Volume 1, Issue 20
July 8, 1996
The program comes to us from an outdoor site at the Disney-Warner theme park. Right off the bat Hogan's turn is hinted at..."wait and see what the Hulkster did!" is the refrain.
First up tonight - a great match. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko for the Cruiserweight title. WCW has been pretty good in recent weeks but I have to object to their putting a match like this up at the top of the program only to talk over the contest in order to hype the latest storyline.
Malenko is trying to keep the smaller man grounded - and being fairly effective. The Ice Man is relentless - he seems like a transition figure from some earlier era...Mysterio is the new breed...Oop! Rey Jr. just tried a Moonsault and ended up eating concrete...he's really out of it...he's not moving...Yes! he is! Mysterio's style is a process of insinuation. He allows himself to be manhandled in order to get into position (usually up in the air with his head pointed down) to apply just the right amount of leverage to take control of his opponent's move - whatever it started out to be, it turns into some variation of a Frankensteiner. One of these moves eventually gets him the win - new Cruiserweight Champ!
Nasties/Steiners interview - they respect each other - yatta, yatta.
Dungeon of Doomers (Bubba and Hugh Morris) vs Bluebloods (Regal and Taylor) - this started with promise but fell apart when Big John came out and waylaid Bubba. Blewboys win with a screwjob doubleteam.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Psychosis - another great match. Psycho gets the advantage early by splashing Eddie on the concrete then goes right to work on his right arm and shoulder. Again the use of the dropkick on specific body parts. And there goes another Frankensteiner variation - Scotty could retire on the royalties he oughta be getting for that move. Guerrero seems outmanouvered from the outset but keeps coming back and then wins with a Frog Splash.
Dungeon of Doom interview - Jimmy is speechless?? Sullivan laments not being the one to end Hulkamania..."he plucked it away from us..." he was almost poetic (retire Kevin!).
The Giant tries to be reassuring - "nothing to worry about...I have the belt...", but it rings false. Look for the Hulkster to take the belt back soonest, we'll probably see the Outsiders as Tag Team champs as well.
Nasty Boys vs. Steiners - another great match. I've heard the Steiners put down as has-beens in some quarters but don't be fooled - these guys are wrestling machines and they are still relatively young (compared to the Hogan's, Flair's and Savage's). In my opinion they are still the team to beat if you want to call yourself the best.
The Nasties are capable of giving any team in the World a hard time - and they seem to be wrestling cautious tonight - to avoid giving the Steiner's an error to take advantage of. The match is pretty even from the get go and then...
Silly Sheri and the Colonel come down to distract the the referee, Saggs gets caned by the Colonel giving the Steiners the win.
Nasty Boys interview - hmmm...they seem to be in favor of the New World Order. The WCW is splitting into warring camps...how delightful!
The second hour has begun and Eric is back...he was just "overwhelmed with last minute details (contract negotiations?), no big deal" he says.
Jim Powers vs. Flair for his newly won US Belt - yeah right...first a US Title change review - sort of. Here's the match: Powers is eager, he tries to look confident but can't pull it off. This match is another excuse for the announcers to hash over the events of last night. This time I don't mind. Powers succeeds in looking good right up to the point where he gets the next finger in his eye. Flair's first attempt at a figure four gets converted into a cradle - so punish him some more. Then he clips Power's knee from behind to set up another figure four and the win.
All through this the commentators lamentations about Hogan are getting pretty shrill. They act like they are in a daze.
Horsemen interview - Arn deplores Hogan's turn "you have to stand for something!!" he declares. Flair couldn't care less - clearly he has been given the US belt as a sop so he won't make waves over what is likely to be a long reign of terror by the New World Order. Mongo is with Flair...(yawn).
I'm afraid these guys have had the rug pulled out from under them - these "badguys" these "heels". They can't be BAD enough to top the Hulkster's betrayal of the fans.
Some of them will have to turn babyface. Bobby Heenan I'm betting, and Arn Andersen certainly. The Four Horsemen are doomed unless they decide to join Hogan - which I'm not sure I believe can happen.
Some, perhaps the Nasties, will join the opposition. Were looking at a civil war if they play this out to its logical conclusion. Its brilliant.
Chris Benoit vs. Craig Pittman - Pittman comes on full bore but gets stopped in his tracks by Benoit. Then its all Crippler. The Pittbull gets in occasional flurries but Benoit is relentless...Huh??? Teddy Long is throwing in the towel...What??
Savage is with us in advertisement form. (Snap into it!)
Arn Andsersen vs. Sting - the Franchise looks really down tonight, even under the paint. Is he actually disillusioned? This is his chance to shine - doesn't he see that?? Oh right...its a work.
Uh oh! They say the Outsiders have arrived and are on the lot. Suddenly all the announcers are sounding like Bobby Heenan - calling Hogan a bum and fretting about the lack of security.
Oh yeah...the match! The pace is slow, Sting is definately distracted and Arn seems to be sharing Sting's emotional pain. Trying to make nice even. Cut to commercial.
We return to Sting and Arn exchanging power moves (now they say there is a mysterious limosine in the back parking area) - the athletes have finally begun to get into the match. Arn gets Sting in a Boston Crab (now were looking at the limo) Sting escapes, the tempo starts to pick up...Hall and Nash are making their way to the ring...the match is interrupted.
Sting and Arn become united in their opposition to the outsiders for about three seconds - then Arn tries to pull a Harlem Heat surprise only to have Sting reverse things, spin him around and put the Scorpion Deathlock on him while staring down the Outsiders...who are right outside the ring now.
The Outsiders are hustled off by security forces leaving Sting in the ring to be joined by Savage for the interview with Mean Gene. Sting is livid over Hogan's betrayal of the young fans...Savage can't say on TV what he wants to do to the Hulkster...such articulation.
These guys seem genuinely disappointed...actually I have to admit to being somewhat disillusioned myself - but only a little bit. It seems to me that Hogan has always had a certain pettyness built into his characterization. I remember a few years ago when Hogan engineered Randy Savages first WWF Title reign at a PPV, to spite the guy (Ted Dibiasi) who got him (Hogan) eliminated or when Hogan jumped right in to take advantage of a winded Yokozuna following his heartbreaking defeat of Brett Hart. What about the crybaby attitude he displayed more recently when Savage won the WCW Title at that Battle Royale PPV. Hogan (as is true of the best heels) won't even have to alter his fighting style to get over as a badguy - he's always had that tendancy to bend the rules. He can continue to display that maddening moral superiority he's always shown.
The Outsiders are interviewed back in the parking lot. They offer Gene a job with the NWO.
Finally we get to see the hard evidence - the pictures show Hogan legdropping Savage and then imitating Scott Hall's crucifix stance. The announcers are disgusted. It is disgusting - it's revolting...I love it!!!
Monsoon announces the Warrior has been suspended for missing house shows. He will wrestle tonight - but he has to post an "appearance bond" to get the suspension lifted. No mention is made of his father's death last week. Meanwhile, in the home studio, HBK and Ahmed say they have a new "third man..." (is there an echo in here?) and will identify him as soon as he arrives at their location.
Owen Hart vs. The Ultimate Warrior - The Warrior seems to run out of steam just about the time he reaches the ring. Owen takes over early - cut to commercial.
We come back to Owen still in control - he's beating on the Warrior and setting him up for Cornette's tennis racket shots. He tries a sharpshooter but is kicked away.
Here comes the Bulldog - now the Warrior is (dare I say it?) "Hulking up". He runs through Owen a couple of times then spears him. Now the Bulldog is in the ring and here comes Vader. Warrior starts to fight them off but gets overmatched and goes down. Three-on-one action ensues. Cut to another commercial.
Back from the break we find that the warrior has been carted out of the arena on a guerney!! (wait a minute - didn't this happen to Lugar...?) Michaels and Johnson are back to remind us they have a "mystery" partner to introduce later (does this sound familiar?)
Savio Vega vs Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw - this is an all out brawl, possibly the best work of the night. They seem pretty evenly matched. Bradshaw is usually dominent and eventually he takes over in this match. He deals on Savio pretty good for a while (at this point Vince and the King are discussing the appearance of Jim Neidhart this weekend as the newcomer "Who")
Hawk puts Savio into a sleeper hold. Vega almost succombs but fights back up (surprised?) He's grounded again as we go to commercial.
Coming back we have the Hawk looking more like his usual self - thoroughly dominating the encounter. Vinnie tries to tell us its a see-saw battle but it's all Bradshaw...
Of course Savio comes back and wins the match somehow - he's getting the push.
After the commercial the Godwins make their entrance - Vader and Bulldog are waiting in the ring. On paper this is a squash but don't forget - these are not hillbillys! Tex and Shanghai are a seasoned Tag Team and they are both huge men. HOG especially is a monster competitor.
At one point PIG bulldogs the Bulldogs - their tag team wrestling is definately superior to that of Camp Cornette. The Power of the Bulldog and Vader are overwhelming however. HOG gets the Vader Splash just before the break.
Apparently HOG took it through the commercial break. Now Vader has him in the corner - does his usual pound on him, whip him to the opposite corner - splash. When Vader goes to that well a second time HOG catches him on the splash and delivers a powerslam. Godwins take over briefly, almost win it - but no soap. Bulldog pins PIG using his running powerslam.
Now Michaels and Ahmed are hinting that Mr. Perfect will be the "third man".
We return from the last commercial to find that the "third man" in Sid. So the rumor becomes substance and Cornette is flipping out as we fade to black.
Despite its disjointed nature - Nitro gets my vote tonight. I'm afraid Vinnie was caught with his pants down and tried to recover with pale imitations of the storylines from yesterday's PPV show.
Hulk Hogan's transformation really just might "change the face of pro-wrestling..." as Heenan put it earlier in the evening. Certainly he has broken the hearts of a large portion of marks. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.
Copyright 1996 - Solie'e Vintage Wrestling