WCW Monday Nitro – June 24, 1996

WCW Monday Nitro – June 24, 1996
Charlotte, NC

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

Tony and Larry start Nitro by showing the footage again from The Great American Bash with Eric Bischoff attacked by The Outsiders after WAR had been accepted by WCW for Bash at the Beach. Seeing Bischoff powerbombed off the stage never gets old.

Meanwhile, standing by with “Mean” Gene Okerlund is the WCW team for Bash at the Beach: “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “The Total Package” Lex Luger and Sting. Silliness abounds as both Luger and Savage are wearing face paint along with Sting … it’s war paint, I presume. Savage talks up a united front but says they’ll divide and conquer tonight. Macho exits after invoking “Mongo” McMichael so they’re probably having a match. Sting is fired up for Bash at the Beach but asks what’s the deal about The Outsiders not naming their tag-team partner. He sounds completely whiny. Luger also tows the company line to echo Savage’s call for solidarity. The Steiner Brothers and Harlem Heat interrupt the interview to spout off over tonight’s triangle match as Luger and Sting defend the tag-team titles and hopefully drop the belts.

The Blue Bloods [“Lord” Steven Regal & “Squire” David Taylor] (w/ “Earl Robert Eaton)
vs. Public Enemy [“Flyboy” Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge]

Result/Analysis: Public Enemy via pinfall (5:50) when Grunge pins Taylor after hitting him with the cast on his wrist. Utterly stupid. I never understood the fascination with Public Enemy or why they were pushed. Pure garbage is what they were as the screw-ups in this match attest to. Regal fights Sting at The Great American Bash in an upper card match … granted he lost … and one week later is jerking the curtain teaming with The Squire as The Blue Bloods flounder. His Lordship was so misused and a career re-set in the WWF a lot sooner for him could have led to so many great years. And get this, since the match completely sucks meaning I bypass discussing the details, Public Enemy will again have a PPV encounter versus The Nasty Boys. This time WCW thought up a “Double Dog Collar Chain” stipulation. Their feud was neverending, tiresome and tedious.
Rating: DUD

Harlem Heat want the tag-team titles back, SUCKA! Those comments air prior to a commercial.

Kip Abee vs. “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan (w/ “The Mouth of The South” Jimmy Hart)

Result/Analysis: Abee via DQ (time unknown) after Sullivan took upon himself to take Abee, enhancement talent by hire, out of the ring, through the crowd and into the concessions area reminiscent of his Falls Count Anywhere Match with Chris Benoit from The Great American Bash. Utterly stupid booking #2 on the night. Afterward, Sullivan returns to the ring to speak with Okerlund with anti-Horsemen rhetoric on his mind. Nitro is in Charlotte so it’s Horsemen Country all the way as Sullivan gets booed. Coming up at Bash at the Beach, Sullivan teams with The Giant against Arn Anderson and Benoit. If The Horsemen win, any member gets a World Title shot versus The Giant. Sullivan promises that won’t happen with an evil laugh thrown in. Gene notes how Sullivan is a sick individual.
Rating: N/A

Blood Runs Cold promo #1,000. Glacier is coming in July. No he isn’t.

Non-Title Match:
“Hardwork” Bobby Walker vs. “The Man of 1,000 Holds” Dean Malenko [Cruiserweight Champion]

Result/Analysis: Malenko via pinfall (4:59) with a northern lights suplex. The match is non-title and rightfully so as Walker hardly earned a shot at the belt. The Disco Inferno is getting a title shot, however, coming up at the PPV, and he interrupts here just as the boring chants break out from the restless fans to dance IN THE RING during the match! Only in WCW, folks. Malenko and Walker keep on wrestling as this ridiculousness goes on but Walker is too perturbed and he stumbles into Disco dancing on the ropes allowing Malenko to finish him off. Malenko tried but just terrible booking he couldn’t overcome. They say hard work pays off … unless your Bobby Walker. That guy had no future in the business. Disco interrupts Malenko’s post-match interview with Okerlund to spout off about his shake your booty tour. So dumb. Malenko rebuffs that while he is the man of one thousand holds, it will only one take one to beat Disco at Bash at the Beach. Odd pairing. WCW was still throwing darts at the way for their matchmaking. There’s no interest in that match. NONE.
Rating: 3/4*

The Barbarian vs. Eddie Guerrero

Result/Analysis: Guerrero via pinfall (5:38) after reversing a Barbarian superplex attempt mid-air. The contrast in wrestling styles of these two men make you scratch your head and ask why are we seeing this match? No clue. I will say The Barbarian was looking somewhat impressive at this point in his career but I still preferred him tagging with Meng as The Faces of Fear. Eddie was still establishing himself as a would-be player and he had mastered the art of bumping excessively. The Barbarian controls the match and surprisingly gets a lot of crowd support. Eddie sells the heck out of the move but The Barbarian’s overhead suplex from the top rope looks viscious. Guerrero gets the win which logically makes sense. WCW had plans for him but it would be a while longer. Eddie was in the wrong promotion at this point in his career to be honest. He belonged up North. I’m thinking Marc Mero as an adversary. Gene catches up with Guerrero after the match to gauge his feelings on the U.S. Title match with Konan three months back at Uncensored. Really now? Eddie is humble about how that championship opportunity turned out but thinks he deserves another shot.
Rating: *1/2

Hour Two:

“The Enforcer” Arn Anderson & “The Crippler” Chris Benoit (w/ Steve “Mongo” McMichael)
vs. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express [Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson]

Result/Analysis: Anderson and Benoit via pinfall (6:04) when Benoit pins Gibson after Mongo hits him with the halliburton briefcase. This is the logical booking, of course. Tony and Bobby pontificate about Bash at the Beach throughout most of the match so given that, you knew you weren’t going to see a throwback classic from years gone by. Rock ‘N’ Roll look OK but if not wrestling The Horsemen in these tag-team bouts, what really is their usefulness to WCW? I can’t think of anything else. Charlotte, NC is Flair country which makes it The Horsemen’s home base, too, as AA and Benoit are cheered for. Mongo does the dirty work here to further cement his burgeoning Horsemen impact. After the match, Mr. Desperado himself, Joe Gomez, hits the ring to aid Rock ‘N’ Roll. Gomez is immediately met by the briefcase for his troubles and he’s slapped around by Mongo for being a punk that stuck his nose in where it didn’t belong. Good. Mongo and Gomez will square off at Bash at the Beach. That’s must-see! Savage and Kevin Greene run out to force The Horsemen to flee the ring. Greene, I’m sure, will have interview time before Nitro ends tonight.
Rating: *3/4

Meanwhile, in a secure location backstage and under guard of security to protect from Savage, Flair and the girls celebrate the win as Gene does his weekly Horsemen interview spot. AA, Benoit and Mongo soon join and it’s more of the same. Woooo! Flair, it’s announced, will challenge Konan for the U.S. Heavyweight Title at Bash at the Beach. Konan has been a total DUD as champion.

Tony and Bobby kill time discussing The Outsiders and Bash at the Beach. Heenan smartly points out The Outsiders have the advantage because WCW doesn’t know who their third guy is. Tony thinks WCW has the advantage because they want to win badly. LOL.

Lord of the Ring Match:
“Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Result/Analysis: DDP via pinfall (4:12) following the Diamond Cutter. It’s your standard Page match circa 1996 as he oversells and overembellishes damn near everything. Wright carries Dallas in the ring but the circus-like behavior of Page all together keeps you zoned in. The match is short with Wright trying to do too much thereby allowing DDP the opening he needs for the Diamond Cutter. I don’t understand the logic behind DDP putting his Battle Bowl-won Lord of the Ring up each week. I guess it was WCW legitimizing the accomplishment? Page will again put the ring at stake at Bash at the Beach when he goes one-on-one with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan in a “Taped Fist Match.” Yes, I’m serious. WCW certaintly had all manners of match types in their day and even their middling talent get PPV time. Afterward, Okerlund catches with DDP in the ring. Page has a great line as he says, “If I get the Diamond Cutter on anyone they have the life expectancy of a house fly.” LOL. Dallas is perturbed he’s been placed against Duggan in a Taped Fists Match. He believes it’s a conspiracy among the promotors to hold him down. Well, he did get his World Title Match stripped after Slamboree so I side with DDP here. If Duggan becomes Lord of the Ring it will be a travesty.
Rating: *1/2

As Nitro heads to its next commercial break, Savage cuts a promo stating he’s NOT “The Nacho Man” just “The Macho Man” and only he is taking over WCW. Savage is up next. Ooh Yeah!

“In each of us burns the fury of a warrior.” Blood Runs Cold: Glacier

Kevin Greene is with Okerlund following the break. Greene promises payback for Mongo McMichael only first he’s got an NFL season ahead of him and The Carolina Panthers are going to surprise some people. Well, they would reach the NFC Championship Game. After the season, however, Greene says he’s going “Mongo Hunting” and himself, Macho Man and two other super powers from WCW will get their revenge (on The Four Horsemen).

V.K. Wallstreet vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Kevin Greene)

Result/Analysis: Savage via pinfall (4:37) following the flying elbow drop. Tony and Bobby ignore the match to discuss Bash at the Beach and The Hostile Takeover. Tony knew the deal so his job as lead announcer was increase the PPV buy rate.,There’s little to talk about for Savage and Wallstreet. It’s also completely random Kevin Greene is at ringside, though he does post Wallstreet for a cheap pop. Savage is calmer than his usual self. Truly nothing of note happens before Savage wins. If any wrestler looked worse wearing face paint than Savage, except Luger, who wrestles next, find him.
Rating: 3/4*

Triangle Match for the WCW World Tag-Team Championship:
Harlem Heat [Booker T. & Stevie Ray] vs. The Steiner Brothers [Rick & Scott]
vs. Sting & “The Total Package” Lex Luger – World Television Champion (c)

Result/Analysis: Harlem Heat via pinfall (9:20 shown) when Booker T. rolls up Luger. The pin happens while The Outsiders appear from the crowd wielding baseball bats with Sting and The Steiner’s turning to face them as local law enforcement joins them in the ring for dramatic effect. After a six month reign, the tag titles are lost by Sting and Luger yet there’s zero care by the former champions or any reaction to Harlem Heat winning the belts – – – by anyone – – – as everything is fixated on The Outsiders with aluminum baseball bats and them being held at bay. WCW really played up the heightened security for Kevin Nash and Scott Hall during the lead-up to Bash at the Beach. It’s one of the reasons The Hostile Takeover became everything to their programming. Viewers tuned into Monday Nitro just to see the next chapter in the angle. Even a tag-team titles switch, normally the lead story, is completely buried. All personnel, the wrestlers of WCW most importantly, we’re all-in to accomplish something so huge that it would be talked about forever.
You can’t even watch this match and not think The Outsiders won’t intervene. They were the story, nothing that happens in the match is.
Rating: *1/2

The Verdict: The wrestling on this night was blah. None of the matches hit the mark. The star of Nitro was Tony Schiavone on the television broadcast. Schiavone wouldn’t stop promoting or discussing Bash at the Beach on July 7 as a PPV you didn’t want to miss. He says over-and-over again that professional wrestling would change forever. He wasn’t kidding. The best angle WCW pulled off or ANY wrestling promotion pulled off, was nearing its day. No wrestling fan with a pulse missed WCW programming. July 7th had a countdown to it like WrestleMania’s from the Golden Age for the WWF. Even if you couldn’t watch the PPV, you found a way to get the results ASAP.

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