Hello everyone and welcome back to our weekly look back into the world of 1995 WCW. Nitro comes to us this week live from Huntsville, Alabama and is the go-home show leading us to Halloween Havoc, WCW’s second biggest PPV of the year. WCW has always said that Starrcade is their Wrestlemania, but Halloween Havoc has to be right there at the number two slot. You could probably hold valid arguments for Fall Brawl or Great American Bash, but Halloween Havoc was always setup to have huge matches so I’m putting it at #2. As we come on the air, Eric Bischoff lets us know that we’re less than six days away from Havoc as Randy Savage’s music starts playing. This episode of Nitro is getting off to the fastest start we’ve seen yet as the first entrance song plays within seconds of the show’s open.
Match #1: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Kurasawa (w/ Col. Robert Parker)
The match starts off with Randy getting in Col. Parker’s face and shoving him, leaving an opening for Kurasawa to attack. Bischoff tells us that Randy has injured his arm and then puts over the fact that Kurasawa was the man who put Road Warrior Hawk on the shelf with a broken arm, so we know what Kurasawa’s main form of offense is going to be. Kurasawa takes it to Randy for most of this match, honestly. Randy has been getting his ass kicked for a few weeks now, which is very interesting when you view him at this time as arguably the #2 babyface in the company as far as kayfabe goes, but definitely in the top 5 guys in the entire company at this point. To see him take a beating and fight back from it really makes the guy he’s wrestling look credible. Put that against Hogan at this point, who is the John Cena of the era and must be protected at all costs. The Giant has broken his neck twice and other than a visible , Hogan has sold losing his damn mustache more than he has that neck.
Kurasawa sends us to commercial break with an armbreaker over his shoulder, showing us that he’s really going to zero in on that injury of Savage’s.
Every match on this show gets a commercial break during it. It’s odd. Nitro has been really good about not doing that up to this point, then suddenly they do it in every match! Watching wrestling for over twenty years now, I’m used to them going to commercial, but WCW has really been doing a good job at presenting wrestling as a true sport in a lot of ways; one of those being not going to break in the middle of a “play,” so to speak. It really stuck out this time because of how rarely they’ve done this thus far.
Through most of the match, the only offense Savage gets off is finding ways for Kurasawa to dump himself out of the ring. The first time was Savage grabbing the front of Kurasawa’s trunks and pulling him out. The second being pulling down the top rope and letting him fly out. Randy leans against the turnbuckle post and Kurasawa goes for a kick, but Savage moves and Kurasawa wraps his leg around the post in a pretty nasty looking kick. Savage turns this into a small burst of offense and gets the win with the top rope elbow. He got the win, but Randy is definitely beat down before heading into Halloween Havoc and the announcers put this over. He’s got Kamala and then Luger at the PPV, so going in at a disadvantage could be costly.
I mentioned Randy’s getting beat down earlier because of how well it worked in this match. Randy gets the win through creativity and ring awareness as he’s able to basically incapacitate Kurasawa long enough to hit the elbow drop and get the win. Other than that, though, Randy is definitely on the receiving end of an ass kicking and comes across looking like he won the match by the skin of his teeth and despite the injury. It built up Kurasawa nicely and really did a good job selling the injury and the potential for the injury to still be there leading into Halloween Havoc. Everyone looks good coming out of this. It really makes me look at Randy in another light and shows me just how good he really was.
We cut from the match to our first look at the announcers of the night. Bischoff tells us that Hogan, the Giant and the Dungeon of Doom are all in the arena tonight and that there are no restraining orders in place, so who knows what’s going to happen! Bobby puts over the Lex Luger situation in a pretty damn funny story about the captain of the plane he took into town coming out of the cockpit to ask him if he thought Sting could trust Luger. Bobby told him to get back into the cockpit and worry about flying the plane and not about Sting and Luger! It was just such an interesting and funny delivery because he totally put over the idea that EVERYONE is wondering about whether people in WCW can trust Lex Luger, but then he swerves the ending out of nowhere and doesn’t give his thoughts. I know that this isn’t Bobby’s best work but his run in WCW is really making me appreciate him way more now than I did when I was watching it the first time. He’s hilarious. I just wish he had someone to actually play off of in WCW. No one in the current announce team knows how to work with him and it’s quite sad. He’s awesome in spite of them.
Suddenly, the lights all go out and the announce team sits in darkness for a few moments before Kevin Sullivan’s father appears on a throne high above the crowd and tells us that the insurance policy has been delivered from its place in the ice and snow and mountains. It’s the Yeti, we’re told. That’s right…a yeti. Abominable snow man. Snow Bigfoot…in WCW. We were doing so well, WCW…we really were! We see a giant block of ice standing behind the announcers and apparently this is what Daddy Sullivan is talking to us about. A weird thing…now, I may have just not caught it, but the only thing that I know this guy as is Kevin Sullivan’s father. I haven’t heard him given a name other than maybe the “master” of the Dungeon of Doom. Yet, any time he addresses the Taskmaster, he calls him “Sullivan.” Not Kevin. Just Sullivan. If he’s Sullivan’s father…it would stand to reason that his name is also Sullivan…so…this just struck me as weird. They’re not calling him Kevin’s figurative father…they’re selling it as that it’s Kevin’s real dad, so this just seemed weird to me.
We cut to Mean Gene with Kevin Sullivan and The Giant. Gene gets to ask Kevin “What is this iceberg all about?” Poor Okerlund. He gets to deal with all of the crappy “something coming out of some other thing” angles. First the Gobbedlygooker, now the Yeti…
Anyway, Sullivan tells us that his father has found him a yeti to be his insurance policy. He tells us that Hogan has surrendered his colors, he’s now all in black and Kevin now believes that the goodness has left Hogan and he’s filled with the evil that Sullivan always knew was there. Odd that we here at Ko@2 have a habit of calling John Cena “Hulk Hogan, Jr.” and he’s has this same storyline twice in just a few years. Of course, we didn’t get an all black John Cena…sadly. Now…Hogan has done nothing but change his clothes over the last few weeks. He’s acting no differently except for now telling Mean Gene and Jimmy Hart to shut up occasionally. Is that really all the goodness that was in Hogan? It’s all gone now because he doesn’t pretend to like people? He’s not doing heelish things at all. He’s just Hogan in black. We’ll see a much worse Hogan in black just nine months from now, so right now, it’s just Hogan in new clothes so it’s really hard for me to buy into the idea that suddenly there’s no good in him anymore.
The Giant and Sullivan start telling us that they’ve “plucked the whiskers of the rare white Bengal tiger” in reference to shaving Hogan. It was just so random of a quote and they kept repeating it. Essentially we break down into another installment of Kevin Sullivan spewing random nonsense.
We were doing so well, WCW…
We go to commercial again and come back yet again with Mean Gene who welcomes “The star of Thunder in Paradise!”
Hogan comes down and tries to out nonsense Sullivan. The best quote he has totally has to be this…
“But even though I walk through the valley of the Dungeon of Doom, brother, I feel no evil, dude! Because the only thing to fear is evil itself, brother! And even though I walk through that dark valley, there’s only one set of footprints, brother! I don’t fear no man because on my back, I carry all of those little Hulkamaniacs that believe in the prayers, the training and the vitamins, brother!”
I crap on Hogan a lot…but that’s some beautiful stuff there. To take Psalms 23, FDR’s inauguration speech and Footprints and roll them all into one thing about how you’re a Christ-like figure…that’s amazing. I gotta give it to him…
Hogan says that after all is said and done, he may just keep the black after Halloween Havoc because everyone knows what a man with black gloves and a black rag on his head is capable of. Um…what?
Gene asks him about Sting, Luger and Savage and Hogan tells us that Sting is now in the Red and Yellow and growing a Fu Manchu. He’ll be there for all of them once they figure out who the baddest is.
We get a promo for Saturday Night showing us we’ll have the American Males vs Harlem Heat, Luger vs The Shark, and an appearance from Hulk Hogan. I kind of wish I had access to Saturday Night because I want to see if Hogan is actually showing up to Saturday Night or if it’s just a pre-tape. I can’t imagine with Nitro on now that Hogan is stooping to Saturday Night’s level all that much. I definitely don’t remember him on there at all after Nitro started.
We come back from commercial to:
Match #2: Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko vs Eddie Guerrero & Mr. JL (w/ Alex Wright on crutches)
Seeing Benoit and Malenko coming to the ring together gave me glimpses of Horsemen to be. Can’t wait for 1998-99 to show up so these two can start teaming a lot more as Horsemen as well as members of Revolution.
I also can’t wait for 1997 so Eddie can change his music. His 1997 music is so good. This music he comes out to now is so generic. It’s terrible.
Alex Wright is on crutches and not in this match due to an injury to his knee that we find out later is cartilage related. Bobby says that AW blew out his knee trying to imitate some of Disco Inferno’s dance moves, though. Sorry, Brain, but AW’s moves are so much sweeter than Discos’s.
Don’t those two start teaming up in the future at some point?
The match starts off with Benoit and Eddie in each other’s faces, shoving one another. They’ve had one match thus far and they’re doing a great job of showing that they didn’t settle everything in the ring that night. Really good at building up a potential rivalry here. Eddie and Benoit start off the match and it’s not long before we get into some good double-teaming by Benoit & Malenko. You can definitely tell that they’ve been working together as a team before (in ECW as two members of Triple Threat) and it again makes me giddy for the days of them tagging as Horsemen. We get some good flying from Eddie and JL, including one awesome spot where our future Horsemen are on the floor, JL comes running at the ropes and jumps, then Eddie just tosses him over the top towards their opponents. It was a really innovative spot. JL does look good in this match, but you can tell that he’s just not there yet as he’s being outclassed by the other three men in the ring.
We cut to split screen to show us a fight in the back. It’s Shark and Scott Norton. I’ve been wondering where the hell Norton was! The commentators say that this altercation is due to Shark costing Norton the match on 9/11 against Savage, showing us that Scott Norton takes his sweet time when it comes to dealing with personal issues. Piss him off and you’ve got a month to think about what you did before he arrives, apparently!
For the second time tonight we cut to commercial during a match, coming back to Malenko in control and finding out that Benoit has a busted mouth. I don’t recall seeing any blood so it wasn’t that bad.
Bischoff tells us that Hulk Hogan has changed and that his mind just isn’t right. Again…Hogan hasn’t done anything differently other than wearing black and telling Jimmy Hart to shut up…
We get the hot tag to Eddie Guerrero and he cleans house, hitting this beautiful move where he has one in a wrist lock, jumps to the top rope, grabs the other with his feet and rolls them over in a combo arm drag/headscissors. Eddie was just so damn good! Alex Wright trips Malenko with a crutch and JL gets a roll up win. This causes Heenan to really doubt the validity of AW’s knee issues.
Eddie and JL make their way to the back when Eddie is jumped by Brian Pillman, who attacks him then flashes the 4H hand sign. They’re already in the ring, Brian! Seriously…at this time, a Horsemen consisting of Arn, Pillman, Benoit and Malenko would have been amazing! I love Flair, but that idea alone makes me wish this group had formed to feud with a babyface Flair and Sting.
We come back from commercial to a shot of the giant iceberg and…
Match #3: Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) vs Sting and Lex Luger
Harlem Heat come out to some weak ass pyro. Knowing that eventually Booker T will have pyro that will feel warm all of the way across the arena, even in the cheap seats, this was sad. It was basically some sparklers and a few pops.
We get a pitch for the hotline (1-900-909-9900! Kids, get your parent’s permission before calling!) and find out we’ll get info about last night’s “In Your Outhouse!” At this time in WWF, that’s pretty accurate, honestly. We follow this with six douches in terrible face paint that spell out WCW and TNT. Seriously, these guys look like assholes. Not gonna lie.
Bobby says that Sherri has never looked better and Bischoff sells it like he just told him he likes to drink horse urine. He says Bobby is sick if he believes that Sherri is beautiful. Wow, Bisch…that’s a little rough, don’t ya think? Sherri is no Sunny…but still, she’s not in any way a terrible looking woman.
Sting comes out in red and yellow and a goatee, just like Hogan said. I really like the look on Sting, honestly. There’s part of me now that wishes instead of the camo, they all came out in red and yellow at Fall Brawl. I may have to make that happen when WWE 2K15 comes out, now that I think about it. Yes, all four men from that team are in this year’s game! Pretty excited about that.
All four men start the match jaw jacking in each other’s faces. Sting and Booker get into this hip toss routine that involves Sting hiptossing Booker T over the top rope, which should have been a DQ (as pointed out by Heenan and Mongo, agreeing oddly enough). Bischoff says that it wasn’t intentional, though, so no DQ…which is crap. Sting clearly knows how that move is going to turn out if you watch the match.
We go to the commercials again for the third time tonight during a match. Really hope this doesn’t keep up. WCW does such a good job scheduling these things after matches and before interview segments, so I don’t want to start seeing matches cut up if they can avoid it.
Stevie Ray is controlling Luger when we comes back. We cut to Sherri who is looking at random Polaroids of her and Col. Parker together seemingly backstage somewhere. Really, it’s just her and him standing beside each other against a wall. Odd. You would imagine they would be at a romantic dinner or a beautiful view the way she’s looking at them longingly, but they’re totally just a random pic of the two of them backstage.
Booker goes up top and misses a Harlem Hangover, which makes me sad because I love that move. It was my most used move on the trampoline back in the day. Lex gets the hot tag to Sting who clears house, getting a tandem of Stinger Splashes and going for the Scorpion Deathlock on Booker T. Stevie Ray kicks Sting in the head to break it up, though. Harlem Heat hit a double vertical suplex to Luger while Sting climbs to the top and comes off with a diving clothesline to Booker T for the win.
They don’t get to celebrate, though, as The Giant and Kevin Sullivan hit the ring. Sullivan chokeslams Luger while Sting rolls to the floor, prompting the announcers to ask why they let Sting go, playing off of the idea that Giant hasn’t chokeslammed Sting yet. That goes away, though, as the Stinger gets one as he climbs back into the ring. Savage runs out to make the save, followed by Hogan. Hogan waves Savage off and then starts punching the Giant, who no sells it. The whole Dungeon of Doom hits the ring when Hogan finally starts rocking the Giant with punches. Hogan and Savage clear house and Hogan goes after the Giant, but WCW security headed by Doug Dillinger wielding a damn billy club stop him.
Then, the floor starts shaking (we’re told) and we hear a rumbling as the show ends with the Yeti (actually a damn mummy) bursting free from the iceberg. Seriously, that’s where the show ends…mid-burst. I liked how WCW would cut off in the middle of the action sometimes. Cliff hangers worked in the early days. It was just that they eventually wore out their welcome when every show ended with “We’re out of time!” though. We’ve got a few years before that, however. This is the first show in this run, though, not to end with the announce team wrapping up, so it did feel abrupt and special, which was cool.
This show felt like it was three steps forward, one step back, though. We set up some good stuff with Benoit, Malenko and Guerrero, as well as Guerrero and Pillman. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a match with them added to Havoc…or at least next week’s Nitro. The power struggle between the babyfaces at the top of the card had some interest added with Hogan acknowledging that all of his “friends” are now gunning for him. That was a cool little wrinkle added. We got that crazy Hogan promo.
But then we got the Yeti…or Yeh-Tay as we keep hearing it pronounced. First off, anything bursting out of anything else when it comes to wrestling is stupid…unless it involves Dean Ambrose. Seriously, we’ve kind of moved from being Kick Out at Punk over here to Kick Out at Ambrose, but if an episode of Nitro had Triple H and Steph saying that they had brought in a Yeti as Seth Rollin’s backup plan, and at the end of the show it burst open and out came Ambrose, that would be the greatest thing ever. But it wasn’t Ambrose. It wasn’t the Gobbeldygooker. It wasn’t Mae Young’s hand baby. No, it was the Yeti. And I say “THE” Yeti and not “A” Yeti, because it was actually a mummy. Yep. Apparently the Dungeon of Doom aren’t big into cryptozoology. That’d be like bringing out John Tenta as The Shark but he’s dressed like a clown fish. Wrong look entirely!
This Halloween Havoc match is going to be terrible. We can all say that we know this. The monster truck part is going to be stupid. The match is gonna suck. Did we have to involve a mummy? Seriously, everything is firing wonderfully in WCW land right now EXCEPT for the Dungeon of Doom. They’re terrible.
With that, we’ll leave the normal write-up part of the show and get on to the show info. See everyone back here on Wednesday for Halloween Havoc, then Thursday for our next installment of Kick Out at Nitro!
WWF Raw Ratings – 2.2
WCW Nitro Ratings – 2.6
(Raw 3, Nitro 2) (Tie Weeks – 2)
WWF’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – 2 weeks
WCW’s longest Winning Streak (to this point) – N/A
After two weeks of ties and a week of Raw winning with a terrible showing on paper, Nitro pulls it out for this one. I guess Yeti = ratings!
WWF Raw results from this week
The British Bulldog defeated Razor Ramon via DQ (7:10)
The Smoking Gunns defeated Rad Radford & The Brooklyn Brawler (2:46)
Dr. Issac Yankem defeated Scott Taylor (2:14)
Shawn Michaels (c) defeated Sid (w/ Ted DiBiase) to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship (7:21)
Raw looks better this week than it has for a while, honestly. Bulldog/Razor and Shawn/Sid were probably pretty good matches. Still, no Yeti…all I’m sayin’…
Join us back here next week, everyone! Same Nitro time, same Nitro website!