January 22, 1996 brings us WCW Monday Nitro from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada!
This show is touted as featuring Hulk Hogan facing off against One Man Gang from the Dungeon of Doom. We are also slated to see Randy Savage take on Ric Flair and Dean Malenko battle Brian Pillman plus, Harlem Heat take on Sting and Lex Luger. Eric Bischoff, Steve McMichael and Bobby Heenan are on the call as usual. Konnan sighting as well as he interrupts the commentators to announce himself defending his belt against Psychosis.
- Randy Savage defeated Ric Flair to capture the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
- Brian Pillman defeated Dean Malenko
- Sting & Lex Luger defeated Harlem Heat to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship
- Hulk Hogan defeated One Man Gang
WCW Heavyweight Championship
Ric Flair (c) vs. Randy Savage
These two brawl outside the ring to begin the match and Savage is tossed into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Savage regains control with a big clothesline. Flair comes back and tosses Savage over the top rope and distracts the referee while Jimmy Hart gives a kick for good measure. Fair tosses Savage over the rail at ringside and both trade strikes before Flair eats a big back body drop on the floor before sidestepping Savage’s top rope double axe handle to the outside. Back inside the ring, Savage battles back as the two trade more strikes.
Flair is back in control, hitting a shin breaker and the figure four leglock, using the ropes for leverage until the ref notices and breaks the hold. Flair goes to the top rope, and surprise, Savage catches him. Savage hits a pair of top rope axe handles and Jimmy Hart distracts the ref. Arn Anderson inadvertently hits Ric Flair with a foreign object and Savage hits the top rope elbow drop. The bell rings before the pinfall for some reason, but the ref counts and awards the WCW Heavyweight Championship to Randy Savage.
Hogan is out with Savage and Mean Gene in the ring, Randy calls Hulk out for celebrating as if he won the belt himself. Hogan says he’d like the first shot at the belt, Savage says he’s no Nick Bockwinkel, but tells him he wants to do it in Caesar’s Palace. Hulk says he’s going to do whatever it takes to get to the number one contender position (probably just some politics in the back). This heavyweight title picture is already feeling stale.
Winner: Randy Savage via pinfall (new WCW Heavyweight Champion)
Brian Pillman vs Dean Malenko
The match opens with some chain wrestling before Pillman is caught with a hip toss and dropkick by Dean. Dean fires up and hits a big clothesline and a nice brainbuster quickly followed by a neckbreaker for a near fall. In the corner, Pillman fights back and hits a tornado DDT but refuses to cover. Dean hits a nice tiger driver and the action goes outside the ring then back in with Pillman in control. Malenko comes back again with a big pop up gut buster. Dean gets a leg caught up in the ropes, Brian covers him and the ref doesn’t see it, so we get the pinfall. I feel like these two guys could really put on solid matches if they were given a good amount of time.
Winner: Brian Pillman via pinfall
WCW Tag Team Championship
Harlem Heat (c) vs Sting and Lex Luger
They go to commercial and we get an ad for SuperBrawl that features only Hogan, Savage, Flair, Sting and Luger. Just sad and depressing. Luger gets worked over until Booker T is tagged in. He hits a double clothesline and gets a tag to Sting. Multiple Stinger splashes on both Harlem Heat and we see a Scorpion Death Lock attempt from Sting. Luger distracts the ref for reasons and Booker T hits a big ax kick to break up the hold.
Sting continues to get beat down as Booker T hits a top rope facebuster on Sting. Harlem Heat are utilizing quick tags in and out, keeping Sting dealing with a fresh man. Booker T misses the Harlem Hangover and Sting gets to Luger for the tag but the ref doesn’t see it. Jimmy Hart is down and hands Luger a foreign object. Luger is tagged in, hits Booker T with the object for the pinfall victory. Commentary says it looks like a roll of silver dollars from the casino. We have new tag champs and it all happened behind Sting’s back. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops. Mediocre tag match here.
Winners: Sting and Lex Luger(new WCW Tag Team Champions)
One Man Gang vs Hulk Hogan
One Man Gang is announced as the United States Champion, but I’ve never seen that belt defended on Nitro. One Man Gang gets control with a clothesline and bodyslam before hitting a splash that Hulk no sells and comes back. Hogan kind of hits a powerslam before hitting the big boot and leg drop for the win. The Dungeon of Doom and Four Horsemen come out and Hogan holds them off until Savage comes down to help. Hogan and Savage stand tall in the ring as literally 9 other wrestlers leave, unable to take down Hulk and Savage. Back in the ring, Hogan previews their Clash of the Champions tag match for the following night but they keep bringing up an upcoming title match.
Winner: Hulk Hogan via pinfall
A fairly good show (minus that last match) that helped build some more more stories and we saw 2 title changes on free television which is always fun. I’m really looking forward to when Nitro expands to 2 hour shows so we can see more of this amazing undercard I’m always hearing about. I know the names are there, and they’re impressive. It just seems like they’re an afterthought right now on WCW Nitro. Here’s to hoping it improves!