Jushin Liger vs Brian Pillman – September 4th, 1995
In reference to Jushin, Mongo says “I hope he didn’t bring his Ginzu knives! That’d be illegal!” and Bischoff responds seriously “That sure would be illegal!”. Yes, Eric, it would. They are not allowed to cut or stab each other here in the WCW. Just ask Sid. Twice if you have to. They’re kind of off to a rough start. Jushin attempts a moonsault, and lands a little low, eating Brian’s knee. Later, Pillman attempts a rana, wanting to send Liger to the left, but his body twists to the right, which had to hurt like hell in his neck. He soon attempts a surfboard on Pillman, and man, I always hated that submission. It’s beyond ridiculous because if you wanted to attempt that on some one in real life they’d have to be out cold for at least 3 hours so you could set it up properly. Soon after the match really ramps up, Liger does his best to put Pillman down with everything from powerbombs to top-rope ranas. However, Brian refuses and answers back with mid-air drop kicks, and hurricane DDTs. It’s a damn fine opener, and a fantastic choice for WCW to immediately show a different product than what WWE was doing. I would have really liked to see this go longer. Good stuff.
Pillman gets the win after a roll-up on Liger at 7:02 | ***
Hulk Hogan [C] vs Big Bubba – WCW Heavyweight Championship – September 4th, 1995
Will Hogan go to Hot Topic after the match? Call Caliber’s hotline to find out.
Damned if I didn’t actually enjoy this one a little bit. It’s not a classic, but for a TV main event? Served it’s purpose just fine, and Boss Man is EASILY the best choice out of the Dungeon of Doom. These two always worked well together, and it’s a shame Boss Man didn’t get another run with Hogan in WCW. They trade punches, big boots & power moves until Bubba makes the fatal mistake of hitting Hogan with his finisher and going for the pin. Hogan then Hulks up, and finishes him off, Pastamania style.Afterwards, the Dungeon come down to put the hurt on Hogan. This is like the 78th time they’ve tried this, so it has to work. However, they weren’t counting on Lex Luger and the dress shirt he has practically buttoned up over his head. He helps Hogan clear house, and then they have words. Hogan wants to know what Lex is doing here. He says that he’s here to take the WCW title, and doesn’t care how long it takes. Hogan tells him he ain’t afraid. He says Luger doesn’t have to wait until next week, or next month, he’ll give him a title shot next week.
Hogan pins Big Bubba with the leg drop at 7:02 | **
Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs The Mega Powers – January 8, 1996
Hogan & Flair start, and it’s your typical fare. Things pick up once Macho gets in the ring, and can actually sell, and have an entertaining match. Flair & Anderson work him over with double-teams & cheap-shots while keeping him on their side of the ring. Despite being worn down, he still has flashes of offense with sporadic pin-attempts that unfortunately don’t ever pan out. He tags in Hogan, and it’s the same song & dance as always. He pins Anderson just as the Dungeon make their way into the ring. The Giant delivers a chokeslam to both Hogan & Savage before we move on. It’s an alright match, but at times it’s just so annoying to see Hogan acting that way. I mean, out of the entire match he only sells one move, while everyone else does their fair share of being beat-down.
Hogan pins Arn after the Leg-Drop at 12:15 | **
Sting & Lex Luger [C] vs The RoadWarriors – WCW Tag-Team Championship – February 9th, 1996
In the beginning, Sting is able to hang with the intensity of the Warriors, but Luger doesn’t seem to have it while playing it straight. So, he takes a few short-cuts, much to the chagrin of Sting, but it’s making the LOD manageable. They work over Animal for most of the match, but once he starts to mount a come-back, the ref gets distracted and Luger nails Animal in the back with a an international object, scoring the pin. Stinger isn’t thrilled at the methods used, but Luger seems happy as a clam. A pretty average match, not really worthy of being on a ‘best of’ collection to be honest.
Luger pins Animal after using a weapon to hit him in the back at 7:32 | *1/2
Fit Finlay vs Steve Regal – Iron Circle Match – April 29th, 1996
I saw this live and at 13 I thought it was the coolest thing I was ever going to see. Right off you know it’s the shit when Finlay’s foot goes through the back window of a Pinto and it explodes, then he uses Regal’s head to remove the bumper off a truck and nail him with it. Tell you one thing, Finlay doesn’t look like the one we know, he looks like Finlay’s grandfather. After brawling on top of a few hoods, Regal throws Finlay through the passenger window of the Pinto, causing it to explode just like the other. They fight to the top of it where Regal gives him a pile-driver onto the roof, then pins him on the hood. This didn’t last long, but what we did get was pretty awesome. If there’s two guys you can trust to have a blood & guts street fight, it’s Regal & Finlay. Great stuff.
Finlay eats a pile-driver on the roof of a car and is pinned at 5:55 | ***
Eddie Guerrero vs Ric Flair – May 20th, 1996
These guys tear it apart from the get go. A great head-lock spot opens up a match where neither guy have momentum on their side for more than a few seconds. Flair really makes Guerrero look like a million bucks by at one point going to get a chair because he can’t seem to get the best of him. After continued back & forth, including Eddie having the gusto to put Flair in the Figure 4, he leaps off the top-rope towards Flair on the outside who moves to the side, allowing Eddie to crash into the guardrail and screw up his knee. He then gives him a suplex on the outside just for the fun of it. Back in they continue the back & forth, and Eddie looks to have it when he hits Flair with the Frog Splash, however he landed on his bad knee. The Nature Boy smells the blood in the water and slaps Eddie in the Figure 4, who is soon counted down for the 3 count. This was a great match, one of Nitro’s best. Ric was the class-act as always, helping to make new stars and put them over in ways that the future main event talent would never dream to.
Flair pins Eddie with the Figure-4 at 16:53 | ***1/2
Hey Yo – May 27th, 1996
There’s no need explaining this moment, because if you watch wrestling you’ve seen it about 40 times. Apparently, he’s the Denim Bad Guy.
Denim Leather Bad Guy Has A Big Surprise – Jun 18th, 1996
A few weeks later Nash shows up to give us an English lesson.
Harlem Heat vs The Steiners vs Lex Luger & Sting – WCW Tag-Team Championship – June 24th, 1996
Harlem Heat are vastly underrated in the tag-team department, as the more I see of 1996 Nitro, the more my theory is proven correct. Booker tears it up with a combination of people in this match, and Stevie Ray is no slouch either. Eventually Hall & Nash show up, and in the confusion, Booker rolls up Luger for the pin. This is a worth-while inclusion, and something I would have liked to see go 20 minutes and let the guys really shine.
Booker rolls up Luger for the pin at 9:19 | ***
Well You Know Something, Gene-O – July 18th, 1996
The night after Bash at the Beach where Hogan comes out and basically gives the same speech as the night before. Only this time there’s no New World Organization.
Oh Thank God, Rey Mysterio Is Here To Save—Ah Crap – July 20th, 1996
The Horsemen are taking on Luger, Sting, and the Macho Man when Jimmy Hart runs out and starts screaming for help. In the back lot, Hall & Nash are there with ball-bats, beating the hell out of whomever they please. Then, in arguably the greatest moment ever, Rey Mysterio leaps off a bannister, only to be caught by Nash and thrown face first into a trailer before crumpling to the ground. It’s great. They get into the limo and start to drive off, when I change my mind and say that this is probably the greatest moment ever, as Macho Man jumps on top of the limo, and begins punching through the sun roof as it drives off. So, we’ve got Macho Man in full wrestling gear, which means black & green spandex with neon green tassels, shirtless, hanging off a limo trying to punch who’s ever inside. It’s fucking BRILLIANT. Women is a tremendous actor as she’s in a legit amount of tears over Arn. They spared no expense in making this look too legit to quit.
Lex Luger & Sting vs The Outsiders – August 12th, 1996
This was before the nWo even came out of the standard entrance. I thought I’d seen any & everything dealing with the nWo, but this is news to me. It doesn’t last long, but what we get is a hell of a fight. It’s melee style, so there’s no tags, and Nick Patrick is letting everything go. Both teams are beating the hell out of each other, and just as it looks like we’re about to have a damn good match on our hands, the Horsemen come out and spoil all the fun, causing the Outsiders to split. Motherfuckers.
Match ends when the Outsiders bail at 3:35 | **1/2
nWo Beats Up Everyone In Existence – August 20th, 1996
This is when Hogan & The Outsiders break up a Horsemen vs Sting & Luger match, and literally beat up at least 126 people. They spray paint them all, and then head on over to the announcing booth.
Stingin’ In The Rain – September 9th, 1996
The nWo, with the newly acquired fake-Sting, beat the hell out of Lex Luger in the down pour. Such a cool moment when I first saw it.
Won’t You Stand By The Stinger? – September 16th, 1996
This is when Sting announces that he’s become a free-agent, and starts what I personally believe to be the greatest angle of all time. On my 13th birthday no less.
The Birth of Eazy-E – November 18th, 1996
This is when we find out that Bischoff is a member of the nWo. Not as cool as when they beat up Roddy, and then the Giant quits the nWo, and gets his ass-kicked too. Both this and that moment are available on the nWo set. This was a huge deal when it first happened. Usually wrestling you love as a kid doesn’t hold up as an adult, and trust me, most of the 1995 WWE stuff doesn’t, but the nWo stuff holds up just fine.
Dean Malenko vs Rey Mysterio – December 30th, 1996
Rey has Malenko’s number in the beginning, but once Dean gets it back, he isn’t fucking around. He launches Mysterio up in the air, and walks away nonchalantly as he crashes to the ground. Immediately after, he does the same thing, however it’s not the mat Rey collides with, but it’s Malenko’s knee. Brutal. Later, Mysterio does a move in which I can only describe as The Flying Hangdang. Dean’s outside the ring, and Rey leaps off the top rope, crashing his junk into Malenko’s face, definitely not something you see all the time. Back in the ring and they keep tearing the house down with innovative moves, pins, counters, and submissions. The match is getting to a real pitch, and suddenly the bell rings. They say the 10 minute time is up, which is bullshit because it’s only been 9:20. A major disappointment because this match is absolutely incredible. Malenko was no-bullshit in the ring, nailing Mysterio with quick & brutal maneuvers, doing whatever he could to put him down, but Rey kept getting that shoulder up. Kept getting that momentum. A hell of a match.
Time limit draw at 9:20 | ****
So far the set is off to a hell of a start. The match selection is perfect, giving a large variety of style as well as show casing the incredible roster that the company had the time. Each one holds up over time, and in some cases improved. The moments are excellent as well and show why I, a staunch enemy of the WCW, soon found myself looking more forward to Nitro than Raw. Tomorrow is disc 2, looking at the years 97-98, a time when WCW was the #1 wrestling promotion in the world and delivered a mix of quality matches & story that will more than likely never be duplicated.