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WCW Nitro
July 08, 1996

Hour 1Hour 2Hour 3Composite
3.323.733.52

Written by: John Petrie

HOUR ONE: Hosted by Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko.

- Bash at the Beach recap. Tony promises more details on Hulk Hogan's
turn. In fact they spend the whole show doing this. They only barely
delivered.

- REY MISTERIO JR. vs. DEAN MALENKO
Match started out at a moderate pace, alternating between quick maneuvers
and slower mat wrestling. It eventually cranked up a gear as Misterio
did his usual high flying. Match went outside briefly as Misterio tried
a springboard Moonsault but missed about 98% of it, slamming to the
concrete. He sold it for about ten seconds, then the match moved back
into the ring. Malenko took over, nailing a procession of moves off the
top rope. He then pulled Misterio up during a pin attempt. As you might
guess, this backfired when Misterio reversed a tilt-a-whirl pick-up
(possibly for a piledriver or slam) into a Frankensteiner. Misterio ties
up the legs and covers for the pin, winning the Cruiserweight Title.
Excellent match. Crowd was pretty well into the match (except for a batch
of senior citizens in the front row - some wheelchair bound - who never
reacted whatsoever.)

- Mean Gene interviews the Nasty Boys and the Steiner Brothers. Rick
Steiner spent most of it standing in the backround, mugging like a goon.
Incredibly funny if you just watched Rick and ignored the rest. Winner of
these two teams' match later in the show recieve a title shot against the
Harlem Heat at the next PPV, "Hog Wild" on August 10th from Sturgis,
South Dakota.

- HUGH MORRUS/BIG BUBBA (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Bluebloods (w/ Jeeves)
Ugh! Each man is in the ring once for about a minute, then John Tenta
comes out and starts brawling with Bubba. Bluebloods double suplex Morrus
and get the pin.

- EDDY GUERRERO vs. PSICOSIS
Psicosis was dressed like a Ninja Turtle or something. (Maybe a VR
Trooper?) Anyway, this was another pretty good match. Several of the
moves from the first match showed up here as well. Psicosis (who was
recieving the majority of the announcers hype) looked to be winning,
but Guerrero eventually turns the tide and nails the Frog Splash for
the pin.

- Mean Gene interviews the Dungeon of Doom. Jimmy Hart is speechless over
the actions of Hogan (like he should talk anyway.) Sullivan bemoans the
fact that Hogan took away his opportunity to destroy Hulkamania - that
Hogan had destroyed it himself. The Giant seems annoyed at the two and
says WCW has no problem as long as he's wearing the Championship belt.
(Mental note: Expect Hogan to win the title soon.) Hart mentions that
Okerlund may soon be out of a job, which unnerves him for the rest of
the evening.

- NASTY BOYS vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS
Poor effort from both teams in this, another match that meant nothing.
Okay, so the winners get a title shot. Big deal. Sister Sheri and Col.
Parker come out. (Man, did Sherri's ass get big.) Sherri distracts the
ref while Parker whacks Jerry Saggs with his cane. Steiners get the win.
(In other words, the Heat consider the Steiners - arguably the best tag
team in North America - as LESS of a threat than those fat slobs, the
Nasty Boys? Mean Gene interviews the Nasties. Saggs has come to the
conclusion that WCW doesn't mean a damn thing to them because of this,
their recent endless "Street Fight" and "Dog Collar" matches against the
Public Enemy, and their inability to get a fair title shot against Sting
and Luger when they had the straps. Knobbs says that what Hogan did -
while he and Saggs don't condone it - wasn't all that bad. "This 'New
World Order' seems to do what they want... just like the Nasties used
to!" The battle lines are drawn, let the defections begin! Yeehaw!

HOUR TWO: Hosted by Eric Bischoff and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

- RIC FLAIR (w/ you know) vs. JIM POWERS
I tell you, S.D. Jones, Tiger Chung Lee and "Iron" Mike Sharpe are
missing out on easy money here! Who'd Powers have to blow to get a U.S.
Title shot? Flair quickly Figure Four's Powers for the win. He, Mongo
McMichael and Arn Anderson do an interview with the girls after the
match. Arn is fairly intense, telling Okerlund the even though the
Horsemen never claimed to be role models, Hogan did, and that what he
said at Bash at the Beach was disgusting. Mongo them gurgled some of
his usual nonsense ("oh yeah baby... the Horsemen are what it's all
about... .") Flair alluded to his sexual prowess and told The Giant that
there's a new champ it town.

- Bischoff and Heenan talked about BatB, showing a still photo of Lex
Luger getting carted off on a ambulance stretcher. Biscoff says he was
missing at the Bash because of "high level WCW meetings."

- CHRIS BENOIT vs. SGT. CRAIG PITTMAN (w/ Teddy Long)
Benoit roughs up Pittman for a bit, then Long "throws in the towel" for
Pittman. You see, Benoit had applied a rather nasty front facelock and,
well... you KNOW there's no getting out of one of those! Pittman is
understandably upset.

- ARN ANDERSON vs. STING
This was an Old Style match (read: boring.) Headlocks, armbars, all that
stuff that would be okay if there were any psychology involved or if we
the fans didn't know that Hall and Nash would be showing up any minute.
Eventually they do and as we've seen for the last seven weeks nothing
happens. Randy Savage joins the group at ringside. Arn joins him and
Sting in the finger pointing and trash talk, then grabs Sting to try a
quick pin. Sting blocks a DDT attempt by holding onto the ropes, then
applies the Scorpion Deathlock for the win. Mean Gene interviews Sting
and Savage post match and they say pretty much what every wrestler ever
has said in past babyface turning heel situations.

- Mean Gene interviews Nash and Hall - The Outsiders. They, along with
Hogan comprise the New World Order of Wrestling. Cute. Makes no sense
whatsoever, but it's cute nonetheless. Nash offers Mean Gene a job,
which he declines. Nash says Hogan will appear next week.

- Biscoff and Heenan comment on Hogan's betrayal as they show still pics
from BatB. Hall is wearing a Razor Ramon outfit with dripping blood
instead of razor blades. Nash is wearing a red and black Diesel outfit
that says "Outsiders." They show luger being carried out, Hogan tearing
off his shirt, Hogan dropping the leg three times, and he, Hall and
Nash posing as the ring fills with debris. We waited two hours for this?

- Next week's main event: Do they ever say? Hogan will be there though.

Comments: So Hogan was the 3rd man? I can admit I'm shocked. I think it's
a great angle for WCW. I also think it makes no sense and doesn't change
much my opinion of WCW. Why does Hogan, the most popular man (to the most
people in the widest age range) turn heel? Why does he align himself with
two men who've called him "The Immortal Huckster," two men who've called
his TV show "Blunder in Paradise," two men whose entire WWF careers revolved
around the notion that they are the "New Generation" while Hogan was the
"Old Generation," why? Why... because WCW needed a surprise. They looked
around and saw that most of the signifigant free agents out there wouldn't
have fit the bill. Mabel? Who down south would recognize him? He would have
been a nobody. Bret Hart apparently said no, no matter how much money they
offered. They really had no option but to turn someone.

Luger would have been the obvious choice, but probably didn't in the end
simply for that same reason: Too obvious. Savage would have worked as well.
Sting's turning seemed an impossibility, but then so did Hogan's. So WCW
went for the maximum shock value. They looked at how well WCW has done in
his absence and must have thought "we can live without him, so turning him
can't hurt us." (Which I pretty much agree with.) A heel Hogan doesn't hurt
WCW, but will it help? A bit if r.s.p-w is an indicator. Never in my life
have I seen so many ridiculous posts such as "Hogan Rules" and "Hulk is
the man" and "Hulkamania will live forever!" Get real people - he's still
the same balding, slow, flabbly, egotistic buffoon that has done his best to
drag wrestling down with him for the last several years. He's not a better
wrestler now that he's evil. His interviews won't be any better. The booking
is unlikely to make any more sense than it ever has with him involved. But
it does show one thing: Maybe he doesn't have the power that he used to.

And that's really the question, isn't it? How much of this is his idea and
how much of it is WCW's? Will Hogan job to the WCW elite and quietly bow out
of the business, or will he "come to his senses" in a few months and redeem
himself? Was all this the price for his getting his hands on the World Title
"just one more time?" Only time will tell, and while I too will watch, I do
not do so with unbridled optimism. Perhaps something interesting will come
of this. Perhaps not. But no one can doubt that this is the most signifigant
angle in the last 15 years of wrestling and I give credit to WCW for having
the nuts to try it.

I end this line of thought with some interesting comments from Vince McMahon
in an interview he did on Newsportalk several months ago. The interviewer
asked him if Hulk Hogan could play a heel. McMahon's response? "I suppose
so... that's about all there's left for him."

That aside, this was an pretty good Nitro, with the first hour being much
better than the second. Again they teased and teased but never delivered
at the end.


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