May 22, 2009
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

WCW Monday Nitro
May 20, 1996
Monroe, LA
Civic Center

The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: The Giant (4/29/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Konnan (1/29/1996)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Sting & Lex Luger (1/22/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Lex Luger (3/6/1996)
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko (5/18/1996)

Your hosts are Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan. NO MORE MONGO! He’s busy training with Kevin Greene for the Great American Bash.

This would be the first episode of Nitro to run longer than an hour as this show ran for 90 minutes.

Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Fire & Ice
Looks like they’re finally giving these two teams a program now leading into the Great American Bash – or as WWE wants to call it now, The Bash. Scott and Ice Train trade hiptosses and clotheslines to start. Scott hits one overhead belly-to-belly suplex on him and he’s got to tag out to Norton. In comes Rick, Norton rolls THROUGH a schoolboy and nails Rick with a clothesline. Norton follows up with a flying splash (!!) and continues the offense with more clotheslines. Rick ducks one of those and levels Norton with a release German suplex. Steinerline gets two. Tag to Scott, he hits a release dragon suplex on Norton. HOLY crap. Scott dumps Norton out and follows suit with a flying double sledge. Back inside, Norton comes back with a Samoan drop for two. Ice Train tags in and gets thrown over with a t-bone suplex. Hot tag to Rick, we get a double-KO with Ice Train. Fire & Ice knock Rick to the floor with STEREO RUNNING SHOULDERBLOCKS. Everybody fights to the floor to the point of a double-countout. (5:27) A crucial point of the match sees Norton delivering a SHOULDERBREAKER to Scott. Right after that, he gets back up and gives Norton a release German suplex! Meanwhile, Rick and Ice Train fight up the entrance ramp. These guys are just gluttons for punishment, but I love it. **½

Ric Flair (w/Elizabeth & Woman) vs. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero was treated like an inconvenience last night at Slamboree by Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, so now he gets a match with Flair since Arn is busy later in the evening with the Giant. Flair mentioned in his Highspots shoot interview that Booty Man told him after this match that he shouldn’t have giving Eddie so much offense since he was feuding with Hogan. Not sure that Flair had his story straight considering how much Flair and Eddie wrestled. Unless Brutus meant Savage (which I doubt), Hogan’s not even active right now in WCW. Eddie controls to start with a headlock. Flair and Eddie get into a great exchange of chops before Flair backs off in the corner. More chop trading as Guerrero dropkicks Flair to the floor. Guerrero’s up top, so Flair gets the heck out of there and throws a tantrum in the aisleway. He even grabs a chair, but ref Randy Anderson puts a stop to that. “Eddie” chants go up. Back in the ring, Guerrero makes Flair give chase as he drops to the floor and mocks Flair with his own strut. Eddie has this crowd in the palm of his hand right now. Eddie chops Flair to set up his signature Flair Flop. Flair begs off and suckers Eddie into the corner as he goes to the eyes. Commercial break! We come back to see Eddie escaping a chinlock. Guerrero hits some clotheslines and pulls the tights down to complete the Flying Sunset Flip for 1-2-NO! Oh, but then Flair stops a ten-count corner punch with an inverted atomic drop. Rolling Knee Drop connects as Flair begins to toil with Guerrero. Eddie gets a few quick nearfalls that don’t pay off. Flair hits a back suplex and takes a while getting to his feet to apply the FIGURE-FOUR, allowing Eddie to counter with an inside cradle for two. Flair goes for a running field goal kick, but Eddie sweeps him up and grabs a FIGURE-FOUR of his own! Flair makes the ropes and heads to the floor, only to make Eddie fly down and miss as he crumbles into the guardrail! Eddie sells an injured knee as Flair gives him a suplex on the floor. Back in the ring, Flair clips Eddie from behind. Meanwhile, Heenan calls Flair a fifteen time world champion, but Bischoff discredits Flair’s two WWF title reigns. Bischoff ~ “Those are not *wrestling* championships.” Then what are they, Eric? Heenan changes the subject real quick over to Liz and her money. Stalling suplex gets two. Eddie flips out of a back suplex and catches Flair with an O’Connor roll for 1-2-NO! Eddie hits a crossbody block, but he lands on his knee doing so and can’t cover Flair. Flair Flip in the corner leads to a dropkick off the apron to the floor. Back inside, Flair blocks a sunset flip with a fist and then struts around Eddie. In the corner, Guerrero goes to the eyes and hits a Tornado DDT on Flair! His knee is hurting him, but he still covers Flair for 1-2-NO! Eddie walks the ropes and ranas Flair. Even with those moves involving the legs, Eddie is selling the whole time. Eddie hits the FROG SPLASH, but that does his knee in. Naturally, Flair seizes the moment by applying the FIGURE-FOUR. With a little leverage help from Woman, Eddie gets his shoulders pinned to give Flair the win. (17:04 shown) Such a star-making match that should have elevated Eddie Guerrero to the next level, but as par for the course in WCW, they missed a prime opportunity. What they should have done was take the belt off Konnan at the Great American Bash and put it on Eddie instead of giving it a month later to Flair who didn’t need it in the first place. ***¾

Gene Okerlund meets with Ric Flair and the ladies after the match over by Flair’s VIP table. There’s a rumor going around that Savage is in the building, but Flair tells him to bring it on. As for Kevin Greene, he made a HUGE mistake coming into North Carolina without Flair’s permission. North Carolina is Flair country, pal.

After the break, we find that Flair and the ladies have brought some of the trimmings from their VIP table over to the announce table to share with Bobby Heenan.

So far, this has been one of the most entertaining episodes of Nitro to date.

WCW World Tag Team Champions Sting & Lex Luger vs. The Faces of Fear
Flair and Heenan think that while Sting is one of the greatest athletes ever in wrestling, he doesn’t stand a chance against the Faces of Fear after what he went through last night with the Giant. Luger and Meng start the match. Meng delivers a drop toe hold (?!) and stomps Lex in the head. Luger comes back with a powerslam for two. Sting and Barbarian take turns getting a tag as we go to commercial. Back to action, Sting flips out of a double overhead wristlock and armdrags both Barbarian and Meng over. Sting cleans house on Meng, but whiffs on a dropkick on the Barbarian. Tag to Meng, he works on Sting’s back for a bit. The FOF do an illegal switch when Luger comes into the ring. Unprovoked, I might add. In a nice spot, Meng inverted atomic drops Sting as Barbarian delivers the KICK OF FEAR. That’s just brutal. Cover, 1-2-NO! Barbarian hits a belly to belly superplex for 1-2-NO! The Faces of Fear set up for STEREO FLYING HEADBUTTS! Luger comes in and stalls the count, causing the FOF to only get a two-count. Sting fights back against Meng and tries to dive over him to make the tag, but Meng catches him in mid-air and brings Sting back over to Barbarian. Barbarian hits a backbreaker and heads up top for a Flying Headbutt, but Sting moves out of the way and makes the HOT TAG TO LUGER! Lex hits the Bionic Forearm on Barbarian for 1-2-NO! Luger and Meng fight to the floor while Barbarian sets up Sting for another belly to belly superplex. Luger manages to post Meng and save Sting. He grabs hold of Barbarian’s foot while Sting ear claps down. Flying Splash by Sting! He rolls out and Luger rolls on top of Barbarian for the 1-2-3! (7:49 shown) Super solid tag formula here. Why can’t the Faces of Fear work this well every week? ***

Randy Savage is here at the arena, but once again security keeps him from getting in. Savage really needs to just try a different door. Gene Okerlund says he just got off the phone with the suits at WCW who are having a meeting concerning Savage’s future with this company due to this recent insanity! Savage lunges for the door and it’s just not happening. Flair has a good laugh over it back at the announce table.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Brad Armstrong
DDP has his “Lord of the Ring” ring with him for the first time. Basic stuff to start with Page jawing with the crowd every chance he gets. Page hotshots Armstrong to take control as we go to break. Afterwards, Page is still in control. He’s got Armstrong in a chinlock. Brad elbows out and backslides DDP, but Page pops up and clotheslines him for two. DDP charges into the corner post, so Armstrong delivers a ten-count turnbuckle smashing. Flair ~ “I use to do that to Savage back when he could get in the building and wrestle.” Heenan ~ “Savage is worse than the humanoids. He can’t even get in the building!” Oh yeah, the match. Armstrong hits a flying bodypress for 1-2-NO! Back up, Page catches Brad with a back elbow and follows through with a DIAMOND CUTTER for the win. (4:35 shown) Gene Okerlund gets in the ring and totally flubs the explanation as to why DDP won’t be getting a title shot against the Giant. The truth is that he was tossed out during Battlebowl and the problem was whether or not both feet touched the floor. Well, you can’t tell from still shots, but that’s all you get on Nitro anyway. Instead of DDP getting a title shot, Lex Luger will be facing the Giant at the Great American Bash. *½

WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Arn Anderson (w/Kevin Sullivan)
Why is Kevin Sullivan in Arn’s corner when he’s the ‘mastermind’ behind the Dungeon of Doom containing both the Giant and Jimmy Hart? From the announce table, Flair mentions something about a plan. Sullivan explains to Jimmy that he just wants to make sure Arn gets a fair shot since he’s always been honest with him. Alright. Onto the match, Arn does a GREAT job of making Giant look like well…a Giant. It’s one of the reasons he’s one of the greatest performers in wrestling history. During the Giant beatdown, Arn bails. Giant shoots Arn back inside, but gets crotched when he tries to cross over the top rope. Arn gets Giant down to one knee with a series of flying double ax handles and goes for a DDT, but Giant lifts Anderson up into a CHOKESLAM for the easy 1-2-3. (3:38) Right after the bell sounds, Flair makes a quick exit. * for Arn’s awesome psychology.

Heenan bails on Bischoff too and takes some of the VIP stuff with him while Bischoff hypes next week’s premiere two hour edition of Monday Nitro. It’s one you don’t want to miss.

Yeah, AND WE OUT!

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