Volume 1, Issue 84
November 25, 1996
A Tournament is announced to determine a new US Champion to replace the injured Ric Flair.
Lex Lugar vs. Arn Anderson - US Title Tournament Match - after all of his big talk, Arn gets another crack at Lugar. Lex was one of the greatest US Champions to ever wear the belt. Arn is clearly overmatched here - his ribs are still taped up. Lex pulls no punches, shows no mercy. He goes to work on the left arm and shoulder. Arn is getting in almost zero offence. He finally gets loose and gets in a couple of knee lifts, then flings Lex into the ropes and dips his head. Lugar is back in charge for a while. Arn seems to be getting his second wind as we cut to comercial.
We come back to Lugar in a headlock - but he breaks out almost immediately. Arn maintains control for a short time then surrenders the advantage again. Now the action is see-saw. Arn finally takes the advantage and starts attacking Lugar's throat. They go outside and Arn gets rammed back-first into the post and then the apron. Back in the ring Lugar gets a standng vertical suplex. Suddenly the the Giant appears up in the stands with the US belt. As he rants the match goes on. In the ring Arn is back but only for a short time. Lugar goes for his Torture Rack but Arn thwarts it by holding the ropes. The action goes outside. While Lugar is "racking" his opponent out on the floor both men are counted out and eliminated from the tournament.
Review of some of the highlights from last night. Stills of Misterio vs Ultimo Dragon, Patrick vs. Jericho, Jarrett vs. the Giant. NWO music starts playing as the presentation ends.
Bischoff shows up with Hall, Nash, Syxx, Vincent and the Giant. Bischoff looks like the cat who swallowed the canary. He makes a speech about how he was jackknifed through a table and it made him ask himself the question did he want to be consumed by the power or became part of it. He confirms our suspicions that he has been NWO since the beginning. He points out that he is still the highest ranking executive in the WCW. He threatens Piper with fines if he "gets out of hand". He gives the "wrestlers in the locker room" 30 days to convert their WCW contracts to NWO contracts. The American Males come to the ring, are they planning a rumble? - No, this is Bagwell's long awaited heel turn. He joins the NWO and then turns on his partner.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Disco Inferno - this will be a squash no doubt. Disco is a talented athlete but too unfocused to ever be really successful. Surprisingly he gets the drop on DDP and puts a couple of respectable swinging neckbreakers on him. The scuffle some more and the Dallas swings around over Dinferno's shoulder and gets the Diamond Cutter for the win.
DDP interview - he confirms his close relationships with Hall, Nash and Bischoff. He expresses some disillusionment with Eric who, he says, goes back with him farther than any of them. He states that he thought he knew Bischoff but now feels like an idiot for not realizing what was going on. Says he wishes he didn't know now what he didn't know then - cryptic as usual.
Tony Pena (from Mexico) vs. Lord Steven Regal - TV Title match - used to be this belt was on the line whenever the TV Champ wrestled on television - that was the meaning of the belt. Matches were always limited to 10 minutes. I don't know if that is still the case but it would seem so since this guy is debuting with a Title match. He tries to outwrestle Regal - a very problematic undertaking. Pena almost gets a pin after a DDT. Now Regal starts to get rough but Pena stands toe-to-toe with him. So Regal goes back to his unparalleled mat technique and wins with an STF.
Mean Gene with Rick Steiner - Rick affirms his loyalty to WCW. He expresses confusion about Stings actions of late. Mentions Lugar and Piper as other loyal WCW wrestlers.
Konan vs. Eddie Guerrero - US Title Tournament Match - (2nd hour begins right after the match starts) - After absorbing one really spectacular leap from Eddie, Konan succeeds in grounding his high-flying opponent. He starts dealing out some heavy shots. He finally makes a mistake by attempting his own high-flight only to be met by a drop-kick in mid-air. Guerrero deals out some shots of his own but then goes up to the top and gets caught and super-plexed. Stupidly, Konan lets Guerrero up when he could have pinned him. He pays for it moments later when Eddie suckers him into a roll-up for the pin.
We get a review of some of last night's action in still photos. I notice that I mis-called part of the triangle match. It was Nash who laid down for the pin when he and Hall were in together at one point.
Big Bubba vs. Rick Steiner - Steiner calls on Sting to come back into the fold just before the match begins. Bubba has the height and weight advantage here while Steiner has every other advantage. In the middle of the match Sting shows up and makes his way to the ring. As Jimmy Hart is distracting the ref and Steiner - Sting enters the ring, grabs Steiner from behind and puts him down with the reverse DDT. Bubba, who was clotheslined to the outside just before Sting showed up, rolls back in and gets sn easy win.
Psichosis vs. Rey Misterio Jr. - Both of these guys are nuts of course. Ultimo Dragon and Sonny Oono are scouting the competition. Psichosis uses his weight to good advantage and seems to have the match in hand until he takes Rey up top for a super-powerbomb only to get caught in one of Misterio's patented Frankensteiner variations. Rey wins.
Benoit interview - this guy is a mess!! Blackened eyes, welts and bruises all over his face. He alludes to Kevin Sullivan's booker status and says "you could pull some strings and get me shipped out of here but do you want to be known as a coward?" Woman chimes in to tell Sullivan that "...it's all over." Of course we know that she and the Taskmaster are married but what can the marks be making of all this?
Review of the contract signing from last night. Piper gets creamed but is defiant to the end. The contract is signed for Starrcade '96 on December 29th.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Alex Wright - Jarrett lets his cockyness get the better of him in this contest. Consequently Alex comes close to pinning him a couple of times. Eventually Wright makes the mistake that allows Jarrett to get the Figure Four and force a submittal.
Harlem Heat vs. Faces of Fear - this match is pretty even right up to the time that members of the NWO (Bagwell among them) show up and lay waste to both teams. That's all folks.
The show opens with the main event - The Hart Brothers face off. This is a pretty even contest - both are consummate mat technicians - similar styles of course, although Owen is definitely more of a risk taker. Bret's strategy seems to center around disabling Owen's left arm and elbow. We see the Bulldog watching on a monitor in the back - that could be bad news for Bret.
Jim Ross correctly points out that Bret is wrestling a very cautious match. Owen takes the advantage about six minutes into the contest. He's still in charge as we go to commercial.
Just as we return, Bret does one of his "playing possum" bits and surprises Owen on the top turnbuckle - moments later he as about to slap on the sharpshooter when Steve Austin shows up and whacks him with a chair. Stone Cold is about to run a "Pillman" on the Hitman's ankle when the Bulldog (of all people!) comes down to make the save. He gets into an argument with his partner and takes his own chair shot from Austin. Owen isn't too happy about that turn of event and lets Austin know it. Austin actually looks surprised at Owen's reaction.
Freddy Joe Floyd vs. The Executioner - this is pretty much a squash although Freddy has a few good moments. Eventually he succombs to Terry Gordy's signature hold - the Oriental Spike.
Vince talks to Shawn Michaels via satelite from Jose Lothario's livingroom. Shawn is pretty belligerent throughout the interview. He says he intends to start "slapping people around". He wants Sid in San Antonio.
Rocky Maivia vs. Salvitore Sincerely - Sunny comes down to take this one in - she dances with Vince and then cuddles up to him at the broadcast table. Lets go sell something.
At the beginning of the match, Sal backs Maivia into a corner and kisses both his cheeks! This sets Rocky off and Sincerely gets his clock cleaned. He's definitely being out Gunned (get it?) until he manages to sucker the rookie into flinging himself out of the ring (this had to have been an act because, in fact, Maivia is no rookie). Moments later Rocky returns the favor by getting Sal to throw himself through the ropes from the outside. Sunny is drooling over Maivia at ringside - she wants to manage him. A few more flurries and then Maivia catches Sal in a devastating shoulder breaker. Salvitore has sincerely had enough.
Marc Mero vs. Billy Gunn - Hunter Hearst Helmsley comes down to ringside to provide commentary and make trouble for the Wildman. The match goes outside almost immediately. Hunter does his best to distract his arch enemy but Mero maintains his advantage even when Billy attacks from behind.
Back in the ring Billy turns things around - now its all Billy Gunn as Hunter rants away at the broadcast table. A series of neck-breakers put the Wildman in real trouble for the first time in the match. Billy Gunn is mocking his opponent - he climbs to the top and gets caught when Mero stumbles against the ropes and shakes him off. Cut to commercial.
Hunter starts stalking Sable as we return. Mero leaves the ring to confront him and gets blindsided by Billy after he nails the IC Champ. They roll Mero back into the ring and start to doubleteam him. Jake Roberts runs (lumbers?) in and evens up the odds.
They clear the ring just before we fade to black...
I'm afraid I have to give the prize to Nitro tonight. Lots of action and a fair amount of drama. The Sting angle is getting old - I had hoped they would turn that one around after the PPV yesterday but it didn't happen. RAW had two good matches, the first of which ended in a disappointing screwjob. Maivia vs. Johnny Gunn was the only good match that played out to the end. Hunter Hearst Helmsley is as boring as his character - I hope they find a better IC Champ soon.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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