WCW Monday Nitro – June 10, 1996

WCW Monday Nitro – June 10, 1996
Wheeling, WV

Commentators: Tony Schiavone & “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko
Eric Bischoff & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Tony and Larry discuss what’s on tap. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson will face newcomer Joe Gomez and Renegade. Snooze. The Giant goes one-on-one with Scott “Flash” Norton. Non-Title? Either way, that’s bad. Tony turns to the end of Nitro last week and the confrontation that occurred between the invading Scott Hall (yet to be named as such) and Sting. Hall promised a BIG surprise for this week. Tony actually points out for the dummies watching that next week is now tonight. Sting versus Meng is on the card. Finally, here’s Ring Announcer David Penzer!

Booker T. vs. Scott Steiner

Result/Analysis: Steiner via pinfall (5:54) following a belly-to-belly suplex throw. Good TV match between two pro’s. Both were still involved in the thick of the tag-team division but particularly with Steiner, who recently wrestled Sting in a Monday Nitro Main Event, the seeds were being planted for Scott’s future singles career. His confidence was building. Later on, it became arrogance. The Steiner’s were a great tag-team and had usefulness left in them but Scott was ready to be a lone wolf. Booker carried Stevie Ray in Harlem Heat and he likewise was being wasted by WCW staying in the tag-team ranks. Konnan is the reigning United States Heavyweight Champion. Konnan. I’d take Scott Steiner, Booker T., or a lot of guys holding that belt instead. Scott and Booker were truly on point in any move they executed. Two future Main Event stalwarts for WCW that could have been pushed into more prominent roles a lot sooner had the old guard not had so much backstage pull. Even still, both guys eventually had great careers so it’s hard to complain too much.
Rating: ***

Scott talks to “Mean” Gene Okerlund afterwards and discusses he and Rick facing Fire and Ice on Sunday at The Great American Bash. I’ll take The Steiner’s. Fire and Ice on a major PPV … common!

Debra McMichael interrupts Scott’s interview because she’s so upset at what her husband, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, might do. Debra’s concerned Steve might go a little crazy and he might hurt someone permanently. Nah, he’ll just stab his best friend in the back. Money talks. Debra is really, really upset and she asks Gene to set up a meeting with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson for the possibility the match can be called off – with cooler heads prevailing. Gene tells Debra he’ll corner Bobby Heenan tonight – the coach for Anderson and Flair – and see what can come of her request. Debra points out with Randy Savage also involved, noting he’s nuts, that something has to be done.

Lord of the Ring Match:
Jim Powers vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Result/Analysis: DDP via pinfall (4:06) following the diamond cutter. If you’ve followed wrestling since the late 1980’s at least, you’ve heard of Jim Powers. Of course, that Jim Powers, a much, much slimmer and younger version was one half of The Young Stallions in the WWF with Paul Roma, though they never accomplished much despite being high flyers. DDP was putting his Lord of the Ring on-the-line in matches like it was some prestigious title. No F’s given. This is your standard match where the heel beats on the newcomer. There’s the token comeback. And ultimately, the finishing move not set-up by anything. DDP will again risk his Lord of the Ring at The Great American Bash when he’s challenged by Marcus Alexander Bagwell. Tony and Larry discuss Page’s mysterious benefactor; the someone who paid off his debts. Does that person ever get revealed?
Rating: *

For the second straight week, the ongoings that is the feud between “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit are chronicled. You would have had to be glued into WCW Saturday Night to see it unfold, however. Nonetheless, at The Great Anerican Bash, it’s Benoit versus Sullivan in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Sullivan, you see, saw Benoit as a “serpent” hiding within The Four Horsemen, much like Brian Pillman was, whom he defeated at SuperBrawl in February in an “I Quit Match.” After which, Pillman was never seen or heard from again in WCW. Arn Anderson has seemed to align his trust in Sullivan instead of Benoit. Oh what wicked webs we weave.

Back from a commercial and it’s a special look at Konan, the reigning United States Heavyweight Champion. In slow-motion highlights, Konan (yes, just one “N” in his name at this point) looks like a legit star. Except, he never panned out as one in The States. In Mexico, however, Konan remains a living legend to this day. More importantly, his credibility and trail blazing stardom at the time would bring over Rey Mysterio Jr. … and 25 years later, Mysterio is still wrestling, now with his son Dominik, also a fixture in WWE. Konan gives an interview with “Mean” Gene to discuss facing El Gato, a legend in South America, at The Great American Bash. The issue in 1996 was the U.S. population – demographically – wasn’t such that a Mexican/Latin star would have crossover appeal. Today, Konan, had he come into wrestling in the present day, would have a legit following. In 1996, few wrestling fans gave a shit and WCW gave cart blanche to Konan knowing he’d recruit other reknowned international talent. One of those concessions was him as the U.S. Champion. It’s a time when the prestigious title truly became forgotten. Konan tried but … wrestling El Gato? Um, no.

Meng vs. Sting [WCW World Tag-Team Champion]

Result/Analysis: Sting via submission (3:10) with the scorpion death lock. What a shockingly brief match. I’d have thought 8-10 minutes lenghth, but no. Meng, aka “The Human Vegomatic,” submits when he’s considered one of the toughest men in the sport. Weak. Sting’s push was escalating and he gets His Lordship, Steven Regal, at the PPV, but Meng arguably looks worse than Jim Powers.
Rating: *

Meanwhile, as promised Okerlund has located Heenan backstage, and Debra is present for a chat. Heenan has Debra come hither with him into Flair’s dressing room for a pow wow about the match request cancellation … even though, according to Bobby, Debra has been talking to Ric all week. LOL. Heenan immediately slams the door shut on Gene so he can’t be inside. Seconds later, Debra rushes out screaming. Flair and Anderson follow her out, all heated, and they come upon and ambush Gomez and Renegade to put them both out of commission for tonight. Aw-shucks!

“Squire” David Taylor (accompanied by Jeeves) vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Result/Analysis: Duggan via pinfall (2:27) following a punch with his fist taped. “Hacksaw” is such a great American that he bends the rules to win. Pfft. Zbyszko says upon Duggan’s introduction that he’s still looking for his IQ. Given that, and the rule bending, Duggan has been figured out. Taylor had interjerted himself in the Regal/Duggan match last week, thus the rationale behind this bout. More importantly, with Flair and Anderson taking out Joe Gomez and Renegade, the Main Event for tonight is now Sting and Lex Luger versus The Horsemen with the World Tag-Team Titles at stake!
Rating: DUD

Coming up at The Great American Bash, Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko will be challenged by Mexican high flyer Rey Mysterio Jr. We see video highlights of each man wrestling to hype their match. Mysterio will be making his WCW debut at the event. 25 years ago now … Damn!

On the other hand, as Okerlund stands by with Jimmy Hart and his protégé, Big Bubba Rogers, The GAB will also feature John Tenta seeking retribution against Big Bubba for the head sheering which took place on Nitro two weeks ago. Hart gloats that Tenta couldn’t carry his weight in The Dungeon of Doom. Because of that, and at the direction of The Taskmaster, he was dealt with. Gene turns to Big Bubba and says “I know a bad barber when I see one.” Ha! Bubba calls Tenta half a man and says he gave people a reason to laugh at his face just like they’ve been laughing at him for years behind his back. Had this been 1990, and with different gimmicks, you’d have found the match on a WWF card somewhere. By 1996, seeing this match on PPV is considered cruel and unusual punishment. “We be serving Hard Time” all right, this Sunday.

Okerlund gets around because he next stops Scott “Flash” Norton on his way to the ring prior to his meeting The Giant. Norton says he took two chokeslams last week but yet here he is. He’s just that crazy. He’s also here because he’s not scared. And apparently, the World Title is on-the-line.

Hour 2:

WCW World Heavyweight Championship:
Scott “Flash” Norton vs. The Giant (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Result/Analysis: The Giant via pinfall (1:43) following a chokeslam (outside the ring). Norton’s “Fire”is quickly extinguished in the squash match of the week. Predictable. Luger runs out to scuffle with The Giant afterward but he gets thrown aside. The Giant goes to chokeslam Lex thru Flair’s VIP table but Lex clocks him with the champagne bucket to stop him. The Dungeon run out so Luger flees. He flees to the announce location, however, where he cuts a weak promo about throwing the rules aside at The Great American Bash. I don’t think the World Title Match is No DQ, but why not?
Rating: DUD

Billy Kidman vs. “Lord” Steven Regal (accompanied by Jeeves)

Result/Analysis: Regal via submission (:58) with a standing Boston crab. Kidman resembles a young Daniel LaRusso here and he’s punked by Regal like Cobra Kai did to Daniel-san in “The Karate Kid.” Sting comes rushing out afterward and slaps Regal for stepping on Kidman’s head. His Lordship is besmirched! The audacity!!! Regal’s backhanded slap to Sting >. Regal vs. Sting at The GAB.
Rating: 1/2*

The Nasty Boys [Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags] vs. Public Enemy [Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge]

Result/Analysis: Public Enemy via DQ (9:04 shown). This was designed to take up 15 minutes including introductions and commercial breaks. There had been decent brawls in the past but this encounter is F-ugly! The Nasties and Public Enemy belonged in ECW. There was plenty of garbage there and their styles would had the famed Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan captivated at least. The WCW fan base had zero interest. I can’t even say entertaining crap is on display here.
Rating: DUD

The same Hulk Hogan video package from last week airs to promote The Hulkster’s return. He’s American Made and has the red, white and blue running through his veins in case you forgot.

Meanwhile, in pre-recorded workout tape, “Coach” Savage helps train Greene and McMichael with The Great American Bash in Baltimore only six days away. What a misuse of “Macho Man.”

WCW World Tag-Team Championship:
Sting & “The Total Package” Lex Luger – WCW World Television Champion (c)
vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair & “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson (w/ Woman and Miss Elizabeth)

Result/Analysis: Sting & Luger via DQ (13:44 shown) after outside interference by The Giant. There’s a lot to like about the match. The champs look strong, particularly Luger since he’s wrestling for the World Title upcoming at the PPV. The Horsemen are discombobulated, not on their “A” game so to speak, and that sends “Coach” Heenan into a frazzled state while calling the match. Flair becomes the focal point as he gets beat up so much while putting over Luger and Sting that you’re reminded of how great that is just for taking punishment. Never was there a better showman in the biz. Anderson, he still does all the dirty work as the brains of the operation when he and Flair finally take control and take turns working over Sting. Eventually, one too many missteps by Flair, however, allows Sting to tag in the fresh Lex Express and Luger takes no prisoners. Then out comes The Giant because he’s just hot tempered. Sting and Scott Steiner come to Luger’s aide brandishing chairs – the wooden ones – and the face trio take turns hitting The Giant. Since The Giant can’t show weakness, though, he shrugs off each chair shot and pounds his chest like he’s King Kong before backing away. On his way out, The Giant informs Okerlund he’s fine if there are no rules when he and Luger square off in Baltimore. He says Lex will be leaving the arena on a stretcher.
Rating: ***

Bischoff and Heenan wrap up the night as Brain goes off in hysterics on Savage. Classic. Bobby runs off … which means, guess who is here? It’s Scott Hall! Bischoff stands up to take the lead on this latest confrontation. He tells Hall he wants no trouble but since Hall has made a lot of talk about some BIG surprise, the question has to be asked, where is it? Kevin Nash walks up behind Bischoff as Hall points Bischoff in the rear direction. “Where is HE, Bischoff says”? Hall turns Bischoff around and he’s startled to see Nash. “Big Daddy” grabs the mic and says, “You’ve been sitting out here for six months running your mouth. This is where the big boys play, huh? Look at the adjective, play. We ain’t here to play. Now he (Hall) said last week that he was gonna bring somebody out here. I’m here. And you still don’t have your three people and you know why? Because nobody wants to face us.” Bischoff pleads again he wants no trouble. Nash takes that as Bischoff not wanting his teeth kicked down his throat. Nash asks Bischoff where his three guys are as he suspects that maybe a paleontologist couldn’t be reached to clear the fossils, or possibly, that not enough guys could be cleared to get off the dialysis machine to get a team. Ha! I love it. Bischoff seems to mutter back he’ll get three guys. Nash asks where Hogan is, speculating he’s off doing another episode of “Blunder in Paradise.” Is the “Macho Man” doing another Slim-Jim commercial? Bischoff gets the last word. He tells The Outsiders that he’ll be in the WCW offices tomorrow morning and he’ll see what he can do about their request for a fight. Bischoff says maybe if they show up in Baltimore at The GAB, if they have the guts to do so, maybe they’ll get the fight they want. Hall and Nash communicate they’re loved in Baltimore. That’s what you call a PPV tease my friends. What’s next???

The Verdict: There’s a PPV coming up. The Great American Bash. It’s a WCW staple. It’s their biggest event of the Summer. Yet, the ongoing angle with The Outsiders has taken center stage. Put yourself in 1996 and speculate what’s next? It was a different world. No one knew what was next let alone the insiders who covered the business for a living. Appreciate that fact. WCW had rarely had a buyrate tease to any of it’s PPV’s. On the card, the big match is Flair and Anderson versus Mongo and Greene. The pay-off there is huge! Benoit and Sullivan wrestle an unforgettable Falls Count Anywhere Match, too. Some guy named Rey Mysterio Jr. debuts and he steals the show. Watch!

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