Welcome, everyone, to this week’s second installment of Kick Out At Nitro! Shane here, continuing on my journey through WCW, starting with 9/4/1995 and continuing on until the final episode in 2001, bringing you reviews, reminiscing and a look back at Nitro and Pay Per Views from the days of yore.
This week’s episode brings us to September 18th, 1995, live from Johnson City, TN. Tonight we’ll be dealing with the fallout from Fall Brawl as well as making moves that may possibly set us up for Halloween Havoc coming in about six weeks.
My first notice is that the opening video has as much Vader in it as it does Hulk Hogan. For a man who jumped ship before the first episode and has constantly been said to have gone AWOL, we’re promoting him a bit much aren’t we? Guess TNT wasn’t that big on paying someone to re-edit the graphic week to week. It’ll be interesting to see how long Vader sticks around in the opening reel.
We start off with the commentary team consisting of the usual Nitro three; Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Steve “Mongo” McMichael (with Pepe). Man, I miss Schiavone already! While Mongo is trying to talk, Bischoff cuts him off saying there’s an emergency in the back. We start to hear sirens over the announcers before we cut to the back and see Mean Gene and an ambulance backing up towards him. Gene says that last night Hogan left in an ambulance, so maybe this has something to do with that. The ambulance stops and out pops the Giant and Kevin Sullivan. Gene asks a question and Sullivan says talk to Giant. Giant cuts a promo about how awesome it was to put his hands around Hogan’s neck and feel him go lifeless. Gene says something along the lines of “if your father saw you with the likes of this man…” as he points at Sullivan, again playing up the Andre the Giant connection. Do they later just drop this or do they ever address the fact it’s bull? Interested to see. Anyway, Giant says his father would be happy and we cut back out to the arena.
Match #1: The American Males vs The Blue Bloods
The American Males come out and I’m sad they haven’t started the hand clapping gimmick yet. They also haven’t started wearing tights yet as they come out in slacks and suspenders covered by their vests. As we wait for the Blue Bloods, we see Stevie Ray from Harlem Heat come out beating down “Earl” Robert Eaton. Booker T comes out as does Sherri with the WCW Tag Team Championship belts. They get in the ring and Booker T says that the whole world saw what they did to the Blue Bloods, but they shouldn’t have been here in the first place. He says they’re giving the American Males a title shot tonight!
Match #1 (take 2): The American Males vs Harlem Heat (WCW Tag Team Champions) w/ Sister Sherri
Bischoff makes a point that without Commissioner Nick Bockwinkle here, this match can’t be sanctioned for the tag titles, but apparently we’re having it anyway.
Booker T hits a nice axe kick that Bischoff says reminds him of some of the K1 kickboxers he’s been watching. Man, I remember when K1 was a thing.
Booker about takes Riggs’s head off with a spinning wheel kick but follows with a very lax cover, smirk on his face and all.
Booker (yeah, he did everything in this match pretty much) has Bagwell from behind and Sherri jumps up on the apron to hit him with her shoe, but out comes Col. Robert Parker. He stops her and she falls into his arms and he whisks her away to the back. Booker T grabs Bagwell and lifts him up for a pumphandle slam, but Buff-To-Be reverses and gets the pin. Winners and NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPS, the American Males! The announcers leave us wondering if it will be official or not.
We get the Up Next graphic as we go to commercial. Looks like we have Johnny B Badd and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff to look forward to.
We come back from commercial, including one with Macho Man slinging Slim Jims, to Mean Gene in the ring welcoming out Ric Flair. Flair comes out in the black and white robe that he’s been wearing a lot lately. Gene asks about the collaboration between Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Flair says that Double A has broken the code! They could feud and fight all they wanted, but Double A went out and brought someone else into it. He says he broke the code twice…once by airing family business and once by bringing in an outsider. Flair says that when he takes on Pillman tonight that he’ll chop him so hard that Boomer Esiason will feel it in Long Island! After that he’s going to search Johnson City and kick Arn Anderson’s ass! Nice to see that Flair is breaking that PG barrier a little early into the run on Nitro.
We get a promo for WCW Saturday Night, starting at 6:05 Eastern on TBS! Looks like we will have Sting vs Lord Steven Regal, Cobra vs Craig Pittman in a return match from Fall Brawl (prompting me to wonder why they bothered putting it on the PPV), an interview with Dusty Rhodes and hopefully an update on the condition of Hulk Hogan after getting his neck Steven-Segalled by The Giant.
Match #2: “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs Johnny B Badd
As a result of last night’s conversation with Gary Spivey (see the Fall Brawl post and click the picture), Orndorff now has terrible new entrance music, new attire and a new ring jacket. He also comes out with a hand mirror that he spends most of his time checking himself out with. Prototype for Tyler Breeze from an era bygone, it seems. JBB enters and almost shoots Orndorff execution style with his glitter gun, yet again showing us that this is truly Where the Big Boys Attempt Murder. We’re also told that JBB has nine stitches above his left eye from where Pillman opened him up the night before.
Watching the match, it’s interesting to see that Orndorff’s right arm is already noticeably smaller than the left. I remember from seeing him at a PPV around 2000 or so that his arm was atrophied due to nerve damage, but I thought that came later than this. Guess not. That’s a big part of the reason that I wanted to go back and start watching this stuff from the beginning…I wanted to see what I have been mis-remembering for years. Stuff like this and DDP already having the Diamond Cutter are seriously messing with my time frames.
JBB goes for a diving axehandle to a downed opponent but eats Orndorff’s boots in one of the worst examples of that spot I have seen in recent memory as we go to commercial.
We come back from commercial to a JBB clearly with the upper hand but we’re told that Orndorff has been targeting the eye of JBB through the break. Thankfully, the stitches have held, though.
Bischoff informs/reminds us of DDP winning the TV Championship during this match as well.
Orndorff gets knocked outside and starts checking himself out with his mirror again as JBB begins a 619-like maneuver. Orndorff sees it in the reflection, though, and ducks. He goes back in and lifts JBB for the piledriver, but JBB reverses, clotheslines and tries one of his own. It’s blocked and JBB goes for a sunset flip, but Orndorff drops the knees and gets the pin.
We go to the commentators and are informed that this weekend some WCW stars were on the set of Baywatch. We cut to Macho Man doing bench presses out on the beach with one guy spotting him and four girls in the familiar Baywatch red one-piece cheering him on. Kevin Sullivan comes out of nowhere and attacks Savage, dropping the weights on him and then throwing sand in his eyes in order to get the upper hand. Once he gets it, he puts a beatdown on Savage that was awkward with no soundtrack or commentary over it. Ric Flair comes into frame to save Savage, which is odd since those guys have always feuded. Flair keeps calling Sullivan “Devil” through this segment. It’s also important to note that Savage’s speedo is also adorned with the frilly designs that his ring tights have on them.
Back to reality, Mean Gene calls Randy Savage out to the ring and makes mention of Ric Flair saving him. Savage says “Flair, thanks but no thanks!” He’s not interested in Ric Flair’s help. He says he knows how to kill a snake…you cut its head off…so he’s going to take care of the Dungeon of Doom himself by taking out Sullivan. Gene says that they won last night but that it wasn’t without controversy. Savage says he doesn’t know anything that’s going on with Hogan right now, which is interesting since at this time they’re portrayed as being besties, but whatever. He says that only the strong survive, however, and that there’s no one stronger than Hulk Hogan. He wants to give Hogan some constructive criticism, though, and say that he’s a terrible judge of character. Lex Luger was only out for himself and it showed when he cheap shotted Savage in the match. Gene says that he asked some of the wrestlers who watched the match about that and they’ve all said it was an accident. Savage asks Gene who he asked. “Jimmy Hart? Sting? He’s Luger’s best friend!” He says that when the DoD comes back, they’ll have three new members…Lex Luger, Sting and Jimmy Hart. Nice of Savage to throw every one of his teammates from last night except for Hogan under the bus. Really…Sting in the DoD? Granted, he calls Luger and Hart pretty damn well, but we’re a way off from that.
This brings Lex Luger out, saying that if they want to talk about personal intentions, they need to talk about how Savage wants the WCW Championship as well. Savage says that Luger’s right, but he’ll tell him to his face what he wants. Savage says that someday he’ll be champ.
Lex and Savage get in each other’s faces, Savage antagonizing Luger, setting up for a match. Savage slaps Luger as we go to commercial.
We come back and Bischoff tells us that they just cleared the ring of Savage and Luger and they the two were slapping each other back and forth in what we can only imagine was the girliest fight ever.
Coming UP graphic…Flair and Pillman.
We come back and get a recap of last night. They once again show us Hogan’s Harley getting ran over by The Giant, but we get the longer cut this time which is really just awkward extras jumping up and down asking for Hogan’s autograph. It’s so evident that they’re plants that it’s kind of sad. Giant comes in, runs over the bike about 4 times, causing Hogan to gingerly beat on the door of the truck while Giant laughs. We then are shown The Giant snapping Hogan’s neck again, which never gets old. If I recall correctly, this happens like three more times before Havoc.
Match #3: Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs Ric Flair
The commercial break happens during Pillman’s entrance, making it one of the more oddly placed breaks we’ve seen thus far. We come back to Flair’s entrance, though. Once the match starts, Pillman really takes it to Flair. They are really playing up Pillman’s new mean streak, which is cool. Bischoff points out that this isn’t the same Pillman that we saw just a few weeks ago when Nitro debuted, though. This Pillman is edgier and more focused.
Flair goes up top and dives off with an axe handle, showing us that Flair does indeed make it off of the top rope sometimes. He’s met with a dropkick to the mouth for his troubles, however.
There’s a sign behind the ring that says “Flyin Brian: Time to ride Space Mountain!” Now, from what I recall, Space Mountain is a euphemism for sex. It’s the oldest ride in the park but it still has the longest line. That line is referencing the ladies waiting to jump aboard Naitch…so, I’m guessing this fan figures that Flair is about to sodomize Pillman. Interesting.
It’s at this time also that I realized that I hate hearing the sound of the phrase “the WCW.” As in, “we’ve got a lot of guys here in the WCW.” It’s not something you put a “the” in front of. With WWF it worked because it was “the” World Wrestling Federation. The Federation makes it okay for you to use “the” because it’s referencing something. Once it went to WWE, though, the use of “the” fell off because they’re not referencing it as a Federation that just happens to be about wrestling around the world. Same with WCW. Just irks me. Of course, it’s Mongo who said it, so that may have been a contributing factor.
Flair goes back on offense and Heenan remarks that this is the Flair that he remembers! He’s focused! He then tells us that the producer of Baywatch had Kevin Sullivan thrown off of the set after Tony makes a comment about Flair saving Savage being a bit out of Flair’s character.
Flair goes to the well again by going up top, but now Pillman remembers what’s supposed to happen when Ric Flair goes to the top and stops him by tossing him into the ring.
Mongo makes a really dumb comment when he asks Heenan “Isn’t it a shame you never managed him?” in regards to Flair. Heenan informs Mongo that he has, in fact, managed him before, showing us all that Mongo has no knowledge of anything wrestling and has no need to be in the company at this point. He also later says that in the NFL snapping someone’s neck like The Giant did Hogan was an automatic 15 yard penalty.
Figure 4, Pillman gives up and Ric Flair is our winner. Flair calls Double A out from the back and we can see that his chest is almost black in some places from the chops that he and Pillman traded back and forth. Flair tells Double A to see the signs and learn to love it because if not tonight, then next Monday on Nitro he’s going to kick his ass. Bischoff says they’re going to have to get a censor out here for Flair.
We go to commercial and come back with just a few minutes left to get a wrap up from our announce staff. Mongo hypes Savage/Luger. Bischoff is super hyped about the Hogan interview on Saturday Night. Heenan says that Ric Flair may have given his last “whooooooo” because Arn Anderson is looking for him. This one’s odd as it’s actually Flair that’s looking for Double A, but whatever. Heenan grabs his headset and says that there’s something going on in the back, but Bischoff waves it off saying there’s something going on in the front too as he starts hyping next week’s Nitro with Alex Wright and the Nitro debut of Disco Inferno; Savage vs Sullivan and Luger vs Meng. With that, we go off the air without ever acknowledging what was going on in the back ever again.
This episode wasn’t terrible by any means, but we were a little lacking in the in ring product, sadly. The tag match was the Booker T show as I’m not certain Stevie Ray got tagged in at all. We did get to see the first title change on Nitro, though, which was cool. I wonder if Bockwinkle will allow it to stand, though. I can’t get behind Paul Orndorff at all. I know he was on the verge of being a really big deal around Wrestlemania 1, but this version of Orndorff is doing nothing for me. Granted, I don’t think he’s going to be around much longer, though, so he pretty much is at the end of his career at this point. I like Randy Savage picking a fight randomly on Nitros, though. He did it with Norton and now with Luger. I finally want one of these impromptu matches to actually take place, though. They always get pushed off a week or two. Flair/Pillman was a damn good match and it helped further the story along.
Still not a fan of Mongo, though, and honestly I can’t wait for him to start wrestling so that he leaves commentary. Almost a year before that, though…
WWF Raw Ratings – 2.7
WCW Nitro Ratings – 1.9
(Raw 2, Nitro 0)
WWF Raw results from this week
The 1-2-3 Kid defeated Razor Ramon (7:08)
Kama & Tatanka defeated Savio Vega & Bob Holly (5:47)
Jean-Pierre Lafitte defeated Brian Walsh (3:18)
Owen Hart & Yokozuna defeated Men on a Mission (9:30)
Nitro was definitely the better show this night as all but the opening match that night sound terrible.
Anyway, so long and we’ll see you again next Thursday for our next installment of Kick Out At Nitro!