WCW Monday Nitro 1/15/96

WCW Monday Nitro – January 15, 1996

Miami, Florida

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McDaniel and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Match #1: “The Total Package” Lex Luger vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Result/Analysis: Luger via submission (5:10) with the torture rack after Savage misses the flying elbow drop. The match features two supposed babyfaces yet each tries to play the role of the heel. Luger wins, yet it was announced prior to the match that Savage was getting a World Title opportunity next week against the winner of Ric Flair and Sting that’s on for tonight’s Main Event. That’s some whacked booking when your #1 contender is doing the job in five minutes. WCW was promoting Savage yet burying him simultaneously? Does Luger now get the title shot??? Odd.
Rating: *1/2

“Mean” Gene Okerlund is brought to the ring by The Dungeon of Doom and The Four Horsemen. There was a tag-team match scheduled between The Taskmaster and Hugh Morrus against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman but that’s not happening. Anderson berates Pillman for how he’s dressed for this “business meeting” and tells Okerlund he and Taskmaster had a meeting of the minds. AA says The Horsemen don’t want to be a part of the brush fire that’s started up with The Dungeon of Doom as they’re about titles. The war with The Dungeon isn’t one that either side can win. There would only be survivors from it and there’s no financial gain. Taskmaster says he respects Ric Flair so much that he’s renting him the services of The Giant at The Clash of The Champions next week. Taskmaster also relays his respect to Anderson and echoes the words he just spoke of. Taskmaster says his problem lies with Pillman, someone with no respect, and who’s not Horsemen-material. Anderson relays his respect back to Taskmaster but says they don’t fear The Dungeon. Pillman interjects with his hyperbole only to get smacked in the face by AA. Wow. The interview segment concludes with Taskmaster reminding everyone Hulk Hogan, their common enemy, is in the ring with Meng tonight. Kevin Sullivan could cut a great promo. But Anderson, shit! He was 1A to Flair as the very best on the mic in this golden era of the sport.

Match #2: The Public Enemy [Johnny Grunge & “Flyboy” Rocco Rock] vs. The American Males [Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs]
Result/Analysis: The Public Enemy via pinfall (3:28) when Rock rolls up Bagwell. This was a purely horrendous match. Both Grunge and Rock look hideously out-of-shape and The American Males hardly impress, either. I always thought of Scotty Riggs as a poor man’s Marty Jannetty but he sucks here and Bagwell tries to work the match by himself for everyone. Nothing on Raw could have been this bad. The fans at ringside were chanting ECW, of course, where Public Enemy should have remained. Rock reverse sommersaults Bagwell thru stacked tables after the match. The Public Enemy were a pre-cursor to The Dudley Boyz only they weren’t any good. R.I.P. Grunge and Rock.
Rating: 3/4*

Match #3: WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Sting [Challenger] vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair [Champion] w/ Jimmy Hart
Result/Analysis: Flair via pinfall (11:07 – shown) with Sting unconscious while in the figure-four. It could be any year and Sting and Flair could wrestle in their sleep against each other. They were truly a peanut butter and jelly combination. A flawless TV match here with the added wrinkle of Luger involving himself and costing Sting the match by fighting with Jimmy Hart over the megaphone which strikes Sting on his charge at Flair into the corner. That’s twice in three weeks Luger has prevented Sting from becoming World Heavyweight Champion. And, they’re a tag-team! Naitch gives us his whole move set in this match, full with cheat tactics. Classic.
Rating: ***

After the match, Hogan and Savage come to Sting’s aid. Okerlund is present and the self-serving Hogan lectures Sting on how Luger has now twice cost him the World Title. Savage also gets in Sting’s face about placing trust in Luger and tells him he’s dying by doing so. Sting, all groggy and confused, asks The Mega-Powers what they’re talking about before leaving the ring to get the scoop from Luger backstage. Hogan and Savage remain in the ring with Okerlund. Hogan chastises Savage for receiving the title match versus Flair next week after losing to Luger four times in a row. Hulk says he’s been on a roll lately and the World Title has his name on it. Oh, Brother. Savage fires back at Hogan to back down as he is deserving of getting a title shot while reminding Hulk he’s not Nick Bockwinkel (always getting title matches) and that the two of them have already been to hell and back about 12 times. Hogan responds that they’re one in the same and since Macho’s not 100-percent with his arm injury, he’d have a better shot of winning the belt. Savage has enough and exits the ring with Hogan in pursuit trying to squelch the tempers. Okerlund reminds us that Hogan and Savage will be teaming up at Clash of the Champions to oppose The Giant and Flair.

WCW Saturday Night promo: Hogan interview, Harlem Heat vs. Sting & Luger, and Jim Belushi

Match #4: Meng w/ Taskmaster vs. Hulk Hogan
Result/Analysis: Hogan via pinfall (4:41) after using Meng’s golden spike to hit him in his throat. There’s no sugar coating it: this match is awful. Meng works over Hogan’s nerves and pressure points. Hulk eventually no-sells all of it and makes his comeback. The crowd doesn’t react, which had to be noticed, and Hogan wins the Main Event to mild reaction. Savage had come out to deal with Taskmaster so Macho and Hulk are buddy-buddy again in a span of only 10 minutes. Shocker!
Rating: DUD

The Verdict: Flair and Sting wrestle a good match. Arn Anderson reminds us again how great he is on the mic. There’s storyline advancement with Luger again foiling Sting’s chance to become World Champion. Most of all, Hogan’s self-serving ego was starting to ruin an overall good product.

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