Happy New Year folks….in 1996. We are a matter of days removed from Starrcade 1995 which saw Ric Flair defeat Lex Luger and Sting for a shot at the WCW Heavyweight Championship. It also saw Flair defeat Randy Savage for said title, new year, new champion. This episode is promoted with Hulk Hogan stepping in the ring against Ric Flair(advertised as a battle for the ages) as well as Randy Savage taking on Arn Anderson while the show is said to feature Lord Steven Regal and The Four Horsemen(which is funny because we know 2 of them are already in the ring). January 1st, 1996 saw WCW Nitro from The Omni in Atlanta, GA. Let’s see what happened!
Arn Anderson vs Randy Savage
This match was requested by Savage based on the events of Starrcade. Savage felt his title had been stolen due to Arn Anderson’s interference. Anderson starts the match before Randy can even remove his jacket. Savage tosses Anderson out of the ring and takes control. Savage hits a top rope double axe handle for a near fall and maintains his control. Anderson rakes the eyes and starts working on Savage’s arm with a single arm DDT and wraps it around a ring rope. They spill to the outside and Savage puts Anderson head first into the barricade but Arn gets back on track in the ring, continuously working over that injured arm. Savage comes back for a moment but Anderson counters with a feint punch and hits a DDT for a near fall with Randy in the ropes. Savage pushes Anderson into the ref and Anderson immediately goes for brass knuckles. Savage grabs them and hits Anderson with them and shoves them back in Arn’s trunks and scores the pinfall win. Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit hit the ring and argue with the ref, but to no avail.
Winner: Randy Savage via pinfall
Chris Benoit vs Lord Steven Regal
Now this, this is a match that is chock full of potential and is right up my alley I hope. Regal goes for a headbutt, but that only incenses Benoit who takes brief control until Lord Regal grabs another neck crank hold. Benoit hits a nice german suplex and Regal lands high, looked a little scary. Benoit was in control until Regal works his technical magic and transitions into a butterfly suplex for a near fall. Benoit fights back and hits Regal with an electric chair drop before missing a big diving headbutt attempt. Interesting, considering the future implications. Regal goes for a piledriver, Benoit flips through and hits one of his own but misses a dive over the top rope. Regal rolls Chris in the ring and gets the pinfall win.
Winner: Lord Steven Regal via pinfall
Mean Gene in the ring with Pillman, Anderson and Benoit. Pillman berates both Benoit and Anderson for losing their previous matches. Anderson comes after Pillman for starting more wars than are necessary. Kevin Sullivan and The Zodiac come down by the ring but The Giant and Jimmy Hart stop them.
Super Assassins vs Sting and Lex Luger
Sgt. Craig Pittman is at commentary trying to gain a manager in Steve McMichael. Mongo declines but tells him to follow his Marine Corps training. In the match(which was double screened), we see the Assassins in control over Sting. Double shoulder tackle from the Assassins gets a near fall as they partake in quick tags to keep a fresh man in the ring. Sting does get the tag to Luger, but the ref didn’t see it so doesn’t allow it. A suplex/cross body combo yields another near fall as Luger loses his mind on the apron. Sting eats a big powerbomb but avoids a top rope splash. Luger finally gets in the ring and goes to work on an Assassin, locking in the torture rack as Sting puts the scorpion death lock on the other, yielding a submission.
Winner: Sting and Lex Luger via submission
Mean Gene is on the entrance ramp talking with Jimmy Hart and The Giant. Hart is running down Hogan, talking about switching his clients is part of his plan. The Giant talks down Hogan after what Hulk did to him in December with a chair.
WCW Heavyweight Championship
Ric Flair (c) vs Hulk Hogan
New champion Flair has a bandage on his forehead, I wonder if he’ll get bloody. As usual, the match starts with Hogan power moves, like a big shoulder block, a big shove out of a tie-up, standard fare for the Hulkster. Flair gains control with some big chops, Hulk no sells the last few but eats a back elbow before tossing Flair off the top rope(has he ever hit whatever he goes for?). Hulk sends Flair over the top rope but Flair pokes Hogan in the eyes before tossing him into the barricade. Hulk bounces off and clotheslines Ric, sends him over the turnbuckle and hits a clothesline on the apron. Back in the ring, Flair gets a cheap chop block on Hogan’s knee, going to work on the left leg and knee. Flair locks on the figure four with Hogan stuck in the middle of the ring, but Hulk rolls over and reverses the pressure. Jimmy Hart comes down and starts distracting the ref while Flair kicks Hogan in the back of the leg to regain control. Ric Flair hits a big stalling suplex, not sure I’ve ever seen him throw that. Ric gets a near fall and Hogan Hulks up. Big boot and a leg drop, but Hart distracts the ref as Arn Anderson hits Hogan with the brass knuckles. Hogan kicks out, and shows the ref the brass knuckles, so the ref DQ’s Flair??? Not sure he saw the actual act but ok. The Horsemen come down as does the Dungeon of Doom, and The Giant tries to hit Hulk with a wooden stool. Randy Savage comes in out of nowhere to make the save as the heels powder out.
Winner: Hulk Hogan via DQ-no title change
Mean Gene is talking in the ring with Hogan and Savage. Hulk comments on how Savage’s business and his business seem to intersect. Hogan challenges Flair and Anderson to take him and Savage on next week. Savage hints at a secret weapon but Hogan tells him not to share too much. Hogan continues to berate the Four Horsemen to end the show.
An interesting show. Some good matches, which could have been great. This whole Horsemen/Dungeon of Doom vs Hogan and now Savage is so convoluted and confusing, but it takes up 50% of the air time of the show. It’s somewhat annoying considering the talent on the undercard of the WCW at this time. Now, once the show moves to 2 hours, that will improve. Until then, we will deal! See you next week!!