the tag titles, plus Lex Luger vs. The Shark. Sounds like must watch television, no? Nonetheless, here come Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit down to the ring for our next contest.
Match #2 – Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero & Mr. J.L.
Apparently, Alex Wright got hurt and couldn’t get cleared to compete in this match, therefore his replacement is Mr. J.L. We get some early pushing and shoving between Benoit and Guerrero before this match even begins. Eddie and Benoit start it off once the bell officially rings, and Eddie quickly takes down Benoit. He locks him in a leg lock. I just want to point out that I love Eddie’s attire in this match. It’s really basic, but he still looks like a star in it. The same cannot be said for one Chris Benoit over here, looking like an unlockable wrestler from “Pro Wrestling” on the NES. He eventually got it together with his look, but man. This right here is not good. Eddie transitions into a wrist lock, and then into a side headlock. He’s so fast and smooth. Benoit sneakily makes a tag to Malenko while in that headlock, which leads to an awesome double leapfrog spot there, and eventually, Eddie rolls out the ring to escape the double team. That, however, proves to be not very effective, as Dean Malenko hits a crossbody from the inside of the ring to Eddie on the outside, and he does so while having an absolutely expressionless face. Who says Dean Malenko isn’t exciting to watch? Certainly not me.
Benoit then goes for a…. dive through the ropes, as Malenko holds Guerrero in place. Eddie ultimately was able to move out of the way, which sent Benoit crashing into Deano. We get some double team action from Guerrero and Mr. J.L. as Eddie sends the little guy flying into their opponents outside the ring. It’s getting quick and crazy, Maggle. I love it. Back in the ring, we get some punches and kicks from Malenko. Eddie turns things around with an awesome spinning arm drag. He gets stopped in his tracks though as Malenko gets up and hits him with a big jumping heel kick. Bischoff then calls a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker a “spinning 360 backbreaker.” I mean, I guess he’s not really wrong, but still. Come on my guy. Eddie tags in Jerry Lynn and we get some more double team action, specifically an aided flying knee into the corner on Malenko. Very nice. Once again the attention is taken off the cruiserweights, as we get a view of a brawl backstage between Scott Norton and The Shark. Please tell me we’re not gonna have to sit through them two having a match next week. Oh my goodness no.
Back to the action inside the squared circle, somewhere along that bit of time Benoit tagged himself in, and now he and Mr. J.L. are going back and forth with some fast paced action. Malenko tags in while Bobby Heenan on commentary says “you know, Alex Wright was trying to do some of Disco Inferno’s dance moves, that’s how he blew his knee out” and now I am laughing hysterically. Oh man. We head to a commercial break, and when we get back Mr. J.L. is (still) getting wrecked by Dean Malenko. Apparently, Chris Benoit has a bloody mouth as well. We get a tag and a double headbutt by Malenko and Benoit. Christopher then hits a huge suplex on Lynn, but it only yields him a one count as Eddie ran in to break it up. J.L. tried to make a comeback but failed, as Benoit sidestepped his attack. Another pin attempt by Benoit for a two count, then he tags out. Some nice wrestling here with quick tags in between. At one point Malenko hit a springboard leg drop. It’s not as cool as it probably sounds, but it was still pretty great. Benoit lands some chops, then… bounces Mr. J.L. off the top rope. J.L. finally starts to make a comeback here, despite Benoit tagging in Malenko. He hits Malenko with a jumping heel kick and both men are down. He needs to tag in Eddie Guerrero, and fast.
TAG MADE! The crowd goes wild, however as soon as Eddie gets in he gets caught with a kick to the midsection. God dammit. Eddie is quickly back in control, and he’s on fire. He’s taking down both men and even hits an awesome double head scissors take down. He sneakily (word of the day) tags in Mr. J.L. while doing so, Amidst all the chaos, Mr. J.L. manages to steal a pin! Holy crap, that match was pretty great. Awesome performances by all involved.
Match Rating: 3.5 Stars
Eddie Guerrero starts making his way up the WCW Nitro ramp when he’s suddenly attacked from behind by Brian Pillman. Pillman then delivers a DDT to Eddie on the arena floor. Wow.
We move forward now as Harlem Heat makes their entrance for our main event of the evening. Sometimes you lose perspective of how big wrestlers really are compared to your average adult male, but for some reason when Stevie Ray got in the ring I couldn’t help but think how huge he looked in comparison to the ref, and even the ring itself. Down come Sting and Luger next. Sting makes some kid’s entire year when he heavily interacts with him. Kid was grinning from ear to ear. It kind of reminded me of when Rey Mysterio was still in WWE and he’d go up to the kids who were wearing his masks. I always thought that was awesome.
Match #3 – Harlem Heat vs. Sting & Lex Luger
We start things off, in this WCW Nitro main event, with Sting and Booker T. Imagine if they’d been in the WWE together in say, 2002 or 2003. I bet they would have had some good matches around that time. Booker starts off aggressive with clubbing blows. He continues by shouting at the crowd. Some very nice athleticism being shown by both Booker and Sting. That comes to a halt when Sting hip tosses Booker to the outside of the ring. Sting meets him out there with a right hand, then loads him back into the ring. The Stinger lands a back body drop, then tags in Lex Luger for the first time in this match. When we come back from a commercial break we see Stevie Ray in control of Luger with a claw. Booker T tags back in and hits a dropkick, then follows it up by stomping away on a downed Luger. First pin attempt of the match yields a two count for Booker T.
We get some double teaming and cheating from Harlem Heat here. Sting is being taunted by Harlem Heat, and as a result, is throwing fits. Booker even struck Sting, who no sold and tried to attack Booker T in return. Book steps on the throat of Luger, then shouts at the crowd some more. He follows that up with a scissors kick to the back of Luger’s neck. We get a shot of Sensational Sherri looking at and kissing Polaroid pictures of herself with Col. Parker (or Sanders, whatever). She’s cheating on Harlem Heat bro. After a long headlock, we get Luger fighting back against Booker. Just as the action picks up though, the camera switches to show the block of ice in the arena. Wonderful. Back to the action, Booker attempted a Harlem Hangover, but Luger was able to get out of the way just in the nick of time. Luger is finally able to make the hot tag to Sting, and Sting is in there like a house of fire. He’s takin’ it to both Stevie Ray and Booker T. Sting hits dual Stinger Splashes, then attempts a Scorpion Death Lock. Before he can do that, however, he gets interrupted. The Heat double suplex Flexy Lexy, but Sting is the legal man, and he flies off the top rope to get the one, two, three with a crossbody.
Match Rating: 2 Stars
As soon as the bell rings Taskmaster and The Giant run down to the ring. Giant hits chokeslams on both Sting and Luger while Sullivan does nothing. Out comes the Macho Man to confront The Giant, however before either man can make a move, Hogan runs down and into the fray. He tells Macho Man to get out of the ring (essentially) and hits Giant with some right hands, but they have no effect whatsoever. Giant reveals Hogan’s shiny head before Hogan makes a comeback and eventually sends Giant face first into the top turnbuckle. As soon as that happens though, the rest of the Dungeon of Doom appears. Sad face. A brawl ensues until ultimately Hogan and Savage are the last men standing. WCW Nitro ends with The Yetay breaking out of the iceberg literally at the moment the show goes off the air. What the hell WCW Nitro.
This was a pretty WCW Nitro. We had a great showing from Kurasawa, that awesome cruiserweight tag match, and some more clusterfuckery from the Dungeon of Doom. It’s all so cheesy now, but I’m sure at the time people liked that Dungeon storyline. I’m not sure if The Yetay would have got me to order Halloween Havoc, but I’d for damn sure tune in next week (which I will indeed be doing). I don’t know, I’m starting to come around on it. Maybe because it’s finally going super over the top, but things are certainly changing on WCW Nitro
Until next time, I am JeriKane, and this is the WCW Nitro Saga.