The tag line for this show was “WCW Goes to War.” I find that funny since the announcers would be saying that starting in 1996 on a regular basis. The WCW title is on the line in the 3 ring, 60 man battle royal after the shenanigans that took place at Halloween Havoc.
Just wait for the shenanigans that take place in the main event.
We are live from the Golden Dome in Norfolk, Virginia. I just recently watched a Clash of Champions from this arena. I like the unique, literal gold dome at the top of the arena. It is a unique look which is something I like when it comes to arenas.
After we get an intro from Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan, we go to Mean Gene with Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Sting. Hogan says the dark side of Hulk Hogan is no more and he is going back to the red and yellow. Give it another seven months and that changes. Just like Hogan saying he will always be Sting’s friend. This promo is full of lies already.
Hogan then transitions to the Macho Man having a legit arm injury. Hogan said it was a plan. He then holds up a rag sheet, and says it is a dinosaur compared to the Internet. Observe this, brother.
WCW TV Championship: Johnny B. Badd (c) vs Diamond Dallas Page w/Kimberly The Diamond Doll
So this match is not only for the TV title but also for the services of Kimberly, who is sick of being treated like crap by DDP. I think I would rather have Kimberly than the TV title.
I am also pretty sure these two fought each other throughout all of 1995. DDP tries to keep it on the mat early on. Badd pulls DDP by the hair to break a wrist lock. Badd then ducks a DDP charge and DDP goes to the outside. Badd then hits a crossbody over the top onto DDP. DDP uses Kimberly to shield himself, then throws her into Badd.
DDP keeps asking for 10s from Kimberly when he does his moves in the ring but she refuses. Heenan points out she is more of a distraction than an asset and I think he is kind of right? Badd ducks a charge and starts a comeback. He looks to Kimberly for a 10, and she gives a 10+. So is that like an 11?
Badd hits a tombstone piledriver but DDP kicks out. I wonder if Taker so that before Badd came over to the WWF. Badd hits a somersault plancha to the outside then a slingshot leg drop back in for the win. Kimberly looks shocked at first then hugs Badd. Man, Marc Mero had Sable and Kimberly as valets at one point. Good for him.
Mean Gene says there is more news coming out about the WWF steroid scandal. Badd says he will give Kimberly some time to think about what she wants to do. Kimberly doesn’t have the character she would have later in 2000 here and comes off extremely tentative on the mic.
Taped Fists Match: Big Bubba Rogers vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan
So the only way to win this match is by pinfall or knockout. Duggan attacks Rogers as he coming to the ring, like the babyface should. I’ve really grown to hate Duggan more and more as the years go on. The match starts in ring one then goes to ring two. Can it legally end in ring two? Or did they specifically sign to have the match in ring one?
Bobby Heenan with more brilliant strategy. He says as Duggan is down on the mat that he would untie Duggan’s fists, tie his arms behind his back and pummel him. Hey, the match can only end via pinfall or knockout. Why not?
Rogers gets more tape and adds it to his fists. At what point does this not help? I mean if you have too much tape wouldn’t that mean you would be hitting someone with just tape? Rogers then takes the tape and tapes Duggan’s left wrist to the rope. But stupid Rogers charges at Duggan and runs right into his fists. Boy did he look dumb there.
Duggan then tosses Rogers over the ropes and his back hits the apron. Rogers/Bossman does not have a good history of taking bumps over the top. If you wanted more midcard WWF guys, VK Wallstreet comes out with a chain. He gets it to Rogers, but is also taken out. Rogers hits Duggan with the chain. Duggan doesn’t get up and Rogers wins. So there was still cheating behind the refs back in what was essentially a No DQ match.
Cutie Suzuki and Mayumi Ozaki vs Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto
Nakano and Ozaki start and Nakano just tosses Ozaki around by the hair early on. Nakano and Hokuto work over Ozaki and power her around. At one point Nakano has Ozaki in the ropes by the hair and Hokuto pulls her back into the ropes.
Suzuki finally gets the hot tag and her and Ozaki end up applying dueling half crabs. Suzuki accidentally knocks Ozaki off the apron then Nakano comes back with a powerbomb, but misses with a moonsault. Suzuki and Ozaki end up hitting a succession of double stomps off the rope.
Nakano double suplexes the faces then tags in Hokuto who misses a splash off the top. They go for double powerbombs but the faces hit double hurricarranas then double crossbodies off the top. Hokuto hits a German suplex and pretty much lands Ozaki on her head.
Hokuto hits a flip splash off the top to the outside on both faces. Hokuto hits a Doomsday Device off the top and Ozaki lands on her neck again. Suzuki breaks up the pin but then Nakano hits a guillotine leg drop off the top for the win. Really fun match.
WCW United States Championship: Kensuke Sasaki (c) vs Chris Benoit
It always pains me to hear the cheers for Benoit when he comes out. The guy was so over and likable as a wrestler. Ugh.
Benoit had just recently joined the Four Horsemen. This incarnation had Flair, Arn, Benoit and Brian Pillman. Of course WCW would mess up Pillman and he would be gone in a few months. Too bad because that is a really fun incarnation of the group.
This match does not start off to great. Benoit keeps it on the mat early, then when Sasaki gets the advantage he does the same. Benoit hit a suicide dive to the outside to wake the crowd up a tiny bit but they go right back to the mat when they get back in the ring.
Sony Onoo comes over to the commentary table. He says they have worked out a deal for Onoo and Starrcade. This of course leads to the WCW vs New Japan storyline at Starrcade. Bobby Heenan of course having the financial backing for New Japan.
Back in the ring Benoit hits a picture perfect headbutt off the top but slowly goes to make the cover so he only gets two. Sasaki blocks a clothesline then hits one of his own then hits a brainbuster suplex for the win. Very boring.
The Giant is interviewed for the battle royal. No lie, he says “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m going to kick you to Kalamazoo.” I’m dying over here.
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Lex Luger
Savage is interviewed before the match. Mean Gene asks Savage if he is jittery. Savage says he is always jittery. Did you just meet Savage Okerlund? Okerlund asks Savage about his arm. Wait, didn’t Hogan just say Savage was not hurt and it was all part of their plan?
So Savage, who was just interviewed on the stage in front of the crowd, goes back behind the curtain then comes out again to his entrance theme. Great thinking ahead by everyone involved in WCW there.
For a guy who claims his arm isn’t injured, Savage’s left arm is pretty heavily taped up. It also looks smaller than his right arm. Savage has the upper hand early and hits an elbow drop on Luger but Jimmy Hart is on the apron. Luger then sends Savage to the outside and applies a Torture Rack on Savage on the outside. Luger applies an armbar back in the ring and Savage is passed out so Randy Anderson calls for the bell.
Luger won’t let go of the hold until Sting comes out and talks him into releasing the hold. I always liked the Sting/Lex Luger weird friendship during this time. I wish that could be revisited in common times.
Ric Flair vs Sting
This match is coming off the amazing turn of Ric Flair on Sting at Halloween Havoc. If you have not seen it before it is great. I covered it with my co-host Heather on the 3 Beers Deep Wrestling Podcast recently.
Crazy Ric Flair goes into another ring to start the match. Someone has a sign that says “Sting is King of the Ring.” I’m sorry but in 1995 that designation belonged to King Mabel, you peasant.
Flair lands some chops but we all know those don’t phase Sting. Sting mounts Flair in the corner with some punches. Sting hits a dropkick then Flair bails and goes to another ting. Col. Parker and Sister Sherri come out to ringside to watch. They are getting married on TV soon. I feel like them coming out here leads to nothing.
Heenan says he feels the whole course of wrestling will change in WCW in 1996. Boy was he right. Flair keeps bailing and switching rings, which has not phased Sting yet. That is until Sting misses a Stinger Splash and hits the guardrail.
Sting grabs Flair by the throat coming back into the ring. Flair hits a low blow that Heenan calls a nerve reaction from Flair getting his throat grabbed. Makes sense. Flair asks Nick Patrick to check how much time is left so he can toss Sting over the top. That is still a DQ in WCW during this time.
Flair continues to work over the left leg of Sting. Flair applies the Figure Four as the crowd pops. Flair slaps Sting, which wakes Sting up and he turns over the Figure Four. Sting gets a backslide for two. Flair pushes Nick Patrick, who pushes Flair back.
Flair bails to another ring but immediately eats a powerslam from Sting. Flair goes to the eyes then the top, but in Flair fashion it fails and Sting powerslams him. Sting hits a superplex then applies the Scorpion Death Lock and Flair gives up.
60 Man Battle Royal
I don’t necessarily hate the idea of something like this. WCW rings were smaller than WWE rings so at least they would be a little bigger. And the technology nowadays would probably make it easier to broadcast.
Lets see some of these one hit wonders we have coming out. Lt. James Earl, Jumping Joey Maggs, Mike Winter, Big Train Bart, and of course The Yeti in ninja gear. I also don’t understand why referees are in the ring. There’s no need for it. Dave Penzer does the names and Michael Buffer goes over the rules for dramatic effect I guess.
If you were one of those no name guys what would stop you from eliminating yourself and just taking the easy pay day? The Yeti is eliminated seconds into the match. Imagine being hyped up as one of the giants in the match and getting eliminated early.
It also doesn’t help that they stick to this three screen shot. If it were me I would focus on one ring for a few minutes, then switch to the next and make sure all your key spots are hit when the camera is focused on the ring.
Lex Luger is just chilling outside of his ring. He keeps landing shots to guys from the outside. That’s actually smart? Arn Anderson tries to piledrive him but Luger backdrops him. Also the rules are dumb for switching rings. I am now hating this more as this goes along, but I really think 2020 technology makes this a bit easier.
Chris Cruise is also awful as an announcer. Macho Man and DDP exchange blows in a preview of two years from now. So once a ring gets down to 10, they move to another, then when that ring is moved to 10 all of them go into one ring.
Maggs somehow made it to the final 30 and is the first eliminated of the bunch. Scott Armstrong is being taken out on a stretcher. It looked like he hit his head hard on the apron when he was eliminated earlier. I also think Joey injured his arm.
How terrified do you think Hogan is that someone is going to sneak up from behind on him and throw him out of the ring? The wrestlers are actually starting to have some room to breathe in this last ring. I’m trying to figure out why One Man Gang is still in there but I think he wins the US title soon.
Hogan comes over and eliminates Hawk. I am pretty sure Hawk turns around directly with the camera on him and yells “Come on Terry” so he can hit his spot. Pillman was pulling Sasaki’s leg on the outside and Hawk was trying to save him for what felt like forever.
We are down to Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Eddie Guerrero, Lex Luger, Macho Man, Sting, Giant, One Man Gang and Hulk Hogan. Immediately after I type that Arn hits a trademark spinebuster on Eddie then dumps him. Flair goes to the top. Sting catapults Arn into him and Flair goes to the outside and Hogan tosses Arn. Technically, Flair shouldn’t be eliminated because he went through the ropes to get to the outside.
Sting and Luger eliminate The Giant with the help of Hogan, who also dumps them. Savage eliminates One Man Gang. Hogan gets pulled to the outside but the ref didn’t see that and thinks Hogan was eliminated. So referee Randy Anderson calls for the bell and declares Savage the winner.
Hogan complains to the crowd and ref and this is the ultimate Hogan power play in WCW. He can’t lose clean even though he was taking time off after this and let Savage win. Savage has to sit there and deal with Hogan’s BS because he takes this way too seriously.
So Savage, the babyface, gets booed despite having nothing to do with this. Savage’s first WCW title win is now ruined because of Hulk’s power play. Hogan tells Savage to watch the film. They shake hands but Hogan is still pissed.
The wrestling before the main event was actually good outside of the Duggan/Rogers match. Heenan goes off on Hogan after the match in classic Heenan fashion.