Monday Nitro – November 18, 1996 – Easy E Turns
Monday Nitro #62
Date: November 18, 1996
Location: Florence Civic Center, Florence, South Carolina
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan, Eric Bischoff
We have finally arrived at something interesting. This is one of the shows where something actually happens and it happens at the end of the show. I know that’s kind of spoiling it, but this was over 15 years ago so it’s not exactly a huge deal. The matches tonight look like their usual uninteresting selves, but we’ll get to those as they come. Let’s get to it.
The show opened at like 7:55 this week, which was annoying for fans. Either way it opened with the NWO laying out various people with chairs and then taking over the announcers’ table. They intimidate Tony and Larry and talk about the triangle match. Two of the guys that are laid out are the Nasty Boys. Hall talks about the Faces of Fear and they walk out. The Faces of Fear jump them in the back and the Outsiders get knocked out the door.
Oh I forgot: this is the go home show for World War 3.
After a break, Tony says the attack was during a dark match. They air part of it but not the chair parts. Tony goes off on Larry for not getting in the Outsiders’ faces and walks off the broadcast. MAN this show just got a lot better!
Juventud Guerrera vs. La Parka
Larry has to hold the commentary himself here and is cool with that. Mike Tenay comes out a few moments into the match. Juvy hits a hard clothesline to take over and Parka breakdances up. This is La Parka’s WCW debut according to Tenay who wasn’t a loud annoying man at this point so I’ll listen to him. Out to the floor and Parka hits a suicide dive. They both go up top but Parka gets crotched and a springboard rana gets two for Juvy.
Lionsault Press gets two for Juvy but a springboard is countered by a dropkick by La for two. Out to the floor and Parka hits a plancha. There’s a surfboard by La Parka. I still love that move. Juvy hits a missile dropkick for two. There are multiple empty seats on the side opposite the hard camera. Juvy hits a springboard rana for two. Why isn’t the crowd more into this? This has been a pretty solid match.
A spinning victory roll into a rana gets two. La Parka goes up but misses a Swanton Bomb. Juvy Driver is countered into a messy small package for two. A DDT gets two for Guerrera. This is a shockingly good match. Juvy grabs a tornado DDT out of nowhere for two. These are some very close twos and the crowd could not care less. You uncultured swine. Guerrera goes up for a spinning rana but Parka holds the ropes and hits a reverse Whisper in the Wind (Jeff Hardy’s inspiration?) for the pin after about twelve minutes.
Rating: B. I might be overrating that but man I was getting into this at the end. Also points for surprise value here as who would have expected one of the most interesting TV matches in months from these two? This wasn’t a technically sound match and it’s not a classic or anything, but it was fun and they had me wanting to see who was going to win. That right there means a lot and probably means more than anything else a match can do. Very fun stuff.
Quick video on how Ultimo Dragon won the J-Crown Title.
Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Ultimo Dragon
Rey gets an inset interview, wanting a rematch with Dean. Dragon grabs the leg to take him down. Rey vs. Dragon on Sunday. They trade rollups and the Tiger Suplex, the move that would eventually get Dragon the title, gets two. Spinwheel kick puts Dean down and they head to the floor. Back in and Dean goes for the leg, hooking up the Cloverleaf. That draws in Sonny and in the melee, Dean throws Dragon over the top for the DQ.
Rating: C-. This was kind of puzzling to me. I mean, I get that they can’t put the title on Dragon yet because they were saving that for Starrcade, but at the same time, what was the point in this match at all? Both guys have matches on Sunday, but this doesn’t make either of them look weak or strong. I don’t really get it.
We recap last week with the French Canadians and the Heat, which we could barely see last week due to the Nasty Boys.
Amazing French Canadians vs. American Males
Parker is now dressed as a member of the French Foreign Legion. Also on Sunday it’s the Canadians vs. the Heat and if the Heat win, Sherri gets five minutes with Parker. Oulette vs. Bagwell gets us going. The Males clear the ring to start and it’s off to Riggs vs. Jacques. Jacques does some nip-ups for exercise I guess and grabs a headlock. My goodness Tenay is so much nicer to listen to than Tony.
We get to the important part of the match with the Males colliding to give us miscommunication, which is the whole reason they’ve been around more often lately. Rougeau slams Oulette onto Riggs as the Canadians dominate. Now we get some Canadian miscommunication and Bagwell comes in to clean house. Riggs gets in the way, kneeing Rougeau in the back to send him into Bagwell. Their heads collide and Jacques gets the pin.
Rating: D+. The match was ok I guess but I absolutely do not care about either of these teams. They’re not interesting at all but thankfully the Males will split soon. As for the Canadians….why? What is the appeal of them? They would show up again in the WWF in the Attitude Era for some reason. I still don’t get why but whatever.
Hugh Morrus vs. Lex Luger
Luger has been racking everyone in sight lately and they’re usually big guys. I wonder if we’ll see the same here. Nah I’m betting on Morrus. Anderson has even more to say about Luger, more or less the same things he’s been saying all month. I’d almost rather watch the Baltimore card they keep talking about than the PPV. The fans want Sting. Flair is going to be at the Baltimore show apparently.
Morrus hammers away on Luger with the power moves. This is the same match Luger has been doing lately but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Luger makes his comeback with a back elbow but runs into one of his own. Hugh goes up but misses a splash. There’s the call for the Rack and there’s the submission. There’s some confusion here as Luger doesn’t quite have him up but in the half second he did, Morrus tapped. Luger didn’t realize it though so he tried it again. He yelled when the referee stopped him and I think he thought it was a DQ or something.
Rating: D. Pretty basic power match here as Luger continues his march through every big man in the company on his way to World War 3 where he’d do quite a bit of tossing out big men. The story for him was pretty well written so I can’t complain much about it. Decent enough match here but about as predictable as you could ask for.
Luger wants to win the battle royal and then the title from Hogan. And here comes Sting. The bat is red here and Sting shoves Luger back with it. Then he hands it to Luger and walks away. Luger says nothing and we go to a break.
Hour #2 begins.
We look at a clip from Saturday Night where Patrick and his attorney. Long and Jericho come in and after a weak set of arguing, Jericho vs. Patrick is set for Sunday with Jericho having one arm behind his back.
Chris Jericho vs. Johnny Grunge
I guess this is a warmup match for Sunday. Everyone is asking Heenan about Jericho apparently. That man gets talked to a lot. Nick Patrick is here scouting. As for the match, what exactly are you expecting? It’s Johnny Grunge vs. Chris Jericho. Jericho comes back with a spinwheel kick to send Grunge to the floor. Back in a release Stun Gun puts Chris down. Grunge brings in a chair and drops Jericho onto it. Somehow that isn’t a DQ but a backdrop over the top is. Go figure. Now he brings in a table and accidentally puts himself through it. A missile dropkick by Jericho ends this.
Rating: D. Well this was different. I guess they really wanted to put Jericho over strong here as DQ rules don’t seem to apply to him. Just a very strange match (a running theme tonight) with Grunge using a bunch of stuff that you don’t often see in a regular match but it wasn’t terrible.
Jericho says nothing of note but Teddy Long comes out and ups that by really saying nothing of note.
Here’s the NWO at the broadcast booth. Heenan bails and Hogan makes Bischoff say a bunch of things that aren’t exactly true but Hogan wants to hear.
Page comes out and says he’s still not NWO. The NWO comes up to him and Page turns them down again.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Bobby Eaton
This should be good. Jarrett messes with Eaton’s hair to start and that’s just asking for trouble. A punch sends Bobby to the floor and Eaton goes into the post. Jarrett hooks the Figure Four for the quick tap and here’s Flair. Match was like a minute long.
Flair endorses Jarrett post match. Also Jarrett says we need to unite. Sting is watching and Flair says Jarrett is a Horseman.
Big Bubba vs. Jim Powers
No Teddy with Powers now so I guess that association is over. Eric seems to avoid the Piper subject. Bubba hits the slide under the rope uppercut and off to a weak chinlock. Bubba dominates for awhile until Powers gets the standard jobber offense in. And there’s the Bossman Slam to end it. Just a squash.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit
These two had a lot of matches on this show. Woman is looking good tonight. They immediately go to the mat and Eric tries to keep up with them. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets some control for Eddie but Benoit tries the same, only to be countered. Benoit takes it to the mat and hooks the Crossface which isn’t a big move yet. Sullivan says he’ll be waiting in Baltimore.
Slingshot hilo gets two for Eddie. They go to the mat where Benoit takes over. Off to something kind of like a reverse hammerlock followed by some modified Rings of Saturn. A powerbomb is countered into a sunset flip by Eddie for two. We take a break and come back with Benoit getting a few two counts. Gorilla press puts Eddie down.
Top rope superplex by Benoit puts both guys down and gets two for the Canadian. Eddie grabs a small package and Saito Suplex to set up the Frog Splash. Benoit moves but Eddie rolls through. Standing rana by Eddie is rolled through into a sunset flip and a fast count wins for Chris.
Rating: C+. Decent match here which was a nice change of pace from what we’ve had for the most part tonight. The ending was good if a little rushed. These two have had so many matches that they could probably have a decent one blindfolded, so that always helps. Fun stuff before we get to the serious part.
Eric is in the ring and says that he’s sorry for what Hogan made him say. Gee, you mean a wrestling announcer lied? Anyway, he says he tried to get Piper to sign to face Hogan but couldn’t. They’re going to keep trying though. Cue Piper for I believe his first appearance on Nitro. He says he’s never heard so many lies in his life. Well other than when he was talking of course. Piper is glad to be back in the Carolinas. His son was born here.
Piper quotes LL Cool J of all people to say Bischoff is lying. Eric is noticeably nervous. Piper talks about Eric coming to Portland and talking to his managers. He asks Eric if the road to Piper’s ranch is crooked or straight. Eric nervously says he doesn’t remember and here’s the NWO. Hogan and Eric hug, and Eric is NWO. Hogan flat out says Eric works for them. The Outsiders hold him and Hogan says how awesome he is. We’ve got cops in here as well as security and they break things up. Tenay and Heenan freak and Piper says he’ll have the contract ready at World War 3 to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This was much better than last week as they had a very nice blend of the drama and the wrestling, which was the hallmark of WCW. World War 3 would pretty much suck but that was the tendency for most of their PPVs. Piper vs. Hogan didn’t quite set the world on fire but it got people watching and set up Hogan’s dominance of 97 so that’s a good thing for them.
Here’s World War 3 if you’re interested:
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Worst decision ever made by WCW.