July 5, 2009
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

WCW Monday Nitro
June 17, 1996
Richmond, VA
Richmond Coliseum

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)

HOUR NUMBER ONE!

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko.

They open the show with still shots of last night’s PPV. The meeting between Bischoff and the “interruption” airs, but they cut us off right before the powerbomb off the stage because they’re going to show that to us later. Oh Bischoff and your ratings-grabbing tricks.

Rick Steiner vs. Stevie Ray
This is just a follow up from last week where they had Scott open the show with Booker T. Stevie Ray has no business being a singles wrestler and this is proof of that. After a bunch of Stevie Ray’s pounding, Rick comes back and wins with the Steinerline. (2:18) Booker T runs in for the post-match attack and Scott Steiner runs in for the save. He leaps on top of Rick to save his brother from Booker T, who lowers the boom on Scott instead. That becomes important later. ¾*

Disco Inferno vs. Joe Gomez
Nobody cares about Gomez, but he’s TCB’ing on Disco until he whiffs on a crossbody block. The crowd approves. As usual, Disco’s love for his hair prevents him from winning a match. Gomez mounts a comeback, but ducks low off a whip and gets caught for a swinging neckbreaker. Once again, the crowd approves. Disco dances around and costs himself a victory. He lays back on Gomez and gets two, but then Gomez hooks the arms and rolls Disco over for the cheap 1-2-3. (3:34) Disco doesn’t care because his hair is still in place. THE MAN HAS DISCO FEVER. *

Ric Flair and the ladies are in the back with Gene Okerlund. Debra confesses she convinced Mongo to turn on Kevin Greene for the money. Flair goes on and on about how crazy Savage is while he acts like a complete lunatic.

Arn Anderson & Chris Benoit vs. The American Males
Well this should be fun. Maybe it’s because we’re in the old Crockett stomping grounds (and it probably is), Richmond tonight and Baltimore last night both have been RABID for the Horsemen. At the start, Arn does the bit where he knocks Bagwell off the apron and then slides out to avoid a clothesline from Riggs. He forgets about Bagwell who he sent to the floor and gets decked. Back in, Riggs rolls up Arn for two. Benoit has his eye all black and blue to sell the FCA match with Sullivan. Arn tries a piledriver, but that never works! Riggs backdrops out for two. Bagwell tags in and tries to work the arm. Arn breaks away and tags Benoit. He chops Bagwell into oblivion. Bagwell escapes a powerbomb into a lucha armdrag, but hits knees off a splash. In comes Arn, Bagwell sees a Spinebuster coming and counters with a backslide attempt. Riggs dropkicks Arn down for two. FISHERMAN SUPLEX by Bagwell gets 1-2-NO! Yeah right, Bagwell. Benoit tags in for more chops and stomps Bagwell down deep into the corner. The crowd certainly approves entirely. Back suplex sets up the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT for 1-2-NO! Riggs makes the save. Benoit decks him, Bagwell decks Benoit, and then Arn decks Bagwell! Once Benoit gets to his feet, Bagwell crawls underneath his legs and makes the tag to Riggs. DOUBLE DROPKICK to Benoit. Riggs covers him for 1-2-NO! Arn saves and gets nailed by Bagwell. Arn still manages to nail Riggs as he comes off the ropes. Benoit gives Riggs a front suplex on the top rope and rolls him up with a little help from Arn for 1-2-3. (6:49) And Richmond explodes like Arn and Benoit just saved their town from two gay dudes. ***

Big Bubba (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. John Tenta
Oh geez, another one of these? Bubba is not really beardless, it’s just not hanging off his chin like it used to. It’s an improvement. Tenta sends Bubba running out to throw a temper tantrum with Jimmy after a backdrop and a dropkick (!!) to start. Back in, Bubba crotches Tenta. Bossman Straddle and the slide underneath into the uppercut follows. Tenta fires back on Bubba after a chinlock. Avalanche from Tenta! Make that two of them. Jimmy runs in and smashes his megaphone over Tenta’s back, but he NO-SELLS. He gets grabbed and sent to the floor with an atomic drop. Standard Jimmy Hart stuff. Tenta powerslams Bubba and decides NOT to pin him. He gives Bubba a second powerslam and uses the ropes for leverage (??) to get the 1-2-3. (4:41) Uhh, why? Afterwards, Jimmy Hart slips Bubba a sock filled with silver dollars and whips Tenta in the face with it! AND IT BEGINS. ½*

On the way to the locker room, Bubba tells the viewing audience to watch the Great American Bash replay (which Schiavone plugs the entire show) to see him beat the crap out of Tenta. Hahahaha, now who would do that.

After a break, Gene Okerlund is in the locker room with Randy Savage. Randy’s psychiatrist told him he was OCD: one cool dude. You know Randy, you should probably go seek someone else’s council if I were you. That doesn’t sound like a psychiatrist to me at all.

HOUR NUMBER TWO!

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan. Tony is sticking around because Bischoff is in the “hospital” thanks to the Outsiders. OH WHAT THAT POOR MAN HAS GONE THROUGH!

Ric Flair (w/Elizabeth, Woman & Debra) vs. Randy Savage
After a few weeks of being told he was too insane for WCW competition, Randy Savage is back in the ring. That, or his injured elbow is healed up. I’m going with the latter here. As Heenan comes out to replace Zbyszko, Savage chases him down to ringside. Heenan gets to his signature flip out of the ring to flee from Savage. Awesome. The man has still got it as he makes his way over to the announce position. Flair gets on the stick and talks MORE junk directed at Savage. That’s it. Savage jumps the ropes and goes right after Flair. He won’t even let Flair get his robe off. In the ring, Flair has to go to the eyes just to get a moment’s peace so he can disrobe himself. Back on the floor, they brawl as we go to break. We come back and Flair tosses Savage to the floor for a slap from Liz. Flair sends Savage into the front row and then turns his back on him. Savage shoots over the guardrail and beats Flair up the aisle over to Flair’s VIP table paid for with Savage’s money. Everything Flair buys now seems to be paid for with Savage’s money. Savage makes Flair eat those rich people appetizers with his eyeballs and then pours some bubbly all over Flair’s face. Is Savage going to break that bottle over Flair’s head? Nah, he throws it away. Back to the ring, Savage punches Flair all around leading up to the Flair Flop and the Flair Corner Flip. Savage knocks Flair to the floor where Flair tries to psyche himself up. Savage punches him back to the floor and tries the Flying Double Ax Handle onto the guardrail, but misses. Aww. Commercial break #2! AND WE’RE BACK! Savage starts to NO-SELL Flair’s chops, but then he charges into a back elbow in the corner. Flair heads up top and Savage misses his cue, so Flair jumps over him and falls on his knees. Ouch. Savage starts setting up for the Macho Elbow with a backdrop and the Flying Double Ax Handle. Flair rolls over to the corner and sneaks on his taped knux. WHAM! Savage gets nailed. After Flair does his strut, he covers Savage for 1-2-NO! During Flair’s shoving match with the ref, Savage knees Flair which knocks the ref clear out to the floor. Now that there’s no ref, Savage uppercuts SPACE MOUNTAIN! MACHO ELBOW connects! Here come the ladies into the ring to stand in Savage’s way of a second MACHO ELBOW. Doesn’t matter, he flies down on Flair anyway as they clear out. Benoit runs down and takes a piledriver! Arn tries to save Flair, but he gets nailed and thrown out. Savage forgets about Mongo, who steps in and SMASHES the Haliburton briefcase all over Savage’s back. He puts Flair on top of Savage as Arn throws the flimsy ref into the ring for the 1-2-3. (8:07 shown) This was everything it should have been with Savage beating Flair every which way with a well-booked finish within the context of the storyline. Whether you like him or not, Mongo was made to look real important here instead of being the weak link of the group that he would later become. Great stuff, and if you can appreciate this edition of the Horsemen, a great Horsemen moment as well. ***¼

In the back, Gene Okerlund hangs out with the WCW world champ The Giant, Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart. Giant challenges the Four Horsemen to come after him. Sullivan doesn’t care about whether or not the Giant has been picked as one of the three men to meet the “interruption” and their challenge. Weird interview. By the way, Sullivan’s face is wrecked up too – just like Benoit’s face. It felt like Sullivan and Okerlund were talking about two different things.

“Blood Runs Cold” promo for Glacier. Oh I can’t wait.

Instead of showing the video footage, they show stills from the Great American Bash where Bischoff took the powerbomb off the stage through that table. Also, we get some still shots of the Horsemen/Greene & Mongo match and the Benoit/Sullivan match. Nothing concerning the WCW world title match.

Gene Okerlund tries to get a word from Rey Mysterio. He just lets Rey speak some Spanish to his homies.

WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
And now for something completely different. No Mike Tenay for this one, which is kind of a shame. Lots of mat work to start while Schiavone and Heenan go on and on about the Great American Bash. Mysterio hits a nice springboard moonsault press and then avoids a crossbody out of the corner for two. Malenko shuts him down with a clothesline once he tries to block a hiptoss. He works on Mysterio’s back. SICK elevated half-crab is applied. Malenko delivers a brainbuster for two, but then gets crotched up top. Mysterio avoids a diving Malenko, but gets caught for an electric chair drop. Malenko grabs an ab stretch into an Oklahoma roll for two. RIDICULOUS Powerbomb to Mysterio gets 1-2-NO! Fallaway slam gets another two. Malenko floats over into a camel clutch, then they go to the floor. Mysterio reverses a whip into the guardrail and then delivers a springboard head scissors from the inside out! Fantastic. Back in, Mysterio sunset flip powerbombs Malenko for 1-2-NO! Then he maneuvers around a crucifix into a victory roll for 1-2-NO! Mysterio gets another near-fall, but then Malenko blocks a wheelbarrow move into a reverse DDT for the 1-2-3. (8:42) Lots of great near-falls in this one. They tried not to do too much either and what we got was a very good match from these two, who would continue to have some good ones over the next six months. ***

WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Scott Steiner
Scott has his ribs taped up because of what happened earlier in the show. Not that the Giant needs an advantage when he’s already, you know, the Giant. I’m guessing the taped ribs and Scott Steiner’s loss against the world champ will develop into the Steiners/Harlem Heat feud. Giant lets Scott attempt to throw him around the ring, but that won’t happen. At least, not yet. When Scott gets the Giant up for a slam, Giant falls on top of him and starts working the hurt ribs. Commercial break! We come back and the Giant is still stepping on Steiner’s ribs. In an oddly ironic moment, the Giant slaps on a Steiner Recliner. Scott tries to elbow out, but Giant forearms him down. More Giant-size rib work. Giant finds a wooden chair and gets crotched on his way into the ring. Scott chop blocks Giant down to one knee and grabs a sleeper, but Giant backs him into the corner. Scott catches the Giant charging at him with a boot in the corner. No one’s using the chair though. Giant misses a corner charge and that staggers him enough for Steiner to deliver a t-bone suplex to wake up the crowd. Scott gets too busy celebrating and takes too long to cover the Giant. Now he does and only gets two. He keeps the Giant down on his knees and grabs the wooden chair. Jimmy jumps into the ring and tries to get the chair away from Scott. He gets shoved away. Scott breaks the chair over the Giant’s shoulders anyway. NO EFFECT! Steiner has no clue what to do now. CHOKESLAM! That gets the win. (8:16) What a cool finish. *½

After a quick break, Okerlund makes the announcement that Lex Luger, Sting, and Randy Savage have been chosen to face the Outsiders and their mystery partner on July 7 at Bash at the Beach.

FANS, WE’RE OUTTA TIME! In other words, AND WE OUT!

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