WCW Monday Nitro – April 15, 1996

WCW Monday Nitro – April 15, 1996
Charleston, WV

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

2-on-1 Handicap Match:
“The Enforcer” Arn Anderson (w/ Elizabeth & Woman) & The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart)
v Hulk Hogan (w/ The Booty Babe)

Result/Analysis: Hogan via pinfall (4:21) following a leg drop on Sullivan. The stipulation was the winner(s) would get five minutes alone with the manager of their choosing. The Booty Man was to be Hogan’s tag-team partner but he had suffered an injury on WCW Saturday Night forcing the handicap match. Booty or no Booty, this was “The Hogan Show.” A show which had over-run its stay and WCW desperately needed to cancel it. You’d think a handicap match would put Hogan at a disadvantage, but naw, he wasn’t into working or selling for anyone in the least bit at this point. Hogan had surpassed being intolerable leading up to this send-off match (as it turned out) but this was the icing on the cake. Hulk-A-Mania had become Puke-A-Mania and I only wish Jesse “The Body” Ventura had still been around to remind everyone “I told you so.” Not only are AA and Sullivan pawns in Hogan’s game of chess here but poor Jimmy Hart circles back to the 1980’s for managerial abuse as the five minute selection becomes him. Elizabeth and Woman are first teased as Hogan’s choice before he decides against. The ONLY good moment is The Giant coming out in defense of Hart to chokeslam Hogan except Hogan completely no-sells a move no one got up from and bodyslams The Giant for getting in his business. Pfft. Hogan even gets a post-match interview with “Mean Gene” Okerlund where he says Hulk-A-Mania is running wild all over WCW on his way to the WCW World Title. As it turned out, however, Hogan disappearred from TV altogether. This was his last babyface appearance until his shocking heel turn at Bash at the Beach in July forming the n.W.o. with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. The new and improved Hogan would become the shit!!!
Rating: – any */*’s of your choice

“Anything Goes” Falls Count Anywhere Street Fight:
Public Enemy [“Flyboy” Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge] v The Nasty Boys [Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags]

Result/Analysis: The Nasty Boys via pinfall (9:16) when Knobs pins Rock after Rock goes thru a table. Two tag-teams that were the quintessential “garbage” or “hardcore” twosomes of the 1990’s had to be The Nasties and TPE. ECW was a promotion unto itself but WCW had these teams and they often threw them out there in street fight/anything goes 10-minute time-killing matches. You knew what it was you were getting. Unlike other matches that do stand the test of time, however, these matches just don’t. The Nasties were their hottest in 1991. Public Enemy was at their height during their ECW run. What you would think the match would be is what it was: garbage cans, garbage can trash lids, tables, steel chairs, etc. Their match at SuperBrawl VI in February was actually solid and did transition away from ringside. There was more creative spots in that “Street Fight,” too. Here, all four guys probably just had borderline concussions from the repeated shots to the head. For a hardcore match on live TV it served fine. The overall booking was terrible anyway so trash was trash.
Rating: **

“Earl” Robert Eaton (w/ Geaves) v “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Result/Analysis: Savage via pinfall (3:57) after a flying elbow drop. Eaton impersonates Ric Flair which torques Macho. Savage discards of Geaves. Nothing match. Savage was deranged over Elizabeth’s antics of cashing in on his alimony and her parading around as Flair’s valet. The flying elbow drop wins Savage the match but he drops a second one for effect before having to restrained by Alex Wright, Ice Train and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. WCW milked Flair, Savage and Elizabeth for all they could in ‘95 and ‘96. It’s clear they lacked creative ideas for Macho and no one else on the roster made sense for him to feud with except Hogan and he was going on sabbatical.
Rating: *

WCW World Tag-Team Championship:

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair [World Heavyweight Champion] (w/ Elizabeth and Woman) & The Giant
v “The Total Package” Lex Luger [World Television Champion] & Sting (c)

Result/Analysis: Luger & Sting via DQ (10:34 shown) following outside interference from Woman who threw hot coffee in Sting’s eyes. That’s two weeks running for the expresso finish to Nitro’s Main Event. The match was heating up at the time, too. WCW had the most wretched endings to their matches a lot of times. Flair gets whipped around at the start with The Giant throwing him back inside the ring to man up. Flair gets fed up and hauls off on The Giant and walks off. That was cue for a commercial, though. The match resumes with The Giant taking apart Luger before Flair mops up by placing Lex in the figure-four all with Woman assisting him for leverage. The ref finally notices and Luger manages to tag Sting after catching Flair off the ropes – that NEVER worked for Naitch. Sting cleans Flair’s clock and gets the scorpion death lock on. Luger gets caught up with The Giant but the ref holds back The Giant as Lex ducks the coffee thrown by Woman as Sting is in the direct line of it and it’s a DQ. The Giant goes mad afterwards by choke slamming Luger and Sting. Flair covers both and counts his own pin. LOL. The Giant and Flair were set for a re-match soon for the World Heavyweight Title so they weren’t winning the tag-team belts. Good match / overused finish.
Rating: **3/4

The Verdict: Hogan’s last babyface hurrah for 3 1/2 years happened on this night. Savage was wrestling mid card heels by the week while obsessing over Flair. Throw in your average hardcore street fight between tag teams wrestling in the wrong promotion and it’s a bad night. The main event is good but the ending ruined it. The Giant is the one being pushed though Hogan did all he could to stall that. Slamboree: The Lethal Lottery / Lord of the Ring was on the horizon in May.

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