Part 18 The Crow Arises
by Ervin Griffin Jr
After his team lost to the NWO at Bash At The Beach, Sting and Lex Luger concentrated their efforts towards ending Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan's new organization before it got off the ground. Unfortunately, that effort would turn in a bizzare chapter in the career of Sting.
At FallBrawl '96, Sting and Lex Luger were scheduled to team with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson for the WarGames. About a week before on WCW Monday Nitro, Lex Luger was assaulted by "Sting" and the NWO!!!! Or so it would seem. Nonetheless, the NWO did what it wanted to do and that was put Team WCW in dissaray before FallBrawl. Luger and Co. was convinced that Sting had gone NWO. In fact, WCW had been convinced that Sting had defected. Personally, if you look at the Luger attack, you'll notice that the guy doesn't even attack like Sting (fighting styles are like finger prints)!!! After seeing Sting for a number of years, there is just a certain way that a guy punches or kicks and this guy doesn't fight like Sting at all (I know this was just an angle but I'm just pointing out some things)!!!
Anyway, Sting returns from a tour of New Japan to find out that Luger doesn't believe him and that he had turned traitor!!! Later on in the match, the real Sting shows up and cleans house of the bogus Sting and the rest of the NWO!!! But, after assaulting the NWO, Sting leaves the cage (I thought you couldn't leave after entering WarGames), more or less saying "you finish them yourselves!!!" Needless to say, the NWO won when Luger passed out from a "Scorpion Deathlock" and a front facelock by Hogan.
The next night, Sting came out to address the crowd and told WCW to "stick it" and became a "free agent." The NWO did what they wanted to do and that was to cause dissention in WCW. I think even an NWO loss at FallBrawl would've only slowed down their march to dominance that they have enjoyed over the last year. Anyway, Sting dissapears for a few weeks and resurfaces with his "Crow" persona. I am not going into every appearance of this Sting. But the most memorable was at WCW Uncensored when he whipped the NWO again by himself!!! He laid out Hall, Nash, Savage, and Hogan!!!
Now, the world awaits the rematch from November 20, 1995. The match of Hogan VS. Sting. That match will come (I believe) at this year's Starrcade.
Next: Book Of Lists
Coming Soon: Diary Of A "HitMan" Until then...
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
Live from the Palace at Auburn Hills (Detroit) - Tony, Bobby and Mike - looks like a Nitro opening actually. They hawk the card for this evening.
Glacier/Ernest Miller vs. Meng/Barbarian - both teams have been getting moderate pushes - especially Meng from the latter. All four go at it on the bell but it shakes out to Meng vs. Glacier. Meng overwhelms his opponent so Miller comes in and the referee stands there while they double team the big guy. The match breaks down for a while and Miller pulls off a spectacular move where he springboards off Meng's chest in order to splash the Barbarian out on the floor. Despite their unorthadox attack, the Glacier/Miller team keeps getting upset by their much more experienced opponents. Soon enough the bad guys have Glacier trapped in their territory and they start to grind on him. Glacier sucks it up and manages to turn the tables with a belly to back suplex. Miller gets in and cleans house with a flurry of flying kicks only to be distracted by Jimmy Hart then deliver himself right into the Tongan Death Grip of Meng. That's all she wrote.
Disco Inferno vs. Saturn - World TV Title match - Raven comes to the ring with Saturn and then sits in the corner and says "let the stretching begin..." Saturn is showing a little more emotion tonight. He downs his opponent twice and slaps his head - clearly he has no respect for the Disco Inferno. That proves to be a faulty attitude as Disco cleans his clock in the next encounter. Saturn rushes back in and is repelled. He stalls on the outside showing his frustration. Disco drags him in and tries to mount an offense but Saturn derails him with a clothesline. Now the match is see-saw with Disco gaining ground too slowly. Both these guys can wrestle and are about the same size (despite the announcers suggestion that Saturn much more powerfull). Disco makes his first big mistake when he turns his attention to Billy Kidman at ringside. He is blindsided and dragged back into the ring. Still he continues to fight but Saturn rolls him over after a splash and puts the "Rings of Saturn" submission hold on. Nuff said...
Mean Gene w/the Giant - we see the Giant's hand injured by Scott Hall - he says he doesn't need the chokeslam to throw people out of the ring...
Yugi Nagata (w/Sonny Onoo) vs. The Ultimo Dragon - stipulation that the Dragon gets 5 minutes in the ring with Onoo if he wins. Neither man seems to want to get into the ring at first. The Dragon is obsessed with Onoo right from the get-go - he's gonna lose... He does show himself as an excellent counter wrestler in those early moments and dominates most of this match but, again and again he lets himself be distracted by his former manager. Nagata slowly assumes control by working on the head and neck of his opponent. He pile drives him twice within about 3 minutes then stands him up and deliveres a flurry of standing kicks before resting with a sleeper hold punctuated by suplexes. After several such exchanges the Dragon suddenly flys into his own "kicking machine" maneuver and turns things around. Back to a see-saw match with the Dragon again ascendent. He manages to slip on his Dragon sleeper but Onoo distracts the referee. Nagata is ignored while the Dragon goes to grab the ref (or Onoo maybe). They engage again and eventually Onoo gets knocked off the apron but the momentum carries Nagata into a pinning combination.
Steiners (w/Ted Dibiasi) vs. Bluebloods - there is really no contest here. The Britishers are both great wrestlers but the Steiners are arguably the greatest tag team of this generation. Still we get a great match with the Steiners dominating but the Blue Bloods holding their own. The Steiners' greatest advantage is that individually they are the equal of any man in the game. The Blue Bloods do manage to control Scott for a while. They deal some punishment but can't get him to give in. As usual, a suplex allows him to escape. Rick comes in and cleans house. A donnybrook ensues in which the Steiners are the masters - a second story bulldog on Lord Regal gets them the win.
Mean Gene w/JJ Dillon - Dillon says that Raven has still not signed a contract and gives him 24 hours to get signed or bids him goodbye.
Scotty Riggs vs. Raven - Riggs is still wearing the eye patch. Raven is introduced as being from "the Bowry". He jumps the railing and heads for the ring. Kidman has a mic and states the rules for the match, i.e. there are none. Riggs goes right to work attacking everybody in sight and overwhelms his opponent. For several minutes he dominates the Bird man. Raven uses his flannel shirt to choke Riggs and turns the tables. They go outside and Riggs re-assumes control with a body smash to the ringsteps. Back in the ring Saturn throws a chair into the ring. Raven uses it then sets it up for another move but Riggs reverses the field and smashes Raven's head into the seat. He puts two more heavy shots on his opponent by utilizing the furniture. Raven comes back with a DDT then asks for the mic. He invites Riggs to join his Flock then DDT's him again! He asks "why didn't you join me?" and DDT's him a third time. Riggs is not moving and is10 counted out. The Flock picks him up and leaves the ring area with his carcass!!
Steve McMichael vs. Bill Goldberg (w/Debra) - Mongo brings a metal pipe with him to the ring. As his opponent's music plays Mongo takes the mic and says "take a camera backstage and see what I did to Goldberg..." Goldberg is shown behind the entryway flat on his face and not moving. Mongo says "Send me an opponent". Debra drags poor Alex Wright to the ring to take his licks. He really doesn't want to be there... He finally recovers his composure and gives a little dance before blindsiding his opponent. Mongo bulls right back to his feet and takes charge. Poor Wright falls out of the ring and has to take Debra's screeching in his ear. This guy doesn't have a chance. Back in the ring Mongo continues his assault - Alex shows a little offense but the McMichaels train is leaving the station. The Tombstone is applied to get the cover.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Misterio Jr. - Cruiserweight Title match - the action is fast and furious in short bursts throughout this match. Guerrero spends a lot of time being distracted by the crowd which allows him to control the pace at the beginning. Eventually Guerrero uses his superior size to assume the initiative as well. Misterio takes to the air at every opportunity but there aren't many of them and he continues to lose ground to his considerably larger opponent. For a while the match is just watching Misterio get creamed in a rather methodical fashion. Guerrero isn't even trying for a pin. Rey finally gets lose and springs into action. He knocks Guerrero out of the ring then lands a planche. Back inside Eddie comes back once more and starts torturing Rey's back. Now the match see-saws with Misterio slipping in little flying maneuvers only to be re-grounded each time by Guerrero. Eddie finally gets lose long enough to throw his Frog Splash and take the pin.
nWo music plays for the next introduction...
Curt Hennig vs. Rick Flair - US Title match - no DQ rules - Hennig brings a chair with him to the ring. Flair looks a little confused on the ramp and possibly a bit disoriented as he comes to the ring. Hennig uses his chair as a stair step to re-enter the ring after Flair chases him out initially. They go right to brawling on the outside. They fight up into the stands where Hennig begins to recover. He bulls Flair back to the ring area and throws him over the railing. He continues his assault on the ringside mats. Hennig is using the camera cable to strangle his opponent. He forces Flair into the ring but then loses the initiative. Flair has injured his left leg and is limping but unbowed. Both guys are showing fatigue but Flair is definitely the worst for wear. Back in the ring Hennig reaches over and thumbs the referee's eye for some reason... He concentrates his attack on Flair's left leg. He slaps on an Indian Death Lock but Flair pokes him in the eye to escape. Now Flair is attacking Hennig's leg! Hennig is out on his feet... Flair stands him up and chops him down. They both struggle to get up and start trading chops. Both men are still limping as they continue the battle in the ring. They collide head to head and are both down. Hennig rolls into the next ring and Flair follows. Moments later Hennig reverses things with his head-snap over move. The fight goes out to the floor again and Hennig regains the advantage until Flair levers him face first into the railing. Back inside and Flair's in control. He has Hennig's chair and sets it up so he can Atomic Drop Hennig onto it! He then traps Hennigs leg in the chair and stomps it closed twice! Flair snaps on the Figure Four and Hennig seems doomed but the Title belt is in reach - Hennig uses it to smash Flair's leg then brains him and takes the pin.
World War III Battle Royal - Michael Buffer introduces the main event and reads the rules. In this one the wrestlers are free to move from ring to ring. I don't remember it being like that last year. Obviously I can't call all the action in one like this. I will try to hit the highlights and keep track of who is out of it.
All the WCW guys come out first then they play the nWo music for the remaining participants. I can't believe that the WCW guys won't think to cooperatively remove the nWo guys at the beginning of the match. There are supposed to be six nWo members altogether but Kevin Nash fails to show at first. The bell rings with only 59 wrestlers in the rings. Lizmark is the first out, then Disco and the Villanos the latter victims of the Giant. LaParka is eliminated then Norman Smily - the camera is focusing on ring #1 for the most part. Scott Hall dumps El Dandy. Bobby Blaize is out. It is noticed that Flair is absent.
Wrestlers are moving from ring to ring. Brad Armstrong is ejected. Meng and Greg Valentine are getting it on. Stevie Ray eliminates Silver King. Damien is gone. Luger seems to be just standing by a lot. Prince Iukea is thrown out then Nagata by DDP. Renegade and Wrath tumble out together. They fight up the aisle. Bill Goldberg look-alike Kendal Windham is holding his own. The Giant is nursing his injured hand. Scott Hall is close to being ejected but Bagwell saves him. Valentine i s out. John Nord is doing his best "Berzerker" impression laying into everyone within reach. Fit Finley and Steve Regal have renewed their ancient feud. Chris Adams is out. Fit Finley is thrown out. Page and Benoit topple over the rope together but continue rolling back into the ring.
Benoit is ejected. Then Malenko. James Vandenberg climbs up on the apron. Duggan is dropped to the floor my Meng. Ernest Miller is gone, then the Barbarian. Eddie Guerrero is tossed out by Misterio. Hennig eliminates Rey or so we think but Misterio clings to the apron skirt and saves himself. Wright and Mortis eliminate themselves after teaming up on the Giant. The Giant and Meng are left alone in Ring #3 - the Giant drop-kicks Meng out.
The nWo is left alone in Ring #1 and refuse to move. There are 5 each left for WCW and nWo. The WCW invade the nWo ring and the final battle is joined. Vincent is Diamond Cut and rolled out to the floor. There is no going out and re-entering this match - if you feet hit the floor you are eliminated.
Finally it gets down the Giant, DDP, Scott Hall and Savage. Giant attacks Hall while Savage and Page get it on. The Giant and Savage shake out as opponents when Savage turns around and runs into Page. He is Diamond Cut but the Giant won't let him be rolled out. He chokeslams him and then rolls him out. Hall is alone with DDP and the Giant when the nWo music plays. We look for Nash to appear but he doesn't -- Hogan shows up instead! He joins Hall then they invade the other ring. Its Hall/DDP Hogan/Giant and the nWo guys hold the upper hand. DDP is tossed out when Sting descends from the rafters - except it isn't Sting - it's Kevin Nash!! Hogan takes himself out of the ring as "Sting" attacks the Giant with his bat. The WCW guys are quickly eliminated and Hall is declared the winner. The ring is in disarray as the nWo celebrates it's victory.
This PPV wasn't very good but actually was better than I expected...
What is up with Marc Mero these days? You say the "Low Blow" is his finishing move..? Why has one of the most gifted high-flyers in recent memory turned into the "wrestling boxer"?
Its all because of the old adage in the wrestling game "flyers don't last..." Mero has come up against the bugaboo of all the very athletic warriors.
Brian Pillman had learned that lesson in the last years of his life - Shawn Michaels has felt its effect...you just can't do that for an entire career. Mero found himself with the choice of getting out of wrestling or altering his style to something less athletic. So now, instead of flying around the ring, he punches his opponent in the testicles...(OUCH!!) and argues with his wife. I wonder whose idea this character was...
Mick Foley has to be contemplating his future these days. He is another who has come up against an unspoken truth about wrestling personalities...turning face trivializes your character. Faces are always victimized in order to create heat and that fact of vulnerability means they lose credibility as the fans' Heroes.
For instance, its happening to Steve Austin right now - Rocky Maivia has stolen his title belt and all Stone Cold can do is stand in the ring and hurl threats at his tormenter. Sure he'll get his revenge at some point, but in the meantime he looks helpless...not a way that Champions are supposed to look.
Remember when the bad Mankind was first menacing the WWF ranks? That guy was brilliant! Grossing everybody out with his psychotic antics and that so very unsanitary finishing move. Now, in contrast to that high profile heel status, he is playing the whipping boy for Glenn Jacobs!! A mere stepping stone for "Kane" on his way to the greater prize (the Undertaker)...
Not that Foley fared any better in his tour of WCW a few years back - he ended there as fodder for the Vader meatgrinding machine. His once feared Cactus Jack personna became a homeless derelict, the butt of comical skits featuring a supposed TV reporter who tracks him down in an alley. I suppose the idea was to build up his character's mental instability as a sign of "dangerousness" - but it didn't go anywhere and Foley left the promotion to go on to appearances in Japan and with ECW before finally drifting into the WWF orbit - where that deranged philosopher character bloomed into Mankind.
Foley's current "split personality" gimmick is a good one, and he is one of the few westlers who has the acting talent to pull it off, but he should make at least one of those characters into a heel if he wants to regain Main Event status.
They repeated Vince McMahon's shabby denials on the weekend shows - trying very hard to put the last nail in Bret Hart's coffin. Disgusting. What amazes me most about this entire sordid affair has been the depth of McMahon's perfidy. His campain to destroy Hart's credibility is in full swing. Telling half-truths and outright lies, making ridiculous statements about Hart's "worth" to the promotion, his suggestion that there may only be "WWF fans" as opposed to "Bret Hart" fans, his accusations that Bret was failing to uphold wrestling tradition (this from the man who turned wrestling into a circus) ...the deviousness of the WWF owner has been a revelation...even to me! I seem to remember that it was hinted that other WWF wrestlers would be taking part in this tirade but that hasn't manifested itself so far except for Shawn Michals hurling out un-answerable challanges to the former Title holder.
Now that is an interesting plot twist if only because it raises the spector of the whole thing being a work...what if Bret just pretended to accept the WCW offer? (he is still under contract to the WWF, after all). What if Bret were to show up on RAW Monday night and accept a match for the WWF Title and win it?? Yeah...I know...it must be the weekend talking...still, anything can happenn...yatta, yatta...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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