The “Nights of Nitro” Issue #3 – NWO Invasion Angle continues 20 yrs. ago today, WCW Hvt. Title & U.S. Title & Tag Title matches


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Retrospective of the Common Fan
“Nights of Nitro” Issue #3
By Jimmy Eaton, The Common Fan

Welcome to another exciting time-travel road trip to Orlando, Florida at the Disney MGM Studios back on August 5, 1996. We’re one week before the first-ever Hog Wild PPV event, which was a rare Saturday PPV. Tony Schavione and the “Living Legend” Larry Zbsyzko welcome us to the show, so let’s get underway!

They open the show talking about how wrestlers are going to take up their own security after the heinous attacks by The Outsiders last week with baseball bats that caused multiple injuries. There are also three empty seats noted at ringside just in case they make an appearance to “watch” their competition. They also hype the rumors of a fourth man. This was the week after the classic Rey Mysterio “dart throw” into the trailer at the hands of Kevin Nash. Being there live at the time, talk about a boring 30 minutes at ringside with no matches!

1 – The Rock ‘n Roll Express vs. Harlem Heat – WCW World Tag Team Title match

The Rock and Roll Express look pretty old, but I guess that’s because they are? Regardless, nice reaction and they put on at least a decent match with the champs. Ricky Morton did most of the selling before a hot tag that was stopped short by Col. Robert Parker’s interference, which also nearly cost Harlem Heat the match. But, Sister Sherri made the save and planted a kiss on Robert Gibson. That distraction was enough for Harlem Heat to get the win.

WINNERS: Harlem Heat (**)

2 – Malia Hosaka (w/Sonny Onoo) vs. Madusa

Madusa was in control for most of the match, but good ol’ Sonny Onoo was able to get the classic heel manager distraction that gave Hosaka the victory over Madusa, who was said to be on a winning streak for some time.

WINNER: Hosaka. (*1/2)

3 – Alex Wright vs. Chris Benoit

Benoit was accompanied by Woman and Miss Elizabeth. The match started off with a lot of hard strikes from both men. They showed a shot of a limo after a few minutes, teasing a fourth man for the NWO. They brought up a good point about the wrestler security, including Dungeon of Doom members despite Benoit being in the match – setting aside differences and such. On commentary, Zbyszko called the NWO the New World Odor. Classic.

Not a bad match, I was surprised actually. Jimmy Hart came out to tell Woman to leave the Horsemen. Back in the ring, Wright hit an awkward leg drop, then Malenko came out to distract Benoit by grabbing Woman. Benoit flipped out on Malenko and was counted out, giving Wright the win.

WINNER: Alex Wright via count-out. (**1/4)

Post-match, there was a brief brawl with Malenko and Benoit fighting back up the rampway. Tony Schiavone had a great call saying: “LOOK OUT FOR THE PALM TREE!” Ha, great. They actually went directly to the next match.

4 – Randy Savage vs. Lord Steven Regal (w/Jeeves)

As the match got going, Tony said how much he trusts Savage for WCW. Zbysko said to not be so sure about that. They brought up how Savage was on the hood of the NWO limo for a half mile last week after the attack and that he’s emotionally unstable.

They said there is a situation with Sting in the back, followed by a countdown to hour number two! They said Bischoff and The Brain were not around for the second hour. Fireworks went off and we’re back to the match. They said that Bobby Heenan walked off the set last week due to unsafe work conditions and Sting/Luger made their way to the ring, sitting in two of the vacant seats. Bobby did come out and said that he still doesn’t feel safe before leaving to head to the back. Not much attention on the match really, but it wasn’t terrible. Savage hit his patented top rope elbow for the win.

WINNER: Randy Savage. (**)

Post-match, Sting and Luger go to the parked limo and find a bouquet of flowers that read “Condolences to the Death of WCW.” Haha, ironic if I do say so myself. Just a few years early. Anyways, they brought the flowers to Savage in the ring, who cut his “always intense” promo on getting a shot at the winner of The Giant vs. Hulk Hogan this Saturday night at Hog Wild. They end up kicking the flowers as they cut to break.

5 – The Booty Man (w/The Booty Babe) vs. Ric Flair (w/Debra McMichael, Miss Elizabeth, and Woman) – WCW United States Title match

The Booty Man got pyro. Ric Flair, too, which I can understand… But the Booty Man? Wow, it pays to know Hulk Hogan it would seem. Not much to this match until the end, where the Four Horsemen came out and jumped the Booty Man, chairs and all. They were sending a message to the NWO, but it was actually a solid way to get heat, too, by beating up an inferior opponent four-on-one. Also, Kimberly as the Booty Babe. That is all.

WINNER: The Booty Man via DQ. (1/2*)

Post-match: Intense promo from everyone, especially Arn Anderson, who had a bat of his own. Mean Gene was the standout, though, yelling at Mongo McMichael and Benoit to stop beating up The Booty Man, shaking off Woman’s attempts at a backrub. Those real actions made things feel more legit. It’s easily a highlight every episode.

They then showed footage from last week’s attack. Man, as I tweeted out (@Nerdverses) while I was watching this, it brought back chills and great memories. I was ten years old in the front row with my Sting hat sitting next to my dad. We didn’t know what was going on, and I was kinda mad, but really interested. My mom and cousin gave a run down to what they showed on TV for like 30 minutes. I think we used my uncle’s old cell phone to get some info. But, watching this back now, the selling and acting by everyone was great. Scotty Riggs, Arn Anderson, Rey Mysterio, and the follow-up with Woman screaming for an ambulance. Then you had people looking legit scared and mad across the board. A great example of reality TV in wrestling and one I always remember fondly.

6 – The Giant (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Sgt. Craig Pittman (w/Teddy Long) – WCW World Heavyweight Title match

This was pretty much a squash with Pittman trying a few flying headbutts (amateur style) before The Giant hit the chokeslam for the win. Then he choke-slammed Teddy Long. That was fantastic. Long either didn’t know how to sell it, or didn’t want to. Or maybe he couldn’t, but either way it didn’t look great.

WINNER: Giant. (*)

Post-match, during an announcement paid for by the New World Order, the feed cut out and they had a cool segment with Tony getting word through his producer (that was audible) that Sting and Luger had them cut the NWO feed. “We don’t want any more garbage to be played,” per Sting, but I’m paraphrasing. More solid reality moments that make the NWO really seem like a threat.

7 – Lex Luger & Sting vs. The Nasty Boys – Main Event

This was a decent tag match with solid heel work from the Nasty Boys with some stiff shots. Random thought – it’s hard to watch Brian Knobs take big bumps in 1996 when he looked so fragile years later on “Hogan Knows Best.” Regardless, Sting was able to get Sags to tap to the Scorpion Deathlock in a few minutes. Not much to it, but not awful either. Sting and Luger had good chemistry.

WINNERS: Sting & Luger. (**)

Post-match, Sting and Luger cut a promo about The Outsiders. After playful banter about checking out the limo (that returned during their match), they did so, only to have the door pulled closed and a briefcase thrown out with the Turner logo on it. Post-show bonus footage showed them looking at a note reading: “See you in Sturgis,” referencing Hog Wild that Saturday. Sting joked that they don’t even have their own logo. This was definitely a more story driven episode but after last week’s savage attack, it made sense. I’m glad they had that bonus footage or I wouldn’t have been able to sleep without knowing what was in that briefcase! The memories just keep on coming. Thanks again for reading and have a good night from the Most Magical Place on Earth!

Keep the conversation rolling on Twitter – @Nerdverses

Jimmy occasionally writes a Retrospective/Perspectives of of the Common Fan column for the Pro Wrestling Torch and can be found on Sean Radican’s Wrestling Community Audio show yapping about wrestling from time to time. He also wrote some retro reviews on some episode of WCW Saturday Night from 1995. Check those out in the PWTorch archives with their trusty search option. He also occasionally blogs/podcasts about sports, gaming, and other nerd mediums via his website, Nerdverses.com.

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