On This Day: August 19, 1996 – Monday Nitro: Why Is The Denver Post In Italy?

Monday Nitro #49
Date: August 19, 1996
Location: Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Attendance: 5,850
Commentators: Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan, Eric Bischoff, Tony Schiavone

 

We’re a week away from #4 being revealed in the NWO. We’re also closing in on Fall Brawl and the beginning of the biggest and most lucrative storyline that WCW ever came up with. The time getting there is a bit slow but it’ll pick up in a hurry. The main event here is Giant vs. Savage which isn’t for the title anymore. Other than that there isn’t much here but it doesn’t look bad. Let’s get to it.

 

Jim Duggan vs. VK Wallstreet

 

This is a rematch from the Clash. Why we would want to see it again is beyond me but I doubt they’ve thought it that far through. Duggan tried for the tape but got rolled up for the upset (I guess) pin. They go to the floor almost immediately and Duggan takes over in the brawling environment. Back in for an atomic drop and now it’s back over again. Time to talk about the NWO! Ok to be fair I’d rather talk about that than this match.

 

Larry brings up the possibility that those guys might not be trustworthy and Tony says he thinks there’s one person more trustworthy than anyone else. I’ll leave the identity of this person a secret because he would join the NWO in two weeks. Off to a chinlock by Wallstreet as Tony talks about how intelligent Duggan is. Larry: “Are you ribbing me?” I’m with Larry Z here.

 

More chinlockery ensues as we hear about Duggan’s track record. That would include beating Steve Austin clean in 45 seconds for you non-history geeks. They collide and I’d bet on Duggan’s comeback starting now. Yep his head becomes impossible to hurt now and Duggan pounds away. There’s the tape and it’s declared foreign. But Duggan would never use something foreign! The referee takes it away from him so Duggan pulls out some more and the referee says it’s totally cool when it goes upside Wallstreet’s head for the pin.

 

Rating: D. I really am wondering why this match was taking place. I get that it’s a rematch but why did the original one take place at all? I mean, was there some clamor for these two to have a two match feud? The match was garbage too with Wallstreet being about five years past being interesting in the ring. Also the Vince parody (VK. Get it?) was only funny if you were really inside things and most fans weren’t, making it, say it with me, POINTLESS.

 

Duggan goes serious and talks to “Terry”, saying he turned his back on everyone. Here comes Savage for some reason. He says he’s going to beat up Hogan and now it’s a Savage interview. We look at some video of Hogan beating Savage with a chair last week. As for Giant, he’s got a problem with him which I think is they’re fighting. Can’t say Savage is looking ahead to Hogan entirely.

 

We talk about Giant being unstoppable lately and get some clips of him mauling Benoit in like 8 seconds at the last Clash.

 

Chris Benoit vs. Bobby Eaton

 

Eaton is a hometown boy but he’s in the Blue Blood period here. He’s on his own though as the Blue Bloods are having issues. As Benoit is making his entrance, this old lady has the biggest grin on her face and gives him two thumbs down. That’s awesome. This should be good as Eaton is a fine technical guy. Benoit beats him down and grabs a brief abdominal stretch.

 

Eaton takes it to the mat and can keep up with Chris out there for a bit. Benoit isn’t playing tonight though (when is he ever?) and sends Eaton into the post and hip tosses him on the floor. Back in and Eaton tags him with a right. We talk about WarGames which is a big deal every year. Benoit chokes away and Eaton does the same. I’m not used to him brawling like this. A swinging neckbreaker puts Benoit down but the Alabama Jam misses. Swan Dive and we’re done.

 

Rating: C+. Pretty good match here and Benoit gets to look dominant. This is what Eaton or guys like him are good at: making young guys look good. Jobbers to the stars are missing so badly anymore as they’re so rapidly rotated and then new ones have to be pushed to give them some credibility and it takes forever to get one into that role.

 

We get some clips from the triangle tag match last Thursday where the Outsiders interfered and we got a DQ in a triple threat thanks to Nick Patrick. We also see the main event where Hogan might have said he gave up but he took out the referee before it could be recorded and the match was thrown out.

 

Sting/Luger talk about their match with Flair/Anderson later which wouldn’t happen. They have a plan tonight and a possible surprise. Sting can’t stand either of them and promises a surprise also but doesn’t say what it is.

 

Disco Inferno vs. Scott Norton

 

Disco fires away and turns his back on Norton and I think you know where this goes. Disco tries to run but Norton, just like any villain, walks really slowly and manages to catch him. How does that work anyway? We’ve been at this for about two minutes now and Norton has barely done anything. Disco goes for the eyes which works for about a second. Shoulderbreaker and a Fujiwara Armbar end this.

 

Rating: C. It’s a squash so I’ll call it right in the middle. Norton looked awesome but would be in the NWO before a few months passed. This was supposed to set up more Norton vs. Ice Train which was a feud that went on too long. I don’t know if it ever got a rematch from Hog Wild and I really don’t care to. Hog Wild’s match wasn’t horrible though.

 

Teddy Long talks for Ice Train and accuses Patrick of costing Train the match. We get a clip of Norton beating up Ice Train. Oh my goodness Ice Train cannot talk. I mean he REALLY can’t talk.

 

Dean Malenko vs. Steven Regal

 

This should be good. We go to the mat immediately which is usually good for Dean but here he’s actually outmatched. We take a break and come back with the guys again exchanging nice moves with no one getting a solid advantage. Regal cartwheels away and takes Malenko down with a shot to the head for two. Off to a modified chinlock which only lasts for a few seconds.

 

Malenko gets a hip toss for two. A hip toss? Really? European Uppercut gets two for Regal. Now we talk about Patrick being corrupt which Larry dismisses as paranoia. Regal grabs a full nelson as Larry offers some actual analysis. Why can’t more veterans do that? Dean goes aerial and hits a springboard dropkick to the back of the head and the American hits a German to the Englishman and there’s a second for two. Regal grabs a butterfly suplex for two. He can’t pin Malenko and it’s making him mad. After a very nice back and forth pinning reversal sequence Malenko grabs a rollup for the pin.

 

Rating: B. If you want fast paced technical stuff, this was the match you should have gone after. Good stuff here from two masters on the mat with a great ending sequence. They only rested when they had gone a good pace before it so I can more than live with that. It’s a rare instance where I wanted to see what happened during the break. Good match as expected with good talent in the ring.

 

The Horsemen rant and rave about how awesome they are and how great the Horsemen life is.

 

Hour #2 begins.

 

Nasty Boys vs. Public Enemy

 

Eric talks about how there’s a lawsuit from the WWF. A total of no one cares but hey, it’s real so that means everyone wants to hear it in Bischoff’s mind. The same old woman from the Benoit match boos the Public Enemy. It’s a brawl to start and probably will be for most of the match. We go split screen quickly and Bobby points out this isn’t really a tag match. Knobbs drops an elbow on Grunge for two. Grunge misses one of his own off the apron. There’s nothing to talk about here as it’s been a big brawl the entire time. A table is set up but Sags moves, putting both Enemies through it. The pin on Rock is academic.

 

Rating: C+. As a match it was awful. As a total brawl, which was the point of this, it was pretty decent. The ending was a big spot for the time and it looked good at the same time. The tables then were a bit thicker so it sounded a lot better. The Public Enemy would get the tag titles for like two weeks later in the year.

 

The Nasties are neutral in the NWO vs. WCW war and just want the tag titles.

 

We get another clip from the Clash with Eddie beating DDP for the Battlebowl Ring but Page pulled him into a pair of Diamond Cutters. Chavo came out for the save on his uncle which failed, resulting in a middle rope Diamond Cutter on Eddie.

 

Chavo Guerrero vs. Diamond Dallas Page

 

Chavo is only known as Eddie’s nephew here and doesn’t have much of a resume of his own. He sends Page to the floor and hits a huge dive to open us up. Page is sent into the corner a few times but Chavo misses a charge, hitting the post shoulder first. He hit the buckle on the way in so the impact was slowed down. Page uses his size which is often forgotten about. He’s 6’5 or 6’6 so it really is an advantage.

 

We talk about Savage vs. Giant which is happening because Savage blames Giant for losing the title. WHEN DID HE SAY THAT??? This is the kind of thing we need to be told by Savage, not Bischoff. Page is dominating here and hits that sweet gutwrench powerbomb but lets it up at two. Spinning Rock Bottom gets two as Page lets him up again. Out of NOWHERE Chavo grabs a backslide for the quick pin.

 

Rating: C+. Chavo was a lot better when he was young and he got to show off a bit here. Page was getting better every day at this point and looked good here. The push was coming soon and it was clear at this point that he was earning it. The Page vs. Guerreros feud would culminate at the end of the year but it was fun getting there.

 

Page knocks Chavo loopy with a Diamond Cutter and steals Patrick’s belt to whip Chavo. Patrick doesn’t do anything until Randy Anderson comes out and takes it from Page. In the aisle Patrick blames Gene for the issues around him. Gene implies that Patrick bought a house he can’t afford.

 

We flash back a year ago with the American Males winning the tag titles in a shocker over Harlem Heat. Eric says this is the rematch. I guess the Males losing the belts back a few days later didn’t count?

 

Tag Titles: Harlem Heat vs. American Males

 

The Males (the team, not the gender even though that could apply to either team) get jumped to start and the champs have the early advantage. Both of the Males (Bagwell and Riggs) are beaten down quickly as I’m not expecting much competition in this one. Ray hits a suplex on Riggs and it’s off to Booker. Riggs fires off a dropkick to give himself a breather and down goes Booker.

 

There’s a double tag and Bagwell kicks Booker in the head as he jumps in. That looked good. He escapes a pumphandle slam into a cover but Booker saves. A rollup gets two and they go outside to brawl. Riggs hits a dropkick for two and Bagwell goes up. Booker shoves him off into a powerslam by Ray though and that’s good for three.

 

Rating: C+. Another fast paced match here with Eric losing his mind over this for some reason. I think it’s probably a stretch for the eleven month rematch idea but they needed something I guess to keep the match from being a squash so this was a pretty good idea if they had to go with this match. Much better than I expected here.

 

Arn Anderson/Ric Flair vs. Sting/Lex Luger

 

Sting has a mic immediately and wants to have the other Horsemen come into the ring. Mongo and Benoit come out and we take a break. So is Sting just going to wait around for five minutes? Gene comes out sans jacket and Sting’s surprise from earlier is he wants Anderson and Flair to join him and Luger against the NWO in WarGames. That takes a few minutes to ask. Arn warns Luger and Sting that this is something serious and that jiggling pecs have nothing to do with WarGames. Weren’t they on the same WarGames team at one point?

 

The match isn’t happening as we’re going to talk a little while longer. You can’t argue that this is a big move though. Everyone talks to everyone and it really is getting close to an awesome moment. Flair says it’s up to Mongo and Benoit. If they’re cool with it, Flair is cool with it. Benoit says he’ll stand behind Anderson and Flair’s decision. Nice touch there for the young Horsemen to stand behind the veterans. Mongo (loudly booed) says he’s willing to sacrifice but if Sting and Luger screw over the Horsemen, he’ll be coming for them. The deal is made. This really was a cool moment.

 

The NWO talk about being in “Italy” and film themselves filming each other. Nash: “Why is the Denver Post in Italy?” Funny stuff.

 

The Giant vs. Randy Savage

 

Savage jumps Giant in the aisle with a chair. Giant easily beats him down on the floor and Team WCW vs. Team NWO is official for Fall Brawl. After Giant throws him over the top rope the bell actually rings. Savage escapes the chokeslam and grabs the chair but has to fight off the invading Dungeon of Doom as this match is thrown out. Savage runs from the numbers but Giant jumps over the top to the floor. Giant is Big Show. Imagine Big Show jumping over the top rope to the floor.

 

Overall Rating: A-. I can’t believe what I’m saying but this was a very good and borderline excellent show. Everybody had energy, there was a point to almost everything, we got a big moment in the Horsemen teaming with Sting/Luger, the matches were good and there were some cool spots. THIS is what made Nitro look so much better than Raw: everything was fast paced and exciting and the wrestling got better and better, especially when they got some of their new faces in there like Jericho and Raven. Very good show and one of the best ever of the first 50.

 

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