WCW Monday Nitro – March 25, 1996
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Three titles will be on-the-line. The World Tag-Team Titles are up for grabs as Sting and Lex Luger are challenged by The American Males, the United States Heavyweight Title is at stake as Konnan gives a shot to Mr. J.L. (Jerry Lynn) and Ric Flair defends the World Heavyweight Title against the 7-foot 4-inch 440-pound Giant. But first, “Macho Man” Randy Savage tussles with The Belfast Bruiser.
Match 1: The Belfast Bruiser vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Result/Analysis: Savage via pinfall (5:07) following the flying elbow drop. This was the first television defeat for The Belfast Bruiser aka Fit Finlay with Savage returning to his solo act post Mega-Powers. No one could deliver a beating like Finlay or take one like Savage, so this was a good pairing. Think mid-1980’s Greg Valentine versus Savage but only a step up from those encounters. Furthermore, this is textbook for how you work a match and deliver moves with impact when only given five minutes to work with. Two pros out there doing their thing. It’s a solid opening bout.
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, with Elizabeth and Woman alongside him, comes out to speak with “Mean” Gene Okerlund. Flair says tonight he’ll slay a real-life fire-breathing, walking-talking Giant and be standing over him when it’s all said and done. He breaks into song with “I’ve got the whole world in my hands” as he grabs the waist of Woman and Elizabeth. “It’s not easy being ‘The Nature Boy,’ he says. What, with the title belt, Woman o Woman won’t you marry me now and “Macho Man’s” ex better half.” Ha! Okerlund asks Flair about Luger and the knockout punch he delivered to him last night at Uncensored. Flair admits he’s turned a blind eye toward “The Total” Package of late but he realizes Luger wants all that he’s got. He says Luger, because of last night, is now joining the long list of those who will not be able to Style and Profile with him. Elizabeth confirms to Okerlund that Flair is more of a man than Luger. Three years later, that changed. For real. Elizabeth was carrying around Savage’s money here. Macho didn’t kindly to that later on.
Match 2: WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
Mr. J.L. vs. Konnan (c)
Result/Analysis: Konnan via pinfall (6:22) with a whiplash slam into a bridge. Konnan may have drunk a few too many cervezas following his win over Eddie Guerrero at Uncensored because he moves at half-speed in this match and is sluggish. J.L. was the masked alter-ego of Jerry Lynn. He was involved in the Cruiserweight tournament and had defeated Dean Malenko to advance. There’s some nice moves and Lucha wrestling but Konnan lacks motivation to work a second good match in the same week. Thus, this feels unimportant and drags on to the obvious conclusion. Next.
Match 3: Disco Inferno vs. The Booty Man (w/ The Booty Babe)
Result/Analysis: The Booty Man via pinfall (1:18) following a running high knee. Squash. Disco had no offense. Booty jukes and jives, delivers two atomic drops, gets a smack on his ass by Kimberly, now The Booty Babe, and the running knee lift of doom ends the match. HORRIBLE!
On WCW Saturday Night, Lex Luger defends the World Television Title against The Shark. Sting tussles with Dean Malenko. Ric Flair will compete. “Earl” Robert Eaton takes on The Belfast Bruiser. Also, The Giant faces Big Bubba. Will he or Flair be the World Heavyweight Champion?
Match 4: WCW World Tag-Team Championship
The American Males [Marcus Bagwell & Scotty Riggs] vs. Sting & “The Total Package” Lex Luger (c)
Result/Analysis: Sting & Luger via pinfall (6:33) when Sting pins Riggs off a flying crossbody. Nothing match. Luger mixes it up with Riggs, mostly while getting his ass handed to him, before ducking Bagwell, whom Sting was responsible for bringing into WCW. Lex’s part was be the weakest link of the team but he always celebrated victories as if he were solely responsible for them. The Males never accomplished much but they were a hit with the ladies. Their entrance theme did rock, though. Sting stays behind post-match to buddy up with The Males while Luger takes his belts and celebrates all on his own. LOL. That Sting, he’s a pretty forgiving fellow. Luger’s antics made the team go. At some point, The Steiner Brothers have to get a title shot.
Match 5: WCW World Heavyweight Championship
The Giant (accompanied by Jimmy Hart) vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (c) (w/ Woman & Elizabeth)
Result/Analysis: No Contest (8:55). The end result of this match was the face turn of The Giant. Arn Anderson hits The Giant with a steel chair to save the title for Flair but since The Taskmaster was present and had taken the chair from AA, The Giant saw it as Kevin Sullivan being the guilty party. He had chokeslammed Flair before Elizabeth and Woman enter the ring to stand over Flair which led to Anderson’s outside interference. Flair was the master of working a match with a big man. He bumps like crazy, tries to chop The Giant down to size only to no avail before resorting to every cheat tactic in the book because he is, after all, “The Dirtiest Player in the Game.” The Giant was particularly agile in his early career and could do things at this point he couldn’t later on as The Big Show in his long WWF/WWE run. With Hulk Hogan a soon-to-be absentee as the top babyface in preparation for his heel turn months down the road, it made sense for The Giant to take the mantle and feud with The Four Horsemen and The Dungeon of Doom. He’d soon become the World Champion for a second time but not on this night as Flair escapes. Good Main Event.
The Verdict: Five matches in one hour off a PPV the night before is nothing to sneeze at. The Giant turning face is the takeaway. The stuff with Savage, and Elizabeth tossing around her alimony money from “the divorce,” while hysterical, was getting too much play. Luger was in his element. He worked as a heel yet played the part of face while tagging with Sting. No one could pull that off any better. Until Scott Hall, followed soon after by Kevin Nash, arrive, however, WCW had little creative direction. From top-to-bottom their in ring product on Monday Nitro and WCW Saturday Night was far superior than anything the WWF was providing. Thus, if could only watch one show back then, even though channel flipping was a must (more so in 1997 and 1998) Nitro was the first choice.