My DVD copy of this show opens with the first match in progress, so I turned to youtube to watch the opening and…it starts in the exact same spot, which means the uploader must have used the same Nitro set I bought. So that means: Joined in progress…
J.L. vs. Eddy Guerrero
Did Jerry Lynn ever explain why they wanted him masked? Eddy has an abdominal stretch locked in. JL quickly escapes and the men start trading high risk moves. Eddy is dropkicked off the top rope and JL senton splashes him on the floor. They go back and forth on roll ups and Eddy snags the 3 count. What was here was fun. Fans chant “Eddy! Eddy!”
They are pushing Starrcade but they only have one match to talk about (Sting vs. Luger vs. Flair). The New Japan vs. WCW angle is not being touched on much at all. The New Japan guys were appearing on the Sunday afternoon “C” show.
Lex Luger cuts a promo – he essentially promotes a Sting and Luger vs. The Mega Powers tag team match that isn’t happening.
Paul Orndorff vs. Disco Inferno
Little did we know it, but this would serve to be Paul Orndorff’s retirement match, more on that in a bit. Crowd chants “Paula!” at Orndorff. Disco jumps Orndorff and stomps away. Disco eats an elbow and Orndorff drives some punches into his face. Paul’s arms are down right small here, 8 years after his initial nerve injury that caused his muscles to atrophy. Paul dances a few different styles and drops an elbow across Disco’s neck. Inferno is dropped with a slick belly to back suplex….and that gets the pin??? Huh.
Brian Pillman, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair come down for a promo. Pillman says they are the greatest dynasty in the world. Pillman claims Hogan wanted to join the Horsemen but couldn’t handle their partying. He then makes a veiled reference to Steve McMichael having sex with the American Males. Dear lord, the images in my head now… Pillman then mocks the Zodiac’s promos and moves on to Paul Orndorff. Paul is mocked for chasing around Psychic Gary Spivey instead of slashing throats. Flair gets his normal lines in until Orndorff comes down to interrupt. Paul says he respects Flair and Arn but Pillman is a punk. Arn tries to defuse the situation but Pillman slaps Paul and that leads to a 3 on 1 assault. Paul is slammed into the railing and the Arn PILEDRIVES Orndorff on the cement. Bobby Heenan goes to check on his former client. They stretcher Paul off, but don’t bother to stop the show while he’s tended to, as Lex Luger comes down while Orndorff lays on the concrete paralyzed.
I actually wanted to see Orndorff vs. The Horsemen after this event, but Paul was done minus doing a promo or 2 in a neck brace a few months later. Before he would have even been able to come back, Pillman would be fired and the nWo would arrive, so it didn’t have a place in the cards anyway. Thanks for the memories Mr. Wonderful!
Hacksaw Duggan vs. Lex Luger
Duggan clubs away and drives Lex into the turnbuckle. Crowd chants for “Luger” because we are in a Jim Crockett Promotions hot bed. Duggan punches away and tapes his fist. Jimmy Hart distracts Hacksaw by grabbing his 2×4. Lex hits Duggan with the steel plate forearm from behind and Hacksaw’s face hits the 2×4. Torture rack wins it. Inoffensive thanks to being short.
Macho Man promo: Savage has to face the Giant for the title next week, then moves on to Tenzan at Starrcade as well as a World title defense against the winner of the triangle match.
Hulk Hogan and Sting vs. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson
Hogan is soundly booed coming to the ring in Horsemen country. Sting and Arn trade hammerlocks as the crowd chants “Hogan sucks!” Hogan and Flair tag in. Flair’s chops are no sold and he tosses Flair around the ring. Arn jumps Hogan but Hogan no sells that too and cleans Arn’s clock. Sting press slams Flair. Arn doesn’t fair much better and ends up locked in a Scorpion death lock. Flair comes in and Sting locks him in one too. Arn breaks that up with a DDT.
Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart run down and Lex sends Hogan into the steel post and locks him in the torture rack. Sting’s knee is mauled by the Horsemen. Flair locks on the Figure four. Stings drags himself to Hogan but Arn distracts the ref and the tag is denied. Sting starts to no sell Flair’s chops but the Horsemen trap him once again. Hogan gets the not so hot tag but walks right into the spinebuster by Arn. HE NO SELLS THAT TOO. Arn and Flair are both given big boots and Arn is pinned. AUGH. Pillman and Luger run down. Luger keeps the other heels off of Sting and Hogan is abused 3 on 1. Sting gets by Lex and makes the save. Savage runs in a little too late and Sting decks him.
Sting, Savage, Hogan promo: All 3 guys are flummoxed by their lack of being able to get along. They all agree to hug it out again.
Jeff Hardy vs. Owen Hart
I’m not sure how I feel about Diesel vs. Owen Hart being on PPV in six days. It makes sense given Owen’s being a braggart about injuring Nash’s buddy, but it sure seems like Nash avenging Shawn may take some of the steam off of Shawn’s own revenge. Hardy (a jobber at this point) actually takes a decent amount of the shine early. Diesel is shown watching the match in the back. Owen takes control and Diana (Hart) Smith is shown watching at ringside. She looks confused more than anything. I can never look at her and Davey Boy the same again since I read about how the Bulldog would drug her and then anally rape her. Ok now I hate wrestling again.
Owen sends Hardy ass over tea kettle on a clothesline and then blasts him with a dropkick off the top rope. Owen elects to pin Hardy via roll up instead of using a Sharpshooter. Then he invites Yokozuna to come in and Banzai drop Jeff. Still not satisfied, Owen locks on the Sharpshooter. That finally prompts Nash to charge the ring, and Owen runs away like a proper chickenshit heel. Nash and Yoko go toe to toe until a big boot sends Yoko to the floor.
Chapparita Asari vs. Aja Kong
Another showcase match for Aja, who was penciled in to wrestle Alundra Blayze at the Royal Rumble but…we’ll see that surprise on Nitro in a week or two…
Asari takes the fight to Kong right off and hits a hand spring dropkick! Aja no sells a crossbody and takes over. Asari is whipped about by her hair and nailed with a vertical suplex. Aja then breaks her in two with a package piledriver. Aja hits some stiff kicks and Lawler annoys me by making fun of her looks instead of being on her side as a fellow antagonist. Kong finishes it with an accidental STIFF spinning fist that busts Asari’s nose. Innovative fun – perhaps the last RAW ladies match for 2 years or so?
“Special” interview with Shawn Michaels. Shawn claims he’s fine and gets pissy when retirement is brought up. If you’re fine Shawn, why aren’t you cleared for Sunday’s PPV?
Rick Stockhauser vs. Ahmed Johnson
Squash to put over Dean Douglas vs. Johnson coming at the PPV. Lawler trolls Ahmed after.
The Kid and Sid promo – Kid plans on controlling Razor Ramon and Sid intends to beat up Marty. At least that match should be fun at the PPV.
Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund
Revisiting this feud wasn’t the best use of Bret’s return to the top of the card. Bret and Bob start with grappling. Lawler is teasing run ins to perhaps up the interest in this match, but the fans in the arena have no such motivation to care. Bret works a face lock and Lawler leaves to go interview Diana at ringside. She stammers through a series of responses in monotone. Bret works a body lock and an armbar, that Backlund reverses into the crossface chicken wing. Bret makes it to the ropes. Backlund works an armbar while the announcers talk about anything but this snoozer. More armbars.
Bret finally rallies with a Russian leg sweep and a second rope elbow. Bulldog runs in and Backlund locks in the crossface as Bulldog stomps away. Over 15 minutes and almost every bit of it was a cure for insomnia. Sigh.
Raw fell off a cliff after the first 20 minutes was over. Nitro was far more enjoyable top to bottom as the Hulkamania rebellion makes for a trainwreck appeal that is fascinating to relive.