WCW Monday Nitro – June 17, 1996

WCW Monday Nitro – June 17, 1996
Richmond, VA

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

Tony and Larry discuss the attack on Eric Bischoff at The Great American Bash one night earlier by the two Outsiders who’ve declared WAR on WCW. Larry calls Kevin Nash and Scott Hall rogues who didn’t impress him by throwing Bischoff off a stage. He says the Outsiders aren’t welcome or wanted here in WCW calling WCW the premiere wrestling organization in the world. From there, Tony and Larry dissect the results from the Pay-Per-View ad nauseum. Talk about overboard. Anyway, of note is that Rey Mysterio Jr. and Dean Malenko will wreste in a return match for the Cruiserweight Championship on this very Monday Nitro. Returning to Bischoff oncd more, exclusive footage is shown of Hall and Nash with him at the PPV all until Bischoff is powerbombed thru a table off the stage. That’s to be shown later on apparently. Tony informs the TV audience that a drawing will take place to determine which three men will represent WCW at Bash at the Beach on July 7 versus The Outsiders and their mystery third man/partner. Finally, it’s off to the ring for action.

Stevie Ray vs. Rick Steiner

Result/Analysis: Steiner via pinfall (2:17) following a Steinerline. This was short and to the point. Booker T comes out afterwards as Harlem Heat together beats on Rick. Booker goes to the top rope for supposedly the Harlem Hangover only Scott Steiner gets to the ring in time to sacrifice himself for his brother and take the blow instead. It appears The Steiner’s and Harlem Heat will be feuding.
Rating: 3/4*

The American Males cut a pre-commercial promo to tell everyone they’re coming for Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit tonight. Scotty Riggs will be taking the loss in that tag-team match assuredly.

Before the next match, Tony says Hulk Hogan telephoned in last night in relation to the hostile takeover of WCW to state he wanted to be a part of the WCW team for Bash at the Beach. That’s some clever foreshadowing completely glossed over in commentary prior to the bell ringing for …

The Disco Inferno vs. Joe Gomez

Result/Analysis: Gomez via pinfall (3:33) with a roll-up. Disco only cares about two things: dancing and his hair. Gomez, dubbed “Desperado” resembles some baffoon found on the outskirts of some reservation. And while I don’t remember him, Gomez had wrestled in WCW before from 1990-91 before he toiled the independent circuit. This match belongs on the indy circuit, perhaps in some gymnasium in the Southwestern quadrant of the country. Disco isn’t allowed to dance so we don’t get the experience of his gyrating hips or his music. In other words, this was completely lame.
Rating: 1/2*

“Mean” Gene Okerlund is in the locker room with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair along with Miss Elizabeth, Woman and his new centerpiece – Debra McMichael. Okerlund asks Debra the simple question of why. Why did she join up with The Horsemen? Debra answers she had to because of the money, of course. Flair, meanwhile, goes off about his expanded entourage resembling the cover of Vogue Magazine while telling us that he’ll stand his ground tonight against the reinstated “Macho Man” Randy Savage promising to beat him up real bad as he styles and profiles. Woooo!!!

“The Enforcer” Arn Anderson” & “The Crippler” Chris Benoit
vs. The American Males [Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs]

Result/Analysis: Anderson & Benoit via pinfall (5:50) when Benoit pins Riggs (I told you) following a snap suplex over the top rope. To say The Horsemen are OVER in Richmond, Virginia is putting it mildly. The comparison might well be Jesus Christ returning to The Holy Land. Their POP is enormous. WCW fans rarely get credited for cheering the awesome so I’ll give them a shout out here. Arn decks Bagwell off the ring apron to start the match and toys with Riggs. Bagwell gets in and showcases his skills with Benoit, who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of The Taskmaster from The Great American Bash, falling prey to the fast-paced offense. The Males dictate things for a while before Arn takes over and Benoit returns. Benoit hits a backdrop suplex and delivers the diving headbutt yet Bagwell survives to tag Riggs. That proves unwise as Benoit finishes him off quickly.
Rating: **

Arn and Benoit get interviewed by Okerlund after the match. Arn gives a babyface promo that plays up to the crowd support while dissing his business deal with Kevin Sullivan that went south. It’s sooo good! AA understood ALL THINGS and he adapted to any situation in the moment. Benoit, meanwhile, has a pointed message for Sullivan. He says, “Sullivan, every action has a reaction and your quest and your goal and your desire to nullify The Horsemen, to separate us … well, most of America watched the reaction last night. YOU felt it. The Horsemen are about guts, glamour and glory.” Benoit was a PERFECT Horsemen. He and Arn were deserving of a tag-team titles reign.

Great American Bash Return Match:
Big Bubba (w/ “The Mouth of The South” Jimmy Hart) vs. John Tenta

Result/Analysis: Tenta via pinfall (4:42) following a pair of powerslams. Well, this match was an improvement from the PPV encounter anyway. Tenta is characterized by Zbyszko as rivaling the size of the national debt and Larry says it took Tenta six weeks to decide he wasn’t a fish. Tony calls Tenta one of the most successful big men in our sport. Larry retorts, half his head is shaved off. Tony says, “Well, those things happen.” Jimmy Hart hits Tenta with the megaphone to squelch Tenta’s comeback but he gets an atomic drop out of the ring for his troubles. Bubba then takes the powerslams and the loss. Afterward, Tenta chases Hart around the ring but Hart tosses Bubba a loaded sock full of silver dollars and Tenta gets wailed upon as Bubba regains his heat. Okerlund interviews Bubba since Tenta is indisposed and Bubba claims victory for the second night in a row even though he lost both matches and had his beard clipped the night before. Gene says Bubba and Hart have their facts twisted. This feud feels longer than the movie “Free Willy” back in the day.
Rating: *

Savage returns to the ring next as hour 2 begins following a commercial break to pay the bills.

Okerlund talks with Macho before he heads out to the ring. Savage says he’ll take his time in the ring tonight with Flair as he plans to be calculated. Gene asks Macho if he sought out professional help while he was on suspension. Savage said he did and the woman psychologist said he was O.C.D. – One Cool Dude. Macho says he plans to be in WCW forever.

Savage chases Heenan away from joining Tony and Larry on the broadcast as the pyro goes off to signify hour two. Heenan winds up in the ring cornered but escapes over the top rope to circle back to his escapes from years ago. Poor Brain. Savage is a nut.

Flair cuts a promo on Savage before he enters the ring saying, “Macho! Macho! Every man in life must, at some point in time, experience the agony and the pain of defeat. In your case, you are experiencing the pain of agony, defeat and divorce. And look who’s in Richmond tonight with all the girls! (Keep your mouth shut, punk! Keep your mouth shut, punk.) Woo!”

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/ Woman, Debra & Miss Elizabeth)

Result/Analysis: Flair via pinfall (8:35 shown) following outside interference from Steve “Mongo” McMichael. Savage hits Flair with successive flying elbow drops, the second one attempted despite the girls plea to stop him. The Horsemen then hit the ring one-by-one. Benoit takes a piledriver. Arn gets knocked silly and he’s tossed out. Mongo comes out with the briefcase in tow, however, and he hits Savage with it twice to allow Flair to pick up the tainted victory. The Horsemen put the boots to Savage afterward. The match is a wild melee from start-to-finish with Savage going about his calculated game plan like a crazed lunatic. Flair is reeling and on the defensive. Macho makes use of Flair’s VIP table as Flair gets a face full of the vegetable tray with Savage dousing him with the champagne that was on ice. These two could do no wrong. Flair nearly wins later on after using a foreign object but Savage kicks out at two, delivers a low blow and referee Randy Anderson takes a bump to lead to the crazy finish. Like always, the live crowd ate everything up. The Four Horsemen stand tall as a strong, complete, and powerful force. Savage is again left in ruins.
Rating: ***1/4

Meanwhile, Kevin Sulivan isn’t happy with Arn Anderson after what happened last night at The Great Anerican Bash. It’s a WAR! The Giant is present as Okerlund also gets his take on the recent Horsemen reunification. The Giant reiterates The Dungeon of Doom are the most dominant force in WCW and it’s because of him being the World Heavyweight Champion. He dares and implores ALL Horsemen to get in the ring with him. He says, they’ll all fall down and all the king’s men and all the king’s horses won’t be able to put them back together again. The Giant will be challenged tonight by Scott Steiner so long as Steiner can recover from Harlem Heat earlier. Okerlund says the drawing for WCW’s three-man team for Bash at the Beach is upcoming tonight as WCW defends itself against the hostile takeover. Sullivan breaks character and throws his support behind WCW.

Blood Runs Cold promo. Glacier is coming to WCW in July. His was the most delayed debut.

Tony and Bobby recap The GAB. Nash powerbombs Bischoff off the stage thru a table after WAR was accepted. Mongo joins The Four Horsemen while backstabbing Kevin Greene. Benoit and The Taskmaster fight all over the arena in their Falls Count Anywhere Match. Order the Encore Presentation. Please fans! Call your local cable operator and do it now!!!

Rey Mysterio Jr. is stopped by Okerlund on his way to the ring. Mysterio says he respects Dean Malenko as a professional but he wants that Cruiserweight Title.

Great American Bash Return Match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship:
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. “The Man of 1,000 Holds” Dean Malenko (c)

Result/Analysis: Malenko via pinfall (8:42) following a reverse DDT. Their PPV match was better but that had twice as much time to percolate. Here, Mysterio shows his resiliency as he survives defeat from a brainbuster, electric chair, powerbomb and an overhead throw. Like the PPV, Mysterio makes a spirited comeback with mid-air counter reversals into pin attempts that nearly captures him the title. Since Mysterio was new on the scene, to hot shot the belt onto him so early on would have been a mistake. Instead, WCW introduced Mysterio for a while before he took the reigns of the Cruiserweight division and re-invented wrestling. Malenko was technically on point with everything he did and could take Rey’s moves and accentuate the gasp of the crowd by how he helped make them look. Mysterio would only electrify further as the weeks and months rolled on. Terrific match.
Rating: ***1/2

WCW World Heavyweight Championship:
Scott Steiner vs. The Giant (c) (w/ “The Mouth of The South” Jimmy Hart)

Result/Analysis: The Giant via pinfall (8:23 shown) following a chokeslam. Fee-fi-fo-fum. What you have is a glorified squash until Steiner shows off his super-human strength thanks to ‘roids by suplexing The Giant and breaking him nearly in half! Scott being juiced or not (juiced), just being able to suplex The Giant was incredible. Steiner gets a two count off the move but then decides to break a wooden chair over The Giant’s head to win the match. The chair shot would surely effect a mortal man but not The Giant, who no sells any pain and finishes Scotty with the chokeslam. The first 6/7 minutes are purely The Giant working over Steiner’s bandaged ribs, which we are to attribute to Harlem Heat from earlier on. The Giant is tearing through WCW. Who’s next?
Rating: *1/2

Blood Runs Cold Promo #2. And yet Glacier’s arrival/WCW debut slated for July again got delayed.

Okerlund has the mic and the floor to close Nitro. He has the three men who will challenge The Outsiders (the first time they were given a characterization). The drawing consisted of the six men in WCW with the best Win/Loss record (and other considerations). The possibilities were Hulk Hogan, The Giant, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, “The Total Package” Lex Luger, Sting, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Hmm. The Outsiders are rogue heels. That disqualifies The Giant and Flair. Hogan is on sabbatical yet he wants “in.” Still, WCW has drawn the names of Luger, Sting and Savage to go to WAR with and thereby prevent the hostile takeover from succeeding. Now, just whom is the third man joining The Outsiders as their tag-team partner. At the time, speculation was ablaze on the Internet … for those of us (I was one) who had access to it. There were many rumors. None of those panned out. Hmm.

The Verdict: The Outsiders didn’t appear one night after wrecking Bischoff at the PPV. WCW rallied the troops so to speak against the hostile takeover attempt. Still, old feuds persisted like the latest chapter of Flair and Savage. That never got old. The Four Horsemen star as Mongo again makes an impact. Mysterio loses to Malenko for the second time but he’s the new sensation. There was other junk to fill the two hour broadcast but WCW had the eyeballs and the fixation on Monday Nights.

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