On This Day: December 2, 1996 – Monday Nitro: Not For Another Year

Monday Nitro #64
Date: December 2, 1996
Location: Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Attendance: 3,800
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko

We’ve got four Nitros to go before Starrcade and five to go before 1997. I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far but somehow here we are. The shows up until then are pretty much all build to Starrcade, as you would expect them to be. Also expect some more of the US Title Tournament to play out tonight. Let’s get to it.

The Steiners come out immediately and say they want to finish this with Sting tonight. We get a clip from last week of Sting attacking Rick.

Glacier vs. Hardbody Harrison

This is Glacier’s first match since October. I’m not quite sure why they stopped the character for that long but it didn’t do him any favors. Harrison was actually in a big lawsuit against WCW where he said he was discriminated against for being black. In reality, he was a jobber and that’s about it. Glacier wins in like a minute with a spin kick.

Some Cincinnati Bengals are here as well as a minor league hockey team.

Amazing French Canadians vs. Joe Gomez/Renegade

Gomez and Jacques get things going here and things break down quickly. Gomez is thrown to the floor and Parker stomps him for a bit. Hogan vs. Piper has been upgraded to the match of the millennium. Things break down again and there’s the hot tag (with a mild pop) to the Renegade. He hits the handspring elbow in the corner but the Canadians take him down with ease and the Cannonball off the top ends this.

Rating: D. Why the Quebecers were here is beyond me but they were also in the WWF for awhile after this so who knows. Nothing to see here but it’s nice to see actual jobbers like Gomez and Renegade. They’re better than guys like Heath Slater….somehow. Anyway, not much here but it got the Canadians on TV for some reason.

Arn Anderson says he’s known Piper for a long time and that Hogan can be beaten, which he’s proven before. Flair told Anderson that Piper was the toughest fight he’s ever had and Anderson believes him. Piper is focused and Piper will give him a receipt. This is said over an NWO chant. Piper will be here next week.

Faces of Fear vs. Robert Gibson/Scotty Riggs

Barbarian pounds Riggs down quickly as we get a split screen of Bagwell joining the NWO last week and the NWO destroying the Faces of Fear and Harlem Heat. Off to Gibson as they work on the arm of Barbarian. Meng comes in and double teaming puts him down also. Meng takes over with the power game and the Faces of Fear hit their backdrop into a powerbomb spot to a big reaction.

A piledriver basically kills Riggs dead but Gibson makes the save. Faces of Fear vs. Outsiders at Starrcade. Riggs finally gets a breather and brings in Gibson. An enziguri puts Barbarian down but after a distraction by Meng, Barbarian kicks Gibson’s head off for the academic pin.

Rating: D. Total dominance here as the Faces of Fear have no one else to beat up on before Starrcade I guess. Gibson’s time had passed so he went to the WWF with Morton soon after this. Riggs would flounder until Raven showed up and gave him something to do soon after this. The match was nothing though.

Riggs hits the Faces of Fear with a chair to make them leave.

We see some clips from the Baltimore house show that I mentioned before between Sullivan vs. Benoit. They fought everywhere and into the bathroom. The Dungeon of Doom came out of the stalls to beat Benoit up. Back in the ring, Woman came in to save Benoit.

Kevin Sullivan vs. K.C. Sunshine

James is just barely more famous as Sean Casey from OVW. You shouldn’t recognize that name. Total dominance as Taskmaster sends him outside twice in two minutes before winning with the Tree of Woe and double stomp.

Sullivan says that after Baltimore, Benoit is hurt. Sullivan is hurt too and he’s got a story for Benoit. Sometimes the sweetness wears off and even if he has to dig his own grave, either Sullivan or Benoit will be buried alive because it’s about three instead of two.

Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Billy Kidman

The winner gets Dragon for the title at Starrcade. Also the US Title tournament ends at Starrcade. Very technical match of course with both guys fighting for control on the mat. Dean is sent to the floor but avoids a plancha. A powerbomb on the floor takes Kidman down as Sonny Onoo comes out to take pictures.

Brainbuster gets two for Dean back in the ring. Kidman gets in some knees and a middle rope dropkick for two. They trade pinning combinations with both guys getting a few twos. The match gets fast paced so let’s talk about Piper vs. Hogan. A superplex takes Kidman down but Onoo flashes his camera in Dean’s face. It doesn’t really matter as the Shooting Star gets knees and the Cloverleaf ends this soon thereafter.

Rating: C+. Fun match but the ending didn’t really make a lot of sense. What was the point of Onoo cheating if Dean was going to win clean just a few seconds later? I don’t really get this one but it could have been a lot worse. These two had some good chemistry and Kidman was starting to get more regular time which is a good thing.

Big Bubba vs. Jeff Jarrett

Hour #2 begins. Jarrett speeds things up to frustrate Bubba so the power is used to take Jeff right back down. Bubba chokes him down on the ropes and Jimmy helps a bit. Bubba accidentally clocks Jimmy and Jeff goes up top for a cross body for two. The Figure Four is countered and Jimmy throws in the Megaphone but Bubba misses. Jeff rolls him up for one and then dropkicks the Megaphone into Bubba’s face for the pin instead of a DQ.

Rating: D+. Not bad here but was there a reason as to why there wasn’t a DQ in there? Either way, this wasn’t anything of note. The Dungeon was so worthless at this point other than as heel jobbers but they kept the feud going with the Horsemen for about six months as Benoit was wasted with Sullivan.

The Steiners call out Sting again. He pops up in the rafters and stares, as is his custom. Rick shouts up a challenge and Sting nods.

Here’s the NWO minus Hogan. They storm the announce desk and apparently they’ll be running things now. Eric and the Outsiders are doing commentary now and we get a clip from what looks like 1995 of Hogan beating up Vader. Now we see a clip from a few months ago of the NWO beating Flair down. Now it’s Hogan beating down Savage and spraypainting his outline.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Dave Taylor

Taylor takes over with European uppercuts to take Eddie down. A nice jumping headscissors takes Eddie down again and it’s off to a standing armbar. Eric says whoever wins the tournament has to defend against Giant. Eddie takes over, knocks Taylor down and the Frog Splash ends this quick.

Lee Marshall yells at Eric from Charlotte.

Arn Anderson vs. Jim Powers

Anderson sends him to the floor quickly and domination is on. Powers gets a cross body for two and Arn doesn’t seem thrilled by him hitting it. Anderson destroys him until Powers gets in his jobber offense, as in a clothesline and running kneelift. DDT ends this squash quickly.

US Title Tournament First Round: Chris Benoit vs. William Regal

This should be good. Regal is TV Champion. Chain wrestling to start as they get into a test of strength position and fight over the control for the opening minute. Both guys use some nice moves to take the other to the mat. I think Regal is busted open. The camera goes wide so I’d assume there’s something wrong. They pound on each other in the corner and the wide shot gets a little annoying.

Regal hammers on him for awhile but Benoit comes back with chops and a slam. The Swan Dive hits but Benoit can’t cover. The delayed cover gets two so Regal tries a tombstone. Benoit reverses into one of his own and Regal goes to the floor. A dive misses and Regal takes over again. They go up top and Regal hits a butterfly superplex for two. Benoit grabs a release German and Hall makes fun of the wide shot which we’ve never left. The Dragon Suplex pins Regal.

Rating: B-. The place popped big for the win but the camera angle got pretty annoying. It’s pretty clear that it was due to the blood on Regal’s head which is something you can’t get around. They hammered on each other for a good while here and the physical style was a nice change of pace from what you usually see on Nitro.

The other Horsemen say things are great and Anderson wants to know what’s up with Woman. Benoit says it’s cool but Anderson doesn’t buy it. Mongo gets on him for it too. Debra doesn’t like Woman (calling her Nancy) either. She goes on a LONG rant about how Woman is going to tear everything apart. Anderson is worried and tells Benoit to get this together.

Lex Luger vs. Rocco Rock

Hall and Nash rip into Luger the whole time as Grunge helps to choke away. Luger gets in a few shots but gets caught in the cheating again. Now repeat that for about a minute and a half. Lex finally wises up and keeps things in the middle of the ring and Rock doesn’t have a chance. Grunge interferes again but the team finally collides and Rock gets caught in the Rack for the tap out.

Rating: D. This was another short match and nothing really happened in it. It’s more about keeping Luger on TV until they get something to do with him. Public Enemy never really fit in WCW and it’s getting pretty clear at this point. They would actually stick around for almost two years which really surprised me when I looked it up.

Sting vs. Rick Steiner

Sting comes through the crowd as the NWO brags about how he’s their boy now. Sting has the bat but throws it away. He turns his back to Rick and Rick blasts him. Scott throws him back in and Rick pounds away. Death Drop kills Rick though and Sting picks up the bat and points it at both Steiners. He hands it to Rick and turns around but Scott stops the blast with it. Sting leaves.

Sting looks at the NWO and points the bat at them before leaving through the crowd.

The NWO brags about having Sting to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. This show was better but without Hogan and Piper around, there isn’t much going on here. The problem the shows with and without Hogan and Piper have is like comparing The Rise and Fall of ECW to Forever Hardcore. In Rise and Fall you can see all this stuff but without it they talk about everything so highly that you want to see it. The problem is that you get tired of hearing of it after awhile because you can only get so far on the talking. Piper is back next week though so a lot of those problems will be solved then. Still a pretty decent show though.

 

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