On This Day: September 2, 1996 – Monday Nitro: And Giant Makes Five

Monday Nitro #51
Date: September 2, 1996
Location: UTC Arena, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Attendance: 5,893
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko, Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay

 

Tonight we get the fifth member of the NWO, meaning it’s time for this thing to really take off. Also we only have two more weeks to go until Fall Brawl which is where the biggest WCW storyline ever comes up. Tonight the main event is an 8 man tag with the Horsemen vs. the Dungeon of Doom which sounds like it’ll either be good or a trainwreck. Let’s get to it.

 

Oh and this is Labor Day 96, which is the day in 95 where the show started.

 

We get clips from last week with the NWO spray painting the truck and DiBiase showing up.

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Alex Wright

 

These two had a good match on a Clash I recently reviewed so hopefully this is good. Page tries to take Wright down but walks into a spinewheel kick to send him to the floor. Wright dives to the floor and Page is in trouble early. A slingshot splash gets two. We talk about Page’s feud with the Guerreros and Larry gets in a good line with “Page should have feuded with someone with a smaller family.”

 

Sitout powerbomb gets two and Page sets for the Diamond Cutter. Wright counters and the German tries a German, only to reverse with some elbows. Wright hits a belly to belly for two…and then gets kicked in the ribs and the Diamond Cutter ends this. The fans popping for the Cutter is a tell tale sign of things to come.

 

Rating: C+. Pretty good match here with Wright being his usual high flying self. The key thing to Page became that he was able to hit the Cutter from every possible angle and it made him incredibly popular in the same vein as Jake Roberts who had a hand in training Page, showing that psychology can be taught.

 

Nick Patrick is accused of being slow on the count in this match. I didn’t exactly see that but you don’t argue with Gene Okerlund.

 

Colonel Parker has a gift for Sherri and says that Harlem Heat is going to the ring on their own. Sherri’s nickname is Twinkle Eyes. The present is a leather vest and leather chaps. I think sex is implied.

 

Tag Titles: Harlem Heat vs. Greg Valentine/Buddy Valentino

 

Mark Curtis makes his debut as a referee. Valentino looks like a fatter Buddy Landell. Ted Dibiase is here. Again the wrestling idea of two random people who have never teamed before being #1 contenders comes up again here. Hammer pounds away on Booker in the beginning of a slow match. Off to Valentino who is fat and gets beaten up for his efforts. Side kick gets two. Harlem Hangover and we’re done.

 

Rating: D+. Boring squash and again I ask: why (from a kayfabe perspective) would a team like Valentine and Valentino get a title shot? It’s one of those things that I never understand in wrestling. Anyway the match was bad but the Heat would drop the titles to Public Enemy for about two weeks soon before getting them back to lose them to the Outsiders at I think Halloween Havoc.

 

Harlem Heat says they’re ready for the Nasty Boys at Fall Brawl. The Nasties jump them during the interview. This goes on for awhile and Booker takes a spike piledriver.

 

Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho

 

Mike Tenay sits in on commentary. He goes into the history of the guys and we can see why he was called the Professor. Nick Patrick is referee here again and Jericho takes over with some spin kicks. There’s an ECW chant. Dean fights back with a brainbuster for two. Off to a chinlock by Malenko and DiBiase gets up to leave. Dean, the heel here, hooks a headscissors on the mat but Jericho channels the powers of Canada to get up into an electric chair drop to escape.

 

Dean cheats some more by holding the rope in an abdominal stretch. After Jericho escapes Dean goes up and spins in mid air to hit a bulldog. This is a lot more of a chess match than the usual match you would get. Both guys head to the floor but Jericho is able to get back in and hit a baseball slide and the springboard dive to take over. Missile dropkick gets two but Dean counters a tombstone into a tombstone (it’s not like you can do much else out of that) for two.

 

The Canadian hits a German on the American for two. Spinwheel kick by Jericho looks to set up something off the top but, and here’s the real shock, Jericho gets too cocky and it allows Dean to get back up. The American tries a German on the Canadian but Jericho rolls through for the pin in a victory roll for an upset.

 

Rating: B-. Good high flying stuff here with Jericho getting the upset win to make him into a bigger deal. When your big win is against JL on Saturday Night there’s not much to talk about. This was rather fun though and both guys were moving out there. It helps that they had about 9 minutes to work with also and you got a good TV match out of it.

 

Video on Mysterio and Super Calo who are fighting for the Cruiserweight Title at the PPV.

 

The Giant vs. Brad Armstrong

 

The good thing here is that we’re told why Savage wants to fight Giant: Savage blames Giant for dropping the ball at Hog Wild. NOW WHY WAS THAT SO HARD TO EXPLAIN LAST WEEK??? Tony calls Giant the top heavyweight in the world right now. Wouldn’t that be Hulk? The limo has arrived out back. Armstrong tries but he’s no match for the Giant. This actually gets some time as Giant is supposed to be distracted. And there’s the chokeslam so never mind.

 

Hogan talks about being champion. Oh and the NWO win WarGames. That takes about three minutes to get through.

 

It’s hour #2 now.

 

The announcers talk about last week and DiBiase’s stuff. The NWO painting the truck and beating up the guys at the end of the show is also shown again.

 

Randy Savage vs. Ron Studd

 

They did this match with Benoit as he was about to face Giant. It’s a good idea because it lets Savage get some experience against a much bigger guy. As is his custom in this time period, Savage gets beaten up and we cut to the NWO limo with someone getting out of it but Hogan and the Outsiders say get the camera out of here before we see who it is. They say a name which is a hint but I’ll save it for later because it’ll give it away. Savage takes it to the floor and rams his throat across the railing for the axe handle. A slam and the elbow end this quick. Just a workout for Savage.

 

Savage talks about Hogan and Halloween Havoc rather than the Giant. He’s going to be living in Vegas now or something like that.

 

Steiner Brothers vs. Sting/Lex Luger

 

I’m thinking this isn’t going to be as good as SuperBrawl I was. Before the bell we cut to the back and see the Horsemen running out to the limo but it’s empty. They’re in the building. After a break we’re back with the match. The fans barking is always confusing at first because it sounds like booing. Lex and Rick start us of….and there’s a bell. Nick Patrick (do they have another referee?) disuqlifies Luger and Sting because Rick shoved Luger into him and Luger brushed against Patrick. This lasted all of 35 seconds and I had to rewind it to see what the DQ was for.

 

Four Horsemen vs. Dungeon of Doom

 

It’s the Faces of Fear, Big Bubba and Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan vs. Mongo to get us going. I’m not sure that’s the best combination but we’ll get to the better stuff soon. Mongo takes a double stomp to the chest and instead of hurting him, it fires him up. A shoulder block brings Bubba in and they’re on the floor already. Off to Benoit vs. Barbarian and Sullivan’s interference doesn’t work.

 

The cops are in the back for some reason. Here’s Flair to a huge pop. And let’s get away from the guy the fans want to see as we need to watch Sting and Luger chase Nick Patrick. Patrick runs towards the limo but turns away from it instead. Ted DiBiase is getting into the limo so Sting throws a brick through it, because every major sports arena has a pile of readily available bricks next to it. The limo drives off so Sting and Luger steal a cop car and chase after it. This is never going to be prosecuted is it?

 

Back to the ring and it’s Flair vs. Meng. Flair hits him low and the referee is cool with that. Bischoff actually mentions that Sting and Luger will be going to jail. We cut to the back and see the police guard calling in the stolen cop car. Yeah because THIS was necessary to see instead of the match right? Barbarian slams Anderson and drops an elbow so he can load Anderson into the Tree of Woe.

 

Anderson hammers on Bubba and counters a Meng piledriver. After a break Anderson falling into a tag to Benoit and things start to break down. We get to Sullivan vs. Benoit and I’d believe this is at least partially shoot. The Dungeon beats Benoit down and the Horsemen are busy thinking of ways to beat up Dusty Rhodes I guess because they don’t bother making the save. Flair breaks up a pin off a spinebuster and everything breaks down again.

 

They head to the floor and Flair grabs a chair as Bischoff plugs a Muhammad Ali documentary. Back inside and Bubba does the really stupid looking spot where you intentionally jump into the other guy’s boot. Off to Sullivan and Benoit who get to chop each other a lot. The Faces of Fear beat up the Canadian a bit but Benoit hits a cross body out of nowhere but gets double teamed again.

 

Things break down a little bit as Anderson plants Bubba with a spinebuster but Barbarian breaks up the tag. This has been going about 15 minutes already so it’s getting a lot of time and that’s including the time in the back. The Faces of Fear try a double top rope headbutt but Benoit rolls away and FINALLY gets the tag, bringing in Naitch. Everything breaks down for about the 5th time and Flair puts the Figure Four on Sullivan and Woman does….something to help Flair get the pin with the hold still on.

 

Rating: C+. Long match here as it went nearly 20 minutes. It’s a good example of how long doesn’t make it good though as this match is really just ok. Benoit and Sullivan kept trying to have this big brutal feud but it just went on forever with the same brawls and it stopped being good after about the first two. Anyway, not bad here but nothing more than that.

 

The NWO comes in immediately and beats down everyone. Here comes the Giant for the big save….and he chokeslams Meng to become the fifth member of the NWO. The hint earlier was Hogan told the big man to get out of the limo. Savage comes out with a chair and has better success than 8 guys did earlier before getting Hogan in a corner. Hogan goes Angle and takes Savage down by the legs and the numbers catch up with Savage so the beating can begin. Savage gets a yellow streak painted up the back.

 

The NWO storms the announcers’ booth and Giant says it’s about money and power and all that jazz. Hogan says there are six members now but I’m not sure if he’s foreshadowing or just can’t count. The Horsemen and the Dungeon come back and the fight starts all over again. Giant comes back and destroys the announce table to end it.

 

Overall Rating: B. Hard to argue with this show as you had some good wrestling and a big twist in the ending. This would look like nothing after what’s coming next week though which my mother, a fan that grew up watching Jerry Lawler in Memphis, saw through instantly but we’ll get to that in a minute. Anyway, good show here as they’ve got the drama stuff down pretty solidly now.

 

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